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Another OL to the Mix

Posted: August 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The rich get richer.

Okay, it is fair to say I might have overstated things a bit with that opening line. Toth hasn’t played football in more than a year. He will be rusty. He played in an option offense in college so the pro game will be a major adjustment.

But the point is that the Eagles have a loaded OL already and just added another talented prospect. Did you watch the Jags OL on Thursday? They were desperate. Toth is a luxury for the Eagles.

I am curious to see where they project him. When you see Toth’s movement skills in those clips, he might remind you of Jason Kelce. I wonder if the Eagles might like Toth in there. They could also think of him as an OG. He is at his best getting to the next level and/or blocking on the move.

The Eagles added a talented piece to the OL. I’m sure they’ve got a plan for how to use him. It will be interesting to see if they try to get him on the field this preseason. Is he football ready?

*****

Daeshon Hall is having one heck of a summer.

He has played two games and gone up against multiple OTs. Hall has beaten them all.

Hall was good enough to be a third round pick out of Texas A&M. He had great length and good athleticism. For whatever reason, things didn’t click for Hall when he was with the Panthers. Thankfully they cut him and he came to Philly.

The Eagles had him bulk up and he’s spent a lot of time working on his technique. Hall is on his way to making the Eagles roster and becoming part of the DL rotation. I know the coaches say good things about Josh Sweat, but I can’t imagine they have him graded higher than Hall right now.

*****

I’m still re-watching the Jags game. Mailata had some great moments and a few bad ones. He’s got to be starting at OT in 2020, right? At some point, you have to put this guy on the field and let him show what he can do. He is incredibly talented. There would be risk in playing him right now, but he’s so physically gifted that he would win his share of battles.

Rookie Josh Allen did get the best of Mailata here.

*****

I can’t stress enough how much I loved this play.

The Eagles went for it on fourth down. Good.

Thorson didn’t look just for a sticks throw. He was willing to take a chance down the field. While he didn’t make a great throw, he put the ball where his guy could get to it and make something happen.

And Ward did make that play. Mr. Practice showed up in a game and stood out in a big moment. This makes me feel a lot better about Ward pushing the Eagles to keep a sixth WR. You have to earn that roster spot. This is the kind of play coaches will remember.

_


The Offense Comes Alive

Posted: August 16th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Amazing what a difference a week makes. Apparently when you quit making mistakes and start making plays, good things happen. The Eagles used that formula on Thursday night to beat the Jaguars 24-10.

Nobody is all that concerned by the result, but how it happened is important. The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage all night long and made key plays on offense and defense. There were still mistakes to overcome, but not as many as last week.

The big news is that QB Cody Kessler took a big hit early and was removed from the game. He was put into concussion protocol. We should find out more about him today. That moment scared everyone. Not because of Kessler’s health, but rather because it meant almost a full game of Clayton Thorson.

Hide the kids, this could get ugly.

But it didn’t. Thorson took a huge step forward and showed some of the talent that got the Eagles to draft him in the fifth round. He was mobile. He showed a good arm. He put good touch on some passes. He looked like…an NFL QB. Thorson still has major issues to overcome, but this really was a big night for him. He handled adversity, made plays and led his team to a win. I’m sure he thinks he’s Tom Brady this morning.

One of the things that Thorson did is give his players a chance to help him out. He was off-target to Greg Ward, but Ward adjusted to the ball and made the catch. He then outran a couple of DBs and went for a 38-yard TD. That wasn’t a perfect throw, but it was close enough. Give your guys a chance.

Eagles receivers did nothing in the opener. They played much better as a group. Ward, Charles Johnson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Carlton Agudosi all caught multiple passes. TE Will Tye had a 25-yard catch and run.

Thorson finished the night 16-26-175 with a TD and an INT. Canton won’t be calling for the game ball, but that’s a big night for a rookie who struggled mightily in the spring and summer. He should feel good today.

The running game came alive. Miles Sanders was 5-31 and had a couple of impressive runs in there. You could see his vision and athleticism. That was exciting. Five different Eagles had a run of 10 or more yards. That’s a good run game. Boston Scott looked terrific late in the game. He was 7-43 and had a couple of Sproles type moments. Even Donnel Pumphrey looked good. He made one nasty move on a DB and left that guy looking like a fool. Pump was 5-29. Where has this been?

The O-line played better. They protected the QBs and opened holes in the run game. The OL still was too sloppy. There were missed assignments and more penalties. Stefan Wisniewski had multiple errant snaps and isn’t endearing himself to the coaches. Matt Pryor and Big V had some trouble with the DTs in pass pro early on.

It is hard to quantify just how good the defense looked. Why? The Jags OL was bad. I mean bad. Brandon Graham played early and looked like the greatest pass rusher of the last decade. The RT had no chance. Vinny Curry played well. Daeshon Hall came into the game and had two sacks. He got close on other plays. Josh Sweat had his moments, but is clearly the #5 DE on this team right now. In the second half, Shareef Miller, Kasim Edebali and Eli Harold continued collapsing the pocket and pressuring the QB.

The DTs had another strong game. Bruce Hector played a lot and looked good. Azziz Shittu was highly disruptive late in the game. He gave them fits.

Nate Gerry played better this week. TJ Edwards played well in the second half. Alex Singleton led the team with 6 tackles and was once again fun to watch.

Malcolm Jenkins played early and was a force against the run. Tre Sullivan didn’t stand out to me, good or bad. Johnathan Cyprien had a couple of forceful tackles.

The starting CBs were good. The backups continued to struggle. Josh Hawkins has zero chance to make the team. Jeremiah McKinnon had good coverage on some plays and continued to hit and tackle well.

You want to see your team get better from week to week, especially from the preseason opener to the next game. Players get game film and studying that can make a huge difference. Coaches can use those examples to really highlight certain things that need to be worked on. The Eagles took a big step forward.

The key thing now is to figure out Kessler’s situation. If he has a bad concussion, the team will have to put him on IR and go find a veteran QB to help the next two weeks. Based on the way he’s played so far, he should probably be cut no matter what. I just don’t see what the coaching staff does. Thorson is flawed, but at least he has NFL talent. Kessler struggles to drive the ball, whether out wide or down the field. That would be fine if he made quick reads and was a very accurate passer. We haven’t seen that from him. What exactly are you getting…experience?

Nate Sudfeld is out. Now Kessler is hurt. Carson Wentz is in protective bubble wrap and Clayton Thorson is going to be a busy man. There’s nothing quite like preseason football.

_


PS Game 2 Preview

Posted: August 14th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The preseason opener was a sloppy affair. Doug Pederson couldn’t have been thrilled with his team’s execution. Way too many mistakes. That’s ancient history now and the Eagles are focused on Game Two, when they take on the Jaguars. It’s a rematch of the London Bowl!!!

Are you excited?

We don’t know who will play, but it sure feels like a lot of starters will sit out this week as well. With that in mind, let’s talk about who to focus on.

QBs – Cody Kessler certainly ain’t Dan Marino, but it sure would be nice if he could play at a functional level. Last week wasn’t good. Nate Sudfeld’s injury gave Kessler a lot more reps in practice so that should help him to be better prepared this time out. Kessler has to show the Eagles something. Anything. If not, they have to start thinking about bringing in a QB.

Clayton Thorson should have the nerves out of his system for this game. That was the excuse for last week’s poor showing. Thorson has NFL potential, but he’s kept it to himself most of the summer. That has to change. Forget about big plays. Just go find the open guy and get him the ball.

Miles Sanders – He didn’t get much time last week and I’m guessing the coaches will change that. They want to get him more game reps so he can be ready for the regular season. I hope the Eagles get the ball to him in space. I want to see what he can do.

WRs – Make a play. Anybody. Make a friggin’ play. If you re-watch the opener, TEN receivers made tough catches. Eagles receivers didn’t make tough or easy grabs. The QB play didn’t help, but receivers must do their part. I’m desperate to see Greg Ward do anything. Can Marken Michel make another big play? I am interested to see what Donnel Pumphrey does as a WR.

OL – Who will play where? My guess is that Big V will stay at RG and Jordan Mailata will play RT, but we’ll have to see. Big V got some snaps at RT this week in practice. Mailata took a huge step forward last year from game to game to game. Can he do that again? I hope Matt Pryor settles down and plays better. I’m curious to see if Nate Herbig stays at center. He struggled last week. He’s more natural at OG.

DE – Sounds like Daeshon Hall is still banged up so we’ll see a lot of Josh Sweat and the other guys. Get ready for lots of Shareef Miller, Eli Harold and Kasim Edebali. Huge opportunity for Miller. He was okay last week, but must play better to push for a roster spot. I’m interested to see what Harold can do. I liked him coming out of college.

Malik Jackson – The veteran DT is looking for revenge against his former team. Odd to have a chip like that in a preseason game, but whatever works for him.

LB – Will Paul Worrilow make his Eagles debut? Injuries have plagued him since joining the team in March of 2018. I’d love to see Worrilow on the field to get a feel for whether he’s just a body at this point or if he can push for a spot. I’m excited to see L.J. Fort again. That dude can fly. Will Nate Gerry get better? This is Year 3 for him. We need to see more.

S – Tre Sullivan needs to bounce back in a big way. He had some bad moments in the opener. With Blake Countess gone, Sullivan could still win a spot on this team. He must play better. Johnathan Cyprien came alive last week as the game went along. I hope he can build off that.

CB – How much do you play Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas? They looked good. They’re healthy at a beat up position. The problem is that the backup backup CBs struggled last week. It will be interesting to see what Jim Schwartz does with his young players. I hope Jay Liggins gets more snaps. I want to see what he can do.

*****

Stay healthy.

Convert some 3rd downs.

Score some points.

Make a play or two on defense.

_


Coming and Going and Moving

Posted: August 14th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Another day, another move.

Hassan Ridgeway got hurt in the game last week and still isn’t practicing. Shittu knows the scheme so he can jump right in and help in Thursday’s game. Shittu also is a versatile player, with the ability to help at DE and DT.

Countess was expected to be a backup DB and key STer. He got hurt in the preseason opener and that’s why he was cut. The Eagles could always talk to him about re-signing after the season starts. For now, this is good news for Johnathan Cyprien, Tre Sullivan and Deiondre’ Hall. Their odds of making the team just went up.

Gibson has been a disappointment since being drafted. He has helped on STs, but hasn’t done squat as a receiver. Maybe the Eagles will give him another chance down the line.

*****

Army OT Brett Toth is trying to get permission to sign with the Eagles. Domo has the story.

Toth was at the 2018 Senior Bowl and impressed me. Here is one nugget I wrote on him.

Army OT Brett Toth had a strong showing. He absolutely stoned a couple of DEs trying to beat him in 1-on-1 drills. There was another rep where Toth shoved Jalyn Holmes to the ground. Toth did get off-balance on one play and the DE put him on the ground. Toth spent the vast majority of his college career as a run blocker. He’s shown the ability to pass protect and run block so far in Mobile.

Toth is 6-6, 291 and the kind of interesting prospect the Eagles love to get their hands on. It will be interesting to see if the Army lets him join the Eagles.

*****

Domo had one more good nugget in his column.

Donnel Pumphrey, who already is a long shot to make the Eagles’ season-opening 53-man roster, has a new position. Pumphrey has been moved from running back to wide receiver.

He said he was informed of the position switch Saturday, after the Eagles’ first preseason game against Tennessee.

I like it. Pump wasn’t going to make the team as a RB. That was clear. The Eagles backup WRs were underwhelming last week. Move Pump there to give him a shot and to see if he can add something to the receiver group.

A jerk might point out that Pump couldn’t be any worse than Shelton Gibson. Thankfully, I’m not a jerk.

*****

Here are Jimmy Bama’s practice notes. They are practically a love letter to Nelson Agholor. Get a room, you two.

*****

Jeff McLane had an interesting observation.

Installation periods can be relatively uneventful, but one thing I noticed Tuesday was that Halapoulivaati Vaitai was at right tackle, ahead of Mailata, in place of the injured Lane Johnson (knee). Malaita has been filling in for Johnson during team drills, but with Brandon Brooks (Achilles) cleared for installation periods, Big V was no longer needed at right guard.

Safety Rodney McLeod and center Jason Kelce returned to practice after taking vet days Monday. McLeod was held out of team drills. Defensive end Daeshon Hall (shoulder) was also back in action. The Eagles waived injured safety Blake Countess (hamstring) and signed defensive tackle Aziz Shittu.

Big V getting time at RT? That makes sense. Andre Dillard looks to be the backup LT. You might as well have Big V play some RT in case he’s needed there. Jordan Mailata has tremendous potential, but I would be very nervous if he had to protect Carson Wentz in a real game.

*****

There was a lot of speculation on Twitter about the Eagles possibly trading for DE Jadeveon Clowney.

Clowney got the franchise tag from the Texans. The two sides aren’t anywhere close to a deal and Clowney hasn’t reported to camp. With no real GM in place, coach Bill O’Brien is running the franchise and hasn’t handled this situation well.

Would the Texans deal Clowney?

They wouldn’t have great bargaining power, so you might get a good deal out of this. The trick is that Clowney can’t sign a contract extension until after the season so there is risk. You might just get him for a year.

I’m sure Howie Roseman will kick around the idea, but I doubt anything comes of it. The Eagles have to be careful with their spending and their resources. They need cheap talent in the future to offset Wentz’s big raise.

That said, if you could get the Texans to accept a lesser deal, adding Clowney would be a way to significantly upgrade your team.

Fun to consider, but not likely to happen.

_


PS Game Review – TEN 27, PHI 10

Posted: August 13th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

Nobody cares about the overall game very much so let’s get right to the players.

Preseason opener

Sudfeld – Injury late in the half ruined a strong showing. Good touch on deep ball to JJAW. Good mobility. Able to feel pressure and get away from it. Hit JJAW while on the move to his right. Accurate. Kept his eyes downfield while on the move. Poor throw on simple pass play to Johnson. Sloppy with his feet and that likely caused off-target throw. Hit Michel with a perfect pass for 75-yd TD. Great touch and accuracy on that throw. Showed the ability to put the ball high or low, depending on what was best for the receiver on a given play. That’s the kind of accuracy and ball control you want to see. Don’t always aim for the body. Put it where it helps the receiver and avoids the defender. Used Goedert and JJAW’s size well when they were covered.

Kessler – Finished up the 1st half and played the 3rd Qtr. Not great, to put it mildly. Showed good mobility. Arm strength is a major issue. 3 for 6 for 12 yards.

Thorson – Had Pump wide open for easy catch and threw the ball at his feet. Hit Thompkins over the middle, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball. Next pass was bad overthrow for INT. Poor decision, worse throw. Threw a strike to Agudosi that went through his hands. Good accuracy and velocity on that throw. Was looking down the field on several throws. You do like the aggressive mentality. Overthrew a shallow receiver on 4th/1. Didn’t play well, but also didn’t get any help from his receivers. Good arm. Aggressive mentality. Those are your best positives from the game.

***

Sanders – Good blitz pick-up. Actual block was good. Sanders and Big V weren’t on the same page about who should get who. That stuff can get worked out. Sanders saw the blitz and got one of the rushers. Only 3-3 as a runner. Didn’t have much room to work with.

Adams – Bobbled pass in the flat. Needs to catch that cleanly and get upfield. Had a good play late in the half. Chipped DE, went to the flat, caught pass and ran out of bounds. Got 9 yds on the play. Fumbled on a run up the middle on the next play. Ugh. Not good enough to get away with that.

Smallwood – Ran hard. Fought for every inch like his job depended on it (likely does). Dropped a couple of catchable passes. Also caught 2 passes.

Pumphrey – Leading rusher with 11 yards. Didn’t stand out physically. Played late.

***

JJAW – Played to his size, which is what you want from a big WR. Good speed. Adjusted to the ball well. Almost made diving catch on opening drive. Did make diving catch on later drive. Went up for catch over the middle in the mid-2nd. Extended for the ball and made the grab. Good debut.

M Michel – Long TD. Got a step on Adoree Jackson (starting CB) and Sudfeld hit him with a strike. Took it to the house. False start in the 3rd Qtr.

C Johnson – Dropped short pass in the flat. Wasn’t able to haul in a pass late in the half. DB broke it up. CJ needs to make plays like that.

Thompkins – Caught quick screen in the 3rd Qtr, but couldn’t get enough for the 1st down. Dropped 4th down pass on crossing route.

Agudosi – Failed to catch pass over the middle. Looked like he slowed down to avoid contact. Not ideal for someone trying to impress the coaches.

***

Goedert – 3-50. Looked great. Got open. Smooth hands. Tough to tackle. Don’t need to see anything more from him.

Perkins – Caught short pass over the middle late in the half. Showed some RAC ability.

A Ellis – Made impressive tackle after INT. Called for holding on a pass play. Called for OPI on pass play. Played hard. Just needs to settle down.

***

Dillard – Started at LT and played a lot. Very good feet. Looked natural at LT. Got pushed back in pass pro. Must set stronger. Gets off the ball well on runs. Can get to the 2nd level, but needs to be better on LBs. Must sustain those blocks. Unusually smart for rookie OL. Understands importance of positioning and angles. Perfect on a screen, getting the DE to come inside and leaving the edge wide open. Smooth in pass pro. Patient when he needs to be. Some young OL panic. Dillard looks like he’s been doing this for years. Very impressive.

Pryor – Played LG and LT. Sloppy with hands. Good awareness on stunt. Big, powerful blocker. Comes off the ball well on run plays. Missed with his hands on a couple of plays at LG and DL beat him easily. His feet tend to freeze and then all he can go is grab or reach. Needs to be more aggressive on screens. Go hit somebody. Did a good job on a stunt late in the half. Shifted to LT in the 3rd Qtr. Called for 3 penalties in the game. Love his size. Love the versatility. Has real potential. Needs to be more consistent.

Big V – Played RG. Plays with good pad level. Wide base. Able to re-set if he’s moved back initially. Wasn’t getting much push in the run game. Real good combo block on run late in the half. Got movement on that play. Solid showing.

Mailata – Played RT for 53 snaps. Anchors well. Extends arm into rusher. Gets too upright at times. Wins when he is able to get his hands on the defender. Just overpowers guys. Shows good potential with his kickslide. Needs to be better with his hands. Got a shot on a rusher who was almost by him and that affected the guy, but Mailata should have made contact before that. Good feet. Patient in pass pro (too patient at times). Can be overwhelming. Drove LB almost 10 yards off the ball on a run play. Struggles to understand who to block on some plays. Right now Mailata is winning with size and strength. Still needs a ton of work. Upside remains very high. If his brain ever catches up to his body, watch out. Physically gifted, but still learning the game.

Herbig – Played C in 2nd half. Got pushed back on first play. Needs to be quicker from snap to block. Needs to play with better awareness. Moved to RG late.

Fabiano – Played RG in 2nd half. Might help if he looked downfield on screens. Was looking backward on play that had a chance. Ugh.

Opeta – LG in the 2nd half. Beaten by DT for quick pressure on early play. Pushed back on run play.

K Render – Played C late in the game.  Read the rest of this entry »




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