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The Linc - Alejandro Villanueva's Progress

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/23/2014.

Mitchell Leff

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Villanueva's Progress Amazes Kelly - Bo Wulf,
After a set of spring practices in which the majority sentiment harped on an increased efficiency and familiarity in the system in Chip Kelly's second season, no one was further behind the proverbial eight-ball than Alejandro Villanueva. After serving four years as a U.S. Army Ranger, including three tours in Afghanistan, Villanueva signed with the Eagles this offseason to return to football for the first time since 2009. Of course, his transition didn't end there. Beyond returning to civilian life and adjusting different physical requirements, Villanueva is also learning a brand new position. After bouncing between tackle, tight end and wide receiver in college, the 6-foot-9 Villanueva is now a member of the Eagles defensive line.

More on the New STers - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
I think Maragos is a near-lock for the roster due to his career performance and the depth of the position. Braman could be on shakier ground. The Eagles will keep 4 or 5 OLBs. They have Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Marcus Smith, Brandon Graham, Travis Long and Braman battling each other. Braman needs to be effective on defense and he needs to stand out on STs.

Herremans' job always on the line - Paul Domowitch, Daily News
The facts that Herremans' salary-cap number will increase from $4.2 million to $5.2 million in 2015, and that the Eagles recently signed versatile guard-tackle backup Allen Barbre to a 3-year, $4.35 million contract extension, suggest to some that they are starting to make contingency plans at right guard in case Herremans has another lukewarm season. He said he's not losing any sleep over it.

In May and June, everything's rosy for the Eagles - Bob Ford, Inquirer
All around the league, guys were picking things up quickly, rookies were showing they belong, the conditioning was great, the dedication was wonderful, the practices were crisp, and the future was as bright as a June afternoon. Of course, there hasn't been a single tackle yet, or a workout in full pads, or any of the other details that separate real football from a Strat-O-Matic quiz on the playbook.

Communication, continuity help Eagles' secondary - Kevin Rossi, CSN Philly
It's only June, but the Eagles' secondary has already improved in one key area: communication. Bill Davis is heading into his second season as defensive coordinator, and assuming he finishes the year in his position, he will be the first Eagles defensive coordinator to complete two consecutive full seasons since Sean McDermott in 2009-10. Defensive backs coach John Lovett made it clear Monday at the NovaCare Complex that simply running the same system and hearing familiar coverage calls will make a difference. Actually, it already has.

Why I like the Giants to win the NFC East, and why the Cowboys aren't second - Rick Gosselin, Dallas News
Much needed to be fixed in this division. The Cowboys fielded the worst defense in the NFL in 2013 and Eagles weren’t much better at 29th. The Giants had the worst ball security in the NFL last season with 44 turnovers, and the pass rushes of all four teams were mediocre at best. So the division is wide open. But it’s been wide open for some time now. The East has had three different champions over the last three seasons. The last time anyone repeated in the East was 2003-04. Based on all that I’ve seen this offseason — the coach shuffling, roster pruning, free-agent spending and drafting — the team I like in the NFC East is the Giants.

USA vs. Portugal was a fair punch in the gut - SB Nation
Nothing makes sense, the World Cup is soul-crushing, and it's easy to forget that the United States are still very, very alive.