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Podcast Recap: What Pieces Are In Place?

Posted Jan 9, 2016

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In the first offseason edition of the Eagles Insider Podcast, Fran Duffy, Chris McPherson and Alex Smith fielded questions from the fans about a number of topics surrounding this team, one of which was centered on Fletcher Cox and whether he would be a good fit if the defense change to a 4-3 scheme in 2016.

With the coaching search already underway, a change in scheme has been a major topic of interest for fans in general. However, McPherson explained that Cox can play in any system and remain a dominant force for the Eagles’ defense. No one should be concerned about whether the defensive end can make an adjustment.

“Would Fletcher Cox be as good? I think no question,” McPherson said. “We saw it in his rookie season in 2012, and when the Eagles drafted him in the first round out of Mississippi State, one of the reasons was because he was scheme versatile. I think the Eagles already envisioned the potential of changing to a 3-4 scheme and Fletcher Cox would be able to fit either way.

“He’s been outstanding as a 5-technique defensive end in this 3-4 scheme, but I would love to see him as a penetrating 3-technique. He put up 9.5 sacks already this year in the role as a 3-4 D-end. I could only imagine what he’d do in a 4-3.”

Another interesting question the three addressed was if wideout Jordan Matthews would see playing time on the outside in 2016. Through his first two seasons, he has primarily played as a slot receiver, but with new coaches this could be the perfect opportunity for Matthews to play in both areas.

“I think what you’ll see is probably a mix. You’ll see him in the slot a good amount. You’ll see him outside a good amount,” Duffy said. “The other thing is who is going to be on the outside? Will there be more bodies brought in at the wide receiver position?”

We won’t know the answers to those questions until a new coach is hired, but right now, there is a lot to think about regarding the Eagles and how they will choose to move forward in 2016.

Also On The Eagles Insider Podcast:

Three-And-Out at the 2:58 mark
Game Time at the 15:18 mark

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Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell get together to take an in-depth look at the All-22 tape from the week prior, breaking down what worked, what didn’t and what lies ahead for the Eagles. However, now that the offseason is upon us, in this week’s Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast the two decided to discuss what pieces the new head coach will have at his disposal.

“The first thing you have to do is evaluate the current players because you have to decide what their talents are, which players have talents that can theoretically fit any scheme, which players have talents that are scheme-specific and if they’re scheme-specific, do they fit the schemes and philosophies of a new head coach? If they don’t fit his scheme, then you’re looking for new players in certain positions,” said Cosell.

Both then moved into a discussion regarding the Eagles’ run game. Clearly, the team has a trio of talented backs in DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, but in the case of Murray, the two agreed that he will need to be utilized differently next year.

“If your new head coach is much more of a conventional NFL head coach where the quarterback is under center more, you do have a back in DeMarco Murray who is a downhill runner,” Cosell explained. “He’s a downhill track runner. That would become your run game. That would need to become your run game if you want to get the most out of DeMarco Murray.”

A conventional NFL offense would not only suit Murray better, according to Duffy and Cosell, because it would also provide a much better fit for quarterback Sam Bradford. As of now, a return to Philadelphia for Bradford remains in the air, but for the smoothest transition, Cosell believes the Eagles need him back in 2016.

“I think you have to sign Sam Bradford, and not because he’s a Top 3 quarterback in the league, but because he’s a professional quarterback and I think he can clearly run a conventional NFL offense with more play-action, more under center,” Cosell said. “You don’t want to start your coaching, your first year in Philadelphia, with the quarterback position in flux because one thing Bradford gives you is a quarterback. Your position is not in flux now. You’ve got a starting NFL quarterback.”

Also on the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast:

Two-Technique with Ike Reese at the 19:07 mark
Saturday Scouting at the 24:07 mark

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On a new episode of the Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA, Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy discussed who could be on the board when the Eagles select with the 13th pick in this year’s draft and break down key underclassmen announcements, talking at length about the following six players who Fran has yet to study but is intrigued by:

RB Jordan Howard, Indiana

A UAB transfer, the 6-1, 228-pound Howard ran for 1,213 yards on 196 carries in 2015, scoring nine rushing touchdowns along the way. The junior had a knee scope back in mid-November, which caused him to miss some time, but he has still averaged 6.2 yards per carry this season.

OL Denver Kirkland, Arkansas

Arkansas boasts the largest line in the entire country, college or pro, and Kirkland is no exception to that statement. The 6-5, 343-pound junior is the team’s starting left tackle, but has played guard during his career as well. Many see Kirkland as a big, physical mauler on the inside, and he may be on the edge of being a first-round pick in the draft, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.

DL Quinton Jefferson, Maryland

In 2015, the 6-3, 285-pound redshirt junior started all 12 games for the Terrapins and led all lineman on the team with 39 tackles. Jefferson also notched 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He missed most of the 2014 season with a torn ACL, but he’s intriguing because of his size and athleticism.

DL Kamalei Correa, Boise State

As a junior, Correa recorded 39 total tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. His stats have decreased a bit since 2014, when he registered 20 additional tackles and five extra sacks. The 6-3, 244-pound lineman isn’t polished as a pass rusher as far as his technique, but that he has pure speed and agility on his side.

S Tyvis Powell, Ohio State

A three-year starter for the Buckeyes, Powell led his team with three interceptions and was ranked third with 71 total tackles in 2015. The 6-1, 207-pound safety is one of nine Ohio State underclassmen players who has decided to forgo his senior year to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

CB Xavien Howard, Baylor

This season alone, the 6-2, 200-pound Howard registered five picks for 74 yards. Last season, he had four through 13 games. His bio lists his at 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and a 6.69 in the 3-cone drill, a time that puts him just outside the 90th percentile of all cornerbacks drafted in the last five years.


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