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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s defense “could be a surprising group”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 8/10/21.

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Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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Ranking every NFL defense from 1 to 32 going into the 2021 season - The Athletic
13. Philadelphia Eagles. Last season: 15th. They quietly added a trio of capable veterans in cornerback Steven Nelson, safety Anthony Harris and linebacker Eric Wilson. The strength of the defense — and maybe the entire team — is the defensive line, which features Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat. New coordinator Jonathan Gannon figures to employ more pre-snap disguise, more diverse fronts and more split-safety looks than his predecessor, Jim Schwartz. Overall, this is a veteran unit. All 11 of the Eagles’ projected starters are at least in their third year in the NFL. If the players take to Gannon’s high-energy approach, the Eagles’ defense could be a surprising group.

NFL Defense Power Rankings: All 32 defenses ranked into 5 distinct tiers - PFF
Tier 3: Philadelphia’s defense was once built off the strength of the front four, which could run seven players deep including rotational bodies who could all rush the passer. They were still good in 2020, but dropped to third in the league in pressure rate (38.4%), some way short of their rate at their peak. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox remain very good players, but each seems to be on the decline given their age, and there is no obvious replacement on the roster who seems set to match the elite level those players were at during their best seasons. The good news for the Eagles is that the secondary all of a sudden could actually be the best it has been for a few seasons with Anthony Harris coming on board as a free agent signing.

Mailbag: What is your projection of the Eagles’ 2021 record? - PhillyVoice
I feel better about the defense, but I have not been encouraged by what I have seen so far from the offense. The Eagles’ path to success this season is in the trenches. If the offensive line can stay healthy, it has a chance to be a top 5 type of unit. Of course, with so many aging players on that line, and with the injury histories of those players, that’s a big “if.” And then if the Eagles can stay in games and allow the pass rush to be a factor, then I think they can be disruptive. But ultimately, I feel less optimistic about this season than I have for any other since I started covering the team full time in 2013. I’ll have a more comprehensive projection when we’re closer to the start of the regular season, but I’m at 6-11, for now.

What we may have gotten wrong about Eagles’ defense - NBCSP
I thought they were a year away. I thought with another offseason of good moves and a year of development for the young guys and some time to really learn Jonathan Gannon’s system, the Eagles could have a decent defense in 2022. I may have been off by a year. Because a month before opening day, this group looks awfully good. Usual caveat: It’s practice. It’s training camp. And it’s come against a young offense still finding its way. It means nothing in the big picture. Not yet. But the combination of a bunch of key offseason additions, some young players who may be ready to offer significant contributions and an impressive young coordinator has generated optimism that this can be a competitive defense.

Jason Kelce details Eagles’ offensive line development - BGN
As far as some of the other lineman — especially with Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo sidelined with injuries early — Kelce says Matt Pryor is having “an excellent camp” at right guard and is starting to get some work at right tackle as well, just to get experience at multiple spots. Nate Herbig is also playing really well at left guard and is getting some work at center. Kelce said Sua Opeta is an unbelievably physical player, and has been since the moment he got to Philly, and the thing that’s been holding him back is waiting for it to all click mentally — but, Kelce can see that progression in Opeta now as a player. Jack Driscoll lined up at guard next to Kelce for the first time the other day in camp, and battled his ass off against Fletcher Cox and did a nice job for it being his first day at the position.

Eagles training camp Day 10 recap! - BGN Radio
From Quez Watkins making highlight plays to an unexpected defensive standout, Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski discuss what stood out on Sunday evening at the Linc.

Alex Singleton will let nothing hold him back from expanded role - PE.com
Alex Singleton shared the day that he returned to the NovaCare Complex after being sidelined on the Reserve/COVID-19 list that the time away from football “drove me crazy. I was going out of my mind.” For a football junkie like Singleton, who put so much into his game during the offseason only to report prior to Training Camp, fully vaccinated, and test positive for the virus, it’s understandable. Now, though, it’s all behind Singleton, who was symptom-free all along. He continued to work on his conditioning and he was able to take part in virtual meetings and watch practice and keep up with his mental reps, so Singleton has hit the ground running for the Eagles’ defense.

2021 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 75 Wide Receivers - Fake Teams
We’ve got a couple of positional weeks already in the books, with wideouts to go this week, and the safety blankets (tight ends) next week. [BLG Note: DeVonta Smith is the Eagles’ top option at WR38.]

2020 Slot vs Wide: Jared Goff, Derek Carr and Other Notable Passers - Football Outsiders
In Philadelphia, Zach Ertz fell off a cliff and Greg Ward isn’t exactly the most tempting replacement, so Carson Wentz’s slot percentage dropped accordingly.

QB Skill: A Narrative of Numbers (pt. 2) - Stampede Blue
What does this all mean? It means it is more likely than not that a QB will perform at a level similar to how they did in the past even if they switch teams. Therefore, measuring performance on the previous team can provide insight as to how they might perform in the future. This, of course, brings us to Carson Wentz. Of the 32 QBs with the most passing attempts since Wentz entered the league, he ranks 23rd in passing efficiency with a +0.04 epa/d. For comparison, that is only a little better than what Jacoby Brissett did in 2019 (+0.02). If that is the Wentz we get this year, then the offense will be far worse than 2020. That efficiency would equate to about 4.5 fewer points per game than what Rivers managed(5), moving the Colts from a top 10 offense to the bottom 10.

Detroit Lions sign NB Nickell Robey-Coleman, waive D’Angelo Amos - Pride Of Detroit
Robey-Coleman was one of 10 players we at Pride of Detroit identified as potential post-draft free agent additions the Lions should consider signing before the regular season, due to his familiarity and previous success with the team’s front office and coaching staff. After a difficult season in Philadelphia in 2020, the market for Robey-Coleman was light, but he had his three most successful seasons (PFF grades of 74.5, 79.8, and 80.5) the three years prior when he was in Los Angeles with the Rams and coached by Lions defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant.

2021 NFL training camps: 21 things we learned after first 2 weeks - NFL.com
1) There is a non-zero chance that Corey Clement leads all Giants running backs in Week 1 touches. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that Saquon Barkley is expected back no later than Week 3, which sounded like bad news wrapped up in a good-news sandwich. Barkley coming off the PUP list on Monday is a great sign, but it’s telling the team already has serious doubts whether the star runner will be ready for the opener. Clement, meanwhile, has reportedly outplayed Devontae Booker in a camp battle to be Barkley’s primary backup.

Giants training camp takeaways, 8/9: Saquon’s back, and other things we learned - Big Blue View
Judge tried to tamp down any expectations that being off PUP meant Barkley would be ready Week 1, saying the team would take a “long-term perspective” with the star running back. “I don’t think this changes anything at this point. There’s nothing different now than what I’ve talked about the entire time. We’re going to be patient with him, we’re going to watch how he responds to each situation, and when the doctor says he’s green-lighted to go out there and do something, he will,” Judge said. “I’m sure the next question is going to be something about preseason. When he’s green-lighted to do something, we’ll go ahead and keep advancing him. I don’t have an answer for anything right now preseason-wise or regular season-wise. We’re just going to watch him on the field and see how it goes day by day.”

What Saquon Barkley’s Return To Practice Means For The Giants - MAQB
It’s great news that Saquon Barkley was out at Giants practice on Monday—and the idea from here for the team will be making sure he stays out there. I’m told New York has a very gradual re-acclimation plan for its star tailback. The coaches haven’t ruled out his participation in preseason games or joint practices with Browns and Patriots, but that’d have to be based on his progress, and would only be done to get him a little taste of game speed prior to the regular season (which implies, of course, that his work would be limited). Barkley himself said that his return to the field is a “small step” with bigger ones coming. But for the Giants, having their bell cow back is a boon, and it’s just one more element that should help them get a pretty clear read on where Daniel Jones stands in the quarterback’s third year as a pro.

If cornerback C.J. Henderson is really available, the Cowboys should definitely kick the tires - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys would want to prod and poke to understand why Henderson may ultimately be available in the first place, but the NFL is an ever-flowing business where front offices use every day to try and get better, leaving no stone unturned. C.J. Henderson would fall under that category as his talents and the Cowboys initial interest is undeniable, and at the very least the Cowboys owe it to themselves to investigate the idea of adding him to the team.

Curtis Samuel removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 List, placed on the Active/PUP List - Hogs Haven
Enter Curtis Samuel who was supposed to form a dynamic duo with his former Ohio State teammate Terry McLaurin. He suffered a groin injury and missed OTAs, and has now missed all of mini-camp. Samuel was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list at mini-camp in Richmond, and was just taken off of that list today. Ron Rivera has been trying to downplay the groin injury, and said the team is easing him back in. Rivera said that Samuel might play in the 3rd preseason game, but Samuel’s placement on the PUP list is not a good sign. This designation gives the team more flexibility before the regular season starts, and hopefully it is just a precautionary move to protect an important piece of their offense.

2021 Houston Texans Training Camp: Deshaun Watson Returns To Practice - Battle Red Blog
Caserio shouldn’t trade Watson until next offseason, when he knows what the picks acquired would be worth. In a rebuild, draft capital is the only resource that matters. Getting midround picks instead of a top five pick isn’t something that is worth the risk. As we know, we are at least a year, if not years away, from a possible Watson NFL suspension. The question isn’t whether Watson will be traded, but if he will play for the Texans at all this season. There door seems cracked with what has recently occurred. Houston football staple John McClain has said otherwise.

NFL Daily Kickoff, Tuesday- Deshaun returns, Michael Thomas fires back at Saints - The SB Nation NFL Show
In today’s episode, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, and Pete Carroll are all mad at their teams, Kyle Shanahan says he could run a dual QB system and Baker Mayfield doesn’t care about a new contract.

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