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June 09, 2017

What they’re saying: The Eagles' offense will be more productive in 2017

So, how do executives from other teams around the NFL believe that the Philadelphia Eagles fared this offseason?

Writing at ESPN Insider, Mike Sando got the help of many “NFL executives, coaches and evaluators” to offer offseason grades for every team. In terms of the Eagles, Sando and Co. gave Howie Roseman and the front office a B-minus for their efforts. They saw both upside and downside in the Eagles’ moves.

Specifically, they believe that the Eagles offense will be improved around Carson Wentz in 2017:

"I did like some of the pieces they added, including the little running back [Donnel Pumphrey] who broke Marshall Faulk's records at San Diego State," a personnel director said. "I think everything there will move toward being more productive, especially on offense. We will see what happens on defense, if they can just hold up on defense."

There were also some words of caution about those new weapons, as another evaluator said, "Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are injury-prone guys. They will be injured."

OK, then.

Eagles news and coverage at PhillyVoice

1.    Practice notes: A tale of two Eagles draft picks. Come for the Derek Barnett praise (I’m officially way too excited about him), stay for the stick figure diagram of how Shelton Gibson’s route-running hasn’t been up to par at Eagles OTAs.

2.    Riverboat Doug: Doug Pederson promises to keep being a gambling man on fourth down, which should qualify as good Eagles news.

3.    Movin’ on up: The cornerback situation is admittedly pretty bad, but third-round draft pick Rasul Douglas is now first team on the Eagles depth chart.

4.    No Return of the Mack: According to Pederson, the Eagles have no interest in bringing back Jeremy Maclin.

5.    Return of the Max: Yep, before the Eagles preseason game against the Dolphins, there will be joint practices between the two teams. Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso will be bacBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

6.    Mailbag: The Eagles will be able to bring back Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, and Nigel Bradham in 2018 free agency if they want to.

7.     Eagles chat: Uncle Jimmy takes your Birds and NFL questions, like why Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks are still on the Eagles roster.

8.    Top 100: See where Fletcher Cox ranks on the NFL Network’s top players.

9.    Throw to run: In terms of the Eagles offense, the running game should benefit from better deep-ball options like Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

10.  Missing in inaction: Jordan Matthews' absence from spring practices sure is interesting

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web

The Top 50 Players for 2017, Nos. 11-50: Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus
Prisco's Top 100 Players of 2017: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

As we reach the slow time of the NFL calendar before everything starts back up again at the end of July, there are player ranking lists. Prisco has three players on the Eagles roster in the Top 100 (but none in the Top 50), including Jason Peters:

At 35, he continues to play at a high level -- even if he isn't as dominant as he used to be. The question is when does he start to fade?

Pro Football Focus had two Eagles in the Top-50, including Brandon Graham, who checks in at No. 39:

Graham consistently generates a phenomenal amount of pressure on the quarterback. He may not get home as often as some pass-rushers, but that pressure has a demonstrable negative effect on opposing passers – to the tune of a 32.6-point drop in passer rating over the past 10 years of play. Graham had 86 total pressures in 2016, trailing only Khalil Mack’s 92, and had the second-highest PFF grade overall of any edge defender (93.3).

Second Thoughts: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

Lawlor writes about Darren Sproles, who is thinking about reconsidering his decision to retire after the Eagles season:

You can understand where Sproles might have an open mind at this point. It is spring time. His body is healthy and feels good. There is optimism about the upcoming season. He’s got some talented players around him.

The NFL season is a marathon. It is a war of attrition. Players wear down, mentally, physically and emotionally. It doesn’t matter if you are 23 or 33. The NFL is tough. Players are, as the great Lili Von Shtupp would say, “tired”. Sproles may feel completely different when December and January roll around. He might be ready to head off to the sunset. For now, he’s smart to keep an open mind.

FPI projects every NFL team's most important 2017 game: Hank Gargiulo, ESPN

Via ESPN’s Analytics, the most important game on the Eagles 2017 schedule is Week 13 in Jerry World against the Dallas Cowboys:

The Eagles never need extra motivation to beat the Cowboys, but a road win over the FPI division favorites would be the difference between a near coin flip to make the playoffs (49.1 percent) to roughly a 1-in-4 chance (26.1 percent) with a loss.

Jordan Matthews continues to sit out of Eagles' OTAs with knee injury: Paul Domowitch, Daily News

Matthews missed Eagles training camp last season, and the team believes that he’ll be fine again for them this year:

"We’re taking a one-day-at-a-time approach," Pederson said. "We still have a long way before we play games. He’s doing everything in his power [to get healthy] and is working with [director of sports medicine Chris] Peduzzi and our docs to get ready. He’ll be fine heading into training camp."

NFL Nostalgia: Ranking the Most Underrated Players in NFL History: Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

Former Eagles cornerback Eric Allen cracked Tanier’s list. I was too young to remember Allen’s tenure in Philadelphia, but any Eagles fan who lived through the Buddy Ryan era has told me how freaking good Allen was:

Eric Allen's job in Buddy Ryan's 46 defense was simple. He had to blanket a wide receiver in man coverage with no safety help on every play. Ryan would blitz between five and eight defenders, plus some water boys and maybe a few boo birds from the 700 level of Veterans Stadium. If the quarterback got rid of the ball before getting crushed, it was up to Allen to make a play.

Allen made a lot of plays. He intercepted 34 passes for the Eagles and 54 in his career.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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