Getting Bigger and Stronger

Remember 7th round pick DE Alex McAlister? He’s on IR, but that doesn’t mean he’s not busy. Dave Spadaro has an update on him.


Rookie defensive end Alex McCalister is making the most of his time on Injured Reserve. A seventh-round draft pick from Florida, McCalister weighed 239 pounds in the summer and, frankly, had a tough time gaining leverage with his 6-6 frame. A torn calf muscle suffered in the preseason ended his rookie campaign, but it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

“I’ve been training. Lifting, working hard,” McCalister said. “It has made such a big difference. I see the gains. I feel them. I am more explosive. I just need to get the calf all the way healed so that I can run and work my legs and improve there, but my body is different.”

McCalister says he is up to about 252 pounds and he’s gained a lot of muscle, which is obvious looking at his arms and chest. The Eagles like his long arms and his get-off at the line of scrimmage, so he could be an entirely different player next spring as he prepares for 2017.

“I’m just going to keep pushing my body, keep getting ready and when it’s my time, take advantage,” McCalister said. “Day by day, I feel a lot different and a lot better.”

Marcus Smith may not be in the team’s long term plans. Connor Barwin isn’t getting any younger. Steven Means isn’t guaranteed to be back. There could be a roster opening for McAlister so it is important he’s ready to challenge for it. He has good rush skill and terrific length.


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Kirk Cousins Loves the Eagles

Laugh all you want at Kirk Cousins, but he dude has shredded the Eagles. In 3 career starts, he is 2-1 and the Skins average 32 points a game. This defense is different, but a lot of the players are the same. For some reason, Cousins has matched up well against them.


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Brandon Graham Getting It Done

I haven’t seen every NFC team play a full game so far, but based on what I have seen it would be hard for Brandon Graham not to go to the Pro Bowl. He has been outstanding this year.

3 sacks
3 TFLs
1 FF
1 FR

And the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The game tape is so much better than that. For once, I agree with PFF>


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Roster Talk

The Eagles are 3-1 and off to a terrific start. That’s great, but good teams are never satisfied with the roster. They continually see who is out there that might help the team now, or in the future.

Pinkins was a 6-3, 215 DB that got drafted by Seattle and converted into a LB. He is now in the 230-pound range.

Louis is a UDFA rookie who stuck with the Cardinals this year and then got cut. He started 17 games at LSU. He is 6-0, 231 and is athletic.

Burgess is also a UDFA rookie. He was cut by the Dolphins. He was a good coverage LB at Louisville and goes 5-11, 227.

This tells you the Eagles are looking for LBs that are athletic and cover well. They are looking for guys who could play WLB, where Mychal Kendricks is struggling right now. These guys are on the street for a reason, but they do have potential. We’ll see if the team decides to make a move on any of them down the road.

Cherry has been on the PS this year. He is a MLB. I don’t think he’ll ever push for a roster spot, but he obviously must be a good practice player at the least. And that is valuable in the NFL.

Thomas is interesting. He started for 3 years at Texas and played CB and NB. He lacks ideal size at 5-10, 184, but watch him and you’ll see the kind of DB that Jim Schwartz likes. Here are some highlights.

Thomas can hit and tackle. Aggressive player. Plays the ball well. Had 7 career picks and 20 PBUs. Active, emotional DB.

He was injured this summer and the Texans let him go. Looks like he’s healthy now and the Eagles are interested, with JaCorey Shepherd off to the Niners active roster.

As to the cuts, not sure what they mean. This is Bonnet’s first cut. Greene has been on and off the roster all year. The team likes him but also is trying to have another player on the roster so they take turns cutting the guys. Maybe Thomas will take that role. It isn’t ideal for the players, but as long as they are paid, I’m sure they can handle it.


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Spreading the Love

The Eagles don’t have a great player to feed the ball to. The offense is built for Carson Wentz to find the open guy and get him the ball. There are specific plays for specific receivers,  but most plays are based who gets open vs that specific defensive look.

So how is Wentz doing?

That’s pretty darn balanced.

You can complain that he’s throwing to Agholor too much, but the Eagles are still trying to get the young receiver going. He’s shown good flashes, but just isn’t consistent right now.


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At the Quarter Pole

A lot of coaches believe in breaking down the NFL season into quarters. They preach one game at a time, but looking at 4-game stretches allows you to have some perspective without looking too far back or ahead.

Eagles 3-1

Point differential +64 (best in league)


Points – 3rd
Yards – 12th
Rushing – 10th
Passing  – 20th


Points – 2nd
Yards – 2nd
Rushing – 3rd
Passing – 6th

Notable individual stats

Carson Wentz – 6th at 103.5

Fletcher Cox – tied for 10th in sacks with 4

Darren Sproles – 10th in PR average with 11.6 yards per return


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Decent Job, Kiddo

Not bad, for a rookie, I guess.

The real deal.


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Deontae Skinner Update

Skinner played WLB for the Eagles this summer. Has the build of a MLB, but isn’t instinctive enough for the middle. Did a solid job, but really seems like a man without a spot. Doesn’t have the speed for WLB and lacks the frame most prefer in a SAM.


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Concerns with Mathews?

Ryan Mathews was great for part of the 2015 season. Things aren’t going as well this year. He was injured this summer and hasn’t been 100 percent this season. He has been the least dynamic RB for the Eagles this year.

Circumstances play a part in that, but the tape shows he isn’t in top form.

That’s not ideal running.

The coaches are sticking with him for now. Mathews late fumble and mediocre numbers could cause them to re-think that if he doesn’t get better.


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No More Shep

The Eagles liked CB JaCorey Shepherd quite a lot in the spring of 2015. Chip Kelly was the head coach and Bill Davis ran the defense, but Corey Undlin was the DBs coach and he remains in place.

The Eagles showed long term interest in Shepherd, despite a spring/summer where he wasn’t fully healthy and his play suffered. They signed, cut and re-signed him several times since cutdown day. It felt like they did this so they could keep paying him without having to dedicate a spot to him.

No more of that, unfortunately.

Shepherd had a great reputation off the field so hopefully the young man does well in the future. Chip was a big fan of his and with a recent CB injury they had an open roster spot.


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