Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 1 Edition
Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
32 - New York Jets - The Jets have assembled the worst group of quarterbacks in the NFL. Tanking.
Subject: Eagles News: Carson Wentz shares funny stories about interactions with Philadelphia fans
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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Subject: Philadelphia Eagles stash two players on the injured reserve list
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.
Subject: Doug Pederson explains how the Eagles will rotate their running backs in 2017
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.
Pumphrey said he was surprised he made team. Expects to be inactive against Washington #Eagles— Ed Kracz (@kracze) September 4, 2017
The Eagles’ running back rotation is fluid. It’ll be an interesting situation to monitor as the season goes along.
Subject: Doug Pederson responds to Michael Lombardi
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.
Subject: Carson Wentz
Subject: And old preview before the new one
Let’s go back in time and laugh at how wrong everyone was about the Flyers ahead of the ‘16-’17 hockey season
Your friends at BSH Radio took this Labor Day off, leaving you woefully bereft of good hockey conversation for the week. Instead, let’s all look back to the season preview we did before the start of last season and have a hearty chuckle together about how wrong we were about...well, everything. Like, seriously everything.
Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and laugh at our naive innocence.
Subject: What Did Doug Pederson Do to Piss off Mike Lombardi?
So many peacock logos.
A sure sign that hockey season is nearly here: the Flyers announced their 2017-18 local broadcast schedule on Tuesday afternoon. As always, nearly every game will be broadcast locally on CSN Philly — to be renamed as NBC Sports Philadelphia before hockey season begins
62 games in total will be shown on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with 10 others shown on NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus, which will be the new name of The Comcast Network. The channel numbers are not changing, nor is the ability to watch these channels via DirecTV in the local market.
The other 10 games will be shown exclusively on national television in the United States, with six on NBC Sports Network and four on the big NBC network. Yes, that’s right -- there will be a peacock logo on every single Flyers broadcast this season and I’m sure it won’t be confusing at all trying to figure out which of the four possible NBC channels that show Flyers games has the game on a given night. Not confusing at all.
The broadcast team for local games remains the same, led by Jim Jackson on the play-by-play call, Chris Therien rinkside, and one of Keith Jones or Bill Clement as color analyst.
The radio broadcast schedule remains similar to in recent years, with games split between 97.5 The Fanatic and 93.3 WMMR. Play-by-play voice Tim Saunders will again be joined by Steve Coates in the booth. 56 games will be broadcast on 97.5 with 26 broadcast on WMMR, all on nights where there is also a 76ers game.
Subject: You Can Now Subscribe Using PayPal
Subject: The Flyers
Subject: The Eagles Are 19th in the NFL.com Power Rankings
Subject: The Linc Could Host Dolphins-Bucs Game
Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Konecny days!
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*You know who had a pretty excellent summer? Sayne Gostisbehere, that's who. [CSN Philly]
*On Jordan Weal, who chose the Flyers in the hopes that he'll actually get to play on the team. [Courier-Post]
*We've got the broadcast schedule! Plan your lives accordingly. [BSH]
*Our old pal Charlie launched his new career yesterday with a pretty awesome piece about the Flyers' 5-on-5 scoring woes. Sure, you have to pay. But the good stuff is never free, folks. Except for this website. Which is both free and excellent. [The Athletic]
*Okay so Puck Daddy doesn't think the Flyers are legit contenders this year. But they haven't counted us out either! [Puck Daddy]
*As the offseason finally winds to a close, here are the remaining big story lines still hanging out there like a big matzo ball. [USA Today]
*There are still some highlights on the remaining free agent list. Amazing that no one wants Jagr; it'll be a bummer if his NHL career ends with this kind of whimper. [ProHockeyTalk]
*Let's take a look at the ten biggest things to happen in the league this summer. [TSN]
*And finally, we didn't have a new BSH Radio this week so for shits and gigs we decided to look back at how optimistic we were heading into last season. It's pretty hilarious. We were so very wrong. [BSH]
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: J.P. and Paywalls
Subject: Craig Carton Is Going To Jail (Probably)
Subject: Your Wednesday Morning Roundup
Subject: Dolphins-Buccaneers game will NOT take place in Philadelphia
It was reported on Tuesday that Lincoln Financial Field (as well as Heinz Field in Pittsburgh) was being considered as a potential host site following news that the game wouldn’t be allowed to take place in Miami due to the threat of Category 5 storm Hurricane Irma. Instead, the NFL just decided to push the game back since both teams share a mutual bye in Week 11.
That’s unfortunate news for both of the teams considering they won’t have a “real” bye week this year. They’ll have to play 16 games in a row. Eagles fans know all too well that early bye weeks are very dumb.
It would’ve been cool for Philadelphia to have a chance to host a neutral site matchup. Based on past relocations, there would have been free tickets to the game. But it won’t happen now.
Note that this news doesn’t ultimately impact the Eagles because they’re still scheduled to play against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland this Sunday.
Subject: Eagles reportedly work out free agent cornerback
Assessing depth options.
There was some thought Bausby could make the 53-man in Kansas City. He got second team work in camp and even saw some first team reps in dime packages as well. Here’s what our friends at Arrowhead Pride had to say after the news Bausby was cut.
Bausby was an interesting undrafted free agent that the Chiefs picked up a couple years ago. He was hurt before that first season started and left Kansas City. After some time in Chicago he was back in Kansas City this offseason. Some of us thought he could make the Chiefs 53-man roster while other 53-man roster predictions had him getting cut so he was certainly on the bubble.
Bausby has a nice combination of size and athleticism. The 6-1, 182 pound defensive back ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2015.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has some familiarity with Baubsy given that the cornerback sign with the Chiefs back in 2015.
Just because the Eagles worked out Bausby, however, doesn’t mean the team will sign him. The visit could have just been a check up on his status. Bausby reportedly played through a sprained ankle in the preseason. NFL teams have emergency free agent lists ready to go if injuries happen. Throughout the season, you can expect the Eagles to work out a bunch of other fringe players that they likely won’t sign.
This workout could indicate Bausby is on Philadelphia’s emergency list. Or maybe the Eagles want to add him to their practice squad at some point.
Here’s a scouting report on Bausby via NFL.com.
Strengths - Quick to diagnose and respond to the action in front of him. At his best in zone coverage when he can keep plays in front of him. Reactive to quarterback's eyes and movement and ready to smother wide receiver in space if he senses a pass coming.
Weaknesses - Upright in backpedal. Guesses too frequently from press, opening up too soon. Labored footwork when asked to turn and transition when beaten inside. Tight-stepper who allows separation over the top. Passive. In no hurry to get his nose into run-support fray. Shows some pre-snap confusion at times on tape.
Bottom Line - Tall, thin cornerback lacking top-end burners to carry speed downfield and also lacking aggressiveness to attack and support against the run.
Subject: The worst double agents in Eagles history
Ryan Phillippe ain’t coming to the rescue
The Eagles signed former Redskins quarterback Nate Sudfeld to their practice squad as the team’s third quarterback, a move that raised a few eyebrows since the Eagles play the Redskins on Sunday. The Redskins have undergone significant upheaval this season, replacing two starting wide receivers and nominal starting running back from last year, and have new offensive and defensive coordinators. Signing a player with intimate knowledge of the playbook and audibles (and possibly some on defense) has value and is a tactic teams use from time to time. Sudfeld’s tenure may or may not be short lived after his use as a secret agent of sorts has passed. Should Sudfeld play at some point this season, he might join a not-so-illustrious list of those the Eagles have signed or traded for from rival teams that were so bad they were essentially double agents.
The Cowboys were the cream of the crop in the early and mid 90s, and everyone wanted a piece of them. They didn’t get what they paid for. Alvin Harper was the poster boy of awful free agent contracts when the Bucs paid the Cowboys moderately used #2 WR to be their #1. The Eagles didn’t make the financial blunder that Tampa did, but Chris Boniol was no better. During his three seasons in Dallas, Boniol was the most accurate kicker in the league (minimum 16 FG attempts a season), converting 87.1% of his kicks and scoring a league high 361 points. In his two seasons with the Eagles, he was next to last in field goal percentage. Against the Cowboys, he made just 7 of his 11 attempts in three games for a 63.6% accuracy against his former team.
Putting Jenkins, who actually wasn’t that bad, and Smith, who predictably struggled with injuries, on this list might be unfair but no list of shame involving the Eagles is complete without Dream Team representation. The Eagles last game of the 2010 season was a loss to the Packers, which Jenkins was a useful cog for. In the 2011 offseason of horror, Jenkins was an overlooked signing compared to other moves the Eagles made, and like nearly all of the rest of the Dream Team, it was almost immediately regretted. Jenkins and the team agreed to a contract restructure for 2012 and was cut in 2013.
The Other Steve Smith had a big season for the Giants in 2009, then missed time in 2010 with another chapter in an injury plagued career. He was a late addition to the Eagles, signing in August and appeared in just nine games, catching a pass in only five of them. His only touchdown of the season did come against the Giants in a 17-10 win though.
Both players were footnotes on a disaster of a season but still examples that signing non-key players from teams you’re trying to get ahead of isn’t the soundest of strategies (see also Randle, Rueben).
Imagine if the Eagles had replaced Andy Reid with Jim Zorn. Or even Chip Kelly with Jim Zorn. That’s basically what they did in 1964 when they hired Kuharich. In five seasons in Washington, Kuharich compiled a 26-32-2 record, a winning percentage in the area of Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin, Jim Haslett, and most closely with Chip Kelly. Kuharich had one winning season in Washington, and had previously been fired by the Chicago Cardinals after one 4-8 season. Between stops in Washington and Philly, Kuharick coached Notre Dame for four seasons, he is the only coach in the school’s history to have a losing record. After spending the 1963 season working for the league, Kuharich was bizarrely given a 15 year contract by the Eagles in 1964, and immediately dismantled the team (more on that to come). He was even worse in Philly than in Washington: again he had just one winning season in five years, but his rest were so bad that he finished with a record of 28-41-1 with the Eagles. He went 3-6-1 against the Redskins.
This one is so fresh it still stings. Murray led the league in rushing for the Cowboys in 2014, then merely lead the Eagles in rushing in 2015. The highlight of his career with the Eagles was complaining to Jeffrey Lurie after the biggest win of the season, and for helping the Eagles to move up to get Carson Wentz.
In 1957 the Eagles drafted Sonny Jurgensen, and in 1958 they traded for Norm Van Brocklin. In 1960 Van Brocklin was named league MVP en route to winning the NFL Championship for the Eagles, and gave Jurgensen a Hall of Fame tutor. Van Brocklin retired after the season and Jurgensen was given the reins. He didn’t disappoint. In his first year as a starter Jurgensen led the league in passing yards and touchdowns, keeping the Eagles as one of the top teams in the NFL despite the key retirements of Van Brocklin and Chuck Bednarik. For his efforts he was named All Pro, and followed it up in 1962 by again leading the league in passing and finishing third in touchdowns. The Eagles had seamlessly transitioned from one great QB to another.
Then Joe Kuharich arrived. Kuharich traded Jurgensen, who missed a third of the 1963 season due to injury to the Redskins in exchange for Norm Snead and Claude Crabb. Crabb lasted two seasons, while Snead went 28-50-3 in seven seasons as a starter. Meanwhile Jurgensen was one of the best QBs and characters of the late 1960s and went to the Hall of Fame.
One of the Kicking Zendejas Brothers, Louis was a double agent out of a Leslie Nielsen movie. He started his career with the Cowboys, where he made 4 of 7 attempts in 1987 and 1988 combined. The Eagles picked him up in ‘88, and he connected on 19 of 24, the 7th best rate that season. The next season, he missed 40% of his field goals for the Eagles, they cut him midseason. The Cowboys picked him up, and he continued to suck, which is what made it strange that Jimmy Johnson claimed Zendejas was a target in the Bounty Bowl game. Or was it? Zendejas’ weak kicking was plausible deniability. Either way, Buddy Ryan was right, Zendejas couldn’t kick.