June 11, 2015 |
Whatever the disconnect between Earl Wolff and Chip Kelly over the safety's recovery from knee surgery, the only opinion that counts in terms of the player's future with the Eagles is the coach's. And right now, Kelly has made it quite clear that he believes Wolff should be practicing. "He's been cleared from Dr. [James] Andrews a couple weeks ago," Kelly said on Tuesday, "but it's what he can tolerate. " Wolff had a different interpretation. "He didn't clear me to come out here and be 100 percent," Wolff said of Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon who has been the go-to guy for pro athletes' injuries.
June 5, 2015 |
Corey Undlin won't mention the name of his former employer. (Hint: It's in Denver.) The Eagles' new defensive backs coach was fired from his previous job, but his refusal to look back had little to do with any ill will he may have toward, yes, the Broncos. Undlin is focused on the here and now in Philadelphia. So when comments from several holdovers that seemed to disparage his predecessor were relayed to him Wednesday, Undlin handled them with care and directed his attention toward how he intended to fix a secondary that was among the worst in the NFL. The Eagles' pass defense finished 31st in yards allowed; surrendered a fourth-worst 30 touchdowns; and, most damaging, gave up a league-worst 72 passes over 20 yards and 18 over 40 yards.
June 3, 2015 |
The way the Eagles defensive secondary performed in two seasons under head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis, it was understood that big changes were warranted heading into a third season. In 2013, the Eagles ranked 32d in net passing yards allowed per game, and in 2014, they were ranked 31st. Having seen enough of that, Kelly let three-quarters of the starting secondary leave in free agency, brought in cornerback Byron Maxwell from Seattle and also added Walter Thurmond, an oft-injured cornerback who is being retrofitted as a safety alongside holdover Malcolm Jenkins.
June 2, 2015 |
Walter Thurmond received an offer from Eagles coaches four weeks ago. He could stay at cornerback, where he has played his entire five-year career, and compete at a position that became crowded this offseason. Or he could move to safety, where the Eagles' glaring need has been ignored. The decision was left to Thurmond. He is now a safety. "I chose to go to the safety because of the defense we play - there's going to be a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball," Thurmond said.
May 29, 2015 |
RECENT SCIENTIFIC studies point to safety and cornerback as the Eagles positions causing the most significant damage to flat screens in the Delaware Valley in 2014. Industry data indicates consumers, asked the reason why they were shopping for new TVs in January, most often replied, "Bradley [censored] Fletcher. " Fletcher, Cary Williams and Nate Allen are all far from the NovaCare practice fields this week as the 2015 Eagles make their way through organized team activities. Yesterday, it seemed we might be closer to getting answers to two of the offseason's most pressing questions - who starts opposite $63 million free-agent Byron Maxwell at corner, and who starts opposite Malcolm Jenkins at safety?
May 10, 2015 |
The Eagles' top two picks lined up against each other on the first day of rookie minicamp on Friday, with second-round defensive back Eric Rowe covering first-round wide receiver Nelson Agholor during drills. This was notable not only because the two players are expected to be contributors this year, but also because Rowe played cornerback. When the two were last on a field together, Agholor played wide receiver for Southern California and Rowe played safety at Utah. Rowe, who has the ability to play both safety and cornerback, is starting his Eagles career at cornerback.
May 4, 2015 |
ERIC ROWE said his final NFL predraft visit was to Philadelphia, and, by time he headed home, he was sold. "After my visit, I was like, 'I want to go here so bad.' But it's not like college, where I get to pick," Rowe said on a conference call last night, after the Eagles traded up from 52nd overall in the second round to 47th in order to select Rowe, a 6-0 1/2, 205-pound cornerback and safety from Utah. What Rowe said about feeling as if he fit in with the Eagles' culture, about liking what he heard from the team's coaches, sounded remarkably similar to what first-round pick Nelson Agholor had said earlier in the day. This is Chip Kelly's draft.
April 30, 2015 |
The Eagles picked a bad year to need a safety. Their ongoing search for stability at the position continues this week, although they're assessing a position that is considered one of the weakest in this draft class. Their plight is complicated by rigid demands at the position that narrow their draft possibilities. Traditional in-the-box safeties are not appealing to the Eagles. They want the two starting safeties to be interchangeable, so they search for versatile players who have the characteristics of both a strong safety and a free safety.
April 24, 2015 |
SAFETY What they have: Not enough. This is the biggest area of need heading into the draft. Malcolm Jenkins was a great signing last offseason, but Nate Allen was still Nate Allen, and now he plays for the Raiders. There was no real good free-agent safety on the market this year, after Devin McCourty, who would have been an Eagles target, re-upped with the Patriots. If a starter doesn't emerge from the draft, or in the roster cuts between now and the season, we're looking at Earl Wolff, whose lingering knee problems completely stalled his progress last season, or December signee Chris Couplin, who was cut by the Lions and the Bills last season.
April 9, 2015 |
The Eagles signed defensive back E.J. Biggers and wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu to one-year contracts Tuesday, adding more depth to positions of need. Biggers, 27, comes from the Washington Redskins and has played cornerback and safety during his five-year career. Ajirotutu, 27, spent most of his career in San Diego and has been a productive special-teams player. Both players were in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Biggers, who played for Tampa Bay during the first three seasons of his career before spending two years in Washington, is 6 feet and 185 pounds.