Why the Eagles got blown out on MNF

Was the Eagles MNF game a fluke?

Jacob Keppen

Well that was less than ideal…

If you the reader have little time, or if you are late for your flight or, perhaps work and only have a few minutes: just know the main takeaway from the last MNF game and besides a few players — everything was rough for the Eagles. Just two weeks ago the Eagles looked like a team primed to surpass expectations. Even though the underdog, the Eagles blew out the Atlanta Falcons 32-6 earlier which led to excitement returning to Philadelphia, a revitalization in belief if you will for the fans.

Monday night’s 41-21 loss to Dallas was a true gut punch that has fans scrambling for optimism with an unforgiving stretch of games against Kansas City, undefeated Carolina, defending champions Tampa Bay, and undefeated Las Vegas coming up.

It’s Time To Worry About This Offense

This offense is in trouble. It started last week, and many fans overlooked it due to the thrashing of a bad Atlanta team. The Eagles only managed to score 11 points against the Niners last week, looking uninspiring in the passing game and RedZone. Outside of a great pass to Quez Watkins, a 91-yard bomb that resulted in no points due to the aforementioned red zone issues, the passing offense was horrific as a whole. Minus that one big gain, no Eagle surpassed 26 yards on the game. It was thought that the struggles would be able to work out against a Dallas defense who were subpar to put it lightly last year.

Let’s Talk About Jalen Hurts

Nope, the issues were heightened all the more. Looking past the 326 yards Hurts posted in the stat box, Hurts struggled tremendously. Both interceptions were extremely disappointing and concerning. The first was an incredibly underthrown deep pass that could’ve been a big touchdown if thrown ahead of Jalen Reagor in the endzone. With Reagor’s speed you hope that Hurts is able to place it well enough to give him the chance to score, but the ball fell about 10 yards too short.

Hurts’ second interception of the game came in the second quarter, Eagles down by two scores and needing an answer to stay in the game. Yes Devonta Smith fell down on his route, but the throw was going to get picked regardless. If Smith doesn’t fall, the bad placement of the throw would’ve been highlighted even more. It was way too far behind Smith, with not enough mustard on it to reach the target. Cornerback Trevon Diggs also read it right away. 

The arm and accuracy for Hurts are both very concerning, and it leads fans to ask just how much he can improve? What is his ceiling if he is unable to stretch the field? He also needs to improve on reading the field. Yes the oline wasn’t great tonight, but having a quarterback consistently extend plays or bail from the pocket doesn’t help them at all (alongside something else we’ll get to very soon) The main takeaway is that nothing looks easy for Hurts right now. He doesn’t look completely natural on every down in the pocket, the accuracy hasn’t been on the money yet, nothing looks easy for him right now.

Not a Good Game for Sirianni At All

Nick Sirianni is not doing a great job of making everything easy for Hurts. The takeaway shouldn’t be that one or the other looked bad, but both looked bad and hurt each other in the process. There should be absolutely no reason why the Eagles are only rushing the ball three times in a game. THREE TIMES! It took the Eagles until their fourth drive of the game, midway through the second quarter, to dial-up their first running play. Miles Sanders broke off a big run, rushed for three yards two plays later, and was never handed the ball again.

No team can win a game when they are only running the ball three times with their running backs. Jalen Hurts struggled in his first series, throwing an interception. Instead of giving him some help with Miles Sanders, a guy who is averaging around five yards a carry right now, they just had him throw three times en route to a three and out. The Eagles were only down by a touchdown at this point, it was only the first quarter still. Dallas just put together a 13-yard drive that Philadelphia somehow managed to stop on their goal line. Instead of running it on his own one, Philadelphia threw three times, punted it, and gave Dallas great field position to score on the tired Eagles defense.

What we saw was very reminiscent of the problems from the Chip Kelly era. Dallas held the ball for nearly ten minutes more than Philadelphia. The Eagles had their defense out there all game. Maybe the rushing attack wouldn’t have gotten it going. Maybe we’d be talking about how the Eagles offense still lacks bite due to the lack of a power back. But to not try and put your team and your defense facing one of the premier offenses in the league in a better position by not dialing up more than THREE rushing plays was really really REALLY bad. 

Dark Clouds Ahead

The Eagles better figure it out soon or this season has the potential to get out of hand fast. The Eagles do not have the perfect bounceback matchup, which is a shortened week bout against Kansas City. Next week the Eagles will travel to currently undefeated Carolina, a team whose defense looks suffocating and offense revitalized by new addition at quarterback Sam Darnold. After that, the Eagles host defending Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay — will Hurts get a handshake? AFTER THAT, Philly gets to travel and play a 3-1 Las Vegas team. Those are four games that look like losses off the bat.

The Eagles have a “break” in the action when they play Detroit, a team that has taken the Niners and Raiders to the limit. After them are the Los Angeles Chargers, currently undefeated Denver Broncos, and the Saints. That’s a very very tough stretch of games. 

There were some positives from the past game, including Javon Hargrave looking like a defensive player of the year contender, but there are heavy concerns entering week four. The loss against Dallas was a rough one, and raises concerns for the rest of the season. Can the Eagles turn it around against some sturdy competition? These next few weeks will be very telling of the Eagles franchise moving forward into the future.

Why the Eagles can upset the 49ers

49ers defense is a major concern for Jalen Hurts

By: Jacob Keppen

Once again, the Eagles are the underdogs heading into Week 2. Despite cleaning the floor with Atlanta the week prior, which was a game they were near-universally projected to lose, the Eagles once again enter Sunday’s home contest against the 1-0 San Francisco 49ers as overwhelming underdogs. While facing a better team, Philadelphia should not be counted out. Here’s why Philly has the arsenal to upset the 49ers.

  1. The Eagles are the healthy team (for once)

The San Francisco roster is truly limping into their contest with the Eagles on Sunday. The injury bug has quickly found a home in San Francisco, taking out multiple key 49ers players. San Fran will most likely be down both starting corners, with Emmanuel Moseley currently doubtful for the contest and Jason Verrett out for the season with another unfortunate lower-body injury.

Starting in the place of the injured CBs will most likely be fifth-round rookie Deommodore Lenoir and either third-round rookie Ambry Thomas, Dontae Johnson, Josh Norman (in 2021?!), or newly signed Dre Kirkpatrick. The 49ers also will be without star linebacker Dre Greenlaw who will be out for 6-8 weeks.

The speedy running back Raheem Mostert will also be out eight weeks, though rookie Elijah Mitchell did look good in relief last week. Defensive tackles Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw are both questionable for the game, being held to limited practice on Friday. Yes, the 49ers really carry a nightmare injury scenario.

The Eagles on the other hand are the healthiest they’ve been in years, with all but one starter available against the Niners. Safety Rodney McLeod will miss the matchup, but he was already out last week against the Falcons. The Eagles are the much healthier team entering Sunday’s afternoon contest and that can possibly prove the difference in front of the home crowd.

  1. The 49ers barely escaped with a win against Detroit

San Francisco looked good for a majority of their first week battle against the Detroit Lions. Through one half of football, the visiting 49ers put 31 points on Detroit, while only giving up 10 in the process. The Niners were the better team heading in and were surely showing it through a half of football. Deebo Samuel looked revitalized and Mitchell took over the run game from Mostert without a hitch. After a Robbie Gould field goal, San Francisco led 41-17 with roughly nine minutes left on the clock. The game was for all intents and purposes over… except it wasn’t.

Those who flipped the channel after the Gould field goal would be shocked to find out a bit later that the Niners were on the verge of blowing the large lead. In quick succession, the Lions managed to score two touchdowns and make it an eight-point game. A fumble gave them the chance to win in the last minute. Yes, the 49ers managed to leave with a victory but against a team pegged to be one of the worst in the league… which leads us to the final point.

  1. The Eagles looked really really Good Against Atlanta

Before you say “it was just against Atlanta” consider this. Good teams are supposed to beat up on the bad teams. So, for a team that last year did not look good in really any of the 16 games on the schedule, the week one Eagles were a breath of fresh air.

The offense fired on all cylinders, looking a lot more dynamic than the one we had seen over the past year or two. Nick Sirianni really put together a game plan that catered to his players’ strengths, having a really good first game as a play-caller. 

Devonta Smith looked as advertised, with 71 yards and a touchdown. Expect Smith to have a big day against a battered Niners secondary. Quez Watkins threatened with his speed, as did Jalen Reagor who scored a nice touchdown. Philly’s line looked back to form with everyone healthy and the defense looked to grow stronger as the game went along.

Most of all Jalen Hurts looked extremely good in his first start this season. He made good decisions all day and found his open receivers. He didn’t force anything really, and that includes forcing the issue with his legs. He looked totally in command of the team, and that’s what should give fans the most hope. These guys look like they really want to play for Jalen Hurts. These guys look like they really want to win for Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia has a true leader of men at quarterback, and that in itself is a danger to any team entering as the favorite.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will take the league by storm

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is the future

By: Brady Akins

In fantasy football, we crave players that can do it all.

Running backs who can catch passes, as well as, can run are valued much higher among experts than players who specialize in one. Wide receivers who get a high amount of targets better rank well in yards per target to be seen as a WR1. And of course, quarterbacks who run often and run well, are seen as must-start players.

The do-it-all focus is why we’ve seen players like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen emerge as some of the hottest players in all of fantasy football. They put up impressive passing stats, and oftentimes outpace their own running backs in rushing yards.

Four of 2020’s top six highest-scoring quarterbacks had at least 400 yards rushing, and with the next four players outside the top six adding at least three rushing touchdowns to their fantasy production, it might be fair to say that the trend of rushing quarterbacks isn’t going anywhere.

The latest team to pick up on the trend is the Philadelphia Eagles, who will head into the 2021 season with their second-round pick from last year’s draft looking ready to lead the team back to glory– Jalen Hurts.

Hurts, as a runner, finished ninth among quarterbacks in rushing yards, despite starting in only four games last season. On top of that, he added three rushing touchdowns in just a three-week span and used that rushing performance to finish seventh overall in fantasy points per game from the time he became the team’s starter to the end of the year.

Hurts’ fantasy production in that time was ahead of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Deshaun Watson– and did so facing strong defenses as well, going up against the Saints, Cardinals, and Washington Football Team in three of his four starting appearances.

But the craziest thing about Hurts is that he might not even be a duel threat, at least not yet. One look at the Eagles’ quarterback’s box scores will show that he still struggles as a passer. Hurts managed only one game in that four-game period with more than one passing touchdown, finished the year with a 1:3 touchdown to interception ratio in his final two games, and has yet to start a game and finish with a completion percentage above 60%.

But there’s reason to believe Hurts can improve on his passing, all while maintaining his elite ability as a rusher. If he can make the leap from ‘bad passer, good runner’ to at least above average in both, Hurts will have a legitimate case to be one of fantasy football’s best quarterbacks by the end of the 2021 season.

Help is on the way

With the 2020 season well in the rear-view mirror, it could be easy to forget that the Eagles’ pass-catchers last season were… let’s say “sub-optimal.”

The Eagles didn’t have a single player on their roster finish the season with over 1,000 receiving yards. Or, for that matter, over 900 receiving yards. Or 800… or 700.

In fact, Philadelphia’s leading receiver, a former sixth-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Travis Fulgham, didn’t even break the 600-yard mark with 539 yards in 13 appearances. 

But reinforcements should be arriving just in time to lead Hurts to a masterpiece season.

The best and the (metaphorically) biggest boost to the receiving corps will be the Alabama-rookie Devonta Smith, coming off of a Heisman-winning season where he led the FBS in essentially every statistical category you could imagine. On a loaded Crimson Tide offense, Smith’s skill stood out to the point where he became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since 1991.

Smith is now in Philadelphia, joining the Eagles’ first-round draft pick from last year in Jalen Reagor– a player who struggled with injury through a chunk of 2020 but will be looking to bounce back from a down rookie campaign. Also looking to bounce back will be tight end Dallas Goedert, who, despite finishing with more yards, catches, and touchdowns than his tight end counterpart Zach Ertz, was out-snapped and out targeted by Ertz.

But now, with rumors swirling around Ertz’s unhappiness with the Eagles, Goedert’s door to becoming the full-time starter at the tight end might be open. Between him, the addition of a potential star in Smith, and the hopeful bounceback of Reagor, Hurts could have three talented pass-catchers at his disposal, enough to make a strong leap in his passing stats.

Now add that to Hurts’ rushing potential. The guy who, again, finished top ten among quarterbacks in rushing yards with only four starts. The guy who had three games with over 60 rushing yards, and one with over 100, all while playing quarterback. 

Hurts, without the exceptional numbers as a passer, still finished as the QB7 in his time as a starter. All the stars are aligning for that already impressive ranking to get much better in 2021– and you won’t want to miss out on it.

Breaking down Philadelphia Eagles depth chart: offensive edition

Will Jalen Hurts shine this season?

By: Jacob Keppen

There are a ton of questions about the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021, specifically on offense. What we will see from Philly’s new-look offense in 2021 is largely unproven. There is talent and highly selected players, but at most positions, there is little in the way of known commodities. From the center snapping the ball to the man throwing the ball, here is a breakdown of the position units for the Philadelphia Eagles on offense.

Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew

The big question at quarterback is of course Jalen Hurts. The Eagles can only go as far as Jalen Hurts can take them in 2020. Last year’s second-round selection, Hurts showed good flashes in his four games as a starter, including a three-yard touchdown performance against Arizona in Week 15. One of the least accurate quarterbacks last season was still Hurts. Can Hurts fully round out his game and become a franchise quarterback? Or will the Eagles be searching for quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft? If Hurts doesn’t shine and the Eagles, unfortunately, have a high draft choice next year, it wouldn’t be hard to know which position they’re selecting in round one. 

As for the backups heading into the season, Joe Flacco is what he is at the age of 36 and shouldn’t be counted on to come in and win games for the Eagles. He’s a pure mentor for Hurts and a reliable QB to take care of the football in emergency situations. Then there is Minshew Mania. Minshew shows intrigue though as a potential long term high end backup quarterback for the Eagles. Minshew is one of the best backup QBs in the league and still young at 25. We saw Winston go into New Orleans as a young backup and eventually become the starter. If Hurts doesn’t pan out soon, Minshew may see the field in the near future. 

Running Back: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell 

The Eagles went light at the running back position, surprising virtually everyone. This was a team that almost had too many running backs in the preseason, expected to struggle to only keep four in the regular season. Jordan Howard and Jason Huntley were both cut, making their way to the practice squad (don’t be surprised when Jordan Howard ends up on the main roster once again)

Which Miles Sanders will the Eagles be getting this season? Sanders didn’t quite look the same in 2020 as he did in his freshman year, struggling in the receiving game mightily. Sanders still has big-play potential, able to break off a run at will. Behind him is Boston Scott, a very competent 3rd down back who can step in a pinch. Scott is coming off a career year in scrimmage yards (586). Rookie Kenny Gainwell impressed in the preseason with the highest PFF rookie grade on the Eagles and one of the highest in the league. He very might challenge for a lot of touches in the Eagles offense. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles get Gainwell involved in the offense in multiple ways. The real thing missing in the Eagles backfield is a real power presence. Maybe it will be Jordan Howard, but for now, the Eagles lack a bit of bite in their rushing attack.

Wide Receiver: Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

The Eagles wide receiver room is not a great one, nor is it a proven one. While there is potential, there are two first-round receivers in the room, nobody is proven here. Devonta Smith should easily be the best pass-catcher on the Eagles offense, potentially able to be a true #1 receiver for Philadelphia. You’d still like someone a little more proven alongside him though.

Jalen Reagor has potential but didn’t quite live up to the hype last season. While he has looked good in practice he needs to prove it in a game first. Quez Watkins was a breakout star in the preseason, his lightning speed unmatched early on in the Eagles offense. Can the former 6th round pick carve out a big role in the offense, or is it just a product of the preseason. Ward is who he is, a reliable set of hands who doesn’t really do anything dynamic. Arcega-Whiteside is the puzzling name left, most fans surprised (and upset) to see him still on the team for his third season. Despite having an even worse sophomore campaign, Arcega-Whiteside managed to make the roster over Travis Fulgham, a free agent acquisition who showed real potential last year. Is this the year J.J. Arcega-Whiteside does ANYTHING for the Eagles?

Tight End: Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Jack Stoll

As it has been over the past few years, the Eagles have one of the best tight-end groups in the entire league. Dallas Goedert is a player many are pegging as a breakout candidate in 2021, his flashes over the past three seasons finally culminating into true stardom. He’ll still have to compete with fan-favorite Zach Ertz who is back, contract situation is resolved. For a team hard-pressed to find any reliable receivers, bringing back Zach Ertz was a great decision for the Birds, his consistency was a great asset to such a young offense.

Offensive Line: Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Nate Herbig, Brett Toth.

If everything works out and everyone stays healthy, the Eagles should have one of the best lines in the league. Injuries have played the biggest problem over the past year, the Eagles unable to field a consistent unit upfront. The stars are back, with pro bowl center Jason Kelce returning for another season in Philadelphia. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks look to continue to hold down the right side of the line, both amongst the league’s best when fully fit. The problem is health has definitely been an issue, with Brooks returning from his second Achilles tear. With both, over 30 health could potentially ruin a dynamic partnership.

On the left side of the line, it is finally Jordan Mailata time! Jason Peters is not here to take the job away from him anymore, and former first-round pick Andre Dillard was unable to take the job away from him in the preseason. Mailata is a giant amongst giants, towering over even the biggest defensive linemen. He has made incredible strides over the past few years, and really has the potential to be a franchise tackle for the Eagles. Always seemingly forgotten, Isaac Seumalo is certainly one of the better options at guard. While not a superstar like some of his compatriots, Seumalo gets the job done and is at worst a serviceable average guard in the NFL. Look for Philly to dominate upfront in easily their best unit on the offense… again so long as they can stay healthy.

Why DeVonta Smith will be special

Heisman winner DeVonta Smith has scary potential

By: Jacob Keppen

The question on every football fan’s mind going into the season is: who is going to be the next superstar wide receiver? Now more than ever, rookie wide receivers are making an impact on their franchises. In recent years, the football world has seen rookie wide receivers waste little time introducing themselves to stardom. Last year Justin Jefferson set the standard for all rookies, with a record-breaking 1400 yard season. Next on the list of impact rookie wide receivers: Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick Devonta Smith.

When talking about Devonta Smith, it’s important to remember the caliber of player Smith was in college. Despite being surrounded by other superstars Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith still rose above all of his first round counterparts. While the draft world expected Jerry Jeudy to build off his fantastic 2018 campaign and cement himself as the top wide receiver in the 2020 draft, it was actually junior Devonta Smith who experienced the breakout season. 

Elevating himself from the “other Alabama wide receiver” to the main Alabama wide receiver, Smith led the Crimson Tide in receiving yards with 1,256 receiving yards, as well as touchdowns with a whopping 14. Despite being surrounded by three first-round wide receivers and a first round running back, it was Smith who became the top star on offense. Who can forget Smith’s 213-yard two-touchdown performance against eventual National Champions LSU, or his five touchdown showcase against Mississippi? Despite being surrounded by top-tier talent, Smith still managed to rise above all.

The next question Smith had to answer was could he do it with all the attention on him. With attention being spread on multiple wide receivers, Smith was able to ascend to superstardom. With Jeudy and Ruggs off to the NFL, could Smith be as good? With all the attention on him, especially after Waddle went down for most of the season with an injury, Smith put up the best season by a wide receiver in decades.

The most valuable player awards are pretty much a quarterback award. Pretty much if quarterbacks are eligible to win it, they will. Since 2000, quarterbacks have won 16 out of the possible 20 Heisman awards. The only running backs who managed to wrangle the award away from the signal callers were Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram, and Derrick Henry. Three of the greatest college backs of all time. The one other non-quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, Devonta Smith. In an award race that didn’t really include wide receivers, the last pass-catcher to win the trophy Desmond Howard all the way back in 1991, Smith was able to be named the most outstanding player in NCAA football.

To say Devonta Smith was unguardable during his Heisman campaign would almost be an insult to the Louisiana native. Only four of the 13 teams Smith faced were able to hold him under 100 receiving yards. The only game he managed not to score was in the season opener against Missouri, a game in which Smith had 89 receiving yards. The game logs read like a created player in madden with the game difficulty on Rookie: 167 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia, 203 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State, 231 yards and three touchdowns against defending champions LSU, 184 yards and two touchdowns in a thrilling SEC Championship game against Florida, and finally a 215 yard three touchdown half against Ohio State in the National Championship. Nobody could stop the Bama receiver as he danced his way to multiple accolades and the 13th overall selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

As the third receiver taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, Smith’s status as possibly the most unstoppable receiver seen in the NCAA must be remembered. Smith has every opportunity to be a transcendent star in the NFL as well. His skill set is exactly what the modern NFL is looking for. Even in limited action in the preseason, Smith showed why he was able to dominate the NCAA.

Smith is an extremely advanced technician of a route runner. While not the biggest receiver at all, Smith negates more physical defensive backs, using his exquisite release package to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage. With his first few steps, Smith puts himself at an advantage. Smith can run any route in the book, his smooth athleticism allowing him to break on a dime and accelerate through cuts. He uses his smooth athleticism along with high football iq to gain easy separation from defensive backs. With the ball in his hands, Smith is extremely slippery. He’s a dangerous threat in the screen game, and to take a short pass the difference. Finally, despite being a smaller receiver, Smith can still go up and fight for the ball in the air. Similar to Washington receiver Terry McLaurin, Devonta Smith can make catches players his size have no business making.

Smith’s playstyle immediately translates to success usually in the NFL, and he’ll have all of the opportunity in Philadelphia to be fed the ball. Despite being a rookie, Smith is far and away from the most talented receiver on the roster, looking the part in training camp. The Eagles are in desperate need of a true #1 wide receiver, and after trading up for Devonta Smith they’ll look to give him WR1 volume. There’s no other consistent threat on the roster, the rest of the wide receiver group a cast of inconsistent speedsters for the most part. The only big target to take away catches is most likely Dallas Goedert, and he hasn’t proven to be able to handle a superstar workload yet. 

When it comes to Smith, it’s the perfect situation of talent meets opportunity. Devonta Smith is one of the most talented receivers to enter the draft in recent years. Smith will forever go down in history books for his play in college. The way he wins is how a lot of top receivers in the league win, including last year’s rookie standout Justin Jefferson. Philadelphia has been looking for a true wide receiver #1 for years now and the opportunity is there for Smith. Devonta Smith in Philadelphia can be a special player for years to come.

Eagles that shined in the preseason opener

Jake Elliot shined for Philadelphia

Jacob Keppen

The NFL Preseason doesn’t matter… that is until your favorite camp darling starts making an impact. Despite the results meaning about as much as a Most Valuable Player award courtesy of Nickelodeon, preseason is a great time for fans to get excited about potential breakout players. Here are five preseason warriors who made a big impact in the Eagles first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1: Quez Watkins, WR

A speedy Eagles wide receiver from the 2020 draft is having a fantastic offseason and is looking to break out, and his name is Quez Watkins. The 200th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Watkins was seen as a speedy depth piece on a team lacking any field-stretching ability. Raw coming out of college, Watkins didn’t see much of the field in 2020, only tallying seven catches in his rookie season. 

The speed has always been undeniable for the former Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle. Don’t forget that it was actually Quez Watkins who was the 2nd fastest receiver at the 2020 NFL combine, running a blazing 4.35. That speed has been evident all offseason, with Watkins impressing in camp. The speed was on display against the Steelers, where Watkins caught nearly two long touchdowns. While incomplete, Watkins burned past his man for what would’ve been a 90+ yard touchdown. Watkins found the endzone though, taking a Joe Flacco screen pass 79 yards to the house. With speed few defensive backs in the league can keep up with and the work he’s put in this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to Quez Watkins push for a starting job at receiver.

2: Javon Hargrave, DT

Javon Hargrave is sometimes the forgotten man in a very good Philly defensive line, such is the life of playing defensive tackle next to Fletcher Cox. The former Pittsburgh Steelers’ first season in the City of Brotherly love started quite Rocky, attempting to come back from an upper-body issue. As he became healthier as the season progressed, fans started to see the old game wrecker from Pittsburgh.

If his tremendous offseason and series against his former team are any indication, Hargrave is in for a massive season this year. Hargrave gained consistent pressure in his lone series against Pittsburgh and reports are that he continues to pressure the interior in camp. Hargrave gave the Eagles solid play last year on a stellar line. It looks like the Eagles might have one of the best defensive tackles combos in the league this year. 

3: Milton Williams, DL

A lot of fans questioned the Milton Williams pick when they first heard his name called on day two. Many had never heard of the Louisiana Tech defensive lineman, most casual Eagles fans not necessarily experts in Conference USA football. He was not a big name from a big school. Soon those opinions changed after fans saw his college production, fans saw his insane athleticism, and fans saw him impress in the offseason and against Pittsburgh.

Williams was an immediate problem against Pittsburgh, his power and explosiveness too much for the opposition. Playing at defensive end, Williams drew a holding and reached the quarterback on an impressive pass rush. Philly has an already pretty stacked defensive line. Philadelphia finished 3rd in the league in sacks last year with 49. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are established top stars in the league. Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat look primed for breakout years after solid play last year. Adding in a versatile explosive player like Williams will look to ensure Philadelphia is one of the top pass-rushing teams in 2021.

4: Tyree Jackson, TE

The next Logan Thomas? Tight end Tyree Jackson was a name on draft radars a few years ago, but not as a pass-catcher. One of the more intriguing quarterback prospects in the NFL draft, Jackson was a rare blend of size and athleticism. Guys at 6’7 245 should not have been able to move the way he did. Despite being named the South team MVP at the 2019 Senior Bowl, Jackson went undrafted. This was just the start of his journey to the NFL. A stint in Buffalo then with the DC Defenders of the XFL was the precursor to Jackson joining the Eagles in January of 2021, Jackson joining not as a quarterback but as a tight end.

All camp there has been a lot of talk and excitement about the big man from Michigan. The former Buffalo Bulls quarterback impressed the team so much during camp, a favorite target of backup Joe Flacco, that he ran with the second-team offense against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jackson led the Eagles in targets with four, hauling in two passes for 32 yards. With the success of quarterback-tight end convert Logan Thomas this past season in Washington, Jackson is a name to watch out for to possibly make the team after entering camp as a long shot.

5: Jake Elliott, K

Not having to talk about Jake Elliott after the Eagles week one preseason game against the Steelers is one of the biggest wins for the organization early in the year. Last year saw a scary drop-off for Elliott in the worst year of his career. After hovering over a field goal percentage of 84% for most of his young career, Elliott’s percentage sharply fell to 73% last year. Elliott went from a kicker with average accuracy and a knack for nailing the long kicks, to one of the least accurate kickers in all of football.

Elliott is looking to bounce back in a big way, and it’s starting with his impressive preseason. Elliott didn’t miss a single kick against the Steelers, going a perfect 3-3 and making his lone PAT. Hopefully, this means a return to form for Philadelphia’s kicker.

Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Would the Eagles be NFC East favorites with Deshaun Watson?

Will Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson to Philadelphia Eagles?

By: Jake Rajala

The Philadelphia Eagles are strongly considering acquiring Houston Texans star dusted, controversial Deshaun Watson. According to Howard Eskin, who is a sports reporter in Philadelphia, he believes there is a 90% chance Philly reels in the elite Texans QB. There is clearly an ascending belief around Eagles nation that the fit makes too much sense and a deal will most likely be put in place for Nick Sirianni to snag his targeted QB. 

In terms of Watson’s outlook, the QB who is under lots of uncertainty believes there is a “good chance” he suits up in 2021. If a deal is established between Eagles nation and Watson, then Watson proceeds to play in 2021, the question begs to ask: What would the Eagles team look like next season under the new signal-caller? 

The former Eagles team led by Doug Pederson finished dead last in the NFC East a year ago. If Watson is in the building with the new leader Nick Sirianni, it would be at least a three to five game winning difference in 2021. With a generational talent like himself, it is enjoyable and possible to imagine a deep playoff run, but it really would put themselves with a fine, noticeable, yet not an unearthly improvement.

They should boast an extraordinarily strong chance of claiming at least 7 to 9 wins with Watson under the helm. It may not be a superior juggernaut team in the NFC, but they would at least be able to compete for the East title down to the wire. The Washington Football Team under Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB appear as the clear favorites to capture NFC East prominence for the second year in a row, but Watson’s mobility against the fiery Washington pass rush rotation in a head-to-head matchup (Eagles play Washington Week 15 and Week 17) is sure to be a serious a clear x-factor.

The Eagles and Washington are clearly different teams, under new coaching staffs, with a new attitude, but the Eagles did put up a serious fight against Washington in Week 17 of last season. Even with the unpopular benching of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles lost to the WFT by a score of 20-14. The Eagles would have slightly different tweaks around the roster, but a sizable improvement at QB. Meanwhile, the Washington team will still have an average ranked QB in Fitzmagic with largely the same team.

Throughout the season, If the Eagles defense plays average at least, it should be enough for Watson to get enough victories with his utmost prominent playmaking ability himself. Some may question why Watson could carry the hopeful Eagles if he could not bring the Texans to playoff royalty with an MVP-like season, he flexed in 2020. Well, the Texans defense didn’t just do a poor job at complementing Watson, they did a flat-out horrific job. The Eagles total defense was 19th in the total YPG allowed, while the Texans defensive unit was 30th in the league. The Texans just gave up three fewer yards than the 32nd ranked Lions defense that played Aaron Rodgers twice a season.

It is also important to note that the Texans had two teams in their own division that made the playoffs: Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. The Texans flashed a combined 0-4 record against those opponents. In the East, there was not a true playoff-like talent, but rather a team that won the “least” NFL division with six wins. The rule that every division must send a team to the playoff dance is certainly questionable, especially during NFL seasons like last year.

On the horizon, Watson has been working relentlessly this offseason, as the former Clemson star has a massive chip on his shoulder. If he heads up north, he should have very strong weaponry to utilize. The Eagles currently possess the top TE duo in the league (Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert), a young talented wideout in Jalen Reagor, and all of this explosion will be taking place behind an offensive line led by the well reputable Lane Johnson, a unit that could be stout if it can stay healthy. Expect Watson to show another elite season of play with a more talented supporting cast, amid a weaker division.

Why keeping Zach Ertz might not be the worst idea

Should the Eagles keep TE Zach Ertz?

By: Jacob Keppen

Who would’ve thought just a short few years ago that the Eagles would be in this situation with Zach Ertz? Ertz seemed like a guy that would do midnight green for the rest of his career, retiring to the adulation of the fans for who he won a Super Bowl. Just like with his quarterback Carson Wentz, the situation rapidly deteriorated over the past two years. 

The squabble between the team and Ertz started with what seemed to be a minor contract dispute, a minor dispute that has snowballed into a seemingly inevitable divorce. It seemed as though that separation was going to happen at the beginning of last year, with the internal problems becoming public at the beginning of the season.

The two sides managed to delay the contract talks another year, with Ertz focusing on the game last year. With Ertz coming off his career, those contract talks now just trade talks. The divorce seems inevitable, many expecting Ertz to never suit up for the Eagles again after last season. What if the separation doesn’t happen quite just yet. What if Ertz was willing to play one more season for the Eagles, just as he did last season?

Of course, if the situation with Ertz is at that level of toxicity that you have to remove him, you do so. If not, why not just keep Zach Ertz? 

Every young quarterback needs a reliable go-to target, especially early in their career. As they’re still going through their growing pains, having a weapon that can consistently get it done is a blessing. Zach Ertz might never be the player he was in his prime. He might not be a guy who can be counted on to haul in 100 passes or be the top 3 tight ends he was for the Eagles in his prime. What Ertz can be is a solid, reliable pair of hands who can work off of some dynamic weapons in Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. He can continue to be the safety valve for the Eagles and young Jalen Hurts.

The logic of having to trade Zach Ertz while you still have a chance do does make some sense. Zach Ertz has only one year left on his deal. After this season he is free to leave and negotiate with teams on his own terms. Sure he will be a year older and maybe the market won’t be the best for him, but he will have the ultimate final say in the next Post-Philadelphia chapter of his career. For the Eagles though, they would get nothing. Ertz walks and goes to another team, and Philadelphia receives nothing in return for their fan-favorite tight end.

Conventional logic states that the Eagles would be fools not to try and get something for Ertz now. Unless they were bringing him back, they would’ve already penned a new deal by now, they should try getting something in a trade for Ertz.

What are the Eagles realistically going to get in return though? Zach Ertz will be turning 31 this year? He’s starting the downturn of his career. Last season after pretty much betting on himself to earn a contract that would pay him like an elite tight end, he had the worst season of his career. In 11 games, Ertz only managed to put up 335 receiving yards and a single touchdown. He’s aging, coming off the worst year of his career, is pretty much known at this point to want to move on from Philadelphia, and only has a year left on his contract. Any team that wants him can get him next year in free agency, giving up no assets. 

If the situation isn’t as dire as made out to be in the media, and Ertz would be willing to gut it out one more season, his value as an experienced player who’s won a Super Bowl and can be a reliable target for Jalen Hurts is greater than whatever late-round pick the Eagles can get in return.

Why the Eagles should really keep Derek Barnett

A Derek Barnett trade is not the right thing to do

By: Jake Rajala

Derek Barnett, who is heading into his fifth season, has been the subject of frequent trade speculation. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Derek Barnett 14th overall in the 2017 draft. To sum up Barnett’s four-year journey, he’s been a valuable contributor, but he hasn’t lived up to his draft stature.  

Barnett has registered roughly four sacks, five TFLs, and 12 QB hits per season. He’s far from Pro Bowl material, but his presence has been valuable in the lineup. 

The Eagles know that Barnett hasn’t been proven to be a high-end starter, so they’ve sought out higher talent at the EDGE spot this offseason. In free agency, Philly acquired the savvy veteran Ryan Kerrigan, who hunted down NFC East QBs for ten years in Washington. Kerrigan expects to bring a high motor and superb playmaking at key moments to Eagles nation. 

Kerrigan will prove to bring dividends to the Eagles defense and potentially be an upgrade at the DE spot opposite Graham. The signing of the former Washington profile, combined with Washington opting to retain Brandon Graham, makes many believe that Barnett is out of the loop. However, I still believe the verdict of Eagles offseason decisions at pass rusher does not take Barnett out of the big picture, nor do I believe it’s the best idea to trade the 25-year-old DE. Let me begin.

  • Brandon Graham and Ryan Kerrigan are extremely aging

Brandon Graham is a legendary Eagle and a Super Bowl hero. However, Graham is 33 years old and his contract expires after 2022. Graham has shown to be productive (eight sacks in 2020), but his motor, experience, and talent will only last so long. Graham appears to be ending a Hall Of Fame Eagles career in 2-3 years.

Ryan Kerrigan, the notable and popular FA signee at DE, is 32 years old himself. Kerrigan may provide quality moments and help bring forth a powerful pass rotation to Eagles, but it’s very possible that he also doesn’t outperform Barnett at this stage in his career. Kerrigan is coming off a 5.5 sack season in 2020 and he also only flashed 5.5 sacks in 2019. There’s a strong likelihood that Kerrigan will be of similar caliber to Barnett, except Barnett is several years younger. 

  • Barnett has showed positive growth

The former first round pick DE had a career high of sacks in 2019 (6.5). His 2020 campaign wasn’t glorious, but he did capture 5.5 sacks while missing three games. It’s crystal clear that Barnett’s career is trending in the right direction. 

The Eagles are also confident in Barnett’s potential, as they opted to pick up his fifth year option. If Barnett takes a step forward in 2021, it would be hard to not accept his talent and outlook amid an aging pass-rushing group. 

  • Trade compensation would not be worth it

If Barnett is involved in trade discussions, I don’t believe the Eagles would get his full worth in exchange. A team would likely offer “a mid-round pick” or a second round pick (in a rare case) for his services. The Eagles are fully aware that he’s coming off a season of a near-significant injury and he’s a talented asset early in his career. 

There’s a real possibility that Barnett unleashes a seven to eight sack season in 2021. I believe it would be the right move to keep and extend a young, talented, and productive edge player versus trading him at this time. 

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑