An NFL scout takes positions on Eagles
An NFL scout broke down the Eagles for the Daily News. Here are his position-by-position thoughts:
An NFL scout broke down the Eagles for the Daily News. Here are his position-by-position thoughts:
"In my mind, Mike Vick is a 9-7 quarterback. Every now and then, he'll make a great play with either his arm or feet that makes your jaw drop. But he isn't very accurate, makes too many poor decisions, and can't stay healthy.
"They've got to be just fed up with having to put him back together and constantly monitor him and heal all of his injuries. It's not if [he'll get hurt again], it's when. His refusal to learn how to slide is just mind-boggling.
"The other day, Aaron Rodgers ran six times for 52 yards and two touchdowns. On three of his runs, he slid in the open field. Nobody touched him. He got up and ran back to the huddle. I don't know how in the world you can't make Vick slide. Why wouldn't you work on that in the offseason. To continue to enable him and say, 'Well, that's what he does. We can't stop it,' I think that's just foolish.
"To be honest, I think they might actually have a better chance to win this year with the rookie [Nick Foles] at quarterback. I know it's only been the preseason, but the kid has been impressive. He dropped back something like 60 times before he finally got sacked.
"Guys that don't get sacked a lot in this league, guys like Peyton [Manning] and Drew Brees, they don't get sacked because they get rid of the football quickly. They know where their safety valves are. They're not afraid to throw the football away, and they have real good functional mobility. That's what he does."
"They've got a huge hole at left tackle. King Dunlap isn't very good. The next block I see him finish will be the first one. He's going to get eaten up out there. They need the light bulb to come on for Bell, but so far it hasn't.
"One of these guys is going to be seeing Jason Pierre-Paul twice, DeMarcus Ware twice and Brian Orakpo twice. That's the toughest assignment in the whole league seeing those guys six times.
"Jason Peters was so good last year that everybody else around him looked better. Now, you watch Evan Mathis [in the preseason] and he hasn't looked very good. He's looked like a journeyman, which is what he was until he lined up next to Peters last year. They're just not moving anybody up front right now. They don't look good at all as an offensive line. I'd be very, very concerned about that group right now if I was Andy Reid."
"The Eagles' wide receivers are good, but I don't think they're great. They don't really have a difference-maker from a size standpoint like a lot of teams do. Maybe Riley Cooper comes back healthy and emerges. But I haven't seen anything from the guy that says he's going to be a difference-maker. So you're looking at Maclin, Jackson and Avant.
"Jackson is just a shade over 5-9. The rookie, Johnson, is what, 5-8? Cooper is the only wideout on their roster who is taller than 6-foot.
"Joe Gibbs won a Super Bowl with a group of small receivers. But you've got a small quarterback throwing to small receivers. It makes it tough.
"That's not the way the game is played right now."
"Neither [Brent] Celek nor [Clay] Harbor are great blockers. They're OK. Better than a lot of tight ends in the league. Celek was better last year because he played next to Jason Peters. And Peters was just so good that anybody could have helped out sealing the edge.
"Harbor improved as a blocker last year. They used a lot of two-tight end stuff, but he was mainly used in a blocking role. It'll be interesting to see if they increase his role in the passing game, because I think he can be a pretty good pass-catching option.
"Celek was a big part of their passing game in the second half of the season. He probably was their most effective red-zone weapon. He's an excellent run-after-the-catch guy. The thing you worry about with Celek is him wearing down. You look at him, he doesn't look like a guy in his fifth or sixth year. He looks like a guy in his 12th year sometimes. I don't think he's going to have a long career." RUNNING BACK
"LeSean [McCoy] is a great running back. He has great vision and cutback ability and can make a lot of yards like that. But he is really, really going to miss Jason Peters. Peters was just so good. In goal-line situations last year, it got to a point where they just moved Peters over to tight end or wherever it was and ran LeSean right behind him. They didn't even try to hide it. Well, they just don't have anybody like that this year. As good as Peters was as a pass protector last year, he was the most devastating run-blocker in the league. So I don't think LeSean is going to be nearly as effective without Peters.
"I really like their rookie, Bryce Brown. He's their future at running back. I think he's going to leap over Dion Lewis and be the No. 2 pretty quickly. They just don't have anybody with that kind of size and speed."
"I like their line a lot. They've got a lot of good pass-rushers who are going to make life miserable for quarterbacks this year. Jason Babin isn't going to do much for you against the run, but they can move [Cullen] Jenkins and [Fletcher] Cox out there on first down and in short-yardage situations to give them some heft.
"I was really impressed with the CFL guy, [Phillip] Hunt, in the preseason. He's got some quicks coming off the edge. He's made great strides since last season. "This unit is going to make their plays. My only question is at what expense are you getting to the quarterback? Their linebackers have no clue how to play behind this line. There are assignments being broken and linebackers that are out of position. They literally don't know how to play behind this group. And that's going to be a problem."
"Like I said, this group has no idea how to play behind that line. Ray Lewis wouldn't still be in the
league if he didn't have [defensive tackle] Haloti Ngata in front of him. Linebackers can't fight off offensive linemen on their first step and make plays. That's why DeMeco Ryans was so ineffective for them in the preseason. He really has no idea how to play behind this line.
"I watched the tape of the Cleveland game. Ryans played something like 15 snaps and didn't make a single play. Meanwhile, Ryan Rau goes in there and blows up a running back on the second play and forces a fumble. Ryans bites on everything he sees. And when you do that, you take yourself right out of the play a lot of times.
"DeMeco just isn't the same player he was before the injury, and I don't think he's ever going to be. I can't see any scenario where he's going to be successful, particularly behind this line.
"The only linebacker they've got who can play in this scheme right now is Mychal Kendricks. Because he's got unusual speed and unusual instincts to really get through traffic and sort things out and get to the ball carrier.
"[Akeem] Jordan is playing because [Brian] Rolle kept blowing fuses. Now, why is that? Why is he not covering the back coming out of the backfield or not picking up the tight end coming across the formation? I don't know. But it keeps happening to this defense.
"You can keep juggling linebackers, but it's not about putting three individual players out there that are really good. It's about three guys playing together and playing off one another and playing behind your defensive line. They don't really seem to know how to protect themselves and play off each other.
"[Bears linebackers] Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs have played a hundred games together. [49ers linebackers] Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman have played 2 years together. They look like a tandem. They play well together. None of these guys have been playing well together."
"I know a lot of people like Nnamdi Asomugha, but he doesn't have good ball skills. There are three phases to a corner covering a receiver. You can win at the line of scrimmage. You can run with the guy. And then there's the top of the route. What you do with balls in the air. And he's just not good with balls in the air.
"He's good at discouraging the throw. I watched him get beat by the Browns rookie [Josh Gordon] on a throw down the sideline. He never turned around when the ball was in the air or tried to finish it by stripping it. He's just not very good at that.
"[Dominique] Rodgers-Cromartie is their best corner by far. I expect him to have a really good year. His breaks on the ball right now are razor-sharp. He's very competitive. He's in the position where he belongs. I think he's a really good player. A complete player. You have to play him in the press position. He's not the smartest guy. But in that role, he's what you want. He's close to being a real stud.
"[Brandon] Boykin is a natural corner inside or outside. He reads routes well. He's very smart, very competitive, very athletic. I have no problem putting him on the field and letting him go play right now. He's going to be a really good player."
"Along with linebacker, this, to me, is their biggest concern. Nate Allen is a good player, but you wonder about his ability to stay healthy. And Kurt Coleman is 190 pounds. I like Kurt Coleman. There's nothing not to like about him. He's aggressive. He's a good tackler. He's all over the place. But how long can a 190-pound safety stay healthy in this league? "[Jaiquawn] Jarrett's not ready to play. I don't know if he'll ever be. But you can't put him on the field right now. [Colt] Anderson is a terrific special teams player, but you really don't want him taking too many snaps at safety, particularly coming off an ACL injury. I like the kid they got from the Browns, [David] Sims. But it's going to take him a while to get up to speed.
"If Allen and Coleman can stay healthy, I think they're pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. But that's a big if. Because of their lack of depth, I think it's a position of weakness right now."