American Football

The Linc – Jeffrey Lurie says if Howie Roseman were any less bold, “he wouldn’t be my GM”


NFL: OCT 30 Steelers at Eagles
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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/8/23.

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links …

Vindication for Howie Roseman, again? How the Eagles GM built another contending team – The Athletic
There’s a perception that Roseman is emboldened to be aggressive because he has job security, almost as if he’s afforded the right to take risks that other general managers cannot because they wouldn’t survive a crash. Such a theory misses a key point. The very reason Roseman might have perceived job security is because of his boldness. It’s not the effect of Lurie’s confidence in him. It’s the cause of it. “If he were any less bold, he wouldn’t be my general manager,” Lurie said. “I don’t believe in that. I believe you really need to identify what can make you really successful and go for it. And then if it’s not, if it’s a missed call, a player that gets injured, a misevaluation, you then get back together and figure out how you can make up for that in a big way. … I mean, there’s 32 teams. You don’t want to be 8-8.” Roseman insisted: “I’m not on scholarship in any way,” suggesting that he’s not guaranteed his spot. He needs to earn it. He reports directly to Lurie, and Lurie encourages him — or even requires him — to think differently. That missive of avoiding 8-8 (back when the NFL played 16 games) is a sentiment Roseman has shared. The NFL is a bell-shaped curve, and Roseman despises the middle.

GMs Howie Roseman, Brett Veach discuss aggressive moves that led to Super Bowl LVII berths –
The moves looked like gambles. They paid off big-time with a Super Bowl berth. Roseman said Monday that he never fears taking a big swing when the alternative is settling for mediocrity. “When we won a championship, we’d made aggressive decisions, and we had taken some risks, and we saw that it’s hard because the league is designed like a bell curve,” he said during Super Bowl LVII Opening Night. “They want most teams to be in the middle of the bell curve. So for you to take a chance and try to get to the top of the bell curve, you probably have to risk being at the opposite end. I think for us, it would be worse to fall in the middle than it would be taking a chance to be great and maybe falling back.”

Howie Roseman finally rips Carson Wentz as Eagles prepare for the Super Bowl – Inquirer
“The league is a competitive league. If you’re worried — if you have players that are worried about competition … “ he began, shaking his head. “Look. You have to be really good to start in this league. If you’re worried [that] we’re bringing in depth and talent, you’re probably not the right guy at that position.” Roseman cited recent examples. The Eagles drafted defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round of the 2022 draft as Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave entered the final year of their contracts. They then drafted center Cam Jurgens in the second round as Jason Kelce’s heir apparent. All three veterans played extremely well even as they mentored the rookies. Wentz in 2020 remained aloof and selfish, according to team sources at the time. Wentz had shown character flaws between 2017 and 2019, but nobody in the organization could say he was not the “right guy.” Hurts was supposed to be little more than a security blanket.

Roob’s Super Bowl Observations: Why Jeffrey Lurie is a Hall of Famer – NBCSP
1. He hired Andy Reid. He hired Doug Pederson. He hired Nick Sirianni. Jeff Lurie has the magic touch when it comes to hiring head coaches, and he’s now one of only two owners in NFL history to hire three Super Bowl head coaches. Reid, Pederson and Sirianni were all first-time head coaches on the college or NFL level, and all three were unknown or unheralded candidates that weren’t really on anyone else’s radar. That’s a remarkable achievement and speaks volumes about Lurie’s ability to judge character, to gauge a candidate’s potential, to determine exactly who’s best for the Eagles and the city. Reid took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in his sixth season and coaches the Chiefs against the Eagles Sunday in his fourth Super Bowl. Pederson, Reid’s first opening-day quarterback, delivered the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship in 2017 and five years later here we are again with another second-year coach in the Big Game in his second year. The only head coaches Lurie has hired who didn’t reach Super Bowls – Ray Rhodes in 1995 and Chip Kelly in 2013 – were both Coach of the Year in their first season and won 10 games in each of their first two seasons. Al Davis is the only other owner in history to hire three Super Bowl coaches and he actually hired four during his 45 years as owner of the Raiders – John Rauch, John Madden, Tom Flores and Bill Callahan (who was Rhodes’ offensive line coach). Lurie is in rarified air along with Davis, a Hall of Famer and one of the most influential figures in football history. We need to look at Lurie the same way. In his 29 years leading the Eagles, he’s shaped a losing franchise for most of its first 62 years into a model organization, a consistent winner. There are 15 owners in the Hall of Fame. I don’t think there’s any question that one day Lurie will join them.

Super Bowl preview: Eagles’ defense faces a massive challenge – BGN
I would love to be proven wrong, but I cannot see the Eagles ‘shutting down’ this offense because Patrick Mahomes is just fantastic. The Eagles’ defense just needs to slow them down, get a turnover, as well as a few sacks and then the offense has to do its job. The best mismatch in this game is the Eagles’ run game vs. the Chiefs’ run defense and this needs to be the reason the Eagles win this game. I may be wrong, but I can’t see a defensive game and I don’t think the Eagles’ defense can win this game for the Eagles alone. I expect the Chiefs to score points because it’s what they do…

NFC East Mixtape Vol.98: Getting set for Super Bowl LVII – BGN Radio
Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney joins RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton to discuss what a Chiefs lost means for Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, how the Eagles can contain Mahomes and Pete shares his score prediction. Later in the show RJ and Brandon discuss the biggest storylines in the division.

Eagles vs. Chiefs: Five matchups to watch, when the Chiefs have the ball – PhillyVoice
Brown, Thuney, and Humphrey were all named to the Pro Bowl, and Smith is a very good second-year player at RG. The very clear weakness along the Chiefs’ O-line is Wylie. PFF has him down for nine sacks allowed on the season. I was going to cut up video of all of those for y’all, but if you’re a user of NFL+ then you’re probably aware that it only works on occasion, and it is choosing not to work for me on the week of the Super Bowl. The Chiefs’ biggest fear offensively heading into this game has to be the matchup of Haason Reddick vs. Wylie. Reddick has 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his last six games, and he was a wrecker of souls in the NFC Championship Game. My guess is that Andy Reid will have a better plan for Reddick than Kyle Shanahan did.

The Rush of a Lifetime – Iggles Blitz
The best thing about this dynamic pass rush is that they are part of a good defense. They finished second in yards allowed. They led the league in fewest passing yards allowed. The run defense was leaky at times, but they ask Saquon Barkley or Derrick Henry if the Eagles can shut down a star RB. When they focused on the run, they were good. The Eagles dominated the Giants in the divisional round, allowing only seven points. Then the Eagles knocked out both of the Niners QBs and held SF to just seven points. Gang Green was in five playoff games. They never held anyone below 20 points. Jim Johnson ran the Eagles defense for a decade and was in plenty of playoff games. Only two of them involved holding a team to a TD or less. This group is playing at a high level. KC and Patrick Mahomes will be their biggest challenge. If this was just a great pass rush, I might still give the edge to Mahomes because of how incredibly good he is. But the Eagles also have the best secondary in the NFL. Add in Mahomes ankle injury and this is going to be a big challenge for him. What makes the Eagles pass rush special is the depth and versatility of it. They had four players with 10 or more sacks. You can’t double team all those guys. They have role players like Milton Williams and Ndamukong Suh who can come off the bench and punish the QB. The OL can’t relax. There will always be someone out there who can get to the QB.

4 things we learned about the Philadelphia Eagles during their Super Bowl run – PFF
Eagles offense is more than capable of putting up points without a lethal passing attack. Please don’t interpret this as Jalen Hurts passing slander. The breakout third-year signal-caller has served as the focal point of the league’s second-ranked offense in EPA per play (+0.069) this season and proved plenty capable of making big plays through the air. Still, the Eagles have gained far more yards on the ground (416) than through the air (269) this postseason. A.J. Brown ranks sixth on this offense in total yards (50) over the past two weeks, and the team has strolled to 38-7 and 31-7 victories like absolutely nothing was wrong. Backup running back Kenneth Gainwell has been the most productive member in terms of total yards (195). The reason why the Eagles haven’t felt the need to force-feed their alpha wide receiver this postseason is because we’re looking at one of the best-rushing offenses in recent memory. Overall, Philly is averaging +0.164 EPA per run play this postseason – only three offenses managed to post a better mark passing the ball during the regular season.

The Eagles Know the Value of a Star Wide Receiver. So Do the Chiefs. – The Ringer
Enter Brown. Since he entered the league in 2019, only two receivers had more yards per route run between the numbers: Michael Thomas and Davante Adams. The Eagles offense could not have taken a step forward this season without a plan for the middle of the field—it would have remained one-dimensional, limited. Brown was as good of a plan as you could ask for. It worked. Hurts is still below average in the rate at which he throws to the middle of the field (44.3 percent of the time, up dramatically from last season). But the Eagles are far more dangerous when targeting that area. Hurts’s depth of target is up to 6.54, 11th among quarterbacks this year. His EPA per dropback? 0.41, behind only Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow. Some of this improvement belongs to Hurts alone. He has become more accurate, and operates with increased anticipation; he’s more comfortable buying time in the pocket, and does so with increased feel. But the bulk of the credit belongs to Hurts in context, and that context is Brown. This year, Brown is third in the league in yards per route run between the numbers. ESPN charts Brown with the second-highest rate of “in” routes among all receivers.

A.J. Brown Headlines Super Bowl DFS Matchups – Football Outsiders
On paper, the Eagles wide receiver duo of A.J. Brown ($9,200/$13,800) and DeVonta Smith ($8,600/$12,900) are the clear standout plays at the position, and against a Kansas City defense that ranks 20th against the pass, the optimism is well-placed. Brown in particular looks like the best play of this slate, with the Chiefs ranked 31st against WR1s allowing an average of 81.2 yards per game. Brown has failed to live up to expectations in the playoffs so far, with seven catches for 50 scoreless yards, which represents his most barren spell of the season. There are plenty of reasons to believe that a player who has averaged 17.3 points per game can bounce back. Smith isn’t far behind Brown in production, averaging 15.5 points per game and seeing an average of 7.8 targets per game. The Chiefs rank eighth against WR2s, but Smith is as good as any WR2 in the league and will likely challenge the Chiefs coverage at times.

Reed Blankenship is Philly’s real-life ‘Rocky’ – Go Long
From Nick Saban’s “slap in the face” to a tibia sticking out of his skin, the undrafted rookie safety has a story this entire city can love. Now, “Ghost” has one final scene to write.

Super Bowl LVII: How the Eagles cornerbacks can limit the Chiefs’ passing game – TouchdownWire
Expect the Eagles secondary to come out in a ton of disguised looks with rotations in the deep part of the field. If the defensive line can put pressure on Mahomes and the cornerbacks can stay in front of the receivers, it should be a long day for the Chiefs passing offense. When looking at the individual matchups, the Eagles cornerback’s vs the Chiefs receivers, I’m going with Philadelphia. The one part of the Chiefs game that has been a big surprise has been Isiah Pacheco from the backfield. If there is one area where the Eagles need to show improvement, it’s stopping the run. It will be up to Andy Reid to get out of his own way and make sure he relies on the run game if he wants to come away with his third super bowl ring as a head coach.

Will any records be broken in Super Bowl 57? – DraftKings Nation
The record for the most rushing yards in a game could break, but it depends on several big gainers combined with plenty of volume. In 2022, two players ran for more than 204 yards in a game: Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry at Houston Texans (205) and Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs at Seattle Seahawks. The most rushing touchdowns record is probably the most breakable of this list. A player could realistically tie this record in 2023 with a chance to rewrite it altogether. One player scored four touchdowns in a game this season (Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon) while eight others racked up three rushing touchdowns in a single game.

Analytics prove that Jalen Hurts vs. Patrick Mahomes is closer than people think – SB Nation
While it is not surprising that Mahomes graded out better than Hurts overall, it is interesting that there was only one main area — intermediate passing — where Hurts graded out better. Even when we look at their highest-graded games this season, Mahomes’ 91.4 against Jacksonville in Week 10 tops Hurts’ 85.4 against Pittsburgh in Week 8. PFF is just one way to evaluate quarterbacks but looking at their grades, Mahomes graduated the 2022 NFL season summa cum laude. Hurts will look to take the Lombardi Trophy, away from the leader of the class, as the ultimate end-of-the-year award.

Jason and Travis Kelce’s road to the Super Bowl explained – ESPN
While they’re each other’s biggest supporters, they’re also each other’s biggest antagonists. A walk-on linebacker-turned-offensive lineman, Jason attacked every practice with the kind ferocity that can only come from a lifetime of having to prove yourself. Travis, meanwhile, carried his happy-go-lucky persona onto the field, practicing with the casual arrogance of a naturally gifted athlete. “Jason was wired in a way that when practice started, it was time to work,” Pike said. “And Travis was always that goofy demeanor.” Their different approaches sometimes led to brotherly blowups. Jason often wanted Travis to settle down and get serious, while Travis enjoyed getting under his older brother’s skin. “Don’t be surprised if he [tries] it on Sunday,” Coombs said with a laugh. “Because if he thinks that’s going to help him win, he’s going to find a way to do whatever. He loves his brother now, but he wants to win that game. If he can needle him, he’s probably going to find a way to do it.”

Travis and Jason Kelce’s ‘New Heights’ Episode 26: ‘The Donna and Ed Episode’ – Arrowhead Pride
There is currently a petition making the rounds on, proposing that Donna Kelce handle the opening coin toss of Sunday’s game. In Monday’s episode, the brothers told their mom they support the idea. “Did you know, mom,” asked Travis, “that there is a petition going out trying to get you to be the honorary coin flip? For the start of the Super Bowl? “Mom, have you ever coin-flipped?” As this writing, the petition for the Donna Kelce coin flip has garnered over 172,000 signatures. That’s more than the population of Kansas City, Kansas. Donna said that she’s seen the petition, but that she doesn’t have prior experience with flipping a coin in a professional capacity.

Trust and dedication: Inside the sports performance team’s relentless pursuit of optimal player health –
This is a relationship that demands trust and dedication, relentlessness, coordination, and, admittedly, some luck. The NovaCare Complex offices of Tom Hunkele, Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer, and Ted Rath, Vice President of Player Performance, are a mere hallway apart, but it’s fair to say their visions and day-to-day operations are innately joined in every way. “Great communication leads to great collaboration,” Rath said, “so me and Tom have to be in lockstep. We have to be able to communicate daily and we have to have that constant, organic communication. There are a lot of moving parts and I’m just excited how Tom and I have grown together in three years. You’re starting the see the fruits of that labor because we have worked hard and continue to work hard at it. We want the best for the players and that is something we are striving to improve every day.” Here is a statement you won’t often hear about a team preparing to play in a Super Bowl: The Philadelphia Eagles arrived in Arizona as healthy as they could have possibly expected for Super Bowl LVII. That’s a huge credit to the team’s medical team, athletic training team, and performance group.

How the Philadelphia Eagles were built – and what the Giants can learn – Big Blue View
Isn’t it obvious? Prioritize the offensive and defensive lines. Philadelphia may have the best, and deepest, OLs and DLs in the NFL. Their OL completely neutralized the Giants’ DL twice this season. It does that to many teams. Their DL continually harassed Daniel Jones twice as well as knocking Brock Purdy out of the NFC Championship Game. If Kansas City’s OL can’t do better Sunday night that game will be over quickly. The Eagles have been building both lines continually since Howie Roseman arrived. The OL is completely home-grown. The DL is partly draftees and partly free agents. Joe Schoen got off to a good start in 2022 by drafting two DLs and three OLs. Giants fans hope that at least two of those players will become as good as their Philadelphia counterparts. Now he has to continue the job in the 2023 off-season. And in 2024. And 2025. And…

Cowboys mailbag: Questions about the Kellen Moore decision – Blogging The Boys
@AllanWoods: Thoughts on the Kellen Moore firing? If Mike McCarthy called the 49ers game, do you think we would have won the game? Brandon: That’s a great question, and I think it played a huge factor in letting Moore go. I thought Moore did a great job calling plays during the regular season and could turn the offense into a top-five unit in the NFL. However, when the Cowboys lost to the 49ers in 2021, I gave Moore a pass, given it was his first time calling an offense in a playoff game. I needed to see more this season. Once again, the team made it to the playoffs and took on a bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. The real test would be against San Francisco. Unfortunately, Moore’s inexperience once again cost the Cowboys the game being unable to adjust on the fly when the game changed. The Dallas defense was doing everything it could to give the offense opportunities. Moore did not deliver. The Cowboys are hoping that with McCarthy’s experience and offensive mind, he could have done a better job in the divisional round, which is why he is now calling the plays.

Tom Brady won’t join the Fox pregame coverage for Super Bowl LVII – PFT
Tom Brady is free this weekend. And it’ll stay that way. Via Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Fox executives said on Tuesday that Brady won’t be part of the Super Bowl pregame coverage, either during the game or before the game.

Saints receive permission to visit with QB Derek Carr, per report – Canal Street Chronicles
Derek Carr will be visiting with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, February 8th. This comes after the Saints asked for permission and received it from the Las Vegas Raiders. The New Orleans Saints are the first team to visit with Derek Carr. The Saints are looking to get Derek Carr before he can hit the open market. [BLG Note: Situation worth monitoring since the Eagles own the Saints’ second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.]

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