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Eagles News: Derek Barnett isn’t feeling pressured

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/26/19.

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Derek Barnett doesn’t feel the pressure as he enters Year 3 - Inquirer
“I don’t think there’s a lot on me,” Barnett said Thursday after the Eagles’ first practice of training camp. “But every time I step on the field, I want to perform my best and be the best player I can be for my teammates because they drafted me for a reason. Absolutely, when I step on the field, I feel like I have to perform well. Don’t get me wrong. But pressure-wise? No, there’s no pressure. You just trust your training, go out there, and let it loose.” Pressure can be relative. If you don’t allow yourself to be burdened, is there even such an imposition? Objectively, the circumstances surrounding Barnett suggest that, by any definition, there will be the force of expectations. He is, for one, a former first-round draft pick. He has given little reason to believe that he won’t eventually fulfill the promise of that investment. But Barnett also hasn’t shown enough, partly because of injury, to indicate that it will be a forgone conclusion.

Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: Miles Sanders makes a good first impression - BGN
Miles Sanders made a good impression during his first practice with the entire team. He took a carry up the middle, juked some unblocked defenders (who, in fairness, can’t actually tackle him), and burst into an opening for a long run. Just one play but it’s clear that he has some juice.

At the Podium: Training Camp Is Here! - BGN Radio
The Philadelphia Eagles’ training has begun and we got it covered here at BGN, including two fresh press conferences from head coach Doug Pederson and franchise quarterback Carson Wentz!

How a bet with his daughter led Darren Sproles to return to Eagles - PhillyVoice
“It was really a bet,” Sproles said following practice. “Me and [Devon] made a bet back during her track season. She was like, if she makes it to the Junior Olympics this year, I have to play again. So, in June, she made it to the Junior Olympics and right after that race, she was like, ‘Daddy, you got to go back and play again.’ And I was like, ‘OK. That was the bet.’” According to Sproles, the idea of returning had always been on his mind — and the Eagles made it clear to him that if at any point he decided to play for another season, there would be a spot for him in Philly. Sproles said he received calls from about four other teams, but he never considered playing anywhere else this season. So he continued to work out during the offseason, and when the calendar flipped from May to June, Sproles began taking his workouts a little more seriously, adding in some field work to go along with what he was already doing in the gym.

A Good Start - Iggles Blitz
My big takeaways from their practice notes: Carson Wentz looked good. He’s lean and mean, and threw the ball really well. Oh yeah, and he’s healthy. Such a difference from last summer. Miles Sanders hit the practice field and showed off his ability. I think he could prove to be an ideal fit in the Eagles offense. He might be the most talented RB the team has had in the Pederson era.

Every NFL team’s biggest training camp battle - PFF
Running back — Miles Sanders vs. Jordan Howard: To try and add some life into the unit, the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard earlier in the offseason, a player who proved to be capable of a heavy workload during his rookie year by carrying the ball 252 times for 1,313 rushing yards, 752 yards after contact and a rushing grade of 79.5 that ranked sixth among qualifying players at the position. And while his overall grade has dipped each year since, Howard will now get a shot at reviving his early success with Philadelphia, who just so happen to run a ton of his favorite run concept: inside zone. 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 attempts in that span. Sanders, a second-round rookie out of Penn State, gives the team a tough, elusive runner who ranked inside the top 10 among draft-eligible running backs in forced missed tackles (47), yards after contact (845) and runs resulting in a first down or touchdown (38) last year. And he himself proved to be quite the bruiser on his inside zone rushes, as he earned the draft class’ fifth-best rushing grade and averaged a class second-best 3.96 yards after contact per carry on such assignments last year.

Eagles enter camp loaded with talent: ‘I’ve never been on a team like this’ - ESPN
Tight end Zach Ertz isn’t big on hyperbole, which made his comments about this 2019 Philadelphia Eagles roster stick out all the more. ”Obviously it’s early,” he said, “but you look around the locker room in terms of talent, I’ve never been on a team like this.” And yes, that includes the 2017 Super Bowl squad, on which Ertz played an intricate role. This is not an uncommon take inside the building. It’s not spoken with bluster. This is not like when Vince Young regrettably called the hastily assembled and ultimately dysfunctional 2011 Eagles squad the “Dream Team.” Rather, it comes off as sober analysis from players and coaches who recognize that talent is a great start but nothing more.

In the wide open NFC, a case for these 11 teams as Super Bowl contenders - The Athletic
Philadelphia Eagles — On paper they have one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the NFL. Carson Wentz could play another 10 years and not have a group of pass-catchers around him that’s as good as this year’s version (Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert). There’s always the caveat that Wentz has to prove he can stay healthy. But if he’s able to stay on the field, given the talent and continuity on the offensive line and Doug Pederson’s aggressive mindset, this should be a top-five offense. Defensively, the pass rush is counting on newcomer Malik Jackson and third-year player Derek Barnett to fill the voids left by Michael Bennett and Chris Long. While the secondary has depth, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz needs to find the right fits — specifically at cornerback. Like the other two teams in this tier, the Eagles don’t need to field an elite defense to get to Miami. They just need to be good enough. Pederson did a brilliant job during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run with Nick Foles two years ago and kept the team together despite an injury-ravaged season last year that ended in the divisional round. The Eagles have the third-easiest schedule in the NFL, according to Sharp Football Stats, and the pieces are in place for a deep playoff run. Keep an eye on … the Eagles’ injuries. They finished 31st in adjusted games lost last year before making changes to their medical staff in the offseason. An improvement in health and better injury luck will be key for them to get back to the Super Bowl.

On the field, Carson Wentz putting all the pieces in the right places - PE.com
The story with Wentz is layered. There is the health issue – Wentz hasn’t played 16 games since his rookie season – and there is the level of expectation as well as the idea that with all of these talented pieces, there is only one football. Nobody, Wentz said, is lobbying to be a “favored” target. It’s the quarterback’s job to get the ball to the pass catcher with the best matchup and to keep the chains moving and put big points on the board. “I don’t think that will be an issue, because they’re all great dudes,” Wentz said. “When you have a bunch of ‘me, me’ guys, you get that. But I don’t think we have those guys. I don’t think we have those personalities. At the same time, Coach (Doug Pederson) does a great job designing game plans, practices to really distribute the ball and spread it around. I think we will have a luxury of doing that with really anybody that’s out there.”

Former Penn State RB Miles Sanders doesn’t think he’s behind entering Philadelphia Eagles training camp - PennLive
Once the Eagles put on the pads and add contact to practice — not to mention the preseason games — Sanders should have more of a chance to showcase his promise on the field. And Sanders confident that when that time comes, he’ll be ready to show the full range of his abilities. “As far as the playbook and mentally,” Sanders said, “I don’t think I’m behind at all.”

Eagles’ Ronald Darby happy he’s not on PUP list … whatever that is - NBCSP
“It’s a great feeling not to be on that,” Darby said before a smile and a moment of real honestly. “I really ain’t know what PUP list was because I ain’t never heard of it. But it seems like it’s a good thing to not be on it, so I’m happy I’m not.

2019 NFL record projections: Can Chargers prevent a Patriots run to Super Bowl LIV? - USA Today
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5): They’ve added intriguing pieces (DT Malik Jackson, WR DeSean Jackson and RBs Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders). They’ve got promising youngsters like TE Dallas Goedert and CB Sidney Jones poised for bigger roles. And CB Ronald Darby, DE Derek Barnett and, of course, QB Carson Wentz return from injury to rejoin a championship-proven nucleus. Could be special if it all comes together. And December should be fun with the Iggles’ final four games against divisional foes. [...] Super Bowl LIV: Chargers def. Eagles.

The Eagles Have No Flaws, but Should They Be NFL’s Super Bowl Favorite? - B/R
That’s a significant reason to doubt the Eagles, especially in a division with the Cowboys and in a conference with the Saints, Rams, Bears, etc. But it’s still a bad reason to overlook them. Peace and quiet will likely work in the Eagles’ favor this year. Last offseason brought the Super Bowl attention, the scrutiny surrounding Wentz’s ACL recovery, the White House controversy and the Wentz-Foles non-divide some worked extra hard to stoke. Those distractions didn’t really harm the Eagles the way a zillion cornerback and running back injuries did, but the added attention lurked in the background whenever Wentz tried to do too much late in a game or the coaches tried too hard to replicate what worked in 2017. The Eagles aren’t trying to recreate magic this year. They’re just another team slipping quietly into camp, mostly healthy and really, really talented.

Giants’ injury news: Sterling Shepard suffers broken thumb - Big Blue View
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, being counted upon to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver this season, broke his thumb Thursday at practice, the team announced.

Report: Ezekiel Elliott looking for extension that would top Todd Gurley’s four-year, $57.5M deal - Blogging The Boys
There are a lot of thoughts as to how NFL teams should handle paying running backs (people think they shouldn’t) especially when you’re approaching numbers like these. With Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper both also needing extensions (and other players soon to follow) it certainly sounds like a lot to commit to such a contract. The question always has been whether Zeke is worth it, and he indisputably is in terms of who he is as a player; however, a large part of the reality here is that he plays running back and that position has been devalued by the rest of the league. Will the Cowboys fall into that camp, too?

Five NFL Players Are Holding Out. Will They Get What They Want? - The Ringer
The issue is Elliott isn’t the only talented youngster on a cheap rookie contract whom the Cowboys want to keep around. In the words of Marlo Stanfield, this is one of them good problems. The Cowboys have many crucial starters entering the final year of their contract: quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper, cornerback Byron Jones, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and right tackle La’el Collins. Meanwhile, Elliott is under contract through 2020 and could be franchise tagged in 2021 and 2022. Dallas can’t sign all of these players to big deals, creating a game of musical chairs in which Elliott has the worst odds of finding a seat. Prescott getting extended is almost a lock (Jerry Jones has said as much), and he’ll likely receive more than $30 million annually. Considering the Cowboys gave up a first-rounder for Amari Cooper, he’s also a near-lock for an extension. That puts Jones, Collins, and Smith competing for a contract extension (think of that scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker does tryouts). It’s impossible to blame Elliott for trying to strike while the iron is hot, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get the deal he wants. By holding out, Elliott is trying to cut in line—or, to stick with the musical chairs analogy, he’s trying to sit before the music stops.

Thoughts on the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott - Over The Cap
While I am certainly in the camp that believes it is foolish to heavily invest in a running back there is also the reality that it could happen in Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott. First round draft picks basically get one chance in five years to threaten a hold out and it seems Elliott may do it this year which makes this an interesting case to take a look at as Dallas comes off a playoff season that I am sure many credit to Elliot’s presence on the offense. With that in mind lets look at the financial risks for the Cowboys and why, if they do plan on extending him at some point, they should just do it now rather than waiting.

Report: Redskins hosting Donald Penn as Trent Williams’ holdout continues - Hogs Haven
There was speculation about whether the Redskins would sign or trade for a tackle. We now know they are bringing in 36 year old veteran tackle Donald Penn. He last played for the other Gruden with the Oakland Raiders. He was released in March after they signed Trent Brown. The Redskins actually tried to sign him back in March, 2014 before he went to Oakland. Washington ended up drafting Morgan Moses two months later.

The Dallas Cowboys dynasty lived and died at the hands of Jerry Jones - SB Nation
The good times were good enough to make the bad look even worse.

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