Jimmy Kempski calls it 11-5 for the Eagles in 2018...

Jimmy Kempski calls it 11-5 for the Eagles in 2018...

Eagles

Jimmy Kempski calls it 11-5 for the Eagles in 2018...

You get an off day-Monday, you kinda scrounge for these sort of things…I mean, we’ve had our own Bored members here speculating everything from 7-9 to 19-0!

I found it interesting that Kempski (or is it really ~BROZ?) went as high as 11-5. Usually he’s pretty downsided on predictions based upon annual new faces and parts replacements which are inevitably uncertain in this modern age of NFL free agency.

If you ask me, 11-5 would be more than acceptable in a Super Bowl-follow-up season. It would mean you at the very least get into the playoffs. What more could a true Eagles fan with a lifetime pedigree of constant sorrows hope for?

Kempski of course writes for Philly Voice.com now, but I remember when he was just a pup with a decent sales job in ordinary life, then announced to his lovely wife that he was chucking it all to pursue an Eagles beat-writer career.

Fortunately for Jimmy, his wife was supportive of the idea. Somehow he landed a gig (with a press pass) at the Allentown Morning Call. I can only imagine what smooth-talking it must have taken for Kempski to get that “On The Road Again” opportunity.

From there, the rest is journalistic history, I guess.

The good news for the rest of us is Jimmy actually understands football. That’s not a given in the cases of many of the younger beat writers or older (like me) editorial commentators who follow the Eagles as a genuine sport obsession. You still get a lot of us who don’t know how to separate our love for the Eagles from our objective appreciation of the technique of the game—and that necessarily includes understanding the fact that our opponents on the field are trying to win, too.

I guess my appreciation of Kempski is partly an alter-ego thing, too. You youngsters out there may not remember, but my very first column for the old MVN Network back in 2007 was the story of my training camp trek up to Lehigh with a suitcase in my hand. I was gonna learn about the truth of Eagles football from the training camp ground up, and to hell with my day job. Surely the internet exposure of the truth of my mission would net me a gig with ESPN or FoxSports, or sumlin.

Welp, I learned a lot but I trudged home a beaten man. I realized my day job, as mundane as it was, would be if nothing else a safe haven from the vagaries of sports journalism, where there was and is definitely a case of supply exceeding demand.

That’s the way it was. But Kempski beat the odds.

So I digress… a few nuggets from Kempski’s latest “Fan Chat” session reveal several lemons to chew upon:

“I don’t think they’ll run Jay Ajayi into the ground the same way the Dallas Cowboys did with DeMarco Murray, for example. Ajayi isn’t healthy the same way Murray was. He still has knee issues, so they’ll preserve him to some degree. That said, I do think his workload will absolutely increase, and he could get heavy usage late in the season if they really need him, and in the playoffs. They may not care as much about his long-term career if they assume he’s going to walk in free agency, which seems likely.”

Regarding Destiny Vaeao’s having done anything to stand out or make the fans feel comfortable with his potentially starting with Timmy Jernigan on the mend?

“Haloti Ngata will start, and play on run downs. Some of the DEs, like BG and Bennett, will slide inside on obvious passing downs, so they won’t need a guy like Destiny to play much anyway. All they need is for Destiny to be able to give Fletch a breather from time to time, and they’ll be fine there, assuming they don’t sustain any more injuries.”

Does Kempski see Rasul Douglas getting moved to safety at some point?

“I don’t. The safety position has changed. In the past, a bigger corner like Rasul might be a candidate to move to safety, but that’s not really what matters at that spot anymore. Most teams — and this is certainly true of the Eagles — want their safeties to be able to double as slot corners. I don’t believe that slot corner duty is something Rasul would handle well. I think he’s an outside corner only.
“I do think that the team could think of Jalen Mills as a guy who could transition to safety.”
Regarding Eagles’ offensive line depth:
“Most teams can’t even field a full starting 5 that is strong across the board. The Eagles might be the only team in the NFL that has that. Plus they have Vaitai at swing tackle, which is a position that is far more important than people give it credit for.

“Warmack isn’t good, but he was “good enough” when Wis missed a few games late in the season. The Eagles have much better OL depth than most.”

Who are the Eagles’ RBs after this season….looks kind of barren?
“Clement is the only RB who is almost certain to be on the roster next year. So yes, barren. Like the last two drafts, it should be another good RB draft in 2019. They can get one there, and I imagine they’ll continue on the “RB by committee” strategy that seems to be working for them. That’ll clearly be a position they have to add to next offseason.”
If the Eagles regress this year, is the single biggest factor possibly all the different Coordinators? I think Reich was underrated as far as having a veteran guy for Doug to lean on a bit. And Flip was highly regarded….
“I think it’s a legitimate concern. Reich and Flip were a big part of the game-planning for the upcoming opponent, and the Eagles out-schemed the crap out of teams pretty regularly last year, not to mention the job they did with Foles during the playoff run. That’ll be hard to replicate.”
Will Duce ever be a head coach in the NFL? Where does he go from here?

“Duce didn’t have much experience in game-planning for the next opponent last season, which is why Mike Groh got the OC job, as he should have, given the two options. He’ll be involved in that to some degree this year.
“Duce’s strength is his ability to be an authoritative figure to the team as a whole. There are coaches that don’t call plays, and leave that up to their coordinators. Mike Tomlin comes to mind, for example. So there could be opportunities for Duce down the road.”
Does Kempski think there is a chance they trade Darby before the season? If so what would they be looking for in return pick wise? And if they would go for a position player in the trade? What position do you think they would trade for?
“I think the team would be looking for a 2, at a minimum, considering there’s a good chance Darby gets a big enough contract next offseason to warrant 3rd round compensatory pick consideration. Since Darby has value to the Eagles this year, the difference between potential comp pick compensation and what they would receive in a trade would have to be significant.
“If the Eagles were to trade him for a player of equal value, I know that a lot of fans would say LB (I would strongly disagree) I think that DT would be pretty high on that list.”
The Eagles have to be getting a new punter, right? Cameron Johnston has been shanking 3 out of every 7 punts in practice.
“I think they’ll wait until some punters shake free after 53-man cutdowns if they replace Johnston.”
How has UDFA Joe Ostman been looking? Probably a PS candidate? Is there just too much depth in front of him to make the 53?

“He has a really, really tough path to making the roster with all the DE depth in front of him. I was surprised he signed with the Eagles, frankly, given that fact. Maybe his agent recognized the number of 30-plus year old guys on the roster, and had long-term vision for him? Don’t know. Maybe I’ll ask him. But he’s done some nice things. I think he absolutely has practice squad in his future if some other team doesn’t pick him up.”

Will the D-Line feature Ngata and Cox, or more of Bennett and Cox with Barnett starting?
“Depends on the situation. 1st and 10? Cox and Ngata. 3rd and 12? Cox and Bennett.”

Is it possible for Nick Foles and the Eagles to accept the option in his contract for next season, just so they can trade him? If it is possible, what’re the chances of that happening instead of his becoming an UFA?

“That contract is so complicated that I kind of don’t know where to start. An explanation from OverTheCap. com:

“On April 20, 2018, Foles renegotiated his contract and signed a new two year contract worth up to $29 million in base salary. The contract pays Foles a $2 million signing bonus in 2018, which represents a $2 million raise from his original contract. There are $14 million in additional incentives available. The 2019 season, which was a void year, is now an option year with a player void clause. The Eagles can opt into the contract, which carries a $20 million salary, by picking up the option a month before the start of the 2019 league year. The salary is guaranteed on the 3rd day of the league year. If the option is exercised Foles may still become a free agent by paying back the $2 million signing bonus he received in 2018 as part of this new contract to void the 2019 league year. The 2020 and 2021 league years will both automatically void prior to the start of the 2020 league year.”

“So, yes, the Eagles would almost certainly opt into the contract, since it wouldn’t become guaranteed for a month, and then they would try to work out a trade while Foles simultaneously worked out a new deal with a potential trade partner.”

How many (if any) trades does Howie have left in him this season? What position or player could be targeted or moved ? Eagles seem to have great depth almost everywhere – minus punter and 3rd safety.

“I think the most likely outgoing players are Foles, Darby, Seumalo, Smallwood, and Pumphrey.”

How has Elijah Qualls looked? Interested in seeing if he gets any playing time this year with Jernigan out…

“Doug keeps saying how good Aziz Shittu looks, which remains such a puzzling thing to me. Maybe the team is trying to send a message to Qualls to pick up his game? I really don’t know. But I haven’t seen much there so far.”

Does Kempski think Sidney Jones is our most talented defensive back?

“Yes.”

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