August 16, 2016 |
Two summers ago, Allen Barbre spent the entire training camp playing right tackle on the Eagles' first-team offensive line. Lane Johnson was scheduled to miss the first four games because of a suspension, and the coaching staff prepared Barbre to replace him. Two summers later, Barbre had been trying to keep his starting left guard spot for the second straight season. But after the news broke about Johnson's looming 10-game suspension, Barbre is back at right tackle as Johnson's replacement like he was in 2014.
August 2, 2016 |
Stefen Wisniewski has started in every NFL game of his career, so the opportunity to work alongside the Eagles' first team offensive line this past week hasn't been unfamiliar. But with starting right guard Brandon Brooks expected to return to the lineup later this week, Wisniewski's midnight hour is fast approaching. Soon he won't be tandem blocking with center Jason Kelce and right tackle Lane Johnson, nor will he be facing defensive tackles as talented as Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan.
July 28, 2016 |
IF YOU'RE one of the five or six people in Philly who still need convincing that this is a football town, consider rookie running back Wendell Smallwood's trip to South Street last Saturday. Smallwood, a fifth-round pick in the draft, was on his way to Lorenzo's to pick up a pizza when, lo and behold, he was recognized by a group of Eagles fans. Now, keep in mind that we're not talking about Carson Wentz or Jason Kelce or Jordan Matthews. We're talking about a 5-10, 208-pound guy who was the 153rd pick in the draft and has yet to play in a game.
July 22, 2016 |
Eagles coach Doug Pederson has said there will be competition at every position as the Eagles start training camp next week. But there really aren't many spots up for grabs. Here is a look at one of the four positions that is legitimately open: The field: Allen Barbre, Malcolm Bunche, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Tobin and Stefen Wisniewski. The favorite: Asked about the left guard competition in May, Pederson made it seem as if Barbre already had the job locked down.
June 17, 2016 |
A COUPLE beads of sweat topped his forehead and a huge grin was impossible to hide. Meet Fletcher Cox, Eagles star defensive tackle and the richest man ever to come out of tiny Yazoo City, Mississippi. "It's mind-blowing," Cox said of the six-year, $103 million contract he signed on Thursday. "When you're dealing with that much money, it's really mind-blowing, and I'm really excited about it. " Ya think? Cox, the best athlete currently playing in Philadelphia, reportedly received a $26 million signing bonus with $63 million of the deal guaranteed.
June 4, 2016 |
New Eagle Stefen Wisniewski isn't worried about winning a starting spot on the offensive line in June. It's by September that he hopes to be in his familiar position. Wieniewski signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Eagles. He has started all 77 games in a five-year NFL career. A second-round pick of Oakland in 2011, Wisniewski, 27, played his first four seasons with the Raiders and last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. "I haven't been a backup since I have been in this league, and I don't intend to be one now," Wisniewski said after a workout this week.
May 30, 2016 |
In the reorganized layout of the Eagles locker room at the NovaCare Complex, the offensive linemen are clustered in a back corner of the room like bears in a cave, just the way they want it. For three years under Chip Kelly, the locker assignments were random, with a linebacker here, a running back there, a punter here, and even a quarterback dropped among the brutes like a pearl in a field of rocks. It was interesting in a new-age kind of way, but Kelly's revolution has expired, and Doug Pederson is more of a business-as-usual guy, from the standard fundamentals of the game right down to the positional groupings in the locker room.
May 27, 2016 |
MAYBE THINGS will change, after third-round rookie Isaac Seumalo is eligible to rejoin the Eagles for training camp. Maybe Stefen Wisniewski, currently the backup center, or Malcolm Bunche, the second-team left guard, will eventually emerge to challenge Allen Barbre's hold on the starting position between Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. As Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich noted Wednesday in a radio appearance, new regimes name starters to create order from chaos, but within that order, the players compete and competition can change the order.
May 24, 2016 |
WHILE MUCH HAS been made of the money that the Eagles are spending on the quarterback position this year, the fact of the matter is that the $22.35 million in 2016 salary-cap space that will be occupied by Sam Bradford ($12.5M), Chase Daniel ($5M) and Carson Wentz ($4.8M) is just the 11th-highest cap total for the position in the league. Given Bradford's solid play the second half of last season and Daniel's photographic knowledge of Doug Pederson's offense and Wentz's sky's-the-limit potential, you can make a decent argument that $22.35 million is a bargain.
April 27, 2016 |
Offensive linemen are not, by nature, complainers. The role they chose on a football field or, more likely, the role that chose them is a sentence to a silent, grinding existence. It isn't fun, but, really, no one wants to hear it. Lane Johnson, who grew up in the little crossroads town of Groveton, Texas, and graduated Groveton High School with 34 other classmates, doesn't expect playing tackle in the NFL to be easy. When your first job back home was digging graves for $8 an hour, you don't expect very much to be easy.