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Eagles News: NFC East rated as the best division in the league

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/16/17.

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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2017 NFL Preseason Divisional Power Rankings: The AFC West isn't the best - CBS Sports
On paper, it might not feel like the NFC East is the best division in football. After all, the Cowboys pretty much lost their entire secondary in free agency, the Redskins are so unsure about their quarterback that they don't know if they want to sign him to a long-term contract, the Giants have no running game and the Eagles fell apart down the stretch in 2016. Despite all that, the NFC East feels like the strongest division from top to bottom going into the 2017 season. The Cowboys might not have a secondary, but that might not matter if they're averaging 47 points per game. The Giants might not have a run game, but who cares when you can throw the ball to Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard instead. As for Kirk Cousins, the Redskins might not be sold on him, but I am. With Cousins under center the past two years, the Redskins put together their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97. As for the Eagles, no one is going to remember Carson Wentz's late-season regression if he gets off to a hot start in 2017, and there's a good chance that's going to happen now that the Eagles have added Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount to Wentz's offensive artillery. The NFC East feels like the one division where any team could win it and then end up in the Super Bowl.

Six sneaky concerns for the Eagles in 2017 - BGN
Sean Cottrell makes his BGN Radio as the gang discusses the under the radar concerns for this Eagles team. Plus we hear some audio from Malcolm Jenkins, Carson Wentz AND we take your questions.

Eagles training camp preview: Interior offensive line - PhillyVoice
After an offseason of speculation, it would appear that the Eagles will hang onto Jason Kelce for at least one more season, barring a trade, which now appears unlikely. Kelce did not play well in the first half of the season in 2016, but his play picked up significantly late. As any Eagles observer is aware by now, Kelce's athleticism allows him to do things in the screen game and the outside run game that other centers couldn't dream of doing, but his lack of bulk is a major hindrance against much bigger defensive tackles.

More on the TEs - Iggles Blitz
A few people pointed out that Ertz has been a breakout candidate for a couple of years now. Is he a permanent tease? That’s a fair question, but let’s remember that’s he’s just 26 years old. He could play at a high level for the next five years. Some young players peak quickly. Others take time to hone their games and to reach their potential. What we are talking about with Ertz is him becoming one of the best TEs in the league. That’s not easy. We watched a player like L.J. Smith for years and he never got to the level where Ertz is today. Let’s not confuse Ertz’s situation with someone who is an underachiever or a flat out bad player. Ertz is good. The question is whether he can put it all together and become a star TE.

Biggest Eagles training camp question? Who will be left standing on the corners? - Inquirer
The Eagles gave up 59 pass plays that went for 20 yards or more in 2016. That’s a lot, and while the corners took most of the heat, it wasn’t entirely the fault of Nolan Carroll or Leodis McKelvin, the starting cornerbacks. It takes a village to be as porous as the Eagles were in pass defense, so the lack of a consistent rush at the line factored in, as did the play of both Jaylen Watkins and Jalen Mills, who were on the field in nickel and dime situations. Jenkins and Rodney McLeod were solid at safety, but far from perfect. Still, neither Carroll nor McKelvin was kept around and the team knew it was starting nearly from scratch at that position. Returners included Mills, who might be best suited to the nickel role; Ron Brooks; C.J. Smith; Aaron Grymes; and Dwayne Gratz.

Carson Wentz Understands The Time Is Now -
On Tuesday, Wentz launched the Carson Wentz AO1 (Audience of One) Foundation to provide "opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need." Wentz's passion for his faith, helping others, the outdoors, and dogs are the main tenets of the charity that will look to enrich the lives of people around the world. Even at just 24 years old, the face of the Eagles' franchise is well aware of the cachet that comes with being an NFL quarterback. He didn't want to wait to leverage that status into his off-field endeavors. "I definitely recognize that there's a bigger picture, a bigger purpose than just playing football," Wentz said. "I recognized that even before the draft came around. I knew at some point that I wanted to give back and use my platform to try and find a way to make as big a difference as I could. I didn't want to sit around and wait for that."

2016 Play-Action Defense - Football Outsiders
Play-action works against teams that don't have the personnel to stop play-action. That generally means poor linebackers and safeties; players who get sucked up to the line of scrimmage on the fake and lose track of the routes over the middle of the field. That's exactly what you'll see in the league's worst play-action defenses; a Who's-Who of the worst pass-coverage linebackers in football last year. Detroit had Tahir Whitehead. Green Bay had Joe Thomas and Blake Martinez. New Orleans had Craig Robertson and Nathan Stupar. If I'm an offensive coordinator, those are the sorts of players I want to target with deception and misdirection, rather than players such as Benardrick McKinney and Brian Cushing in Houston, or Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham in Philadelphia. If you're looking for a correlation between something and strong play-action pass defense, look for the linebackers who can stay disciplined.

Zangaro's pre-training camp Eagles 53-man roster projection - CSN Philly
The Eagles made this even easier when they released Dorial Green-Beckham this offseason, although it seemed unlikely DGB had a real chance. The biggest omission on this list is Gibson, a fifth-round pick. While Gibson finished his spring strong, it wasn't a good showing before that. He has a little bit of an uphill battle to make the team.

Shek to the Future: Eagles sneak by Chiefs for first Super Bowl victory -
It’s always fun to dream.

Three Reasons to Start Getting Excited for the NFL Season - The Ringer
I’m even more excited to watch year two of the Doug Pederson offense in Philadelphia and see if he’s made the changes necessary to take advantage of Carson Wentz’s game.

Metrics that Matter: Finding a reason for Manning's slide - PFF
There are plenty on excuses we can make for the Giants on offense. If an offensive line is really “only as good as its worst offensive lineman,” then the Giants are in a bit of trouble. Over the past two seasons, no offensive lineman has surrendered more pressures than left tackle Ereck Flowers.

Anquan Boldin can still contribute to an NFL team this year - SB Nation
The veteran wide receiver remains a free agent. Teams in need of a viable receiving option would be smart to take a look.


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