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Eagles News: PFF grades Jaylen Watkins as the best safety during NFL preseason so far

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 8/23/16.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Eagle Eye: Ballhawks On Parade -
I absolutely loved this play. The Eagles are once again in Man Free coverage, and Watkins, like he was last week, is matched up man to man against the tight end. When the tight end stays in to block, Watkins has two choices. He can either (a) Green Dog and enter the pass rush as a free blitzer and potentially get a sack, or (b) drop into coverage as an extra free defender and cover ground in the middle of the field. Watkins chooses the latter, and it pays off big time. Watch him read the routes in front of him, get his eyes back on the QB and track the ball in to finish get the interception. Watkins continued his stellar summer as he battles for the third safety spot in the secondary.

Kelce: Isaac Seumalo Has ‘Improved Very Well’ - Birds 24/7
Kelce explained how over-thinking is a problem all rookie offensive linemen encounter, but the best solution is more playing time. It’s unclear when Johnson’s suspension would actually come down, and if he has any chance to win a potential appeal, but Seumalo is in line to play even more in Indianapolis, as well as in the regular season. "When guys are freed up, when you know things in and out, when you’ve taken the reps so many times, it allows you to just play on instinct and play quicker and that’s the level we want him to get to, and he’s getting there," Kelce said. "He’s improved very well from the first game that he was out there, from Tampa to the Steelers, when he played a lot better this game. I think we’re just looking for that constant improvement every week and we hope that will come with repetition."

Wideout Josh Huff is running out of time to prove he deserves spot on Eagles roster - PhillyVoice
The one thing Huff has going for him is what he brings to the table on special teams. Huff has returned 35 kicks for the Eagles over his first two seasons, including one for a touchdown in his rookie year. But he wasn't nearly as effective last season, something that could come back to hurt him when cuts are made. "I've got to see who can help us right now, bottom line," Pederson added. "We play in a couple of weeks ... you've got to have 53 guys that you can plug in at any given notice, moment, and expect them to play. So a lot of times it comes down to special teams value, and how many core units that player is a part of."

What To Do With Tulloch - Iggles Blitz
Pederson was asked about Tulloch being the MLB and possibly moving Hicks. He said that was possible, but not part of any current plans. I think the coaches see Tulloch as an important backup and insurance policy. They were impressed with Joe Walker, but his ACL injury completely changed the LB situation. With the regular season just a few weeks away, it was important for the team to find a veteran backup. And finding one who knew the scheme was a big help. Tulloch will have minimal learning to do compared to other players.

Where does Tulloch fit with Eagles linebackers? - Inquirer
Bradham and Brooks haven't exactly forced the Eagles to hold off on developing youngsters, but McKelvin is clearly impeding second-year corner Eric Rowe's path. Rowe has struggled to adapt to Schwartz's scheme, but his youth didn't stop the Eagles from tossing him into a difficult situation last season, when he replaced the injured Nolan Carroll. The Eagles invested significantly in Rowe, and the only way the second-round draft pick is going to learn - and he clearly has some talent - is to play. Isaac Seumalo was drafted in the third round this year, and while he clearly isn't ready to start, Pederson has him slotted ahead of the more-seasoned Stefen Wisniewski at left guard. They're different circumstances, different positions, but why is Seumalo getting the benefit of youth and Rowe is not? The answer may be as simple as that the former was drafted by Howie Roseman, while the latter plays for Schwartz.

32 Bold Calls for 2016 - Rotoworld
Zach Ertz Won’t Finish as a Top-12 Tight End - Eagles offensive players could stand to lose in the neighborhood of 100 plus total plays with two to three games worth of passing volume with the departure of Chip Kelly and transition to Doug Pederson.  In Pederson’s offense a year ago, Travis Kelce slid in just below Ertz in total targets (103) with over one fewer target per game (6.4). That level of similar per game volume isn’t damaging, but Ertz has been nowhere near as good after the catch as Kelce, averaging just 4.4 yards after the catch compared to Kelce’s 7.5 for their careers.  Also, Ertz has shown over the past two seasons to have trouble finding the end zone regularly. He scored on just two of his 75 catches a season ago and on just seven of 94 receptions over his first two seasons prior. In the history of the NFL, there have been 36 tight ends with a sub 5.0 percent touchdown rate on 60 or more catches. Those tight ends have only seen an average increase of 1.6 touchdowns the following year. The tight end position is driven by touchdowns or inflated volume, things that may be still be elusive to Ertz in 2016.

Isaac Seumalo, offensive line adjusting to new formations with Lane Johnson's suspension looming - CSN Philly
Deep in the farthest corner of the Eagles’ locker room at the NovaCare Complex, things are still the way the team initially intended. The last five locker stalls on the right were placed in order of the starting offensive line: Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson. A daily reminder that things don’t always go as planned. Thanks to Johnson’s impending 10-game suspension, the starting offensive line in the locker room is much different than the one that has been lining up together for the past week.  So how difficult will it be to get this unit ready for the opener on Sept. 11? "To answer the question, it can be a challenge with new bodies," head coach Doug Pederson said.

Jason Kelce says Eagles should have won the NFC East in 2015 -
"It had nowhere to go but up," Kelce said of the NFC East heading into this season prior to Monday's practice at the NovaCare Complex. "All four teams were so bad last year. I know we didn't end on top of the division, but I still firmly believe that we had every opportunity there to win the division last year and we should have if we took care of some of the things we should have. "All four teams have improved. At least that is what it seems to be on paper. I don't think 9-7 or 8-8 is going to be good enough to take it again."

Why Your Team Sucks 2016: Washington Redskins - Deadspin
The "Why Your Team Sucks" series from Deadspin is usually a fun read even when it's about your favorite team. But their yearly entry for the WFT always holds a special place above all the others.

RG3 and Christian Ponder lead All-Stars from Week 2 of the preseason - SB Nation
Jimmy Garoppolo also showed he can replace Tom Brady — for four games, at least.

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