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[#] Thu May 04 2017 16:17:26 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles release three players

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Making room for undrafted free agents

The Eagles announced three cuts today, releasing running back Terrell Watson, fullback Andrew Bonnet and guard/center Josh LeRibeus.

Watson was signed to the practice squad in late December and then to the active roster for the season finale against the Cowboys, replacing Ryan Mathews. He scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to ice a 23-17 win. His release ends his feel good story.

Bonnett played tight end and fullback with Carson Wentz at North Dakota State. He was signed to the practice squad after final cuts, but was released in October, then signed a futures contract in January.

LeRibeus started 12 games in 2014 and 2015 for the Redskins. He was among the final cuts for the Redskins in 2016 and spent the entire season out of the league before the Eagles signed him to a futures contract in January.





[#] Thu May 04 2017 11:00:03 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Rookie Profile: Nathan Gerry is gritty and not afraid to hit

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Get to know the new Eagles rookie LB.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Nathan Gerry in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles safety linebacker, I reached out to SB Nation's Nebraska blog: Corn Nation. A collection of Huskers writers from the site were all kind enough to answer my questions about Gerry.

1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?

Jon: Nate Gerry was a standout on Nebraska’s defense the past 2-3 years. He earned All-Conference honors in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He was a fan favorite because of his hard-nosed play, and hard hitting.

Brian: Nate came to Nebraska as one of the more heralded home-grown Nebraska prospects, even though he is from Sioux Falls. He was a three-tool football player, who could flat out fly. He set the record in his SR year in the state of South Dakota with a 10.28 100 yard dash. He was big on pushing for playing time early, so Pelini & crew put him at Linebacker, then moved him back to Safety the next year where he stayed the rest of his career.

Ranchbabe (Jill): He is leaving Nebraska 2nd all-time in career interceptions (13), was a fixture in post-season all-conference award lists, and a two-time team captain. But if a picture is worth a 1000 words ...

2) What are his strengths?

Brian: One of the things he did very well in Lincoln was coverage of slot & TE receivers. That, plus finding the football and stopping it, was some of the better things he did in Lincoln. He could diagnose patterns very well & get himself in positions that gave him the best chance to make the play. That is something he got from Bo Pelini’s coaching, and he showed that throughout his last 2 seasons in Lincoln.

Jill: Despite having some ballhawking stats, he was at his best around the LOS. Watching him follow a play and then pounce for the TFL was often a treat. I’m going to guess the Eagles drafted him to be a Zeke-seeking missile. He has the run game instincts but also the speed and cover skills to match up well when a team tries to get their running back out in space or use them for the checkdown. If so, he’s coming into the NFL at the right time as teams are starting to remember that RBs can be used in the pass game too.

3) What are his weaknesses?

Brian: It’s not so much an on the field item, but to me his maturity waned the longer he was in school. His back to back targeting ejections to finish the ‘15 season vs. Iowa and then UCLA in the bowl game were bad. But what was worse was that a Senior Captain was suspended for both the season opening game vs. Fresno State, and then the bowl game vs.Tennessee.

Jon: If he’s going to make it in the NFL, he’s going to have to be more disciplined. His suspension from the bowl game against Tennessee (his FINAL as a senior!) was because of academics. It was a stupid mistake on his part, but still a stupid mistake.

“Hoss” Reuter: Gerry struggles with tracking wider plays like jet sweep and toss sweep. Toss Sweep will be a problem for him within the NFC East since Dallas and Washington run the hell out of Toss Sweep, with crack blocks and pullers; two things that Gerry will need to get accustomed to playing in the box. He could be a good sub-package player against teams like the New York Giants, especially covering the tight ends. But I don't see him long for the NFL.

Jill: I grew up near Gerry’s hometown (Sioux Falls, SD) and concerns about his maturity and entitled behavior are widespread. This is doubly the case for someone who was supposed to be a team leader and captain. Are we judging him a bit harshly because Midwesterners expect “awww shucks” humbleness? Possibly. Much like Brian mentioned below, I wonder how he will handle being a little fish for the first time. Also, please don’t google Melvin Gordon, jet sweep, or anything to do with Nebraska v Wisconsin while Bo Pelini was our coach. Please.

4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?

Brian: I’m kinda surprised he went on Saturday, but after what I mentioned above in the weakness column, it’s not a surprise. I’m sure that Gerry is invested in football & will be 110% in mini-camps and training camp, however I do wonder if he’ll have the gumption to stay on that track if he’s not in line to start or be a contributor right away. If he’s practice squad material or needs to stick out in Special Teams, will he still have the same hunger? He is going from main man on campus to the lowest rung on the ladder, and I hope he’s learned that he’ll have to work hard to climb it.

Jill: He went about where I expected. He doesn’t project as an every down defender. He is going to have to do the grunt work on special teams and carve out a role in sub-packages to see the field. That’s about right for a 5th rounder.

Mike: Lower than what I expected; I thought he was a day two guy personally. But I’m probably also guilty of looking at him with Big Red-colored glasses.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out since the Eagles are moving him to linebacker?

Jon: I can see Gerry doing what it takes to get on the field, even if it’s special teams. He does have a fair amount of grit about him, and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to yet another coaching staff. He won’t be an every-down kind of guy, but I can see him sticking around for several years as a situational linebacker, as long as he’s not required to get outside,

Jill: As you can tell from his targeting history, he’s not afraid of making the hit, so that part of playing linebacker shouldn’t be a problem. He is probably a bit small, but the NFL is full of undersized LBs that are effective if they’re kept clean. If I am right about how his skillset will translate to the NFL, he will have a nice career making life miserable for running backs and kick/punt returners. If he can also play underneath covering TEs in zone, he will only add to his snap count.

Mike: Assuming that the Eagles are looking at him as essentially a nickel, though lined up as an outside linebacker, I think he’s ideally suited for that role.

6) Anything to know about him off the field?

Jon: Other than the foolishness of his academic suspension and his suspension for “violation of team rules” for a game at the beginning of the 2016 season, there’s nothing to indicate that Gerry was a real problem. He won the Tom Osborne Citizenship Award and Brook Berringer Citizenship Award his senior season, and while they tend to give out these rewards as resume builders, they are an indication that he was doing good things off the field.

Jill: We’ve covered some of that above, but as Jon mentioned, he has done some good things too. I don’t think there are any serious red flags. I expect he will put his head down, work hard, and do what he needs to get on the field.

7) Is it “Nathan” or “Nate”?

Jon: Nate

Mike: I believe Gerry prefers Nathan, judging from his Twitter account. Husker fans got used to calling him Nate as a freshman, and we’ve had a hard time correcting ourselves.





[#] Thu May 04 2017 09:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Reasonable expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017

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Can the past help us predict the future?

The year was 1999 and the Eagles had just drafted quarterback Donovan McNabb with the 2nd overall pick in the NFL Draft. The team struggled through the 1999 season with starting veteran quarterback Doug Pederson before he was replaced by McNabb following a Week 9 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The team went 2-4 with McNabb as the starter, matching Pederson’s win total with three less starts. Add in a Koy Detmer start and win and the Eagles finished with a 5-11 record in their first year under Andy Reid.

Fast forward to 2016. The team and roster were recovering from the Chip Kelly purge that saw arguably the best core of offensive players in franchise history exit the NovaCare Complex within a 12 month span. Kelly was fired before the final game of 2015, less than a year after he won a power struggle with GM Howie Roseman, in which he took control of the roster and football operations. After hiring Pederson as the new head coach, who was serving as Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City, the team elected to re-sign QB Sam Bradford, who was heavily criticized for his conservative approach on offense. With Bradford back, many questioned where the franchise was headed until Roseman pulled off a deal that nobody saw coming. After two trades and a cleansing of all things Chip Kelly, the Eagles had moved up from the No. 13 pick in the draft to No. 2 overall.

With the newly acquired pick, the Eagles selected QB Carson Wentz and the future started to become clearer. The plan was to make Bradford a bridge QB until Wentz was deemed ready to play. That plan was ultimately derailed when Bradford was traded a week before the season started for a 2017 first round pick. Upon the trade, Wentz was named the starter and the rest is history. The Eagles started 2016 3-0, but injuries, suspensions, poor play from the cornerbacks and Chip Kelly’s roster deconstruction caught up with them and they finished 7-9.

Now we turn our attention to 2017. After an offseason in which the Eagles bolstered their WR core with Alshon Jeffery and veteran deep threat Torrey Smith and addressed several needs on defense, the team appears equipped to take a step, but what should their expectations be? We’ve heard it all offseason, “They're not expected to contend for a Super Bowl this year.” While I do agree with that statement, just how far away is a team from contending for a championship? My definition, which is by no means the standard, would be a team that finds it’s way to a Conference Championship Game. I don't believe the team is ready to advance that far, but what should we expect from a team, that on paper has only gotten better?

BGN Radio’s James Seltzer has routinely shared his belief that if the Eagles don't make the playoffs this year, Pederson is out. I don't believe that will be the case as the team has shown they are making moves for the long term as well (see Jones, Sidney). With all of that said, let’s finally look at what we should expect from the Eagles in 2017. For the second straight year, the Eagles’ schedule isn't a cake walk, but there is some relief as opposed to what they faced in 2016. A playoff berth at 10-6 should be the reasonable expectation, with a realistic ceiling be a division title at 11-5 and the floor no lower than 8-8 with a healthy roster. I want to take a moment to explain the ceiling, expectation and floor.

With the ceiling, a second year QB is able to propel an offense where he has legitimate weapons. Taking a look around the division, there hasn't been substantial improvement. The Cowboys have lost two starters along their offensive line and many more on the defensive side of the ball. They did a good job of supplementing some of those holes in the draft, but you can't count on hitting on all of your picks. Washington saw two of it’s best receivers sign elsewhere this past offseason amongst a dysfunctional front office saga. The Giants added veteran receiver Brandon Marshall in addition to Evan Engram this offseason, but it’s hard to consistently throw the ball well when you can't run it and expect Ereck Flowers to start.

For the reasonable expectations, the team lost six games by seven points or less, finishing 7-9. Two of those losses were by a single point, one in overtime and another after missing a field goal and going for it on fourth down on two separate drives deep in enemy territory. With the apparent regression of teams in the division and the improvements the team has made in the offseason, it should be easier to win some of the closer games.

The floor of the team should be 8-8 if everything stays on track and progresses the way we project it. Despite the apparent regression of NFC East rivals, division games are typically a dog fight where the phrase “Any given Sunday” applies more often than not. Factor in the AFC West and games all over the West Coast, progress could be halted. The team could finish with a record worse than 7-9 that could result in Pederson’s dismissal, but I believe both are unlikely. The only way I can fathom a sub-seven win season is if the team is decimated by injuries, under which circumstances Pederson would likely return for a third season.

In 2000 the Eagles kicked off the season by officially ending the Dallas Cowboy dynasty of the 90’s, blowing the Cowboys out 41-14 in Dallas in what is now known as the “Pickle Juice game.” Our own John Barchard, Dave Mangels and James Keane all reflected on the offseason leading up to 2000, with the general consensus that the expectation was maybe eight wins and a beacon of hope. After Week 1, expectations were sky high and the team finished 11-5, winning a playoff game against the Buccaneers. McNabb started 16 games with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 21/13, rushing for over 600 yards and six touchdowns as the offense’s top weapon, Duce Staley, was limited to just five games. We often hear that history repeats itself, but we can't rely on that to always be the case. Some of the circumstances of the 2000 offseason are similar to those of the 2017 offseason. The Eagles have a young promising second-year QB, arguably the top set of tackles in the league, a second year coach with an offense the maximizes QB success and a defense that many expect to be amongst the league’s best. The expectations may not be to bring home a Super Bowl this year, but they are to take a leap to the playoffs which is a goal the team achieved in the past under similar circumstances.





[#] Fri May 05 2017 15:53:32 EDT from rss

Subject: Radko Gudas punched Claude Giroux in the face at the World Championships

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It was a no-looker.

The first game of the IIHF World Championships for both Canada and the Czech Republic seemed to start off fine, with team captains Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek exchanging pleasantries before puck drop.

Oh, that didn’t last.

Just nine minutes, 51 seconds into the first period, a bit of a dust-up took place between the two squads. I don’t know exactly how it started because I live in the United States of America and therefore cannot watch this game on television because our sports networks are still too busy talking about the friggin’ NFL Draft.

But I do know that Radko Gudas threw a punch at Giroux.

It’s a little tough to see at first glance, but it’s quick there as Gudas skates up to Nathan MacKinnon. He throws his arm out and it catches Giroux, who goes down and hits the ice. Giroux seems fine, and it’s quite possible that Gudas didn’t even realize who he was throwing at, as he didn’t even really look.

Then again, Giroux had been involved in some stuff before this. He apparently jabbed a guy with his stick after the faceoff, which could be what Gudas was reacting to.

MacKinnon was given two minutes for interference, Gudas was given two minutes for roughing and Giroux was given two minutes for high sticking on all of this.

I feel funny. I don’t like seeing our parents fight.





[#] Fri May 05 2017 16:14:16 EDT from rss

Subject: Travis Konecny juuuuust misses goal, gets robbed by Petr Mrazek at Worlds

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Assistant coach Dave Hakstol didn’t scratch him!

When Travis Konecny was named to Team Canada’s entry at the 2017 World Championships last month, we joked that Canada assistant coach Dave Hakstol was already lobbying to make him a healthy scratch.

Guess those lobbying efforts failed!

I know a lot of us were down on Konecny at times this year because ... I don’t know, really. I guess it’s because watching Flyers hockey was just generally a downer of an experience in 2016-17.

But he’s 19, and he’s playing at the World Championships, and he’s really, really good. This should have been a goal. Petr Mrazek is dead to me.





[#] Sat May 06 2017 15:32:35 EDT from rss

Subject: Bills interview Eagles executive for general manager position, report says

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Changes coming?

The Buffalo Bills are interviewing Philadelphia Eagles director of college scouting Trey Brown for their vacant general manager position, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

Brown, 32, spent 2010-2012 with the New England Patriots before joining the Eagles as a West Coast area scout in 2013. He was promoted to assistant director of college scouting in 2015 before being promoted to his current position in 2016.

You may recognize Brown from the times you’ve seen him on your television. He stars in a recent Microsoft Surface Pro commerical.

The Bills are reshaping their front office this offseason after clearing house following the firing of former GM Doug Whaley. Former Eagles defensive coordinator and current Bills head coach Sean McDermott will have a lot of influence in structuring Buffalo’s new personnel department.

The Eagles are bound to make changes to their front office this month following the completion of the 2017 NFL Draft. There’s already been some leaks of changes to the scouting department and the Eagles will likely officially confirm those moves at some point. Vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas will likely have an influence on Philadelphia’s s new hirings and dismissals.

After interviewing with the Bills, it’s possible Brown will be gone whether the Eagles want him back or not.





[#] Sat May 06 2017 13:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Draft Recap: Listen to BGN Radio on SportsRadio 94WIP

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Your favorite Eagles podcast is back on the air this week!

BGN Radio is back on the airwaves again this weekend. There’s plenty of Philadelphia Eagles topics to talk about as we recap the 2017 NFL Draft and more. (Click here to listen). Call in at 888.729.9494!

John Barchard and James Seltzer will be broadcasting live from the Tastykake studios to talk about Eagles draft picks, Carson Wentz, Derek Barnett, Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas, and more.

Our site's podcast will be streaming live on SportsRadio 94WIP today (Saturday, May 6) from 1:00 - 3:00 PM ET. This show is brought to you by our sponsor Clippit - Watch TV. Make Clips. Share. (www.clippit.tv). Check them out on Twitter: @clippittv

Listen to the show via online stream by [CLICKING HERE].

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[#] Sat May 06 2017 09:30:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Rookie Scouting Report: Getting to know Shelton Gibson

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Eagles rookie scouting report.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Shelton Gibson in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles wide receiver, I reached out to SB Nation's West Virginia blog: The Smoking Musket. Mountaineers writer Jake Lantz was kind enough to answer my questions about Gibson.

1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?

Disappointing. Shelton was a 4-star burner out of Ohio and given his speed [4.3s] you would have expected him to break 1,000 yards. He never did though not all of that is his fault. He was playing with Skyler Howard. I don't want to diss Howard because by all accounts he was a hard worker, tough as nails kid who laid it all out every time he played. But Skyler was inaccurate on the intermediate throws and often threw the ball 50 yards high to get it 40 yards downfield. Shelton had every defensive back beat but often had to wait for the ball to come down which limited his yardage. Had Gibson waited a year to come out, there’s no doubt that he would have put up better numbers with Will Grier throwing the ball to him.

2) What are his strengths?

Speed and ball awareness. When the deep ball is thrown, Shelton is going to get the ball. He outran every defensive back in the country when he played. Teams often shaded a safety to him and he still got by them. He is great at tracking the ball over his shoulder. He shows good body awareness to get his feet down while making tough sideline catches.

3) What are his weaknesses?

He struggles with catching the ball against his body on short throws. He dropped more than he should have on curls and comeback routes.

4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?

I thought with his speed he might have gone in the 4th round. He ran poorly at the combine and that probably hurt him more than his pro day helped him. I know every year there are guys who are burners but I thought that Gibson displayed enough football skills that he would go higher than the 5th round.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

4th receiver. I think he will be a special teams player for a year or two and see the field sparingly. He will probably break 100 yards once or twice on 2 or 3 catches. I would not expect him to see a second contract.

6) Anything to know about him off the field?

Gibson didn't have any off the field issues. He was never suspended at WVU and there were no reports that he was a problem to the coaches or players.





[#] Sat May 06 2017 07:18:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Carson Wentz reveals his favorite Wawa hoagie

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/6/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Carson Wentz Tells Us About Quarterbacking In Philly, And What To Order At Wawa - UPROXX
Wawa is great. Turkey, bacon, avocado sandwich is pretty prime. You can’t go wrong with that one.

Reasons to get excited about the Eagles’ Day 3 draft picks - BGN
The Eagles had five picks on the third day of the 2017 NFL Draft. After triple dipping on defense in the first three rounds, it was unsurprising the Eagles followed up with three straight offensive picks and then finished with two defensive players. Despite them being later round picks, these players mostly have things to get excited for and more of these players than not could be role players down the line.

BGN Radio #235: Did The Eagles Help Carson Wentz In The Draft? - BGNRadio.com
Reviewing the Eagles’ 2017 NFL Draft.

Mailbag: What would be your hindsight Eagles mock draft? - PhillyVoice
I think a lot of people are selling Derek Barnett short. As for Allen and Hooker being better overall players, I would agree with Allen. I think he was a “top five” type of talent in this draft, but he was a medical risk. I don't have the Eagles' doctors' reports on him, so I don't know what they know. As such, I'm not in a position to say they should have taken Allen. Obviously, 15 teams other than the Eagles passed on him as well, so the Eagles weren't alone. As for Hooker, I don’t think he’s better than Barnett. Yes, he made a lot of big plays for Ohio State, and that’s appealing, but he was also a horrid tackler. He has a ways to go before he’s an all-around complete safety.

From warehouse to red carpet: the driving force behind Derek Barnett - ESPN
The glitz and glamour of the NFL draft behind her, Christine Barnett began settling back into her routine this week, returning to the same UPS warehouse that she has toiled in for the past 23 years. She had taken some time off to join her son, Derek, in Philadelphia for the draft. Walked the red carpet with him down the historic museum steps. Sat with him as he was selected 14th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. Watched from a couple rows back as he met with the local media for the first time, using the opportunity to heap praise on her as he often does.

Eagles build tasty roster with a big box of Now and Later - Inquirer
The Eagles emerged from the NFL draft as a team that has chosen two paths to the 2017 season and beyond, one that takes a straight line to improving the roster right away, even if incrementally, and the other that meanders through the woods a bit, with a higher potential reward down the road, but less certainty of success. Whether the team will be competitive this season, and to what extent, is really not that important. It isn't going to win the Super Bowl, and if that is the real, and not just stated, goal, the Eagles have done just enough to create a professional environment for 2017 in which hope can triumph even if the team doesn't all that often. The organization's focus is on a more distant horizon, and given the reality of their division and their own stage of development, that is exactly as it should be.

A look at players Eagles missed from 74-99 after Timmy Jernigan trade - CSN Philly
With Sutton, Tankersley, Lewis and Griffin going off the board a few spots before the Eagles' pick, it's kind of reminiscent of the fifth round in 2016. The Eagles drafted Wendell Smallwood just after a few other running backs, including Pro Bowler Jordan Howard, went off the board. The Eagles claimed Smallwood was always their guy, but it's fair to wonder.

Answering Your Questions - Iggles Blitz
That really is a great Combine showing. Gratz started 25 games for the Jaguars before they let him go. He didn’t play much last year for the Rams. I have yet to go back and study his tape. I don’t know what has worked and what hasn’t. Now that the draft is over I do have the time to check him out. The fact he is so athletic and has some experience means he has a chance to compete for a job and win it. The Eagles will give him a clean slate and clearly CB is wide open right now. Whoever wants a job just has to go win it. All that said, I wouldn’t count on Gratz doing much. He doesn’t have a great track record and seems to be declining. He is getting a fresh start in Philly and maybe that will bring out the best in him.

Quick Hits: Rookie Camp Ahead - PE.com
January 1, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles finished their 2016 season against the Dallas Cowboys, with a starting wide receiver corps of Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Paul Turner. Quarterback Carson Wentz averaged 5.2 yards on his 43 passing attempts ...

What free agents make the most sense for Eagles? - Morning Call
First off, forget LeGarrette Blount, the 30-year-old running back who led the league with 18 rushing TDs for New England last season. Price tag will be too high, plus he's not a fit in the passing game, either. But there are some veteran free agents out there who can help the Eagles right now. Here's a look at the most intriguing ones.

Pumphrey reveals he has second child from high school - SDUT
“There was a DNA test involved with other men. Come to find out, this thing happened three months ago … we did the DNA and he’s mine,” Pumphrey said. “And I’m taking full responsibility. I just consider it another blessing.” Pumphrey’s daughter, Maliya, has been present in his life since birth and was regularly seen at Aztecs football games during Pumphrey’s college career. The son’s name is Malik.

Silva: Dynasty Rookie Rankings - Rotoworld
Scatback build at 5-foot-8, 176, but was a workhorse at San Diego State.

Jay Cutler retires to join FOX broadcasting booth - SB Nation
The veteran quarterback followed Tony Romo’s lead and pursued a career opportunity off the field.

...

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[#] Fri May 05 2017 15:58:28 EDT from rss

Subject: Riley Cooper has resurfaced

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Lol.

Riley Cooper is back in the NFL. Well, sort of. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are giving him a tryout during their rookie minicamp this weekend.

The 29-year-old Cooper has been a free agent ever since the Eagles cut him in February 2016. He hasn’t drawn any public interest since then ... until now.

It’s unusual for a once-established NFL player to be taking part in a rookie minicamp like this. But with Cooper, it’s not exactly surprising. He really struggled once becoming a starter for the Eagles. And it’s not exactly like he was known for being the most well-liked locker room guy. His racial slur incident doesn’t help his case either.

We’ll see if the Buccaneers end up signing Cooper or not. Perhaps Tampa Bay is just doing Cooper — who went to high school and college in Florida — a favor to get his name out there again.

There’s something about the Bucs and former Eagles receivers. Tampa Bay signed DeSean Jackson in free agency this year and they also took a chance on Josh Huff after Philadelphia released him last season. The Bucs recently employed Russell Shepard for a few seasons. He’s since moved on to the Panthers.





[#] Sun May 07 2017 16:42:24 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL win totals: Over/under 8.5 wins for the Philadelphia Eagles

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A special bonus episode of BGN Radio!





[#] Sun May 07 2017 14:01:45 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles UDFA Profile: Tyler Orlosky is smart, tough, and tenacious

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Get to know one of the Eagles UDFA signings.

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly signed West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky in undrafted free agency. CBS identifies him as this year’s top UDFA prospect. In order to learn more about the new Eagles offensive lineman, I reached out to SB Nation's West Virginia blog: The Smoking Musket. Mountaineers writer Jake Lantz was kind enough to answer my questions.

  1. Can you sum up what his college career was like?

If Shelton Gibson's college career was disappointing, Orlosky's career exceeded expectations. Coming out of Ohio, he was the #3 rated player in the state and held offers from Michigan and Michigan State. Like many linemen, he redshirted his first year and started sparingly his second year. As a redshirt sophomore, he started every game and never missed a game in his final three years. He was named team captain in 2015 and 2016. He made the 2016 Preseason Rimington Watch List (NCAA Best Center) and was a finalist for the award.

2) What are his strengths?

Smart, tough, and tenacious. He displays good technique when moving forward and delivers a strong punch when engaging defensive tackles. He knows how to use his hands and doesn't waste a lot of motion when turning defenders.

3) What are his weaknesses?

He's right at 300 pounds and isn't the most agile person on the line. Unlike some players, he doesn't offer versatility and isn't going to be able to be shifted to guard or be a swing guy on the line. He's strictly a center. He can be beaten at the point of attack by quicker tackles, especially when teams move a defensive end inside.

4) Are you surprised he went undrafetd?

I thought Orlosky would hear his name called in the 6th or 7th round. I'm not totally surprised he went undrafted as centers don't get a ton of love in the draft but I thought he might see him drafted in the last 40 picks or so.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

I could see him bouncing around from team to team and hanging around for a while. He's got the smarts to be able to pick up protection calls and understand where the blitzers are coming from. I wouldn't expect All Pro from him.

6) Anything to know about him off the field?

Tyler was a model citizen at school and enjoyed a great relationship with the head coach. He could often be seen planning with the coach and both knew that they wanted to win, so they didn't take blowups personally.





[#] Sun May 07 2017 12:32:52 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles 2017 NFL Draft Prediction Game Results

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

And your winner is ...

Prior to the start of the 2017 NFL Draft last week, I posted the annual Bleeding Green Nation draft prediction game contest. It was a hard-fought, competitive field as there were a total of 226 entries. That's 117 more than last year! Blood, sweat, and tears were left out in the comment section. Before we get to the results, let's recap the Eagles 2017 draft class.

1st - No. 14 - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
2nd - No. 43 - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
3rd - No. 99 - Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
4th - No. 118 - Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina
4th - No. 132 - Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
5th - No. 166 - Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
5th - No. 184 - Nathan Gerry, LB, Nebraska
6th - No. 214 - Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

Now for your winner ... longlivesimba! This member got three picks correct (Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson). As a result, they will receive one free t-shirt from Philly Phaithful for every number of picks they correctly guessed. So that's three free t-shirts. Stay tuned for details on how to claim your prize.

Two other users got three names right: frankmurph119 and JLDawk. They missed out on winning the competition since our winner posted before them. Speed counts as a tie-breaker. In addition, our winner also nailed the Eagles' first two picks unlike the other two, so that's pretty good.

Some more stats for you:

• 97 users didn't get a single pick right. That's 43% of the field. Shame!

• 58 users got Sidney Jones. 42 users got Derek Barnett. 35 users got Shelton Gibson. 15 users got Rasul Douglas. 7 users got Donnel Pumphrey. Two users got Elijah Qualls. No one got Mack Hollins or Nate Gerry.

• Kudos to Lip-Out who predicted the Eagles would draft a player the team ended up signing in undrafted free agency instead: Tyler Orlosky.

For everyone who didn't win who still wants some Philly Phaithful merch, BGN readers can get a 10% discount on every purchase by using code bgn10 at checkout. This offer is valid 24-7-365!

Full 2017 results below. Click the column header to sort the table. Thanks to everyone who participated. Congrats again to our winner: longlivesimba!

Username Correct Picks Names
CVEagles 1 Derek Barnett
NAVYEAGLES 0
Brett Nied 0
Lcfarmboy 0
Andrew VU '04 2 Rasul Douglas, Donnel Pumphrey
Phillyguy413 1 Derek Barnett
Shark Fighter 1 Sidney Jones
philllyfanatic 1 Rasul Douglas
SlanginHoes 1 Sidney Jones
TheWhalwing 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
ProfessorWentz 1 Sidney Jones
joelbryant123 1 Sidney Jones
OregonBias 1 Derek Barnett
TroutieK 0
spopo21 2 Rasul Douglas, Shelton Gibson
Empty soul 1 Shelton Gibson
PhillyEagles2011 1 Derek Barnett
RideHighTide 0
Masked Man 1 Derek Barnett
PumphreyAir 0
JPM9012 1 Sidney Jones
barca1707 0
dceagles 1 Sidney Jones
Jeaver
NJBammer 1 Sidney Jones
LegionOfZoom 0
section702 0
RegalEagle 1 Shelton Gibson
heezdedjim 2 Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas
Big.Red 0
thehateholiday 1 Sidney Jones
Birdgang26 1 Sidney Jones
GminTraining 0
Phunkadelphia 1 Shelton Gibson
NoPhlyZone75 0
Brick_Tamland 1 Sidney Jones
VRFC8 0
KoreanPhillyFan 1 Sidney Jones
mitch.m 0
BirdsforLife20 1 Rasul Douglas
Hopkins48 0
thisislocks 1 Derek Barnett
TheCoxishere 0
D Battery Snowballs 1 Derek Barnett
poopshootnobabies 1 Sidney Jones
aja8202 0
TheBigTicket21 1 Derek Barnett
MrMiyagi 0
fefer107 2 Rasul Douglas, Shelton Gibson
andyb 1 Sidney Jones
longlivesimba 3 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
ChipKellysGhost 1 Sidney Jones
Kairo02 0
ScratcherFC 1 Sidney Jones
schn3ll 1 Sidney Jones
Bring Your Own Lampshade 1 Shelton Gibson
WubbaLubbaDubDub 1 Derek Barnett
YungGunz 1 Sidney Jones
Repair-Man-Man-Man-Man 0
Ezaripov01 0
Gray527 1 Donnel Pumphrey
midnitegreen 1 Derek Barnett
PSUiggle 0
E3GLES! 1 Shelton Gibson
Elliptical Man 0
ElcoEagle63 0
Styles8620 1 Shelton Gibson
Sporkguy3 0
Trucks24 1 Sidney Jones
McNabulous 0
RossyJr22 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
The Man, The Myth, the Matthews! 1 Sidney Jones
wildcatlh 2 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones
FreddyNietzsche 0
ei78 1 Derek Barnett
tfrank9811 1 Rasul Douglas
GotFunds 0
Irish_Eagle 0
Sportsfan316 0
NVEagleShark 1 Sidney Jones
gibleedsgreen 1 Sidney Jones
Matt Korman 2 Derek Barnett, Elijah Qualls
frankmurph119 3 Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Donnel Pumphrey
BornInPhilly_LiveInNashville 0
ablesser88 0
caruso23 1 Sidney Jones
Thawk995 0
JEREMIAH GLOBE TROTTER 1 Derek Barnett
AntrhoEagle 0
eric.sidewater 1 Derek Barnett
ItownBallers22 0
ArkansasEagle 2 Derek Barnett, Shelton Gibson
JeanClaudeSilly 2 Derek Barnett, Shelton Gibson
QuincyCarterWasThaBest 1 Derek Barnett
JLDawk 3 Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas, Shelton Gibson
MulletMan10 0
rob1599 1 Derek Barnett
flipadelph halflife 0
EAGLESBSU 0
eventually 1 Derek Barnett
swagger226 0
Smoothies 1 Sidney Jones
grantspectations 1 Sidney Jones
NoPhlyZone 0
46RockBlitz 1 Derek Barnett
Srodman13 2 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones
Smrdwnnow 0
JALupowitz 0
EaglefaninWA 0
DakotaEAGLE 0
Jkirbs7 2 Derek Barnett, Shelton Gibson
Dirtybird#20 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
KEZHOG 1 Shelton Gibson
jmsone17 0
Paddysutts 0
Hugh Mad 0
macjack12 0
RonaC 1 Rasul Douglas
AeaglesA 1 Shelton Gibson
Flyin High 0
LAOJoe 0
Stooch7 0
Huffs_cellmate 0
NickfoleonDynamite 1 Shelton Gibson
MuffinStuffers 0
NOLA Eagle 1 Shelton Gibson
Eagle Steve 0
dawks4presidente 0
OnTheUpSwoop 0
Johnny Mojave 1 Shelton Gibson
Lip-Out 1 Donnel Pumphrey
Avocado Arm 0
Agholor'sHands 0
orealfan 0
Phlyin' High 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
GreenScoundrel 2 Sidney Jones, Donnel Pumphrey
Dsmith922 1 Derek Barnett
Schwanz21 1 Derek Barnett
SHOEMAN 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
eherk6 1 Sidney Jones
WentzWagon11 1 Sidney Jones
T-money007 0
jkatz 1 Shelton Gibson
Haan 0
EAGLES5 1 Sidney Jones
TheRealBoyer 1 Derek Barnett
Kephas 0
adammac2 2 Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson
HTXEaglesFan 0
eagles0132 1 Sidney Jones
Hodor's Love Child 0
billyc73 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
EastonAssassin63 1 Rasul Douglas
petomenon aetos 0
Brodieman687 1 Shelton Gibson
BleedingKellyGreen12 1 Shelton Gibson
Ragnarok2k15 1 Sidney Jones
dunc123 0
jeppsforst 0
screamingeaglesd 0
EagleClaw74 1 Sidney Jones
naderg43 1 Shelton Gibson
rockmaccoy 0
Navyhockey 2 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones
I Shittu Not 1 Sidney Jones
Klogan313 0
Slowhand14 1 Derek Barnett
Age_nt 1 Derek Barnett
mlbsports23 0
twayneo 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
jhiphop 1 Shelton Gibson
PecorMR 1 Shelton Gibson
E.O.S. 0
Joshdd9 0
TheWentzAndFutureKing 1 Rasul Douglas
T-rade 0
German Eagle 1 Rasul Douglas
greasy nail 0
Ivanl6 0
burkhart_b 1 Derek Barnett
UKEagle84 0
ToddKBailey 1 Sidney Jones
mfegs2 1 Shelton Gibson
B1G Cat 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
Qwest 1 Rasul Douglas
tclemson17 1 Derek Barnett
Howie Bro-sman 1 Sidney Jones
89Tremaine 1 Sidney Jones
wardbell92 1 Derek Barnett
BigWardy59 0
AznEagles 2 Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas
axk5032 0
Mother_Trucker 2 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones
jconway231 0
rstocker87 1 Derek Barnett
sports00fan00 0
Fletcher Cox For President 1 Derek Barnett
david_b 1 Derek Barnett
GottaBeGreen 0
Shady is an Eagle! 0
The Philly Moose 0
VermontEaglesFan 1 Sidney Jones
DimitriFF 1 Sidney Jones
Mroch 1 Derek Barnett
BleedingGreenHaitian 1 Sidney Jones
The Ghost of Sam Hinkie 0
PeaceVT 0
slandog 0
Ndpxmvp 0
Shane Hallam 0
Fletchdog 1 Derek Barnett
SirJon 0
evangrossman113 1 Elijah Qualls
gubby 0
JustFlyBaby 0
LosEagles23 2 Sidney Jones, Shelton Gibson
Shawn Alley 0
elandyboys92 2 Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones
iBleedGreen808 0
Cory_Williams 0
Whoopthereitis703 0
randycolon 0
Jdurb 1 Sidney Jones
Toronto Eagle 1 Donnel Pumphrey
PhilJack 1 Sidney Jones
realism17 1 Sidney Jones





[#] Sun May 07 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia named most improved team in the NFC East

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/7/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Most improved teams in every division - PFF
Alshon Jeffery was the big get for the Eagles in free agency, bringing a receiver with legit No. 1 potential to a unit that has been unable to make plays for some time, but they also added a number of other low-key players to provide depth. The draft though is what separates them. In Derek Barnett, they added a pass-rusher in the first round who has accumulated 187 total pressures over the past three seasons, 23 more than No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. CB Sidney Jones was unfortunate to injure his Achilles pre-draft, but he has the talent to be the best CB in this class. He didn’t allow a touchdown in 2016 and just one the year before that. Lower down in the draft they also added several players that will have the chance to contribute early.

Eagles Rookie Scouting Report: Getting to know Shelton Gibson - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Shelton Gibson in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles wide receiver, I reached out to SB Nation's West Virginia blog: The Smoking Musket. Mountaineers writer Jake Lantz was kind enough to answer my questions about Gibson.

So now what for Mychal Kendricks? - PhillyVoice
Teams around the league are not going to trade for Kendricks (or at least give up anything of substance) if they believe that the Eagles will eventually release him, so Roseman's comments are necessary, whether it's posturing or not. But to be clear, the Eagles will continue to seek offers for Kendricks. While Kendricks has been bad at times, he has flashed his athletic ability at other times. Unfortunately for Kendricks, Jim Schwartz was unable to find creative ways to use him to the best of his abilities. For example, in the view of many talent evaluators, Kendricks' best trait as a linebacker is his blitzing ability. In 2016, Kendricks rushed the passer a grand total of just nine times, according to ProFootballFocus. He also played on less than 27 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2016.

Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery should see spike in production in 2017 - ESPN
Wentz finished tied for 25th in passing touchdowns (16) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.23) last season, which speaks to a low-octane passing attack that did little to help fantasy owners. The lack of quality receiver play needs to be factored in. Per ESPN Stats & Information, the Eagles' wideouts finished last in drop percentage (5.8) and second-to-last in receiving yards (1,849), yards per reception (10.7) and receiving touchdowns (8). The addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith via free agency represents a significant upgrade at the position. Smith will allow Wentz to air it out, and Jeffery should serve as a nice security blanket -- especially in the red zone. That, along with a better understanding of the system in Year 2, should translate into better numbers in 2017. He has a chance to finish in the top half of the league in terms of production.

Eagles haven't fully addressed cornerback needs - Inquirer
On paper, the Eagles might have a worse set of cornerbacks than they did last season. While the departed Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll were at best a pair of No. 2's, it would be a stretch to describe Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson as even starting-caliber cornerbacks. Both Mills and Robinson have potential upside. Football isn't played on a slab of wood, after all. But the similarly held belief that the Eagles weren't strong enough at corner before most recent years - including last offseason following the McKelvin and Carroll free-agent signings - played out as written.

Eagles Mailbag: A redshirt year, Pumphrey as a rookie, Gibson - CSN Philly
Because Sidney Jones has the chance to be a true No. 1 cornerback. Sure, there's plenty of risk involved. And if there are people who think that risk outweighs the reward, there's not really much to argue about. That's a fair thought. And maybe you'll end up being right. For me, the potential reward is great enough. Before he went down, Jones was the top cornerback in the draft and had the potential to become a star in the NFL. There is not much fans can do other than trust the Eagles' medical staff, which believes Jones will make a full recovery.

Are Eagles ready to challenge Cowboys for NFC East supremacy? - Burlington County Times
Clouds hung heavily from the sky, threatening rain, with a wind chill sitting at 17 degrees. They came anyway, nearly 80,000 people wedging their way inside just to sit nervously on the edges of their seats for more than three hours as the drama unfolded in front of their eyes. Oh, and what drama it was, until Donovan McNabb led a 10-play drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Eagles some breathing room on their way to a 23-11 win over the New York Giants in the Meadowlands on Jan. 11, 2009. That is what playoff football is all about.

Inside The Studio: Howie Roseman - PE.com
Howie Roseman sits down with Dave Spadaro to give his final thoughts on the 2017 Draft class and what fans can expect from the group in year one here in Philadelphia.

Former Texans and Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans officially begins coaching career with 49ers - NFL Player Engagement
Officially, DeMeco Ryans’ coaching career began when the San Francisco 49ers hired him this past winter to be their defensive quality control coach. Unofficially, Ryans has been coaching from the time he started playing high school football at Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer, Alabama. Ryans, who saw injuries end his 10-year playing career in 2015 after six seasons with the Houston Texans and the final four with the Philadelphia Eagles, is ready to get started on phase two of his NFL life. And it’s something that is not a surprise to anyone who knows the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker. “I did see this happening,’’ Ryans said of becoming a coach. “That was always my role. And I always enjoyed helping other players, younger players, get better. That’s the aspect of coaching I really like, helping and developing young men to get better.

Which teams are better or worse at quarterback after the 2017 NFL draft? - SB Nation
Despite all the smoke about the Browns taking Trubisky at No. 1, they wisely stayed the course and took Myles Garrett, the draft’s consensus best player. Cleveland decided to skip out on a first-round quarterback altogether before settling on Kizer in the second round. It’s already been confirmed that Kizer will sit to start the season, making Kessler the odds-on favorite to be the Week 1 starter — even if history says there’s a good chance Kizer will end up playing at some point his rookie year. Kizer has a lot of intriguing tools, but he’s far from a sure thing, so taking him in the second round shouldn’t prevent the Browns from drafting another QB next year. We’re still a year away, but as of right now, USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the early pick for Cleveland in Dan Kadar’s 2018 mock draft.

...

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[#] Mon May 08 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Like a Radko Gudas punch to the face...

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Wayne Simmonds! [Flyers]

*Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is clearly a very, very good man. It'd be super nice to see him succeed on another team. [TSN]

*"Should the Flyers trade the #2 pick?" asks the bored sports journalist, mere weeks into the offseason. "NO THEY DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT!!" shouted the world, in response. [CSN Philly]

*"Does the #2 pick make Sean Couturier expendable?" they asked, earnestly. "Please stop this madness," begged the long-suffering fan base. [CSN Philly]

*Lots of good hockey over the weekend. Jakub Voracek is having a fantastic tournament so far over in France at the Worlds. [Sons of Penn]

*Travis Konecny is doing pretty well too. It's amazing what the kid can do with regular minutes and solid linemates!! [BSH]

*Oh, and Radko Gudas punched Glaude Giroux right in the face. Which, if you think about it, is kind of hilarious. [BSH]

*Lots of good NHL hockey happened too. The Senators took the Rangers to OT and won to take a 3-2 series lead, and the Capitals finally showed up to stay alive against the Penguins. Pens will try to close out that series at home tonight, should be a fun game. [SB Nation]

*And finally, literally no one really knows what goalie interference is, and it's becoming a problem. [Puck Daddy]





[#] Mon May 08 2017 10:55:29 EDT from rss

Subject: Riley Cooper not expected to get signed after tryout with Buccaneers

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

So much for that.

The Buccaneers are not expected to sign former Eagles and current veteran free agent wide receiver Riley Cooper after giving him a tryout during Tampa Bay’s rookie minicamp, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

This news should hardly come as a surprise. If the Buccaneers wanted to sign Cooper outright, they could have just done that. Sure, he’s been out of football for a year, but they already know what the 29-year-old receiver brings to the table. They weren’t going to learn much more about him during a rookie minicamp session.

As I previously theorized, the Buccaneers may have just been doing a favor to Cooper and his agent by getting the receiver’s name out there again. I doubt the Bucs showing interest in him is suddenly going to create a hot market for Cooper, though.

My guess would be Cooper is done in the NFL. If no one wanted to sign him last year, I don’t see why that would change this offseason. Maybe a team gets super desperate for receiver depth at some point, but I doubt it.





[#] Mon May 08 2017 09:28:40 EDT from rss

Subject: Max Unger Injury: Could Saints trade for Eagles center Jason Kelce?

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Let’s play matchmaker.

The New Orleans Saints woke up to some bad news on Monday morning. Saints starting center Max Unger suffered a foot injury and will miss the start of the 2017 NFL season, according to Ian Rapoport.

So, the Saints need a new center. If only there was a team in the NFL that had a surplus at that position ... oh, wait! There totally is. The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of depth at center with Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski, and Isaac Seumalo all under contract.

Of those three players, Kelce is the one who has been rumored to be on the trade block this offseason. The Eagles have publicly maintained that they intend on keeping Kelce, but it’s not like they can say otherwise in order to maintain his trade value.

From the Eagles’ perspective, trading Kelce would save $3.8 million in cap space. Kelce is currently paid like a top 10 center and he hasn’t performed at that level over the past two seasons. He’s still a starting caliber player, but he’s clearly not at the peak of his career anymore.

In addition, Kelce’s departure would help clear up the current logjam on the offensive line. Wisniewski, who the Eagles re-signed this offseason, could start at left guard and Seumalo could start at center, or vice versa. Chance Warmack and Allen Barbre could also be potentially competing for a shot at the left guard spot.

So what could the Eagles get in return for the 29-year-old Kelce? The Saints have all their draft picks in 2018 except for their second round selection. They also potentially have an extra seventh round pick from the Patriots due to a conditional trade. The Eagles don’t seem to be willing to ship out Kelce for anything, or else he’d have already been gone by now. Maybe Philadelphia is hoping for a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick?

Or maybe the Eagles would be interested in acquiring a player. Saints running back Mark Ingram would fill a major need for the Eagles and New Orleans suddenly has a crowded depth chart in the backfield.

Mark Ingram
Adrian Peterson
Alvin Kamara
Travaris Cadet
Daniel Lasco
Marcus Murphy

The Saints signed Peterson in free agency. His physical style makes Ingram’s skill set a little redundant. Then New Orleans traded their third and seventh round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, PLUS a 2018 third round selection, in order to get Kamara. Cadet played the second most snaps of Saints running back in 2016. Lasco was a seventh round pick last year.

Ingram is coming off a strong season. He rushed for six touchdowns and 1,043 yards on 205 attempts (5.1 average) in 2016. He also had 46 receptions for 319 yards and four receiving scores. Thus, it’s hard to believe the Saints would just give up the 27-year-old Ingram so easily, but maybe the two sides could work something out where draft picks get added to an Ingram-Kelce swap.

For now this is all just hypothetical, but there is some logic to the deal. Philadelphia desperately needs running back help and they have a logjam at center. Howie Roseman is always active in the trade market so this situation is something to keep an eye on.





[#] Mon May 08 2017 08:56:08 EDT from rss

Subject: How the New York Giants Improved in the 2017 NFL Draft

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

A look around the NFC East

After eight picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, there is plenty to get excited about the Eagles' future. However, the rest of the NFC East also took part in this deep draft and, for the most part, came away nicely. The Giants only had six selections this year, but they made a few who could be a problem early on for the rest of the NFC East.

Evan Engram

Position: Tight End

School: Ole Miss

Measurements: 6'3", 234

Key Stat: Per PFF, Engram led tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns out of the slot.

Evan Engram is not a traditional tight end due to his "diminutive size". However, with legit 4.4 speed on the field, he does not need to be a classic, inline player. Engram is a match up nightmare who can play inline, in the slot or on the outside. His speed helped him lead this tight end class in 20-yard receptions and that was as the main target at Ole Miss. Now he goes to an offense that already has Odell Beckham Junior, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. Yikes.

Dalvin Tomlinson

Position: Defensive Tackle

School: Alabama

Measurements: 6'3", 310

Key Stat: Per PFF, Tomlinson had 23 tackles go for no gain or a loss in 2016.

Dalvin Tomlinson is not a flashy player, but he played a big part in keying Alabama's awesome defense. Tomlinson is a phenomenal run defender who can eat space, fight through blocks and make a play on ball carriers. In the passing game, Tomlinson has improved in terms of making pressure, but he is rarely going to convert that to a sack. Luckily he is on a line with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul, so he probably will not need to be the main pass rusher. Tomlinson was a very savvy pick to replace Jonathan Hankins and I bet he is a surprise immediate impact defender among these rookies.

Davis Webb

Position: Quarterback

School: California

Measurements: 6'5", 230

Key Stat: Coming from a simplistic air raid offense, Davis Webb ranked 38th in the country on average depth of target.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Sorry. This is the guy the Giants want to groom behind Eli Manning? Sure he is tall, with a big arm and "looks the part" (whatever the hell that means), but there is nothing to suggest he was a very good prospect. It was funny when people were trying to tell themselves this guy was a top quarterback prospect after he was forced out of a starting job and could only win six games in the Pac-12. Webb has severe accuracy and decision making issues and though there is some raw talent, he needs a lot of work. Although, I guess that is not so different from the current guy there.

Wayne Gallman

Position: Running Back

School: Clemson

Measurements: 6', 215

Key Stat: Per PFF: Gallman forced 56 missed tackles last year despite only carrying the ball 232 times.

Gallman is just a solid running back. He is good or competent at most facets of the running back position but lacks any overwhelming traits, athletically or otherwise. Gallman is a tough runner with good vision and decent agility, but lacks the elite speed or strength to be truly dynamic. With what seems like will be a prolific Giants passing game in the works, the Giants do not need a lot from Gallman. Considering he has only fumbled four times during his 675 career carries, he represents the type of steadiness the Giants like in their backfield.

Avery Moss

Position: Edge

School: Youngstown State

Measurements: 6'3", 264

Key Stat: Accounted for 22.4% of YSU's Sack production last season which is a better figure than Jonathan Allen or Taco Charlton.

Avery Moss was a good pick for the Giants on the third day of the draft. A former Nebraska recruit, Moss had to leave a promising career wight he Cornhuskers after a shoulder injury and an off the field incident. Moss followed Bo Pelini to Youngstown State and finished his career as an All Conference selection. Moss is a solid athlete, but he is a very raw player who feasted on lesser athletes and the fact that teams were more focused on slowing his teammate, Derek Rivers. Moss has high upside and could be a rotational piece on a talented Giants defensive line, but he seems like a big project for the Giants staff.

Adam Bisnowaty

Position: Offensive Tackle

School: Pittsburgh

Measurements: 6'6", 304

Key Stat: Was the most efficient offensive tackle in the country on three step drop pass plays.

Bisnowaty has been one of the more steady offensive lineman in the country during his career at Pitt. He has good size, strength and arm length and plays with a fiery attitude. Injuries have slowed him down and it is to be seen if he can take a step towards health, but for now he looks like a phone booth player. Bisnowaty has athletic limitations, but what he does do well could really help the Giants offensive line that needs competition at both tackle spots. While Bisnowaty will never be a premier player in the league, getting him in the sixth could be a great value considering his upside to be a solid contributor.





[#] Mon May 08 2017 08:11:15 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Torrey Smith is a great guy

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/8/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Eagles' Torrey Smith pays adoption fees of 46 animals at Baltimore animal shelter - Sporting News
Torrey Smith may not play for the Ravens anymore, but he isn't done giving to the city of Baltimore. According to BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, Smith and his wife Chanel paid the adoption fees for cats and dogs — 46 total — at an adoption event on Saturday. They also made an "extra donation" on top of the fees.

Over or under 8.5 wins for the Eagles in 2017? - BGN
Which side are you taking?

Here's what the Eagles' rookie salary cap numbers will be - PhillyVoice
Before the draft even began, salary cap numbers were already in place for every draft slot, from pick No. 1 (which became Myles Garrett, to pick No. 253 (Chad Kelly). Here are the Eagles' rookie salary cap numbers for the next four years, using resources from OverTheCap.com.

Built to Win - Iggles Blitz
The front office decided to get Carson Wentz help. They kept the OL intact and added depth. They signed free agent receivers and drafted a pair of home run threats. They added good backup QBs. The coaching staff returns, with the exception of Greg Lewis, who the Eagles wanted to upgrade. The defense got a couple of pass rushers, a couple of talented rookie CBs and some interesting LB depth. The Eagles should be able to throw the ball better and defend the pass better. That’s what it takes to win in the NFL today.

How much will Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Vinny Curry play for Eagles next season? - NJ.com
Barwin is gone, and the chances are that Marcus Smith won't be seeing 216 snaps next season either. That frees up 926 snaps to be distributed among Long and Barnett. Although the obvious answer seems to be that Barnett will get the majority of those snaps, that might not be the case. Long is coming to the Eagles with the intention of re-establishing himself as one of the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the NFL. He could have returned to the Patriots but decided not to.

Eagles Mailbag: Short leashes, extending Alshon Jeffery, trade for RB? - CSN Philly
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[#] Mon May 08 2017 11:52:51 EDT from rss

Subject: 2016-17 Flyers season review: Wayne Simmonds remains a reliable weapon

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Still the same dominant power play weapon, Simmonds’ 5v5 play dropped off in 2016-17. Is there an easy explanation for the issue?

The 2016-17 season was a maddening one for most fans of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. Following a year in which the team made a surprise run to the postseason due to a fantastic two-month stretch to close out the regular season, expectations were fairly high back in October. The Flyers added two exciting prospects to their roster, had an above-average goalie tandem, and seemed to have finally found the right coach. No one believed the Flyers were Stanley Cup contenders, but a return trip to the playoffs seemed firmly within their reach.

Seven months later, and the tenor of discussion surrounding the Flyers has turned dramatically. Yes, the surprise jump to the second overall selection has fans a bit happier, but there remains a high degree of concern and anger surrounding key aspects of the organization, aspects that back in October were considered undeniable strengths.

Down seasons from both Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek (after relatively disappointing years in 2015-16 as well) has some fans wondering if this is the new normal from the franchise stars. The goaltender position, once rock solid, is now in a major state of flux. Many have even turned on the coach, citing lineup issues and questionable on-ice tactics as reasons for losing faith. Nearly every player on the roster (and key figure in management) has been criticized over the past few months, but there remains one person who has stood seemingly beyond reproach. He may not be the most popular player on the team in terms of jersey sales, but he’s almost certainly the most universally liked.

That player, of course, is Wayne Simmonds.

Not only does Simmonds perfectly fit the stereotypical Broad Street Bullies mentality — he’s not afraid to mix it up and is tough as nails when he does — he also excels in the most visible statistical area for a forward: goal scoring. After finally breaking the 30-goal mark in 2015-16, he posted his second straight season above that threshold this time around, leading the team in both years. Despite the fact that one of Claude Giroux or Jake Voracek had won the Bobby Clarke Award for Team MVP every year since 2010-11, no one had any issue when Simmonds broke their streak of dominance this time around. And when the topic of “breaking up the core” is discussed, Simmonds is invariably the one guy immune from those scenarios, despite his contract situation making him the best candidate to be dealt in a “let’s rebuild around young talent” strategy. That’s how beloved Simmonds is right now in Philadelphia.

He deserves the praise. Simmonds is not just a fantastic power forward, he has a strong case as the best power play netfront presence in the world. And after most functioning as a middle-six forward at 5v5 supporting his obvious value as a PP specialist, Simmonds’ play at even strength took measurable strides forward in 2014-15 and 2015-16, putting him in the realm of no-doubt-about-it top-sixer.

This season, however, saw Simmonds take a step back at even strength, even as his power play prowess remained as impressive as ever.

Simmonds is the best netfront PP weapon in hockey

Anyone who watches the Flyers on a regular basis can attest to Wayne Simmonds’ effectiveness in front of the net on the power play. His ability to create screens, deflect shots, and recover loose rebounds is undeniable, and absolutely helps the Philadelphia top unit to be one of the best in hockey.

What you may not know is that the advanced metrics back up the eye test in proclaiming Simmonds as the best netfront power play presence in the NHL.

To determine which NHL players generally are used in front of the net and receive regular power play ice time, we’ll use Corsica.Hockey and its Average Shot Distance metric. Any players with over 150 minutes at 5v4 this past season who also had an average shot distance of less than 15 feet from the goal can be reasonably assumed that they do most of their work in close, so let’s use them as our dataset. That gives us 17 players who fit the parameters as full-time netfront PP players.

To start, Simmonds led all netfront players this past season with 14 goals, and he did so while averaging the second-closest shot distance, trailing only Martin Hanzal. Nick Foligno barely tops Simmonds in Goals Per 60, but his 11 tallies exceed his 8.4 expected goals, implying that good fortune probably played a role in his performance this year. In addition, no player is ahead of Simmonds in individual expected goals, ixG Per 60, or individual Scoring Chances Per 60.

Reviewing this chart, it looks like there are only a few players who were even in Simmonds’ league this year — Foligno, Anders Lee, Sam Reinhart, Ryan Kesler, and maybe Corey Perry if you assume that his strong Expected Goal totals are a better way to evaluate his true talent than his five actual goals this season.

And that’s just looking at the 2016-17 season. Over the past five years, only 14 other players (with over 500 minutes at 5v4) have an average shot distance of less than 17 feet (this includes Foligno, Perry and Lee), and none have more than 32 actual goals (Patric Hornqvist) or 41 expected goals (Perry). Over that same period, Simmonds has 60 actual goals and 60.82 expected. Even accounting for ice time, no netfront player is within 0.75 in Goals Per 60 (Lee is the closest) or 0.5 in xG Per 60 (Hornqvist is 0.54 behind). In fact, the only player in the NHL who tops Wayne Simmonds in power play scoring over the past five years is Alexander Ovechkin, and he’s obviously not a netfront guy.

When you break down the numbers, it becomes clear that Wayne Simmonds has no peer in the NHL when it comes to creating havoc in front and turning that chaos into tangible goals. This season was no different.

However, Simmonds’ 5v5 production took a step back

As I noted two weeks ago when evaluating the season of Brayden Schenn, power play production needs to be viewed separately from 5v5 play. Just because a player finishes with strong raw scoring totals due to stellar PP production, that does not absolve him if he was a liability at even strength, especially because the vast majority of a hockey game is played in the latter situation.

What was so encouraging about Wayne Simmonds’ 2015-16 season, as I broke down last May, was that his 5v5 play reached new heights even as he remained an elite power play weapon. Simmonds scored at a first line rate and even approached first liner play-driving levels as well, a major feat for a forward who just two seasons before was largely underwater in the on-ice metrics.

This past season, however, Simmonds didn’t just give back his gains from 2015-16. He posted his worst metrics since 2013-14, finishing negative relative to his teammates in Corsi, Fenwick and Expected Goals, while scoring at his worst 5v5 rates since his rookie year back in Los Angeles.

Some of Simmonds’ scoring issues can be chalked up to bad luck, best exemplified by the insignificant gap in primary points and total Points/60. Simmonds was only getting points this year when he was directly involved in the goal, and as we know, 5v5 secondary assist rate is essentially random from season-to-season. Even with that caveat, however, Simmonds’ Primary Points/60 rate was his lowest as a member of the Flyers. As for the play-driving metrics, there are no obvious positives to be seen, as Simmonds was across the board about two percentage points worse than his teammates, both by the on/off ice Relative metrics and by the with/without you-driven RelTM stat.

In past seasons when Simmonds struggled to drive play from a raw territorial standpoint, he still performed well by weighted stats like xG. But this year, even the shot quality metrics frowned upon the Wayne Train. The result was an on-ice Goals For percentage at 5v5 of 42.0%, the worst of Simmonds’ career.

Possible reasons for the dropoff

There are a number of potential explanations as to why Simmonds’ 5v5 metrics dropped off so much, but let’s explore three in detail. The first is the most concerning for the Flyers — that at age-28, Simmonds is beginning to decline. Second is the possibility that the power forward was simply caught up in the team-wide 5v5 issues, and the struggles were more a result of random variance than any change in his true talent level. The final possibility is that Simmonds’ 2016-17 struggles at even strength were primarily due to poor performances by his linemates.

2017 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament Final - Pacific vs. Metropolitan Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The age question can’t be ignored entirely. Claude Giroux has also retained his power play prowess while seeing his 5v5 stats slip, and if fans are (understandably) fretting that the captain is dealing with an unforgiving aging curve, then it’s only fair to be open to the possibility that the same is happening to Simmonds. But I’m not convinced. Simmonds just had the best 5v5 season of his career in 2015-16, and one bad year does not a trend make. In addition, he still passes the eye test with flying colors, unlike Giroux who has noticeably slowed from a skating standpoint.

Manually-tracked data seems to support this stance. Last season, Simmonds posted a 46.83% controlled zone entry rate at 5v5; Corey has him at 49.82% this year in 68 games this year. In addition, Simmonds’ Neutral Zone Score — the most repeatable portion of play-driving metrics — stayed basically flat from season-to-season, going from 51.13% in 2015-16 to 50.50% this year. The dropoff came in his Offensive and Defensive Zone Score, which have been shown to be subject to far more variance.

This provides an ideal segway into the second theory — random variance. Sometimes, good players simply have disappointing years, and it can mostly be chalked up to the bounces not going their way. Like many of his teammates, Simmonds’ PDO (97.2) was a career-low, and his on-ice shooting percentage of 6.59% was his worst since his rookie season when Simmonds’ primary linemate was Michal Handzus.

In addition, Simmonds factored into just 58.8% of the 5v5 goals scored while he was on the ice, far below his career average of around 70%. Normalize that to his career average, and we’re looking at a Points/60 of 1.39, still not great, but in line with his production in 2014-15. Bump the abnormally-low on-ice shooting percentage up to his pre-2016/17 career average of 7.97% as well, and we’re talking a Points/60 around 1.65, or solid second-line levels and right around his scoring efficiency rates from 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Still, neither helps to explain the cratering play-driving metrics. That’s when we move into theory #3 — the impact of teammates on the season of Wayne Simmonds. Specifically one teammate, name of Brayden Schenn.

It’s no secret that Schenn was a mess at 5v5 this season. But he had no more frequent linemate than Simmonds, who was stapled to Schenn for 519 minutes. For Simmonds, that was just shy of half of his overall 5v5 ice time in 2016-17. Despite their long time together, the results were nothing short of horrendous. They posted a 47.2% Corsi For percentage together, and a truly ghastly 41.05% Goals For percentage. After working quite well in the preceding two seasons, the Simmonds-Schenn partnership was a disaster this time around.

But which player deserves the lionshare of the blame? At first glance, it appears Schenn is the culprit, as his full-season metrics ended up worse than those of Simmonds. We can further test the theory by using Corsica’s Combos tool. While this doesn’t include a full dataset (about 82% of Simmonds’ season), it at least can give us a decent read into how Simmonds performed from a Corsi and an Expected Goals standpoint with Schenn and then without him.

So case closed, right? Schenn, in an especially-awful 5v5 season, dragged down Simmonds and the Wayne Train is hereby absolved of all guilt for his poor advanced metrics in 2016-17. There’s only one problem — Schenn was a lot better away from Simmonds, too.

What really seems to be going on here is that, for some reason, the Schenn-Simmonds duo just plain didn’t work, with both players deserving some blame. Combine the Flyers’ insistence upon keeping the duo together for half the season with the poor shooting percentages, and voila! The result is one very poor Simmonds year at 5v5.

The Train stays the Train

Wayne Simmonds’ 2016-17 may not have been a total success, but it still qualifies as generally successful. He surpassed the 30-goal threshold for a second straight season, played in all 82 games, and remained the NHL’s best netfront power play presence.

San Jose Sharks v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Still, the fact that his 5v5 performance did decline cannot be ignored, especially since he is right around the age where forwards begin to move out of their statistical primes. His scoring rate dropped into career-low territory, and his play-driving metrics were uniformly poor for the first time as a Flyer. Simmonds would likely be the first person to admit that, as good as he was on the PP, the team needs more from him at even strength.

However, I remain less concerned about Simmonds at 5v5 going forward than I do Schenn, for a few reasons. To start, Simmonds is coming off two very solid seasons at even strength, with his very best one coming just last year when he played like a true first liner. Schenn has never showed that kind of upside, even if he is younger.

In addition, Simmonds’ scoring rates would have been right around his career norms had the Flyers not posted an abnormally low shooting percentage with the Wayne Train on the ice, and if he had earned a point on his usual 70% of on-ice goals scored. The low Points/60 appears to be mostly a fluke.

As for the poor play-driving metrics, they can mostly be explained by the fact that the coaching staff spent too long trying to make the Schenn-Simmonds duo work like it did in the past. When away from Schenn, Simmonds’ territorial play improved dramatically, and unlike Schenn, he did so without major help from Sean Couturier, the Flyers’ best play-driving center.

If Simmonds goes out next season and repeats his disappointing 5v5 statistics, then there might be reason to worry. But in the here and now, I see a player who provides enormous value on the power play, with the true talent of a second liner at evens. Some poor luck and a bad line combination doesn’t change that.


All stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, or the manual tracking work of Corey Sznajder at The Energy Line. On-Ice data derived from Corey’s manually-tracked metrics courtesy of Muneeb Alam.





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