May 23, 2015
Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all. Enjoy your burgers and dogs. I'll be away from my computer the rest of the weekend, but I before I go, here are some things some other people wrote.
Funny find by BGN of Football Outsiders' "Four downs" series, in which they cover the AFC East. Here's what Football Outsiders had to say about old friend Bradley Fletcher:
If all you know of Fletcher are 2014 lowlights like this and this, then this sounds like an untenable situation. It's not quite as bad as it seems. No cornerback in football gets a bigger boost in his numbers when we account for the opposing receivers he had to face. If we adjust for Fletcher's schedule -- including five games lining up across from Dez Bryant (fifth in receiving DVOA), DeSean Jackson (sixth), and Jordy Nelson (eighth) -- Fletcher actually ranked 36th in adjusted success rate, making Fletcher an above-average corner. He is also an excellent value at the price the Patriots paid for him.
The fact that Fletcher is underrated and came at a bargain rate would make him an excellent No. 2 corner. He's still not a desirable option as your team's top corner. Even adjusting for opposition, the Eagles were still just 24th against opponents' top wideouts in 2014. Perhaps the only other potential choice on the roster is Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, and then only because his small sample size as a rookie leaves his ceiling undefined. Barring a midseason trade like the one that brought Aqib Talib to Foxboro in 2012, the Patriots will most likely have to scheme around the lack of a true top cover corner.
Come on, Football Outsiders. First of all, that is an annoying misuse of the word "fact" in the first sentence of that second paragraph above. Secondly, I like deep dive statistics, and best of luck to Fletcher in New England, but even the most novice football fans could see last season that he stinks.
Sheil opined on Mr. Barkley.
Going into Year 3, you'd think Kelly and the coaches would have a good idea about what they have in Barkley. If they had faith in him after his rookie season, they wouldn't have gone out and signed Mark Sanchez. If they thought Barkley really developed last year, same thing: they probably wouldn't have been so aggressive in bringing Sanchez back.
But the truth is that going into 2015, the best-case scenario for Barkley is that he'll win the No. 3 quarterback job behind Sam Bradford and Sanchez. It's possible that Tim Tebow beats Barkley out for that spot and Barkley doesn't make the roster.
As for what hasn't clicked, it's tough to pinpoint one thing specifically. Barkley was obviously put in a tough spot when he saw game action as a rookie, but he threw four interceptions in 49 attempts. The coaches have praised his work ethic and smarts, but Barkley hasn't really flashed at practice. It could just be that the physical skill set hasn't translated to the NFL level.
Careful, Sheil. You're going to make his list.
The Eagles didn’t draft an offensive linemen this year. Or last year. Normally that might not be a huge deal, but the Eagles have the oldest OL in the league. And they released starting RG Todd Herremans in the offseason. Clearly this is not an ideal situation.
Some critics say the Eagles neglected the OL. How is Sam Bradford supposed to stay upright, let alone play well, if he doesn’t have good blocking?
I don’t think everyone gets the overall situation.
The OL should be fine for 2015. The Eagles return 4 of 5 starters. The team is very comfortable with Allen Barbre taking over at RG. Jason Peters remains one of the better LTs in the league. Jason Kelce is becoming one of the best Centers. Lane Johnson has played very well in his 2 years. Evan Mathis is showing a bit of his age, but remains a very good starting LG. This is a talented group.
Many of you are tired of my OL articles by now, and I get it. Read Tommy's piece. It's very well done, and he goes into detail about the Eagles' OL reserves. His overall thoughts are very much aligned with mine, although his tone is far more pleasant.
Sam Bradford cannot seriously go into the season with his sleeves like that. Also, why is he wearing a flak jacket for a photo shoot? I know he's injury-prone, but that's a little much.
Apparently, Sam wears full body armor when he goes to Wawa.
You can never be too safe.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski