Eagles

Report: Lurie overrides decision to allow DeFilippo to interview elsewhere

Report: Lurie overrides decision to allow DeFilippo to interview elsewhere

The Eagles' brass was in Mobile, Alabama, this week, the site where they first fell in love with Carson Wentz in 2016. 

A little less than a year later, owner Jeffrey Lurie used his power to make sure Wentz wouldn't lose the coach who spends the most time with him. 

Last week, ESPN reported that it was Lurie who blocked quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo from interviewing for the Jets' vacant offensive coordinator position. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane, Lurie's decision came after Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman tried to stay true to their word. 

When DeFilippo was hired a year ago, the Eagles told him that they wouldn't block an opportunity for him to move on if an offensive coordinator job came calling. And when the Jets wanted to interview him, Pederson and Roseman allowed the request, according to the Inquirer. 

On Wednesday, when asked about the switch of wide receivers coaches, Roseman said Pederson determines who is on the coaching staff. He repeated that answer when asked about the Eagles blocking DeFilippo from interviewing with the Jets. 

It's unclear if DeFilippo would have even been interested in the Jets' job, but there were other jobs — possibly more enticing — available this offseason. Before joining the Eagles, DeFilippo was the Browns' offensive coordinator for one season in 2015. 

The original ESPN report detailed the increasing involvement for Lurie in football matters. Roseman on Wednesday downplayed any increased role for the owner, who, for the second straight year, was at the Senior Bowl to watch practice. 

Roseman said Lurie just "loves being around football" and was "asking questions," not giving input on the players the team was scouting. 

In addition to blocking DeFilippo from interviewing elsewhere, the Inquirer also reports Lurie is committed to giving Wentz the weapons he needs this offseason. The Eagles' receiving corps was one of the worst in the league in 2016. 

While Roseman didn't outright say the team will try to find receivers through free agency instead of the draft, he did make sure to mention that aside from in 2014, receivers from college take a while to produce in the NFL. 

The Eagles might not have the cap room to make a significant move for a marquee skill position player right now, but have options to free up some room. Roseman said, "It's our job to make tough decision and make sure that they're not emotional."

Based on recent reports, it's starting to seem like Lurie is becoming an increasing part of that decision-making crew. 

Eagles mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

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USA Today Images

Eagles mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. The Eagles are probably enjoying it too — because on Tuesday, they’re back to work. 

That’s when the team’s second round of OTAs begin. The Eagles will have a few more weeks of the voluntary offseason program before the mandatory minicamp June 12-14. 

Let’s take a dip into the mailbag: 

Yeah, I’d consider Jay Ajayi the lead back for this coming season. I really think the Eagles are going to ride him a little more than they did last year now that he’s had plenty of time in the offense. But I still don’t see Doug Pederson or Duce Staley abandoning the running back-by-committee approach. So while I think Ajayi will get the bulk of the carries, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will still play plenty. 

Ajayi will be the feature back, but Pederson will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs too. Sure, the Eagles want to use him up on the final year of his deal, but they shouldn’t do it before they really need him. 

The Eagles really like Mack Hollins and it’s not hard to figure out why. He’s a nice, humble kid who works extremely hard. As a rookie, Hollins played in all 16 games and had just 16 receptions for 226 yards and one touchdown. He was even less productive in the postseason, when he caught one pass for nine yards. 

To answer your question, yes, I think Hollins will be more involved. It also can’t hurt that the Eagles brought in his college position coach, Gunter Brewer. The problem is that as long as everyone’s healthy, he’s still behind Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor. He’ll get snaps, but they’ll be limited. He’ll have to make the most of them. 

Quick Hollins story: Late in the season, I asked him about his lack of offensive production and he looked me dead in the eyes and said his job isn’t to catch passes. I probably looked confused. “My job is to help us win,” he said. “And I’ve been doing that.” 

Got a few questions about bringing in a linebacker and I understand why. On the first day of OTAs, the Eagles cut Mychal Kendricks and lost Paul Worrilow for the season. Earlier this week, I looked at the depth the Eagles have. I still wouldn’t worry about the position. 

I think it’s very possible the Eagles bring in another veteran linebacker, but I’m not sure there’s a huge rush. What might have been lost this week is that to cut Kendricks, the Eagles must feel really good about Jordan Hicks’ recovery. And remember, the Eagles are in two-linebacker sets most of the time. Corey Nelson will have a chance to be the weakside guy with Kendricks gone. And there's still decent depth. 

Maybe the Eagles add a player this summer, but it’s also possible they wait a bit to see what they have. For what it’s worth, I’d at least take a look at Bowman to see if there’s anything left.  

Corey Graham is still available and Pederson seemed more than open to bringing him back, so that’s very possible. Graham was a really important addition last offseason because, like you said, it allowed Jenkins to move closer to the line.

A lot of Jenkins playing that hybrid LB position was out of necessity with Hicks gone. According to ProFootballFocus, he played 42 percent of his snaps at LB, so it’s hard to imagine him doing it more in 2018. Still, Jenkins' versatility and his importance to the team can’t be overstated. 

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

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AP Images

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

Lane Johnson had a breakout season in 2017, holding down the right tackle spot for the Eagles on his way to his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. 

And he even made the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list, which is voted on by players. 

All the way down at No. 95. 

“Obviously, I think it’s a joke to be honest with you,” Johnson said on the Mike Missanelli Show Friday afternoon. 

That’s when fill-in co-host Eytan Shander interjected: “Good it is a joke. You were robbed.”

Johnson, 28, is considered by most to be the best right tackle in the NFL and there will likely be plenty of the guys he shut down during last season on the list ahead of him. 

“Yeah, but that’s alright,” Johnson answered. “Better luck next year. That’s what they tell me. I think it’s just … there’s so many great players, it’s hard to put them in order. I guess just being on there is cool. Hoping next year, I’ll be a little bit lower on the list.”

Johnson isn’t the only Eagles player who might have a beef with where they’re slotted on the list. So far, the bottom 50 have been revealed and the Eagles have four players so far: 

68. Zach Ertz 
69. Fletcher Cox
95. Lane Johnson 
96. Malcolm Jenkins  

Johnson also talked about a few other topics on Friday shows, which was co-hosted by Shander and Geoff Mosher. He mentioned that he’s obviously hated in Boston and loved in Philly for his comments about the Patriots. 

He also talked about his relationship with Jason Peters, becoming a more vocal leader, and, of course, this …