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January 12, 2018

Eagles Mailbag: The day before the storm

In our weekly Eagles chat on Thursday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Wilbert Montgomery: Jimmy, we were underdogs in the 1980 NFC Championship Game too. I remember that none of the sportswriters gave us any real chance in that game. Jaws was 9 of 19 for 91 yards on the day. How did that game turn out?

Yes, Wilbert, I am aware that in the history of the NFL, underdogs do win games. Certainly, the Eagles can win on Saturday. They should be able to win in the trenches on both sides of the ball, which is a significant advantage, and probably the best argument for how they survive another day.

However, to repeat my very simplistic view on this game, the Eagles are at a severe disadvantage at the quarterback position. Is it really that crazy to pick the Falcons in this game? I’m just giving you my honest opinion of who I think will win this game. I don’t know why people would read me if I wasn’t honest in my analysis.

Question from New York Steve: Carson had certain plays installed that he ran at North Dakota State. Would Doug entertain ideas from Nick Foles about the plays he’s most comfortable with from his Chip days?

Would Doug listen to Foles in terms of what types of plays he likes to run? Absolutely. I think that's a very underrated strength of Doug as a coach. He puts his ego aside and takes input from everyone. Not everything will necesarily make it into the game plan, but he values the collaborative approach.

Would Doug put in something specifically from Chip's playbook? Well, Chip only ran like three plays, so they're probably already in there. 

Question from Chris: I think the offensive line will become much more of a strength with Stefen Wisniewski coming back. Not that he is a world beater, but with him out the Eagles had two backups on the left side of the line, which is bad. #Analysis. It is fairly easy to “hide” 20 percent of the line with help, but when you hit 40 percent and above it is damn difficult. My question is if you believe this is accurate.

Chris, I do indeed agree with your #Analysis. I believe the dropoff from Wis to Chance Warmack is significant, and having Wis back will give the Eagles' offense a little more flexibility both in the run game and pass game.

Question from Max: Who’s gonna go up against Julio?

Last year, Jalen Mills followed him all over the field in the second half, but that was more a product of injuries in the secondary. I don’t think they’ll have anyone trail him in this game. If he lines up on Mills’ side, Mills will cover him. If he lines up opposite Ronald Darby, then it’ll be Darby. If he lines up in the slot, then Patrick Robinson will get a shot at him.

If you have a corner trail a receiver, it becomes more difficult to disguise your coverages, and I don’t think Jim Schwartz wants to lose that.

Question from Robb Gaylord: Have you heard anything about Carson’s recovery progress?

Oh man, it’s going to be a loooooong offseason of this, ha. He just had surgery a month ago. On Christmas he was on crutches. 

He has a long way to go.

Question from Taco J: If you could keep only one: Nigel Bradham or Trey Burton?

Burton is a nice player. He’s a core special teamer, and as he showed this year, he can be productive as a receiving tight end in the regular offense. I like Trey Burton a lot. That said, the notion that he’s going to break the bank in free agency this offseason is crazy to me, but it might happen. 

Evan Silva of Rotoworld ranks the free agent tight ends in 2018 like so:

  1. Jimmy Graham (31) 
  2. Tyler Eifert (27) 
  3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (25) 
  4. Trey Burton (26) 
  5. Virgil Green (29) 
  6. Niles Paul (28) 
  7. Luke Willson (28) 
  8. Ben Watson (37) 
  9. Antonio Gates (37) 
  10. Ed Dickson (30) 

Graham is getting up there in age, Eifert is never healthy, and Seferian-Jenkins, while sober now, is going to scare a lot of teams off for off-field issues. Burton doesn't have any glaring red flags, other than a lack of starting experience. Some team out there desperate for a tight end may pay him big dollars to be a starter, and I believe the Eagles would be wise not to engage in that kind of bidding war for him.

For me, Bradham is the far more important player. He's a good, solid starting linebacker who doesn't seem to make many mistakes. He plays hard, he tackles well, and he's very good in coverage, which can be hard to find at the linebacker spot. 

Because he was arrested twice last year, Bradham got labeled a "dumbass" by his own defensive coordinator, but is a better person than is probably perceived, as he spends a lot of time visiting schools, and other charitable efforts.

According to Tim McManus of ESPN, the battery case against him has been closed, though he's still likely to face some sort of discipline from the league. Still, he would be the player I would be more focused on bringing back to the team in 2018 and beyond.

Question from Oliver: Do you see a significant roster turnover this season?

The Eagles have 20 of 22 starters under contract through at least the 2018 season. So no.

Question from Oregon Eagle: It was reported last week that the Eagles went “live” in practice with tackling to the ground. Do you think this was done to help the offense (Foles) get into a groove in a game-like situation as could be?

To clear this up, that did not happen.

Question from Corey: What NFL stadium do you hate the most? 

FedEx (Redskins) should be burned to the ground.

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