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Eagles News: “The Carson Wentz to JJ Arcega-Whiteside connection could be exceptional”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/15/19.

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J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Carson Wentz can be a devastating match in the red zone - PFF
In fact, J.J. Arcega Whiteside wasn’t just one of the better red-zone receivers in college football last season — he became the highest-graded red-zone receiver we’ve ever seen. Among the 498 FBS receivers who have logged at least 75 red-zone snaps in the PFF College era (2014 – present), Whiteside’s 94.0 receiving grade ranks first, beating out notable names like Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, Ohio State’s Michael Thomas and Clemson’s Mike Williams. During his time at Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside caught 27-of-39 red-zone targets for an incredible 25 combined first downs and touchdowns, generating a 105.4 passer rating in the process. [...] There is no doubt that the Carson Wentz to Arcega-Whiteside connection could be exceptional, specifically in red-zone situations, as the Eagles’ quarterback possesses the fourth-highest red-zone passing grade (75.2) among quarterbacks since 2016. Despite missing a considerable amount of time over the last three years, Wentz has still tossed 55 red-zone touchdown passes since 2016, the eighth-most among signal-callers. Among the 31 quarterbacks with at least 100 red-zone dropbacks since 2016, Wentz’s 100.7 red-zone passer rating ranks eighth.

Eagles 53-man roster prediction following 2019 spring practices - BGN
Jeffery, Jackson, and Agholor are going to torment defenses this season. That’s a real strong trio of receivers for Wentz to work with. Jackson and Wentz already have a great chemistry, which is encouraging. JJAW figures to contribute as a role player. The rookie wideout could be especially dangerous in the red zone due to his jump ball ability, which he displayed in spring drills. Hollins is still alive, so that’s good. Assuming he remains healthy, I think his special teams prowess lands him a spot on the final roster. There are a number of guys competing for a sixth receiver spot that may or may not exist. I’ll put Michel ahead of Charles Johnson, Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward, and DeAndre Thompkins. Michel was frequently targeted in spring practices; Wentz hit him on a couple deep shots. Several Eagles players told The Athletic that Michel was one of the most impressive players during OTAs and minicamp. Michel will need to continue to shine when the pads go on to earn his roster spot. Johnson is also pushing hard for a spot. Good battle to watch, even though the sixth receiver won’t be playing much (if at all).

Front Office, Minicamp Update Extravaganza - BGN Radio
John Stolnis and Brandon Lee Gowton have plenty to talk about as they update you on mandatory minicamp, the front office not-so-shake-up, and much much more! Presented by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Eagles ‘stock up / stock down’ after spring practices - PhillyVoice
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: I’ve seen my share of rookie wide receivers in my time covering the Eagles, and I would put Arcega-Whiteside alongside Jordan Matthews as the most active in terms of making plays in practice. Matthews, if you’ll recall, had a stat line of 67-872-8 his rookie season. Arcega-Whiteside likely won’t put up those kinds of numbers as he has too many established, talented vets ahead of him, but he has already shown that he belongs, and has more upside than JMatt, especially in the red zone,

Friday Riffing: Putting Cowboys nemesis Carson Wentz under the Xs and Os microscope - The Athletic
Wentz is a top young quarterback, for sure. I realize he demonstrated at the top that he makes great plays, some of a sort Prescott never makes. But he also takes risks that Prescott never does, and therein lies his propensity for mistakes. I suppose it is a matter of taste, dependent on a coach’s philosophy and preferences. You can win with either, but one is far more of a gunslinger who can throw you in and out of any game. He has a higher ceiling, but he also attempts risky throws in the deep middle that can and will get you beat. Prescott’s flaws are different, and he attempts almost no risky throws into traffic. Eagles enthusiasts would like to see Wentz tone things down from time to time — both for his own health and the team’s own good in certain spots where he forces plays that aren’t there. Cowboys fans would like Prescott to ramp things up and take some risks.

Jason Kelce takes home offseason ‘championship’ belt -
As intense as the competition was for the Eagles on the field in the spring practices all the way through the mandatory minicamp, there was another competition going on off the field that was every bit as competitive. Head coach Doug Pederson and the strength and conditioning team give the players a chance to compete against each other in offseason activities – tug of war, agility drills, strength tests, for example – and the players take it seriously. The winner is … once again … center Jason Kelce. “He won it two years ago and he won it again this spring. That guy is unbelievable. He’s a stud. I love him,” Pederson said. “He comes to work every day wanting to be better, wanting to be coached, coaching other players. He does a great job.”

Optimistic Rodney McLeod has new appreciation for recovery - NBCSP
After months of rehab, Eagles safety Rodney McLeod expects to be ready for training camp when players report on July 24. “I think my body will be ready to go,” McLeod said on Thursday after the last minicamp practice of the spring. “We just honestly have to figure out what that’s going to look like. Getting me back acclimated is the biggest thing.” In recent practices, McLeod has been participating in individual drills but hasn’t been participating in the team portions. That’s the next step. Training camp starts almost exactly 10 months from when McLeod suffered the ACL injury that ended his 2018 season early.

What the Eagles’ handling of Malcolm Jenkins’ contract says about Jeffrey Lurie and the team’s future - Inquirer
While comparisons of production and talent can be subjective, what isn’t is age, and Mathieu (27) and Collins (25) are younger. “The age is not that much,” Jenkins said. “You look at the last five years, it’s not like my play’s dropped any. The age part is relative, I understand that. But at the same time, it’s obviously enough that I know that, Howie and Mr. Lurie, they understand where the market is and why.” Jenkins said that he doesn’t wish to be the highest-paid safety, he just wants to “be within the ballpark.” He likely has only one more opportunity to get a long-term contract with a large guarantee. It’s difficult to begrudge his stance given the way NFL contracts are structured.

Jets front office rumors - Gang Green Nation
Andy Weidl is reportedly well-respected, but the Eagles could have blocked the move of any front office candidate currently under contract anyway. It will be interesting to see how many members of the Eagles front office have expiring contracts and will jump to the Jets next year.

Report: Rico Gathers suspended first game of 2019 season for violating NFL’s substance abuse policy - Blogging The Boys
Another suspension for the Cowboys.

Can XFL 2.0 succeed where the AAF couldn’t? Why it already has a jump start - ESPN
The USFL. The World League. The United Football League. The XFL 1.0. And now the Alliance of American Football. Since the 1970 merger between the AFL and NFL, every attempt at building a large-scale alternative football league has failed. No one has figured it out -- and yet they never stop trying. Next up is XFL 2.0, set to begin play in February 2020. It’s backed by a $500 million investment from owner Vince McMahon, led by an experienced commissioner in Oliver Luck and built on a McKinsey Global Institute research study that found up to 40 million avid fans who crave more football after the NFL season ends. Industry analysts agree those credentials give the XFL a chance, but the long and one-way history of similar endeavors imposes powerful inertia nonetheless.

Joe Callahan, Hakeem Nicks among those working out for XFL - PFT
The XFL has more than 100 players participating in combine-like drills at a Summer Showcase in Montclair, New Jersey. Receiver Hakeem Nicks, quarterback Joe Callahan, running back Branden Oliver, receiver/running back Dexter McCluster and running back Andre Williams are among those taking part in the tryout.

Who was the biggest steal of the 2016 NFL Draft? - SB Nation
Jordan Howard: Howard is with a new team just three seasons into his career and his numbers have declined, but since I personally believe Howard will bounce back, I think where he was picked — 150th overall — represents pretty significant value. He has two 1,000-yard seasons and even in his “down” 2018 season, he still managed 935 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. The Bears went in a different direction, but I expect Howard to do some good things with the Eagles, where he won’t be “the” workhorse and where he already feels he’s better utilized than he was in Matt Nagy’s offense. Maybe he’s no longer a draft steal for his old team, but he could easily wind up being a trade steal, considering the Eagles only gave up a 2020 sixth-round pick for him.


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