August 28, 2014 |
THE GUY WHO is going to make you forget about DeSean Jackson this season isn't Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper or even rookie Jordan Matthews. The guy who is going to make you forget about Jackson isn't even a wide receiver. He's a tight end. He's Zach Ertz. He's not Jimmy Graham. Yet. He'a not Jason Witten or Rob Gronkowski. Yet. And while you might think I'm jumping the gun mentioning somebody who has played only 459 NFL snaps in the same breath with three of the most dangerous pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, Ertz has that kind of ability, that kind of upside.
July 19, 1996 |
Enjoying the NFL Experience, Kerri Kappler, 8, of Levittown, kicks a ball at the Eagles' training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The interactive football event offers nine activities to try.
August 25, 2014 |
Lacking a true position battle for months, the Eagles have less than a week to figure out whether they have a kicker on their roster or if they will have to look elsewhere to fill a thankless position that teams sometimes overlook until it's too late. A series of decisions that stretches back to drafting Alex Henery has the Eagles crossing their fingers that he will find his nerve, or Cody Parkey will be the exception to the rule about rookie kickers, or some better option will drop into their laps.
August 26, 2014 |
Every player is available for the right price, but quarterbacks are at a premium, even backups like Mark Sanchez. The St. Louis Rams need a starting quarterback after they officially learned on Sunday that Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury. Sanchez, in light of his strong preseason with the Eagles and his previous working relationship with Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, has been mentioned as a possible target. If St. Louis comes calling, the Eagles should ask for at least a conditional third-round draft pick.
August 24, 2014 |
The Eagles were already uncertain about their kicking situation before Thursday's preseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. There is even more concern after Alex Henery missed a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, bruising his tenuous grip on the kicker spot. "I've got to be better," Henery said minutes after the home game. "It will probably ruin my night, but I'll wake up tomorrow ready to go, and get those [bad kicks] out of there, and get myself ready for the next one. " It's reasonable to wonder how many next ones Henery will get. He made a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, plus three regular extra points, and he connected on nine 33-yard extra points in the previous two preseason games.
August 28, 2014 |
SUDDENLY, Lane Johnson is looking at his last game action until October. Johnson, the fourth overall selection in the 2013 entry draft, will sit out the Eagles' first four games after testing positive for a banned substance. He can't be around the team practice facility from Monday until Sept. 29, the day after the Birds play game No. 4, at San Francisco. "I've put some thought into it," Johnson acknowledged yesterday. Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he didn't know how much Johnson would play in tomorrow night's preseason finale against the visiting New York Jets.
August 27, 2014 |
WITH A FEW notable exceptions, pass rushing historically has been a young man's game. In the last three years, a total of 58 edge rushers - 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers - have recorded 10 or more sacks in a season. Just seven of those 58 were 32 or older when they did it. Late Hall of Famer Reggie White put up 12 sacks at 34 and 11 at 36 and 16 at 37. Fellow Cantonite Bruce Smith had 84 sacks after his 32nd birthday. Kevin Greene recorded 15 sacks when he was 36 and 12 more when he was 37 before retiring.
August 29, 2014 |
THE LAST several days in the Eagles' locker room, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of tonight's final preseason game, against the visiting Jets. It isn't important to the starters, who won't be playing, or to the key reserves, who if they have to play tonight, can only hope not to get hurt, 10 days before the season opener. But it is important to the guys on the roster bubble, as the cutdown from 75 to 53 by Saturday looms large, and to the ones who have little hope of making the Eagles.
August 15, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Marcus Smith had 14 1/2 sacks last year at Louisville, which was the second in the country. Got most of them the same way most successful college edge-rushers get their sacks: by using his speed to beat the offensive tackle with an outside rush. It hasn't taken the Eagles' first-round pick long, though, to realize his 4.6 speed won't be enough to regularly get him to the quarterback in the NFL. "I've come to realize that speed, in the NFL, doesn't work as good as it did in college," Smith said yesterday after spending 2 hours in the pouring rain jousting with the Patriots' offensive linemen.
August 23, 2014 |
A little more than 10 minutes remained in the first half of the Eagles' first preseason game of the summer that included both of coach Chip Kelly's starting wide receivers. All was well. The offense was firing on all cylinders against the Pittsburgh Steelers, even after LeSean McCoy left with a benign thumb ailment. The Eagles scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions, with quarterback Nick Foles spreading the ball to his multitude of weapons. There were third-down throws to Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, the aforementioned starting receivers, for first downs.