During Easter I somehow stumbled into three or four conversations that found their way towards an iconic character in television: Michael Scott. As a result, I will be doing this final installment of Hold On You’re Going Home in a way that would make him proud…
Damaris Johnson: You were charged with embezzlement before joining the Eagles and after these two years we know the only thing that you embezzled is talent. Boom! You’re going home!
Bryce Brown: I know you had some problems at school, but no one ever mentions your kindergarten struggles…you’d only color outside of the edges. Boom! You’re going home!
Nate Allen: For a guy that can be described using the words “Florida” and “safety” you do a surprisingly horrible job of standing your ground. Boom! You’re going home!
Curtis Marsh: You wouldn’t have so many injuries if you had milk with your Wheaties as a kid. Then again you may have never had Wheaties either. It’s the breakfast of champions. Boom! You’re going home!
BONUS! DeSean Jackson: You got flack for being a bad guy in Philly, but I imagine you’ll do great work for the DC community when Dan Snyder hires you as a sign language translator. Boom! You’re already gone!
A widely-known, but highly under-appreciated fact of life in the NFL is that kickers score the most points. Period. When looking at the list for the NFL’s all-time leading scorers the first non-kicker is Jerry Rice…and he’s 31st. Kicking is an essential part of NFL success, which is exactly why Alex Henery needs to be shown the door.
Selected in the fourth round out of Nebraska, Henery was considered an elite kicking prospect. He was the most accurate kicker in college history with a 89.5% conversion rate and was showered with awards over his four seasons as a Husker. The kid was good.
However, that success hasn’t translated to the NFL. In fact, Henery has regressed each season that he’s been in the league. His career kicking percentages are 88.9% (2011, 5th place), 87.1% (2012, 15th) and 82.1% (2013, 22nd). For 2013 specifically, Henery’s numbers took a dive due to struggles in the 40-49 yard range where he hit seven of ten.
So just how important is that decrease in field goal accuracy?
The offseason is almost over for the Eagles as we near the start of (not so) voluntary workouts, which start April 21st. There’s also that little, totally under-hyped thing called the draft on the way. Instead of blathering about needs that we all know I’d rather discuss the players that should get the boot before the regular season starts. I’ll be doing this series in installments because I said so. Wanna fight about it?
The first player on this list actually really hurts. However, as much I don’t like it, it’s time for Brandon Graham to move on. Graham, who was the Eagles first pick in the 2010 draft, is no longer a fit with this team.
The initial intent was to land a pass rushing force on the opposite side of Trent Cole in the 4-3. It worked. Despite a slow start to his career and a torn ACL, Graham was one of very few bright spots for the 2012 Eagles. In fact, he was utterly dominant. Take a look at the numbers according to PFF:
Here’s what we’re talking about:
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[Note from Vince: This piece is a counter to my article from yesterday. Expect us to verbally duke it out in a podcast this week!]
Why did the Eagles release DeSean Jackson? He’s a locker room distraction. He’s cocky. He’s lazy. He’s a bad influence. He’s a gang member. Most important of all, he does not fit in with the Eagles culture.
What is the Eagles culture and what exactly about it does Jackson not suit? All of those tag lines about Jackson listed above that explain why he was released are rather ambiguous.
Here’s the concrete stuff.
He recorded 82 receptions, 1,332 yards, nine touchdowns and a 16.2 ypc average in 2013 as the team’s most utilized and targeted receiving option.
It is not entirely clear what culture the Eagles are looking to build, but the above facts about Jackson seem rather congruent with a winning one.
After weeks of back and forth, the Eagles released DeSean Jackson on Friday. Now, he’s a Washington Redskin.
The debate over Jackson’s departure has hinged on the simple and seemingly unanswerable question: Was this the right move?
In order to give a fair assessment of this decision you can’t look at the move as an isolated instance. Yes, the Eagles just released a 27-year-old Pro Bowl receiver coming off of a career season. Yes, they’ll need to add some depth. However, I don’t think the answer can be found by asking ‘how does this affect the team?’ It should be ‘what does this say about the organization?’
Once free agency settles down I decided to talk with some Saints fans about the newest Eagles additions of Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles.
Jenkins, who was drafted by the Saints with the 14th overall pick in 2009, started the last four seasons at safety. Sproles, who was signed away from the San Diego Chargers, played three years in New Orleans. Based on that time, here’s what Reddit’s Saints fans had to say:
1. What’s the best and worst of Malcolm Jenkins
Malcom Jenkins isn’t a star safety, but he’s a relatively dependable player. I think he’ll do well on Philly and still has some growing potential, considering he’s only 26. He has a tendency to make big plays when it matters, so I’d consider him a “clutch” player. His biggest asset is speed, not covering ability, though his reactions to force INTs are always good too.
Jenkin’s best trait would be his intelligence. He rarely is out of position on a play. Yet his tackling ability leaves much to be desired. He will miss quite a few open field tackles that are sure to make a highlight reel for the other team because this usually results in a touchdown. His athletic abilities are very average for his position as well. He does, however, make a few outstanding plays a year which will leave you wondering if he is really the same player. It is totally possible that he will improve his technique and will become a more elite safety rather than average.
In what was a seemingly dull free agency period for the Eagles, they pulled off what will be a top-notch, low-risk acquisition in Darren Sproles.
Sproles will provide that versatile X factor that the Eagles failed to find in the likes of Demaris Johnson, Russell Sheppard, and Brad Smith (though I don’t mind Smith). He’ll play in the backfield, spread out wide, and contribute in the return game as well. It’s just a truly perfect fit.
So let’s dig into some of the numbers in order to figure out exactly how Sproles was used and the type of production to expect from him.
To the surprise of no onef, Sproles has been used significantly more as a receiver than an actual running back. How unbalanced was it? Just check out his numbers from his three years in New Orleans.