Eagles beat writer Phil Sheridan on WR Jordan Matthews: Matthews is the prototype for what Kelly wants in his receivers: 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, good speed. This is why DeSean Jackson, for all his production, is not here anymore. Jackson simply can't block in the run game or on bubble screens to teammates. Matthews' size allows HC Chip Kelly to use him in a variety of ways, and the coach hasn't hesitated to expand the rookie's role. Remember, Kelly spent most of his career coaching 19-year-olds. So he doesn't shy away from playing rookies or second-year guys in the NFL. Also, Matthews seemed to play faster and with more confidence Monday night than we'd seen up until then. I think he's just getting started.
Matthews has shown a good rapport with QB Mark Sanchez that dates back to their time together on the second team in training camp. His snaps are consistently in the 60 to 70 percent range and he's outplaying starting WR Riley Cooper, whose snaps are down a bit in recent weeks. We believe there is a changing of the guard going on in Philadelphia, so Matthews should be owned in all leagues. He's a Sneaky Start in what should be a high scoring game against the Packers in Week 11.
It doesn't sound like Matthews is going to usurp Cooper anytime soon. Matthews is playing 50-66% of the snaps (61% average), and that number will need to rise before he'll become a dependable fantasy starter. The good news is that the Eagles run a lot of plays, so a 61% snap percentage is more appealing for an Eagles player than it is for most other teams.
Pretty much everyone who watched Eagles TE Zach Ertz this summer was predicting a breakout year. And through two games, those outlooks seem on-point. He has seven catches on 10 targets for 163 yards. All seven grabs have netted first downs. Six of the seven have been for 20 yards or more. No one in the NFL has more 20+ grabs than Ertz so far.
His 23.3 yards per reception is also a league-high.
The article does a good job of using pictures from All-22 film to break down how Ertz is making plays downfield. He is in the top 9 in both standard and PPR formats and has played 67 percent of his team's snaps. He is tied with LeSean McCoy for the 3rd-most targets (11) on the team, ahead of both Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews. At this point, he looks like an every-week starter.
Through two games, Eagles QB Nick Foles has completed just 16 of 39 passes (41 percent) to Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews. Although he’s thrown touchdowns to Maclin in both games, Foles has hit on just eight of 21 targets (38 percent) to the sixth-year wideout.
Compare that to Zach Ertz, who’s caught seven of the 11 passes thrown to him, and the running backs, who have 21 combined receptions on 24 targets.
Even with the chemistry issues with Maclin and Cooper, Foles is the #6 QB through two games. If he can get in sync with his wideouts, a top 5 season will likely follow.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:28pm
Through two games, the Eagles are ranked No. 1 in the league in both points (64) and yards (878). That is impressive, especially considering that not everything on the offense is clicking just yet.
QB Nick Foles hasn’t been quite himself through two games. (Or, at least, the 2013 version of himself.) The choppiness that we saw during the preseason has carried over. Like last week against the Jaguars, a bulk of the misfires came in the first half. His third down pass intended for Jeremy Maclin near the goal line on the opening possession was off the mark, as were a pair of swing passes and a longer toss to Maclin in the corner of the end zone in the second quarter. He ended the half 13-of-21 for 187 yards with an interception.
"I missed some throws. I missed some throws that could have really helped us out and if I hit those throws, it will shorten the chains," said Foles. "I need to be a little more accurate, give my guys the opportunity to catch the ball and run with it."
His receivers weren't helping. There were six drops, including one by Riley Cooper on a perfectly-placed ball by Foles in the left corner of the end zone in the first quarter. Cooper had one catch for eight yards. He has five catches for 37 yards on 11 targets through two games. Rookie Jordan Matthews had a couple drops. And on the interception, Maclin could have arguably made a better effort fighting for a ball that Greg Toler came away with.
Foles missed Ertz on a throw in the red zone that was behind him and also never saw a wide open Cooper streaking across the field on a key third down play, both in the second half as the Eagles were trying to come back. The Eagles play calling in the red zone was rather odd as Chip Kelly opted for plays many would define as "cute." Foles could be a little on edge behind an offensive line that's banged up right now. The good news is RBs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles have been helping pad his fantasy stats. The team has another favorable matchup on Sunday against Washington.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 2. Jeffery is very iffy for Sunday night. Jeffery owners who want to wait should consider picking up Santonio Holmes to start in case Jeffery is a scratch. Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Hakeem Nicks play in the Monday night game and could be used as Plan B-types for Jeffery owners.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 2. Marshall is no sure thing for Sunday night, but the feeling is that he will play. Marshall owners who want to wait should consider picking up Santonio Holmes to start in case Marshall is a scratch. Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Hakeem Nicks play in the Monday night game and could be used as Plan B-types for Marshall owners.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:23pm
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 7:02pm
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 8:03pm
Matthews said his work ethic, his willingness to come to work early and stay late, is owed, in part, to watching veterans like Johnson and Green prepare in the offseason. They told him “don’t take a play off, not in practice or the game.” It’s the kind of advice you’d expect from players of that caliber, even if the Eagles would prefer Matthews to remember that the season is only just starting, and it’s a long one.
“The biggest thing with Jordan, and there are some other guys on the team like him, we have to make sure we manage him because he’s got such a high motor,” HC Chip Kelly said. “Whether it’s in meetings or on the practice field, we have to make sure he understands we’re playing a 16-game season here.”
Gonzalez believes the Eagles need Matthews to contribute right away. He points out that after Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, they’re pretty thin at receiver. Josh Huff is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Brad Smith is solid on special teams but has never been a consistent offensive receiving threat. And Jeff Maehl rounds out the group. He has four receptions for his career. While this isn't breaking news, it's best to take a wait-and-see approach with Matthews. He likely didn't get drafted in typical leagues. The Eagles are expected to use a lot of TEs Zach Ertz and Brent Celek as well. With RB Darren Sproles also around, there are a lot of targets.
The guy who is going to make you forget about Jackson isn't even a wide receiver. He's a tight end. He's Zach Ertz.
And while you might think I'm jumping the gun mentioning somebody who has played only 459 NFL snaps in the same breath with three of the most dangerous pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, Ertz has that kind of ability, that kind of upside.
"You knew when you watched him in college that he had the chance to be something special," Eagles tight ends coach Ted Williams said. "He's one of the best route-runners I've ever seen. He takes a lot of pride in that. He has a lot of confidence. He's hard to defeat, because he doesn't take defeat very well. He feels, 'You can't cover me.' "
Ertz was eased into the offense as a rookie last season by coach Chip Kelly. He played 36 percent of the offensive snaps in the Eagles' first eight games and 45 percent in the final eight. Finished with 36 catches - 25 for first downs - for 469 yards and four touchdowns. All four of those scoring catches came in the second half of the season. He also had a touchdown reception in the Eagles' playoff loss to New Orleans.
Domowitch is one of the Eagles better beat writers, so there's something to what he's saying. He points out that without Jackson the Eagles' passing game is expected to undergo a slight transformation this season. In preseason Week 3, the Birds had four TDs of nine plays or more - five fewer than they had all season. Domo said to look for fewer deep balls and more bubble screens and slants by the wide receivers and more screens and wheel routes by running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. The only thing holding back Ertz this season is teammate Brent Celek possibly taking away some targets, but Ertz still figures to be a low-end TE1 and should be drafted ahead of Celek. The writer believes both Celek and Ertz are in for increased workloads.
Eagles WRs Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin started on the outside. Cooper had three grabs for 25 yards. Maclin had six catches for 43 yards. Scary moment in the second. Maclin planted awkwardly and crumbled to the ground, grabbing his right knee. But he ended up only missing one play before returning. Cooper, meanwhile, was called for offensive pass interference on one play. He dropped a touchdown in the end zone on another play.
Maclin was the #13 WR in 2010, #31 in 2011 and #27 in 2012 before tearing his ACL last summer. The Eagles don't throw as much under Kelly as they did under Andy Reid, but Maclin has the talent and opportunity -- DeSean Jackson is gone -- to be a fantasy starter in 2014, provided his knee is good to go.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:52am
Huff, the team’s third-round pick, injured his shoulder on the opening kickoff of Friday night’s preseason game against the Patriots and didn’t return. On Sunday, coach Chip Kelly said X-rays came back negative but added that Huff’s shoulder was in a sling.
Kelly, who isn’t overly revealing about injuries, said Huff “probably” would be out for the rest of the week, including Thursday’s preseason game against the Steelers.
Riley Cooper painted a more pessimistic picture of Huff returning anytime soon.
“It’s sad to see what happened to Huff,” Cooper said. “I don’t know the severity of it. But I know he’s hurting and he’s going to be out for a little bit. That’s a given. He’d been doing really well. Special teams, I’ve been watching him do everything. I took him under my wing, just trying to explain things to him. We’re very similar personalities.”
Huff was only going to be a WR4 at best on the Eagles, but was shaping up to be the team's kickoff returner.
Monday, August 18, 2014, 1:11pm
Monday was the second day in a row that Cooper practiced, but it was the first time in over two weeks that the trio of Cooper, Maclin and McCoy were all out on the practice field together.
Maclin was said to have a minor hamstring injury and had it been a regular season game against the Pats on Friday night, he could have played. After missing all of last season, any time Maclin doesn't practice or play it's a reason for concern.
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