Off the Snap: Eagles counting on current roster to replace Jeremy Maclin
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web….
• Expecting the Philadelphia Eagles to dip back into free agency now that Jeremy Maclin has been lost for the season? Think again.
GM Howie Roseman said Sunday, per the Philadelphia Inquirer, that the Eagles plan to address the Maclin injury with the options already on the roster.
“We’re not only looking at just the wide receiver group; we’re looking at the running backs, we’re looking at the tight ends, and those are the guys we have high hope and expectations for,” Roseman said.
Aside from starter LeSean McCoy, the Eagles also have Bryce Brown and ex-Cowboy Felix Jones in their backfield. New head coach Chip Kelly probably had plans to get them the ball quite a bit, anyway.
What happens with the Eagles’ tight end spot could be more interesting, though. Philadelphia drafted Stanford’s Zach Ertz in Round 3 this year and signed versatile FB/TE James Casey from Houston. Those two joined Brent Celek and Clay Harbor on the roster.
Celek has averaged 59 catches over the past four seasons, while serving as Philadelphia’s No. 1 tight end. He may not be great fit, however, for Kelly’s spread offense.
So, it is anyone’s guess what the future holds for Celek or his fellow tight ends in the coming weeks. It sounds as if they at least can expect to see some more passes, now that Maclin’s done for 2013.
• Terrelle Pryor admitted to the Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonald that he’s been dealing with an issue you could chalk up as pretty significant for a QB.
“I never really knew how to throw a football before,” Pryor told McDonald. “It’s coming along. I’m getting way better. I probably missed four or five throws out of 80, 85 throws today. I might ice my arm as a precaution tonight, but it feels great.”
Pryor has been working on his mechanics all offseason, including some time with QB guru Tom House. Whether or not the results are there remain to be seen — Pryor is fighting for a spot in Oakland, with starter Matt Flynn and rookie Tyler Wilson expected to fill a pair of spots on the depth chart.
• Rookie Robert Woods may wind up as the Bills’ No. 2 receiver, opposite Stevie Johnson. But Woods is going to have to beat out T.J. Graham, whom the Bills’ coaching staff will provide plenty of opportunities early in camp.
Graham had “quite the day” Sunday, as the Bills opened camp, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR550. “Outside of a couple of drops which he admitted to when speaking with reporters, Graham had an impressive practice,” Buscaglia wrote. “He burned down the right sideline twice catching a fly route for a touchdown on each repetition.”
Graham was Buffalo’s third-round pick last season and had 31 receptions as a rookie. There’s still more than enough upside there for the Bills to keep him in the mix, even with Woods’ arrival. Given Woods’ ability to line up multiple spots, too, there could be plenty of three-WR sets in Buffalo that feature Johnson, Graham and Woods on the field together.
• Johnny Jolly has not played a regular-season game in the NFL since 2009, mere months before he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2010. Roger Goodell only recently cleared him to play, and now Jolly is trying to revive his career back in Green Bay.
“I’m so happy,” Jolly said this weekend, via Mike VanderMause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I mean, I don’t know many guys that get a second chance, but a second chance back to the team that you were drafted to, that’s a blessing from God. The whole time that I was suspended I had faith that I would be back in this position. I just kept trying to do the right thing.”
The 30-year-old Jolly started every game for the Packers in both 2008 and ’09, before his career derailed. He’s fighting an uphill battle back onto the 53-man roster this offseason, with Ryan Pickett locked in as the starter at nose tackle. Still, if Jolly performs well in the coming weeks, his size and experience could earn him a spot.
• Last season, the Colts crept up on the league and claimed a surprising playoff berth. This time around, the expectations are far higher for Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis teammates.
That’s not always an easy transition to make. Look no further than the Detroit Lions, who followed their unexpected 2011 postseason trip with a complete flop in 2012. But the Colts believe they’re well-positioned to avoid a letdown, reports Conrad Brunner of 1070theFan.com.
“Of course nobody expected anything out of us last year because of the previous year. But we did,” Cory Redding told Brunner. “We expected a lot from ourselves, because why go through all this work and not expect greatness? And that’s what we wanted to do. We set the bar high and we shot for it.
“This year is just the same. … And I really strongly believe that we have the makeup, the right tools, the right people, the right coaching staff, the right attitude to get it done.”