September 9, 2016 |
As Brandon Graham walked from the visitors' locker room to the bus following the third preseason game at Indianapolis a few weeks back, Graham wanted to make a point about the Eagles' embrace of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's system. "This defense is built for us. The people that's here, the personnel, and that's good . . . You don't have to have a down year to get the personnel here," Graham said. "For us, we've just been licking our chops and happy to be back into this type of defense.
September 9, 2016 |
In 2007, the New England Patriots were only the second team in NFL history to run the table in the regular season, going 16-0. Their offense was unstoppable. They averaged a then-NFL-record 36.8 points per game. Their average margin of victory was 19.7 points. And then they ran into the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII and lost, 17-14. They lost because the Giants' defense spent most of the game making quarterback Tom Brady's life miserable. They were constantly in his face and moving him off his throwing spot.
September 4, 2016 |
FANS AND REPORTERS who cover the team have seen only glimpses of the Marcus Smith transformation that has impressed Eagles coaches apparently enough that Smith could declare he wasn't worried about his roster spot following Thursday night's preseason finale. Smith, given a strong endorsement recently from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, took the field for only 10 defensive snaps against the Jets. Twice, he powered through the line on running plays, dropping Khiry Robinson for losses of 2 and 5 yards.
August 30, 2016 |
INDIANAPOLIS - Opponents will find ways to work the ball downfield against the Eagles. Andrew Luck put together some short, quick throws that worked Saturday night, just not enough of them to turn the tide in a 33-23 Eagles preseason victory. The Colts also hit big on a screen that turned the Birds' aggressiveness against them. But if it's safe to infer anything from the preseason, we're going to go on ahead and infer this: The days of opening the NFL's defensive rankings and automatically going to the bottom of the list to find the Eagles seem to be over.
August 29, 2016 |
INDIANAPOLIS - The regular season begins in two weeks, and the Eagles appear ready. By the time the Eagles starters exited the 33-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night in the third quarter of the third preseason game, they held a three-touchdown lead and could begin thinking about the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11. Philadelphia should know to avoid overreaction in the preseason after the way last season ended up. But with the starters expected to sit the preseason finale Thursday, their final audition Saturday offered some reason for optimism about Doug Pederson's inaugural season.
August 5, 2016 |
A new defense, position, and coaching staff should, theoretically, give Marcus Smith a new lease on his fluttering NFL career. The third-year defensive end is approaching this season with that premise. And who can blame him? If Smith didn't believe this was his chance to finally deliver upon the promise of the draft, then he might as well join first-round busts like Danny Watkins in the real world. "I want at least 10 sacks, 10 [tackles for loss], and at least four interceptions," Smith said when asked for his 2016 goals.
June 5, 2016 |
BRANDON GRAHAM said that when he talks or texts with Fletcher Cox, he is careful not to ask when Cox plans to report for duty with the Eagles. "I try to be a friend and not really talk to him about that. I don't want him to think I'm the police," Graham said Friday as the Eagles wrapped up the optional part of their spring work. Players gather Monday for physicals, before a mandatory three-day minicamp starts Tuesday. Those are the last sessions before training camp, and the only mandatory part of the offseason setup.
May 31, 2016 |
Brandon Graham wonders sometimes how his first six seasons with the Eagles might have been different if not for the revolving door that welcomed and discarded defensive coordinators. "Especially that last year when coach [Andy] Reid was here," Graham said last week after a practice session at the NovaCare Complex. "It was my first time starting after my injury and I ended up getting 51/2 sacks and I really felt like I was headed in the right direction. And then, bam, here comes the 3-4. " Few members of the Eagles have fond memories of that 2012 season, which was Reid's last in Philadelphia.
May 27, 2016 |
THE WORDS that have been used to describe Marcus Smith during his first two NFL seasons haven't been very flattering. Bust. Mistake. Disappointment. He has seen them on social media. He has read them online and in the newspapers. He has heard them on the radio and at the Linc on game day. Bust. Mistake. Disappointment. Imagine somebody doing that to you. Imagine them coming to your place of employment, insulting you and telling you in very explicit language that you suck.
May 13, 2016 |
When the Eagles switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense in 2013, only two of eight regulars on the line had any NFL experience playing in an odd-man front. The unit, as coordinator Bill Davis explained it, was going from one end of the spectrum (a wide-nine-based 4-3) to the other (a two-gap-based 3-4). He preached patience, but even Mother Teresa would have been tested by a transition that ultimately fell short of expectations. Three years later, the Eagles are making the trip back to a wide-nine-based 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.