May 27, 2021   7 MIN READ

Inside The Birds: New Coaching Staff “Big On Matchups”


With OTAs underway, Inside The Birds continues to learn more about Eagles first-year coach Nick Sirianni and his plans for the upcoming season.

On the latest Inside the Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan discuss recent news and discuss possible free agents still out there for the Birds.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is expected to mix and match formations, using receivers in many spots.

Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith

Geoff Mosher: “I don’t know that the philosophy of what this staff is going to do with Jalen Reagor is a lot different than what the staff last year had planned to do with Jalen Reagor. But [the coaches] didn’t do it last year, even when he was healthy, they wound up not doing it. This year, the plan again right now is to feature him in a variety of ways, including this outside and the slot.”

Adam Caplan: “I’ve heard that they’re big on matchups. They’re big on taking advantage of the talent for each player, we know what kind of offense they’re going to run, more West Coast, old school than Doug Pederson’s. But they’re big on matchups and taking advantage of the talent that each player is given. So, as you’re saying on Reagor, they’re gonna move him around, take advantage of it.”

Mosher: “It came out of practice Tuesday …where Jalen Reagor was working with the running backs, kind of taking end-arounds. Some of the reporters noted that while they were allowed to watch, the wide receivers were working out in one and Jalen Reagor was working out in another area. It’s true that happened but what I can tell you, I was told, is that after 10 or 15 minutes later, when they went to a different period, it was DeVonta Smith who then went to work out with the running backs, doing the same thing. And then Jalen Reagor went to work with the wide receivers.”

Caplan: “What I had heard is from the very first practice even at rookie camp … there’s just something different about him [Smith] that they have not had in the room. What it’s going to do is make Jalen Reagor more competitive. When he sees DeVonta Smith dominating a practice, he’s not gonna fall behind. DeVonta Smith attacks the ball as a wide receiver. I know they’re super young – maybe too young – at wide receiver but it’s not a bad thing.”

Mosher: “When we talk about maturity, whether with Jalen Reagor, or John Hightower, or Quez Watkins or whoever, they’re not all the same. What the Eagles need is for these guys to grow up and mature and understand that every snap they’re playing at practice they should treat like it’s their last snap. Let’s talk about Jalen Reagor last year. He was also not at the weight he was supposed to play at last year. Because of that, he was fined, I was told, a couple of times. He was not overweight because he was out eating cheesesteaks. This was not a situation where he let himself go because he’s a millionaire. What happens is, the way he works out, he adds weight to his body when he works out a specific way. If you remember, at the Combine, he ran a slower 40 than what he clocked at TCU because of added bulk from working out a certain way. It’s not like he doesn’t take football seriously, but you have to take your correct workout regimen seriously and make sure that you reach your expected weight. That was Jalen Reagor’s learning experience last year. I’m told he’s at a good weight this year. That should be good for his explosion.”

Caplan: “What I understand about Reagor is he was very heavy at the Combine, he was over 200 – between 202 and 206. What happens is he trained trainers somewhere around the Combine … and the guy for some reason – just maybe as you were talking about, lifting, whatever – he put on weight. And there was a little bit of a red flag. Teams were like, wait, should be 195ish. He’s jacked up. He’s a very strong guy for a guy who’s not exactly 6 feet. If he plays in the low 190s, fine. I don’t worry about him. I just want to see him used the correct way, A) stay healthy, and be the guy that the Eagles saw on tape. He better return punts this season. He was dynamic in his final season at TCU.”

Offensive Line

Mosher: “Brandon Brooks being back is a really, really positive sight. I mean he looks like a totally different, remade person.”

Caplan: “He weighed in camp, I’m told, between 305-310 pounds. He’s had to overcome the challenges of anxiety and injury and I don’t usually root for players but I root for him. Great dude and I know him and Lane Johnson are very close and Lane by the way, we had the note 6-8 weeks ago that his ankle was doing great from the surgery and he is. Everything they’ve allowed him to do, he’s doing great with.”

Julio Jones

Mosher: “To Julio Jones, I don’t know how realistic this can be. I mean he’s supposed to make $17 million and he’s got $15 million guaranteed.”

Caplan: “Yeah it is $15.3 million fully guaranteed, he’s got three years left. The $2 million guaranteed next year is only guaranteed for injury, the $2 million because fully guaranteed on the fifth day of free agency so, that doesn’t matter, it’s really a one-year structure. The belief is it’s going to be a second round pick if they trade him. Could they get a first? As one GM told me this week, the only way they’re going to get a first is if they trade Julio and something else, and then they’ll get a first back. Why would they not get a first? $15.3 million for the season. If he gets hurt again you might walk away, so you’re gonna pay him $15.3 million, and give up as a first round pick for a guy that only might be there one year. No, you can’t do that.”

Zach Ertz

Caplan: “You’ve still got Ertz on the roster, you’re paying him $8.5 million, wouldn’t you want to move him somewhere?”

Mosher: “Worst comes to worst you can cut him, whether you cut him or trade him you don’t have to pay him that $8.5 million next season.”

Caplan: “I’m telling you, I think he either gets traded or is back. It seems like they’re hell-bent on getting a compensatory pick for him. If you trade him you get a draft pick, or you keep him and you get a compensatory pick for 2022 either way. You get to pick for next year, or you get a compensatory pick for next year.”

Steven Nelson

Caplan: “Steven Nelson, my understanding in terms of the Eagles is they do have interest, as we’ve said many times, they will not be interested if he continues to want more than they’re willing to pay. My sense is, and the Eagles are not the only team like this, most teams see him as a $2-4 million player. Because of the Eagles’ cap situation, I do think they would like to sign him, if he came in at $2 or $3 million, they probably would pursue. We’ll see. My intel from other teams is that he wants a certain number because he sees himself as a clear starter – and he is – but he’s not a No. 1 corner. He’s more of a No. 2 or No. 3, that’s the way that other teams see him. So, based on our intel, the Eagles certainly are interested, but it’s not likely because of how much money he wants.”

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