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July 20, 2017

What they're saying: Eagles have the worst secondary in football

Eagles NFL

If you're looking for a nice pick me up on a Thursday afternoon, then you've come to the right place: the first full-team practice of Eagles training is one week from today. 

That's right, there's a good chance that by the time you're reading this, fewer than seven days stand between you and the return of football. And you can bet the news surrounding the Birds is only going to intensify with camp right around the corner.

We'll keep you up to date with a daily "What They're Saying" each morning. There's a lot to cover, so let's get right into it.

Can we get a secondary opinion?

Staff | ProFootballFocus

I don’t know that it's the worst secondary in the NFL, but I also don’t know that it's not. Either way, Pro Football Focus seems to think it's going to be a big problem for Jim Schwartz and the Birds again this year

Patrick Robinson is the notable veteran addition to the secondary, but he is coming off a rough season in Indianapolis that saw him give up a passer rating when targeted of 111.7 in eight appearances. Jalen Mills (31.8 overall grade) and Ron Brooks (40.9 overall grade with Buffalo) failed to impress last season, and rookie Sidney Jones is likely to be limited or unavailable for much of the season with an Achilles injury. Third round pick Rasul Douglas should factor into the equation, as his eight interceptions and 18 total passes defended led FBS in 2016. The safety position features Rodney McLeod, who has 52 missed tackles in four seasons as a starter with the Eagles and Rams, and Malcolm Jenkins, who appears to be past his prime after giving up a combined 13 touchdowns the past two seasons.  []

More preseason power rankings...

Josh Alper | ProFootballTalk

ProFootballTalk is releasing their preseason power rankings one team at a time, so while we don’t know where the rest of the NFC East will finish – except for the Redskins (25th) – but we do know what they think of the Eagles. Here’s a look at the 18 teams they’ve revealed so far:

13. Houston Texans
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Detroit Lions
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Carolina Panthers
18. Philadelphia Eagles
19. New Orleans Saints
20. Minnesota Vikings
21. Cincinnati Bengals
22. Arizona Cardinals
23.  Buffalo Bills
24.  Los Angeles Chargers
25. Washington
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Los Angeles Rams
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
29. San Francisco 49ers
30. Chicago Bears
31. Cleveland Browns
32. New York Jets

And now, a little bit of what they had to say about the Eagles specifically:

How they could prove us wrong: We’re around the midpoint of the power rankings, which means the Eagles could prove us wrong with a move in either direction. A shift in the positive direction would likely mean the new faces on offense aid in a jump for Wentz in his second season while more injury trouble for Jeffery and a lack of growth in the secondary would be reasons why the Eagles could fare worse than anticipated. In a strong division, there’s also the chance that the Eagles could be better overall without making much headway in the standings.  []

Not such a juggernaut

Andy Behrens | Yahoo! Sports

It's like power rankings, but for fantasy value. Here's a look at Yahoo's Juggernaut Index (so far):

21. Philadelphia Eagles
22. Buffalo Bills
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
24. Denver Broncos
25. Detroit Lions
26. Minnesota Vikings
27. Chicago Bears
28. Baltimore Ravens
29. Los Angeles Rams
30. Cleveland Browns
31. San Francisco 49ers

32. New York Jets

Of course, this is through the lens the of fantasy football, and the biggest difference for the Eagles this season comes via their overhauled wide receiver corps. It's also likely where their most-productive players reside. 

Here's a look at what they had to say about them:

When Jeffery is at his best, he’s one of the NFL’s elite downfield threats, uncommonly gifted in jump-ball scenarios. He has the size, strength and skills to win one-on-one battles on any route, at any level. Jeffery also has an 89-catch, 1421-yard season to his credit, so we know he’s capable of sustained WR1-level performance. But he also has a PED suspension on his resume, and he’s struggled with soft-tissue injuries. He’s hardly a lock to give us 16 games.

Early drafters seem to be thinking only of Jeffery’s ceiling and not his problematic floor, as his ADP in Yahoo leagues is 33.2. That’s too rich for me, considering his up-and-down history and the quality of his quarterback.

Torrey Smith signed a three-year deal with the Eagles (with very little guaranteed money), and he’ll battle third-year receiver Nelson Agholor for snaps and targets and relevance. Smith has been miscast as a do-it-all receiver at multiple NFL stops, but he’s undeniably a dangerous big-play vertical threat. As a fantasy commodity, he’s well suited for best-ball formats, where you don’t need to predict the week in which he’ll deliver his three-catch, 90-yard, two-TD game. He figures to be a low-volume field-stretcher, a guy who makes life easier for the short-to-intermediate route-runners.  []

13 Going On 30

Brandon Lee Gowton | Bleeding Green Nation

By the end of the season, the Eagles will have 13 players over the age of 30 … including some guys who are expected to play a major role this year,

The Eagles will be able to rely on some veteran experience as they aim for the playoffs in 2017. 13 players currently on their roster will be 30 or older by the end of the 2017 season.

Two of those players compromise of special teams guys: Dorenbos and Jones. Both veterans signed three-year extensions last fall so they’re not ready to retire just yet. They haven’t shown any signs of needing to be replaced.

The Eagles’ oldest non-STer is the man whose teammates refer to as “Franchise” — Jason Peters… It’s reasonable to be concerned about Peters’ performance as he continues to age. With that said, Peters is not most NFL players. The dude is a freak of nature. If anyone can defy age, it’s him. Questions about Peters’ reliability are overstated. He’s never missed more than three games in a given season aside from the year he suffered (and then unluckily re-injured) an Achilles rupture during an offseason workout.  []

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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