Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
NFL overhaul tiers: Which teams will look most different in 2022? Who needs a rebuild, and who is right on track - ESPN
STUCK IN QB PURGATORY. Philadelphia Eagles. Priorities this offseason: Take stock of the quarterback position and solidify its future. The lifeless wild-card loss to Tampa Bay raises questions about Jalen Hurts’ 2022 outlook in green. Hurts did an admirable job leading Philadelphia to nine wins and a playoff berth, but his problems against the Bucs — including struggling to see open receivers and bailing from the pocket too early — aren’t new. Philadelphia at least needs to create competition for Hurts. And with GM Howie Roseman’s aggressive mentality, the Eagles are bound to be involved in a few big-game QB talks leaguewide. How could they not be, with three first-round picks (Nos. 15, 16 and 19 overall)? The Eagles stay competitive most years because they prioritize line play, and both lines should remain solid. Re-signing Jason Kelce (who might retire) is a no-brainer. He’s still playing well. Philadelphia must address the secondary, which loses three starters. That entire group is aging, and it’s time to add draft pedigree there.
Eagles mailbag: What kind of production might DeVonta Smith have had in a better passing offense? - PhillyVoice
The short answer is yes, of course Smith’s numbers suffered because of the Eagles’ run-heavy style of play. Looking at the list of receivers above, I think Smith, Cooks, McLaurin, and Pittman were all sort of in the same boat, in that they (a) played in weaker passing offenses, and (b) were clearly their team’s best receiver, thus drawing the most attention from opposing defenses. However, Cooks (134 targets), McLaurin (130), and Pittman (129) got substantially more targets than Smith (104). His 104 targets in 2021 ranked 34th in the NFL. He was underused on a team without a lot of complementary options in the passing game. So that didn’t help either. On most other teams, would Smith have put up better numbers? Very likely, yes. It’ll be interesting to see if he becomes frustrated with his usage if the same trend continues in 2022.
Joe Banner: Eagles should move on from Jalen Reagor this offseason - Inquirer
EJ: Do you think Jalen Reagor will be on the Eagles next year? What did you make of what happened with him this season? JB: I think he should go, and I think he will go. I don’t think he’s ever going to be even close to what they hoped for when they drafted him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get to the point of being a contributing player. He should be a good punt returner, but you can’t trust him. If he got a fresh start somewhere, could he develop into being a valuable asset? He shouldn’t be unable to contribute for the most part as a wide receiver, but that’s not where we’re at. I don’t know why they kept playing him as much as they did, quite frankly, but they did. That should be a question with Nick Sirianni. He was flexible in changing scheme, but there were a couple of things that didn’t indicate he was great at evaluating the players. I still can’t believe, from everything I’ve heard or know, that based on Nick’s decision, Kenny Gainwell was the starting running back on this team. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Gainwell, but that’s not his role and you did that while Miles Sanders is sitting there and healthy. But Reagor should be gone, and I believe he will be gone. They need to replace him with someone better or at least more dependable and he needs to get to a space where he’s not prejudged by the history and the fact that he was a first-round draft pick.
Eagles mailbag: Contingency plans on the offensive line - NBCSP
The most obvious one that comes to mind for me is Andre Dillard. The former first-round pick in 2022 is entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract and there’s obviously not a starting spot for him in Philly given the way Mailata has really taken over that position. Trading Dillard would make some sense if the Eagles get a decent offer. Because when he filled it during the 2021 season, Dillard was more than adequate. And if a team is looking for a starting left tackle, he’s not a bad option. While he doesn’t appear to be a star in the making, Dillard showed pretty impressive improvement in 2021 from when we last saw him in his rookie season in 2019. If the Eagles don’t get an offer they deem worthy, they can hang on to Dillard as a backup. So there’s no rush to trade him. But if they get a decent pick for him, they’d also clear over $2 million in cap space.
Sean McVay’s Faith in Matthew Stafford Rewarded on Best NFL Weekend of the Year - MMQB
Jonathan Gannon has quickly become a name to watch. Word is he knocked his interview with the Texans out of the park. He’s also met with the Vikings and Broncos, and despite the Eagles’ ups and downs on defense, he’s known as a really good scheme coach, and leader, with a very bright future. In that way, there’s some similarity to where Mike Tomlin was in 2007, when the Vikings’ defense he coordinated may not have warranted such a quick rise, but his head coach qualities were so apparent that he wound up getting his shot. And there’s a connection to Houston that helps, too. Gannon worked as a pro scout in St. Louis when McDaniels was the offensive coordinator there in 2011, and the two remained close. Gannon consistently has been on McDaniels’s staff lists as McDaniels interviewed for head coaching jobs. He was one of three coaches hired to Indy by McDaniels, and he wound up staying there after McDaniels backed out in ’18. He would’ve been McDaniels’s co-defensive coordinator in Cleveland (along with Brandon Staley), and McDaniels has helped prepare Gannon for his shot (they’ve met over the years at the combine, etc.). And through that connection, Gannon got to know another Northeast Ohio native—Texans GM Nick Caserio, McDaniels’s college teammate and longtime New England staffmate. So is Josh McCown the favorite in Houston? He might be. But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Gannon could wind up landing the job.
Jake Elliott, the fan, in awe of Saturday’s thrilling finishes - PE.com
Jake Elliott felt some nerves, he admits. A big kick, game on the line ... and he was watching his television, like all of us, on Saturday as the NFL’s postseason marched on. Elliott experienced something he doesn’t feel when he’s on the field lining up a big kick for the Eagles. “It’s a lot more nerve-wracking watching than actually doing it, if that makes any sense,” Elliott said on Sunday morning as he reacted to game-winning field goals on Saturday by Cincinnati rookie Evan McPherson and then San Francisco veteran Robbie Gould. “I almost feel more comfortable out there doing it myself. I was excited, just like any other fan is in that situation. I’m excited for the kick and hopefully a positive outcome. It was a lot of fun watching both of those guys get it done. Those two were two huge kicks in huge games. Situations don’t get much bigger than that, so it was a lot of fun to watch for me. “Those are the situations you dream of and those are the situations that you want to be in. That’s why you want to be a kicker in the NFL, to be able to be put in those situations and to walk off and to be a so-called hero. You’ve got to really love those situations. Those two guys are two of the best in the league right now and I’m glad it came down to them.”
Sean Payton might be done in New Orleans, could set up an offseason of Dallas Cowboys speculation - Blogging The Boys
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is mentioned as a possible template for how this Payton saga could go. Arians retired after serving as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, also went to work in television, and ultimately returned to coach the Bucs. For what it’s worth, Tampa did have to send Arizona a sixth-round pick in exchange for Arians (and a seventh-rounder) so any scenario where Payton is coaching the Cowboys would likely involve some sort of swap as well, and probably a higher draft pick than that. Sean Payton is only 58 years old and his personal connections to the Dallas-Forth Worth area are well known. It obviously makes sense for him to want to head to DFW professionally and returning to the Cowboys would be quite the chapter in his career. He has done a remarkable job with the Saints for over 15 years now, perhaps he would feel like this is the necessary challenge for him in the way that others have in the past.
‘Things I think:’ Brandon Beane, Joe Schoen, Brian Flores, more thoughts - Big Blue View
I think, though, that Flores has to come with a “Buyer Beware” label. The Dolphins did not fire Flores because he can’t coach. He absolutely can. It was, though, a tumultuous tenure in Miami for Flores. There were reports of a power struggle with GM Chris Grier. There are questions about how easy Flores is to work with after he went through four offensive coordinators, two defensive coordinators and four offensive line coaches in three seasons. There are questions being floated about how much power Flores wants. His only NFL experience before taking the Miami job was more than a decade spent with the New England Patriots, where Bill Belichick ultimately made every decision. Does Flores ultimately want that model, where the GM functions not as an equal or a superior, but as someone there simply to serve the wishes of the coach?
Divisional Round: Four Classics, All With Walk-Off Endings, Deliver The Best NFL Playoffs Weekend Ever - FMIA
I’m sitting here, just after 11 Sunday night, trying to process the last day-plus. Or, as Jack Buck once said: “I don’t believe WHAT I JUST SAW!!!” We came within 13 shocking seconds of the road team winning all four divisional games for the first time in history. The heroes/newsmakers: Evan McPherson (who’s he?), Joe Burrow, Jeffery Simmons, 39-year-old Robbie Gould, Deebo Samuel, the conflicted brain of Kyle Shanahan, Jordan Willis (former Jet, of all things), Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, the unblockable Aaron Donald, Josh Allen, Josh Allen, Josh Allen, Gabriel Davis the touchdown machine, the tough-as-nails Patrick Mahomes, the incomparable Tyreek Hill. And Josh Allen. After the first three games of the weekend, drama-laden all, ended on last-play field goals, no way the fourth game could match them. Then KC 42, Buffalo 36 was better, and by a lot. “I’ve been watching football for 75 years,” said 84-year-old Upton Bell, the son of Bert Bell, the NFL commissioner who preceded Pete Rozelle, “and nothing compares to this Buffalo-Kansas City game. I have never seen two quarterbacks in a playoff game play at a higher level than Allen and Mahomes. I was at the 1958 Colts-Giants championship, and that doesn’t compare to this game.” Well then. How amazing is it that we might be on the cusp of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady walking away from football, and the talk on all your Zoom meetings this morning is: “Holy bejeezus! That game last night!”
NFL legend Dick Butkus got verified on Twitter and roasted Aaron Rodgers and everyone else - SB Nation
Dick Butkus is known as one of the meanest football players in NFL history. He’s also one of the most dominant linebackers the game has ever seen. A standout middle linebacker at University of Illinois and then for the Chicago Bears across the 1960s and early ‘70s, the stories about Butkus would sound like urban legend if they weren’t verified by so many of his peers and caught on video. At 6’3 and 245 pounds, Butkus would still be a big linebacker today — and he was massive for his era. No one hit harder. Hall of Famer Deacon Jones famously said of Butkus “every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital.” Butkus had a reputation for doing whatever it took to intimidate his opponents. He would allegedly bite players during pileups, or gouge them in the eyes. He reportedly once went out of his way to run over Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton after intercepting him. I’ve always deeply loved a clip of Butkus picking off the Houston Oilers, and then shaking the ball in their receiver’s face before running downfield. In addition to being ruthless on the field, Butkus has long had a reputation for being hilarious off of it. ”I wouldn’t ever go out to hurt anybody deliberately,” Butkus once said. “Unless it was, you know, important—like a league game or something.” It’s probably no surprise that he went on to have an acting career after he retired.
Sunday Late Night Wrap Up #20: The greatest weekend in NFL playoff history - The SB Nation NFL Show
In today’s episode, the Rams blow a 24 point lead (and still win), while the Chiefs give up a go-ahead touchdown with 13 second left (and still win). Hear the incredible radio calls that walked you through all the action. Plus, we hear from the key players from Saturday’s games as well.
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