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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s biggest free agent decision

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/18/23.

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NFL: FEB 12 Super Bowl LVII - Eagles vs Chiefs Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

2023 NFL free agency: Biggest re-signing decisions for all 32 teams - ESPN+
DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The team has a number of pending free agents of note, including running back Miles Sanders, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, cornerback James Bradberry and guard Isaac Seumalo. Prioritizing which players to re-sign is not an easy task, especially when you consider that future funds need to be allocated to a potential mega-contract for quarterback Jalen Hurts. Gardner-Johnson has proved he can play both slot corner and safety at a high level since being acquired from the Saints in August. It would make sense for the Eagles to try to hold on to him to keep the back end strong.

Report: Eagles request to interview Sean Desai for defensive coordinator opening - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles are requesting an interview with Seattle Seahawks associate head coach/defensive assistant Sean Desai, according to a report from Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Desai, 39, only joined the Seahawks last year after previously spending nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. The Temple alumnus eventually worked his way up from defensive quality control coach (2013-2018) to defensive coordinator (2021) in the Windy City. In Desai’s sole season as a DC, the Bears ranked 13th in defensive DVOA, tied for 21st in opponent offensive points per game, and 22nd in EPA per play.

Report: Eagles have requested permission to interview Sean Desai - Field Gulls
Sean Desai, of course, has already interviewed to be the defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns, and it appears as though he will now interview with the Eagles. Desai got his start in coaching at Temple, where he was a defensive and special teams coach, before spending a season at each of Miami and Boston College, and then eventually landing with the Chicago Bears. Desai spent the 2022 season as the associate head coach and a defensive assistant, and given his familiarity with the Fangio defense the Eagles used under Gannon, it comes as no surprise that he is set to interview for the position.

Eye on the Enemy #127: 10 observations about the Super Bowl loss + which free agents will stay/go - BGN Radio
John Stolnis goes over 10 observations (more like rants) about the Super Bowl loss and the Eagles’ coordinator search, talked about which free agents he thinks will stay and which will go, and why the NFL is considering a rule that will do away with the Tush Push!

DC Update - Iggles Blitz
Joseph is a veteran DC and would make sense from that perspective. He would be odd because he is one of the leading blitzers in the NFL. The Eagles have blitzed very little in recent years. That was both a philosophical choice and one that wasn’t really needed (outside of 2021). Joseph would inherit a talented defense that wouldn’t need to blitz as much. Every coach would rather get to the QB only rushing four if possible. When that doesn’t work, VJ doesn’t hesitate. He turns his guys loose and they attack. Desai isn’t as experienced. He was the DC for the Bears in 2021. Aside from that, he’s been a positional coach or assistant. Last year he helped to run Seattle’s defense. Desai is attractive because he is familiar with the Eagles style of defense. He coached under Vic Fangio for four years in Chicago. Jonathan Gannon installed a system based on a lot of Fangio’s ideas.

NFL’s eight biggest Super Bowl windows right now? Chiefs, Eagles and Bengals top list; Bills at No. 7 -
2) Eagles. The Eagles came up just short in Nick Sirianni’s second season, but the bodacious coach has the pieces to get right back to the championship bout. Thanks to Howie Roseman’s inspired work in the front office, Philadelphia has a treasure trove of draft picks (including two in this year’s first round) to upgrade a roster that is already universally regarded as one of the league’s very best. Although the savvy general manager will need to tweak the roster and salary cap to make room for Jalen Hurts’ impending blockbuster deal, Philly’s superb draft-and-development program should enable the team to continue to thrive, even with the franchise quarterback making the big bucks. If Hurts continues to evolve from a game manager to a bona fide playmaker with the capacity to put the team on his back (SEE: Super Bowl LVII), Philadelphia will remain the team to beat in the NFC.

Diving into the Philadelphia Eagles’ options in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft - PFF
In this scenario, four quarterbacks were selected in the first nine picks, leaving the Eagles in position to land one of the top players in the draft with the 10th pick. James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson are currently set to be free agents, and Alabama’s Brian Branch and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez were the top players available. Gonzalez ranked fourth among Pac-12 cornerbacks this season with an 81.4 PFF coverage grade. The Eagles fielded a dominant defensive line in 2022, but Georgia’s Nolan Smith would be a tempting prospect if he’s still there with the 30th pick. His best season was in 2021 when he produced an 85.0 PFF grade.

Watkins ready to work after disappointing season and Super Bowl - NBCSP
Quez Watkins had a chance to erase a disappointing season in Super Bowl LVII with one big catch. He couldn’t do it. Watkins dropped a deep ball from Jalen Hurts in the third quarter of the Eagles’ 38-35 loss to the Chiefs. Dallas Goedert bailed the Eagles out on third down after the drop but the missed opportunity was big. It would have set the Eagles up inside the 10 yard line on a drive where they eventually settled for a field goal to go up 27-21. What happened? “It was really just all my details in the play,” Watkins said as he cleaned out his locker at the NovaCare Complex this week. “I should have used late hands and I didn’t and it cost me to have a drop with the DB on my back.” It’s the kind of play that if the Eagles end up winning that game, Watkins can simply put behind him. But in a loss? It’s going to stick with him for a long time.

Spadaro: Haason Reddick proved to be the ideal free agent addition -
There were times, Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick admitted after the season was over, that he felt like a “superhero” on the football field in 2022, wreaking havoc for this defense on a Lincoln Financial Field playing surface that he had played on in college and in a town and for a team that he had felt connected to since he was a youngster just a few miles away across the Walt Whitman Bridge in Camden County. It was a dream-come-true homecoming, a perfect fit on the football field as Reddick was named a Pro Bowl player and second-team All-Pro after registering 16 quarterback sacks, playing tough against the run setting a rock-solid edge, and playing every down and every game with emotion and intensity and nastiness. Off the field, it was great for Reddick to be around his family and friends and give back to Camden, N.J., something he had been able to do when he played in Arizona and Carolina, but now he could do it in a more hands-on way. “Coming home worked out just the way I hoped it would,” Reddick said. “You never know at first how it’s going to play out. A lot of people reach out and, you know, want a piece of you, want your time. But it was great and it’s only going to get better.”

The power of the defensive line rotation: Similarities between the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles - Gang Green Nation
While built from the theoretical basis of trying to avoid players playing while fatigued, the strategy has not been without its detractors, including 2023 Hall of Fame inductee and retired Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko. Indeed, the idea of taking your best players off of the field regularly in order to play lesser players is a bit unorthodox and questionable at face value. However, the Jets are not the only team in the league executing this strategy. Arguably, the team most emphasizing this is the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost in the Super Bowl on Sunday but made it to that game in large part due to a defensive line that led the league in sacks. As detailed by Arif Hasan of Pro Football Network, the defensive line rotation does seem to be the bread of butter of Philadelphia’s defense, much like it is for the Jets.

We Landed Eric Bieniemy - Now Go Get Him What He Needs to be Successful - Hogs Haven
From the outside, it may seem that Washington is limited in cap room, but in reality, a few strategic cuts and some re-structuring can easily clear an extra $50+ million in cap space, with the pending release of Carson Wentz leading the way. Ron has stated he’d like to be a ball-controlled, run-heavy offense, but if he’s truly leaving the offense up to Bieniemy, he’s going to need to listen to input on the type of players Eric needs, do what it takes to get said players, and then take a step back. We do know that Bieniemy believes strongly in a good running game to set up the pass, however he’s not a grind-it-out, ball-control type offensive mind. His teams have traditionally played with tempo designed to keep defenses off-balance and his units have consistently been some of the higher scoring ones in the league (granted he’s had a future Hall of Fame QB in Mahomes). These next few months will be pivotal in determining the future success of this franchise under our new offensive coordinator and new quarterback. Ron Rivera the “decision maker” needs to do whatever is necessary to provide his new coach with all the tools he requires to make this offense run at a high level.

NFL escaped the scrutiny it deserved for horrible Super Bowl field conditions - PFT
Frankly, I don’t care if it was the grass or the environment or something/anything else. That’s not for me to handle. It’s not for any of us to handle. It’s for the NFL to handle, and for the NFL to handle it well. It’s a pass-fail proposition. Either the grass performs well, or it doesn’t. On Sunday, it didn’t. Regardless of any corporate P.R.-speak from 345 Park Avenue, the league failed. To his credit, Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman repeatedly said on Thursday that the conditions were the same for both teams. But this overlooks the fact that, to the extent the slippery surface neutralized the respective pass rushes, it hurt the Eagles more than it hurt the Chiefs. That’s the real problem. The playing surface balanced out what should have been an advantage for the Eagles, who ended up with zero sacks after repeatedly swarming around quarterbacks all year long. The broader problem is that we all know the field wasn’t good enough. Not even close. The other problem is that, by not making a bigger deal about it, there’s a chance it will happen again. Unless we all make it clear that the outcome was unacceptable, it could be acceptable once again. Why wouldn’t it be? If the league doesn’t get properly dragged for staging the Super Bowl on a shitty field, where’s the incentive to keep it from happening at the next Super Bowl? Or the next one? Or the next?

Why would Eric Bieniemy leave the Chiefs for the Commanders? - SB Nation
No. 5: It’s a chance to develop his own quarterback. Patrick Mahomes had already began his ascent when Bieniemy joined the Chiefs, and since that point it’s just been about supporting the best quarterback in the NFL. Things are very different with the Commanders. Trying to coach up Sam Howell, a quarterback who is extremely unproven but shown flashes, would be an incredible addition to Bieniemy’s resume — as well as a chance to give Washington something the team hasn’t had since Kirk Cousins: A potential franchise QB. Any success at the position would be Bieniemy’s alone, and make him a king in Washington. [BLG Note: I don’t know. This was the opportunity that Bieniemy just had to leave for? To be Ron Rivera’s OC in a lame duck year ahead of new ownership buying the team? Seems a little too good to be true.]

Giants reportedly losing RB coach DeAndre Smith to Colts - Big Blue View
The New York Giants need a new running backs coach. DeAndre Smith, who filled that role on Brian Daboll’s staff in 2022, is reportedly leaving the Giants to Shane Steichen’s Indianapolis Colts coaching staff.

Cowboys biggest Super Bowl lesson is at running back, not at quarterback - Blogging The Boys
Whether it’s retaining Tony Pollard, finding a later-round pick, or even more of KaVontae Turpin out of the backfield, the Cowboys getting a lot more efficient here would open up the cap space and resources needed to help CeeDee Lamb on the outside, keep Prescott upright with better line depth, and of course add talent for Dan Quinn to work with on defense. Cowboys Nation is hardly the only fanbase feeling like they’re far from hoisting the Lombardi, especially after watching an epic performance from Mahomes spoil a similarly great game by Hurts. Few teams have the same expectations and pressure than McCarthy’s though, and his influence on the offense needs to be felt the most at running back if he hopes to remain as head coach in Dallas for the foreseeable future.

Arizona Cardinals sign former Philadelphia Eagles TE Noah Togiai - Arizona Sports
Jonathan Gannon isn’t the only member of the Philidelphia Eagles to join the Arizona Cardinals this offseason as the team has signed tight end Noah Togiai, according to the league’s transaction report. Togiai has yet to record a reception in the NFL in seven games across three seasons, beginning with the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. The 25-year-old spent most of last season on the NFC champion’s practice squad, only being on the active roster for two games early in the season.


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