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Eagles News: PFF nearly ranked Philadelphia’s linebacker unit dead last in the NFL

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/20/23.

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2023 NFL linebacker unit rankings: San Francisco 49ers claim the top spot for second consecutive year - PFF
31. Philadelphia Eagles. It will be hard to judge the Eagles’ linebackers until we see them in action. Last year’s starters, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, left in free agency and left the Eagles with a huge hole in the middle of their defense. Nicholas Morrow enters the fold as the only player with significant experience, but he’s graded above 54.0 in just one of his five seasons in the NFL. Former third-round pick Nakobe Dean looks to establish himself as the new leader of Philadelphia’s defense. There are concerns about his small stature and health in a full-time role, but the Eagles won’t know what they have until he plays. Dean put up first-round production in college, so he’ll aim to prove the doubters wrong while playing alongside several former Bulldog teammates.

Do you think you could get an XFL Combine invite? - BGN
The XFL put out a video over the weekend saying they need players and encouraged anyone who thinks they can play, to come out to one of the league’s showcases. Doug Whaley, SVP Player Personnel, mentioned six guys from Saturday’s showcase earned invites to the XFL Combine, which is happening later in July.

Three USFL players who could interest the Eagles - PhillyVoice
Colby Wadman (28), P, Birmingham Stallions (6’1, 185). Wadman punted for two seasons for the Denver Broncos in 2018 and 2019. He finished 23rd and 26th in EPA per punt those two seasons. He was the first punter selected in the USFL draft in 2022, and averaged 45.1 yards per punt, with an average net of 38.6. In 2023, he averaged 48.7 yards per punt, with an average net of 41.0, both of which led the league. The Eagles have a punting competition already in incumbent Arryn Siposs vs. undrafted rookie free agent Ty Zentner. In the lone OTA practice in which we got to watch the punters square off, Siposs clearly won the day. If Zentner shows early in camp that he’s not the guy, the Eagles should get another punter in there to continue to push Siposs. So, you know, why not this guy?

X’s and O’s Talk - Iggles Blitz
Rushing four and getting pressure is huge. It allows you to drop seven players into coverage, making things that much harder on the QB. You can rush four and have success if you have good players, which the Eagles did. Gannon also mixed in stunts effectively. He didn’t do a lot of this so offenses wouldn’t focus on it. When the Eagles did stunt, they had good success. Desai is right when he points out that scheme can be overrated in regard to coaches. There is no perfect scheme that magically makes everyone better. But good schematic ideas and adjustments can make a tremendous difference, especially when you have the right players. Howie Roseman has built a loaded roster and Nick Sirianni and his staff know how to get the most out of these players. That’s a big reason the Eagles will be favored to repeat as NFC champs.

‘I want to build a legacy’: Eagles All-Pro Haason Reddick delivers poignant message during youth camp in Camden - Inquirer
Heading into Year 2 with his hometown team, Reddick is hoping to assert himself even more, especially as a leader in the defensive room. “I’m in great shape,” he said. “As crazy as it sounds, I feel as if there’s still more levels for me to tap into. I’m extremely excited and looking to build on another great year. I want to continue to progress on what I did and what the team did last year. “We know our ultimate goals, but it starts with us striving for constant success.”

Spadaro: The time is now for the Class of 2022 -
There is a reason those in the NFL stand by the idea that a player improves the most from his first season to his second. It is an axiom that is tried and true and, when you live that life, you understand it in real time. Last year at this time, linebacker Nakobe Dean was learning how to be an Eagle. Safety Reed Blankenship was trying to keep his head above water in the fast-paced world at the NovaCare Complex. Offensive lineman Cam Jurgens did everything he could to shadow All-Pro center Jason Kelce and defensive tackle Jordan Davis tried everything he could to stay in the moment and take things day by day. That was 2022. Now it’s an entirely different situation for the Eagles’ 2022 Rookie Class, one that steps forward and expects to be a major factor in the team’s 2023 success. “It’s a lot different,” said Dean, who has a chance to earn a starting job in Sean Desai’s defense after playing 34 snaps in his rookie campaign. “It was all new last year, so naturally there were a lot of things to learn. We’re still learning, but we’ve gone through the daily schedule all of last season. I know that for us (fellow Georgia Bulldog Davis) we had won the National Championship Game and then went right into the (NFL) Draft preparation and then the Draft and then we’re here in Philadelphia. There wasn’t any time to stop, so you just kept pushing and pushing. “We have an offseason now and we can work on things and improve on what we did last year, so that’s a big difference.”

Derrick Henry to Eagles? ‘I Messed Up the Trade!’ - Akbar Gbajabiamila’s Goofy ‘Humblebrag’ - SI
How could Akbar Gbajabiamila- who cited a “very, very credible source” on April 22 in reporting that Henry was “heading’’ to Philly - get it so wrong? In a wild case of “humblebrag,’’ Gbajabiamila is both ... 1 - Sticking with the veracity of his report, which seems rather insane, except ... 2 - Claiming that it was the power of his report of a leak that literally ruined the all-but-done deal. Which also seems rather insane. “I had a very, very credible source and I do believe that I actually messed up this trade because (the information) wasn’t supposed to come out,” the American Ninja Warrior star Gbajabiamila said as he appeared on The Rich Eisen Show, firmly insisting his reporting was accurate. “This could have happened,’’ he said, “but I think because I got ahead of it and it just blew up. I blew up the scene.”

Inside Hall of Fame coach Dick Vermeil’s second act - ESPN
IT’S 6:30 A.M., and the first light has not yet popped up over the Mayacamas Mountains as Dick Vermeil climbs into the seat of a tractor. On this September day in California’s Napa Valley, it is harvest season. Vermeil is hauling petite sirah grapes from the fields to a collection point, where they will be taken to the winery for conversion into one of Vermeil Wines’ 11 varietals. Vermeil watches the frenetic pace of the workers around him. Seventeen years removed from his career as an NFL coach, the 86-year-old Vermeil still thinks and sounds like one. He spends his time studying the 12 workers and notes how each goes about the business of trimming the grapes off the vines in a slightly different way. Vermeil nods at one and calls him “my first-round draft pick.” “He stands out, but they all work hard. There isn’t one guy I would cut from the team. But I rank them and I’m picking him in the first round.”

Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Concerns for linebacker and wide receiver depth - Blogging The Boys
I was thinking this would end a close call between Jake Ferguson and Luke Schoonmaker, but there’s a lot love still for Hendershot. It’s more than likely Ferguson takes the starting tight end position at the start of the season which will help him get ahead in touchdown totals this year. Who the TE1 is by December will be interesting to see. Hendershot being ahead of Schoonmaker in touchdowns is also plausible when you think how much burst and speed he plays with and is a player that can run seam routes or get out to the flat quickly in the red zone. Schoonmaker does have some good receiving skills that are being under appreciated, just keep an eye on that when he gets the chance to catch some throws.

Wink Martindale brings heat for NY Giants, but should he tone it down? - Big Blue View
If the four-man rush does take a big step forward, will Martindale continue to blitz? The answer is likely yes if his first year in Baltimore is any indication. More than that, though, Martindale likes to drop edge defenders into coverage. Oshane Ximines’ 24.8% coverage rate ranked fifth among 66 edge rushers with at least 20 coverage snaps, Thibodeaux’s 13.7% mark was 29th, and Jihad Ward’s 13.4% was tied for 30th. Even Tomon Fox, who played 169 pass snaps, dropped into coverage 18.3% of the time, which tied for 17th. When the edge defenders drop into coverage, that allows other blitzers to come and try to confuse the quarterback. That can be a strategy in and of itself within the 3-4 defense. Besides the pressure itself, making the quarterback take an extra half-second to process can help the blitzers get home. Having the ability to get home with four can still give Martindale many more options in personnel usage. However, he is unlikely to ever truly lower his blitz rate. If he can continue to generate pressure and disrupt the opponent’s passing game that way, it will suit the Giants just fine.

The 5 O’Clock Club: Only 2 Commanders crack Pete Prisco’s top-100 players of 2023 - Hogs Haven
He apparently isn’t very impressed with the roster that Ron Rivera has put together for the Commanders, as he included only two players, with both of them well down the list. Star wide receiver Terry McLaurin is the first Commander to make an appearance at #68, while Kamren Curl makes the list at #85. The “Honorable Mentions” list includes both of Washington’s starting defensive tackles, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.


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