Eagles news and notes for 2/12
THE JASON PETERS situation is ongoing, and the Sam Hinkie situation has long since concluded, but there is a theme uniting the two, and it warrants a brief inspection. It involves the public comments that organizational leaders distribute via the mass media, and the real-world implications that those comments often have on their ability to do their jobs.
In my experience, the members of the mass media care much more about these public comments than the actual public does, so don't misconstrue this as a lecture from the ivory tower. But it is also my experience that Philadelphians of all stripes spend far more of their time watching, listening, analyzing and brooding over press conferences than members of most other fan bases – "Front-runners," "For who, for what," "The time is yours," etc. – so the point I am about to make is not entirely irrelevant.
Hinkie, you'll recall, generated plenty of criticism for his habit of operating largely from the shadows. The criticism was mostly media-generated, but the former Sixers president wasn't the first area sports figure who people felt needed to do a better job of putting himself in a position to speak the truth.
If Doug Pederson's first year in front of the mic was any indication, history will not regard him as one of those figures. And therein lies the connection to the situation that the Eagles currently have brewing at left tackle.
Remember that time Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thought Leodis McKelvin was a better NFL cornerback than Eric Rowe?
Let's clear something up right away: Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was absolutely correct to trade Rowe to the Patriots for a conditional fourth-round draft pick. It was the right move because Schwartz wasn't going to let the kid see the field. Barring an injury to another player, Rowe wasn't even going to be active on game day. From a GM's point of view, all keeping him on the roster would've accomplished was further diminish his value to a potential suitor.
Where this whole situation gets bungled is when Schwartz determined, seemingly very early into his tenure with the Eagles that began last year, Rowe simply wasn't going to play for him. The club signed McKelvin, signed Ron Brooks, re-signed Nolan Carroll, then drafted Jalen Mills, all no doubt under heavy influence from the defensive coordinator — especially McKelvin and Brooks, who played for Schwartz for one season in Buffalo.
Now, there's nothing wrong with a new coach asking for some of "his" guys, people who know the scheme and bring a certain level of comfort to the equation. The problem is when one of those guys is 31 years old and was never particularly good to begin with, and said coach insists on that person playing a large role, without so much as the appearance of a legitimate competition.
La Canfora is friendly with Roseman so anything he writes in regard to the Eagles has to be taken at least somewhat seriously. Obviously Roseman isn’t going to fully give the Eagles offseason plans away to someone in the media, but he might at least offer some hints.
Jeffery does make sense. He is big at 6-3, 230. Some NFL sites list him at 6-4, but he measured 6027 prior to the draft. That is 6-2 and 7/8. I doubt he’s grown an inch since hitting the league. He has 33-inch arms. That and his frame give him a big catch radius. And Jeffery isn’t just big on paper, he plays to his size. There is nothing more frustrating than a big guy who plays like he’s 5-11, right DGB?
Jeffery will turn 27 on Tuesday so he is still very much in his prime. He is a very good player. I don’t think you can call him great. Guys like Julio Jones and Antonio Brown are at another level. Still, Jeffery is good enough to build a passing game around.
Doug Pederson has talked about his preference for big WRs. If the Eagles did sign Jeffery, they would have a big group. DGB is huge. Jordan Matthews has good size. Nelson Agholor would be the runt of the group and he’s 6-0, 198.
The downside to Jeffery comes down to 2 things. He was suspended 4 games this past season for a PED violation. As the Eagles saw with Lane Johnson, the next suspension can be a situation where the player doesn’t think he’s doing the wrong thing, but it can devastate the team. Jeffery seems to be a solid veteran player so I wouldn’t anticipate him doing anything to risk that situation.