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Eagles News: Joe Walker ... breakout player?

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 8/23/18.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles - Practice Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

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

NFL breakout players 2018: Inside or outside, Joe Walker makes the Eagles defense better - SB Nation
If Walker has finally shaken his injury bug for good, he could be a really good full-time starting middle linebacker for that defense. At 6’2 and 236 pounds, Walker is an old-school thumper type who fits right in as a run stopper. He was always on his toes, often inching forward right before the snap, and did a good job recognizing runs and getting downhill in a hurry last season. Walker also had no problem taking on offensive linemen and fighting off those blocks. He didn’t mind blowing up a fullback on ISO plays, either. At the same time Walker also did a good job of playing under control and usually wasn’t fooled by play action passes. He didn’t play a lot of man-to-man or anything, but he appeared to be getting good zone drops and breaking up passes that came into his area. He may not be a great guy in coverage, but I didn’t see him as much of a liability when he did have to drop, either.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai isn’t who you want him to be - BGN
The issue becomes when he’s touted as more than a capable spot starter. The problem becomes when his supporters cluck, “he shut down Everson Griffen” while ignoring context. Context matters. The amount of help Vaitai received via alignment and with chips from backs and tight ends matters. How much he struggled when he didn’t receive these aids most definitely matters. That’s the baseline I’m working from here; with the belief that all of these rallying cries have merit and point to Vaitai potentially being a long-term starter and a darn good one. Vaitai is a player you must scheme around. Luckily the Eagles coaching staff is excellent at hiding their weaknesses and allowing their strengths to shine. This was key to the Eagles success; being able to hide Vaitai’s deficiencies and provide him with the necessary help to allow the offensive to thrive.

Eagles 53-man roster projection, before the ‘dress rehearsal game’ - PhillyVoice
As I noted last week, I was told the team likes Kamar Aiken for some reason, but he has zero catches in the preseason, and didn’t do much in training camp either. His roster spot isn’t justifiable unless Alshon Jeffery is expected to be out for an extended period of time. As a friend noted offline, Aiken is also a candidate for the “Najee Goode treatment,” in that he could be released at cutdowns and then brought back after Week 1, when his salary would no longer be guaranteed.

Previewing Game 3 - Iggles Blitz
Haloti Ngata started last week. Destiny Vaeao has played ahead of him most of the summer. Will Ngata start again or will Vaeao get the nod? Whether he starts or not, Vaeao needs to be disruptive. He had a couple of good pass rushes last week. Go build on that. Bruce Hector played early and often last week and had a good game. He needs to build on that performance. Hector is making a serious push for a roster spot. Elijah Qualls better wake up and get going if he wants to fight off the UDFA. Azziz Shittu didn’t play until late last week, but made two impact plays. Will the coaches reward him?

Jon Dorenbos Back In Philly This Weekend - PE.com
It was one year ago, almost to the day (August 28) when the Eagles traded long snapper Jon Dorenbos to the New Orleans Saints. In a roundabout, isn’t-this-a-crazy-world? story, Dorenbos is back in Philadelphia to celebrate. In his own, magical way, of course.

Why no one doubts Eagles’ Jason Peters will be his normal freakish self - NBCSP
“J.P. is one of those guys,” said Darren Sproles, who is in a uniquely similar position. “He’s a freak. The stuff I see him do, that keeps me going.” It’s amazing that not many folks on the team or in the building have even comprehended the possibility of Peters’ not playing to his normal Pro Bowl level. It’s just sort of assumed that as long as he is healthy, he’s going to be a great left tackle. That, more than anything, might be the best testament to his greatness.

Who Is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player on Their Current Contract? - The Ringer
Had a freak injury not derailed the final three games of his season, Wentz was on his way to winning MVP in just his second year in the league. The former second overall pick is currently the 28th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, and this year he’ll make less money than Josh McCown, Blake Bortles, and even his own backup, Nick Foles. Last season confirmed that the best way to win in the NFL right now is with a cheap, young quarterback. A discount on a generational talent like Wentz gives a team the flexibility to construct a championship-level roster like the 2017 Eagles. Wentz is under contract through 2019 with a club option in 2020, and will most likely be the highest-paid quarterback in the league at some point. But until then, the Eagles are essentially paying $10 for the best steak dinner in town.

Top Roster Spending - Over The Cap
The top 15 spending basically follows the same patterns as the top 10, which makes sense since we are only adding 5 more players to the mix. If you take the top 3 out of the equation and see who is trying to do more with mid tier talent the teams that make a big positive jump are the Browns (5th at $67.5M), Bears (8th at $63.5M), Eagles (2nd at $78.6M), Rams (6th at 67.2M), Jets (16th at $57.4M) and Jaguars (1st at $86M). Each of these teams jumped at least 13 spots from their top 3 ranking.

Darius Prince never played college football, but after a successful season in the AFL he’s vying for an Eagles roster spot - Inquirer
Success has never gotten to Darius Prince’s head. His unconventional path to the Eagles’ training-camp roster has a lot to do with that. The 28-year-old McKeesport native didn’t play college football. Instead, he followed his first love: college basketball. He became a standout guard during his three years at Division II Penn State Greater Allegheny, and then played a final season at Penn State Beaver, another D-II program, where he now works as an assistant coach. During the last five years, he has bounced around arena football, playing in the National Arena League and the AFL. He found his footing with the Philadelphia Soul and in 2017 was named the league’s Arena Bowl MVP.

NFL competition committee discusses helmet rule, won’t make changes - ESPN
The NFL’s competition committee issued a narrow clarification Wednesday to its controversial helmet rule but made no substantive alterations during a previously scheduled conference call. According to a statement released by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, the committee resolved “that there will be no changes to the rule as approved by clubs this spring, which includes no additional use of instant replay.” But Vincent added, “The committee also determined that inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or face mask is not a foul.”

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signs with Raiders - Silver And Black Pride
Former Eagles CB is headed back to the AFC West.

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