Eagles

NFL reportedly cutting 2020 preseason in half

NFL reportedly cutting 2020 preseason in half

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is cutting its 2020 preseason in half, according to NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk

Weeks 1 and 4 of the preseason will be canceled, according to the report. 

That means the Eagles will lose games at Indianapolis and vs. the Jets. They will still be scheduled to play at Miami and vs. New England. According to other reports, the preseason start will be pushed back later in August. 

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ preseason schedule: 

CANCELED: Week 1 — at IND on NBC10
STILL ON: Week 2 — at MIA on NBC10
STILL ON: Week 3 — vs. NE on NBC10
CANCELED: Week 4 — vs. NYJ on NBC10

This report seems to jibe with a report from USA Today that said the NFLPA is considering a proposal to limit rosters from 90 to 80 or even 75 for teams to make it easier to socially distance this summer. Without half of their preseason games, teams will likely find it easier to have smaller rosters. 

The news about the reduced preseason comes after the NFL advised teams last week that training camps are still expected to begin on July 28 with rookies and select players permitted to report earlier. 

It’s important for NFL teams to get a full training camp in, especially after missing the entirety of spring workouts. 

“I do think because we've missed the entire off-season, it's going to take all of the five to six weeks that we have of training camp to be prepared for a regular season,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason. “I think that you have to -- that's part of training camp is conditioning the mind, conditioning the body for the physical aspect of the game. In the spring and summer, it's about the mental side, and then just your physical conditioning from workouts and running and things of that nature.

“So I do think that a full training camp, moving forward, would it prepare you --  because I do think you can get enough contact in, and get enough padded practices in, and you would have to maximize those, but at the same time, you would have to be smart to get your guys ready and prepared for that opening weekend.”

For now, the Eagles are expected to open their 2020 season at Washington on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. 

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Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert gets a very bold 2020 prediction from PFF

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert gets a very bold 2020 prediction from PFF

Pro Football Focus released its ranking of the 15 best tight ends in the NFL on Wednesday, and somehow the decision to place Rob Gronkowski at No. 3 is only the second-boldest move on the list.

The boldest? Placing Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 6 in the league - and ahead of Zach Ertz.

Wait, what?

Eagles fans know the Birds probably have the league's best tight end duo, and 2020 should be a big year for Goedert. But placing the third-year tight end in front of Ertz, a perennial Pro Bowler coming off the second-best season of his career? Hmm.

Let's go to the list for some explanation:

6. DALLAS GOEDERT

The best tight end on the Eagles’ roster heading into 2020 is not Zach Ertz. Despite the receiving totals pointing pretty clearly to Ertz being the better player in Philadelphia, it’s actually Goedert who graded out as the better receiver in 2019. Goedert’s size and athleticism make him dangerous in one-on-one situations, evident in his receiving grade against single coverage that ranked near the top of the list this past season.

[...]

He just needs more opportunities in a featured role, because the talent is there.

7. ZACH ERTZ

Many would rank Ertz as high as third on this list, so I’ll start this out by explaining a little bit why he comes in at just seventh. Primarily, he isn’t nearly as dynamic as some of these other guys with the ball in his hands.

Sandwiched between Antonio Gates (36 years old at the start of this stretch) and Jason Witten (34 years old) is not where you want to be as one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL in your prime.

It's hard to say these evaluations are far off. I'd venture to guess most Eagles fans, and most football observers, expect Goedert to overtake Ertz as the team's TE1 at some point in the next few years. Goedert is more athletic than Ertz, he's already a well-rounded player, and Ertz isn't getting any younger.

And the criticisms of Ertz - his relative lack of game-breaking athleticism compared to a George Kittle or Travis Kelce, and his constant inability to break tackles - hold true, as they have for years.

But predicting Goedert moving ahead of Ertz this year? That's gutsy! 

I think a lot of folks missed Goedert's sneakily productive season in 2019 - 58 catches, 607 yards, and five touchdowns - and we'll likely see Goedert play even more in 2020. His targets (87) didn't match Ertz's receptions (88) last year, so this might feel like a reach for a one-year change. But the role switch for TE1 and TE2 also might be closer than we think.

And if Goedert does take a big leap in 2020, that might make Howie Roseman think twice about extending Zach Ertz. The veteran tight end, possibly the best in franchise history, said this week he wants to remain an Eagle forever

If Goedert overtakes Ertz in productivity this year, as PFF thinks will happen, Ertz might have to take a discount to stick around in midnight green when his contract is up after the 2021 season.

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Eagle Eye podcast: A closer look at DE after addition of Vinny Curry

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USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: A closer look at DE after addition of Vinny Curry

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Barrett Brooks react to the addition of Vinny Curry and what it means for the entire defensive end position. 

What about guys like Shareef Miller, Genard Avery and Joe Ostman? 

Jatavis Brown abruptly retired this weekend, which leaves the Eagles really light at the linebacker positions. The guys take a closer look. Jason Kelce and Jason Peters are forming a really interesting duo on the Eagles’ line. 

And Nate Gerry and Lane Johnson are off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

  • (2:06) — What the return of Vinny Curry means for Shareef Miller.
  • (16:01) — Jatavis Brown abruptly retires.
  • (25:53) — Eagles lack talented players under 25-years-old.
  • (33:16) — Jason Kelce is learning from Jason Peters.

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More on the Eagles