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Eagles News: Why Philadelphia is the “perfect landing spot” for Jordan Howard

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/30/19.

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Wild Card Round - Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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

Jordan Howard lands on his feet, set to be a complement to the Eagles’ running game - PFF
Since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles have run an inside-zone concept on 464 of their 1412 running plays over that span, and they actually led the league in inside-zone frequency last year (50.0%) with 218 inside-zone attempts from 436 running plays. Over the last three years, the Eagles rank 13th among teams in rushing yards gained before contact from inside-zone runs, while their team inside-zone blocking grade of 79.0 ranks first by a considerable margin. And that makes this a perfect landing spot for the former Chicago running back, as he has thrived on his inside-zone runs throughout his time in the league. Since 2016, no running back has logged more inside-zone rushes than Howard (317), while his three-year inside-zone running grade of 75.0 ranks eighth among the 35 backs with at least 100 inside-zone attempts in that span. His 1324 rushing yards, 822 yards after contact, and his average of 2.59 yards after contact per attempt rank second, second, and 14th, respectively, among the group of players. After badly struggling at the position a season ago, the Eagles have now likely found their early-down man for next season, and if Howard can continue his success within the Eagles’ scheme, he could very well be the next great move for a franchise that is quickly becoming one of the most personnel-savvy outfits in the NFL.

5 things to know about new Eagles running back Jordan Howard - BGN
I break down sacks allowed for the Bears each game, and Howard didn’t give any up in 2018. If my memory serves me right, he’s only allowed 1.5 sacks in his three year career. His base is strong when taking on blitzers and his blitz recognition is good as well. There have been many times when he’s picked the right guy to block when defenses have tried to get tricky on the pass rush.

The Kist & Solak Show #87: Jordan Howard Is Okay & That’s Okay - BGN Radio
Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak break down new Eagles’ addition Jordan Howard, analyze Andrew Sendejo’s impact on drafting a safety, discuss the interior offensive line need (or not) headed into the draft, and update you on the Eagles’ top 30 official visits! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Eagles Mailbag: On Hicks, Wisniewski, Ajayi, Jernigan, Fort, Sendejo, and compensatory picks - PhillyVoice
Now that the Eagles have traded for Jordan Howard, they have their between-the-tackles banger. They are very unlikely to double up on another one of those guys in the draft now. I think that’ll lower the chances they draft a guy like Iowa State’s David Montgomery, for example. The running backs that will now interest the Eagles in the draft will likely either have a lot of speed, or receiving ability, preferably both. We’ll be taking a position-by-position look at five players the Eagles could draft at each spot soon.

Eagles are now in an enviable pre-draft position - PE.com
In and of itself, trading a 2020 conditional draft pick (reported to be a sixth-round selection that could become a fifth-rounder) for a proven, reliable and fits-in-on-and-off-the-field-in-every-way running back in Jordan Howard is a terrific deal for the Eagles: Howard brings three years of NFL experience, he’s the kind of big, power back the running game lacked last year and he’s known as a great teammate and locker room presence. There’s more to the quality of this deal than immediately meets the eye, too. By adding Howard, the Eagles have essentially set themselves up for the NFL Draft with about as complete a roster as you can find. There isn’t a single position on this roster that you can point to and say, “The Eagles really need to fill a hole here.” If you want to squint and talk about the offensive line in light of right guard Brandon Brooks’s injury, that’s fair. But note that the Eagles have been optimistic about his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon injury suffered in the playoff loss to New Orleans and, besides, they’re high on second-year man Matt Pryor and other young linemen to step up in Training Camp, anyway.

From ‘The Process’ to Bryce Harper: Inside Philadelphia’s sudden sports renaissance - CBS Sports
“Phillies fandom feels reborn,” said Brandon Lee Gowton, of SB Nation. “The die-hards never left, but with Harper in the fold ... the city is going to be buzzing in the summertime.” [...] “My friend [Michael Levin] once famously said, ‘Imagine enjoying a sport in Philadelphia,’ during a not-so-distant time when the Philly sports outlook wasn’t so bright,” Gowton said. “Well, we don’t have to imagine anymore. We can actually just do it.”

Eagles to Carson Wentz: Let’s make an extension. But will he play ball? - Inquirer
But if the Eagles’ reasons for locking Wentz down long-term this offseason are obvious, his aren’t as clear-cut. A season equal to or greater than his performance two years ago would increase his worth and conceivably close the gap on Mahomes, depending upon how the Kansas City quarterback plays this season. But there’s something to be said for security. And while the Eagles don’t want a Wentz who is uncertain about his durability, it would likely factor into his decision to accept an early offer. The term franchise player gets thrown around a lot in the NFL, but it applies to only one position, and to about a dozen or so quarterbacks. The financial implications are significant, but a Wentz extension would reverberate throughout the organization. He will have more stability than any other player and will have greater pull in terms of scheme and personnel.

Kapadia: Making sense of the Eagles’ decision to trade for RB Jordan Howard - The Athletic
Howard’s YPC average has dropped every year since he entered the NFL. He went from 5.2 in 2016 to 4.1 in 2017 to 3.7 last season. Howard’s YPC average in 2018 ranked 37th out of 47 running backs who had at least 100 carries. But YPC is not a perfect stat. Sites like Sharp Football Stats and Football Outsiders prefer to use a metric called success rate. Here’s how it’s defined: A play is successful when it gains at least 40% of yards-to-go on first down, 60% of yards-to-go on second down and 100% of yards-to-go on third or fourth down. The thinking is that this type of metric doesn’t penalize a runner for gaining 2 yards on 3rd-and-1. And “home run” carries don’t dramatically affect the numbers. In terms of success rate, Howard ranked 13th out of 34 qualifying running backs last season. His 51 percent success rate was the highest mark of his three-year career.

There’s no downside to Eagles’ trade for Jordan Howard - NBCSP
Here? Now the pressure is off. Howard doesn’t have to be The Guy. He doesn’t have to be anything except another component of a potentially explosive offense. And if you’re scared off by the fact that his rushing average has dropped from 5.2 as a rookie to 4.1 in 2017 to 3.7 last year, I would tell you this: The last five weeks of the 2018 regular season, when the Bears went 4-1 and roared to the NFC North title and a No. 3 playoff seed, Howard averaged 4.5 yards per carry, with 100-yard games against the Vikings and Rams.

The top remaining free agents at Philadelphia Eagles positions of need - PennLive
Notable names available: Josh McCown, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, David Fales, Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, Sean Mannion. What to make of it: That’s not the most inspiring group of quarterbacks. It seems like the Eagles could bring in a late-round quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Eagles add a camp arm or two.

Progress check: What the Cowboys have accomplished so far, and what still needs to be done - Blogging The Boys
The one big failure: Let’s get it out of the way first. The team is still not close to working out an extension for DeMarcus Lawrence, who has not signed his franchise tag tender nor made any plans to get the surgery he needs. Reports indicate he is wanting something in the $22.5 million per year range on a six-year deal, with about half of it guaranteed. The team is not stepping up to that particular plate (yet). This is the one thing the Cowboys could not really afford to mess up, but here we stand holding their beer. Things are not over, of course. It is not a certain end to their hopes for the season if somehow they lose their best pass rusher and overall best defensive lineman in both phases of the game. But it would really, really hurt. This will continue to be the biggest story for the team until it is resolved.

Bears re-sign DeAndre Houston-Carson - Windy City Gridiron
[BLG Note: The Eagles tried to sign DHC off the Bears’ practice squad in 2017.]

Projecting the top wide receivers in the 2019 NFL draft - ESPN In$ider
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss Rebels: 500 yards per season. Scouts Inc.: No. 32 overall. Similar historical prospects: Calvin Ridley, Nelson Agholor. At least from a statistical perspective, Brown is very similar to this year’s top two in terms of yards and touchdowns per team attempt. However, Brown falls a little short of the other two because his touchdowns dropped from 11 in his sophomore season to six in his junior season. [BLG Note: Remember that the Eagles are bringing Brown in for a pre-draft visit.]

Ask a former NFL player: How hard is it for offensive linemen to switch positions? - SB Nation
According to social media, switching from tackle to guard is the “easy” solution for a tackle who’s struggling. Not so fast my friend. If an offensive tackle has good hands, generally has good movement skills but might lack some foot quickness to play tackle, then moving inside could be productive. If an offensive tackle is struggling with his strike and punch location, plus has bad feet, then moving inside is a no-go. Things happen fast at guard. Your hands must be ready for action now. And if you miss with your hands, your base better be good so you’re able to recover. So in short, moving a struggling OT to OG isn’t easy, and it’s rarely the solution.

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