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The Linc: Carson Wentz needs help from outside WRs

Who will step up on the outside?

Cleveland Browns v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Eagles news and notes for 8/2

The Eagles at the bye - Inquirer

What to watch for


1. Outside help: Jordan Matthews has lined up on the outside about a third of the time, but he has essentially remained the Eagles' slot receiver. But the three other receivers - Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff - have accounted for just 35 percent of the Eagles' catches and 27 percent of their receiving yards. Agholor has shown mild improvement in his second season and Green-Beckham is still getting used to the new offense. So there is plenty of time for them to step it up. But the trio has mostly shown an inability to get separation downfield.

2. Linebacker rotation: Jim Schwartz waited a game before inserting veteran Stephen Tulloch into the defense, but it appears as if he will remain part of a linebacker rotation. He took about 15 percent of the snaps away from middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. It's fair to question the reasoning since Hicks has performed at a high level, but Schwartz could be looking ahead in case he gets injured and toward the dog days of December. But could the coordinator also be planning to further cut into Mychal Kendricks' playing time? Schwartz could have Tulloch play in the middle on base downs and slide Hicks to weak-wide in place of Kendricks.

Quarterback Highlander - Eagles Rewind

Let’s attack this from two angles. One is conceptually, the other is statistical context.

1) Remember your priors.

Each quarterback has played just 3 games. Needless to say, we’re a ways away from being able to make any definitive judgements on their relative skill level. However, we can and should start evaluating the new information, and using it to update our expectations for each. The updating part, in particular, seems difficult for certain pundits to grapple with. Put simply, draft position DOES matter. As each player progresses, his pre-career evaluation will provide less and less information about what to expect going forwards. This early, though, that information should still be providing a large portion of the evaluative information.

In plain english: Would you rather have a #2 pick that has looked great after 3 games, or a 4th round pick who has looked great after 3 games?

The answer (and it’s not even close), is the #2 pick. But why?

Before the season began, the odds that Prescott < Wentz were quite large, based purely on draft position. We know the historical success rates for QBs drafted in the top 5 are MUCH higher than for those drafted later.

In other words, we should all be looking for false positives. Prescott is more likely to be showing a false positive than Wentz as of a result of his ex-ante evaluation. Remember that were just talking probabilistically here. The could still both be terrible, or future HOFs. But if you feel compelled to evaluate one vs the other, it isn’t close, despite their performance. Wentz is still overwhelmingly likely to be the better player.

NFL Fantasy Football Week 4 Waiver Wire — MMQB

Wendell Smallwood: Things are getting dicey in the Philly backfield, where they’re now seemingly rotating 10,000 backs. I still think Smallwood has the biggest upside among Philly’s backs due to his well-rounded skill set. But Darren Sproles is the best bet to lead the Eagles in snaps in any given week considering Doug Pederson’s undying love of empty backfields. Ryan Mathews heads into the bye week with some nagging ankle issues. It’s a full-blown committee when Mathews is healthy, and it’s tough to start any of the three anytime they’re all active. But I’d take on Smallwood as a speculative add, and hope (because I’m a jerk) that the soon-to-be 29-year-old back with the long injury history misses time later in the year.

Game Review - PHI 34, PIT 3 - The Defense - Iggles Blitz

Brandon Graham continues to play at a high level. He had a sack and TFL. He recovered a fumble. He was disruptive on other plays. PIT didn’t think their RT could handle him so they chipped blocked on Graham a lot early in the game. They went max protect at times, using 2 TEs to block Graham while the 5 OL blocked the other 3 DL. Graham blew up a run to his side by getting upfield and throwing off the blocking. Bradham swept in for the TFL. Graham had chances for other sacks, but Big Ben is a hard man to bring down. Played some on the inside as well as at DE.

Connor Barwin had one of those bridesmaid games. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. He was always close, but never could seal the deal. He did have one really good moment. PIT drove into scoring range. Ben was in the pocket and looked ready to pull the trigger. Barwin was in the middle of the OL and raised his hands and jumped. Ben couldn’t throw. Cox was able to get his hands on Ben for the sack. Barwin’s only tackle came on a run play in the 1st Qtr. Split a double team and got the RB right at the LOS.

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