October 7, 2014 |
Just before Bennie Logan lamented the Eagles' lack of killer instinct Sunday, before he conjured the image of a mixed-martial artist too forgiving and passive to endure the Octagon, general manager Howie Roseman sidled up to Logan's locker and jabbed his right hand toward him for a perky little fist pound. "All right, Ben," Roseman said as Logan, the team's 6-foot-2, 315-pound nose tackle, returned the gesture with more deliberation and less enthusiasm. Roseman kept moving around the room, and Logan continued speaking about a 34-28 Eagles victory over the St. Louis Rams that never should have been that close, about a defense that dominated the game's first three quarters, then damn-near disintegrated in the fourth.
October 6, 2014 |
Backups, third-stringers, and hangers-on don't make NFL rosters. Not on the way in, anyway. Players who reach this level have usually been stars their whole lives, the pride of the neighborhood, the best guys on whatever teams they happened to play for. They are all alpha dog competitors who climbed the pyramid through high school and college and got to the best league in the world because that is where they belong. And then it gets a little different for some of them. "I was a star player all the way until I got to the NFL," said Bryan Braman, a linebacker by trade but a full-time member of the special teams for the Eagles.
September 30, 2014 |
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Sometimes, football works this way. There is karmic payback that comes due for teams that insist on playing poorly for much of every game but are still able to dance away with a victory. The Eagles walked that narrow edge for three weeks this season, and they did again Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. This time, the hat didn't hold a rabbit. In fact, the hat usually only held holding, or some other infraction that stalled their offensive drives or helped the 49ers move down the field.
September 23, 2014
THIS DEFIES BELIEF. Eagles players keep reciting a tiresome refrain about "Next Man Up," and, given the militaristic nature of the NFL, distilling remarkable feats into a nonsensical chant follows the logic of the league. Wade Smith, however, has not been in green long enough to be completely brainwashed. In his 12th NFL season, Smith realizes what the Eagles have done in the first 3 weeks is amazing. In the first three games of the season, they have played nine offensive linemen, and played them extensively.
September 17, 2014 |
INDIANAPOLIS - The prettiest pass that Nick Foles threw Monday night traveled in a perfect arc from his right hand to the left corner of the end zone, and although Riley Cooper had Colts defensive back Vontae Davis at his hip, the football still descended into Cooper's hands as if a parachute were attached to it. Here was a go-ahead touchdown falling out of the sky and right into Cooper's hands, if he could just do the thing that the Eagles are...
September 9, 2014 |
The Eagles already trailed by 17 points when the Jacksonville Jaguars entered field-goal range twice in the second quarter Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The defense needed to keep the game within a reasonable margin, and it could not allow the Jaguars to keep finding the end zone. On a third and 1 from the 31-yard line, Brandon Bair stopped Jaguars running back Denard Robinson for a 1-yard loss. The Jaguars were limited to a 50-yard field-goal attempt, which sailed wide left.
September 3, 2014 |
A YEAR AGO - when Chip Kelly was a rookie coach straight out of Oregon, Michael Vick was the starting quarterback and kicker Alex Henery was listed as one of the team's strengths - few could have predicted that the Eagles would win 10 games and no one would have mapped out the unpredictable path they took to capturing the NFC East. Things are a little bit different going into 2014. Kelly is in his second season and his innovative offensive philosophies have proved to be as successful as they were in college.
August 18, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - It's a new world, one that increasingly marginalizes defensive players. But if certain Eagles don't adjust to restrictions on contact downfield and use of the hands on the line, they will become refugees of the offense-friendly NFL. And there's nothing Chip Kelly or any NFL coach can do to save them. "You don't have to agree with the speed limit, but if the cop's out there with a speed gun, you better take your foot off the gas or he's going to pull you over," Kelly said after the Eagles fell to the New England Patriots, 42-35, in the preseason.
August 14, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Jeffrey Lurie purchased the Eagles 20 years ago after a failed attempt to buy the New England Patriots. Reflecting on that period at the Patriots' practice field Tuesday, the Eagles owner said he has not looked back and is grateful that an opportunity came up in Philadelphia. "I sort of love the fact that I was able to buy a team where it was more urban because the Patriots were in Foxborough," Lurie said. "A fan base like the Eagles, one of the old-line franchises.
August 12, 2014
THERE WAS no artificial turf or an inflatable plastic Eagles head for the players to run through onto the field, when the Birds won the 1960 NFL championship at Franklin Field, their home from 1958-70. But despite those differences, the bricks and concrete were the same yesterday, as the Eagles held their final public training-camp practice in front of a crowd of about 28,000 people, in the oldest stadium still being used for NCAA football, built on the Penn campus in 1895. Legends from the past were honored, and attendees included Chuck Bednarik, Pete Retzlaff and Jeremiah Trotter, among more than 30 others.