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Biggest NFL training camp matchups at each defensive position: Philadelphia Eagles have holes to fill in their secondary – PFF
SAFETY: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. Reed Blankenship vs. Terrell Edmunds vs. Sydney Brown. The defending NFC champions are looking at another run at one Super Bowl, and with that will come intrigue at any position change from last season’s starting lineup. In 2023, they will replace both Marcus Epps and CJ Gardner-Johnson. Epps led the team with 1,239 defensive snaps, with 809 coming from the free safety spot. Gardner-Johnson was seventh on the team with 872 snaps, 222 from the field and 208 from the box. They will try to replace those two with a combination of Reed Blankenship, Terrell Edmunds and rookie Sydney Brown. Blankenship was an undrafted free agent in 2022 who played 348 defensive snaps as a rookie and earned 70.0-plus PFF grades across the board. Edmunds never quite lived up to his draft pedigree as a first-rounder, grading below 70.0 in four of his five seasons as a pro.Brown is a third-rounder who caught six passes and broke up six more in a box- role in the last season. Safety is a versatile spot by nature today, but they will need to find the right combination of those three to continue to have a strong secondary behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry.

Five positions we will see competition on the Eagles’ defense at training camp – NBCSP
Starting safeties: Whatever happens, the Eagles will have two new starting safeties for the second straight year (Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris in 2021, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps last year). Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds were with the first offense at OTAs, but who starts in June doesn’t matter much. Edmunds is here on a one-year contract with minimal guarantees ($600,000), so the Eagles have no commitment to him unlike Sydney Brown, who just turned 23 and is the first d-back the Eagles have drafted in the third round or earlier since 2017. Depending on how quickly Brown picks up the defense, it would make sense for the Eagles to give him reps with the first defense. Edmunds is a solid pro — he’s started 75 games and he’s only 26 — but at some point Brown will be a starter, it’s just a matter of when. There’s also this: Blankenship was very impressive in 4 ½ games in place of injured CJGJ last year, but can he play at that level over a full season? The jury is still out on Blankenship. He is very smart and tough, but limited athletically, which is why he went undrafted last year. So even if he goes into camp as a starter, nothing is set in stone.

NFC East Mixtape Vol. 116: Most underrated players in the division – BGN Radio
The NFC East may have had three playoff teams last year, but there are still players in the group who are a bit underrated. Who exactly are those players? Watch the latest episode of the NFC East Mixtape as RJ Ochoa and Brandon Gowton discuss the most underrated offensive and defensive players from each team!

A look at the Eagles’ players over 30 and their succession plan for each – PhillyVoice
Edge Brandon Graham (35): The Eagles are loaded on the edge. They have a mix of veteran leadership (Graham), a couple of impact players in their prime (Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat) and a young buck to learn from the rest of the group (Nolan Smith). Assuming Smith shows promise as a rookie, the Eagles will remain in an enviable position on the edge for quite some time, even if this ends up being Graham’s final season as an Eagle.

A ‘smooth transition’ for DK McDonald – PE.com
DK McDonald is certainly no stranger to the defensive backs room at the NovaCare Complex. He was an integral part of a defense that ranked first in passing yards allowed, third in opponent passer rating and fourth in interceptions last season. The “assistant” part of his previous title the past two years was removed this offseason when he was named the team’s new defensive backs coach. McDonald described the transition as a “smooth” one and joked that he just moved a few seats over in the conference room. McDonald, who is in his third NFL season after 18 years in the college ranks, understands that “change is just part of life and it’s part of the game.” Given the chance to put his own spin on the group, there are four pillars of a DK McDonald-led secondary that fans should keep an eye on this season.

Carson Wentz has been throwing and studying film with Jon Gruden – PFT
It is unclear whether and to what extent the collaboration with Gruden will make that happen. Despite his recent short-lived stint with the Saints, where former Gruden pupil Derek Carr is trying to conform, Gruden remains persona non grata in most NFL circles. In the three months since he was released, there have been no reports of tangible interest in Wentz. No report on offers. No report on negotiations. The second overall pick in 2016, Wentz was dumped this year in a row by the Eagles, Colts and Commanders. If anyone was interested in Wentz as a starter, he would already be signed. He’s good enough to be a backup, but is he ready to accept that status? Is he willing to admit he is no longer QB1 and act accordingly as QB2? Ultimately, it may take an injury or two or more to create an opportunity for Wentz. Working with Gruden — and trumpeting it to the world via leaks to ESPN — won’t change that reality.

The many reasons why Mike McCarthy is under intense pressure in 2023 – Blogging The Boys
McCarthy can do something that has never been done before by winning a Super Bowl in Dallas. As of 2023, no head coach has won a Super Bowl for multiple teams. The only coaches capable of such a feat this season are him, Doug Pedersen and Sean Payton. McCarthy winning a ring in Dallas after so many years of disappointment for the franchise over the last 25 years would elevate his legacy to unimaginable heights in the minds of many. Still, this year has excessive pressure on Mike McCarthy to do something big. His contract expires next season, and if the front office isn’t happy after this year, they may not allow the final year to play out. If McCarthy, with play-calling duties once again one of his responsibilities, doesn’t have this team perform at a high level, it may be time to question whether he still has what it takes to lead a team to the top again.

Rapoport – no offer yet, but Saquon Barkley and Giants are talking – Big Blue View
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday backtracked on his earlier claim that the Giants had put a previous contract offer to Saquon Barkley back on the table. “What I meant to say, what I should have said — I misspoke a little — is that the two sides have been negotiating, have been discussing.” Rapoport said. – As far as an offer on the table, it didn’t sound like quite yet, so maybe it was a little early, but they are discussing, they are back in communication with Saquon Barkley. I think the position of the Giants has been very clear. This is a guy they want to be a member of their team for a very long time. Saquon’s attitude has been the same. There is room for an agreement.”

Can Ron Rivera’s draft priorities explain the state of the commander list? – Hogs Haven
Three years and a bit into the coach-centric rebuild, the Washington Commanders roster is largely a product of Ron Rivera’s making. Using Bill-in-Bangkok’s depth chart projection as a guide, only four of Washington’s 22 starters on offense and defense were on the team when Rivera was hired. They happen to be four of Washington’s best players: WR Terry McLaurin, DT Daron Payne, DT Jonathan Allen, DE Montez Sweat. After three years, the profile of Rivera’s Commanders has come into focus. They are a team with a strong defense and an offensive, we must say, a work in progress. In 2022, the Commanders’ defense was 6th in the league in Expected Points Added (EPA), 7th in Points Allowed, 4th in Total Yards Allowed, 4th in Passing Yards Allowed, 11th in Rushing Yards Allowed and 11th best in offensive yards per. game. In contrast, the offense ranked 25th in EPA and 24th in points scored, averaging just 18.9 points per possession. match. They were also 20th in total yardage, 21st in passing yardage, 27th in yards per carry. game, 12th worst in offensive turnovers, 6th worst in interceptions and 7th worst in sacks taken.

How NFL running backs lost their power at the bargaining table and how they can get it back – SB Nation
It really depends on how you choose to build your team. If you want a bell that can do what Jacobs and Barkley do, then this is a very viable option. How many of these players are still around when they expand past the NFL? With 7 on 7 becoming more marketable and players switching to receiver and DB to get recruited, running back development may not be as strong as it used to be. Teams at all levels are more willing to take two former receivers or safeties and make them running backs, and take those 220-230 pound backs and move them to linebacker as the game both spreads out and gets lighter. As the supply of backs decreases, teams choose not to ride the market – rather, they ignore the market in general and choose to draft later round backs instead of drafting backs early or paying established backs. However, football is cyclical. The ideas and concepts that dominate the game now aren’t new – colleges have been running the same concepts that the NFL is just getting around to for nearly 20 years now. With this cyclical nature, the running game is sure to make a comeback. The bell back and bell back pay? It may take a few more years.

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