Three Eagles That Could Surprise

  1. DB Jalen Mills

Eagles drafted Mills out of LSU in the 7th-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played a lot of safety at college and some cornerback. He started his NFL career as a corner and has been up and down. Has had some really good games, and some really bad games. Eagles re-signed Jalen Mills to a one-year deal this past offseason and will spend his fifth NFL season as the team’s starting safety to replace Malcolm Jenkins. This could turn out a lot better then people think. Jalen Mills should have been playing safety a long time ago. His strengths would make him a lot better safety than corner. First he is solid in zone coverage. One on one vs some of the quickest route runners in the game in press man was not his play style. Another strength by Mills is he is a very good run defender. He has easily been the Eagles best tackling cornerback since he joined the Eagles in 2016. Jalen Mills played one game at safety in his career and it was this past 2019 season and he played really well. He was playing the run really well and was taking a lot of Brady’s check-down options out of the way. Brady struggled throughout the game and Mills played a big role in that. He could end up being a very good starting safety in the NFL

2. WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside

JJ Arcega-Whiteside was one of two of the Eagles’ second round pick in 2019 (the other being star RB Miles Sanders). To put it short, his rookie year was a disaster. Sometimes did not know the routes, could never get separation, and had bricks for hands. He dropped a potential game-winning touchdown Week 3 against the Lions on a beautiful 4th down play by Carson Wentz. He finished his rookie year with just 10 catches 169 yards and 1 touchdown. Not much to like from his rookie season. It was tough year despite being given the opportunity to step up with the Eagles’ entire roster basically being hurt. A lot of reports out of camp are saying JJ has been a completely different player. He is healthier, stronger, faster, catching more passes, playing smarter, and developing good chemistry with Carson Wentz. Eagles will start the season with multiple injuries at the Wide Receiver position, JJ Arcega-Whiteside has a great opportunity early in 2020 to show he can have a breakout season.

3. LB Nate Gerry

The Eagles’ LB group on paper looks like a disaster. But, people don’t know the name Nate Gerry. He was drafted in the fifth round back in 2017 out of Wisconsin as a safety. Eagles moved him to Linebacker and he has slowly developed into a solid Linebacker, and is poised to have a breakout season. Being a former safety, Gerry has very good coverage ability for a Linebacker, he can keep up with receivers and running backs, even tight ends. He also has showed great playmaking ability, with 3 career interceptions with only 1 year of being a starter. This past season where he finally got chances to start, he finished with 72 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions, one ran back for a touchdown. He also had 5 pass deflections. Eagles started the year with their linebackers being Zach Brown and Nigel Bradham. Brown was released after Week 6 and Gerry started since. He had himself a solid year and will look to improve upon that in 2020. He has the coverage ability to be one of the better coverage linebackers in the league. The first 3 years he was learning the position. Gerry was a lot of potential and especially in a contract season, Gerry could be in for a huge breakout season and earn a new contract extension to keep as the Eagles’ starting Linebacker for the foreseeable future.

Casey Toohil 7th Round Steal

Casey Toohil Earns Roster Spot

The ink is beginning to dry, leases are being signed, and moving trucks are being rented. The Philadelphia Eagles have announced their 53 man roster, and while there were many surprise cuts made, one man defied the odds and earned his spot.

When you think of 7th round picks, you think practice squad hopful, when Casey thinks 7th round pick, he thinks opportunity! The Eagles for much of their franchises life span has prided themselves on their ability to solidify the trenches. Our defensive line was a strength going into this year, while we knew there would be a couple people fighting for rotational spots, no one could have predicted the outcome.

At pick 233, The Eagles selected a 23 year old LB/DE out of Stanford. North of 240 pounds, Casey ran an impressive 4.6 40! Combine that with a 10.5 inch broad jump and some impressive cone drills, scouts took notice of the athleticism Casey possessed. At the time of the selection, the overlying issue was whether he’d be a stand up lb or DE at the next level.

Eagles signed him to add depth to a pass rush that is getting older by the minute. Anchored by veteran Brandon Graham, and a underwhelming Derek Barnett. Younger players such as, Shareef Miller, Genard Avery, Josh Sweat etc all fought for playing time. Well, that fight continued through training camp and Miller unfortunately was deemed the odd man out.

I’m excited to see what Casey can do, he needs to work on using his hands and becoming a solid run stopper, but let’s be honest if he can consistently get to the QB we can work with the rest.

What do you guys think? Who was a suprise cut for you? Watch this weeks Sunday Sports Talk now on youtube for my analysis on breaking news and the upcoming Thursday night game.

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How Concerned Should the Eagles be About Wentz’s Injury History?

Carson Wentz has suffered an injury that made his season end each of the last three seasons. In 2017, Wentz suffered a season-ending torn ACL and LCL, in 2018, he was banged up since the start and hurt his back early in the year, then sat out the last few games because of it, including the playoffs. In 2019, Wentz managed to play all 16 games, playing at an elite level the last 5, but a late hit by Jadaveon Clowney early in the playoff game caused him to miss basically the whole game with a concussion and the Eagles would go on to lose. But how concerned should the Eagles actually be?

There has been one common theme with Wentz’s injuries, they all have been on an unlucky hits. None of them have been non-contact. Even the ACL injury. Wentz’s injuries have all simply just been unlucky hits. Which in all honesty is a good sign. A lot of players who suffer ligament tears usually means they suffer it on non-contact and they can easily tear it again. Also, a lot of injury prone players have similar re-occurring injuries. For example, Robert Griffin III and Sam Bradford had constant knee problems, Andrew Luck had constant shoulder problems, and Tony Romo had many back injuries. Each of Wentz’s injuries were not related. He tore his ACL, suffered a back injury, and had a concussion. It would be a different story if he had a constant injury to the same area and if it was non-contact.

The Wentz being injury prone statement is really overblown. He is not constantly questionable every week, or have random soreness that holds him out of practice throughout the season. It is more of him suffering an unlucky hit in a game at towards the end of the year. The Eagles were smart investing high in a backup QB with Jalen Hurts, you should always be prepared, but, Wentz’s past injuries are not something that is constant. It is not a constant knee issue, back, or anything in the same spot. It normally is an unlucky hit. Getting a talented young backup with Jalen Hurts is not a bad idea because Wentz can just be straight up unlucky. The Eagles should not worry about Wentz’s injury history as much as the media says they should.

Is Jason Peters Worth A New Contract?

Will the body guard need to make his return to LT?

With the NFL kickoff mere days away, The Philadelphia Eagles face a major decision. As many may have heard second year LT, Andre Dillard, suffered a season ending bicep tear causing Philly to orchestrate a major reshuffle of their 2020 offensive line.

When announced Brandon Brooks would likely be out for the remainder of the season, Howie called upon old reliable. Jason Peters a perennial pro bowler, 6x all pro, as well as a part of the NFL all decade team is a lock for the Hall of Fame. Has his age finally become an issue though? At the ripe age of 38 the all world LT was called to fill the hole Brooks injury created. He did so on a team friendly low cap hit contract.

Now that we face a major injury at the position that earned him the moniker, “The Bodygaurd”, most eagle fans assumed he’d slide right back into his previous role. Well, not so fast, he’s not made clear that he is NOT willing to move back to LT without a revision to his contract.

One thing about me is, I’m a player first type of fan, but to me this mentality is selfish and unwarranted quite frankly. Jason Peters has not stayed healthy nor consistent the past few years. If we were to bet on a elite or even above average out put from him is in my opinion unrealistic.

My decision would be to give these young Lineman a shot and revisit the issue after game one if necessary. The future is now for Philadelphia Eagles and they need to treat this move with that in mind. Jason Peters needs to be a team player in this situation.

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Injuries…Already?

As the NFL gears up for its inaugural kick off, The Philadelphia Eagles rev the energy up at their training camp.

Due to the cancellation of preseason, this elongated training camp is looked to provide teams the opportunity to evaluate their young talent. The Eagles are doing just that, while young players like, Reagor, Watkins, and more begin to make their imprint on the team vets seem to be lagging behind.

Hargrave, Sanders, Peters, Lane, and more have all had to sit out multiple practices due to either injury or illness. When does this become a cause for concern, or is this the smartest play for the Eagles?

With less than a full month to go, the Eagles need to begin to build chemistry and solidify who will be starting where. While I’m not too concerned with the rest the vets are getting I am definitely keeping a trained eye on the progression of our depth chart. Still many questions left unanswered!

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BATTLE BREWING FOR CB2

CB2 BATTLE

A lot has been made of the arrival of lockdown corner, Darius Slay, rightfully so. Yet with all the stability Slay adds to one side of the secondary, we face just as much doubt on the other.

Candidates for CB2 include familiar faces such as, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and fan favorite Avonte Maddox. With the latter seemingly more fit to run slot does that make it a two man race?

I believe the three will battle for the CB2 spot well into the season, do not be surprised to see a rotation at CB2 even if only for the first few weeks. I feel as though Sidney Jones is the best on paper fit for the role, but will need to become far more consistent. Rasul, while having the prototypical size and arm length, he lacks the speed and overall ability to follow the Terry Mclaurin’s or even the Slaytons on our schedule.

Which brings me to Avonte Maddox, I believe he is our best CB outside of Darius Slay. I do, however feel due to his size being an outside corner may be a bit more than, the 5’9 183 pound 24 year old, can handle. Yet with the Nickel Roby-Coleman looking like all but a lock to start in the slot, the outside may be all that is left for Maddox.

Quez Watkins turns on the afterburners against CB Rasul Douglas in one on ones

My prediction is, Sidney Jones begins as the “#1 CB” but wouldn’t be surprised to see Maddox fight him the whole year for playing time. As far as Rasul goes, unfortunately I don’t see him being an Eagle much longer.

What are your thoughts? Who do you see winning the CB2 battle?

Written by; Joe Castro of Philly Philly The Podcast

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NFC BEAST? OR NFC LEAST?

2020 RECORD PREDICTIONS

While times seem to become more uncertain off of the gridiron, the NFL looks to add a bit of normalcy to our lives. Multiple reports indicate the 2020 season will be beginning on time. So I decided now is a good time to give my division picks. Will the NFC East reclaim its powerhouse reputation, or will all the drama be too much for some teams to overcome? Here’s my take;

Eagles: Philadelphia while not totally drama free (see DJAX posts) we have been able to avoid major issues. Same head coach, same playbook, and for the most part those commonalities should propel the Eagles to a division title. I predict the Eagles will go 11-5 and win the division led by Carson Wentz and sophomore sensation Miles Sanders.

Giants: This is a shocker to most, understandably, but I am a believer in Daniel Jones and Saqoun Barkley. I don’t think they will be a wildcard team but I do believe they will navigate their EXTREMELY tough schedule this year, and see an improvement in record to the tune of 7-9. With the exception of a couple arrests, the Giants have been able to avoid negative media attention.

Cowboys: Obviously this isn’t an indictment on their talent, I do believe they are on paper the most “talented” team in the division. My concerns are solely based on Dak Prescott, while he has great stats and has lead the Cowboys to a playoff win, his lack of contract speaks volumes to the confidence Jerry world has in the QB. Dak will be playing under a microscope for the entire season, not to mention having a proven starting quality QB (Andy Dalton) chomping at the bit to take over at a discount if Dak was to falter. I see the pressure being the undoing of this team, new coach, new system, and too much uncertainty. I see the Cowboys regressing in a big way, 6-10 for “Dem Boys”

The Team in Washington: I’ll begin by saying, they have the talent to compete. Now that is out the way, this organization is a sinking ship. I see this year being a complete rebuild starting with the culture. While I love AP, no amount of old man strength will save this franchise at least not this year. I see the Washingtons(lol?) as basement dwellers, 3-13 might be a generous record.

Who do you have as your division winners?

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DeSean Jackson Under Fire for Posting anti-Semitic Quote

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is facing major backlash and scrutiny after posting anti-Semitic quotes Monday on social media. On Jackson’s Instagram story feed, was a quote supposedly by Adolph Hitler about how white Jews “will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were”.

In addition, on Jackson’s Instagram feed he posted photos of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who has been identified as an anti-semite. 

Later on Monday, Jackson went back on Instagram to clarify his posts saying “Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way. I have no hatred in my heart towards no one !! Equality Equality”. Part of the public backlash was former Eagles president Joe Banner who said that DeSean Jackson’s post was “absolutely indefensible”.

Others on social media have called for the Eagles to part ways with the wide receiver. The Eagles have yet to comment on the matter, but according to Adam Schefter, the Eagles will do so today.

[News story still unfolding, expect more to be added]

The Eagles Offensive Situation

Ben Carlson

QB: The QB situation for the Eagles is pretty straight forward. Carson Wentz will obviously lead the team as the starter as long as he is eligible to play, and Nate Sudfeld will likely back him up. The addition of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft confused a lot; however, I am confident that Coach Pederson and Howie drafted Jalen Hurts mainly to use as a gadget player like the Saints use Taysom Hill.

RB: With the departure of Jordan Howard this offseason a lot of people are wondering what the Eagles will do to replace him for the 2020-2021 season. Their have been some big names popping up such as Carlos Hyde, Shady McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Me personally, I have a ton of faith in Miles Sanders as an RB 1; however, bringing in a vet that can help with the workload and potentially guide Miles for a year isn’t something I wouldn’t be opposed to.

WR: The front office did a great job at adding new weapons for Wentz this offseason. The additions consisted of Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Pederson and Howie were obviously going for speed and I’m all for it. I have high hopes for Jalen Reagor, I think he will have an impact from the start of the season. Marquise will be a good speed guy to have along side D-Jax. As for John Hightower and Quez Watkins, they were both good picks (especially for when we got them) and from the looks of their college tape if needed they will be ready (I really do think they are better than being just random backups but I don’t know what the front office will do about it, for we have a lot of WR on the roster) . To top that all off we still have Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward, JJAW, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett and Shelton Gibson

TE: The TE situation similar to the QB room is also really straight forward. We have the three headed snake from last year consisting of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart and Josh Perkins. I’m a big fan of our TE corp, year after year they continue to be reliable and consistent.

O-Line: As usual we still have a dominant O-Line; however, Vaitai left and is now on the Lions. A solid player and a pretty big lose, but definitely replaceable. As of right now it looks like the starting lineup will be Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson. This is a lineup I’m extremely confident in despite Isaac Seumalo’s super mediocre past. The front office did make some moves this offseason to pad the line such as draft Jack Driscoll and draft Prince Tega Wanogho. Both excelled in college and were good picks in the 4th and 6th round. The main obstacle is not being able to avoid injuries, we need to stay healthy. That doesn’t go for just the O-Line, the entire roster needs to stay healthy if we want to succeed this season.

Eagles Defense Has Taken Step Forward in Off-Season

A lot of Eagles fans are skeptical of how much the Eagles improved from this year to last. Although it’s absolutely fair, I think we have to give more credit to Howie Roseman and the Eagles staff for improving the Eagles defense. From the playoff lost to Seattle to now, the Eagles are a much better team. 

When starting off with an evaluation like this, we have to look back at what was the original product (most recent) that took the field for the Eagles. In the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks the Eagles had Jalen Mills as their number one cornerback in the game. The Eagles defense only allowed 17 points in the loss to Seattle. D.K. Metcalf, like many other WR’s this season, lit up the Eagles secondary with 160 receiving yards, setting the rookie record for most receiving yards by a rookie in a postseason game. Although, giving up a total of 325 receiving yards in the game, the Eagles only gave up 64 rushing yards, and 45 of that came from QB Russell Wilson. The Eagles defense was led by Malcolm Jenkins with 9 tackles, and had the only sack in the game for the Eagles. 

The next part of the evaluation of the Eagles off-season specific to the defense is what the Eagles lost. The major lost for the Eagles defense was Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins wasn’t just a productive starter for the Eagles or that he played nearly every snap, but Jenkins was also the captain of the defense. The Eagles also watched Timmy Jernigan, and Kamu Grugier-Hill sign contracts with other teams. Also, Vinny Curry and Nigel Bradham are currently free agents. 

Finally, the additions to the Eagles team on the defensive side of the ball. The major acquisition for the Eagles this off-season was the trade and extension of CB Darrius Slay. In addition, the Eagles added Javon Hargrave DT from the Pittsburgh Steelers and signed Nickell Robey-Coleman CB. Smaller signings for the Eagles consisted of S Will Parks and LB Jatavis Brown. Lastly, the Eagles drafted LB/S Davion Taylor in the third round, and S K’Von Wallace in the 4th.

Now that we have it all laid out on the table, we can finally look at how the Eagles stack up. The first part you start off, the secondary. The by far biggest weakness of the Eagles defense, and would have been the number one addressed spot if the WR position did self-destruct last year. I find it hard to make an argument that the CB position, in particular, didn’t improve greatly. The Eagles got a true number one CB. The last time the Eagles had a cornerback make the pro bowl was Asante Samuel in 2010. for 10 years, the Eagles have had bad to mediocre play at that position. Adding Slay into the team will allow the Eagles to not be lit up by top WR’s and give more time to the Eagles defensive line to get the QB. 

Making any point about the Eagle secondary this upcoming season, has to look at the loss of Malcolm Jenkins. The leadership part of Jenkins will be missed but let’s not pretend that the Eagles defense doesn’t have leaders. Look at Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and even Rodney McLeod. Replacing Jenkins production is more of a question I believe for the Eagles. First things first, Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t a pro bowl player in the prime of his career, he’s clearly on his last stretch, I think most fans would agree with that. What most fans have a problem with is, who’s going to replace him? I know a lot of people are saying Jalen Mills, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. The report that Mills was going to be coming back to the Eagles to play safety made fans assume he would take the Jenkins role. Yet, the Eagles signed Will Parks, and invested two picks Davion Taylor, and K’Von Wallace at the safety position. It wouldn’t make sense to put that much capital into one position and still start the player that could be a solid CB 2. For replacing Jenkins productivity will be hard for the Eagles but if the Eagles believe that one of the two draft picks, or an improved Will Parks can take that place, then I don’t think the drop off is dramatic. 

The secondary as a whole is a better team, the Eagles invested resources in it which is the only thing they could have done. The Eagles mixed the defense with proven talent in Darius Slay and new rookies such as K’Von Wallace. When evaluating the Eagles secondary, they have improved. Then, you have to look at the position beneath it. The linebackers. 

Some Eagles fans think that this is the biggest need for the Eagles team. Of course those fans would be wrong but nevertheless it is a position that is almost less clear after the off-season. The Eagles did add LB Davion Taylor but with an undersized body, he might be the replacement for Malcolm Jenkins instead. Other than that, the only signing the Eagles had at the linebacker position was Jatavis Brown, who is far off of a major name. Eagles fans shouldn’t be surprised, the LB position in a 4-3 defense, but more importantly an Eagles defense under Jim Schwartz doesn’t value the position that highly. Howie Roseman doesn’t draft LB’s high in the draft, and the team watched Jordan Hicks leave the team last year. So with the Eagles LB position looking like Nathan Gerry, TJ Edwards, and Jatavis Brown leading the front, I don’t think there is going to be a major difference if Kamu-Grugier Hill or Nigel Bradham were in their place. I would say the Eagles took a step back, but far from saying that this is going to be the difference between making the playoffs or not. 

Lastly, the other main component of the defense is the defensive line. The Eagles added DT Javon Hargrave who was one of the more surprising decisions by the Eagles this season. The reason was because they committed big money to another DT only a year after signing DT Malik Jackson. Although, the Eagles value the D-Line position heavily, which is one of the reasons why they put together so many resources. I understand some of the confusion at first from the fan base, not so much criticism of the player but more of the decision to invest at a strong position. Now along the D-Line, the DT position is going to be one of the best in the game, the question still remains outside. Derrick Barnett hasn’t stepped into his potential, and Brandon Graham isn’t getting younger. The Eagles will need a contribution from Malik Jackson, or Josh Sweat to step up as well. There is no doubt the defensive line improved, and I think the Eagles made the right decision to go all in to get pressure, because we all know that pressure forces mistakes.

In conclusion, the Eagles invested all free agent resources in the defense, and got high quality players in the draft. I think this Eagles defense is going to be the best in the NFC East, and pairing that up with Carson Wentz doing his thing on offense, the Eagles are setting themselves up for a successful season.