Eagles

Eagles power ranking roundups: Where do they fall before OTAs?

Eagles power ranking roundups: Where do they fall before OTAs?

Power rankings don’t mean a whole lot, but they’re fun. 

And after getting into the playoffs the last two years and winning four playoff games in the last two years, the Eagles are considered to be one of the better teams in the NFL. 

But how good are they? 

Well, we’ve polled NFL power rankings for eight different sites. The highest ranking the Eagles got was 6 and the lowest was 10. Their average out of the eight power rankings we polled was 7.875. 

Here’s a look at all of them: 

ESPN: 10 

What they said: The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard and selected Penn State's Miles Sanders in the second round. The talent infusion will elevate a unit that ranked 28th in rushing last season (1,570 yards) and was second from the bottom in yards per attempt. 

Our take: This is ESPN’s nerdy stats-based rankings. Somehow the Bears and Falcons are ahead of them. 

Peter King: 8 

What they said: I am trusting Carson Wentz to play a full season. If I were not, and I were trusting Nate Sudfeld to be the 2019 Nick Foles, I sure as heck would not have the Eagles eighth. So…I get the Eagles allowing Foles to leave in free agency. It was a mensch thing to do. Foles, more than any single player, was responsible for Philly winning its first Super Bowl and writing one of the great stories in recent NFL history. And then Foles had a second ridiculous run last year, engineering a 16-15 playoff upset of the Bears in Chicago, and he got to be so beloved in the Eagles’ locker room that Chris Long built a shrine to Foles in his locker. He wanted to leave. He wanted one more shot, at 30, to have his own team, a team that wouldn’t put him in the shadow of the prospective franchise quarterback. So Foles got the golden handshake from Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman and Jeff Lurie. Good for Foles. Not so sure it’s the best thing for the Eagles — though if they’d kept him for a couple of years at legit QB money, it might have led to valuable long-termer Brandon Graham leaving in free agency; can’t sign ‘em all. The Eagles can be confident in Carson Wentz, in his health and his ability. (I would be too) But sure? No way. Wentz has been lost for the season in two straight Decembers, with a torn ACL and a fractured vertebra, and missed 13 of the Eagles’ last 24 games. He wasn’t the bold player in 2018 that he was before his ACL tear, and not just because of the 4-6 record in his last 10 starts. Maybe it’s a good thing that he stayed in the pocket more (he was more accurate, to be sure), and that probably serves him best for a long career. But the Eagles have to find the right balance of derring-do and pocket presence for Wentz, because he’s a great weapon out of the pocket.

Our take: I don’t get all the talk about Foles. He was never coming back. But King is right about Wentz. He needs to be on the field. I definitely don’t get why the 49ers are at No. 7. I get King is trying to make a gutsy pick but that’s a hard sell for me. 

Sporting News: 10 

What they said: There's no more comfortable contingency for Carson Wentz, so it's on him to be durable and take advantage of all the bonus help the Eagles have given him. The backbone of Jim Schwartz's defense keeps this team among one of the league's most well-rounded.

Our take: The Bears, Packers and Browns are ahead of the Eagles. I don’t see any of that being true. I know the Bears had a better record than the Eagles last year, but the Eagles went to their building and won in the playoffs. And the Eagles have a better QB. 

USA Today: 6 

What they said: QB Carson Wentz is equipped with everything he needs to take Philly back to the top...except guarantee he can finally make it through a season unscathed.

Our take: This guy went out on a few limbs. The Vikings are at 5 and the Rams are at 7 and the Chiefs are at 8. I understand jumping off Kansas City, but the Rams should still be pretty good, right? Still, the Eagles at 6 make sense. 

CBS Sports: 7

What they said: Carson Wentz will be back and that will amp up the offense. What will Jordan Howard bring to help him?

Our take: The Packers are way up the list at No. 2, which is too early for them. But the Eagles being behind the Rams and Saints in the NFC is fine by me. 

NBC Sports Bay Area: 9 

What they said: The Eagles had a solid draft and will remain a team proficient on both sides of the ball. They’re strong along both fronts and have explosiveness in the passing game. There is, however, no Nick Foles safety net this year. Carson Wentz just has to stay healthy or the season will spiral.

Our take: The Bears, Rams and Saints are ahead of the Eagles here. I disagree on the Bears, but this isn’t bad. The Browns are at No. 6. The hype is real. 

NFL.com: 6

What they said: "All the Right Moves" is both the name of a middling Tom Cruise football movie from 1983 and the correct label for what the 2017 NFL champs are doing. Philadelphia hit the ground running in the first round by leapfrogging the Texans (picking at No. 23) into the 22nd overall spot to ensure they'd land Jason Peters' eventual replacement, Andre Dillard, who will eventually look out for Carson Wentz's blind side. Other draft banter: Still appreciate the trade for running back Jordan Howard, even with Doug Pederson's squad adding a quality Penn State back (Miles Sanders) in the second round (No. 53 overall). Anyone else feel like the Eagles are winning at life?

Our take: I think this is right, at least in terms of the Eagles’ being third in the NFC. This has the Bears at No. 7, which I think is only fair. 

Bleacher Report: 7

What they said: It's Carson's show now.

In each of the last two years, the Philadelphia Eagles were forced to turn to backup quarterback Nick Foles after Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury. That won't be an option for the team in 2019 — Foles will be leading the Jaguars this year.

That makes Wentz's health the biggest potential concern looming over the team. It isn't the only one; with Jordan Hicks gone, the middle linebacker spot is iffy, and the trade of Michael Bennett was a blow to the defensive line.

But the Eagles added D-line help in free agency by signing tackle Malik Jackson and bringing back Vinny Curry, and two of Philly's first three draft picks (tackle Andre Dillard and wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside) were both excellent calls.

Our take: The Bears, Rams and Saints are ahead of the Eagles in this one. We’ve been through this. But it seems like that’s the biggest discrepancy: Are the Eagles or the Bears the third-best NFC team? 

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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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Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson is officially in offseason mode, and he kicked off Pro Bowl week - which he's now officially part of - by showing up on former teammate Chris Long's podcast and shooting the breeze for an hour.

The duo bantered about plenty, from dealing with failure and ego as football players, to Johnson's time as a grave digger. About halfway through, Johnson offered up a seldom-heard explanation for his hairstyle, or lackthereof.

Johnson, of course, famously keeps his hair short (read: nonexistent) on top, and keeps his beard long. He explained to Long that it took some serious self-reflection, and a couple rough games early in his rookie season, to officially start shaving his head:

I was in college, it was my senior year, and my friend goes, 'Bro, are you f***ing losing your hair?' I said, what are you talking about? Then I went to the mirror, and I'd clearly been in denial for some time. I said, 'Bro, this s*** is terrible.' 

So I played with it my senior year, it was bad. I'd comb it over, wear my hats, feather it out in the back, try to look cool. Then I got to the Eagles, and after getting bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney and giving up three sacks to Justin Houston, I just shaved that s*** off. I've been a different man ever since.

The Eagles, you might remember, lost in Week 2 that year to Freeney's Chargers, and then lost in Week 3 to Houston's Chiefs, to fall to 1-3. They went 9-3 the rest of the way, a startling and fun turnaround. I'm not saying it's all thanks to Johnson shaving his head... but maybe?

That's about as good a reason as I can think of to make a hairstyle change. Johnson has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL since he started shaving his head, so maybe he's on to something. He spends very little time focusing on his hair, and plenty of time focusing on his game.

When you go back and look at Johnson with hair, it's... extremely jarring:

Johnson is basically unrecognizable in that video. He looks like a child! Thank goodness for Freeney and Houston shellacking Johnson as a rookie, or he might still be clinging to that brutal hairdo.

Maybe Johnson should've floated this idea to the Eagles' coaching staff years ago. Who knows what a haircut could've done for Nelson Agholor?

You can listen to, and watch, the full conversation between Johnson and Long below:

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