Philadelphia Eagles

10 non-WR, non-CB free agents who might be targets for Eagles

10 non-WR, non-CB free agents who might be targets for Eagles

We've spent plenty of time looking at two positions this offseason. 

Really, it's almost impossible to not have tunnel vision when talking about the Eagles. Sure, they have other needs, but their needs at receiver and cornerback are so glaring that it's almost impossible to think about anything else. 

But we've already looked at wide receivers and we've already looked at cornerbacks. So let's look at some other names who might make some sense for the Eagles (2016 team in parentheses): 

DT Lawrence Guy (Ravens)
If Bennie Logan leaves in free agency, the Eagles are going to need some help at defensive tackle. While Guy played defensive end in the Ravens' 3-4, he should be able to transition to tackle in a 4-3. In 2016, he didn't offer much as a pass rusher but was really good against the run. At 26, he still has plenty of football ahead of him. Joe Douglas was in the Ravens' front office in 2014 when Guy joined them for his fourth stop in the NFL.

DE Damontre Moore (Giants)
This would not be a marquee free-agent signing. Moore's NFL career has been a mess, and he was just arrested for DWI in December. But the Eagles have proven to be lenient when it comes to players with problems in their past. And Moore, 24, could be a low-risk, high-reward signing if the Eagles could make him a situational pass rusher. 

LB Brandon Spikes (Bills)
If the Eagles cut or trade Mychal Kendricks, they'll have a hole to fill on their base defense and Spikes, 29, would be the perfect guy to do it as a run-stuffer. Sure, maybe it makes more sense to find a young guy for the job, but the Eagles won't need to break the bank for Spikes, who just so happened to have his best NFL season in 2014 under Jim Schwartz. Spikes was out of football in 2015 before the Bills lured him back. Maybe the Eagles can lure him to Philly. 

DE Datone Jones (Packers)
Jones, 26, was once a first-round pick, but he's never lived up to that status, piling up nine sacks in four years. With the Packers, he was a 3-4 outside linebacker and might be a better fit as a 4-3 end. He had just one sack in 2016 but seems to have some potential. 

RB Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)
How much does Charles, 30, have left in the tank? Well, maybe not a ton. But there's familiarity with Doug Pederson, and the head coach didn't rule Charles out when he was asked about him at the combine. At one time, he was really good but now is on his last legs. 

RB Knile Davis (Chiefs, Packers)
Like Charles, the connection here is Pederson's time in Kansas City. The 25-year-old former Arkansas back rejoined the Chiefs in 2016 after Charles went down. He's never shown much in the NFL, but he knows the offense and it might not be a terrible idea to bring him to camp and see if there's anything there. 

RB Latavius Murray (Raiders)
Murray, 27, is a big name and a pretty good player, so the price tag will be higher than the Eagles should be willing to pay for a running back. Still, he would improve the team, and he already knows Carson Wentz. 

OG Chance Warmack (Titans)
If the Eagles end up trading Allen Barbre, they'd lose their likely top backup interior offensive lineman and would need to replace him. Warmack, 25, is a former first-round pick who hasn't lived up to his billing. But maybe Jeff Stoutland could get something out of him. 

OT Ricky Wagner (Ravens)
We put Wagner, 27, on this list because he was drafted when Douglas was with the Ravens, but it's unlikely the Eagles will have the money to sign him. The former fifth-round pick is going to demand top dollar, especially with a weak offensive tackle draft upcoming. 

FB Kyle Juszczyk (Ravens)
The Eagles didn't have a traditional fullback in 2016, but Pederson said last week that he wouldn't be opposed to adding one to the roster. Juszczyk, 25, is one of the best around, and he is another guy with familiarity with Douglas. 

Zach Ertz: Criticism of Doug Pederson's play-calling was 'definitely misconstrued'

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Zach Ertz: Criticism of Doug Pederson's play-calling was 'definitely misconstrued'

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and right tackle Lane Johnson clarified comments that were interpreted as critical of coach Doug Pederson’s play-calling.

Several Eagles players lamented the lack of offensive balance following the Eagles’ 27-20 loss to the Chiefs in Week 2, with Ertz’s postgame interview in particular drawing attention (watch here). The fifth-year veteran’s statements about the lopsided run-pass ratio were viewed by many as a direct indictment of Pederson — evidence, perhaps, the head coach runs the risk of a locker-room mutiny, if he runs nothing else.

Ertz attempted to set the record straight on Wednesday.

“Those were definitely misconstrued,” Ertz said after practice. “I would never second-guess Doug’s play-calling. I’ve never been a guy to question the head coach. People kind of took it way out of context.”

While Ertz acknowledged balance was an issue in Kansas City, he explained the ratio was a symptom of the problem, for which some of the responsibility falls on the players.

“I said, ‘It started with myself in the run game. I’ve got to be better,’” Ertz said. “And I said, ‘Ideally, in a game, it would be 50-50 if the situation presents itself,’ but that game, it never presented itself to be the opportunity to run the ball because we were down. We had to throw the ball 17 straight times at the end of the game, so the numbers were very skewed.

“People took my comments way off. I was pretty disappointed with how they were perceived, but I guess it is what it is.”

Pederson’s play-calling has been closely scrutinized since last season, but the fervor over offensive balance reached new levels this week. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz dropped back to pass a whopping 56 times, compared to only 14 handoffs in the loss.

Everybody, including Ertz, seemed to recognize it’s difficult to beat an NFL opponent that way.

“You can't be throwing the ball 40 times in a game,” Ertz said Sunday postgame. “How many times did he throw today?

“That's not ideal. Low 30s is probably where you want him at. Thirty runs, 30 passes, if you're going to get 60 plays.

“We want to be a balanced offense. We’ve got the linemen to do it, we've got the running backs to do it, we've got the tight ends to block, we've got the receivers to block, we've just got to go out there and put it together.”

At the same time, the Eagles have struggled to run the football consistently in 2017, averaging only 3.5 yards per handoff. Furthermore, the passing game was working against the Chiefs, allowing Wentz to throw for 333 yards. The Eagles offense never took the field with a lead at any point during the contest, either, and therefore maintained an aggressive approach throughout.

Johnson appeared to question the run-pass ratio postgame as well, saying the Eagles have to run the ball to take pressure off of Wentz. On Wednesday, however, Johnson defended the game plan against Kansas City’s defense.

“(Pederson) felt outside on the edge that they couldn’t guard Zach, they couldn’t guard (Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery). You saw (Ertz and Jeffery) made big plays, so they really couldn’t.

“That’s what he saw, pretty much was mismatches all week. You saw Ertz with a big game. That’s why we threw the ball so much.”

Ertz also feels Pederson’s plan was appropriate plan given the circumstances.

“You’re going to put your team in the best position,” Ertz said. “Whatever he thinks the matchups are to benefit the team, whether it be in the run game or the pass game, that’s going to be the majority of the play calls.

“It’s going to differ each and every week, and that’s why you build an offense like we have, because we’re able to be so different each and every week, and it’s just going to depend on the week, on the matchup.”

There’s no denying that Ertz, Johnson and probably the rest of the roster would either agree with or wouldn’t mind a little more play-calling balance from Pederson. That’s not a sign of a head coach losing the locker room. The players are confident in Pederson to make the correct calls and right the ship – and for their part, that they will be able to execute in the run game when the time comes.

“We have a lot of great pass-catchers on this team,” Ertz said. “That’s not a knock on (our run game). I think we’re a very balanced team. Our O-line can run the ball when we establish the run game.

“We’re going to be better at it this week, the rest of the season hopefully. We have a lot to improve on as an offense. We’re not going to be where we are now in five weeks or so. We’re excited about having the opportunity to play a really great front this week, and we have to establish the run game.”

Eagles injury update: Secondary hamstrung for second straight day


Eagles injury update: Secondary hamstrung for second straight day

It looks like all three members of the Hamstrung Trio (see story) weren't practicing again on Thursday. 

At the start of Thursday's practice, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins, who suffered hamstring injuries on Sunday against the Chiefs, were not participating. This will be the second straight day all three will miss practice. 

McLeod was the only member of the trio to even make an appearance at practice before reporters were kicked out after individual drills. He walked onto the field with a compression sleeve on his right leg and began to watch.

There was, however, a new safety on the field. Newcomer Trae Elston, who was claimed off waivers from the Bills, was on the field for the first time with the Eagles. He was wearing No. 35. 

It'll be tough for the Eagles to get Elston caught up by game time on Sunday at 1 p.m. Aside from Elston, the Eagles have just Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos as safeties, although linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill could be used in a pinch and Jenkins thinks a couple cornerbacks have the ability to play safety (see story)

Ronald Darby (ankle) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) were the other two Eagles who weren't practicing on Thursday. Darby is out for at least another few weeks with his dislocated ankle. 

Vaeao missed the Chiefs game and looks to be in danger of missing another week. In his absence, rookie sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls played nine snaps and played well. Qualls could see his workload increase as the fourth DT against the Giants.