Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane on the team's negotiations with free agent WR Jeremy Maclin:
Maclin should be the No. 1 priority for the Eagles before free agency starts on March 10. They lose him and they’re really going to have to pay if they want to sign a free agent of comparable skill -- if there is one remaining. It shouldn’t come to that. Maclin wants to stay, the Eagles want him, and last I heard they weren’t significantly far apart. He should end up with a contract somewhere in the $9.5-$10 million a year range with most of around $20 million guaranteed in the first two years. If a deal can’t be struck by Monday afternoon, the Eagles will have to decide whether or not to use the franchise tag ($12.8 million). It’s unlikely the Eagles will want to pay Maclin that much over one season.
Maclin was the #9 wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats last season. However, he did most of his damage in the first eight games (46-801-8, #2 WR) and faded from Week 10 on (40-528-2, #23 WR). His targets dropped from 10.5 per game in the first half of the season to just 7.5 T/G down the stretch. If Maclin re-signs with the Eagles, fantasy owners should keep his late-season swoon in mind.
Speaking Monday morning on 94WIP, head coach Chip Kelly stood behind quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has yet to lead his team to a victory this month.
"Mark's our quarterback," Kelly said.
Since taking over for an injured Nick Foles, Sanchez has been average at best, throwing for 2,126 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. What has killed both the team and Sanchez has been the turnovers. With 10 interceptions and three fumbles, Sanchez has turned the ball over 13 times this season.
His inability to take care of the ball was the final nail in the Eagles' coffin this weekend. The Eagles were driving for a game-winning field goal, and had the ball in Washington Redskins' territory. With pressure in his face, Sanchez tried to get the ball to receiver Jeremy Maclin, but the ball was low and behind the receiver. Outside of that, Sanchez did produce some nice fantasy numbers and was at least back on track in that department after three down weeks.
From a fantasy angle, Mark Sanchez was cruising a long putting up serviceable fantasy points - until the last two weeks. The matchups get easier as the Birds take on the Redskins and Giant to close the season, but if you've survived with Sanchez to this point it will be tough to trust him in Week 16. While he was half a yard away from a long Jeremy Maclin TD pass to his credit, his two biggest pass plays were shorter throws that Maclin and Josh Huff turned into big gains or his final numbers may have resembled his passing numbers against Seattle. It's possible the team turns back to Foles if they make the playoffs, but at this point it doesn't look like Foles will get a chance to shake the rust in the regular season.
"I guess we'll see," Maclin said. "I saw him follow Dez [Bryant] a little bit. For the most part, we kind of stay on one side as receivers, and he's on my side."
Maclin complimented the Seahawks' secondary, but he has always contended that he's confident he can get open in man-to-man coverage. That does not change this week.
"I like my chances against anybody," Maclin said.
Sherman is one of the league's top cornerbacks, so this is a matchup that Maclin owners should be aware of heading into Week 14. Given his play, he's still startable, but owners would be wise to lower their expectations given the matchup.
Sanchez played well and certainly offered hope that the Eagles will be fine without Foles. Sanchez connected with Jeremy Maclin on a deep ball on his very first play of the game. Sanchez also threw a pair of red zone touchdown passes. If a quarterback can deliver big plays and red zone touchdowns, you feel good about your chances to win games.
Sanchez made good decisions in the game. His throws were accurate. I thought he put great touch on several key passes. Sanchez hit Jordan Matthews on a fade for a short touchdown. That was an exceptionally good throw. The ball needed some air on it so Matthews could run under it, but the pass couldn't be too soft or the defender could get to it. Sanchez put the ball right where it needed to be and it had great touch. Matthews made the grab and got both feet down. The other red zone score was a pass to Maclin on the right side. Maclin was well-covered, but the defender had his back to the ball. Sanchez threw the ball low and Maclin went down to make the grab.
Both plays were impressive because it is hard to score in the red zone. You love having open receivers, but often the quarterback has to "throw his receiver open." Sanchez did just that on both plays. He put the ball in a spot where only his guy could get it. Also, Sanchez threw the passes so that they were catchable. There were times in the past when Mike Vick would put too much heat on his red zone throws and receivers couldn't handle them. Sanchez made good reads, quick decisions and the right kind of throws. That's what you want in the red zone.
We have Sanchez ranked #16 in our rest-of-season rankings. He's an attractive add mainly due to Chip Kelly's offense. He looked capable at times while with the Jets, but never had a good selection of weapons around him. He'll have plenty of talented receivers to throw to in Philly. His schedule down the stretch only has one scary matchup -- Week 14 vs. Seattle.
Monday, October 27, 2014, 8:36am
Cornerback Patrick Peterson was diagnosed with a concussion in the second quarter and missed the rest of the contest. Peterson was hurt when teammate Deone Bucannon hit Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and drove him into Peterson with enough force that both Maclin and Peterson had to go to the locker room for evaluation.
Maclin would return, but Peterson wouldn’t and will now have to gain clearance by going through the concussion protocol. It’s too early to know whether he has a chance to do so in time to play against the Cowboys next week, although Peterson tweeted that he’s OK, in a game that will likely leave us with a frontrunner for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:31pm
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 6:31pm
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.
Like most of us, he saw a quarterback on Sunday that didn’t seem to be processing information quickly and who was holding onto the ball too long.
But Jaws believes there was more to the story; that part of the problem was that Jacksonville had a bead on what the Eagles were doing on offense.
“I felt that one of the great traits last year of Chip Kelly was getting Number One open. In other words, when you call a play, you design to get the ball to Zach Ertz and he pops open. If you’re designing a play to get the ball to Jeremy Maclin, he pops open. And he was really, really good at that," Jaworski said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. "I thought for the most part [on Sunday], especially in the first half, Jacksonville kind of knew what they were doing. They were taking away where Nick wanted to go with the football. And he wasn’t getting the ball out of his hand quick enough when Number One wasn’t open. That was the big difference in Week 1 to me.”
Foles had a rough first half, but bounced back in the second, completing 15 of 21 passes for 183 yards and two TDs in the comeback victory.
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.
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