Man that was one angry Doug. After today’s press conference with Head Coach Doug Pederson, the talk around Nova Care Complex has been all about Pederson’s reaction to continuous questions on who will start under center this Thursday against the Falcons.
If you missed the press conference, Pederson was not happy that a report came out yesterday from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Nick Foles is expected to start in the season opener, while Carson Wentz continues to rehab his leg.
Doug Pederson is not havin it. Not happy that report came out that Nick Foles is starting
“I am trying to win a football game. I don’t want to put my game plan out there for everybody to see it. And teams can scheme. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 2, 2018
Pederson started the press conference on an aggressive note, thanking the media for “putting words in his mouth” which seems to be about Rapoport’s report. For weeks Pederson has said who will start Thursday is going to be close to a game-time decision in hopes of forcing the Falcons to prepare for both Wentz and Foles, while also continuing to evaluate Wentz’s health.
Media members have continuously pushed for updates on the quarterback situation to Pederson’s annoyance, however this time the media fired back accusing Pederson of “grouping them all together.”
It makes sense why Pederson was so fired up. This has been a topic he has answered questions about for months from the local media despite wanting to make the process as secretive as possible.
Not only has the media asked the same few questions in hundreds of forms, but the Eagles offense is different based on who is under center. Unlike other teams where a quarterback change wouldn’t drastically change the offense, the Eagles switching signal callers does force some adjustments for opposing defenses.
To the media’s defense however, it is almost impossible to withhold information in the NFL. Especially with a story like this one.
Pederson is feeling that and it has driven him crazy.
Clearly either Rapoport is correct and someone from inside leaked the news (with the help of the local media spreading it), or no decision has been made and Rapoport once again has gotten on Pederson’s nerves spreading news that may not be accurate yet (see the Alshon Jeffery PUP report).
Wentz has not been cleared for contact yet so Foles being the favorite to start in just five days seems realistic but no official decision has been made despite the report. The Eagles could clear Wentz at any point this week before Thursday and still play him.
It isn’t like he can be hit in practice anyway.
Would it be beyond Doug Pederson to leak false info to Rapoport in hopes of throwing off the Falcons while making a point to the media at the same time?
This is the same guy that called a trick play that had a backup tight end throw to a backup quarterback on 4th and goal in the Super Bowl against the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
Would it be crazy if he started Wentz while getting back at the media?
Just a thought.
Bell over Brown is an obvious choice for the Eagles
It’s almost fishing season in the NFL as all 32 teams look to catch some nice pieces for their roster through free agency, the draft, and the trade market. While the biggest fish don’t always tend to swim in those waters, every year a few big names suddenly become available for a team looking to spend.
This year, it just so happens two of the best at their position are up for grabs, and they both are coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Star offensive weapons in RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown will both be in different jerseys next year for the first time in their careers. Bell is set to become a free agent, while Pittsburgh and Brown agreed a trade is in the best interest for both sides.
On paper, the Eagles could make sense for both. Adding weapons around Carson Wentz will always be a priority. However if Howie Roseman and the front office decide they want to go after one of these expensive play-makers, Bell makes much more sense for a number of reasons.
Bell doesn’t come with the baggage Brown does
Don’t let this fool you. Talent beats culture. It is why the Steelers were consistently atop the AFC despite a chaotic locker room. Coaches like Chip Kelly flamed out because they prioritized scheme and a robotic culture.
Despite that, Brown’s antics off the field are a real concern. He quit on his team with the season on the line. Pittsburgh needed a win and a Baltimore loss to make the postseason in Week 17 but Brown was MIA.
The temper tantrums on the sidelines, ghosting your team with the season on the line, that kind of behavior despite six straight seasons of 100+ receptions is eye opening.
Bell doesn’t have that stench to him. While Steelers fans will tell you Bell was selfish and uncommitted to football, it is unfair to say he has character concerns because he didn’t want to risk his long term health in a contract year. He wanted to be paid like the star he is and Pittsburgh wanted to pay the position not the player. Can’t blame either side.
Brown would require trade assets AND a big contract
Some people love to scoff at the idea of paying any significant resource for a star RB like Bell. While it wouldn’t be smart to kill the salary cap for the do-it-all weapon, it is far more reasonable to pay Bell rather than pay Brown big money and give up the trade assets it would take to get him from Pittsburgh.
What sounds better to you? $14+ million a year for Bell or $14+ million a year for Brown and perhaps a 2nd round pick + Nelson Agholor?
Bell, Agholor, and the rookie taken with that 2nd round pick sounds a lot better than just Brown.
The report Bell wants $50 million in the first two years is scary. He turned down a 5 year $70 million deal with the Steelers but perhaps when the market develops Bell will have to temper his expectations.
Bell’s age and position is more attractive to the Eagles
Two other major elements in deciding between Bell and Brown would be age and position.
By the start of next season, Brown will be 31. Bell will be be 27. Bell has four years on Brown.
If Bell could maintain his productivity into his early 30’s, the Eagles could be set at RB for 5-6 years.
Being a running back also makes him a more attractive option. Doug Pederson’s offense is in desperate need of a talented RB.
Having a weapon like Bell in the backfield that can be your top runner, a top receiver, and efficient pass blocker puts this Eagles offense on a level only the Saints and Rams can match in the NFC.
It also makes the offense less predictable. Using a committee with featured grinders like Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajay, and Josh Adams to go along with the clear pass catchers in Darren Sproles and Corey Clement can be a good way to keep your backs fresh, but it is clear what the offense plans to do on 3rd and 4 when Sproles is out there.
It is easier to predict what Pederson will do on 3rd and 2 when Blount was out there. Someone like Bell keeps the defense guessing in any situation.
While the Eagles could use more speed on offense, Brown would be a luxury. A luxury that could cost high draft picks, players, a high cap hit, and potential baggage.
Is that worth it for a team that already has at least four quality receiving options? Can’t imagine Brown would be happy not seeing 13+ targets a game.
History tells us the Eagles won’t go after either Bell or Brown. However with an aggressive front office that has shown a commitment in surrounding their franchise QB with weapons, it wouldn’t be suprising to see one of these two in midnight green. Especially with Roseman’s ability to perform magic on the salary cap.
If they decide to pursue one, it should be Le’Veon Bell.
Offseason Options: Wide Receiver
The Eagles have plenty of weapons for Carson Wentz to throw to in 2019. The WR position, however, could use more speed to compliment the bigger weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert.
If Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, and/or Jordan Matthews leave the Eagles this offseason, what options does Howie Roseman have in free agency and the draft when it comes to pass catchers?
Louie and Gino give some big name options in the draft and free agency, as well as some receivers that could fly under the radar in both offseason periods.
Offseason Options: Running Back
It is time for the Eagles to add some serious talent in the backfield. What are their options if they want to add a big name free agent? What about a high draft pick?
If Howie Roseman sticks to his strategy of lower-priced free agents or draft picks, who could be a diamond in the rough?
Our “Offseason options’ series begins with RB on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
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