There are a ton of things going on regarding the Eagles as we approach opening day on September 11th, where the Eagles take on the Browns at Lincoln Financial Field. Let’s jump straight to it.
MYCHAL KENDRICKS: While addressing the media, Doug Pederson mentioned Mychal Kendricks would be playing in the 4th and final preseason game. Pederson is a new coach, so I’d let this slide if he was consistent with playing other starters. Pederson mentioned Kendricks as the only starter that would play on Thursday against the Jets. Maybe he’s just trying to get Kendricks caught up since he’s had an injury holding him out. But why is Jordan Matthews, who’s yet to play in the preseason not suiting up against the Jets as well?
I’m not guaranteeing Mychal Kendricks won’t be on the roster when the season begins in less than two weeks, but with the Eagles signing Stephen Tulloch, who Jim Schwartz highly covets, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Kendricks moved. Remember, Chip Kelly was the head of team personnel when Kendricks was given a 4-year $29 million extension, not Howie Roseman. Keep an eye on this situation.
NELSON AGHOLOR: Yes, I am the biggest Nelson Agholor advocate. I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. A part of it is because he was taken 20th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft. The other reason(s) are what I have seen from him on tape. I’m not sure if Agholor is still hindered by the ankle injury that made him miss 3 games last season or what, but Agholor looks to have lost a step. Or two. He doesn’t look like the explosive player he was, coming out of USC.
Some bring up confidence with Agholor as the issue. And sure, that may play into his mental drops. And at times he does look like he’s rushing. Almost as if he’s still adjusting to NFL speed. But lack of confidence doesn’t make a player run slower. Agholor doesn’t look like the guy I was so very, very high on coming out of college last season. I still have hope he can turn it on, but man, am I losing patience. One thing that intrigues me is Pederson and the staff continuing to be so high on Agholor. Despite the struggles, he isn’t set to play against New York and looks to have the starting “X” position locked up. I’ll have a close eye on him opening day against Cleveland.
SAM BRADFORD: Yes, it’s just preseason, but Sam Bradford has looked good this preseason, especially week 3 against Indianapolis. Bradford has completed 80% of his throws. And when you watch the games, that completion percentage correlates with what you see. Bradford looks calm in the pocket, and seems to have a firm grasp of what Pederson wants to do on offense. The West Coast offense is much more complex than Chip Kelly’s. One of Bradford’s strengths is his mental approach to the game. Pederson’s offense allows Bradford to check to plays if a defense shows its cards. Excited about Sam Bradford in 2016, I expect a career year.
THE D LINE: Again, it’s just preseason, but there are things you can takeaway when watching these games. If a defensive coordinator is calling exotic blitzes while an offense has a vanilla gameplan, the defense’s success should be taken with a grain of salt. But when I see the Eagles defense generating a ton of pressure and breaking down a QB’s pocket with just a 4-man rush, I pay attention. The Eagles in every preseason game have looked like the more physical team in the trenches. Good defenses control the line of scrimmage and the Eagles D line looks like it is going to cause opposing offenses fits this season. Look out.
GENERAL FEELING: I like where the Eagles are heading into 2016. The achilles heel for the offense will be the health and play of the offensive line. So far, they’ve stayed healthy and have looked good in both the run-game and pass protection. With a clean pocket, Sam Bradford can be a really good quarterback in this league. I know people are hesitant, but get excited about this defense. They have top-8 potential. Jim Schwartz has never had a defensive front like this. I know people are down on the Eagles, but it wouldn’t shock me if they won 10 games and competed for the division. All goes back to the O line and if they can holdup. We will see.
Fly Eagles Fly.