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[#] Sat Sep 02 2017 17:11:56 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Roster Cuts: Eagles officially waive 17 players to get to 53-man limit

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Official.

The Philadelphia Eagles officially released a big group of players on Saturday afternoon in order to cut down to the 53-man limit. Here's the entire list.

CUT

DE Alex McCalister (waived/injured)

S Tre Sullivan (waived/injured)

LB Nate Gerry

TE Billy Brown

WR Bryce Treggs

WR Greg Ward

CB C.J. Smith

OL Dillon Gordon

OG Darrell Greene

DT Justin Hamilton

CB Jomal Wiltz

RB Byron Marshall

C Aaron Neary

OG Dallas Thomas

OT Taylor Hart

OL Josh Andrews

P Cameron Johnston

A few quick thoughts:

• Both Donnel Pumphrey AND Corey Clement made the roster. That’s five running backs. Kind of ridiculous.

• Eagles fifth-round pick Nate Gerry did not make the cut. They’ll probably want him on the practice squad. Eagles fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson DID make the roster.

• Gordon, Brown, Treggs, and Smith are among the most notable cuts here. They were on the roster bubble, so it’s not a total shock, but I thought at least one of those guys would have made it.

• Just because the Eagles trimmed down to 53 doesn't mean the cuts are over yet. Expect Howie Roseman to continue to churn the bottom of the roster. The Eagles could be looking for more help at several positions, including running back, linebacker, and cornerback.





[#] Sat Sep 02 2017 16:47:35 EDT from rss

Subject: Donnel Pumphrey kept by Eagles on 53-man roster

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Not a shock, but ...

The Philadelphia Eagles are not cutting Donnel Pumphrey. The team will be keeping them on their 53-man roster, according to reports from both Eliot Shorr-Parks and Tim McManus.

Given that the Eagles traded up for Pumphrey in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft, this news isn’t surprising.

But there was still some question if Pumphrey would make it or not since he really struggled this offseason. Pumphrey completely failed to stand out in the preseason. He finished the summer with 26 carries for 49 yards (1.88 yards per carry) and two fumbles. As a receiver, Pumphrey had 13 receptions for 72 yards (5.5 yards per carry).

Pumphrey failed to show any kind of regular burst or explosion. His longest run went for five yards while his longest catch was 13 yards.

Pumphrey is only a rookie, so maybe he just needs some more time to develop. But he’s certainly not off to a good start in his career.

With news that the Eagles are going to also keep Corey Clement on the 53-man roster, it appears Philadelphia will keep five running backs. That’s a lot. And none of them are good as full-time lead backs.

But that could quickly change. The Eagles are bound to make more roster moves tomorrow. This original 53-man roster won’t be set in stone.





[#] Sat Sep 02 2017 15:58:43 EDT from rss

Subject: Corey Clement reportedly makes Eagles roster

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There it is.

Corey Clement has made the Philadelphia Eagles’ 53-man roster, according to a report from Eliot Shorr-Parks.

Clement was arguably the Eagles’ best running back this preseason (excluding Wendell Smallwood, who only had four carries). He led all runners in yards per carry with 3.8. The undrafted free agent from Wisconsin gained 105 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.

It remain to be seen what Clement’s inclusion means for Eagles rookie fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey. Many thought the Eagles were originally going to have to pick between the two players but it’s possible Philadelphia just keeps five or tries to put Pumphrey on injured reserve.

Note that just because Clement made the original 53-man roster doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t cut him tomorrow if they make a trade and/or claim a running back on waivers.

Clement, a Glassboro native, put forth a nice effort this summer. But he’s still JAG (just a guy). He hasn’t done anything exceptionally well to the point where he’s uncuttable.

Even if Clement does stick on the Eagles’ roster, he’ll likely just be a special teams contributor or inactive on game day.

Stay tuned for more updates. As of this publish time, the Eagles’ roster stands at 62 players with an hour to go before the deadline.





[#] Sun Sep 03 2017 09:46:31 EDT from rss

Subject: Should The Phillies Retaliate For Hoskins Getting Plunked? Maybe

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Rhys Hoskins came to the plate in the 7th inning of last night’s game against the Marlins with a chance to hit for the cycle. He had already collected three hits–a single, double, and his 12th homer of the season (he’s good). This blast: Rhys Hoskins: 12 home runs in 24 career games. Not bad.…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/zom6WMN7bl4/should-the-phillies-retaliate-for-hoskins-getting-plunked-maybe.html

[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 08:57:25 EDT from rss

Subject: Your Monday Morning Roundup

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The Eagles cut down their roster to 53 players heading into the first week of the regular season. Following those cuts, the team then compiled their 10-player practice squad. Nine of those players are former Eagles, except for one, the quarterback, who may just be a spy: Former Redskins QB Nate Sudfeld among 10 players the…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/o7nsxYDKY9Q/your-monday-morning-roundup-193.html

[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 10:14:47 EDT from rss

Subject: Rhys Hoskins Is Saving My Baseball Fandom

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Rhys Hoskins made his major league debut on a pleasant August evening in Philadelphia. It was the kind of night that, not long ago, would have coaxed a capacity crowd to come to Citizens Bank Park and cheer on the heroes who delivered the city its only major championship in the last 34 years. Those…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/x0BXSzSlnQE/rhys-hoskins-is-saving-my-baseball-fandom.html

[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 17:40:29 EDT from rss

Subject: Crawford Cometh

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The Lehigh Valley IronPigs wrapped up their 2017 regular season on Monday with a 4-3 win, clinching the team a spot in the Triple-A playoffs. Some thought the Pigs making the playoffs would keep Crawford, who was still waiting that shot in the Show, in the minors for just a bit longer, but it does…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/7j81UhPS6uo/crawford-cometh.html

[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 21:35:59 EDT from rss

Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Rosters and Numbers Game

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Kyle, Adam and Russ discuss the Eagles’ roster cuts, assorted holiday topics, and predicting the media.   We recommend subscribing in Overcast, the best iOS podcast player, and using the Voice Boost and Smart Speed functions, which improve sound quality (for all shows) and speed up small gaps in the conversation. Download Overcast and just…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/j6O7mpA06Hw/crossing-broadcast-rosters-and-numbers-game.html

[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Hockey is near

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

*Over the weekend former Flyer Kimmo Timonen took a photo with a fan, it was kind of a big deal: [Instagram]

*How much of a chance does Nolan Patrick have at making the team? [Sons of Penn]

*Matt Read was once really good. He isn’t so good now. Can he regain his form again? [Inquirer]

*The Athletic Philly launches today, featuring Flyers coverage from former BSH writer Charlie O’Connor: [The Athletic]

*The CWHL announced that starting players will start being played for the 2017-18 season! [Sportsnet]

*Ryan Malone is attempting an NHL comeback. You might remember the time Scott Hartnell threw his glove at Malone while he was on a breakaway: [TSN]

*Former Hurricanes prospect David Gove passed away over the weekend after a battle with substance abuse: [Boston Globe]

*Finally, if you haven’t already, vote in our pre-season approval polls on Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol: [BSH]





[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 09:01:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Your Tuesday Morning Roundup

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This website is known for, among many other things, its RADIO WARS posts over the last few years. Recently, they have been scant, but things have picked back up as a lot is happening over at 97.5 The Fanatic. Most notably, the station is looking for a new Program Director after letting Matt Nahigian go…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/4Ce4Cf1q7vA/your-tuesday-morning-roundup-14.html

[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 08:40:13 EDT from rss

Subject: Mike Lombardi Eviscerated Doug Pederson

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The 2017 football season gets off to a rollicking start as a national personality and former GM trashes the Eagles’ head coach. Good morning, minions! I love this day. Back to work, back to school, back to FOOTBALL. And what better way to kick things off than by discussing the merits of the drive-by shooting…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/zCELYMudLwU/mike-lombardi-eviscerated-doug-pederson.html

[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 10:08:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Settle Down About The Eagles Keeping Donnell Pumphrey

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I can already feel your vitriol as you as you read these words, but just hear me out on this. Besides, what else are you going to do today, get back to work? It’s the first day after Labor Day weekend, these kind of days are made for ingesting 1,400 words about your favorite team’s…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/a8GLorageDA/settle-down-about-the-eagles-keeping-donnell-pumphrey.html

[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 11:00:10 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Saquon Barkley

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Wouldn't it be nice if the Eagles had him?

The marathon that was week one of the college football season is over. It had exciting games, surprising comebacks and a few unexpected wins. In the case of the NFL Draft, there were so many great performances to kick off the first week of college football. However, it is hard to find one more impressive than Saquon Barkley's game against Akron.

Surely Akron is far from a defensive powerhouse, but the variety in ways in which Barkley dismantled their defense was incredibly impressive and he showed off his versatile talents. On only 14 carries, Barkley picked up 172 yards (12.3 YPC) and two touchdowns while also catching three passes for 54 yards. In the end, it doesn't matter who Penn State played; gain almost 13.3 yards per touch for 226 yards is crazy no matter who the opponent is.

It is hard to pinpoint what Saquon Barkley is best at considering he is just so damn good at everything.

This is a great play by the offensive line to clear the first level, but Barkley takes full advantage by blowing by every other level of the defense. Barkley is no tiny, fast back. That is over 225 pounds shooting through an FBS defense with ease. A poorly placed step at the end of the run robbed Barkley of the touchdown, but it is still unbelievable to see speed like that.

More important than long speed for NFL backs is acceleration, however.

The way Barkley turns the corner on this sweep and gains ground is unreal. The athleticism it takes to round that edge and fire upfield so quickly is very rare. Than Barkley casually navigates his way through defenders on the way for a touchdown without losing speed. The agility and acceleration here are special.

Barkley, on top of everything else, is a very creative running back. Here the hole closes quickly and he is able to use his agility and slippery running style to break out of a dead play and reverse field. This isn't just athleticism, nor does it come across as reckless running. Barkley has instincts that indicate he has eyes on the back of his head where he is always find holes that aren't there. This is a special trait for a back as he can create well beyond the structure of an offense and create big plays for a team out of nothing.

Barkley surely gashed Akron as a runner, but he also made sure to pepper in some big plays in the receiving game.

Running backs sometimes function as main components of passing plays but is equally important for backs to be able to value as safety valves who can make a lot from a little. This play is a good example where Barkley comes out of the backfield for an underneath route and the quarterback is just able to dump underneath to him once he's gone through his reads. What is initially a four yard completion turns into a 10 yard gain and a first down due to Barkley's ability to immediately transition from receiver to runner and juke out and jump over Akron's defenders to pick up a first down.

Barkley is battling for the consensus top running back spot this year and is among the few leading the Heisman discussion. If his week one performance is any indicator, he should be in the driver's seat for both and he'll probably get mentioned in these weekly highlights a few more times by the end of the season.

Other Performances of Note:

  • Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State: Ohio State ran into a bit of a scare when Indiana played the Buckeyes tough for an entire half. Luckily one of their star defenders was up to the task of winning the game for him. Ward let up some catches, but he also accounted for five broken up passes and a key interception in turning the momentum in the game. It's inevitable that cornerbacks get picked on and credit should be given to his opponent, Simmie Cobbs, for a strong game himself. However, Ward's resilience over four quarters and playmaking ability speak to an impressive toughness in the cornerback.
  • Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville: Louisville started slow against the Boilermakers with receivers dropping passes and running backs fumbling on the goal line so Lamar Jackson took the game entirely into his own hands. Jackson passed for almost 380 yards and two touchdowns and added another 100 rushing yards on the ground. He was aggressive and precise throwing the football, something he struggled to consistently do last year. Lamar Jackson has always been a better passer than given credit for, but this year he looks even sharper. While a few of the other "top" quarterbacks struggled to start the season, Jackson dominating a game by himself should encourage people to put him in the legitimate quarterback prospect conversation.
  • Ty Johnson, Running Back, Maryland: Maryland surprised quite a few people when they upset the #23 ranked Longhorns this weekend. I'm not sure why Texas was ranked in the first place but Maryland ran all over them with Ty Johnson. Johnson, in his inimitable fashion, averaged 11 yards per attempt on 12 carries and scored a touchdown. His game breaking speed was too much Texas and the Longhorns exposed their entire defense by trying to stop him. Johnson forced loaded boxes which allowed Maryland to pass the ball with relative ease against Texas. Johnson averaged over nine yards every time he carried the ball last season and was one of the true game breakers in the country. It's a crowded conversation for talented running backs in college football but more performances like that and Ty Johnson will get his due.




[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 10:00:05 EDT from rss

Subject: The Eagles roster construction is concerning

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Depth issues have a deeper meaning

The roster the Eagles will enter the 2017 season with is… strange. The Eagles went heavy at some positions and light in others, and it was assumed that waiver claims and possibly a trade or two would change the makeup of the roster. Instead, it remains exactly the same as it did on Saturday. As injuries happen (and Sidney Jones returns from it), the roster will change as the season progresses, as it does for all teams. But to start the season, the structure is odd to say the least.

Every team has the same basic core that takes up the bulk of 53 man roster. What you do with the rest is dependent upon a team’s strengths, weaknesses, their opponents and their own philosophies. The Eagles have gone for volume in their weaknesses and are favoring developing players who may not contribute much in 2017 at the expense of depth elsewhere. It’s a questionable strategy.

Six linebackers have made the team. Expect that four of them won’t play a third of defensive snaps. Mychal Kendricks played just 27% of snaps last year, his playing time would have to increase by 20% for him to get enough playing time. It will take an injury or suspension for that to happen as two thirds of snaps in the NFL last year were in nickel or dime, which he doesn’t play. Kendricks, along with Najee Goode, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Joe Walker will be special teams players. That’s probably one too many, as evidenced by the Eagles carrying six last year, two of whom played virtually exclusively on special teams (Grugier-Hill and Goode, the latter of the two played one snap on defense) and Stephen Tulloch, who played no snaps on special teams and just 69 on defense. Nate Gerry cleared waivers due to a hamstring injury, that he was signed to the practice squad and not placed on IR means they expect him to be healthy soon, further reducing the need to carry a sixth linebacker to start the season.

Six wide receivers is unusual, but the volume isn’t the reason why it’s noteworthy. On merit, only five of the six receivers should have made the team, with Bryce Treggs having a good argument to have been the sixth. Shelton Gibson spent minicamp as one of the worst players on the roster, and in training camp and preseason didn’t do much to earn his roster spot beyond being a 5th round draft pick, which are rarely cut.

Eight offensive linemen is light, but shouldn’t be a concern to start the season. The team will only dress eight on game day anyway, and with Josh Andrews and Dillon Gordon on the practice squad, they have injury replacements in house. However, it is a little concerning that Chance Warmack, a Jeff Stoutland favorite, made the roster despite not offering positional versatility or impressing in camp.

Five running backs however makes no sense. Last season the fourth most used running back on each team averaged 16 rushing attempts. Only four teams had at least twice as many carries by their fourth runner, thirteen teams had their fourth running back in single digits. Byron Marshall was 5th among Eagles running backs in carries, he spent 14 weeks on the practice squad. Fifth string running backs are readily available during the season, as are one dimensional runners like Corey Clement. In an era where running the ball is becoming less and less frequent, loading the roster with them is counter productive.

Individually, none of these decisions are crippling. Draft classes aren’t made or broken in year one, and it is unrealistic to expect the back of drafts to provide instant contributors. But when they affect the makeup of a roster, that’s an issue, potentially a larger one of player evaluation. The Eagles are carrying five running backs because Donnel Pumphrey looks overmatched in the NFL. They’re carrying six wide receivers because Shelton Gibson can’t catch.

The Eagles aren’t losing the Super Bowl because they kept Corey Clement over a ninth offensive lineman, another young cornerback, or Billy Brown. But a supposedly rebuilding team isn’t helped by inactive draft picks, nor is a supposedly improving team helped when undrafted free agents out-perform draft picks who should be offering depth. After having the worst skill position players in the league last year, it’s a little damning that the team’s draft picks at those positions are at the bottom of the roster.





[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 09:49:52 EDT from rss

Subject: Doug Pederson plans on implementing a new method to develop Eagles

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Trust The Process.

When the Philadelphia Eagles announced their roster cuts this weekend, it was evident the team did not simply keep their 53 best players.

If that was the case, Shelton Gibson and Donnel Pumphrey would not have made the team. The rookie draft picks really struggled this summer. Bryce Treggs, who ended up landing on the practice squad, clearly outplayed Gibson. Pumphrey was outperformed by rookie rusher Corey Clement and even Byron Marshall.

Despite this truth, the Eagles opted to show patience with their young players. Howie Roseman talked about the challenge of not wanting to give up on them despite the bad tape they’ve put out.

Yeah, I think it also goes back to how much time you're really giving these guys. And then what we think when we're drafting them. The conversation we had this morning is, when we drafted every single one of those guys, including some of the guys we let go, we're not just going, ‘Hey, we just made that pick.’ We're excited.

And when we make the decision to pick them, we have conversations like, ‘Hey, this guy may not be ready Day One; this guy may need some time. Here are the things he may need to work on.’ We try to balance that. But we are also going to make a concerted effort to try to develop them and spend the time, not just reading off cards on scout team, but really spending time with them and developing the person and the player and try to help them on some of the deficiencies that maybe they have.

Roseman wasn’t just posturing when he was talking about developing the young players.

On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson revealed he plans to implement a new method to develop guys on the bottom of the roster and the practice squad.

HOW WILL YOU FOCUS ON DEVELOPING PLAYERS?

I think with that bottom third or so of the roster, and one thing I’m going to implement this year is actually time spent after practice with those guys. Developing their talents. They more than likely don’t and won’t get a bunch of reps obviously with the offense or defense from a game plan standpoint. They get all the service team reps, as you know.

But at the same time we want to make sure we’re maximizing their talents and also maximizing my young coaches that are on staff. By developing those guys and spending time after practice for 10-12 minutes and just going through drill work specific to what we’re doing offensively and defensively. We don’t let those guys sort of just drift by the wayside, so to speak. We continue to watch their development and watch their growth.

HOW MUCH CAN THE HEAD COACH AND MAIN COORDINATORS HELP GIVEN THEIR NORMAL RESPONSIBILITIES?

It won’t fall on the coordinators as much. It’ll fall on the position coaches. And they’re responsible for detailing the work of these younger players. And then our assistants, our quality control coaches, and offensive or defensive assistant coaches will be able to take these players onto the field after practice and put them through some fundamentals and some drill work that will keep them coming along.

HOW IMPORTANT IS TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP GUYS LIKE DONNEL PUMPHREY AND SHELTON GIBSON?

It’s very important that we continue to develop all of those [young] guys, especially the two you mentioned, because you never know. They’re one play away from being active. Being in a football game. I’ve been in that situation before so I understand.

So my message to the practice squad players and the guys on the 53 that could potentially be a healthy scratch on a game day, my message is this: you’re a snap or two from entering a football game. So we have to, as coaches, we’ve got to make sure we’re doing our part by helping them and developing them so if and when that day comes they’re ready to play.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE WINNING EACH WEEK VERSUS DEVELOPING PLAYERS?

It’s a little bit of a fine line because obviously, my focus, and the coordinators’ focus, and really the position coaches’ focus, is on that specific game plan and that week. But we also know that part of our jobs, too, is to maintain the development of our younger players. And we’ve just got to continue to do that. Really, I’ve been on the practice squad, so I understand that you’re constantly looking at a card. And it may not be what we do offensively or defensively, but to get those 10-12 minutes after practice repping plays that we do or a route or a drop [into coverage] by a DB or linebacker, is valuable for that person’s growth and development the entire season.

Pederson is hardly re-inventing the wheel with his plan to have assistant coaches work with young players after practice. But his methodology does show an increased emphasis on player development.

Earlier this summer, Pederson revealed his new approach to training camp practice. Instead of having the entire team stand on the sidelines while one group of players practices on the field, the Eagles split their units with the main coaches and coordinators working with the starters while position coaches and assistants worked with the reserves.

Now that the regular season is here, the main focus will be winning each week, as it should be. But it’s nice to see the Eagles are still making some time for player development as well. We’ll see if it pays off, eventually.





[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 09:04:42 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 1 Edition

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Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.

Football is back! We're just two days away from the 2017 NFL regular season kickoff game on Thursday night. The Kansas City Chiefs will face the New England Patriots in Foxboro to open the new year.

Now that the NFL season is back, so is everyone's most favorite activity: NFL Power Rankings. Oh yes, it's that time of year to see where all 32 teams rank for the first time. Let's dive right in.

BLG's WEEK 1 NFL POWER RANKINGS

1 - New England Patriots - Pretty obvious, right? There’s some thought the defending Super Bowl LI champions are realistically chasing 19-0 this year after making a lot of trades (such as for Brandin Cooks) and roster upgrades this offseason. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still on top and everyone’s trying to knock them off.

2 - Atlanta Falcons - More than six months later, still pretty hard to believe the Falcons blew that 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t ever want to go through that. Maybe Atlanta can redeem themselves this year. They did so well on offense last year (33.8 points scored per game) that there’s reason for optimism. It remains to be seen how things hold up with Kyle Shanahan gone.

3 - Seattle Seahawks - Seattle still has an insanely strong home field advantage, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and a strong defense. There’s no question they’re still among the top teams in the NFC.

4 - Green Bay Packers - The Packers got off to a 4-6 start last year before finishing out the season on a six-game win streak. Then they knocked off the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Turns out that Aaron Rodgers guy is still pretty great.

5 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Le’Veon Bell is back in time for the season, which is great news for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense should be dangerous yet again.

6 - Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs have had a lot of regular season success since Andy Reid arrived in KC but haven’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Sounds familiar.

7 - Dallas Cowboys - There’s so much uncertainty with the Cowboys given the Ezekiel Elliott situation. If he misses a full six games due to suspension, that’s a huge loss for Dallas. Even if Zeke doesn’t miss time, the Cowboys have had a number of players get suspended/injured/arrested this offseason. It’s hard to imagine them going 13-3 again. The Cowboys seem poised to take some kind of step back in 2017.

8 - Oakland Raiders - The addition of Beast Mode makes this Raiders team even more fun. We’ll see just how effective he is after spending time away in retirement.

9 - Arizona Cardinals - Why are the Cardinals ranked so high after going 7-8-1 last year? Well, Arizona did have the league’s seventh best point differential in 2016. Bruce Arians is still a good head coach, as much as I don’t like to admit it, and Carson Palmer had a good preseason. I do wonder how Palmer, who turns 38 in December, will hold up over the season.

10 - Tennessee Titans - This is the year the Titans rise up and take the AFC South. Tennessee has a bright young quarterback in Marcus Mariota (should of kept). The team has done a nice job of surrounding him with a strong offensive line, a reliable running game, and new offensive weapons such as Corey Davis.

11 - New York Giants - Yes, the Giants had a really good defense last year. Yes, the Giants added some more weapons to their offense this year. But why should I care about that so much when they still don’t have a good offensive line? Eli Manning turns 37 in January and I’m pretty sure his best football is behind him.

12 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This Bucs team seems like it’s on the rise after going 9-7 last year and just missing the playoffs. Tampa Bay made some big offensive additions this offseason by signing DeSean Jackson and drafting O.J. Howard. Those are great assets for Jameis Winston.

13 - Philadelphia Eagles - Lucky No. 13 for your Philadelphia Eagles. I’m bullish on the Birds as an above average team despite the fact they went 7-9 last year. The Eagles had the ninth best point differential in 2016 and they’re likely to take a step forward this year. The Eagles actually surrounded Carson Wentz with some weapons. As a result, the second-year passer looked great during training camp and the preseason games. On defense, Philadelphia’s pass rush figures to cause trouble for the offenses that they’ll face. This Eagles roster isn’t without concerns (see: the running game), but it’s improved from last year. The Eagles will push for a playoff spot this season.

14 - Detroit Lions - The Lions are almost the opposite of the 2016 Eagles. Instead of being unlucky in close games, they were the fortunate ones. Detroit had the 12th worst point differential in the league last year. I think they’re much more likely to take a step back or stay the same rather than improve.

15 - Baltimore Ravens - Not sure where to put the Ravens. Baltimore went 8-8 last year. They could be better this year, but Joe Flacco missing most of the offseason isn’t encouraging. Baltimore still has a good defense, so who knows.

16 - Minnesota Vikings - This is the perfect ranking for the Vikings because it’s right in the middle of the rankings: mediocrity. Sam Bradford is going to checkdown all the way to an 8-8 season ... which would mark a career high in wins for him.

17 - Denver Broncos - I’m skeptical of the Broncos. Trevor Siemian just doesn’t do much for me. I also think Denver’s defense might start to fall off, even if just a little bit. It’s not easy to sustain the kind of success they’ve had. The loss of Wade Phillips will only make it more difficult.

18 - Miami Dolphins - Jay Cutler played his best football under Adam Gase so the Dolphins have that going for them. They also still have a lot of talent on that defensive line. The Dolphins have no shot to win the AFC East but maybe they can push for a wild card spot yet again.

19 - New Orleans Saints - The Saints still have Drew Brees so the offense should still be pretty good. The absence of Willie Snead early in the season (three game suspension) and Brandin Cooks (traded away) might hurt early on. I’ll also refuse to believe their defense is any good until I see it first.

20 - Washington Redskins - Washington actually made some decent personnel moves despite their front office dysfunction this offseason. It’s still hard to feel great about this team’s outlook when Kirk Cousins is virtually guaranteed to be gone after this year. It doesn’t help that Cousins lost two of his best weapons in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon.

21 - Cincinnati Bengals - Marvin Lewis is on the hot seat. He really needs to have a good season haha who am I kidding he’ll be in Cincy forever.

22 - Carolina Panthers - One of the hardest teams to figure out. The 2015 NFC Champions could very easily bounce back in 2017. Or they could suck again this year, I don’t know. Wait and see mode.

23 - Houston Texans - How could I rank the nine-win Texans so low? It’s quite simple: they’re not good. Only six teams ranked worse in point differential last season. The Texans are starting “Tom Savage” at quarterback.

24 - Los Angeles Chargers - I really believe the Chargers aren’t going to have any kind of significant home field advantage this year. I don’t think fans will be missing all that much. Plagued by the injury bug in 2016, the Chargers are already dealing with significant injuries before the season has started.

25 - Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff was incredibly bad as a rookie. He’s still young so there’s clearly room for improvement. Personally, I’m not counting on big things from him. The only reason the Rams aren’t ranked lower is because of their defense. With that said, Aaron Donald is holding out, so maybe I have LA too high here.

26 - Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck is out for at least the first week of the season. It sounds like he could miss several games. The Colts are poised for a bad year.

27 - San Francisco 49ers - I’m intrigued by the Kyle Shanahan 49ers. I don’t think they’ll be great or anything given their quarterback situation, but I do think they can be less bad.

28 - Buffalo Bills - Are the Bills tanking? They’re certainly not going all out to win. I really think Tyrod Taylor’s time as a starter will only last for so long before Nathan Peterman takes over.

29 - Cleveland Browns - DeShone Kizer has shown a lot more promise than anything other Browns quarterback lately, which isn’t saying much at all. The Browns are still the Browns until they prove otherwise, but there’s some more talent on this roster than other bottom teams.

30 - Chicago Bears - You can throw Mike Glennon’s career stats at me all you want (and some random Oregon beat writer who hates Carson Wentz did that to me) but I don’t care. The Bears QB situation isn’t good. Mitch Trubisky might eventually be something, but for now the Bears still aren’t good.

31 - Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars benched Blake Bortles in the preseason ... only to name him their Week 1 starter. This team is pretty depressing.

32 - New York Jets - The Jets have assembled the worst group of quarterbacks in the NFL. Tanking.





[#] Tue Sep 05 2017 07:13:36 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Carson Wentz shares funny stories about interactions with Philadelphia fans

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/5/17.

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

Carson Wentz still adjusting to being 'the man' in Philly - CSN Philly
"My brother and I and his wife were going to dinner in the spring and some guy knew who I was and just kept walking by, but kept screaming, ‘You’re the (expletive) man,’ and started doing the Eagles' chant," Wentz said. "Like the whole street was doing it. That’s Philly right there. That’s what they’re all about. It was hilarious.”

Doug Pederson explains how the Eagles will rotate their running backs in 2017 - BGN
How the Eagles deploy their running games is one thing. How effective they’ll be is another. Last year, Philadelphia ranked 11th in total rushing yards. The Eagles were only tied for 18th in yards per attempt, however. Given the talent at the position, it’s hard to expect a major upgrade in 2017. The preseason didn’t do much to assuage concerns about the Eagles’ ground game. Blount, the team’s potential starter, ran the ball 13 times for a mere gain of 36 yards (2.8 average). Smallwood show some nice burst this summer. The problem is he’s had issues staying healthy. Sproles was a healthy scratch the entire preseason as the team planned to preserve him for when the real games start.

BGN Radio #257: Breaking down the final 53 - BGNRadio.com
James Seltzer and Brandon Gowton go over the final 53 man roster, practice squad, the Eagles keeping 5 RBs, Shelton Gibson making the team, Chance Warmack getting an extension and a lot more!

More on Warmack - Iggles Blitz
Warmack played LG and RG this summer. He was up and down. He is a good run blocker, using his size and strength to control defenders and get movement off the ball. Pass protection is where he struggles. Warmack can look really good when he’s playing with balance and gets his hands on the defender. He has 34 3/4-inch arms and can use that length to keep rushers from getting into his body. The pass protection struggles are due to a couple of issues. Warmack doesn’t always use good footwork. He can get off-balance and then ends up reaching for the defender. That negates his size and strength. Warmack also doesn’t always use his hands well. He has a bad habit of grabbing the rusher. That leads to holding penalties and missed blocks.

Carson Wentz reflects on 'interesting waters' he was forced to navigate - ESPN
“It was a challenge. I think the biggest thing for me, because that is natural -- I do like to kind of take charge to some extent -- but I think the biggest thing was that I recognized the writing on the wall. I was the second overall pick," he said. "I knew that I was going to be the guy in time. If I was a sixth-round pick and I knew my role from the jump, I would have owned that role and made the most of it. But I knew it was just a matter of time. So how do I assert myself now even though I’m the [No. 3 quarterback]? It was some interesting waters, to some extent.

Who Is Carson Wentz, Face Of The Eagles? - PE.com
“I’m pretty simple. I do like being low-key, I do like being private, for the most part. I think this business, this world that I’ve come into, is really cool, but it can be a lot sometimes and sometimes it’s just nice to go home and be chill and be away from everything, but it’s cool at the same time,” Wentz said recently to a pool of reporters at the NovaCare Complex. “I definitely do enjoy it. There are perks of it. Honestly, seeing kids and stuff? That part’s really cool. Seeing how excited they can get. ... But honestly, what people know about me, that’s who I am and what I am and really not a lot more to it.”

Doug Pederson deserves more credit than he's getting - Daily News
Pederson might not be a great coach, or even a good one, but it takes a certain level of competency to lead a team to seven wins with a rookie quarterback, a suspended right tackle, and a roster that the previous guy supposedly decimated. There are a lot of NFL head coaches who had a lot more experience than Pederson who never came close to winning seven games in a season.

2017 PFF All-Preseason Team - Pro Football Focus
Interior Defender: Elijah Qualls, Philadelphia Eagles, 85.9 overall grade — Qualls’ play this preseason was too good not to include him among the league’s top defensive performers. He racked up two sacks and nine total pressures, and was even better against the run, where he posted five stops.

New Eagles practice squad QB Nate Sudfeld meets familiar faces in Philly - PennLive
After the Eagles moved up to take Carson Wentz No. 2 overall that year and Washington nabbed Sudfeld in the sixth round, Philly's coaches reached out to encourage the signal-caller. "I got to know them pretty well in the draft process, and then, obviously, they drafted Carson, but they still texted me and said, 'Hey, we feel like you're going to have a great career,'" Sudfeld said. "They always kind of seemed to be interested."

Buffalo Bills sign QB Joe Webb, release Colt Anderson - Buffalo Rumblings
Two familiar names.

Le’Veon Bell ends holdout and rejoins Steelers - SB Nation
Running back Le’Veon Bell predictably held out of training camp when the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to sign him to a long-term extension, but he was always expected to be available for the regular season. Bell finally ended his holdout on Sept. 1, just as he promised a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, the team announced Bell had officially signed his franchise tender. Bell will earn $12.120 million on the one-year franchise tag. Despite missing the entire preseason, Bell is ready to go.

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[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 18:14:49 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles stash two players on the injured reserve list

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Leading up to the NFL roster cuts deadline, many speculated that the Eagles might try to stash the likes of 2017 draft picks Donnel Pumphrey and/or Nate Gerry on the season-ending injured reserve list with a “phantom” injury. Neither player ended up making it there; Pumphrey was kept on the 53-man roster and Gerry is on the practice squad.

But the Eagles DID end up stashing two young players on the injured reserve list after all. Alex McCalister and Tre Sullivan are both officially now on the Eagles’ IR list after going unclaimed from when the Eagles’ waived/injured them, as confirmed by PhillyVoice.

Both McCalister and Sullivan suffered injuries in Philadelphia’s final preseason game against the New York Jets on Thursday. Neither player will be eligible to play or practice this season, but they will remain under team control. This means they’ll both likely be around to compete for a roster spot next offseason.

McCalister, a seventh round pick in 2016, showed some nice flashes of potential this summer. He wouldn’t have made the roster, though, because the Eagles are really deep at defensive end and Steven Means beat him out for the fifth DE spot. After spending his entire rookie season on IR, McCalister will have to do the same again this year. This gives the 23-year-old McCalister more time to add strength and develop his body. Maybe he can beat out Means next year.

As for Sullivan, the undrafted rookie really caught everyone’s attention when he laid out some nasty hits against the Packers. One of the collisions hospitalized Packers wide receiver Malachi Dupre, which was scary. Sullivan showed some nice coverage skills in addition to being a physical player. The Eagles are already very deep at safety in 2017 but Corey Graham, who turns 33 next summer, is a free agent after this year. Sullivan could push to become the Eagles’ third safety in the future.

McCalister and Sullivan are just two of five players on the Eagles’ IR list. The other three, per the team’s official website, include: undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Randall Goforth, 2016 UDFA signing Aziz Shittu, and wide receiver Dom Williams. Philadelphia can waive any of those players at any time off the IR list with an injury settlement. For now, it looks like they want to stash some of those young guys in the hopes that they can contribute beyond this season.





[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 15:36:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Doug Pederson explains how the Eagles will rotate their running backs in 2017

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RBBC.

To no one’s surprise, the Philadelphia Eagles’ running game will consist of a running-back-by-committee approach for another season.

Doug Pederson essentially said as much during his press conference on Monday.

HOW WILL THE RUNNING BACKS BE USED?

“Well, I think number one, obviously, we’re not going to take five into the game. One of them will be [inactive], obviously. Maybe even two, depending on our needs for that particular week. And now that we get into these weeks, begin to game plan a little bit and get a little specific with guys by personnel, by play type, and really hone that in this week. So it starts on Wednesday. We begin our base game plan. And then we carry it on to Thursday, Friday, and get these guys going.”

HOW WILL YOU DECIDE WHICH RUNNING BACKS ARE ACTIVE? IS IT BASED ON THE GAME PLAN? OR MERIT?

“It’s game plan specific. We go into each game — and of course, injury, obviously plays a part into that as we get going. [It’s] by game plan and how we want to utilize our running backs. It’s week-to-week.”

IS LEGARRETTE BLOUNT THE FEATURED BACK AS FAR AS YOU WANT TO SPLIT CARRIES?

“Again, it goes back to the game plan, quite honestly. We understand that LeGarrette might be a little different runner even than [Darren] Sproles and Wendell [Smallwood]. So I think it’s game-plan specific. It’s hard to go into a game saying, ‘LeGarrette, you’re going to get X number of touches’ because you never know what the game’s gonna — what circumstances might be posed during the game. So it’s going to be a great effort by all three guys each and every week. Want to get all of them obviously involved in the game plan.”

IS IT BETTER TO HAVE A DOMINANT RUNNING BACK AS OPPOSED TO SPLITTING BY COMMITTEE?

“I think you can. You can have a runner that you kind of hang your hat on. And again, I don’t want to just sit here and say that, ‘Darren, you’re obviously a third down guy’ or ‘Wendell, you’re a first, second, and third down guy’ because we want to get all of these guys involved in the game plan. I think it’s important to what we do. If LeGarrette has the hot hand, he continues to carry the ball. If it’s Wendell, it’s Wendell. Again, I can’t sit here and tell you exactly how many touches these guys are going to get. But at the same time, that when we put game plans together, we’re very mindful of not only the run game but the pass game with these guys too.”

How the Eagles deploy their running games is one thing. How effective they’ll be is another.

Last year, Philadelphia ranked 11th in total rushing yards. The Eagles were only tied for 18th in yards per attempt, however.

Given the talent at the position, it’s hard to expect a major upgrade in 2017. The preseason didn’t do much to assuage concerns about the Eagles’ ground game. Blount, the team’s potential starter, ran the ball 13 times for a mere gain of 36 yards (2.8 average). Smallwood show some nice burst this summer. The problem is he’s had issues staying healthy. Sproles was a healthy scratch the entire preseason as the team planned to preserve him for when the real games start.

Then there’s the blocking. There’s an expectation that the Eagles will have one of the NFL’s better offensive lines in the league this year. That may turn out to be true, but there were some issues with that unit in the preseason. Pederson suggested the blocking would look better once the offense starts to game plan for their opponents, which is exactly what the Eagles will be doing as they prepare to play the Washington Redskins this Sunday.

Pederson claimed the Eagles’ carries will be split up by match-up, but he also noted the team is likely to stick with the hot hand. The feeling here is Blount will get a lot of work early in the season. If he struggles, the Eagles will start relying on Smallwood more often. Sproles should have his usual role no matter what.

As for Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey, we probably won’t see much of them this year, barring injury. If the Eagles keep four running backs active, Clement is likely to be the fourth guy due to his ability to contribute on special teams. Pumphrey told reports he expects to be inactive in Week 1.

The Eagles’ running back rotation is fluid. It’ll be an interesting situation to monitor as the season goes along.





[#] Mon Sep 04 2017 13:33:30 EDT from rss

Subject: Doug Pederson responds to Michael Lombardi

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Doug took the high road.

In case you missed it over the weekend, former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi unleashed a flaming hot take about Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Lombardi specifically said that Pederson is the least qualified coach he’s ever seen in the last 30 years of the NFL.

On Monday, Pederson was asked about Lombardi’s comments during his press conference. Here’s what Pederson had to say.

“I haven’t seen the article. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. So I don’t pay attention to that. I mean, listen. I’m confident in what I do. He’s not in the building. I coach our coaches and coach our players. I think if you ask any one of our players or their assistant coaches, I think they would maybe say something a little bit different. I have not read the article. So I can’t respond to it.”

Another reporter followed up by providing more context on what Lombardi said regarding Pederson’s lack of qualifications.

“Somebody here —- Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie, Howie [Roseman], the guys — thought I was qualified. So, in my opinion, that’s good enough for me. Again, this organization is behind me 100%. Again, I think you could ask the guys in the locker room. That’s my concern. That’s my focus.”

Pederson could have fired back at Lombardi, but he opted to take the high road instead. Moving on.





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