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[#] Mon May 08 2017 15:38:08 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Trade Rumors: Eagles, Saints discussing Mark Ingram for Jason Kelce deal

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The answer at RB?

So it looks like our earlier suggestion about the Eagles trading Jason Kelce for Mark Ingram might not just be speculation after all. Check out what Kyle Scott of Crossing Broad is hearing.

Indeed, I heard from a Little Birdie that the Eagles and Saints have spoken about said potential trade, and that discussions are still in the very early stages. Whether a deal gets done is still up in the air, but it would make sense for both teams.

As always, all rumors must be taken with a grain of salt. But with that said, Crossing Broad has done a great job of reporting on the Eagles this offseason. They nailed: the Alshon Jeffery signing, the Stefen Wisniewski re-signing, the Chris Long signing, the Eagles playing the Raiders on Christmas day, and the Eagles drafting a defensive end in the first round (Derek Barnett). That’s a pretty good track record. It’s interesting, then, to hear that there might be some substance to this Kelce-for-Ingram trade.

The trade would certainly make sense for both sides. The Saints need a center after losing current starter Max Unger, 31, to a foot injury. He’d be an instant starter for New Orleans. Philadelphia could easily replace Kelce with either Wisniewski or 2016 third-round pick Isaac Seumalo. The Eagles desperately need help at running back since they currently only have Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Corey Clement in the plans for 2017. Ingram would give the Eagles a real lead back in their committee approach.

The Saints might be willing to part with Ingram after signing Adrian Peterson and giving up a 2018 second-round pick in order to trade up for Alvin Kamara. New Orleans could also just easily keep the 27-year-old Ingram since he’s on a very reasonable contract and he’s coming off a strong year. He rushed for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns in 2016. He also logged 46 receptions for 319 yards and four receiving scores.

Ingram for Kelce straight up doesn’t seem like a realistic trade. Ingram is younger than Kelce (who turns 30 in November) and has been the better player lately. There might need to be some draft picks involved. It’s worth noting the Eagles own three fourth round selections in 2018: their own, a pick from Vikings via the Sam Bradford trade, and a pick from the Patriots via the Eric Rowe trade (the Rowe pick can become as high as a third, by the way). So maybe Kelce and a fourth for Ingram?

Philadelphia and New Orleans engaged in trade conversations earlier this offseason about Brandin Cooks. The two sides ultimately couldn’t get a deal done, however, and Cooks was sent to the New England Patriots. Maybe both sides can find a resolution that makes sense for both teams this time around.





[#] Mon May 08 2017 12:33:05 EDT from rss

Subject: Pro Football Focus loves the Eagles

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High praise.

The Philadelphia Eagles2017 NFL Draft class has garnered a lot of praise recently.

NFL.com didn’t just give the Eagles the best draft grades in the NFC East; they also said the Eagles had the best draft class in the entire league.

Pro Football Focus has also been high on the Eagles’ draft class. It’s part of why they named Philadelphia the most improved team in the division. PFF went more into why they like the Eagles’ draft class during their recent podcast (hat tip to @Brendanekstrom). Transcript below:

STEVE PALAZZOLO: Let’s go to the Eagles, staying in the NFC East. I’ll let you rave about Derek Barnett, their first round pick at 14, but I really loved what the Eagles did the first four rounds, really. They got a lot of talent. Actually, all the way to five rounds. I love what the Eagles did all the way around. So start with Barnett, I’ll let you rave about him. You kept watching him quite closely during the entire draft process. I feel like you might have been putting Barnett closer to the Myles Garrett pedestal than even some others at PFF.

SAM MONSON: Yeah, I love certainly their first two picks. I’m a huge fan of [their draft]. I think Sidney Jones may have been the most talented corner in this entire draft class, but the guy injured himself, tearing his Achilles at his pro day. And people were talking about him as a mid-round guy, a lost cause. Whereas, even if he misses his entire rookie season, which is possible, or he’s not the same guy in his entire rookie season, even if you get the next three years out of him and then re-sign him to another deal and he’s as good as you thought he was, it’s still a steal, and especially in the second round.

STEVE: Absolutely.

SAM: Derek Barnett, I think is a phenomenal player. I think this guy was overlooked the entire pre-draft process. But the bottom line is, this guy pretty much matched Myles Garrett — if not outperformed him — from a pass rushing standpoint for three straight seasons in the SEC. Did more of his damage against the SEC than Myles Garrett did. There were less kind of cupcakes on [Barnett’s] schedule where he tore a guy a new one and racked up a huge amount of his pressure in that way. And when you put on the tape, this guy has ridiculous bend and dip around the edge that you just don’t see from very many pass rushers. And his ability to just hit the ground like horizontally and scoot his way around offensive tackles is completely unmatched in this draft class. And basically the only negative against him is that his workout numbers weren’t phenomenal. But frankly, when you’re putting up that much pressure, I don’t care.

STEVE: And in both workouts, his agent did step up and say — now whether this is just agent speak or not, making excuses for the player — “sick at the Combine, and then injured at pro day.” And again, if it’s just making excuses, that’s one thing, if there’s some validity to it, then, again, it’s a steal. We had him at number three on our final draft board because what we’ve seen in our three years of PFF, guys that dominate at the college level on the defensive line, I mean crush the PFF system, they’ve generally translated to the NFL. If you pair it with athleticism, all the better, so that’s why we feel good about Myles Garrett. Barnett has enough athleticism, I think. But certainly has that three years of production. Just knows how to beat blocks. Knowing how to beat blockers translates to the NFL, believe it or not.

SAM: The other thing is, he’s athletic in the right ways. He doesn’t have a great 40 time, but he has a ridiculously good three cone time, I’m pretty sure. And doesn’t have a great vertical leap, but I would imagine he can, you know when they do that drill at the Combine, where they basically run around a big hoop? With speed? I would imagine his time on that is phenomenal, because that’s what he does well. […]

STEVE: I agree with you on the Sidney Jones thing, first round talent. One of my draft axioms, Sam, that I tweeted out before the draft: you’re not just drafting for this year. And if you have that long term aspect to it, you have two first round talents. I mean, Sidney Jones was going to be a top fifteen pick. And a lot of what I kept saying was the other cornerbacks, Marlon Humphrey, Adoree’ Jackson, those guys were drafted in the spot that should have been Sidney Jones if he did not get hurt.

SAM: And there’s a lot of teams out there that don’t even play these guys year one. If you look at the Minnesota Vikings last year, the Arizona Cardinals, those guys basically didn’t play any of their rookies last year. So even if Sidney Jones misses this entire year, the worst case scenario is you’re in that kind of situation. You’re in exactly the situation as those guys who voluntarily didn’t play their top rookies.

STEVE: Very true. So I like that pick, they doubled up at corner with Rasul Douglas, cornerback out of West Virginia. A little bit different. 6-2, with press coverage ability. Played a lot of off coverage at West Virginia, but if you saw him at the Senior Bowl, he was playing press, he was trying to figure out just how much he could get away with from a contact standpoint. Certainly worth — he has the frame and the body to play press. And good ball skills. Love that value at that point in the draft.

And then I have to talk about Mack Hollins in the fourth. That guy just has a second gear at wide receiver that most guys don’t have. And there was so many plays on tape where he’s just on top of the cornerback and then by him. I know he only ran in the low 4.5’s at the Combine, but he pulled up, was hurt. I don’t care what his 40 time says. He’s the guy that has that build up speed that shows up on the field. 20 out of 81 catches went for touchdowns. Averaged over 20 yards per catch at North Carolina. Love the value in the fourth. He’s a special teams ace. He’s an ace. He’s going to provide a lot of value, I think. Has a chance to become a deep threat for Carson Wentz.

Donnel Pumphrey, the little — the little, little running back — at 160 something pounds, but he plays bigger than that. He’s going to look like [Darren] Sproles but not as built, not as stout as Sproles. But man, they just added a lot of good, productive talent. Shelton Gibson, another deep threat wide receiver out of West Virginia.

And one other guy I want to highlight: Nathan Gerry, fifth round safety out of Nebraska. I kept saying in the right scheme, scheme that plays a lot of Cover 2, Cover 4, two high type of looks, he’s a very, very good safety. No. 2 coverage grade in both 2014 and 2016 coming out of Nebraska. Had some tackling issues his first couple years that we graded, tied those up a little bit last year, I think that was really good value in the fifth.

Hey, the Eagles added a lot of talent in this draft.

SAM: Yeah, the Eagles are one of my favorite drafts of the league this season. I think they did an excellent job.

STEVE: I’ve done a lot of radio this week, and I kept deferring to two other teams, the Cowboys as one of my favorite, the 49ers as one of my favorites. I think I forgot about the Eagles to highlight them.

It was already known PFF liked the Eagles’ draft class before they even said so, though. A number of the players the Eagles drafted graded out favorably by PFF’s system. Barnett ranked third on PFF’s top 32 prospects while Jones ranked 19th. Barnett, Hollins, and Gerry all appear in PFF’s list of of top 10 prospects they’re higher on than everyone else.

1 - Derek Barnett - This one should come as no surprise. We’ve been pumping Barnett as the closest thing to Myles Garrett in this class for the last couple of years. The athleticism numbers are certainly concerning, but they aren’t devastatingly prohibitive—especially considering that the former Volunteer was still well above average in the 3-cone (6.96 seconds). Barnett led the entire FBS by a good margin with 37 combined sacks and hits last season. In each of the past two seasons, he’s actually graded out higher overall than Myles Garrett. Barnett is a special talent, just without special athleticism.

4 - Nathan Gerry - In terms of production grades at the safety position in 2016, LSU’s Jamal Adams was PFF’s top safety. It may surprise that second on that list was the unheralded Nebraska safety, Nathan Gerry, who collected four interceptions and six more pass breakups. What’s even more impressive, though, is that he allowed only one completion of 20-plus yards into his coverage all season long. That reliability on the back end has considerable value in the NFL.

8 - Mack Hollins - It’s difficult to get too excited about a receiver with 81 catches on 144 targets over the past three seasons, but that’s exactly how we feel about Mack Hollins. Hollins turned those 81 catches into 1,667 yards for a per catch average of 20.6 yards. At 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds, that is ridiculous big-play ability. His speed is so easy and formidable at his size that he could develop into a terrifying deep threat.

Of course, only time will tell if the hype surrounding the Eagles’ 2017 draft class is worth it. In the meantime it’s fair to wonder if Howie Roseman and/or Joe Douglas have a PFF subscription.





[#] Tue May 09 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Wayne Simmonds appreciation edition.

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

*Wayne Simmonds had a super solid year on a pretty crappy team and we should all appreciate that. [BSH]

*You know who else had a great season? The Lehigh Valley Phantoms. [Phantoms Hockey]

*The Flyers moved from #13 overall to #2 overall in this year's entry draft. Did you know that? [Inquirer]

*Dean Lombardi? Nah we're good no thanks. [BSH]

*Travis Konecny continues to kick ass at the Worlds for Team Canada. [Sons of Penn]

*The IIHF hasn't given up hope on the NHL participating in the upcoming Olympics, so maybe we shouldn't either. [Puck Daddy]

*The World Cup of Hockey may take a hit though, if the league locks out again when the current CBA expires in 2020. [TSN]

*Dan Carcillo continues to prove what a good dude he is by devoting his retirement to helping other hockey players get healthy and happy. [CSN Chicago]

*This piece on how Alain Vigneault's terrible lineup decisions are hurting the New York Rangers' chances should be relevant to your interests. [Puck Daddy]





[#] Tue May 09 2017 11:00:05 EDT from rss

Subject: No, the Flyers are not going to trade Sean Couturier

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The gang is joined by BSH mainstay Kurt R. to discuss all of the trades the Flyers are not going to make.

BSH Radio welcomes Kurt R. to the show as the post-lottery victory hangover is finally starting to wear off. Bad trade ideas are the topics of the night, as the gang rails against the unlikelihood of the #2 pick being shopped, and the misguided theory that winning that pick allows the Flyers to trade Sean Couturier.

Steph also vehemently expresses her belief that the word "elite" is overused in describing hockey players, while Charlie rails against the World Championships. The show ends on a positive note, however, as Oskar Lindblom's fantastic 2016-17 season and his chances of making the Flyers in September are evaluated.

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!





[#] Tue May 09 2017 14:50:27 EDT from rss

Subject: Nico Hischier vs. Nolan Patrick: 7 factors of Draft Boy Goodness

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The most important, in-depth analysis of Nico vs. Nolan you will find anywhere

There will be plenty of in-depth analysis on these two boys — Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier — in the coming weeks. Management, media, and fans alike will pick through their histories, their stats, their pedigrees, their highlight reels, their strengths, their weaknesses, their health.

Shit, probably even their DNA. Someone for sure is getting their filthy little hands deep in some sequences.

There will be some valuable information out there, some invaluable opinions too. Inevitably, there will be some nonsense. This is your formal welcome to the Nonsense Headquarters, also known as the pain zone.

Here, we will look at seven factors of Draft Boy Goodness (some leading field experts are now using the acronym DBG). Hopefully, by the end of this, you will have a better idea of who the Flyers will be drafting. As we all know, the team will be following this scientific and pragmatic approach to evaluation. You have my one hundred percent guarantee that the Flyers will be picking the boy I say at the end of this piece. Unless the fuckin’ Devils pick him first.


HAIR

 Getty Images
Both have fine hair, but between the eyebrows, there’s no competition.

This one is a no-brainer for me. I mean, if we were judging based solely on head hair, I’d be inclined to call it a draw. No receding hairlines in their futures, that’s for sure. That shit is dense.

Still, when evaluating hair, there is more to consider. Facial hair. Namely, eyebrows. Nico pulls lengths ahead in the category when you’re talking about eyebrows. God, they’re phenomenal. Great shape, good fullness, lots of character. No issues at all. No wonder he’s gonna be a top two draft pick.

EDGE: HISCHIER


TWITTER LIKES

While I must keep in mind that Nolan Patrick is a more avid Twitter user and thus might give him a slight advantage in both categories, Patrick’s likes are ... pretty good, to be honest. I mean, he’s got a thousand, so the only reasonable thing for me to do was search through all of them. A couple of questionable things from teen years aside, he has pretty good taste in music, reads his own hype shit, and is, in general, a big sports nerd. He likes things from just about every sport! Love to watch sports too! Seems like a good kid to me.

Hischier’s are equally good, but there are far less. I know people always talk about quality over quantity, but Nolan’s got both here! Sue me! Giving it to Patrick on this one.

EDGE: PATRICK


TWEETS

Teenage hockey boys have very similar Twitters in general. It is usually some combination of the following: team twitter retweets, heart-warming hockey stories, occasional other sport mentions or retweets, birthday wishes to teammates, friends, and significant others, hockey vines, normal vines, and pictures of their teammates sleeping on buses. For the purpose of this exercise, we will disregard these tweets and instead look at organic content.

When searching Patrick’s likes, I noticed pretty quickly that Nolan has obviously combed through his tweets at some point and deleted like, a dickload. How sad. Now we have a lot less to work with! Tragic. Regardless, Patrick’s tweets are fine. Nothing to shake a stick at, nothing to write home about. Just fine.

Hischier’s tweets, however, are very good. For instance, this picture.

Just imagine lil Neeks walkin’ around in those mushroom socks. Adorable. Just precious. He doesn’t tweet a lot, but the things he does tweet are priceless. A very good boy, indeed.

EDGE: HISCHIER


ABILITY TO CARRY THE BURDEN OF MY MENTAL ILLNESS

Both Patrick and Hischier participated in Bell Let’s Talk day, which means that they are both willing and able to shoulder the immense weight of my depression. Such nice boys.

DRAW


NAME

Nico Hischier’s name comes first alphabetically so this is obviously his for the taking.

Besides pure alphabetical reasons, my mom told me that you should never trust a person with two first names and that’s like, inarguably what Nolan Patrick has got. I mean, I don’t know if this is a thing that lots of moms spread around or just my mom, but have you ever met a person with two first names who has been an upstanding member of society? No, you haven’t. Because they’re freaks of nature. It makes no dang sense.

Also, Nico Hischier wins this because his name is kind of a sentence? If the correct pronunciation is what I’ve been told it is, his name could potentially sound like “Nico, he’s sheer.” Drama. Poignance. Eleganza. This one’s in the bag.

EDGE: HISCHIER


BUDDIES

Much like the prior category was Nico’s for that taking…, buddies? Oh, buddies is all Nolan’s.

You see, Nolan Patrick plays junior hockey for the Wheat Kings. Ever heard of ‘em? Yes, of course you have, because Ivan Provorov also played for the Wheat Kings. While I might have counted this previously in the “twitter likes” category, I feel the need to count it again. He publicly loves and supports Ivan Provorov’s dreams and wishes. You remember Ivan Provorov, right? Our boy? Our special boy who has never done a bad thing even once? Yeah, him. They’re buddies. Which means that ... honestly? Nolan Patrick just wins this category hands down. There’s just no competition to be had.

I’m sorry, Nico, I’m sure you’re a great friend, but if the Flyers could reunite two buddies, well, that would just mean the absolute world to me. It would probably be nice for them too.

EDGE: PATRICK


HOCKEY

I don’t know very much about hockey, I’m afraid, so I don’t think I’m qualified to comment on this. Actually, my lawyers have specifically told me not to comment on this or anything else. By virtue of the nature of silence, this category must be a draw.
DRAW


AT A GLANCE

So there you have it. Nico Hischier will absolutely be a Flyer. You heard it here first. You can thank me later when everything is going swimmingly, the Flyers have won their eighth consecutive Cup, and you specifically are a millionaire.





[#] Tue May 09 2017 17:30:33 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Spotlight: Ertz so Good!

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Welcome to Bleeding Green Nation’s newest offseason series! In the Eagles Spotlight series, Jonny Page and myself will be reviewing key plays from 2016. These plays can include, but are not limited to touchdowns and turnovers. For the first play of this series, I am going to review Zach Ertz’s second touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 17.

The Eagles come out in a five-wide set and the Cowboys come out in a nickel package with five defensive backs. Notice before the ball is snapped that the safety in the slot tips what he is going to do, which is blitz, when Wentz is calling out his cadence. Seeing this, Carson Wentz recognizes and knows that side of the field is likely to give him a favorable matchup with man coverage. The scheming is excellent against man, as the two receivers to the left clear out that side of the field on the smash concept by running their routes across the middle, leaving Ertz in a one-on-one situation against a linebacker who is heavily out leveraged to the spot of the play. Typically the smash concept has the underneath receiver running a hitch or curl route to stress the the defense, but the Eagles add two short-breaking in routes to help fool the defense.

The image above shows the routes run by each receiver and the man responsible for covering him. The defender circled at the top is the safety playing centerfield. Back to Ertz and how he wins on the play. When evaluating Doug Pederson’s performance as a head coach, you have to consider the scheme he ran and how he was able to get players open. Often Pederson would put his players in a position to succeed, and this play was no different. With no help overtop and being on the wrong side of the ball, the linebacker has no chance to make a play. The only way to truly defend the play in the coverage would be if the safety were shaded to the left side to help discourage Wentz, but even under that circumstance, the Cowboys were outmatched.

On the right side of the formation the outside receiver is running a post route, while the inside receiver is running a wheel route against a linebacker for a post-wheel concept. If the safety cheats over to the left, Wentz has the opportunity to expose the linebacker who is attempting to cover the wheel route. This pass would've required a little more touch, but either way, Wentz had numerous options no matter where he decided to go. The receivers running across the middle of the field had their defenders in the trail position due to the off coverage.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this will be a weekly series that Jonny and myself will be publishing. If you have any suggestions for plays you would like us to highlight or breakdown, feel free to tweet at either of us (@tjack94/@jonnypage9) or leave us a comment below!





[#] Tue May 09 2017 13:44:24 EDT from rss

Subject: 7 running backs the Eagles could sign or trade for

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What should the Eagles do?

The Philadelphia Eagles need a running back. You know this. I know this. It’s one of the main things everyone is talking about following the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Eagles currently only have four running backs on their roster: Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Corey Clement. I’m not counting Ryan Mathews since he’s expected to be cut at some point and Byron Marshall reportedly switched positions to wide receiver.

Some might believe the Eagles are OK with their current group, but I highly doubt it. Philadelphia was rumored to be enamored with Christian McCaffrey before he was selected at No. 8. The Eagles also reportedly tried to trade up for Dalvin Cook. Those players represent real lead back options that the Eagles still currently lack.

The Eagles might not be able to find their ideal long-term workhorse this offseason, but there are still some options out there for the Birds. Here’s a look at those options and the likelihood of them.

Mark Ingram

The Eagles and Saints are rumored to be discussing a Jason Kelce for Mark Ingram trade. This deal would make a lot of sense for both sides considering the Saints really need a center and the Eagles really need a running back. Ingram is coming off a season where he rushed for 1,043 yards at an impressive 5.1 average. Getting Ingram should make people feel a lot better about the Eagles’ backfield. He’s 27 years old and has two years left on his deal, so he wouldn’t just be a one-year fix for the Birds.

This deal might not materialize, however, now that there’s talk of injured Saints center Max Unger returning earlier than expected. Maybe the Eagles can try to offer Mychal Kendricks or something else to pry away Ingram from New Orleans.

Likelihood: There have been (rumored) trade talks, so I’d think there’s a chance.

Carlos Hyde

It feels like there’s been talk of Hyde potentially being on the outs in San Francisco for some time now. Doing nothing to quell this speculation is the fact the 49ers made a lot of moves at running back this offseason. New general manager John Lynch traded up in the draft to get Joe Williams, signed Tim Hightower in free agency, acquired veteran Kapri Bibbs in a trade with the Broncos, and even spent big money on free agent fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

If Hyde is the odd man out in San Francisco, the Eagles should look to capitalize. The former second round pick is only 25 years old. He has good size at 6-0, 235 pounds and he’s shown statistical promise. In 2016, he finished with 217 rushing attempts for 998 yards (4.6 average) and six touchdowns. He also had 33 receptions for 163 yards and three scores. Hyde fumbled five times last season so that’s not great. But he only fumbled twice in his first two years.

The 49ers reportedly showed interest in Mychal Kendricks earlier this offseason. San Francisco drafted Reuben Foster, so maybe they’re out on Kendricks now, but Foster might not be able to play in 2017 due to injury. Another thing worth noting is San Francisco lacks a fourth round selection in 2018 and the Eagles have three of those. Maybe there’s something that can get done here.

Likelihood: I’d say there’s a reasonable chance since it makes sense.

Jeremy Hill

Hill is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Meanwhile, the Bengals drafted Joe Mixon in the second round. Cincinnati also still employs Giovani Bernand and five other running backs on their roster. If Hill isn’t in the long-term plans, the Bengals could look to ship him out now while they can get value for him.

Getting the 24-year-old Hill would figure to be a buy-low move for the Eagles. After rushing for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in 2014, he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry in 2015 and 3.8 in 2016. Hill doesn’t offer much as a pass catcher, but he’s been a touchdown machine. He has 29 rushing scores (plus one receiving) over three seasons.

Likelihood: Could be a decent option if the Eagles can buy low on him.

LeGarrette Blount

One of the better free agents still on the market, the 30-year-old Blount ran for 1,161 yards and a whopping 18 touchdowns last season. He only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, though, and he offers nothing as a receiver. Blount would give the Eagles a nice physical presence in the backfield but I don’t figure him to be a realistic target.

Likelihood: Wouldn’t count on it. Other teams (Ravens, Giants, Lions) have been rumored to be interested in him, and he should fetch decent money on a one-year deal.

DeAngelo Williams

Williams, who turned 34 last month, has obviously had a very productive career. Does he still have any gas left in the tank? He only rushed for 343 yards and four scores on 98 carries last season. He’s not too far removed from a 2015 campaign where he had 907 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns along with 40 receptions for 367 receiving yards. Williams might be a decent stop-gap option if the Eagles get desperate, but again, I’m not counting on it.

Likelihood: Probably not very.

Rashad Jennings

This would make my mom very happy since she’s been enjoying Jennings on this season of Dancing with the Stars. But it wouldn’t make Eagles fans very happy because the 32-year-old Jennings hasn’t been very good. He averaged a mere 3.3 yards per carry in 2016. At 6-1, 234 pounds, he’s a big body that could eat up some snaps, but meh.

Likelihood: Pass.

Karlos Williams

Williams had a real promising rookie season with Buffalo in 2015. He ran for 517 yards and nine touchdowns on a mere 93 carries (5.6 average). But then Williams showed up to Bills camp overweight and also got hit with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Williams then received a 10-game suspension for his second violation after joining the Steelers. He’s had some non-football issues which has made him unreliable for NFL teams to keep him around. Williams is only 24 so maybe he’ll get things turned around one day, but I’m not expecting the Eagles to give him that chance right now.

Likelihood: Virtually zero.

Honorable mention

There’s a lot of other guys who can be mentioned in this space. A lot of these players are a dime a dozen. Chris Johnson, James Starks, Ronnie Hillman, Matt Asiata, Jonathan Grimes, Christine Michael, CHRIS POLK, T.J. Yeldon (trade), Matt Jones (trade).

What should the Eagles do?

If you ask me, I’d say the Eagles should really try to get Ingram. Hyde should be the next target after that. If that doesn’t work out, check in on Hill’s price. If all else fails, sign some boring veteran JAG (just a guy) in free agency (bleh) like Williams or Jennings, I guess, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.





[#] Tue May 09 2017 11:34:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles UDFA Profile: Cameron Johnston is consistent and versatile

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Get to know one of the Eagles UDFA signings.

[BLG Note: In addition to writing about the Eagles for BGN, Alexis Chassen is also an editor at SB Nation’s Ohio State site: Land-Grant Holy Land.]

The Philadelphia Eagles signed punter Cameron (Cam) Johnston out of Ohio State as an undrafted free agent almost immediately after the draft. The punter is an exciting addition, given his penchant for long punts and stuffing opposing teams close to their end zones.

Sizing

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 194 lbs
  • Arms: 31”
  • Hands: 9”

What was his college career like?

Johnston finished the 2016 season as a Ray Guy Award finalist and second-team All-American. Of his 56 punts last season, 26 landed within the 20-yard line and 24 were fair catches. He averaged 46.7 yards per kick in 2016 and ranked No. 2 in college football with 43.9 net yards per kick. He’s also nailed at least one 70-yard punt in three of his four seasons with the Buckeyes.

His performance against Oklahoma in 2016 was one of the more noteworthy games for the punter. He had five punts for 253 yards against the Sooners, and earned some too-early Big Ten Player of the Year praise from Dave Wannstedt.

What are his strengths?

He’s had success training in conventional punting techniques and has eliminated shanks over the past couple seasons and found consistency with his feet placement. In addition to the mechanics of the position, he has good hang time on the ball and a pretty decent fair catch percentage during his time at Ohio State.

He’s fast. Despite being almost completely meaningless, Johnston was invited to the 2017 Scouting Combine and finished as the third fastest special teamer with a 4.92 second 40-yard dash. His burst off the line and/or straight-line speed aren’t exactly the biggest factors when analyzing a punter, but it does display his athleticism — and bodes well for his ability to be the last line of defense on an errant run-back.

What are his weaknesses?

The biggest weakness with this signing is Johnston’s rugby style kicking. He showed during his combine and pro day workouts that despite finding most of his success with the rugby operation in college, his background is in conventional kicking and proved he can be successful at both styles.

Given the fact that the Aussie punter didn’t convert to American football rules until he was 21 years old, it’s surprising that the film that earned him a spot on Ohio State’s roster was actually filled with more conventional, spiral-style punts. Urban Meyer and his staff stepped away from tradition and embraced the rugby way, and Johnston was forced to follow suit — and did so successfully.

Was it a surprise he went undrafted?

It’s not that surprising that a punter didn’t hear his name called during the seven rounds of the NFL draft. Especially after the Buccaneers faced a litany of judgment last season when they took kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have his rookie season be a scathing indictment on taking kickers with the precious few picks each team gets in the draft.

Johnston likely entertained offers from several teams before inking a deal with the Eagles, and rightfully so after his impressive collegiate resume and offseason workouts.

Anything to know about him off the field?

Johnston is a hard worker who should be a good addition to the Eagles locker room. He’s always willing to help out a teammate or ask for help if someone is doing it better than he is. He won’t likely grab many headlines, which should mean the coaches have one less player to worry about on off-days.





[#] Tue May 09 2017 10:04:37 EDT from rss

Subject: Washington got tougher on both sides of the ball in the 2017 Draft

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Reviewing the NFC East.

There are few things I hate more in this wide world than Washington doing good things. However, after ten picks in the deep 2017 NFL Draft class, it is hard not to be impressed with the crop of players they hauled in. Washington has seemingly put an emphasis on physicality the last few drafts and the returns have been noticeable in terms of the talent they accrue. Considering all the talent they lost this offseason, they needed to have a great draft to reload. Maybe this will be enough in the long term. Hopefully not.

Jonathan Allen

Position: Edge Defender

School: Alabama

Measurements: 6'3", 286

Key Stat: 20th most efficient pass rusher in the country when lined up at defensive end. Sixth most efficient pass rusher when line up at defensive tackle. (Pro Football Focus)

Jonathan Allen was always a player I was more skeptical on than most. While he certainly has a role in the NFL, the idea of an unathletic tweener being a top tier player never made sense to me. However, Allen has outstanding technique, a great motor and is super physical; somewhat offsetting his athletic limitations. Allen can move around a lot and I beet that is how Washington will use them. He can play from the edge in base and they'll probably kick him inside on passing downs. On a front that already has Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, Allen will complement nicely.

Ryan Anderson

Position: Linebacker

School: Alabama

Measurements: 6'2", 253

Key Stat: Ranked fourth in the country in "clean up" or "pursuit" pressure. (Pro Football Focus)

With 22 sacks in the last three seasons, there is no doubt that Ryan Anderson was a productive pass rusher for the Crimson Tide. However, he was more of a high motor and very aware player who benefited from opportunities created by his teammates than he was a guy who created his own pressure. Anderson should move off the ball in the NFL due to his lack of length and burst to play on the edge. He could have a solid career at linebacker given his intelligence and physical style of play, but it is hard to see him be a dynamic and successful pass rusher at the NFL level.

Fabian Moreau

Position: Cornerback

School: UCLA

Measurements: 6'0", 206

Key Stats: Allowed a 67.2 Passer rating into his coverage. (Pro Football Focus)

Similar to the Eagles taking a risk on Sidney Jones, Washington took a risk on Fabian Moreau after he tore his pectoral muscle at the UCLA pro-day. Many analysts had Moreau as a top forty player and some suggested he would have been a first round pick had he not been injured. One thing for sure is that Moreau is gifted. Not only does he have the seize and athletic ability for the cornerback position, he is also a steady player. He is not a flashy playmaking cornerback, but he will rarely give up big plays. Pectoral injuries aren't as severe as lower extremity injuries, so there is a good chance Moreau could see the field pretty early and there is no doubt he could give Washington a nice number two cornerback across from Josh Norman.

Samaje Perine

Position: Running Back

School: Oklahoma

Measurements: 5'11", 233

Key Stats: Over half of his 4,130 career rushing yards came after the contact and he forced 157 tackles on only 684 career attempts. (Pro Football Focus)

Perine has been a star since day one, rushing for 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns his freshman year and breaking the NCAA single game rushing record. The following years, he lost carries to Joe Mixon but remained Oklahoma's most steady back. While his numbers dropped and injuries slowed him in his final year, he remained a consistent player who would almost always pick up positive yardage. Perine is built like a soup can and runs like an angsty bull in a china shop. He might not be the fastest, but good luck asking defenders to tackle him in the fourth quarter. He will bring some punch to Washington's running game and should see a big role early.

Montae Nicholson

Position: Safety

School: Michigan State

Measurements: 6'2", 212

Key Stats: 61st in the country last year in tackling efficiency. (Pro Football Focus)

Montae Nicholson mostly got drafted on potential. He has outstanding size and ran/jumped amazingly well at the combine. Bottom line is that he is a freak. However, he is a huge project. Nicholson, while aggressive, is all over the place in terms of tackling and coverage awareness. He had flashes in both regards, but his lack of consistency was troubling. I have no problem spending a day three pick on freak athletes, but he has a lot of work to do.

Jeremy Sprinkle

Position: Tight End

School: Arkansas

Measurements: 6'5", 252

Key Stats: In the last three seasons, Sprinkle has dropped five passes. (Pro Football Focus)

Jeremy Sprinkle finished his career on an embarrassing note after getting in trouble for shoplifting from a store he received a gift card for from his bowl game and that poor decision making probably hurt his draft stock. The reality is that Sprinkle is a very solid player. He has a huge frame with long arms and smooth athletic ability. He is a natural receiver with good hands and crisp routes. He is not a traditional blocker and struggles to play in line, but he has improved every season in that regard. Sprinkle makes for a good complement to Jordan Reed and the two of them on the field at the same time will be a problem for a lot of defenses.

Chase Roullier

Position: Center

School: Wyoming

Measurements: 6'4", 312

Key Stats: Was the most efficient pass protector in the country on third downs. (Pro Football Focus)

Chase Roullier was a very underrated player in this class. While he was not a flashy athlete and came from a smaller conference, he was constant for the Cowboys in his pass protection and run blocking. With experience at guard and center, Roullier can be a versatile depth piece for Washington, but I bet he works his way ingot he starting lineup at some point during his rookie contract.

Robert Davis

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Georgia State

Measurements: 6'3", 219

Key Stats: SPARQ Score puts him in the 98.8th percentile for NFL wide receivers.

Robert Davis comes from an unorthodox offense but was still able to produce consecutive 900 yard seasons in the last two years. Davis has everything you would want from an NFL wide receiver, physically. However, due to GSU's offense, Davis has a lot of work to do in terms of learning the technical aspects of the position to truly utilize his gifts. Luckily, Davis is already a physical player who is willing to go up and get the ball and if he can improve his technique, he could be a dangerous player for Washington down the line.

Josh Harvey Clemons

Position: Safety

School: Louisville

Measurements: 6'4", 217

Key Stats: Among safeties, Harvey Clemons had the sixth best run stop percentage in the class. (Pro Football Focus)

Josh Harvey Clemons had a ton of promise as a highly touted recruit before getting dismissed from UGA due to failed drug tests. The well built safety found a home on the Louisville defense where he acted as an intimidator in the run game. Harvey Clemons definitely does his best work in the box and as a run defender and flashes ability in coverage. He still needs to improve his instincts, but he could develop into a very nice nickel package defender for Washington.

Josh Holsey

Position: Cornerback

School: Auburn

Measurements: 5'10", 195

Key Stats: Only allowed one catch in his match up against Mike Williams. (Pro Football Focus)

Holsey played all four years at Auburn, getting moved around from safety to cornerback and holding his own at both positions. He is a solid player with decent athletic ability, nice physicality and high football IQ, but his lack of size probably hurts his NFL outlook. This was a good depth pick for Washington who needs more competition in their secondary.





[#] Tue May 09 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Derek Barnett makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia

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

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

Derek Barnett was indeed a good pick for the Eagles at 14th overall - PhillyVoice
There are some who believe that won't translate to the NFL. I disagree. The other aspect of Barnett's pass rush that is so effective is his hand usage. When you watch him closely, he does an incredible job of knocking opposing offensive linemen's hands down. Once you get an OT's hands down, it's game over. All they can do at that point is try to hold the pass rusher as he runs by them. You see it repeatedly with Barnett on film. If indeed Barnett is a one-trick pony, it's one hell of a trick, though I disagree that he only wins one way. I do agree, however, that he needs to add more moves to his pass rush repertoire, which is thin on variety.

NFL Trade Rumors: Eagles, Saints discussing Mark Ingram for Jason Kelce deal - BGN
The trade would certainly make sense for both sides. The Saints need a center after losing current starter Max Unger, 31, to a foot injury. He’d be an instant starter for New Orleans. Philadelphia could easily replace Kelce with either Wisniewski or 2016 third-round pick Isaac Seumalo. The Eagles desperately need help at running back since they currently only have Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Corey Clement in the plans for 2017. Ingram would give the Eagles a real lead back in their committee approach.

BGNR ON 94WIP: Over or Under - Eagles 8.5 Wins - BGNRadio.com
South Point in Vegas has set the Eagles over/under at 8.5. John is taking the over and James is taking the under, despite predicting a 9-7 season. So, yeah.

The likelihood of full recovery for rookie Sidney Jones - Section215
There is, in my opinion, even more reason to be optimistic with Jones. For one, at 20 years old, he’s younger than any NFL player who tore their Achilles. For another, he has no significant leg or ankle injury history. All signs point to Jones making a full, successful recovery–but not so fast. How the Philadelphia Eagles approach his timetable, the 2017 season and their roster will determine whether or not he redshirts.

Moves and Maybe Moves - Iggles Blitz
Walker is a natural fit in the Eagles scheme. Looks like OU had him playing DE and DT and doing a variety of things (attacking and reading plays). Jim Schwartz will turn him loose and let him attack up the field. Walker had 6 sacks as a Soph. and you know Schwartz loves DL who can get to the QB. From a fit perspective, this can work. The coaches have to get Walker to play all out, all the time. They also have to hope he stays healthy. The talent is there, but DL with his ability don’t go undrafted unless there are serious questions.

Donnel Pumphrey is all that Philadelphia Needed From the 2017 NFL Draft - Inside The Pylon
Standing at 5’8” tall and weighing just 176 pounds, Pumphrey does not appear to have the physical attributes to be an every down back at the next level. With running back Ryan Mathews coming off of a serious neck injury and likely to be cut and Darren Sproles entering his last season playing in the NFL, the Eagles would have surely benefited from adding a player that can take a good number of carries and make an impact in between the tackles. Pumphrey, whom the Eagles traded up to select in the 4th round, may not be that player. In addition, the Eagles chose not to address the position later in the draft, choosing instead to look to the undrafted pool of players to fill that need. So, entering a season with nothing more than marginal talent at the position, why should Eagles fans be excited about Pumphrey?

10 mid-round gems from the 2017 NFL Draft - PFF
8. Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina (Round 4, pick No. 118) - Look beyond Hollins’ 4.54-second 40-yard-dash time at the NFL Combine, because he has game speed that plays. He has that long-striding ability to get on cornerbacks quickly, and it showed in his 20.6 yards per reception at North Carolina and 20 touchdowns on only 81 catches. He may never be a high-volume receiver, but Hollins’ speed should make him an immediate deep threat, and when combined with his strong special-teams ability, the Eagles got a valuable player in the fourth round.

Jay Cutler and the Odd Offseason of QB Movement - The MMQB

As much as I want the draft to come to Dallas, it’s going to be very hard for Philadelphia to lose the draft after the job that city did. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. That city did a job that was off the charts. And the fans were so great—100,000 people that one day, and I bet there were 99,999 different jerseys, with fans from everywhere.

The Eagles Need to Just Go Get Mark Ingram - Philly Football Talk
As a guy that talks himself into Mark Ingram being a steal every single year in fantasy football, I think I am obliged to comment about the man. Mark Ingram is a very solid running back and one that helps this Eagles team immediately. Is Ingram the end all-be-all? Nope. But he’s just another weapon that the Eagles currently don’t have and another piece that makes Carson Wentz’s job easier, which if we’ve learned anything this offseason, has been priority #1 for the Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles positional reviews: Will wide receiver Alshon Jeffery be the missing piece? - Inquirer
Jeffery became the Eagles’ highest-profile free-agent addition since Nnamdi Asomugha when they inked the 27-year-old receiver to a one-year, $9.5 million contract this offseason. Invoking the name of Asomugha might frighten some, but it’s unlikely that Jeffery will be the bust the cornerback was during his two-year stint in Philly. The Eagles didn’t make as much of a financial commitment to Jeffery, so there isn’t as much at stake. They would have preferred to lock him up long-term, but the former Bear wanted a one-year, show-me deal. While that might not give the Eagles any assurances beyond 2017, they will have the franchise tag at their disposal if they want to keep Jeffery. So they have some flexibility.

Rookie Class Prepares For NFL's Realities - PE.com
There is one level of challenge for the Eagles’ eight draft picks and the yet-to-be-signed class of undrafted rookies to reach the NFL. Hooray and congratulations to all of them. It is a significant accomplishment. Now comes the really hard part: Staying here ...

Lehigh's Nick Shafnisky taking first pro steps with Eagles - Morning Call
“Absolutely that's the way I'm looking at it," he said. "I'm hoping that if it's not the Eagles, one of the other 32 teams will see that I'm versatile, knowledgeable as heck and is willing to do whatever they want." The Eagles are bringing Shafnisky, a Whitehall graduate, in as a nonroster player, which means he won't count against their 90-man limit and will be paid essentially as a freelancer. But these tryouts have led to positions on the roster before with the Eagles and all the other teams who are holding rookie camps.

NFL urgency index: Which teams are in 'win now' mode for 2017? - SB Nation
The Patriots and Jaguars made big moves this offseason, but their levels of urgency are for different reasons.

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[#] Wed May 10 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Game seven day!

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

*Game sevens that don't involve your team are the literal best things ever. And we have two tonight! Sports!

*Because you come to BSH for content you can trust, here's the definitive Nico vs. Nolan analysis you need in your life. [BSH]

*For funsies, let's see how #2 overall picks have generally fared in the NHL. [Inquirer]

*So if the league's concussion spotters don't pull their biggest star after he goes into the bar headfirst two days after being concussed, I'm not exactly sure wtf they exist for. Caps-Pens play game 7 tonight, should be a doozy. [Puck Daddy]

*WAIT IT GETS BETTER. Evidently they didn't have the authority to pull him for that kind of collision with the boards. That is insane! [USA Today]

*Honestly this is a complete clusterfuck and as fans of the game we should really be concerned by this. [Puck Daddy]

*It's not just the league, though. Players bear some responsibility here too. [The Hockey News]

*Looks like the Ilya Kovalchuk return is a sure thing. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Charles Barkley thinks the NHL playoffs are the best. Which like...duh. [SB Nation]

*And finally, what better way to kill some time before two super fun game sevens than with a brand new episode of BSH Radio! Even Kurt was there! [BSH]





[#] Wed May 10 2017 09:00:07 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Rookie Profile: Mack Hollins is a great jump ball target

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Get to know the new Eagles rookie wide receiver.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Mack Hollins in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles wide receiver, I reached out to SB Nation's North Carolina site: Tar Heel Blog. UNC writer Akil Guruparan was kind enough to answer my questions about Hollins.

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

Mack walked onto the team his freshman year and immediately became the team's special teams captain, which should tell you about the effort he puts in on a daily basis. After his freshman year where he mostly just played special teams, he became the team's best deep threat: he never led the team in catches but led them in yards both his sophomore and junior seasons. His sophomore season was marred by inconsistent quarterback play (as in, the coach swapped quarterbacks mid-game consistently because he didn't know which one should start), but he still got his numbers, with 35 catches for 613 yards and 8 touchdowns. He really broke out in his junior year, with a stabilized QB situation and a passer who loved to throw deep. He actually had fewer receptions than his sophomore year, with 30, but turned those catches into 745 yards (leading the nation in yards per reception) and 8 more touchdowns. UNC only lost 2 games that season, so that's when he got noticed. His senior year, he was looking to turn in a similar performance, but was injured halfway through the season, which ended his college career. He had 16 catches for 309 yards and 4 TDs through 6.5 games.

2) What are his strengths?

Measurables and intangibles. Hollins is 6'4'' with 4.51 speed, and once he gets going, he's way faster than that number. He's a great jump ball target downfield and gives a QB a lot of room for error with his catch radius. He can also separate pretty effectively with just his speed. In terms of intangibles, Hollins was the team's STs captain all four years he played for UNC. He's a relentless worker and plays every snap like it's his last. He puts his team ahead of himself; his season-ending injury his senior year was caused by him adjusting to an underthrown deep ball even though getting there meant getting sandwiched by two defenders (he secured the catch even though they broke his collarbone). Also, his hands don't always look natural, but they're secure.

3) What are his weaknesses?

He's a fairly raw receiver once you ask him to do anything other than one of the three deep routes (post, corner, fade). His short-area quickness isn't great, as you'd expect from a bigger guy, so his short and intermediate routes aren't much to write home about. He's also not much of a tackle-breaker. He'll play through contact at the catch point, but not so much as a runner. Unless you hit him in stride into open space, he often goes down soon after the catch. That wasn't a problem for UNC with his absurd YPC and 20+ TD percentages, but it's something to look out for.

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

I thought he would go a little lower than he did just because he was coming off injury, and seeing the injury slides of people like Jake Butt (fell ~1.5 rounds), Sidney Jones (fell 1 round), I thought Hollins would go 5th at the earliest. Granted, a broken collarbone isn't as serious as an ACL, but it was still surprising to see him go high 4th. His talent is absolutely worth the spot, though; there's no denying that. Even if he's just stretching the field, there's a place in the NFL for that. Had he been healthy all season, this is about where I would've seen him being drafted.

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

I think Hollins' role will change very little from college to the pros. He's not going to be an every-down receiver, but he'll be a consistent home-run threat with his size and ability to get open downfield. He might become a fan favorite because of his special teams work and the fact that all he seems to do is score touchdowns, and I think those two things will give him a long NFL career.

6) Anything to know about him off the field?

Mack is a little weird, but in the best way. He wants to own an aquarium after he's done with football, for example. But he's a consummate teammate and has had zero character problems or even rumblings of discontent. He retweets stuff about his teammates and fellow UNC athletes constantly, and the bond between all the UNC receivers was obvious during his career. He did grow up a Steelers fan, though ...





[#] Wed May 10 2017 08:23:24 EDT from rss

Subject: Best player in Philadelphia Eagles history announces retirement

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A legend is stepping away from the game.

We all knew this day would come. It was inevitable.

The best player in Philadelphia Eagles history -- and arguably National Football League history -- is stepping away from the game.

That's right.

G.J. Kinne has announced his retirement from the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Look, Kinne might not get the widespread respect of the media or fans, but it's obvious to those who REALLY know football just how good he was. And that's not all. He's a legitimately good guy who loves Philly fans.

Kinne's Philadelphia career began back when the Eagles signed him during the 2013 offseason. Most figured he'd only be a camp arm, but in reality he was so much more than that. Kinne was willing to do anything that helped the team in practice. Whether that meant throwing a football, or lining up as a safety, or being a returner on special teams, or even converting his entire position from quarterback to wide receiver ... you name it, he did it.

It saddens me to say Kinne never made the regular season roster. But he did stay on the practice squad for a few seasons. And he served as that valuable, selfless player that went unnoticed behind the scenes. He helped the Eagles prepare in a stretch where they went 20-12 over two seasons. Since releasing Kinne, the Eagles have declined to 14-18 in their last 32 games.

When it comes to Kinne, I'm obviously biased in favor of him. But he's given me good reason to act that way. He's always taken these kind of posts I've written about him in stride. He really seems to appreciate them (at least, I hope he does).

We haven't ever spoken in person, but I'd had a number of interactions with Kinne on Twitter. He was literally one of the first people to congratulate me on getting a new job last fall. He didn't need to do that. That just goes to show what kind of a cool, humble dude he is.

To win in the NFL, you need talent. You can't just have a roster full of good guys, unfortunately. Sacrifices are made when it comes to weighing skill versus character. But although Kinne might not be one of the most dominant athletes ever, he seems to have a kind heart, and that shouldn't go underappreciated. NFL camp bodies might not excite you, but they're human beings, just like you and me.

The truth is we need more people like G.J. Kinne in this world.

Thank you, G.J. Best wishes in retirement.





[#] Wed May 10 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Cowboys poised to take a step back in 2017

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/10/17.

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

Fearless NFL division predictions for 2017: Cowboys, Dak Prescott in for a slump - CBS Sports
I smell a sophomore slump. No longer having Tony Romo as an emergency blanket could change some things here. How much does Jason Witten have left? Can Dez Bryant stay healthy? I just sort of sense a market correction of sorts here and I'm not sure they can duplicate the kind of roll they went on a year ago. I never bought into the defense, and after losing seemingly their entire secondary in free agency, color me concerned once more. Is there any pass rush? Will they have to win shootouts each week? They won't be sneaking up on anyone anymore, that's for sure.

7 running backs the Eagles could sign or trade for - BGN
The Eagles and Saints are rumored to be discussing a Jason Kelce for Mark Ingram trade. This deal would make a lot of sense for both sides considering the Saints really need a center and the Eagles really need a running back. Ingram is coming off a season where he rushed for 1,043 yards at an impressive 5.1 average. Getting Ingram should make people feel a lot better about the Eagles’ backfield. He’s 27 years old and has two years left on his deal, so he wouldn’t just be a one-year fix for the Birds.

Five Eagles players who need to play to potential in 2017 - PhillyVoice
In most games a season ago, Connor Barwin was completely ineffective as a pass rusher, and typically bad against the run as well. It's odd that Vinny Curry couldn't get on the field more than he did, and even when he did, he could not produce impact plays. Next offseason, if the Eagles decide to move on from Curry and get out of his contract, they would save $5 million in cap space, with $6 million in dead money. If Curry has a similar season in 2017 to the one he had in 2016, that decision will be a no-brainer. Curry has ability as a pass rusher. He has shown it. He needs to show it again both for himself and for the defense to maximize its ability to produce big plays.

High Hopes For CB Jalen Mills In Year 2 - PE.com
Want an example of why the Eagles are so high on Mills, a seventh-round draft pick last spring? While he spent the offseason getting bigger, faster, and stronger – Mills said he refined his diet and says he is a “lot trimmer” – and catching his breath and seeing his family, he had the Eagles’ video department send him his team-issued tablet, which he turned in at the end of the season, and he watched every snap he played. Over and over again. Back and forth. Studying. Searching for clues on ways to improve his game.

Eagles positional reviews: Running back Wendell Smallwood trying to fill bigger role - Inquirer
For a fifth-round pick with modest expectations, Wendell Smallwood had a productive rookie season. But Smallwood didn’t play enough – or well enough – to lock down a role as the Eagles’ primary ball carrier for the 2017 season. However, that might be his job if the Eagles release Ryan Mathews and don’t add a veteran running back before the season. More on that later. Smallwood, who is 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, finished 2016 with 77 carries for 312 yards and one touchdown. He missed the final three games with a knee injury.

Charles Walker a changed man thanks to depression diagnosis - NFL.com
Walker has been on the phone, telling teams he is a changed man thanks to the diagnosis. Walker exited Oklahoma amid some controversy, immediately declaring for the draft in November and drawing criticism from coach Bob Stoops. He is considered a mid-round pick. He reportedly battled concussions in his final season, though doctors now think some of the symptoms believed to be concussion-related were actually from depression. Walker has been taking low-dose medication for his ailment, writing to teams to let them know how different his life has become.

Where in the world is Carson Wentz? - ESPN
From a high school in Southern California to the recesses of an Arkansas blind to the jagged New Zealand mountainside, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been all over the map this offseason. The latest adventure was in pursuit of tahr, chamois and red stag, naturally. The YouTube channel "Wentz Bros Outdoors" has documented the various hunting trips that Wentz has gone on with his friends and family. They recently traveled to New Zealand for seven days to go after big game.

Was the Nathan Gerry Pick Actually an Ahead-of-the-Curve and Innovative Pick by the Eagles? - Philly Football Talk
I know that headline might be shocking, but I genuinely believe that the Eagles may have done something innovative (?) and ahead-of-the-curve (?) with their selection of Nathan Gerry. I say this because I think he’s going to be a running back stopper in the passing game. You know how in the NBA, teams are going small? This allows defenses to be quicker and switch all over the court making it harder to get entry passes into the post and forcing teams into bad shots. That was an innovative idea that the Warriors started in the 2015 Finals and now, every team in the NBA has to have the ability to go small if they want to survive. That’s how I feel about running backs in the passing game. This is the next craze that is going to dominate the NFL.

How Philadelphia Eagles' Shelton Gibson veered from East Cleveland to the NFL - PennLive
Shelton Gibson Sr. knew his idea was a long shot, a parenting method bred from sheer hope. But if he slid sports movies into the VCR most weekends, he remembered thinking, maybe he could help his son sidestep the drugs and violence that permeated East Cleveland. This was about 15 years ago, well before Shelton Gibson Jr. emerged as a wide receiver with breathtaking speed who heard his name called as a Philadelphia Eagles fifth-round pick last month

It’s Good to be Sam Bradford - The MMQB
For whatever reason, the Eagles did not request or demand an extension upon the trade, shifting all the leverage to Bradford. His agent, Tom Condon, used it strategically. After a 2015 season with mixed results, the Eagles re-upped Bradford for $18 million fully guaranteed in 2016 (a $5 million raise from his bloated rookie contract) and another $4 million guaranteed as part of $18 million in 2017. Although the Eagles then mortgaged valuable resources to draft Bradford’s eventual replacement (Carson Wentz), Bradford received an $11 million signing bonus to ensure his status as a starting quarterback at least through 2016 . . . although it would not be for the Eagles.

Michael Vick hopes NFL rookie Joe Mixon is 'humbled' - NorthJersey.com
Michael Vick knows what it's like to make the kind of decision that haunts you for the rest of your life. The former NFL quarterback also knows about trying to move past that mistake, and embracing a second chance. And so when Vick looks at running back Joe Mixon, the Cincinnati Bengals' controversial draft pick this season, he hopes Mixon understands just how fortunate he is to be playing in the NFL.

NFL power rankings 2017: Patriots still on top after productive offseason - SB Nation
The New York Giants went 11-5 last year with a strong defense leading the way, but let’s stop for a second and ask ourselves a question: Why was their offense ranked No. 25 in the NFL? It certainly wasn’t Eli Manning’s best year, but he didn’t perform poorly. And the Giants have one of the best receivers in the NFL — Odell Beckham Jr., who’s paired with another exciting talent, Sterling Shepard. The problem sure looks like the awful rushing attack that managed 3.5 yards per carry and a whopping six touchdowns.

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[#] Wed May 10 2017 11:05:42 EDT from rss

Subject: Cowboys improved their defense through the 2017 NFL Draft

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Reviewing the draft picks in the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys went into the 2017 NFL Draft needing defensive backs and defensive linemen. Lucky for them, this class was full of both. Unsurprisingly, seven of their nine draft picks were on the defensive side of the ball. This defensive heavy draft will surely help improve that side of the ball, but it becomes a question of how each pick fits into that rebuild.

All Key Stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Taco Charlton

Postion: Edge

School: Michigan

Measurements: 6'6", 277

Key Stat: Led all college football defensive ends in pass rush productivity on plays of less than 2.5 seconds.

Taco Charlton is a jack of all trades, ace of none type of defensive lineman. He is a solid pass rusher who uses his length and anticipation to win reps. Despite college productivity, his lack of athletic ability and inconsistent physicality against the run and the pass will hurt him at the next level. He is still inexperienced at the position and he could grow in Dallas' scheme, but I have a hard time seeing Charlton become a high impact player.

Chidobe Awuzie

Position: Cornerback

School: Colorado

Measurements: 6', 202

Key Stat: Ranked 90th in the country among cornerbacks in tackling efficiency.

Chidobe Awuzie was one of my favorites in a very deep cornerback class. I loved his feistiness and versatility to play in the slot, the outside, and how good he was as a blitzer. Awuzie is a good athlete, but needs to play more confidently in coverage, sometimes second guessing himself and coming off as being slower. As a tackler and against the run, Awuzie is more than willing and incredibly physical, but needs to improve his technique when attacking ball carriers. Awuzie is not a perfect prospect, but he brings athletic ability and physicality to Dallas' woeful secondary.

Jourdan Lewis

Position: Cornerback

School: Michigan

Measurements: 5'10", 188

Key Stat: In the last three years, the highest allowed pass rating he allowed into his coverage in a season was 47.1

Jourdan Lewis is a smaller cornerback who fell on draft day due in part his size and pending off the field question. Lewis has been arguably the best cornerback in college football over the last few years and while he does not have the upside of some of this class' top prospects, there is no denying what he can do. He has great man coverage technique and tremendous ball skills. He is not the bet athlete and his size may force him in the slot, but he is an immediate impact player in a rebuilding defensive backfield.

Ryan Switzer

Position: Wide Receiver

School: UNC

Measurements: 5'8", 181

Key Stat: In 2016, 84 of his 97 catches came out of the slot.

Ryan Switzer is one of the most prolific punt returners in NCAA history and this year he showed he is a good wide receiver as well. Though short in stature, Switzer is a very good route runner with dependable hands in space. He is an "on the ground" type player meaning he can make an impact on short passes and find yards after the catch but rarely are you asking him to win jump balls in the red zone. Switzer fits perfectly into the Dallas passing game as an intermediate threat to complement Dez Bryant and while he may not see the field immediately on offense, he surely will on special teams.

Xavier Woods

Position: Safety

School: Louisiana Tech

Measurements: 5'11", 197

Key Stat: After giving up a passer rating of 111.7 in 2015, Xavier Woods improved to only allow a 60.4 in 2016.

The Cowboys needed to add some safety depth after losing Barry Church to free agency. Xavier Woods brings a similar dynamic in terms of his willingness to deliver crushing tackles, but also brings a ball-hawking mentality to the unit. With 14 interceptions in the last three seasons, it is evident that Woods knows how to find the ball. His aggressiveness as a safety can get him in trouble, but it can yield big plays for the defense. In 2016, Woods did an excellent job limiting those coverage mistakes and if he is continuing to trend in that direction, the Cowboys may have gotten a steal.

Marquez White

Position: Cornerback

School: FSU

Measurements: 6', 194

Key Stat: Only allowed 302 yards into his coverage in 2016.

Marquez White is intriguing due to his consistent coverage ability at the college level. He has solid awareness and technique that will regularly prevent big plays from the offense. His long speed is concerning and he is a liability when asked to tackle. However, the Cowboys should be happy getting a guy on day three with his ability to cover.

Joey Ivie

Position: Defensive Tackle

School: Florida

Measurements: 6'3", 301

Key Stat: Got an inside pressure once every 17.6 snaps, seventh best figure in the country.

Joey Ivie was part of Florida's heavy defensive line oration. While he did not see a lot of snaps, he made an impact on the ones he did see. He is a quick twitch linemen who fires off the ball and into the backfield, consistently causing problems as a pass rusher. He will need to improve his ability to anchor against the run and prove he can play on a bigger workload, but this is a high upside pick for Dallas.

Noah Brown

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Ohio State

Measurements: 6'2", 222

Key Stat: Seven career touchdowns on only 33 receptions.

Noah Brown is the ultimate projection. Brown was never a featured part of the Ohio State offense and 32 of his 33 career catches came in his final season. Brown is no doubt talented and flashes game changing ability in tiny sample sizes. It is hard to project how this big target with ability to win jump balls will project in a bigger role, but no doubt the Cowboys should be excited about getting a high upside pick in the seventh round.

Jordan Carrell

Position: Defensive Tackle

School: Colorado

Measurements: 6'3", 300

Key Stat: 30 total pressures in 2016.

Carrell plays a lot smaller than the average defensive tackle, with his in season weight hovering somewhere around 290 pounds. His smaller size allows him to be light on his feet and that quickness can help disrupt passing plays. His size also hurts him against the run, as he cannot consistently get off blocks to make a play. The key for him is seeing if he can add size without losing quickness. If so, he could stick around in the NFL.





[#] Wed May 10 2017 16:21:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Brandon Graham holding out for new Eagles contract? Conflicting reports

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OK.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham is holding out for a new contract, according to a report from the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.

Defensive end Brandon Graham has stopped attending Eagles workouts and is expected to skip organized team activities later this month – and also possibly mandatory minicamp in June – until the Eagles renegotiate his contract, two NFL sources said.

Except he’s not, according to Jason La Canfora.

Great, so that’s helpful.

Let’s assume for a second that Graham IS holding out. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be a total shock. Graham is coming off a very good season in 2016 and he’s only carrying a $7.5 million cap figure in 2017. Graham’s deal is up after the 2018 season. He also can’t feel great about fellow teammate Vinny Curry, who has been less productive, making more money than him.

Graham can skip the Eagles’ voluntary offseason workout program without any consequence. As it says in the title, it’s voluntary. But if Graham starts to miss minicamp and/or training camp, he’ll be subject to fines.

Hopefully Graham and the Eagles can work something out. Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of cap space, so a new deal might be tricky to work out, but the 29-year-old Graham is deserving and the Eagles need him.

Stay tuned for more updates.





[#] Wed May 10 2017 14:00:31 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Trade Rumors: Updates on the Mark Ingram situation

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What’s the latest?

The “Mark Ingram to the Eagles” talk has been pretty quiet ever since rumors of the possibility first emerged earlier this week. So what’s the latest? Here are a few updates on the situation.

Max Unger’s status

The premise behind Ingram being traded to the Eagles was that Philadelphia could send Jason Kelce to the Saints. But New Orleans might not be so desperate for a starting center after all. Pro Football Talk reports the Saints expected Unger back by the preseason. If true, that would kill an Ingram-Kelce swap.

It’s possible the Saints leaked that information to PFT in order to make it seem like they’re not so desperate. The Saints did seemingly leak information about the Eagles including Malcolm Jenkins in the Brandin Cooks trade offers, so it’s easy to theorize they could be feeding Mike Florio information yet again.

In any case, PFT’s report has certainly thrown some cold water on the rumors.

Crossing Broad’s update

But maybe all hope is not lost for Ingram ending up with the Eagles? After originally reporting the Ingram story on Monday, Crossing Broad’s Kyle Scott followed up with an update on Tuesday.

Yesterday, I posted that the Eagles and Saints did indeed have a conversation about trading Jason Kelce to the Saints for Mark Ingram. The conversation was the Eagles doing due diligence and perhaps not much more. I’m hearing that nothing is imminent, but that acquiring Ingram isn’t totally off the table. For instance… the Saints could cut Ingram later in the offseason if Adrian Peterson appears to be his old self in mini camps.

Personally, I have a hard time believing Ingram would be cut. I know the Saints have other running backs but Ingram is on a pretty fair deal and he’s only 27 years old. Not to mention he’s coming off his best career season. Just can’t see that happening. Of course, if it does happen somehow, the Eagles need to be ready to pounce on that.

Adam Schefter downplays the rumors

Schefter appeared on 97.5 on Wednesday morning to shut down the talk of the Ingram rumors.

Let me tell you. Allow me to refute that right now and say that there is absolutely nothing to that. There was absolutely nothing ever to that. I spoke with people in both organizations and both had the same reaction: “We have never spoken.” So I don’t know where that started, and maybe that’d start things up now? I don’t think so, based on the reaction that I got from both organizations, but that was never in the works.

Again, I don’t want to say it’ll never happen, because who knows. Strange things happen. But I’m just telling you there was absolutely nothing to that as of right now. I don’t expect there to be anything to come of that. So that’s where we’re at at that. Is that definitive enough?

Pretty firm denial there from Schefter.

So, no need to rush out and get your Ingram jerseys just yet. Sounds like the Eagles won’t be going that direction, at least not yet. It’s possible the Eagles ride with just Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement ... but I can’t help but think they’d like to bring a veteran in at the right price. Here are seven options if the Eagles go that route.





[#] Wed May 10 2017 13:27:55 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Spotlight: Carson Wentz's deep bomb to Jordan Matthews

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As Tyler Jackson said in his last post, we are going to be breaking down some of the Eagles best plays from the 2016 NFL season. This will give us a chance to go in-depth on a few Eagles plays and also break down some of the concepts that the Eagles used a lot last year, both on offense and on defense. The first play I'm going to look at is my favorite throw by Carson Wentz from last year, the 54-yard bomb he threw to Jordan Matthews against the Washington Redskins.

So now you've seen the play, let's look at why I think it's such an incredible play.

The above picture shows the pre-snap picture that Wentz can see and also what the Eagles are running. The Eagles are running the 'Dagger' concept, which involves the outside WR running a deep dig route and the slot receiver running a go route that aims to clear out safeties and linebackers. I spoke a lot about the Dagger concept during the season as it was a staple of the Eagles offense. It looks like the Redskins are going to play cover 2 here, but the safeties could easily rotate to single high coverage after the snap.

With the Dagger concept, you rarely ever see the ball thrown to the slot receiver. He is basically just clearing out space for the deep in. This play works great against cover 1 and cover 2 in particular. Against cover 1, the slot receiver can clear out the deep safety, but it's also great against cover 2/tampa 2 as the slot receiver can force the safety on that side of the field deep and clear out the middle linebacker. The key point is, the ball isn't supposed to go to the vertical route, it pretty much always goes to the outside receiver running the deep in. Carson Wentz has other ideas, however.

This is the picture post-snap. You can see that the Redskins are running cover 2 man and Wentz is reading the strong safety as well as the cornerback covering Jordan Matthews in the slot. You can see that the strong safety is too wide and he's focusing too much on Dorial Green-Beckham on the outside. Wentz sees this and recognizes that he might have a chance to throw the vertical route, but Matthews doesn't look like he's getting separation.

This is the picture as Wentz decides he's going to throw the go route. Jordan Mathews is still a yard behind the cornerback and the strong safety is starting to panic as he's realized that he's way out of position. Jordan Matthews is actually looking back at Wentz at this point which is sort of strange, I'm wondering if he's checking to see if Wentz is going to try and make this throw to him or something considering the position of the safety. Anyway, the fact that Wentz is even attempting to throw this ball is gutsy. He's throwing a go route to the slot receiver against cover 2 man. Also, he's throwing to Jordan Matthews who is hardly a deep threat (this was his only 50+ yard catch of the season) and at this point, Matthews isn't even open. So he's going to have to lead Matthews perfectly and hope that Matthews gets enough separation to make the play. 

Here you can see just how close the safety is to making a play on the ball. He's only a yard or two out of position, but Wentz saw that small window and went for it. Matthews only has half a yard of separation by this point too, but it's an absolutely perfect throw by Wentz. Let's watch it again because it's beautiful.

I could watch this play all day. This is such a high-level throw. Most quarterbacks wouldn't even attempt to throw this ball, but this play shows the ability that Wentz has to throw down the field with high-level anticipation and it also shows how he trusts his receiver to make a play for him. I wrote last year that this trust he has in his receivers will harm him in the short term because his receivers aren't very good, but in the long run it will be a good thing. I imagine we will see Dagger run a lot next season, with Torrey Smith or Shelton Gibson running the go route and clearing out space or even getting open deep, and then Alshon Jeffery running the deep in. I can't wait.





[#] Thu May 11 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: On to the Conference Finals!

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

*Well we're moving on in these playoffs and if you need a new bandwagon to hop on to, the Ottawa Senators fans would like to have a word. [Silver Seven Sens]

*Radko Gudas continues to be a one-man wrecking crew at the Worlds. That's fun. [CSN Philly]

*The Comcast suit who now runs the Flyers is determined to honor Ed Snider's legacy by actually being interested in the hockey team. [Inquirer]

*Bill Meltzer is taking a long look back at #2 over picks in Flyers history; here's part one: the 1960s & -70s. [Flyers]

*The league announced the details for the next Winter Classic and the world collectively yawned. Leave it to the NHL to ruin the one good idea they've ever had. [SB Nation]

*Team USA is doing well so far at the Worlds, which is good I guess, but USA Hockey in general is very very bad so it would probably be better if they failed. [ProHockeyTalk]

*And finally, this picture of Connor McDavid meeting a couple of big fans at the airport is so funny that you will die. It's amazing. Nothing has ever been more awkward. [SB Nation]





[#] Thu May 11 2017 15:53:42 EDT from rss

Subject: Who do you want to win the 2017 Stanley Cup?

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We’re in the conference finals. So now what?

Popular to contrary belief, the Stanley Cup will again be awarded this year. I know, I wasn’t aware that they have awarded it in the last 40 years either, but apparently that’s true. Wild stuff.

So OK, somebody has to win it. Fine. Who do we want?

Here’s what we picked back at the beginning of the playoffs, for reference:

I am Team P.K. Subban, for the record.

P.K. Subban should be everyone's favorite hockey player

Admit it: you want P.K. Subban on the Flyers.

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Thursday, May 11, 2017





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