Derek Barnett Jersey

Today’s Philadelphia Eagles news looks at a young player who could be a key part of future plans, the end of the road for the Alliance of American Football and much, much more.

The Eagles have big plans for defensive end Derek Barnett. Barnett was the team’s first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he recovered a fumble as part of perhaps the biggest play in franchise history in the Super Bowl.

After a solid rookie season with five sacks and a forced fumble, Barnett was off to a solid start in 2018 with 2.5 sacks through four games. But he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 and was done for the year shortly after because of surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. It was a disappointment.

But PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski dove into the numbers to look at how effective Barnett actually was, especially in light of the Michael Bennett trade. And he came to some interesting conclusions.

Kempski extrapolated Barnett’s numbers out over a whole season, and he would have finished with 52 tackles, 10 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback hits. Those numbers are all better than what Bennett finished with except for the quarterback hits.

“Barnett is going to turn 23 in June,” Kempski writes. “He’s younger than some players who will be drafted at the end of the month. He’s already a legitimate starting DE in the NFL, and he’s only going to get better.”

Barnett, Josh Sweat and Daeshon Hall, plus practice squad player Joe Ostman, are the only defensive ends on the roster under 30. Barnett, obviously, has had the most success of that group, and he seems poised for more. The Eagles are expected to address edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft later this month. Barnett, though, seems like a potential cornerstone piece for the defense.

Dallas Goedert Jersey

Dallas Goedert didn’t want to talk about the catches or the yards or even the touchdown.

He wanted to talk about the blocking.

Because everybody always knew he could catch the football. Nobody knew he could block.

Not like this.

Goedert, the Eagles’ rookie tight end, was 7 for 73 with his first career touchdown Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Colts at the Linc.

But he also blocked his butt off.

“I didn’t block a ton at South Dakota State, just because it wasn’t what they had me doing,” he said. “But I aways knew I could block so I wasn’t too worried about it. I think I proved a lot of people wrong today.”

Goedert became the first Eagles rookie tight end with 73 yards in a game since L.J. Smith in 2003 and the first with 73 yards and a TD since Keith Jackson in 1988.

After getting just 17 snaps against the Falcons and 17 against the Buccaneers, Goedert got 55 Sunday against the Colts.

“The biggest thing is I’m not going to be on the field if I can’t block, and I think I showed I can do that pretty well today,” Goedert said. “The catches will come.”

Count Zach Ertz as someone who believes Goedert needs to play a lot.

“We need him to develop, that’s the bottom line,” Ertz said. “We need him to have a role. He’s a really good football player, and it helps us.”

There were two reasons Goedert played so much Sunday. The Colts play a lot of cover 2, which leaves the middle of the field open, and that’s where tight ends do most of their work.

But also he’s just a good young player and Pederson felt like he deserved more playing time. Especially with the Eagles down a ton of running backs and receivers.

“He’s earned it,” Pederson said. “He’s smart. He’s talented. We see it in practice. It’s just time to play and cut him loose a little bit and don’t keep him back.

“It was part of the game plan again to do that with two tight ends, three tight ends, but at the same time, as he gets more and more comfortable with the offense and (we) find specific plays for him, he’s just going to get better and better.”

Goedert had only one catch for four yards the first two weeks of the season, but on Sunday, he and Ertz became the first pair of Eagle tight ends in 53 years with 70 or more yards in the same game.

“I think with Dallas, he’s shown me, first of all, he’s a smart football player,” Carson Wentz said. “Throughout training camp and then being able to do the no-huddle stuff and getting him in different situations and getting him in different spots, making calls at the line, checks at the line.

“He’s very instinctive and a good football player, and he came up big with a couple of plays.”

Ertz is still the No. 1 guy, and he’s off to another big start, with 21 catches for 215 yards in three games.

But if Goedert keeps playing like this, make no mistake about it, he will play.

A lot.

“I never know when my number’s going to be called, but I’m always going to be ready,” he said. “Today we used tight ends a lot. Depending on the week that might change, but it was fun to be out there.

“Obviously I want to be on the field but my chance was going to come. Whether it was this week, next week or in a year.”

Jay Ajayi Jersey

Jay Ajayi is set to start his free agent meetings and one familiar coach could make it so that the Eagles running back never leaves the building. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Ajayi is set to meet with Frank Reich’s Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.

Ajayi is arguably the best running back available on the open market, but it remains to be seen just how much Howie Roseman and the Eagles value him. It’s unknown if the Eagles want to bring Ajayi back, and he definitely has some familiarity with the Colts as head coach Frank Reich was his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia during the 2017 Super Bowl run.

Reich’s offense in Indianapolis is also vaguely similar to the style of play that the Eagles run. Ajayi ran 45 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns before his season ended with an ACL tear that likely cost him millions.

The 6’0”, 223 pound Ajayi has 2,516 career rushing yards on 562 carries and 13 career rushing touchdowns, as well as 63 receptions for 419 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

Fletcher Cox Jersey

Eagles All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox reportedly had offseason foot surgery, but is expected to be fine for the start of training camp.

Cox, 28, injured his foot during the playoff loss to the Saints on Jan. 13.

While it sounds like the Eagles expect Cox back for training camp, it also sounds like he might miss some or all of OTAs in May and June. That really wouldn’t be a huge deal. They just wouldn’t want to get in a situation like last year with Brandon Graham, when he was clearly slowed down by an offseason surgery early in the season.

At the combine in Indianapolis last week, head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles had players who needed offseason surgery, but declined to name them. He said that while answering a question about the positives of a longer offseason. Pederson said these guys will have more time to heal.

Even though he seriously hurt his foot against the Saints, Cox still came back into the game and ended up playing 42 of 77 snaps despite the injury. Some guys play hurt; in that game, Cox played injured.

“They’d probably have to cut one of my limbs off for me to not be out there,” Cox said after the game. “If I’m able to go, then I’ll be out there, and these guys know that.”

This past season was Cox’s seventh NFL season and it was his best. He made the All-Pro team for the first time and was named to his fourth straight Pro Bowl. He’s 28 and continues to get better. It doesn’t sound like this foot injury is going to slow him down any.

Fletcher Cox was one of the main reasons Malik Johnson chose to come to the Philadelphia Eagles, just for the opportunity to play next to one of the game’s best interior defenders. Jackson is striving to become one of the game’s best defensive tackles again, but that won’t be his role on the Eagles.

He’s on the interior to make sure Cox doesn’t get double teamed, creating the best front four in the NFL once again.

Carson Wentz Jersey

New Eagles running back Jordan Howard couldn’t help but smile when a reporter started to list all the talented receivers that would be around him.

DeSean Jackson. Alshon Jeffery. Nelson Agholor.

“It is going to be hard for the defense to focus on just one person,” Howard said.

Wearing a gold chain with a photo of his mom and dad in it, Howard was unable to contain his excitement about being in Philadelphia, his new home after the Eagles traded for him last week. With the Eagles, Howard will lineup behind quarterback Carson Wentz, a player that also caused him to smile when talking about.

“I’ve seen Carson Wentz and what he can do,” Howard said. “He is an MVP caliber player when he is at the top of his game.”

If Howard can produce like he has so far in his career it will go a long way in helping Wentz get back to his MVP-caliber play of 2017. Since entering the league in 2016, only two running backs have more rushing yards than the 3,938 yards Howard has gained.

“It shows I am a pretty consistent player,” Howard said. “I can get it done for a duration of time.”

The Eagles are hoping that production will carry over to Philadelphia. The team has apparently made it no secret that they were interested in Howard for quite some time, as Howard said he expected to land in Philadelphia for close to a month.

“I was knew they were going to be my landing spot. I just didn’t know when,” Howard said. “Just from what my agent had been telling me.”

Howard, who will wear No. 24, is expected to fill a number of different role with the Eagles. He will likely be their starting running back, playing on first-and-second downs. He is also their best pass blocker, something their running backs struggled with last season.

“I did meet with Duce Staley in the pre-draft process. I heard he was a pretty good pass-protector,” Howard said, “and I take pride in protecting the quarterback as well.”

The one area Howard might not be able to contribute is in the passing game, as he has been essentially a non-factor through the air so far in his career. Howard clearly felt that he lack of production in that area was due to a lack of targets as opposed to a lack of talent. The running back was quick to highlight that he didn’t drop a single pass in 2018.

Whether Howard will get a chance with the Eagles to prove he can be an impact player in the passing game remains to be seen. With one year left on his deal, it is likely he would welcome the opportunity.

What was very clear in his introductory press conference, however, that Howard is excited to be in Philadelphia.