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Eagles News: NFL insiders rank Fletcher Cox as the league’s fifth best interior defensive lineman

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/10/21.

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Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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Ranking the NFL’s top 10 interior defensive linemen for 2021: Execs, coaches, players make their picks - ESPN+
5) Fletcher Cox. Last year’s ranking: 3. Cox has made six Pro Bowls in nine seasons, and is one of the defining defensive tackles of the last decade, a blur of speed and power inside or on the edge. In 2020, Cox was still productive, with 6.5 sacks and a 74.1 Pro Football Focus rating. But his nine QB hits was his lowest total since 2014. “A little bit on the descent, but you know where he is at all times,” said an NFC scout. “He’s still tops on the scouting report when you prepare for Philly’s defense. There was a time not too long ago when he was No. 2 [among interior D-linemen] and you wouldn’t look back.” Added an NFC exec: “He’s still a problem to me. He was on a bad defense.”

Who is the Eagles’ most overrated player? - BGN
Admittedly, Slay prevented the 2020 Eagles from being absolutely murdered by No. 1 wide receivers on a weekly basis like the 2019 Eagles were. But I’m missing how he was anything resembling an elite corner last year. We all saw how D.K. Metcalf and Davante Adams ate his lunch. Slay finished his first season in Philly with just one interception, six passes defensed, and a 111.9 passer rating allowed when targeted. He certainly didn’t do anything to transform the team’s pass defense, which actually ranked worse in 2020 than it did in 2019 (in terms of both DVOA and opponent yards per pass attempt). And it’s not just like it was “one down year.” Pro Football Focus had Slay graded 64th out of 84 corners in 2019 before finishing 42nd out of 80 in 2020. Perhaps Jonathan Gannon, who helped revive Xavier Rhodes’ career, can get Slay back on track. But it’s not like cornerbacks age gracefully and Slay turns 31 in January.

Above the Nest with Raichele #17: OL Masterminds Summit + Darius Slay voted Top 10 cornerback - BGN Radio
Raichele touches on Lane Johnson’s 4th annual OL Masterminds Summit that is set to take place this weekend and finally some positive news! Darius Slay is voted Top 10 cornerback by NFL coaches and players.

Better or worse? Kyle Rudolph’s reliability makes Giants better at tight end - Big Blue View
The addition of Rudolph was logical and it makes the Giants much better, and more secure, at the tight end position - if he is healthy. He is 31 years old coming off of a foot injury; that has to be weighed into the equation here. There’s no doubt that Garrett will still want to run these bigger personnel packages. But with the addition of all the wide receivers, we may see a slight drop; Dallas ran 13 personnel 4 percent of the time in 2018, and only 2 percent of the time in 2019, with Garrett as the head coach (12 personnel was still being used at a solid rate). This coincided with the Cowboys acquiring Amari Cooper in the middle of the 2018 season. Is there anything to glean from this? Maybe, but it would behoove Garrett to get Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Kadarius Toney their snaps. As for the tight ends, I think the position is better in 2021 than it was last season.

The 5 O’Clock Club: Re-thinking how the WFT coaches see Kamren Curl - Hogs Haven
I think that the coaches realized early last season that they had caught lightning in a bottle with Kam Curl. Not only did he far exceed what is expected of a 7th round rookie, but he demonstrated that he has skills far beyond the typical strong safety. He can play tough in the run game as a strong tackler, and has good coverage skills as well. His size gives him an advantage over a similarly skilled cornerback like Jimmy Moreland. Landon Collins is “just” a strong safety, but Kamren Curl offers much more flexibility. I think it’s time to start believing Jack Del Rio when he says that there’s room on the roster and on the field for both players, and to think about Kam Curl as a multi-skilled defensive back that can line up and play at every level of the defense. I strongly suspect that Del Rio will design schemes designed to get Kamren Curl on the field of play as often as possible in the coming season.

Dan Hanzus of NFL.com says Colts’ QB Carson Wentz will be ‘team’s MVP’ in 2021 - Stampede Blue
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus, in a recent article, gave his predictions for each AFC team’s 2021 MVP. The Colts’ MVP? QB Carson Wentz. Hanzus, in part, writes, “Yep, I’m on the Wentz Wagon. What’s it to you?” Wentz is still just 28, his size and arm strength remain impressive, and I’m completely sold on Frank Reich’s ability to fix the one-time cornerstone QB.” I’m 100% with Dan here. Personally, I’ve always thought highly of Wentz and his game even before he was traded to the Colts just a few short months ago. Hanzus isn’t the only one who’s ‘on the Wentz Wagon,’ either.

Colts OC Marcus Brady tasked with getting Carson Wentz back on track - ESPN
With the start of Indianapolis Colts training camp less than a month away, there will be more eyes on the offense than on any other unit on the roster. Quarterback Carson Wentz, in his first season with the Colts, will be a focal point. And not on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis because of the importance of the position and lack of long-term stability since Andrew Luck retired some 23 months ago. But look a little further and there’s another key component that has changed and will have an impact on what happens this season. Offensive coordinator. Luckily for Colts coach Frank Reich, he didn’t have to look far to find a replacement for Nick Sirianni, who was named coach of the Philadelphia Eagles last winter. Reich stayed in-house and promoted quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady to offensive coordinator.

The Look Ahead #44: What’s the best division in the NFL? - The SB Nation NFL Show
Rob “Stats” Guerrera (Niners Nation) and RJ Ochoa (Blogging the Boys) are joined by Stephen Serda (Arrowhead Pride) to debate the best division in the NFL. RJ refuses to accept the truth about SF being Super Bowl contenders. What would an Aaron Rodgers trade to Denver do to the AFC West hierarchy? Is the AFC East the most interesting division in football? Why RJ hates the idea that Ron Rivera is the best coach in the NFC East. How far has the NFC South fallen as a division?

“Race norming” and the long legacy of medical racism, explained - Vox
Last month, the NFL pledged to discontinue “race norming.” Since the early 2000s, the league had been using the controversial medical practice — which included the assumption that Black players have lower cognitive function than white players — as part of a dementia test to determine payouts in a brain injury settlement. Race norming in professional football first received broad public attention in August 2020, when former players Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport sued the league, alleging that the practice prevented them from getting an award in the $1 billion-plus settlement over the NFL failing to protect players from the chronic risks associated with head injuries. Both players said they would have qualified for awards had they been white and had the dementia exam not relied on an algorithm that presumed they started out with lower cognitive function. Because of this assumption, Black players have to show a steeper cognitive decline, the lawsuit claimed. While a judge dismissed Henry and Davenport’s lawsuit in March, the NFL announced an end to the practice in June amid the pressure of 50,000 petitions, media scrutiny, and the country’s increased attention to racial inequity.

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