September 4, 2014 |
ONE YEAR into the Chip Kelly era, there is a recurring theme among the Eagles players who work the fringes of the team. The role guys, the special-teams players, the likely to be inactives. They've got their, um, stuff together. At least more together than many of their peers. They take little for granted. They appreciate their station on this roster, rather than feel slighted by it. They speak repeatedly about their self-belief, and about the background names that anchor and lift them.
August 31, 2014 |
Early in his football career, Irv Charles was an offensive lineman. Brad Hawkins was a quarterback. Juwan Johnson was a running back. Cameron Chambers has been a wide receiver since he put on a helmet at age 6, but that just means the Timber Creek junior has been ahead of the curve for most of his life. What all four South Jersey stars have come to realize is that they play the sport's new glamour position: the hot spot for the best athletes and the prize college recruits.
August 29, 2014 |
Keenan Allen, Chargers: Allen's 71 catches were the seventh-most ever by a rookie wide receiver. He slipped to the third round coming out of Cal because of a knee injury. He's not sneaking up on anyone anymore. Antonio Brown, Steelers: Second in the league in catches (110) and yards (1,499). Look for him to improve on eight touchdowns and crack the top-five receivers heading into 2015. Dez Bryant, Cowboys: Since he had 12 TDs in 2012 and 13 in 2013, he's going to get 14 in 2014, right?
August 27, 2014 |
LOOKING OVER what is and is not settled, as the Eagles prepare to wrap up the preseason Thursday night against the Jets, the wide receiver position remains a bigger question than the team probably would prefer. Ideally, if you're going to cut your Pro Bowl wideout in the offseason - yeah, a mention of DeSean Jackson, fire up the bile ducts - you'd like to see your wideout corps dominate in the preseason, so the nattering media nabobs wouldn't have that to natter about, at least.
August 15, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - As Riley Cooper noted yesterday, in the wide-receiving business, "It looks bad when your two starters aren't out there practicing. It definitely looks bad. " Suddenly, we're midway through August and midway through the preseason, pending tonight's Eagles-Patriots contest, without the trio of quarterback Nick Foles and receivers Cooper and Jeremy Maclin having done any meaningful work together. You can look at it as an extended audition for other guys, such as Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Jeff Maehl, Ifeanyi Momah and Arrelious Benn, getting them more preseason reps, showcasing what they can do. Or you can look at it as the first, faint outlines of an emerging crisis, the Eagles reaping what they sowed when they cast DeSean Jackson into outer darkness (or Washington, which in NFL terms is more or less the same thing)
May 29, 2014
The Eagles signed second-round pick Jordan Matthews to a four-year contract Tuesday. The wide receiver from Vanderbilt is expected to be the Eagles' slot receiver this season, replacing Jason Avant. The only remaining unsigned rookie is first-round pick Marcus Smith. Matthews, 21, was the first receiver acquired by the team after DeSean Jackson was released. He is expected to fill an important role. Matthews is the Southeastern Conference's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,759)
May 19, 2014 |
AFTER SPENDING the last 4 years in the Army, including three deployments in Afghanistan totaling 20 months, Alejandro Villanueva acknowledged he still is getting adjusted to civilian life. "I've been wearing a uniform and a flag for about 8 years now; it's all I know," the 2010 West Point graduate said. "I can't remember anything that happened before going to West Point. "It's kind of different not saluting the flag in the morning and saying the [Army] Ranger's Creed. Not hanging up your military helmet at the end of the day as opposed to a football helmet.
May 11, 2014 |
Before Jordan Matthews was to meet with the Eagles, he went into the film study room at Vanderbilt where the Commodores had four cut-ups of Chip Kelly's Eagles offense. "I watched a couple of those films from last year to kind of get a taste for it," Matthews said. If the Eagles hit on their second-round selection on Friday night, Matthews is sure to get a plateful as the team's newest wide receiver. The Birds had an obvious need at the position after releasing DeSean Jackson in late March, and while Matthews won't replace the former Eagle on the outside, per se, there will be obvious comparisons.
May 9, 2014 |
WE KNOW THE Eagles are going to take at least one wide receiver in the NFL draft, which begins with the first round tonight and continues through Saturday. We know this because 2014 might represent the deepest draft ever for wideouts, and Chip Kelly is in the midst of reconfiguring the way the Eagles look at the position, team chairman Jeffrey Lurie said last week. Oh, and then there's the fact that they released their 27-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl wideout, DeSean Jackson, back in March, as part of that reconfiguring.
May 7, 2014
The Eagles signed Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva on Monday, giving the 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman his first chance to play football since he was commissioned on May 22, 2010. Villanueva spent the past four years in the Army and served three tours in Afghanistan. He last played football for Army in 2009 and tried out for the Bengals in 2010. The Eagles scouted Villanueva, 25, at the super regional combine in Detroit in April. He will be with the team for the rookie minicamp from May 16-18.