let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles left …
Grading all 32 NFL offseasons – PFF
The Eagles have had an outstanding offseason, and few moves are likely to make a bigger impact than acquiring AJ Brown via trade on draft day. The only question is where that move factors in — whether you count it as part of the team’s draft or not — but Brown gives the team a legitimate No. 1 receiver, which was still a question mark otherwise. Brown has been an elite receiver overall since entering the league but has also excelled in the areas that are still up for debate with DeVonta Smith, such as dominance against press coverage. Smith now gets to develop as a No. 2 receiver with less dedicated attention from defenses, and the Eagles now have a formidable receiving corps to go along with an excellent offensive line. The team also secured major upgrades to their defense with Jordan Davis in the first round and then Nakobe Dean in the third, who were both stars on the best defense in college football. Dean seemingly slipped in the draft due to concerns with his medical profile that the Eagles apparently do not share, and he could easily become the steal of the draft almost immediately. Signing Haason Reddick is the biggest free agency move the team made, but it’s not insignificant. Reddick is an impressive speed rusher who will be part of a continued overhaul of their defensive line that continued with the Davis pick in Round 1.
Eagles depth chart following the 2022 NFL Draft: Special teams edition – BGN
With Jason Huntley remaining on the practice squad, the Eagles struggled to get good kick return production. Reagor was given a chance to show something in this capacity but he ended up being benched. The Eagles finished the year with a 18.5 kick return average, fourth worst in the NFL. One of their best returns was when Huntley finally got a chance to play in Philly’s meaningless Week 18 game against Dallas. Huntley’s three returns went for a 28 average with a long of 35, their second-longest return of the year (longest was 44). Maybe they should give Huntley, who was a very good kick returner in college, an actual chance to win the job this time around? Covey returned 33 kicks in college for a 25.4 average and one touchdown. At such a small stature, he profiles more as a punt returner but he could get some looks here as he tries to make the roster. Unlike the top two players at this spot, Gainwell is a lock to make the team. He didn’t really impress with just a 17.1 average on eight returns last year. Reagor has experience returning kicks but isn’t good at it. Allen has limited KR experience; he had eight returns for Oregon back in 2014. The track star will need to demonstrate special teams value to make the roster so he could get reps here.
A look at the Eagles’ 2023 free agents, and who could be contract extension candidates – PhillyVoice
Potential long-term pieces at non-premium positions. The Eagles should only be interested in extending non-premium position players at reasonable, team-friendly costs. RB Miles Sanders (25). Sanders is explosive and a big-play threat, but his reliability in the passing game (both as a receiver and in pass protection) has not been consistent, and he has often failed to get the easy yards that are blocked up for him. If he can show in 2022 that he can put it all together and become a complete back, then the Eagles should attempt to re-sign him to a team-friendly extension. Otherwise, they should be willing to let him test free agency in 2023. We should probably take a more comprehensive look at Sanders’ situation soon. (Adds it to the writing schedule.)
The future is now: A look at the Class of ’21 – PE.com
DeVonta Smith, WR, first round. Smith says he wants to work on the “little things” in his game, which is his way of saying that he strives every day to be perfect. Rarely has such a driven player touched down at One NovaCare Way … After his outstanding rookie season – 64 receptions, 916 yards, 5 touchdowns, and a half-dozen incredible, how-did-he-do-it? catches – Smith has extensive NFL experience to fall back on in addition to his wondrous receiving skills. With veteran AJ Brown on board, Smith’s chances to create even more favorable matchups improve instantly. How will Smith’s role change within the offense? That’s going to be part of the fun watching when the pads go on in Training Camp and into the regular season.
Zac Taylor Explains the Bengals’ Different Approach to the Offseason – SI
Revenge plots attached to games are usually a bigger factor for fans than they are for players, but there’s one theme I’m keeping an eye on this year. Let’s start with what Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz told NFL Network during the schedule release show on returning to Philadelphia on Nov. 14 (a Monday night): “I know that’ll be a big game. A lot of emotions. I’m sure fans will eat that one up and it’ll be fun—make for a good story line. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be just another ballgame. It’s going to be a huge divisional game for us when that one comes. So I’m excited for it, but at the same time, I’m trying not to get too excited for that one, because, again, it’s just football. Can’t press. Can’t do too much.” So yes, that one will be interesting. But to me, maybe more interesting will be three earlier dates—the opener against his old coach Doug Pederson and the Jaguars, the Week 3 game against the Eagles and the Week 8 game in Indianapolis. You see where Wentz said there that he “can’t do too much”? Well, within the first eight weeks, we’ll have three situations where you’ll get a clear vision on whether he’s pressing as he plays against teams with people that, at least on paper, would have the best knowledge of how to bring that side out of him. And if it happens, like it did down the stretch last year, Washington has a rookie it likes quite a bit in Sam Howell, the fifth-round pick who had a high enough grade with the team that it essentially demanded his selection where the Commanders got him.
Troy Aikman believes Commanders likely ‘last opportunity’ for Carson Wentz to prove he’s a franchise quarterback – NFL.com
In his first year in the Monday night booth alongside longtime broadcast partner Joe Buck, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is set to call that game. He believes it will be part of a last-chance season for Wentz, who was selected second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Eagles but is now slated to play for his third team in as many seasons. “I think that right now, Carson had an opportunity; it didn’t end well in Philadelphia, of course,” Aikman said Monday, via ESPN transcript. “He then got traded to Indianapolis. Didn’t go great for him there. They decided to make another change at that position, and now he’s landed in Washington. “This is probably his last opportunity, just being blunt about it, to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL.”
Notable draft prospects the Cowboys will face on their 2022 schedule – Blogging The Boys
A pair of Georgia Bulldogs that anchored one of the most dominant defenses in college football history will have a chance to do so as teammates still for the Eagles. The Eagles are a hot pick to upset the Cowboys as division winners this season, if Jalen Hurts can prove to be the quarterback of the future. The Eagles traded for AJ Brown during the first round to help Hurts in a big way, spending two of their five picks on defense to give them another way to win. Davis is a run-stuffing monster that gives Philadelphia a dominant interior with Fletcher Cox. Nakobe Dean’s fall to the third round was a major surprise, as concerns about his size and a possible lingering injury scared teams away. The Eagles could already have one of the draft’s biggest steals however, as Dean’s been a full participant in rookie minicamp. Both Georgia prospects embody the hard-nosed style of play that Philadelphia fans will embrace fully, with the Cowboys week six game on the road being a Sunday Night Football matchup.
What’s the plan? Piecing together the Giants’ secondary – Big Blue View
The Giants’ secondary is still precariously thin after parting ways with Bradberry, but they do seem to have a plan for piecing together a coherent secondary. There’s always a high rate of attrition among defensive backs, and the Giants could be one or two injuries away from disaster. The Giants are also going to be relying on a lot of young players and moving parts in their secondary this year. That will surely invite tests from opposing offenses. The Giants seem to have a clear vision of the types of players they want and how it all fits together. That said, it remains to be seen if the plan will pay off this year or if they’ll need another off-season for everything to come together.
Movie Session: What Does Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. bring to Washington’s backfield? – Hogs Haven
Washington utilizes a variety of run concepts vote from power and zone. However, I believe Robinson Jr.’s playstyle will be most effective as a zone runner, specifically on inside-zone runs, where his vision, quick processing, and burst will help him take advantage of this particular run scheme. In addition, Robinson Jr.’s ball security is pretty good, and he consistently shows awareness of protecting the football in traffic. Some people believe that Robinson Jr. will ultimately take over Gibson’s job as a full-time starter, and he might. Robinson Jr. has the potential to be a three-down back if it turns out that he has good route running skills and can catch and adjust to quarterback throws from multiple throw points. Coming into the league, though, he’s one of the better pass pro backs; he is a very smart, physical, and fearless blocker, taking on defenders from all three levels.
Drew Brees announces he “may” play football in 2022 – Canal Street Chronicles
There it is straight from the horse’s mouth: Brees is undecided about his 2022 future and may play football again. Could that be for the New Orleans Saints† Could he be James Winston’s backup? Would he be a starter? Would he play somewhere else? what’s going on? What is Drew Brees going to do? WHY CAN’T WE JUST HAVE A NORMAL MONTH OF SAINTS NEWS.
Which Units Could Be the NFL’s Most Improved in 2022? – The Ringer
Saints Receiving Corps. Life in the NFL is awfully hard without a solid quarterback, as the Saints found out in their first season After Brees. Jameis Winston kept the patchwork offense afloat for much of the early part of the season, but when he went down with an ACL injury in Week 8, everything seemed to fall apart. That wasn’t the most shocking development. Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill are both limited passers, and the receiving corps was devoid of talent after an ankle injury sidelined Michael Thomas. Sean Payton’s genius can carry an offense only so far, especially on third down when defenses tend to play tight man coverage. The receivers couldn’t create separation, and New Orleans finished 28th in third-down success rate, per RBSDM.com† That shouldn’t be a problem this season, however. Even with Payton enjoying retirement (for now), things should be easier for the offense in must-pass situations. Not only has Thomas returned, but the Saints have also provided him with some assistance. In the past, defenses could bracket Thomas without really having to worry about getting burned by another receiver. But that won’t be the case after the team traded up to draft Ohio State‘s route-running savant Chris Olave in the first round and added Jarvis Landry on a thrifty one-year, $3 million deal. If Olave hits the ground running—and as this year’s most pro-ready receiver prospect, he should—and Landry bounces back after playing in Cleveland’s mess of an offense, the Saints could go from having the NFL’s worst receiving corps to having one of its best. The offensive scheme shouldn’t look too different with longtime Payton assistant Pete Carmichael taking over the headset. And with Winston back in the fold, and with three smart receivers capable of beating any corner in front of them, Carmichael’s degree of difficulty won’t be terribly high.
Monday Football Monday #88: Is there any life to Drew Brees returning to football? – The SB Nation NFL Show
RJ Ochoa and Rob “Stats” Guerrera unload their thoughts on reports that Drew Brees will not be returning as a studio analyst for NBC in 2022.
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