June 26, 2023
It's the quiet part of the NFL offseason, but that's relatively speaking.
The league, the sport, and the endless coverage and conversation surrounding it never actually stops, and that holds especially true for the Eagles.
Things will really pick up once training camp nears, and that's not all that far off.
But in the meantime, here's what they're saying about the Birds...
Not accounting for the offensive line or playcalling, which team would be the best situation for an average quarterback to be thrown right into?
With A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith as the receiving duo and Dallas Goedert as the tight end, the Eagles are right up there.
Wrote Bill Barnwell, who ranked the Eagles' offensive weapons third out of the NFL's 32 teams:
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 become 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. [ESPN+]
For comparison's sake, the two teams ranked ahead of the Eagles: Cincinnati at 2 with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, then San Francisco at 1, because...I mean, you saw them burn through all those quarterbacks last season.
When the Good Morning Football crew gathered for their Monday morning show to talk about which second-year players were likely to have a breakout season, Mike Garafolo didn't even need time to think.
He zeroed right in on Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean.
"This is traditionally a position the Eagles don't spend a lot of money on so when a couple of veterans left this offseason, Dean, who did not play much – played a bunch on special teams, but did not play much on defense in his rookie season – was thrust into this role. That green dot I'm talking about that's gonna be on his helmet, he's gonna be the captain of the defense from a standpoint of calling plays. He's gonna have to be more vocal, he's gonna have to play a lot more. He's had a great spring from what I gathered, any of those physical concerns coming into the draft, the Eagles don't – still don't – seem to have them, I don't know where they came from.
"So Nakobe Dean is gonna step up, gonna have to step up big in his second year." [NFL Network]
What the subhed says.
Allen competed in the USATF New York City Grand Prix on Saturday and ran the 110-meter hurdles in 13.04 seconds. He finished in second just behind the winner Daniel Roberts, who ran a 13.01, but Allen's time also registered as the fourth fastest in the world so far this year.
So yeah, he's still really fast.
Allen signed a reserve/future contract with Philadelphia following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL season, and he spoke to the NBC broadcast following his event about finding time for both sports.
"It's going well," Allen said. "Balancing both is difficult, but I'm having a lot of fun as long as I can stay healthy. Get to compete against these guys in high-quality competition. 13.01 and 13.04 is nothing to scoff at. So, we're ready to go." [NFL.com]
Allen will run again July 6-9 in the USATF Outdoor Championships at Oregon, and should he earn a top-three placement, he'll qualify for the World Athletic Championships in mid-late August.
But that could present a problem if he does it.
The World Athletics Championships take place from Aug. 18-27, during the heart of Eagles training camp. That's crunch time for a player who has never taken a regular-season snap and has set his sights on making Philly's practice squad or better.
"Yeah, I still don't have a plan of what I'm gonna do with Worlds being, you know, during training camp," Allen told KPIC 4 in an interview last week preceding Saturday's Grand Prix. "Obviously, it'd be nice to compete at Worlds and also it would be nice to be at training camp so I can make the 53-man roster. So, obviously it's gonna be a little bit of a decision, but I'm not going to worry about that, like I said, until I make the world championship team. USA is a competitive meet. Just got to focus on doing that first."
The predicament Allen might find himself in with another top-tier performance a couple weeks from now is an unenviable one. His decision could ultimately play a factor in what the Eagles decide to do with him. [NFL.com]
In case you need a refresher of what Allen's speed looks like on a football field, here is torching the Browns' secondary last preseason:
Devon Allen turned on the jets. 💨 pic.twitter.com/Gs9fK0By65— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 21, 2022
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