The Philadelphia Eagles need a solution at the free safety position:
For all the talk going on amongst the Eagles fan-base about the need for a new running back, it’s pretty clear that the biggest need on the team right now is at the free safety position. Rodney McLeod’s season ending injury has left the team scrambling and searching for a solid replacement to take over his spot, but so far they haven’t been successful.
First it was Corey Graham, but we all know how that turned out. He’s also been hurt the past couple of games.
Then rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox was given the opportunity, which was a questionable move in itself. Maddox played outside corner in college and was being coached to be the team’s future slot corner. He’s had no known prior experience of playing safety, so to give him a shot at being McLeod’s replacement over some of the other options on the team was a unexpected.
Regardless, with Sidney Jones exiting the Giants game with an injury, Rasul Douglas got the nod at safety as Maddox was moved to the slot to replace Jones. If the angle that Douglas took on the Saquon Barkley touchdown is a sign of things to come, then the Eagles are still in a good amount of trouble. I do acknowledge though that it was a tough spot for Rasul with no practice reps there leading up to the game. Maybe with more time and practice reps he’ll be capable.
A lot of people, including myself, believe that Jalen Mills would be better suited as a safety than outside cornerback. Mills lacks the recovery speed to constantly be matched up 1-on-1 against wide receivers as an outside corner, but he shows the aggressiveness and deep zone coverage ability needed as a safety. Plus, Mills has experience playing the position from his college days at LSU. The issue is that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz refuses to move Mills. Him and Doug Pederson continue to have faith in Mills’ ability on the left side of the secondary.
If that’s the case and Mills is entrenched as the left outside cornerback, then my preferred solution would be to go out and trade for a safety, and there so happens to be one on the trading block in Oakland named Karl Joseph. New head coach John Gruden and the former first round pick have reportedly been at odds with each other since the Khalil Mack trade, leading to Joseph now being shopped. Joseph would be a great fit in Philadelphia, as he has the ability to play as a ball-hawking centerfielder in Schwartz’s Cover 3 scheme as well as the ability to match up man-to-man in the slot. He also has a reputation of being an excellent teammate and leader.
In the end, whether it’s Maddox or Douglas stepping up, Mills shifting over, or trading for someone else like Joseph, the Eagles absolutely need to get this problem at the safety position fixed.
Trading for Le’Veon Bell would not be smart:
For the past few weeks, I’d say about the majority of Eagles fans have been begging for Howie Roseman to pull the trigger on a Le’Veon Bell trade. The season-ending injury to Jay Ajayi has only added fuel to the fans’ desire for the star running back.
I, however, seem to be in the minority. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to have a talent like Bell here in Philadelphia, because I most certainly would. There’s no doubt that he would make the team better. But with Carson Wentz’s rookie contract set to expire after the 2019 season (2020 if the team exercises the option, which they most likely will), signing Bell to the large long-term contract he wants just isn’t realistic (And no, Bell would not be willing to take a discount just because he’s with the Eagles now). As a result, Bell would most likely just be a rental, and that’s under the pretense that he’d be willing to sign his franchise tender.
So the question now becomes, how much is Howie Roseman comfortable giving up for a one-year rental of an elite offensive weapon? Personally, I wouldn’t be willing to give up a 2nd round pick, which was the asking price that was reported weeks ago. I might not even be willing to give up a 3rd rounder either. And yes, I know that a compensatory pick would be involved, but that doesn’t change my stance. Those Day 2 picks are going to be very valuable next year because 1) We don’t know which veterans on expiring contracts we’ll be able to retain beyond this year, therefore we’ll need to restock a lot of positions with young talent in the draft, and 2) Day 2 picks are a gold mine when looking for a featured running back. Why give up those picks to get Bell for only one year when you could potentially get an elite/great running back in the draft for the next several years?
The other side of the argument at this point would say that giving up those picks is definitely worth it in order to get that missing piece for another championship this season. My counter to that is, how sure are we that he’s the missing piece? The Eagles aren’t in a situation like last season where the team was playing at a high level on both sides of the ball. I just got finished talking about how there’s a glaring weakness at safety. And with Mike Wallace still out, the team doesn’t have a deep threat to stretch the field like Torrey Smith did for them last season. Le’Veon Bell is by no means the “final piece”.
If it gets to the point where the Steelers have absolutely no leverage and they’re willing to take one or two 4th round picks from the Eagles, then by all means let’s bring Le’Veon “Liberty” Bell to Philadelphia (I do admit, that nickname is perfect and makes trading for Bell that much more exciting). But I still wouldn’t give up any Day 2 picks to rent an elite running back for a year.
Carson Wentz is a better passer this year than last:
This has nothing to do with Wentz’s mobility and whether you think he’s lost a step. This has everything to do with Wentz as strictly a passer. And from what I’ve seen so far, he’s improved in that aspect of his game.
He hasn’t lost any zip on his ball at all, I’m sure we can all see that. But often times last season he would have several throws that might have been accurate but had bad ball placement. In other words, he’d throw a catchable ball, but it wouldn’t be in an ideal spot for the receiver to maximize yards after the catch or protect him from defenders looking to lay out a big hit. Or simply a ball where only the receiver can get it, not anyone on the defense. That isn’t the case this season. He’s putting a lot more of his passes right where they need to be.
He’s definitely nowhere close to being the favorite right now, but I still think Wentz has a shot at being MVP this season. A lot of it depends on how well the Eagles do from here on out, obviously. But there’s not a doubt in my mind that Wentz’ ability isn’t going to be the reason why he doesn’t. He just continues to get better.
I hope the Giants’ loss to the Eagles was a rude awakening for Eli Manning supporters:
It’s difficult to speak ill of or criticize Eli Manning without having Giants fans lash back at you to defend him. But if last Thursday’s game didn’t reveal the truth to them finally, then I don’t know what will. And the truth is that Eli Manning hasn’t been a good quarterback for a while now.
Eli supporters have run out of excuses. He has the weapons around him to be successful, including not one but two potential generational talents in Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley. And even though the offensive line still isn’t good, that isn’t a crutch anymore. There have been numerous plays where Eli has had the protection needed but he’ll drop his eyes to look out for the pass rush and either check it down too quickly or crumble in the pocket and practically sack himself. He’s also so incapable of throwing downfield to the point where he’s aware of it and just refuses to do it.
All of this leads to my next point…
Barkley’s stellar play still doesn’t change my belief that the Giants made the wrong choice in drafting him instead of taking a quarterback:
The fact that the Giants are 1-5 actually gives my argument even more traction than before. He’s playing really well, but they’re still losing. Read the following tweets:
When I criticize the Giants for drafting Saquon Barkley, I’m not saying Barkley’s not good. I’m saying Eli Manning’s not good, and drafting a running back second overall when your quarterback is not good is like spending all your money on a new TV when your roof is leaking.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) October 12, 2018
It’s a fun debate. Assuming NYG have top 3 pick next year. What would you rather have?
Option A) Barkley & ‘19 QB
Option B) ‘18 QB & ‘19 pass rusher https://t.co/k2rA8TCVGH
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) October 12, 2018
Without a doubt, Option B. Especially when you consider that the top 2 prospects in the 2019 draft are arguably Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver, and that there aren’t projected to be any great QB prospects either.
Matt Breida is the new Wolverine of the NFL:
The guy has now had 2 brutal-looking injuries this season. But somehow, someway, he hasn’t missed a game yet! Does he have adamantium bones or something?! (That’s an X-Men reference, by the way).
Spotlight’s yours, Tevin Coleman:
It sucks to see Devonta Freeman, one of the best running backs in the league, go down for the rest of the season. I love the way he runs, and I hope he comes back next year just as good as he has been.
With him out though, consider this season as Coleman’s official audition. He’s in the final year of his contract, and with Ito Smith looking like a capable backup, one has to assume that this will be Coleman’s last season in Atlanta.
Coleman was actually at the top of my wishlist of running back trade targets for the Eagles. Well, he still is, but it’s highly unlikely that the Falcons would be willing to give him up now. If the Eagles indeed want him then they’ll have to wait until the offseason to have a shot at him.
I’ve always believed that Coleman was one of the better running backs in the league and would absolutely be a starter elsewhere. I wrote a full scouting report on him during my semester at the Scouting Academy this past Spring, and he turned out to be an ever better player than I originally thought. He’s a phenomenal zone runner with elite speed and a solid receiver. He has the aggressiveness and physicality you want in a running back in pass protection, he could just use some better coaching to improve his technique.
I’ll definitely be playing close attention to Coleman this year, and so should any other team searching for a new lead back.
I need to get better at sports betting:
I’m not afraid to admit that right now I simply suck at sports betting. Any pointers or advice for me? Hit me up.