“When you’re throwing the football, I try to pluck ’em. If it happens, don’t worry about it in practice, catch the next one and keep working. When you come home, you watch the film, you remind yourself … you figure out what happened there and you get better from there.”
The Eagles added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, along with fourth-round pick Mack Hollins and fifth-rounder Shelton Gibson to a shallow receiver corps this year. The additions could signal the beginning of the end for Agholor, despite his status as a first-round pick with two years left on his contract.
Blount adds a short-yardage back and potential first- and second-down workhorse to complement a backfield of Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, fourth-round rookie Donnel Pumphrey and undrafted free agent Corey Clement. Ryan Mathews is also on the roster, but the standing expectation is the Eagles will cut the veteran back once he’s recovered from his next injury — the move would save the Eagles $4 million against the salary cap.
Adding Blount continues the offseason trend of Roseman adding veterans on short-term deals in an effort to win now, while still setting up the roster to be flexible down the road. Roseman’s focus this offseason seemed to be making the Eagles bigger on offense.
“It’s OTAs, I know. But things have slowed down,” Wentz continued. “I’m not thinking about everything anymore — last year I was. Now I can feel the important things early in the play — where’s my answer, what are my options, what will work? It’s a different game when you can dial it down and feel you know what’s important to look for, and you’re not looking at every little thing out there.”
As important as it is for Wentz to master the pre- and post-snap recognitions required of established NFL quarterbacks, it’s just as crucial that he checks in with Dedeaux and Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo for regular maintenance on his mechanics.
“The guys are really buying into it and getting after it. There is a great desire to compete, and when there is a prize at the end, the guys really want to win,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “… They are competing like crazy for a T-shirt and a better parking spot, things we take for granted. But the players want to win and they love it.”
The belt will be handed out in about a month. The recipient should be allowed to wear the strap on the practice field and use it as a foreign object (to borrow a Gorilla Monsoon-ism) when the inevitable training camp scuffles break out.
That undisclosed coach isn’t alone in his steadfast opinion that Wentz is bound for success despite his late-season slump.
When NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah asked five NFL personnel executives to identify one quarterback from the past two draft classes around which to build a winner, three opted for Wentz while the other two chose Titans franchise cornerstone Marcus Mariota.
It’s amazing that the Giants have gotten to the doorstep of the postseason without a serviceable running game or a reliable passing game. “Anchored” by Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, New York boasts an anemic rushing attack (81.2 YPG), but they’re working on that. In their last two games, which they won by a combined score of 27-13, the Giants ran the ball 51.6 percent of the time, a far cry from their previous average of 36.4. This stat intimates that McAdoo is gearing up for January. Giants Super Bowl champions of yesteryear have relied on a consistent, clock-killing ground game to get them to the promised land, and this year’s offense is by far the worst of the three. The 2016 Giants score nine fewer points per game than the 2011 champs and almost four fewer points than the 2007 mythbusters.
A good test for postseason legitimacy will be the running game’s performance against Philadelphia’s front. The Eagles play far better defense at home, allowing 78.5 rushing YPG (46.3 fewer than on the road) and 10.6 fewer PPG than on the road. Often overlooked by the offense’s underwhelming season, the Eagles’ defense boasts a few playmakers and run stoppers of their own, namely Brandon Graham and Nigel Bradham. If the Giants are to inspire any confidence in their fans or, more importantly, strike any fear into future opposing defenses, a 100-plus-yard rushing performance against Philly’s front would do the trick.