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The Linc - Eagles Must Improve on Special Teams

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/24/2014.

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Eagles among heaviest defensive front sevens in the NFL, which doesn't mean much - JimmyK, Philly.com
At the conclusion of the 2014 draft, there were some fans who were upset that the Eagles didn't get a big-bodied space eater for the middle of their defense until the seventh round. For example, one player who was available when the Eagles were on the clock in the third round at 83rd overall was 331 pound Notre Dame NT Louis Nix. The Eagles instead opted to trade out of that spot. The Eagles also had opportunities to sign big bodies for their defensive line in free agency. For example, Linval Joseph (6'4, 323), BJ Raji (6'2, 337), and Paul Soliai (6'4, 340) were all available, but the Eagles didn't appear to show any interest in any of those players. So the question is... Does weight really matter?

Fan-Demonium: Improvement Here Is A Must - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
When the Eagles were at their peak in the Andy Reid era, the special teams units were one of the big reasons behind that success. David Akers was among the best kickers in the league. Brian Mitchell and Brian Westbrook were dynamic returners. Ike Reese and Quintin Mikell were key leaders on the coverage units. Mike Bartrum was one of the best long snappers in the league.

Updated Look at OLBs - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
We know Chip Kelly wants a 3-4 defense. We know he wants the players to use the 2-gap technique. We’re still trying to figure exactly what Kelly wants in terms of skill sets at certain positions. OLB is one of them. Let’s look at the OLBs acquired since Kelly took over.

Mosher’s Mailbag: Eagles WR totem pole - Geoff Mosher, CSN Philly
The two constants are Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. Those are your first-team receivers and they’ll be the outside tandem in most two-wide formations. Right now, the team is giving Smith plenty of first-team looks, both inside and outside. But I don’t think it’s a given that Smith is on the roster. He’s 30, has played three different positions (also kick returner and quarterback) and hasn’t had more than 32 catches ever in a season. Smith is getting his chance to prove he should be on the roster, but he’ll need a big training camp and preseason to stick.

On the Allen/Jenkins Dynamic - Tim McManus, Birds 24/7
Chip Kelly cracked wise as a reporter began asking whether Nate Allen and Malcolm Jenkins play a physical enough brand of ball to be an effective safety duo. "They’ve been knocking the [stuffing] out of people in OTAs, so be ready for that," Kelly quipped. Joking aside, the two safeties currently atop the depth chart aren't exactly known for laying the lumber. Philosophically, how important is it to have an enforcer in the back end in the head coach's view?

Making the Leap, No. 15: Eagles TE Zach Ertz - Marc Sessler, NFL.com
Watching all of Ertz's targets, I left impressed with his ability to puncture coverage and give his quarterback a window to throw to. He doesn't possess blazing speed, but Ertz is a physical after-the-catch receiver with the ability to punish smaller cover men.

Which NFL teams have the best offensive lines? - Danny Kelly, SB Nation
Danny Kelly wraps up his look at the NFL's best roster units in the trenches, taking a look at the best offensive lines in the game right now ... and a few that could surprise in 2014.