August 16, 2016 |
OVER THE last three seasons, the Eagles' defense was on the field for a total of 3,411 snaps. That's 71 snaps per game, which - surprise, surprise - was far and away the most in the NFL over that period. Connor Barwin was on the field for most of them. As an outside linebacker in Billy Davis' two-gap, 3-4 scheme, he played 3,189 of those 3,411 snaps, or 93.5 percent. And lived to tell about it. Not only lived to tell about it, but played pretty damn well. Had 21 1/2 sacks the last two years and was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2014.
April 21, 2016 |
A NYONE WHO thinks they have a good feel for how this Eagles team stacks up against the rest of the league probably hasn't spent enough time thinking about it. All it took was a leisurely stroll around the locker room at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday morning to drive that reality home. For the first time since Doug Pederson replaced Chip Kelly as head coach, the Eagles' roster - except for defensive end Fletcher Cox - was in one place at one time. In a lot of ways, it was like the first day of orientation at a new job. In other words, it was a bad time to start asking the grunts questions about the finer points of day-to-day operations.
June 10, 2015 |
To begin his transformation into an every-down linebacker, Brandon Graham met with his new position coach before the 2013 season and found something that had eluded him through his first three years in the NFL: support. Bill McGovern, the Eagles' outside linebackers coach, had watched film of Graham and determined that there was something more to him than just another defensive end who liked to chase quarterbacks. In the 3-4 scheme that Chip Kelly preferred, Graham would be a better fit as a linebacker.
December 4, 2014 |
Two years ago, Brandon Graham dreaded the questions. Graham knew that when the Eagles played the Seattle Seahawks and safety Earl Thomas, he would hear questions about whether he was a draft bust. Graham, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2010, still hears from fans who wish the team selected Thomas when they traded up to the No. 13 overall pick. Considering that Thomas is a three-time all-pro and Graham has 17 career sacks, that is a reasonable opinion. But Graham has started to shed the bust label this season.
March 10, 2014 |
The Eagles begin free agency in a familiar position: with money to spend and with holes to fill. The Eagles don't want to build their team in March, but financial flexibility and an aggressive approach is how the team signed Jevon Kearse and acquired Terrell Owens in 2004. It was also the impetus to get Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin to headline their ill-fated 2011 free-agent class. General manager Howie Roseman insists that the Eagles will not approach the offseason thinking they're a player or two away from title contention.
March 5, 2014 |
OCCASIONALLY, circumstances dictate that several lesser issues be plumbed at once. And, so . . . If the Eagles do, in fact, pursue a top free-agent safety when negotiations begin Saturday, it will be a marked departure from the philosophy they have followed in the nearly 20 years Jeffrey Lurie has owned the team. Yes, they signed Brian Dawkins to a 7-year extension after the 2002 season, but Dawkins was their own: a second-round pick in 1996, in the prime of his career, with impeccable character and an unmatched skill set. He was the most professional person in the franchise and the key to Jim Johnson's fearsome defensive scheme.
December 28, 2013 |
Earl Wolff was sitting at his locker at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday afternoon, his back to everyone, his head hanging low, when out of the corner of his eye he saw DeMeco Ryans enter the room. A rookie safety, Wolff is nursing an injured right knee and has missed four of the Eagles' last five games. Though he had practiced Thursday, he still felt so sore that he worried whether he'd be healthy enough to suit up Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, for the game that will determine whether the Eagles reach the playoffs.
November 19, 2013 |
We're used to rain delays in baseball, but football tradition is to play, come hell or high water. Both arrived on Sunday in Chicago - and the better part of valor came into play. With reports of multiple tornadoes wreaking havoc throughout Illinois, officials at Soldier Field suspended the game between the Bears and Baltimore Ravens. Fans were ordered to the concourse and players sent to the locker room as angry gray clouds boiled in bringing high winds and rain so heavy the city skyline could not be seen.
October 4, 2013 |
FALL BOW SEASON opened Sept. 14 in New Jersey. Trent Cole already has downed two deer. Quarterback season opened Sept. 9. Cole has yet to bag a QB. He hasn't even scared many. As a matter of fact, Cole hasn't recorded a sack in six games, dating back to 2012. He has been credited with only two hurries this season. Mention this to him, and . . . he flashes his million-dollar smile? Sure. He has been waiting for this issue to arise; and, like any good huntsman, he is prepared.
August 7, 2013 |
EVERYBODY makes mistakes. But 2 years ago, the Eagles' decision-making troika of Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and Joe Banner made enough of them over a 3-month span to merit Guinness Book of World Records consideration. That April, they swung and missed with their first three draft picks - guard Danny Watkins, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and cornerback Curtis Marsh. Watkins, who was benched after six games last year, has been a bust. Jarrett was canned after one season. And Marsh has been on the field for a total of 75 defensive snaps in 2 years.