LeSean McCoy says Eagles 'look good'

July, 13, 2014
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LeSean McCoy hosted a charity basketball game Saturday at Neumann University that benefited his foundation, The Shades of Greatness.

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CSNPhilly.com noted that among those who played were Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters and rapper Nelly.

Naturally, McCoy was asked about the state of the Eagles heading into the 2014 season.

“I think we have a good team,” McCoy told CSNPhilly.com. “I'm kind of curious to how it will be, moving around a little bit, getting different players, losing different players. I want to see how we are as a team. We look good. The defense looks really good.”

Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl standout, was released by the Eagles in the offseason.

“The relationship that we built and the relationship we have, that's never going to change regardless of what teams we play for,” Jackson told CSNPhilly.com. “There's still a mutual respect and we still have a good friendship, so regardless of anything, that's my bro.”

Bennie Logan looking to beef up play

July, 12, 2014
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Bennie Logan was one of the most improved players on the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

He can get even better in 2014.

Logan
The second-year nose tackle impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic and production through OTAs.

“Bennie works hard and he's one of those players who loves the game and who gives you everything he has every day,” defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro told Philadelphiaeagles.com. “He was an extremely productive player in college at LSU and he's been that way here. I don't expect anything less.”

Logan gained about 10 pounds in the offseason to get to 315. The added strength should be beneficial in terms of agility.

“It was important to add some weight and strength because of the snaps and making sure I keep my weight up and don't wear down,” Logan told Philadelphiaeagles.com. “Our scheme requires that I get to the football and move. I can't just dig in and stand there not go sideline to sideline. It's been a good offseason for me. I feel like I've made a lot of improvement and I'm far ahead of where I was last year. Let's get it going.”

The entire defense has been challenged to improve this season. After a slow start, the defense got better as last season wore on. Logan was right in the mix of that improvement.

“It's not just on Bennie,” Azzinaro said. “It's everybody working together. Bennie is going to do his part. He's that kind of guy. You don't worry about effort or going outside the scheme with him. He is going to be right there for you every day.”

Jaworski on Chip Kelly: 'He won me over'

July, 11, 2014
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Ron Jaworski is never afraid to express his opinion.

In a wide-ranging interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, Jaworski, an ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, discussed a variety of topics surrounding his former team.

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Kelly
On how coach Chip Kelly surprised him: "I wasn't sure how this was going to work. I wasn't a big believer in guys coming from the college ranks, leaving that rah-rah college style and bringing a new style to the NFL. Kelly made it happen. He won me over."

On Kelly's offensive scheme: "Chip Kelly did a great job of getting people wide open. I went through all these quarterback throws (across the league), I don't think anybody did a better job at getting receivers open than Chip Kelly. When you look at 400-500 throws of each quarterback and I see guys that are making these stick throws into double coverage and all these things, and I plug in Eagles tape and I'm seeing guys running open."

On adjusting to defenses in Year 2: "I will guarantee you this: every pass that he threw last year was studied and watched by 30 personnel guys with the three teams in this division. They studied Nick Foles to every possible nuance: Where is his foot when he is coming out from under center? Does his heel come up a split second before the snap? Does he flick his hand to get into position before the ball is snapped? They will study every nuance of his game on coaches tape, on television to hear his voice inflection, to see where he turns. Is the ball snapped when his head is looking downfield rather than left to right? All these things, they will have broken his game down. Nick has to make that adjustment. Now that teams have adjusted to him, does he adjust to what they do? It's the same thing with the system: the familiarity with the system for the Eagles is great but now all the teams are studying that system. What does Chip do? Does he take this offense to the next level?"

On losing three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson: "I think it's a big loss. I'm not buying into the, 'Oh, don't worry about it.' I saw this offense. I studied this offense. I know what DeSean Jackson did for everybody else -- what he did to clear zones and open up Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and that plethora of tight ends that they have."

LeSean McCoy earns high rank, high praise

July, 11, 2014
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LeSean McCoy clearly has the utmost respect from his peers.

That was evident when the NFL Network released its top 100 players of 2014 and the Philadelphia Eagles running back came in at No. 5.

That was also evident when other players around the league were asked about McCoy.

McCoy
A number of comments are available on NFL.com and also cited on Philly.com.

Here’s a sampling:

"His vision, his moves … he’s a nightmare,” Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “I remember personally, playing against the Eagles, he jumped in the hole, he saw me in the hole, he stiff-armed me, jumped back out of the hole and ran for 10 yards. ... The first guy is always going to miss, the second guy is going to miss him, and possibly a third guy is going to miss, so all 11 guys have to run to the football. Sometimes all 11 guys miss. ... He's like a Barry Sanders. He’s all of that in one.”

“I haven't seen anyone pull moves like that since Barry [Sanders],” Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “That’s a high thing to say. Now I’m not saying he’s up there, but I’ll say he’s got some moves. He’ll leave you in the dirt.”

“When we play the Eagles it’s all about contain, contain, contain, contain,” Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich said. “Set the edges, and keep that dude in the middle. And the problem for us is, we’re trying to defend it, and they run the read option. And we don’t know if it was supposed to be a give, or if he was supposed to go right or supposed to go left, so as a defense we try to look at blocking schemes and say, ‘Yo, this is the play.’ But when you have LeSean McCoy in the backfield, you don’t know what the play is and you don’t know how to study it. That makes him a very dangerous weapon.”
DeSean JacksonDrew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images
Score: Eagles 38, Giants 31

Date: Dec. 19, 2010 Site: New Giants Stadium

After the deeply frustrating exercise of picking three plays from the long history of the Philadelphia Eagles as the most memorable in franchise history, I could never second-guess the voters who selected the most recent "Miracle of the Meadowlands" play as No. 1.

It was a narrow vote, with DeSean Jackson's 65-yard, game-winning punt return edging out Herm Edwards' improbable game-winning fumble recovery in the 1978 "miracle" game. The bigger surprise was how far behind (9 percent of the vote) Wilbert Montgomery's touchdown run in the 1980 NFC title game finished.

But I think this gets at the issue pretty directly. Our top three had zero plays by Randall Cunningham or Donovan McNabb, zero by Reggie White or Brian Dawkins, zero by Chuck Bednarik or Steve Van Buren. And yet, every one of those players made any number of plays worthy of consideration.

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Discuss (Total votes: 35,685)

So what are we really looking for? Cunningham bouncing off Carl Banks on "Monday Night Football" was a definite "wow" moment, but what did the play ultimately mean? One of the toughest final cuts was McNabb’s fourth-and-26 throw to Freddie Mitchell. Yes, it was an astonishing play to help win a playoff game, but the Eagles lost the following week.

When you see fans voting for great plays that led to championships, it’s a painful reminder that the Eagles haven’t won one of those since 1960. In their victory against the Green Bay Packers that season, Bednarik made a game-saving tackle of Jim Taylor. That play probably belonged on the short list, too, but how many fans have even seen it at this point?

Meanwhile, Jackson’s "miracle" return at the new Giants’ stadium in East Rutherford was voted best play in NFL history a couple years ago. That is pretty hard to ignore, even if you allow for the impact of Youtube and social media and being on an endless loop on SportsCenter.

Bednarik didn’t have any of that. Neither did Randall or Reggie. So what makes a play unforgettable?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder, and the beholders have spoken.

Ertz ranked among NFL's top young TEs

July, 11, 2014
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There are a number of blossoming tight ends in the NFL.

Count the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz among them.

NFL.com released an interesting list of seven top young tight ends with two years or less experience.

Ertz, a second-year pro from Stanford, was ranked fourth on this list behind Ladarius Green of the San Diego Chargers, Eric Ebron of the Detroit Lions and Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins.

Here's what Gil Brandt of NFL.com wrote about Ertz: "The second-year pro is a very skilled receiver and blocker who showed as a rookie (36 catches for 469 yards and four scores) that he can really play well in that Eagles attack, which is a good system for tight ends. Ertz's fluidity helps him get loose in the secondary; he's definitely more than just a straight-line speed guy. Speaking of speed, while his 4.65-second 40-yard dash might not seem fast, can you imagine a 6-5, 250-pounder barreling toward you at that pace? The image should crystallize the matchup problem that many of the tight ends on this list present: stopping a giant who can run as fast as your 5-11 safety -- and jump as high, too."

Injury comeback shows Josey's toughness

July, 10, 2014
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Henry Josey was supposed to be done.

In November of 2011, Josey -- then a running back at Missouri -- suffered a bone-chilling injury that included a torn ACL, MCL, patellar tendon and nerve damage.

It took three operations to repair all the damage. It also took an incredible amount of mental and physical toughness to come to rehab every day.

But here he is working through OTAs and preparing for training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent.

“All I did was rehab that whole year, 14-to-16-hour days,” Josey told the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. “I'd be in training room the whole time. I'd eat breakfast there, eat lunch, take a nap, then go home. It was like a regular job. Every day was tough. There were no days off from rehab. Every day you knew you were going to be in some kind of pain, but you had to get through it. That's what had to be done.”

Josey’s son, Henry Josey Jr., was 1 at the time of the injury and gave him the boost he needed to push through the long days.

“He watches everything I do,” Josey told the News Journal. “I didn't want to be letting him down. I knew in the back of my mind he's watching me and he's expecting me to show up every day, and that's exactly what I did. If I didn't make it back, at least he'd know that I tried my hardest.”

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who also played at Missouri, suffered a torn ACL as a freshman and then again last summer during training camp.

Maclin has reached out to Josey.

“He's my guy,” Maclin told the News Journal. “I just made myself available for him. (Now), he couldn't be in a better situation. He has the opportunity to learn from the best running back in the league (LeSean McCoy) and this offense. I'm excited for him.”

Eagles' biggest key to success

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
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The elephant in the room when discussing the Philadelphia Eagles' prospects for the next few years is named Nick Foles. If Foles continues to be the quarterback who threw 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions last season, who led the NFL in passer rating in 2013, then the Eagles should be in fine shape for the foreseeable future.

But I don’t think that’s really the question we should be asking. To me, the Eagles’ chances for continued success under Chip Kelly depend largely on the coach himself.

Remember, Foles went 1-5 as a starter under Andy Reid in 2012. He certainly benefited from that experience, but the single most important reason for his big 2013 season was Kelly’s offensive strategy. Foles performed at an elite level while LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing. That doesn’t happen by accident. It happens as a result of good coaching that finds ways to get the most of the players available.

As long as that is Kelly’s approach, the Eagles have a chance to contend for the next few seasons. And there is no reason to believe Kelly will change his approach.

Consider the worst-case scenario regarding Foles. If he regresses significantly in 2014, the Eagles are under no obligation to sign him to a long-term contract. They would be free to see if Mark Sanchez or Matt Barkley can excel in Kelly’s system. If the answer is no, they could draft a quarterback in 2015 -- Marcus Mariota, anyone? -- and let Kelly work with him.

If Foles is able to replicate his success, or even build on it, then the Eagles will be fine. So it’s easy to conclude Foles is the key. But in truth, the No. 1 determining factor for this franchise in 2015, 2016, 2017 and beyond is Kelly.

McCoy No. 5 on NFL Network's Top 100

July, 10, 2014
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The NFL Network released its top 100 players of 2014 on Wednesday night.

LeSean McCoy was No. 5.

That's quite a tribute for the Philadelphia Eagles' running back, who led the league in rushing last season.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was No. 1 followed by Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

McCoy is one of four Eagles featured on the top 100 list.

Tackle Jason Peters came in at No. 67, quarterback Nick Foles is No. 70 and guard Evan Mathis is No. 88.

NFL Nation Buzz: Eagles' top plays

July, 10, 2014
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Philadelphia Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan discusses the team’s most memorable plays, including both miracles at The Meadowlands.

Eagles' fringe players have stories to tell

July, 10, 2014
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There are fascinating stories on every NFL team.

And not just from the All-Pro players.

Philadelphiaeagles.com editor Dave Spadaro provided a detailed look at a number of fringe players on the Eagles and how they made their way to simply compete for a spot in the NFL.

Frances Mays is 6-foot-9 and 291 pounds, and he's hoping to cement a position on the defensive line.

Mays hasn't played organized football for very long.

"I never played sports," Mays said. "I don't really have a good reason why, I just never did. Then when I was 18, I was a senior in high school, I figured I'd give football a shot. Now that I've been playing football, I don't know how I ever did without it. I love it. I love the physicality of the game, love the competition. It changed my life. It's funny how things work out sometimes."

Offensive lineman Karim Barton hails from Jamaica and eventually wound up at Morgan State. He lacks experience but he has plenty of motivation to succeed.

"Football came to me as a second sport," Barton told the web site. "I grew up playing soccer and cricket, but I was big in high school, so everyone told me to play football. But I was like, 'No, I don't want to break my neck, I don't want to hurt myself.' But when junior year came, I finally thought, OK, because of my size I'm going to play. So I started playing, and then I started getting the [recruitment] letters from universities, at which point I thought, alright, this is a ticket to college here. But at the end of high school, I didn't get any concrete offers, so I went to a junior college called COC [College of the Canyons].

"I was qualified [academically] out of high school, so I didn't need to stay there two years," he added. "In fall semester 2009, I earned a scholarship from Morgan State, and from spring 2010 to last fall, I played my college ball there. I graduated last fall with a bachelor's [degree] in business administration, and here I am now."
video

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy discusses his aunt's battle with cancer and how her words have inspired him.

Malcolm Jenkins should shore up safety

July, 9, 2014
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Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward would have been stellar options to shore up the safety position for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jenkins
But the Eagles went with Malcolm Jenkins.

It’s hard to argue the choice.

Jenkins left the New Orleans Saints and joined the Eagles for three years and $16.5 million. He has the ability to be flexible in most defensive schemes, and that should be beneficial in defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ scheme.

The Eagles have lacked a dependable safety since Brian Dawkins left following the 2008 season. Last season, they ranked last in the NFL in pass defense, allowing nearly 300 yards per game.

Jenkins should make a big difference in altering that statistic.

“It’s just about making the calls and eliminating the dumb mistakes to where you [don’t allow] big plays or blown coverages,” Jenkins told the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. “That’s where I come in, as far as knowing the defense, making the right calls, and getting everybody lined up so then we can go play fast.”

Even though Jenkins has been in Philadelphia for only a short period of time, he has served as a mentor to the likes of Nate Allen and Earl Wolff. The leadership skills are evident.

“Right now, I have a really good grasp on what the book tells us to do,” Jenkins told the News Journal. “For this formation, we’re playing this coverage, and this formation, it’s this coverage. So now, it’s really how I’m going to match this coverage to these routes, and how am I going to put myself in a position to make a play.”

Watkins provides versatility to secondary

July, 9, 2014
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The Philadelphia Eagles coveted a versatile defensive back in May’s NFL draft.

To address that, the Eagles selected Florida’s Jaylen Watkins, a multi-faceted player who started at both cornerback and safety with the Gators, in the fourth round.

It remains to be seen how many snaps Watkins will receive when the regular season starts, but he’s been impressive so far.

"Obviously a very, very talented young man,” Eagles assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght told Phillymag.com. “He has great ball skills. (In early June) he made an unbelievable interception -- probably one of the best interceptions that we had during the OTA program. He's still learning to work at the professional level. I think he needs to learn how to push himself out of his comfort zone. There will be times where he is cruising a little bit.

“I think mentally he thinks that he is working really hard, but he still needs to push himself a little bit more. But he'll grow into that because it's difficult to come from the collegiate level and just get it right away. It takes some time, but I think he's a smart enough player where he'll pick up everything really fast.”

It might be difficult for Watkins to play ahead of Brandon Boykin, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Nolan Carroll. But there’s always special teams.

“I see him being a major contributor on special teams and playing a role on the defensive side of the ball this year,” Lyght told Phillymag.com.
DeSean JacksonDrew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is the last of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in team history. In the previous two days, we featured the first Miracle at the Meadowlands against the Giants in 1978 and Wilbert Montgomery's touchdown in the 1980 NFC Championship Game. Please vote for your choice as the Eagles' most memorable play.

Score: Eagles 38, Giants 31
Date: Dec. 19, 2010 Site: New Giants Stadium

When Kevin Boss scored on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning, the New York Giants had a 31-10 lead with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter. That gave the Giants, according to the formula, a 100 percent win probability for that game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

When Michael Vick hit tight end Brent Celek for a 65-yard touchdown a couple of minutes later, the Giants’ win probability stayed at 99.9 percent. When Vick ran 4 yards for a touchdown with 5:32 left in the fourth quarter, the Giants still had a 97.8 percent chance to win the game. Even after Vick tied it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin with 1:16 to play, the Giants had the ball with a chance to win. But two incomplete passes and a sack later, New York had to punt with 14 seconds left.

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Which is the most memorable play in Eagles' history?

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Discuss (Total votes: 35,685)

You get the point. The Giants had the game in the bag. The Eagles came back from 100 percent dead in the water and won it thanks to what was quickly dubbed Miracle of the New Meadowlands, for the new Giants stadium had just opened across the parking lot from the site of Herman Edwards' 1978 miracle fumble recovery.

This time around, the winning play itself was almost as improbable as the three-touchdown spree that set it up. Giants punter Matt Dodge was kicking from his own 29-yard line. All he had to do was avoid Eagles return man DeSean Jackson. Instead, Dodge kicked it right to Jackson, who fumbled the punt, picked it up at his own 35-yard line and started to run. He didn’t stop until he was approaching the goal line, where Jackson changed his course of approach to make sure the clock ran down to zero before he crossed the line.

"I was thinking to myself, like, 'They're not going to kick it to me,'" Jackson said. "I was thinking he was going to kick it out of bounds. But it got to me. From there, I just used my instincts and my speed to get into the end zone."

The 65-yard return ended a 28-point Eagles comeback rally and gave them a tiebreaker edge on the Giants for the NFC East title. That meant Jackson’s return contributed to the last of Eagles coach Andy Reid’s nine playoff appearances with the team.

An era was ending, but it was delayed by Jackson’s improbable return and the Eagles’ statistically impossible comeback.

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