Eagles Mailbag: Starting LBs, Jordan Howard, return for Big V

Eagles Mailbag: Starting LBs, Jordan Howard, return for Big V

I answered the first batch of your questions yesterday, about JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the Eagles’ corners, but there are plenty more to go. 

As always, thanks for all the great questions: 


In their base defense, it should be Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown and Kamu Grugier-Hill. It seems pretty easy to me. 

Perhaps L.J. Fort pushes for a starting spot, but the addition of Brown should make you feel a lot better at depth. This actually isn’t a bad group anymore. Bradham is an above-average NFL starter, Brown is a former Pro Bowler and KGH can shine in a limited role. After that, having Fort and Paul Worrilow is decent depth. I’d expect Brown to man the MIKE spot in base, which should free up Bradham. But I still expect Bradham to be the LB who doesn’t leave the field. Bradham and Brown should be the top two (for most of the time) in nickel. KGH can still start, but will have a limited role on defense and his full (and important) role on special teams. 

I don’t know if Sanders will need to go over 1,000 for the Eagles to not re-sign Howard. We have to see how this season goes, obviously, but if Sanders at least shows he can be a true feature back, I can’t imagine the Eagles would re-sign Howard. 

Sure, Howard is still relatively young and maybe he’d be worth keeping. But Sanders can grow into a three-down back, so I don’t really see the need in keeping Howard if Sanders is what the Eagles thought he was. The great thing about Sanders is he’ll be cost-controlled for three years after 2019, so if he’s about as good or better than Howard, why would the Eagles spend money to keep Howard? 

This is a good question. All of a sudden, the Eagles have a surplus of offensive tackles. Lane Johnson and Jason Peters are the starters. Andre Dillard was a first-round pick. Jordan Mailata is a project with great promise. So Big V, entering the final year of his rookie contract, might not have a future here. So the thought is that the Eagles could find some return for him before he becomes a free agent next year. That’s possible, but it’s also important to remember that offensive tackles — even so-so ones — seem to get paid on the open market. So a compensatory pick that comes back from Big V might be even greater, but you’d have to wait for that. 

For now, what would he fetch? In recent years, the Eagles have traded away two offensive linemen in the summer. In 2017, they traded Allen Barbre to the Broncos for a conditional seventh-round pick and later that summer sent Matt Tobin to the Seahawks for a pick swap. The Eagles gave a seventh to get a fifth. 

Around the league, the best recent example happened last April, when the 49ers sent Trent Brown to the Patriots. In that deal, the Pats got Brown and a five for San Francisco’s 2018 three. There are a lot of parallels. Brown was a seventh-round pick in 2015 and was entering the final year of his rookie contract last season. Big V was a fifth-round pick in 2016 and will enter the final year of his contract this season. Brown had played in 32 games with 28 starts, while Big V has played in 39 games and 17 starts and also started in the Super Bowl. Of course, Brown was and is a better player (who just got paid this offseason) but the Eagles could start here and see where it goes. If there’s an injury in the summer, they could find another team to be desperate. 

It’s possible. There has been plenty of NFL buzz around Douglas and I feel pretty confident in saying he’s going to be an NFL GM at some point. The Eagles have to hold on to him as long as they can, but that’ll only last so long. Howie Roseman isn’t going anywhere and the natural progression for Douglas would be to become a franchise’s primary personnel decision maker. I would hope, for their sake, the Eagles already have contingency plans for whenever Douglas eventually leaves. 

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Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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