Eagles news and notes for 1/14
Wentz was short on details as it related to his offseason plans. He would give his body time to rest, particularly his overused arm. He would fill the void with other activities, particularly hunting. He would train with his receivers before the start of April workouts.
And he would eventually work on his throwing mechanics. But not any time soon.
"For starters, I don't want to think about that right now. Once I start thinking about that then I'm going to have to really fight the urge to pick up a ball," Wentz said. "You got to continually refine your mechanics. I don't think there's one, big glaring thing, but just got to be consistent."
While Wentz was arguably playing his finest football in the last four games, his mechanics had slowly eroded to that point. It happens to many quarterbacks over the course of a season. The Eagles had made minor alterations starting in the spring.
But Wentz didn't have a full offseason to work on the changes and they never completely took. The Eagles also didn't seem able to consistently condense his throwing motion. Wentz's delivery isn't obscenely long, and he can often compensate when it is with his mind and arm strength, but he will likely look to quicken his release.
Wentz trained with former NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley last offseason in preparation for his predraft workouts, but he may narrow his sights on a "swing doctor" this year. Tom House has become the most popular of quarterback whisperers. The former major-league pitcher who has a near-1.000 batting average in improving his clients has worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and many more.
In 2017, Barwin will count for $8,350,000 against the cap, $7,750,000 of which the Eagles can save if they cut or trade him. That is a figure that the Eagles simply cannot keep on their books for the production Barwin has provided, and he is not oblivious to that fact.
Throughout the Chip Kelly era, Barwin was one of the most valuable members in Billy Davis' 3-4 defense because of his versatility. Barwin can cover, rush the passer, and play the run, but was not a dominant player when doing any of those things.
In his first three seasons with the team, Barwin posted very good numbers overall. However, in Jim Schwartz's scheme, Barwin was asked to beat left tackles mano-e-mano, which is not his strength.
Playing in a defensive scheme that has historically been very stat-friendly for defensive ends, Barwin posted the worst numbers of his Eagles career, across the board.
Schwartz needs his front four to be able to generate pressure on their own, without the benefit of blitzing, and Barwin was simply invisible far too often during long stretches of games. Opposing offenses with quality left tackles could simply take care of Barwin one-on-one, and give help as needed to the rest of the Eagles' defensive front.
Money savings aside, right defensive end is a position that the Eagles need to upgrade this offseason. It is difficult to state that the Eagles need to move on from a player who wants to be here and does good work in the community, but the reality is that Barwin does not fit the scheme, no matter how much he costs.
With the 2016 regular season wrapped up, it’s time to look ahead as players turn their focus to offseason goals. Whether their objectives may be on or off the field, they’ve set their eyes on what they want to achieve during their time away from the NovaCare Complex.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks' rookie season of 2015 ended midway through the year due to a pectoral injury. He returned for his sophomore season ready for action. He found a home in the middle of the Eagles' new 4-3 defense and started all 16 games. He finished the year with 95 tackles and led all NFL linebackers with five interceptions.
As for his offseason plans, Hicks wants to do something that he wasn't able to last year at this time since he was rehabbing from the injury.
“I think it’s getting stronger,” Hicks explained. “I’m battling off of my pec injury. It obviously pulled me back a little bit. I think getting stronger especially in this game where it’s so downhill and you’re taking on blocks from the offensive linemen every play, you have to be able to get off and make tackles. It’s going to be a focus of mine, constantly diving into the playbook and looking at film from this year and places to improve.”