August 21, 2014 |
Whenever an offensive player sustains so forceful a hit during a football game that his helmet tumbles to the ground, there is often that subsequent half-second when everyone has the same thought: Oh, my Lord - his head came off. Brent Celek took one of those hits Friday night. He caught a pass for a 22-yard gain against the New England Patriots, and safety Patrick Chung - whom the Eagles had released in March after one ignominious season - drilled him in the chest. Yet this was one of those rare occasions when no one watching the game either at Gillette Stadium or on TV had that silly-if-instinctive reaction.
August 16, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Of the Eagles' pass catchers, Zach Ertz made the biggest impression during three scrimmages with the Patriots this week. Most of the tight end's work came against the second-team defense. But when the Eagles went with two or three tight ends against New England's starters, Ertz got open nearly as much. His play through all of training camp - which ended with Thursday's light practice - and the first preseason game has suggested that Ertz needs to see more time with the first team.
August 2, 2014 |
It can make your head spin, trying to figure out how the Eagles will divvy up snaps among 10 or so skill-position players with only five spots for every play. Do Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper play the majority of time like last year's outside receivers? Will Jordan Matthews get as many snaps in the slot as Jason Avant did a year ago? Can the Eagles risk having LeSean McCoy on the field 80 percent of the time again? What about the three starting-caliber tight ends? Darren Sproles needs to get his looks, right?
June 17, 2014 |
ONCE THE SEVENTH and final round of the NFL draft concludes each spring, it's typically interesting to learn which undrafted free agents the Eagles are bringing in for training camp. There's usually a good story or two among them, perhaps a kicker with a unique nickname or a former star running back who overcame extreme medical odds to earn a pro contract. But of the 15 undrafted rookies the Eagles signed after last month's draft, there is perhaps none a more intriguing prospect in Chip Kelly's system than Trey Burton, the multifaceted tight end from the University of Florida.
June 11, 2014 |
IF THE ONLY thing you looked at was his receiving numbers, you might conclude - mistakenly, I might add - that Brent Celek didn't have a particularly good season last year. The Eagles tight end's 32 catches were his fewest since he became a full-time starter in 2009. Twenty-seven tight ends hauled in more passes. While his six touchdown receptions were the third most on the team, and his four red-zone TDs tied Riley Cooper for the team high, he was targeted only 51 times, which also was the fewest since he became a full-time starter.
May 30, 2014 |
THIS TIME last year, Zach Ertz was back at Stanford grinding through the final four courses needed for his degree in management science and engineering. It wasn't until after June 16, the day he graduated, when the touted tight end could join the Eagles full-time and truly begin preparing for his rookie season. No such restrictions exist this spring for Ertz, a candidate for a breakout second NFL season in Chip Kelly's high-octane offense. "It was such a mystery last year at this time in that I really didn't know what was going to be going on," Ertz said yesterday, the second day of organized team activities at the NovaCare Complex.
May 18, 2014 |
Alejandro Villanueva has already accomplished and seen more in his 25-plus years than most of us will in a lifetime. The imposing 6-foot-9 rookie defensive end arrived at the NovaCare Complex earlier this month as a long shot to make the Eagles' 2014 roster, but even if he does not land on the opening-day roster, he'll still be the most decorated player invited to training camp. Sure, running back LeSean McCoy is a two-time all-pro and last year's NFL rushing champion. Sure, cornerback Cary Williams has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the Baltimore Ravens.
May 5, 2014 |
If the Eagles are looking for DeSean Jackson's "replacement," they need to look no further than to their own roster and tight end Zach Ertz. The Eagles, of course, have added two pieces - Jeremy Maclin and Darren Sproles - to supplement the 2013 production that left with Jackson. But of their current players, Ertz has perhaps the best chance to dramatically increase his numbers now that Jackson is in Washington, especially if the second-year tight end delivers upon Eagles expectations.
April 4, 2014 |
Reports from Penn State indicate that the Nittany Lions have suffered the second serious injury of their spring football practice sessions. Tight end Adam Breneman is out for the rest of the spring with a bruised knee, according to several websites. Breneman caught 15 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns last season playing in a three-tight end rotation as a freshman. Blue White Illustrated was the first website to report his injury. Penn State coach James Franklin does not comment on injuries, and a team spokesman said any update on Breneman would have to come from the coach.
January 29, 2014 |
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Eagles have a scout who watches college basketball, looking for potential football players. He searches for players like Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. Before Thomas was a part of the Broncos' lethal receiving corps - four players with at least four touchdowns in the regular season - he was a forward for Portland State preparing to play Xavier in the 2009 NCAA tournament. "This isn't something that I imagined doing when I was 20 years old getting ready to play in the NCAA tournament," Thomas said.