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The Linc: The Eagles' season opener is here!


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Eagles news and links for 9/11

Eagles’ Lane Johnson still waiting word on suspension - Inquirer

Johnson has been waiting for word from the NFL on an expected 10-game suspension for a second violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

It's been more than a month since stories about the expected suspension began to surface, but Johnson says he has yet to hear from the NFL.

So at least for the debut of quarterback Carson Wentz, Johnson will be in the lineup.

It's been a difficult time for Johnson, and it's no surprise who he hopes to take out his frustration out on.

"There is a lot of anger and being [ticked] off, to be honest, so I am ready to go out there and whip some Browns ass," Johnson said after Friday's practice.

Johnson says he is surprised to be playing this week.

"Pretty much all preseason I didn't think this would happen," he said. "I am fortunate to be playing and I am out there to have some fun."

Know Your Enemy - Cleveland - Iggles Blitz

I watched the Browns play this summer to try to get a feel for them. You really need to see the team play in the regular season to know them well. The preseason offers hints, but no real answers. The Browns were dead last in the preseason in yards and points. But RGIII had a QB rating of 100. Trying to make sense of things like that can drive you a bit nuts.

RGIII remains a very talented QB. He is healthy and is still dynamic as a runner. Eagles defenders will have their hands full with how to deal with him on QB runs. It is much harder to judge Griffin as a passer. He still has a very strong arm. He can make every throw in the book. There are moments when his touch and accuracy are outstanding. There are other times when he looks awkward.

Josh Gordon is suspended for this game so RGIII will be throwing the ball to explosive rookie Corey Coleman and Pryor. Coleman has the speed to stretch the defense so you can bet the Safeties will know where he is at all times. Pryor has developed into an interesting receiver. I’m genuinely curious to see how he does. He’s huge so DBs will be at a size disadvantage. And Pryor is a good athlete. Remember that as QB of the Raiders in 2013, he lit up the Eagles by throwing for 288 yards and running for 94. His athleticism gave the defense fits. TE Gary Barnidge is a solid receiver.

Hue Jackson will run the ball. He’s got a solid 1-2 punch in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. The Browns will be creative with running the ball. Their will be extra OL mixed in. There will be unbalanced lines. There will be some read-option. Jackson loves to put in big, physical players and pound the rock, but he will get creative to help boost the run game.

10 burning questions about the 2016 Eagles season

Which new addition, outside of Carson Wentz, will have the biggest impact on the team this year?

While the Eagles may have spent the most money on right guard Brandon Brooks ($40 million over five years, including $21 million guaranteed), safety Rodney McLeod looks like the most talented player Roseman acquired. McLeod will form, as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, one of the best safety tandems in the NFL along with Malcolm Jenkins. McLeod signed a five-year deal in March worth $37 million, including $17 million guaranteed. The 26-year-old didn’t miss a game during his four seasons with the Rams, and he forced at least four turnovers in each of the last three seasons, which is tied for the league lead among safeties. He also recorded the ninth-best tackle rate, according to Pro Football Focus, and is impressive when you turn on the film because of his range, intelligence and anticipation.

Some Eagles veterans have concerns about decision to dump Bradford for Wentz - PFT

Will veteran players be concerned about the perception that the franchise has decided on a path that makes the Eagles less competitive in 2016?

Appearing on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook addressed that issue.

"I kind of feel for those veterans like Jason Peters and Malcolm Jenkins, because I know and I was in the situation," Westbrook said. "I had Donovan McNabb my entire career in Philadelphia but at some point they benched Donovan McNabb when we were in Baltimore and they put in Kevin Kolb. You just wonder, ‘OK, what are we doing here?’ Because we felt right now we had one of the better quarterbacks in the league in Donovan on the bench.

"It’s a little bit different situation with Sam Bradford because he hasn’t been one of the better quarterbacks on that same type of level as Donovan but if I’m on this football team here in Philadelphia right now and I’m a veteran I’m saying, ‘Well, hold on, timeout. We’re building for the future but that future does not necessarily include me and I have a problem with that.’ It’s good for the organization but not necessarily good for those veteran guys and so I would be a little disappointed."

Pat Shurmur serves as key resource between Vikings, Sam Bradford - ESPN

In Sam Bradford's six-year odyssey in the NFL, from first overall pick to twice-traded veteran, Pat Shurmur has been the closest thing he's had to a constant. The coach was the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator in 2010, when the team selected Bradford at the top of the draft, and was there again in the same role during Bradford's only season in Philadelphia.

After finishing the 2015 season as the Philadelphia Eagles' interim head coach, Shurmur passed up a potential job as the Rams' passing game coordinator to become the Vikings' tight ends coach. And before the Vikings made a trade for Bradford, sending their 2017 first-round pick and a conditional 2018 fourth-rounder to the Eagles for a passer who could replace Teddy Bridgewater, they went to Shurmur for his advice.

"He has the three primary elements that a quarterback needs: He's an outstanding decision-maker, he's extremely accurate and he understands timing," Shurmur said. "The first year when we were together, we drafted him in St. Louis after a 1-15 season. He played every snap as a rookie, and we were a couple plays away from winning the division, so I saw the best of him at a young age. And last year in Philadelphia, after he'd been through a lot, I saw him emerge, and by the end of the season [he] was playing extremely well."

As the Vikings consider whether Bradford can be ready to start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, Shurmur is still a valuable resource, translating some of the concepts from systems Bradford has played in before to what the Vikings are doing now.

Pederson: Eagles’ offense plays to Wentz’s strengths - Daily News

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton told reporters in Cleveland that the Eagles are running Carson Wentz's North Dakota State offense. That isn't literally true, but Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Friday the West Coast-type scheme he brought from Kansas City is a good fit for the rookie quarterback, who is scheduled to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Browns.

"It's funny, because really, the offense I've brought is geared to his strengths," Pederson said. "Play-action pass movement, his ability to run, throw on the run, things like that. There wasn't a lot of having to shift gears and having to favor his strengths. Everything we've done, and I've done in the past, really fits him and the type of quarterback he is."

Browns defensive lineman Carl Nassib, from West Chester and Penn State, complimented Wentz's arm and athleticism but said he had a bit of a slow release the Browns would try to take advantage of.

Asked about Wentz's release, Pederson said: "We've worked on his feet, worked on a little bit of his upper-body mechanics. We don't feel like it's a slow release. It can be long at times. He's such a long guy, it can be, like 'Colin Kaepernick long' at times. Anticipation, throwing the ball on time, can help that process, get the ball out of his hand fast. The design of the play can get the ball out of his hand fast. So it's nothing we've really spent a lot of time addressing with him, more than just working on his feet and his mechanics from his lower body."

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