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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s running backs among most improved position groups in the NFL

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/22/19.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Rookie Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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

The most improved position group in each NFL division - SB Nation
NFC East: Eagles running backs. Notable Additions: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders. Philadelphia struggled to find a groove at running back last year. The team never figured out a rotation that worked after Jay Ajayi tore his ACL in Week 5. Despite having an offensive line featuring Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson, the Eagles averaged just 3.9 yards per carry — 30th in the NFL. To fix the issue, they made a trade for Jordan Howard with the Chicago Bears and drafted Penn State running back Miles Sanders in the second round. Unlike his first two years in the league, Howard failed to reach 1,000 yards in 2018, but he’s still better than the running backs the Eagles had last year. Howard should be able to get up to speed rather quickly, too. Both his former coach (Matt Nagy) and his new one (Doug Pederson) worked under Andy Reid in Kansas City and run similar offensive schemes. Sanders is an athletic running back who can do a bit of everything. He can generate explosive plays on the ground and through the air — he chipped in 24 catches to go along with 1,274 rushing yards in 2018. Now that the Eagles have retooled their running backs, they have one of the most complete offenses in the NFL: an all-star offensive line, two studs at tight end, and a talented, diverse group of receivers. Their season hinges on Carson Wentz staying healthy, but this offense is poised for a playoff run.

Eagles OTA Practice Notes: Carson Wentz off to an encouraging start - BGN
CARSON WENTZ UPDATE: Prior to practice, Doug Pederson said Wentz wasn’t going to be limited in practice. Turns out Dougie P was telling the truth: Wentz was a full participant on Tuesday, which is very encouraging. Wentz is no longer wearing the knee brace that he sported at this time last year. It was always clear he didn’t like wearing it considering how he’d often adjust/fiddle with it. No longer encumbered by the brace, Wentz showed off good mobility during practice. He was regularly getting the ball out quick and delivering accurate strikes. One such occasion was when he hit Zach Ertz right on the hands on a post route for an over-the-shoulder touchdown reception. Wentz made another tight window throw to Ertz (let the “too much Ertz!” complaints begin) over the middle of the field. Wentz fit a ball between multiple defenders in the end zone to Greg Ward, who dropped it. Wentz had a few incompletions (Nathan Gerry broke up one of his passes) that he could afford to clean up but for the most part I thought No. 11 had a very encouraging day. He looked healthy and I think his outlook is bright considering he’ll have a full offseason to get ready for 2019.

Eagles OTA observations: Carson Wentz is back, and practicing fully - PhillyVoice
If you’re concerned about Barnett missing the first OTA practice, I wouldn’t worry about it. Alshon Jeffery’s time frame for recovery from his torn rotator cuff was around seven months. We’re at about seven months for Barnett. There’s no need to put him on the field until he fully regains his strength in that shoulder. The guess here is that you won’t see him until training camp.

Carson Wentz: ‘I’m excited to be out there and I’m excited for the future’ - PE.com
But there is no denying this: Seeing Carson Wentz on the field, healthy, moving freely, gunning the football gave everyone a jolt. That’s how much he means to this football team. “It was great, for sure,” tight end Dallas Goedert said. “Carson looked great. He looked like Carson. I guess that’s what we all want to see. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game so him being on the field is a big deal for us.” And with that, the OTAs move forward with a healthy Carson Wentz leading the way and all of those injury questions he’s answered for so long a thing of the past. The focus is the future, not what is behind him, and Wentz is eager to look ahead. “For me, it’s physically getting strong, feeling better, and looking forward to staying healthy for my career,” Wentz said.

How far is Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins willing to go in contract dispute? - Inquirer
“He’s a big part of this team and you only have so long to do it,” Graham said of Jenkins. “Handle your business, my brother. And he’s handling his business because he’s a key part of this team. He brought us a Super Bowl. He had some big plays during that year, well, every year. “I’m sure Howie’s going to figure it out.” The Eagles have about $28 million in salary-cap space. A mega-extension is likely on the table for Carson Wentz, and even if the quarterback were to be locked down long term, it shouldn’t have any bearing on giving Jenkins more money. The Eagles have had conversations with his camp, but there haven’t been negotiations. Teams will often draw a line on restructures to keep from setting precedents. But it’s unlikely that other Eagles will line up at Roseman’s door if Jenkins were to receive a new deal. “I just want him to be taken care of, because, when he’s here, he’s here,” Graham said. “Every day, he takes care of his body. When he’s out there, you know he’s going 100 miles [per hour]. Stuff that normal vets don’t do, he do.

Eagles practice observations: Carson Wentz, DeSean Jackson highlight start of OTAs - The Athletic
One benefit the Eagles have this season: They can use a bunch of different personnel groupings. On one rep, they go with 12 personnel with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, along with Jackson and JJ Arcega-Whiteside at wide receiver. It’ll be up to Pederson to decide how much he mixes and matches on a weekly basis, but he’s got more options this year than he had last year.

NFL offseason agendas: Barnwell’s to-do lists for all 16 NFC teams - ESPN
Talk to the Steelers about Artie Burns. The Eagles, in their own way, hold a unique position of power over their in-state rivals. Philadelphia signed Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort to a three-year, $5.5 million deal with $1.9 million guaranteed this offseason, presumably to serve as a backup linebacker and special-teamer. In doing so, the Eagles impacted the Steelers’ compensatory pick formula. The Eagles would stand to gain a fourth-round pick by cutting Fort, who is canceling out the loss of Jordan Hicks to the Cardinals. The Eagles were eventually able to sign Zach Brown to help replace Hicks, squeezing their roster spots further at linebacker. Fort holds an even more interesting spot in the compensatory universe for his old team. As expected, the Steelers netted a third-round compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell when their star back signed with the Jets. In a rare foray into unrestricted free agency, though, Pittsburgh signed Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson and Jags wideout Donte Moncrief to deals. At the moment, the Steelers are still in line to net that third-rounder for Bell, but if the Eagles cut Fort, Pittsburgh would lose a third-rounder and the only compensation it has to show for Bell.

‘Game of Thrones’ Didn’t Stick the Landing, But Still Gave Eight Seasons of Riveting Television - Sports Illustrated
Recently retired NFL star, Chris Long, has recapped Game of Thrones and shared his thoughts on each episode of Season 8 for SI.com. Here is his final offering. “The worst thing for any work of art be it a movie or a book is to be ignored” -- GRRM “Asteroid. Asteroid. Where is the asteroid,” I wondered aloud. As Jon Snow disappeared into the Pine Barrens north of the Wall, it seemed fate had ushered him around the last blind turn in a full-circle trajectory. Poetically, he was right back where he started. Snow wasn’t the only one perpetuating this theme. But like so many others stumbling across the finish line of finality, his character seemed broken in many ways. You could make the same case for the show.

Will NFL take action against Ezekiel Elliott? - PFT
If the league finds a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, it would be a minor one at worst. Given Elliott’s history, however, that could still lead to a major problem. “Repeat offenders will be subject to enhanced and/or expedited discipline, including banishment from the league with an opportunity to reapply,” the Personal Conduct Policy states. Given the suspension from 2017, the warning communicated to Elliott at the time, and the league’s proclivity to take aggressive action against players accused or any type of violence regardless of criminal consequences or lack thereof, it makes sense to pay close attention to what the league does or doesn’t do in response to the emergence of a video that arguably shows enough to cause the league to conclude that Elliott is a repeat offender under the Personal Conduct Policy.

New York Giants Fans’ Long Offseason - The Ringer
In this Ringer Original starring Chris Ryan, Noah Malale, and Danny Heifetz, a Giants fan’s world is turned upside down after a disappointing NFL draft. He seeks out help from a specialist, but ends up getting more than he expected, in the form of a strange visitor from the world of Game of Thrones.

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