July 16, 2014 |
THE CUBICLES in Sean Burke's office were quiet as the day was ending. You could faintly hear the middle-class Americans punching out after a long day's work, one by one. And as Burke was finishing what was going to be another boring day, in a dreary summer, he heard something. Bzzzzt. Bzzzt. His phone vibrated at his desk at 4:30 p.m. It was the Boston College football team. Burke careened from his workspace and minutes later, he was seen gleefully leaving the building. The Eagles had offered the walk-on junior linebacker-turned-fullback a scholarship.
June 27, 2014 |
Penn State's lack of depth at linebacker took a huge hit with a report that redshirt junior linebacker Ben Kline suffered a torn Achilles tendon during a workout and is likely out for the entire 2014 season. The report was first made Tuesday night by the Lions247 website. A Penn State spokesman said Wednesday he had no information on Kline, and coach James Franklin has said he will not discuss injuries. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Kline, who was listed as a starter at outside linebacker at the end of the spring, played in only six games last season because of injuries to his shoulder and chest.
June 19, 2014 |
For 165 hours each week last season, the life of Eagles linebacker Travis Long was not much different from that of the players on the active roster. He participated in every practice. He attended every meeting. He traveled on every road trip. The only difference was those three hours during the game, when his teammates wore uniforms and Long wore a warm-up suit with the other practice-squad players. "In every meeting, traveling, doing everything the same, it did make me feel a part of the team," Long said.
June 19, 2014
NOT ALL PLAYERS are created equal. Marcus Smith was the 26th overall pick in the draft last month. The only ways the outside linebacker from Louisville doesn't make the Eagles' roster this season are if he hijacks a plane or sucker-punches Chip Kelly. Travis Long plays the same position as Smith, but doesn't have the same roster assurances. He is going to have to make the team the old-fashioned way. He is going to have to earn it. Long is an undrafted free agent who was signed by the Eagles last summer after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the next-to-last game of his college career.
June 4, 2014 |
THE EAGLES' most irreplaceable defensive player was shaking his head yesterday, smiling but puzzled. Reporters kept asking if offseason personnel additions might allow DeMeco Ryans to play fewer than the league-high 1,157 snaps he logged in 2013. "You tryin' to get me off the field?" Ryans asked a reporter who wondered if there were any packages that didn't include the middle linebacker this year. Like, oh, say, a dime setup, with six defensive backs and one linebacker, which the Eagles didn't feature in their first season under Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis?
June 1, 2014
Penn State's highly regarded recruiting class of 2015 has lost one player, with linebacker Josh Barajas flipping his commitment from the Nittany Lions to Notre Dame, several recruiting websites reported Friday. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Barajas, a four-star recruit, is considered by 247Sports.com to be the top recruit in Indiana and the No. 2 outside linebacker in the country. Barajas, of Andrean, Ind., committed to Penn State in March. The loss of Barajas leaves the Nittany Lions with just one linebacker in the class, Jake Cooper of Archbishop Wood High School.
May 19, 2014 |
IF THE EAGLES follow a pattern for adding players, it fits the Connor Barwin template. First, of course, the players must be talented. Barwin, the free-agent outside linebacker around whom Billy Davis built his defense last season, showed the physical ability to limit damage in his part of the field. Certainly, each of the Eagles' draftees has talent. There can be no question, though, that head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman believe that talent is useful only if found in a person who can maximize it. As such, they place a premium on players who are smart, versatile, accountable, capable of leadership, and hyper-competitive.
May 15, 2014 |
As far as alarms go, the Eagles' failure to address their depth at offensive line and inside linebacker in last week's NFL draft hardly rang a bell. They return all five players from one the league's best lines and both starting inside linebackers. And although they had opportunities to upgrade at each position this offseason, the Eagles were confident about their returners. They saw the need to inject some young talent into the pipeline, but they didn't. "Dagger," general manager Howie Roseman said about not drafting any offensive linemen. "Dagger in the heart.
May 10, 2014 |
The Eagles surprised some by trading out of the No. 22 slot and back four spots in the first round of the NFL draft. But they saved the shocker for what came next, when they selected Louisville outside linebacker Marcus Smith with the 26th overall pick late Thursday night. Defense was thought to be the more pressing need for the Eagles after they finished last season with the 29th-ranked unit. The Birds' pass rush ranked 31st in sacks per pass play, and Smith recorded 141/2 sacks last season.
May 2, 2014 |
First of a series of looks at positions the Eagles might target in the May 8-10 NFL draft. Linebacker * What they have: Inside, Mychal Kendricks is a young building block. DeMeco Ryans, leading tackler the two seasons he has been an Eagle, emerged as the defensive leader and played really well against the run in 2013, but wasn't great against the pass. Ryans, who turns 30 in July, won't man the middle forever. Outside, Connor Barwin is a solid, smart player who still should have plenty of mileage left at 27. The other spot is a question.