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Eagles News: Philadelphia places third in ESPN’s playmaker rankings

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 6/26/23.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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

NFL team wide receiver, tight end, running back rankings for 2023 - ESPN+
3) Eagles. I mentioned what I got wrong with the Seahawks, so let me take a little victory lap here. After the Eagles traded for A.J. Brown on draft day in 2022, I wrote about the deal and how Brown hadn’t been used often enough in Tennessee. In this space last year, I speculated that the Eagles would up Brown’s usage to about 85%. Sure enough, that’s exactly where Brown landed, and his numbers spiked as a result. He racked up 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns and did so without giving up anything in terms of efficiency, as he ranked second in the NFL in yards per route run. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia’s other star wideout, ranked 18th among wideouts in the same category. It’s incredible to think this team was starting Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward and even DeSean Jackson during the 2020 season. Tight end Dallas Goedert’s numbers are deflated a bit by how often he’s asked to run block and by an injury that cost him five games last season, but he has been ruthlessly efficient. Over the past two seasons, his 2.4 yards per route run rank second in the NFL, just behind Mark Andrews and ahead of Travis Kelce. Those players get targeted more often and have run way more routes; Kelce has run 1,101 to Goedert’s 653. Goedert is becoming particularly stellar after the catch; no tight end has topped his average of 7.3 yards after catch over that time frame. The weak link is at running back, but even the options there are interesting. In addition to holdovers Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott, the Eagles imported two new options. D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny have both been efficient when healthy, but neither has managed to stay on the field often as a pro. It’s tough to count on them to suit up for 17 games, but not relying on either should allow the Eagles to keep their snap counts low and give them the best chance of lasting the entire season.

Roob’s Observations: Examining just how rare it is to have a trio like Smith, Brown and Hurts - NBCSP
1. The Eagles have been so bad for so long at finding and developing wide receivers that it’s almost surreal that they now find themselves with two elite receivers on the roster at the same time. What A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith did last year is unprecedented in Eagles history and actually rare in NFL history. Before last year, no Eagles WR had ever had 70 catches and 1,150 yards in a season before his 26th birthday. Not one. Then Brown and Smith both did it at the same time. If you take their numbers and convert to a 16-game season, they’re both at 82 catches, 1,125 yards and 6 ½ TDs. The only other team that’s ever had two wide receivers 25 or under with 82-1,125-6 is the 2005 Cards, with 25-year-old Anquan Boldin (102-1,402-7) and 22-year-old Larry Fitzgerald (103-for-1,409-10), two future Hall of Famers. But their QB was 34-year-old Kurt Warner. Jalen Hurts is 24, soon to be 25. I searched for two WRs 25 or under on the same team just with 75-for-1,000 with a QB who was also 25 or younger, but every other combination had a veteran QB: Steve Breaston and Fitz with a 37-year-old Warner in 2008, Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in 2012 with 36-year-old Peyton Manning, the Saints’ Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks with 37-year-old Drew Brees, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz with the Giants in 2011 with 30-year-old Eli Manning. We all knew just how special Brown, Smith and Hurts are. When you break it down in the context of NFL history, you realize just how special.

State of the New York Giants: Eye on the Enemy check-in - BGN
Barkley had a tremendous bounce-back season for the Giants, rushing for 1312 yards and 10 TDs, but had no 100+ rushing performances after Week 9. He doesn’t appear happy to play on the franchise tag and has made that displeasure known. How much will that affect his 2023 season and off-season participation?

10 reasons the Cowboys will be a dumpster fire this season - PhillyVoice
If your rebuttal is, “Well, he was coming off a serious leg injury in 2021, which skews the numbers,” it should be noted that in 2022 — two years removed from his injury — Prescott only averaged 15.2 rushing yards per game, which still makes him less of a running threat than guys like Sam Darnold, Taylor Heinicke, and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s old ass just before he retired. So, you know, he led the NFL in interceptions and he doesn’t run anymore. Remind me again why exactly is he unanimously considered a top-10 quarterback?

Mike Garafolo breaks down what should be on Eagles checklist to have a successful 2023 season -
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo breaks down what should be on the Philadelphia Eagles checklist to have a successful 2023 season.

Jalen Hurts proves that it always makes sense to evaluate incoming quarterbacks - PFT
Hurts, frankly, seemed to be wired differently than most quarterbacks, particularly Wentz. Hurts has no sense of entitlement. Hurts seems to realize he needs to constantly earn whatever he has, and that any player’s status will become temporary, if he gives the team any reason to view him that way. For the Eagles, the best outcome is to have a permanent starter and a viable and competent backup, either in the form of a veteran or a young quarterback who is developed and, in time, flipped for more draft assets that can be used to pick the next backup. With the constant understanding that any of those backups could, in theory, become the next guy who earns the QB1 designation.

The Cowboys should add Leonard Fournette just in case - Blogging The Boys
The best part of this potential pairing is that it mutually benefits the team and Fournette. Since departing from Jacksonville, Fournette has worked as part of a backfield tandem in Tampa Bay and isn’t as worn down as some would think. he has only surpassed the 200-carry threshold twice in his career and still has tread left on the tire. Considering how cool Fournette’s market has been, the cost should be a reasonable discount. The former top pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars is only 28 years old, with much to offer.

Xavier McKinney may be New York Giants’ biggest defensive X-factor - Big Blue View
One of the keys to Martindale’s system is to have back-end players who can cover when isolated. This may be less important for McKinney than it is for the cornerbacks, but it is still a big part of his role. McKinney’s run defense also took a hit from 2021 to 2022, though. He went from a 68.0 PFF grade down to 56.1. This was based largely on his missed tackle rate in the run game, which ballooned from just 5.7% in 2021 (12th-best among safeties) all the way to 13%, which ranked 29th. Although still slightly above average, the Giants need solid tackling in the run game from McKinney, since he’s often going to be the last line of defense against the run, as well. Safety play is not easy to evaluate statistically because there are fewer one-on-ones at the position. Still, McKinney’s impact on the game, especially in limiting big plays and causing some takeaways of his own, is crucial for the Giants’ defense to be able to attack as they want to.

The 5 O’Clock Club: Overs/Unders for 2023 - Defensive edition - Hogs Haven
In 2023, both starting defensive ends — Montez Sweat and Chase Young — are in contract years, Young will be fully healthy for the first time since Week 9 of the 2021 season, and the Commanders are expected to have all 6 of last year’s defensive sack leaders returning to the team.

Restructuring NFL Contracts - Over The Cap
I thought it might be interesting to start digging a little deeper into the pros and cons of restructuring contracts in the NFL. While restructuring contracts has gone on forever it has only been since 2020 that it has become more of a leaguewide phenomenon- only 42% had a restructured contract between 2017 and 2019 while the number is about 73% since then- so I wanted to look at some recent trends in the data and see if there are any conclusions we can maybe draw from it. So the first thing to understand is what exactly a restructured contract is. A restructured contract is a contract where a team converts salary to some type of prorated bonus to create cap room in a given season. For the purposes of this exercise I am not including option bonuses since this is to focus more on changes from the initial contract structure, though I believe as more teams use the option at signing it will become more important to look at in the future. In general, a restructured contract “kicks the can” down the road when it comes to salary cap charges and I think it would be important to look at the impacts of this on current and future seasons.


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