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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s defense poised to improve in Year 2 under Jim Schwartz

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/28/17.

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Better D - Iggles Blitz
In Year 2, Schwartz sees significant improvement. Granted, both places the defense struggled mightily in his first year so there was a lot of room for improvement. Still, the sign of a good coach is one who can identify problems and fix them. There are two basic ways to improve a unit. First, you want the players you have to play better. Second, you want to add talent. When you make the kind of jumps that Schwartz did, you are pretty good in both areas. Getting your returning players to improve involves several things. You must help them master the scheme. It is one thing to know the playbook, it is another to know it inside-out. Players will have to do the learning, but coaches can help them with the way they teach in film sessions and on the practice field.

PFF says Eagles — not Cowboys — have the NFL’s best offensive line - BGN
Suck it, Dallas.

The Counterpoint Podcast Ep. 1: Don't Call Me Al -
Counterpoint is where Eagles Twitter comes alive in audio form. Jack Fritz goes over the journey of Marcus Smith's brain from the end of the year last year until OTAs this year. Plus ... Is Alshon Jeffery's nickname, Al? Yeah, that's not going to happen. The worst takes of the week and breaking down the latest Eagles hype video.

Lawlor: Do Eagles Have A Top-Five Defense? -
I think this group has tremendous potential. The key to success under Schwartz is having a defensive line that can dominate. The line was good last year, but inconsistent. The Eagles let Bennie Logan leave in free agency but replaced him with Tim Jernigan and Elijah Qualls, a pair of talented interior pass rushers. The Eagles released Connor Barwin, replacing him with Derek Barnett and Chris Long, a pair of talented edge rushers. The line is deeper and more talented than last year. The 2016 line racked up 28 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Those numbers should go up this season. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham were very good last year, but it was their first season working with new coaches and playing in a new scheme. They will know their roles and the scheme better this year and should be more productive. Vinny Curry was hampered by nagging injuries last year. If he can stay healthy, Curry can take a big step forward.

10 reasons the Giants will be a dumpster fire this season - PhillyVoice
A huuuuuuge argument among the Giants' faithful last offseason was that the Giants lost a lot of close games in 2015 on their way to a 6-10 record. The theory was that some of those games would go the other way in 2016. Well, that kinda turned out to be true. Good job, Giants fans. You nailed that one, as the Giants won a lot of close games in 2016. In fact, eight of their wins came by a touchdown or less, and half of those came by a field goal or less. Meanwhile, they were pretty easily handled in four of their five regular season losses.

Eagles Better or Worse 2017: Defensive backs - CSN Philly
Of course, the flip side to loading up on young talent is their collective inexperience. Of the six players listed above, only Mills and Brooks – two seasons with the Ravens and one with the Eagles – have seen much action in the NFL, and only Mills has started. The rest, it’s anybody’s guess how they would hold up if they take the field in 2017. Even Ron Brooks, although entering his sixth NFL season, has only eight career starts. It’s not as if the Eagles lack any veterans in the defensive backfield. The unit is set as safety with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, and Patrick Robinson brings with him seven years NFL experience at corner. Nonetheless, the unit could wind up looking a little green, particularly at corner.

NFC East Q&A: Does Carson Wentz give the Eagles an edge for the future? - ESPN
This will surprise a lot of folks coming from the Cowboys reporter, but I’m going with Dallas and Dak Prescott instead. It’s not so much a knock on Wentz, either. It’s the state of the rosters for both second-year quarterbacks. Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and LeGarrette Blount will be free agents after this year. So might four other potential Philadelphia starters. That’s not a recipe for helping Wentz’s long-term success. Those players will help him right now, and I believe the NFL, more than ever, is a "right now" kind of league. But if we’re talking long term, you also have to factor in the age of left tackle Jason Peters. Now look at the Cowboys: They should have their three All-Pro linemen locked up this summer when Zack Martin joins Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick with megadeals. Ezekiel Elliott is signed through 2019 and won’t be going anywhere. Dez Bryant isn’t going anywhere. Terrance Williams re-signed on a four-year deal. Cole Beasley is signed for another two years. And apparently Jason Witten will play forever. To me, Prescott is lined up to be better for the long term.

NFL vets find new life in pro flag football alongside Michael Vick, Terrell Owens - CBS Sports
Did Clausen ever think that now, in 2017, he would be taking snaps against Team Vick -- that's the Michael Vick, yes -- and alongside Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and other big-name NFL veterans ... in a professional flag football league? "Never." He laughed a little. "Never in a million years did I think this was going to happen for me," he said in the spare moments before a workout with Owens and his American Flag Football League teammates. "But this is how I got started, with flag."

Connor Barwin feeling right at home with new team, in old spot - PFT
Connor Barwin had proven himself in one defense, and felt like he was beginning to in another. But even if he wasn’t hoping to be released by the Eagles after they transitioned him to a 4-3 defensive end, he fell into a comfortable spot, where he can again rush as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense of coordinator Wade Phillips with the Rams. “It was a big adjustment for me,” Barwin said of playing in a 4-3, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “I thought the last month of the season was probably my best four games. And I was excited to be back there and continue to adjust in that new role because it takes time. But that didn’t work out and this couldn’t be a better situation for me.”

Let’s get to know Brett Veach, the Chiefs in-house GM candidate - Arrowhead Pride
“Veach first broke into the NFL as an intern with the Eagles in 2004 and was later hired as Reid’s assistant in 2007. He ascended quickly in the front office and was considered one of the team’s keenest scouts.”

Which NFL teams won’t live up to the hype this season? - SB Nation
Defensive play was the main reason the Cowboys made an early exit from the postseason after a solid regular season finish. Dallas did address those needs this offseason, but there are still some concerns. The Cowboys lost Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr in free agency, but they brought in veteran cornerback Nolan Carroll as a free agent. The main concern with Carroll is that he was arrested for DWI this offseason. He may face a suspension.

Football’s Next Frontier: The Battle Over Big Data - The MMQB
NFL players have signed a five-year deal with WHOOP, a biometric performance company that measures workout strain, recovery, and quality of sleep via a wearable band. If teams want to see the data, they’re going to have to pay up . . . but they won’t be the only customers


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