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Eagles News: NFL passes controversial new hitting rule

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/28/18.

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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NFL passes rule to prevent helmet-to-helmet hits, but it could lead to more controversy - SB Nation
What’s different about the NFL now with the new rule? If strictly applied by NFL officials, it could have a sweeping effect on the game. Lowering one’s helmet is an instinct that may be difficult to legislate out of the sport overnight. The result could be many more penalty flags and automatic first downs. “The crown of the helmet rule got way too narrow,” Falcons president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said Tuesday. “This has very little requirement to it. This is simply, if you lower your head to initiate contact and you make contact with an opponent, it’s a foul.” Between March and May, the NFL will hear from coaches about the rule and decide whether or not automatic ejections and/or official reviews are added as well. But if every instance of a player lowering their helmet to initiate contact — helmet-to-helmet or otherwise — results in a penalty, it’d be a huge change to the entire sport. Imagine if every quarterback sneak was suddenly an offensive penalty.

14 Eagles takeaways from Doug Pederson’s press conference at the NFL owners meetings - BGN
Over the weekend, Doug Pederson said Wentz is “ahead of schedule.” On Tuesday, the Eagles head coach said he’s “very encouraged” by his quarterback’s recovery progress.

The Kist & Solak Show Ep. 18: Mock Draft Mania! - BGN Radio
Michael Kist & Benjamin Solak present to you, gentle listener, Round One of Mock Draft Mania! The NFL goes cookoo for QBs and the Eagles land a player in a position of need, plus, is Odell really on the block and what does the Suh impact mean for the Rams?

Super Bowl Winning Coach & Owner Speak to Media - Iggles Blitz
Pederson explained that a key concept in the Super Bowl actually came from Chip Kelly’s playbook. Pederson brought it to Philly as a similar play, but Sam Bradford told Pederson and the other coaches how Chip ran it and the QBs actually preferred that version. Pederson, being as open-minded as any coach I can remember, went with Chip’s version. Pederson’s lack of ego is just astonishing at times. Pederson talked about how the offensive coaches look for plays all over the place. As they study draft prospects, they keep an eye out for interesting plays. He’s not afraid to borrow from anyone.

NFL Power Rankings: Risers, fallers after free agency - ESPN
1) One of the reigning champs’ biggest strengths was the defensive line, which featured a league-high seven players with at least 400 snaps last season. The Eagles lost two contributors, Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, but replaced them with two players with eight combined Pro Bowls: Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata.

News, Notes From NFL’s Annual Meeting - PE.com
Pederson has not ruled out the possibility that running back/return man Darren Sproles could return to the team. Sproles is currently an unrestricted free agent after suffering a torn ACL and a broken arm in Week 3 against the Giants. “We’ve reached out to him and talked to him. He’s expressed he wants to be back here, he knows we want him back here. He’s a big part of our team. Punt returner. He’s a tremendous back. Third-down guy. He wants to still play and I want him to play. And I want him to be an Eagle. He’s a veteran player. Let him spend time with his family. I’m not concerned about Darren Sproles going forward. I just know the way he works, the way he trains, the way he gets himself prepared. If and when he decides to sign and come back, come on. We’re ready for him.”

Unclaimed NFC opportunities coming out of free agency - PFF
For the second offseason in a row, Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount is leaving a wide swath of opportunity in his considerable wake. While Blount’s 173 vacated handoffs pale in comparison to last year’s 299 leftover carries – not to mention going from 18 rushing touchdowns to only 2 – the Eagles are missing 47 percent of their 2017 tote total. Under Doug Pederson, they’ve opted for a committee backfield, but mid-season pickup Jay Ajayi is in the driver’s seat. Ajayi’s workload incrementally increased during Philadelphia’s march to the Super Bowl, and from the first time he hit double-digit carries in Week 13, through the end of the playoffs, nobody came close to matching his elusive rating. Corey Clement was well used in a pass-catching role, particularly post-Week-13. He figures to take on more, making him a low-risk PPR dart throw. Running backs are a dime a dozen, and backfields are still solidifying, but investing in affordable backs playing behind strong lines in elite offenses is the optimal way to chase available opportunity.

The Best Value Free-Agent Signings of 2018 - The Ringer
Torrey Smith was due to count $5 million against the Eagles’ 2018 cap, but after failing to emerge as a reliable deep threat during the team’s Super Bowl season, he was dealt to the Panthers in early March in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley. With that trade and the Wallace deal—a one-year contract worth up to $2.5 million—Philly GM Howie Roseman not only added a talented cornerback with two years left at his rookie salary but also upgraded the team’s deep-threat role at a reduced cost. The 31-year-old veteran pass catcher has bounced around from Pittsburgh to Miami to Minneapolis to Baltimore, but outside of a down 2015 season, he’s been consistently productive (and underrated) throughout his career. He caught 124 passes for 1,765 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two years with the Ravens, averaging 14.2 yards per catch while reeling in 21 receptions of 20-plus yards. Wallace can still do exactly what he was signed to do: take the top off a defense.

Spots Eagles will likely address in the draft - NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles haven’t taken a running back in the first round since Keith Byars in 1986. This is a strong running back draft, and Jay Ajayi’s future is uncertain, so it does make sense. First round? Could happen. But more likely they’d trade down and snag a running back in the second or third round, which Howie Roseman believes makes more sense for a running back.

Odell Beckham Trade to the Rams: Counting the Ways The Rumored Blockbuster Could Make Sense - Sports Illustrated
The Rams have the cap space and the guts to take on the superstar wideout, while the Giants have a need for high draft picks and a clean slate. Mailbag includes discussion on the new helmet-lowering rule, questions about the catch rule, a clarification about Wayne Huizenga and more.

Dave Gettleman deflects questions about whether he wants Odell Beckham on Giants - Big Blue View
[BLG Note: The Giants are basically going through what the Eagles went through with DeSean Jackson in 2014.]

Raiders to release former third round pick Clive Walford - Silver And Black Pride
Over three years in Oakland, the former Miami standout struggled with several injuries and ultimately was buried on the depth chart. He finished with just 70 catches for 768 yards and 6 touchdowns 44 appearances. And he never quite lived up to his billing as a do-it-all tight end.

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