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Eagles News: Zach Ertz is a “Superstar X-Factor”

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/29/19.

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NFL: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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

Madden NFL 20 Superstar X-Factors - EA.com
Philadelphia Eagles’ Zach Ertz has been named to an elite and exclusive list of Superstar X-Factors players in Madden NFL 20. Superstar X-Factors are a new gameplay feature in Madden 20 which are powerful abilities that make the biggest stars in the league feel like the gamechangers they are – mimicking their real-life talent, behavior and characteristics. 50 elite players in the game will be Superstar X-Factors, including Ertz. The list will evolve based on players’ real-life performances on the field during the NFL season, but there will not be more than 50 at one time. What sets X-Factor players apart is their Zone Ability, on top of the Superstar Abilities. Zone Abilities can be unlocked during gameplay by completing an objective tailored to that player. When the objective is achieved, the player enters the “zone” and has access to his special ability. [...] MAX SECURITY: High success rate on possession catches. The security blanket: Secures contested catches and prevents catch knockouts with possession catches when in the zone. Trigger Conditions: Four Consecutive Catches (Requires Six in Competitive). Knockout Conditions: One Dropped Pass, Forced Incompletion, or Fumble.

A Dynamic Duo - Iggles Blitz
It will be interesting to see how Ertz does this year. He won’t have 156 passes thrown his way. The Eagles are much deeper at receiver this time around so Ertz won’t be the primary option nearly as much. One of the options will be Goedert, who was the talk of Eagles OTAs. He caught 33 passes as a rookie. Look for that number to go up this year. There is an argument in the fantasy football community about how highly Goedert should be taken. Because of his talent and the Eagles offense, some rate him like a starting TE. Others see too many weapons on the Eagles and fear Goedert just won’t get the ball enough. It really does make for an interesting debate.

The NFL Play-Action Awards: Picking the best teams, QBs and more - ESPN
The best play-action TE overall: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles. Stat to know: Last season, Ertz led the league with 36 receptions off play-action throws -- on 41 targets -- putting up 360 yards and two touchdowns. What to look for in 2019: The Carson Wentz-to-Ertz combo is money. Eagles coach Doug Pederson can set the table for Ertz to use his elite route-running skills as a primary target off play-action. In short, Philadelphia has a plan to attack every coverage with specific concepts that put both Wentz and Ertz in favorable positions to carve up defenses.

Connor Barwin says he’s “trying to come back and play for the Eagles” - BGN
On the other hand, Barwin isn’t necessarily a better choice just because he has more NFL experience than the Eagles’ young guys. Barwin, who turns 33 in October, has been on the decline ever since his 14.5 sack season in 2014. His season sack totals since that year: seven, five, five, and one. Barwin ranked 101st out of 109 edge rushers in PFF’s pressure rate in 2018.

Special: Jimmy Kempski & Why Your Team Is a Dumpster Fire - BGN Radio
Michael Kist brings on special guest Jimmy Kempski of The Philly Voice to talk about Kempski’s yearly series, “Why Your Team Is a Dumpster Fire”! Thoughts on the NFC East, the Eagles, and a burning question regarding Sean McVay’s cowardice PLUS much more!

10 reasons the Eagles will be a dumpster fire this season - PhillyVoice
Going from Bennett to Curry is a downgrade, and there’s no obvious “feel-good about it” candidate to take over Long’s role. Sweat appeared to be in the lead for the No. 4 DE spot during spring practices. In Jim Schwartz’s scheme, it is imperative that the front four is able to get to the quarterback without the aid of blitzers. It is also important that there is quality depth along the defensive line, as Schwartz likes to rotate them heavily. The Eagles will still be able to get to the quarterback when Graham and Barnett are in the game, but the combination of Curry and someone from the “maybe they show something” group of Sweat, Shareef Miller, Daeshon Hall, and Joe Ostman could be a significant liability when they go in for their line shifts. Bennett and Long combined for 15.5 sacks last season. Granted, that was partly because Bennett became a starter when Barnett went down, but that is still a hell of a lot of production to replace. If Graham or Barnett go down, the Eagles’ pass rush from the edges could be in serious trouble.

NFL Teams Facing a Closing Window of Opportunity - MMQB
1. Dallas Cowboys. While cap space is a poor indicator of roster health, Dallas doesn’t have a ton of it, and they need to pacify an awful lot of star players at expensive positions. Dak Prescott becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Ezekiel Elliott becomes a UFA in 2021, but should (and probably will) take a stand at some point and earn some guaranteed money before he’s out of his prime. Byron Jones hits unrestricted free agency in 2020 and Jaylon Smith hits restricted free agency that same season. Dallas missed the chance to bet on Prescott financially when he was cheaper, something that the Eagles may make more popular in the coming years. Should they miss the playoffs this year, or limp along the way, we could be looking at a massively different roster a year or two from now.

Ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines by pass-blocking efficiency on long-developing plays - PFF
T-22. Philadelphia Eagles. Pass-blocking efficiency: 75.2. As you’d expect, center Jason Kelce was the standout member of Philadelphia’s offensive line here, as he allowed just two quarterback hurries from 112 long-developing pass-blocking snaps. As a unit, the team allowed six sacks, eight hits and 39 hurries from 119 plays.

Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at safety? - NBCSP
Graham was clearly overextended in a starting position, though the truth is he was probably getting a little long in the tooth for the third safety job, too. It’s not an unimportant spot, either, as Graham played about 35 percent of the time in 2017 purely in that role. So the question becomes who replaces him, and will it be a safety at all? Sullivan is now in his third season in the Eagles’ system and actually got some significant playing time in ’18. Andrew Sendejo is a nine-year veteran with 68 career starts under his belt, though if age is a concern, he’s only two years younger than Graham. And Countess served as a capable reserve in LA the last three years. No option is bad, nor exciting, which makes one wonder if the extra defensive back on the field could actually be a corner, like Maddox. Whatever the Eagles decide, this is somebody who could play quite a bit. Are the Eagles’ safeties better or worse? The Eagles simply didn’t have the depth to withstand McLeod’s injury last season. Now, Sullivan has some experience under his belt, and Sendejo and Countess are vets. As long as Jenkins doesn’t take a step back, this group appears to be much better prepared.

Eli Manning: I’m not in competition with Daniel Jones - Big Blue View
Eli Manning told NFL Network on Friday that he does not believe he is in competition with first-round pick Daniel Jones for the New York Giants quarterback job.

Eagles President Don Smolenski appointed advisory board chair of PHL Sports - PE.com
With a clear vision for how to position Philadelphia as a leading sporting event destination, and a track record for philanthropy in the region, Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski has agreed to serve as the next Advisory Board chair of PHL Sports. PHL Sports is a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), and brings together the area sports community to attract major sporting events to Philadelphia. After the recent passing of Philadelphia Phillies Chairman David Montgomery, who served as the PHL Sports Advisory Board Chair for the past 10 years, PHLCVB leadership sought a successor with an established reputation locally and nationally. Smolenski has served on the PHL Sports Executive Committee for more than a decade and worked closely with Montgomery, the PHLCVB and PHL Sports on numerous projects through the years.

Relative age effects in American professional football - De Gruyter
We test for the existence of relative age effects in professional American football. In a sample of 18,898 football players born on or after 1940, there is an excess of January and February births – consistent with a relative age effect associated with calendar year – as well as a slight increase in September births – consistent with the fact that some football players we analyze attended high school in states with fall school cutoff dates. We consider the possibility that relative age effects may affect skilled football positions more than positions relying heavily on player weight, and we find suggestive evidence of this. Lastly, and contrary to what has recently been shown in professional hockey, we find no evidence that misguided preferences for relatively older players lead to selection-based inefficiencies in football player drafting. Our results have implications for evaluating potential football players and speak broadly to the role of physiological factors beyond player control on athletic success.

Los Angeles Rams OL Aaron Neary suspended for four games for violating the NFL substance abuse policy - Turf Show Times
[BLG Note: Neary used to be with the Eagles.]

Sean Payton wasn’t able to get Tony Romo on the Saints. What if he had? - SB Nation
Would Romo have won a Super Bowl ring with Payton?

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