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Eagles News: Mack Hollins poised to make a leap in Year 2

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/22/18.

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Advanced stats suggest Philadelphia Eagles’ Mack Hollins could be an upgrade over Torrey Smith - PennLive
That’s not to diminish Smith’s value as a leader or declare Hollins a sure-fire star. And these stats can be deceiving. But consider this: Football Outsiders uses a formula it calls DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) to measure a players’ per-snap value compared to the average performer at his position, and Hollins finished with a plus-24.8 percent DVOA in 2017. Smith, meanwhile, finished with a mark of minus-15.7. Another way to look at this is through Football Outsiders’ DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement), which measures the overall performance of players against a typical backup at their positions. Hollins, according to this stat, gained 59 more yards last season than a typical receiver would have playing in his exact role. Smith gained 19 yards less than an average replacement player.

NFL Draft Rumors: “Insiders believe Eagles will make an effort to add an impact wide receiver” - BGN
Who could that player be? Well, that’s a good question. This year’s wide receiver class is an interesting one. There hardly seems to be a consensus when it comes to ranking the top players at the position. Some draft analysts have deemed no receiver is even worthy of a first-round selection. If we’re trying to come with up with potential targets, some names to consider include: Calvin Riley, Courtland Sutton, D.J. Moore, Christian Kirk, James Washington, D.J. Chark, and Dante Pettis. BGN’s Ben Natan profiled this year’s receiver class earlier this year.

The Kist And Solak Show Ep 13: Should The Eagles Be Concerned About Smith or Cousins? - BGN Radio
Benjamin Solak is out of town so Michael Kist brings in Mark Schofield of Bleacher Report, Inside the Pylon, and Locked On Patriots to talk QB, QB, QB! Trades, free agency, draft prospects and potential Day 3 targets for the Eagles are the topics of conversation, plus, should the Eagles be concerned about Alex Smith and/or Kirk Cousins?

NFC East free agency grades: Cowboys edition - PhillyVoice
Let’s get something straight. The Cowboys haven’t been inactive in free agency because they don’t like what they see. They’re inactive because they have to be as a result of years of cap mismanagement. The Cowboys have not improved in any way whatsoever during this free agency period. They’ve gotten worse.

Bounce Back - Iggles Blitz
Another guy who showed serious promise as a rookie. Wendell Smallwood was expected to be a key part of the RB rotation last year. He struggled with some injuries and then got lost in the shuffle. The Eagles had a strong group of RBs and Smallwood couldn’t find his way onto the field. Smallwood generated some buzz in Training Camp and that is one of the reasons people thought he might be ready for a breakout season. Just didn’t happen. Smallwood is now in line behind Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, two other young RBs who have proven themselves to the Eagles. Smallwood will need to show a sense of desperation this spring. He has NFL talent. He just has to stay healthy and play at a consistent level. If that doesn’t happen, Smallwood will be looking for a new career.

Will the Eagles Really Have One of the Best Defensive Lines Ever? - The Ringer
So, is Michael Bennett right? Well, it’s always difficult to compare different eras, and it’ll be tough for Philly to stack up to many of the league’s legendary squads, whether we’re talking about the ’85 Bears’ front or the handful of lines so dominant they earned nicknames like the Purple People Eaters, the Steel Curtain, the Fearsome Foursome, and the New York Sack Exchange. So let’s narrow the scope a little bit, stick to this century, and take a look at the relative contemporaries this Eagles defensive line must compete with. Obviously, the first step is to outshine last year’s group, which led the NFL in quarterback pressures and gave up a league-low 79.2 rush yards a game. Then, they’ll have to contend with these 20 teams, the most talent-packed, sack-happy defensive fronts assembled over the past 18 seasons.

Newly signed NFL players set to benefit from their new teams - PFF
Last season represented something of a downturn in Michael Bennett’s NFL career, but prior to that he had been one of the league’s most dominant players for six straight seasons and won in a variety of different ways. He still racked up the pressures in 2017, notching 70 in total, but his overall PFF grade was his lowest since 2010. The Eagles had the best defensive front in the game last season, racking up 27 more pressures than any other team in the league during the regular season and they owned the best pressure rate of any team (41 percent). Bennett will be a like for like replacement for Vinny Curry, whose pass-rush productivity score of 10.8 was marginally higher than Bennett’s 10.2. With the myriad of other weapons on that defensive line, Bennett’s production should only go up next season, especially if he bounces back from his 2017 performance. Plus, given Philadelphia’s cap situation this offseason, any move that seems to maintain their defensive line dominance should be considered a win.

Where Do Eagles Go Next In Free Agency? - PE.com
It’s a snow day in Philadelphia on the first day of Spring, and so I’m in the mood for some quick thoughts on what the Eagles have accomplished in free agency and where they might go from here. The NFL’s Annual Meeting begins on Sunday night, a time last year when the Eagles added cornerback Patrick Robinson and defensive end Chris Long to the defense. They were huge contributors to the Super Bowl season. Free agency is far from over …

Why new NFL ‘catch rule’ proposal won’t end controversy - NBC Sports Philadelphia
As long as you can ignore the fact that two of the rule’s foundations — control and a football move — are abstract ideas and subject to interpretation, it’s a fine enough rubric. Erring on the side of incisiveness probably isn’t a bad idea when you’re talking about a routine human action, such as catching an item. Riveron’s proposal would seemingly eliminate replay reversals such as Jesse James’ non-catch, when a Steelers touchdown was overturned because the football shifted when the tight end lunged to the ground. James’ and similar plays where the ball shifted subtly were considered the tipping point for those demanding a rule change.

Michael Bennett makes Eagles’ voice on social activism even louder - ESPN
Bennett clearly didn’t see his first meeting with the Philly media as the time and place to dive too deep into the activism realm, but the public conversation will continue before long. Bennett has been one of the more outspoken players in the NFL when it comes to social justice issues. He has been a strong supporter of Colin Kaepernick, who was the first NFL player to demonstrate and is still without a job, and has challenged white players to lend their energy and influence to causes their teammates care about -- a role that defensive end Chris Long took on last season. With Bennett, safety Malcolm Jenkins and Long all on the same team, a leading voice on social activism just got louder.

What did the Eagles do in free agency, what’s left to do, and who’s left to sign? - Inquirer
Jeremy Maclin will be 30 next season and only had 40 catches for 440 yards in 12 games with the Ravens last season. That followed a subpar year in Kansas City in 2016. However, the Eagles aren’t looking for a No.1 wide receiver. They’re looking for a player who would be, at best, the fourth option. If Maclin is healthy and he’d play at the Eagles’ price, a good argument could be made for a reunion.

Five Eagles numbers that matter: On Chris Long, replacing Patrick Robinson and explosive plays - The Athletic
182 – The number of pass attempts against the Eagles in which the quarterback got rid of the ball in two seconds or less. That was more than any other defense in the NFL faced. This is an example of why raw pass-rush numbers (sacks, hurries) can be misleading. The Eagles’ front four forced opposing offenses to play a certain way. There were instances last year where teams knew they wouldn’t be able to pass protect effectively against the Eagles, and they built their gameplans around quick passing attacks. This also explains what the Eagles’ kryptonite is. If a quarterback can get rid of the ball quickly and reach a high level of efficiency, he can have success. And that tactic also keeps what figures to be an explosive Eagles offense off the field. Schwartz is not a big blitzer, but it’s something he can call on to get to the QB quicker. Schwartz’s third-down blitzes were particularly effective last year. When he sent five or more on third down, opponents posted just a 28.3 percent success rate, the third-best mark by any defense in the NFL. Overall, the Eagles had a sack percentage of 5.9 percent (22nd), but they led the league with 112 QB hits.

“No way” Giants are taking a quarterback No. 2? - Big Blue View
“I said since the day they hired David Gettleman [as GM] that they were not taking a quarterback with that No. 2 pick. Eli Manning last year made it pretty clear his thoughts on taking a back seat and by going with Gettleman who’s kind of in with ownership and the old-school Giants regime they’re going to do what Eli wants,” Wright said. “They think he’s got a few years left and they’re going to try to win with him. Eli certainly isn’t going to want them using their most valuable asset to bring in his replacement, a guy the fans are going to be cheering for him to be benched for every interception.”

Terrell Owens picks former receivers coach as his presenter - PFT
Terrell Owens has selected one of his former receivers coaches to present him at his induction in Canton this summer. George Stewart, Owens’ position coach in San Francisco, will have that honor, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.

Bills WR Zay Jones reportedly arrested for property damage after bizarre incident with brother - SB Nation
The video shows a naked Jones struggling with this brother — who appears to be trying to calm him down — as well as blood on the floors and walls of the area they are in. The arrest occurred late Monday evening and Jones required medical treatment for cuts sustained when he reportedly kicked his foot through a glass window. His brother, Cayleb Jones of the Minnesota Vikings, was “trying to stop him from jumping out a 30th floor window,” per TMZ, citing “witnesses” at the scene.

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