October 23, 2014 |
The Eagles reunited on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex after a week away from work. During the bye week, they scattered from one end of the country to the other. They went back home to visit family and friends. They went hunting and fishing. They returned to their high schools or colleges to see how things were going. They sat their aching bodies down and put their feet up. They did a lot, and they did nothing. The coaches mostly scattered, too, but Chip Kelly stayed around to evaluate what has happened so far this season and to get a jump on planning for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
October 20, 2014 |
Most valuable player OFFENSE: Jason Peters The all-pro left tackle has been so good that it's easy to take him for granted. With other key pieces missing on the offensive line, Peters has been a security blanket on Nick Foles' blind side. He kept elite pass rushers Robert Quinn and Jason Pierre-Paul from sacking Foles during the last two games. Peters has not allowed a sack since the season opener. DEFENSE: Malcolm Jenkins Although he might not be a star, Jenkins is a significant upgrade at safety and has been valuable to the secondary.
October 16, 2014 |
Connor Barwin's increased sack production this season can be tracked back to March, when the team bolstered its secondary in free agency but failed to add a pass rusher. The Eagles thought they could improve their pass rush with players returning for their second season in Bill Davis' scheme. One idea was to use Barwin more in that role this season. There was not a noticeable change until recent weeks, but it's now paying off: Barwin is tied for third in the NFL with six sacks.
October 10, 2014 |
IT WAS in the spring of 2012 that Brandon Graham declared himself a bust. The Eagles' 2010 first-round pick was weary from sparring, on Twitter and elsewhere, with fans angry with him for not being Earl Thomas or Jason Pierre-Paul, two future Pro Bowl defensive players who were on the board when the Birds traded up to pick Graham 13th overall that year. So during OTAs that May, after 2 years in which a serious knee injury and its aftermath limited him to 16 games, Graham said he would wear the "bust" label, use it as motivation.
October 9, 2014 |
The Eagles defense has eight sacks in the last two games, and while sacks don't tell the entire story, they have, in this case, signified an improved pass rush. The difference after being shut out on sacks in the previous two games, defensive coordinator Bill Davis said, has been the Eagles' ability to generate pressure with only four rushers. They used the standard four-man rush to notch six of the eight sacks, and 51/2 have come from outside linebackers. "The outside linebackers got the production in this game, but the thing that is growing is the four-man rush, and all four of them together," Davis said Tuesday.
September 15, 2014 |
The Eagles drafted Brandon Graham 13th overall with their 2010 first-round draft choice. It's been a struggle for Graham. Here is how he compares with the five defensive players taken after him in the first round of that draft: 13. EAGLES - Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan Started 12 of 49 games, 111/2 sacks, 67 tackles 14. SEAHAWKS - Earl Thomas, FS, Texas 3 Pro Bowls, 15 interceptions, twice first-team All-Pro, Super Bowl champion last...
September 14, 2014 |
Sometimes you have to shed more than the blockers when you arrive in the NFL as a first-round draft pick being paid huge money to pursue the quarterback. Sometimes you have to blast through the hurtful rhetoric, too. Injury-prone , underachiever and, worst of all, bust have been attached to Brandon Graham's name. He heard them all. "The hardest part was hearing the fans saying what they say and hearing the media and I wasn't able to defend myself because I was hurt," the pass-rushing outside linebacker said Wednesday after the Eagles finished their first day of practice in preparation for Monday night's game against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
September 5, 2014 |
IT DANGLES from the shelf near the top of his locker, but athletes deserve a modicum of privacy no matter how much access is afforded the press. Another copy - 8 1/2-by-11, laminated, five red bullet points and 16 sub-bullets - lies on the bench near his seat; but still, it belongs to him and no one else. Unless he offers it. Then, he offers it. "If I do these things," Marcus Smith II says, "everything else will take care of itself. " He made the little signs himself and asked the Eagles' equipment manager to laminate them.
August 31, 2014 |
THEY WERE the subject of almost comical speculation before and during training camp. Thursday, in the last rehearsal before cuts today, they were the two best players on the field. Granted, that's not saying much. Matt Barkley, less than 3 years removed from Heisman Trophy candidacy, should be able to operate an NFL offense. Brandon Graham, 4 years removed from being a first-round pick, should be able to push around the Jets' backups. Certainly, nothing either did Thursday night elevated them past their current station in their football lives.