Passing the Torch At Birds 24/7

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Lincoln Financial Field Snow Bowl

USA Today Sports

The idea for Birds 24/7 was hatched in the winter of 2012, and the original name we came up with was Breaking Birds (Walter White was at the height of his powers back then).

The Eagles were coming off an 8-8 season, and the 2012 campaign figured to be a significant one for the franchise. Either Andy Reid would get his team to rebound, as he’d done so often in the past, or he wouldn’t, and Jeffrey Lurie would have to consider finally moving in another direction.

Tim and I had gotten to know each other while writing about the Eagles at our previous stops. And that February we began to trade some emails, soon discovering that we both were looking for something new for the upcoming season.

Emails turned to phone calls. Phone calls turned to brainstorming sessions. And soon we had somehow sold one another on the idea of a new site – one that covered every aspect of the Eagles organization year-round.

We were convinced it could work, but knew it would have to provide the hungry fan base with something different – off-beat story angles, breaking news, unique analysis and so on. We set up calls and meetings with people who we thought might be able to help or advise us. Most emphasized that a standalone site would be challenging. We needed a partner.

The process took months, but as winter turned to spring and spring turned to summer, we found a partner willing to take a chance on us in Philly Mag. The rest, as they say, is history.

That’s the backstory. The news is that this is my final post at Birds 24/7. I’m moving on to pursue another opportunity – one that doesn’t involve writing about the Eagles. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagle Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Friday’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.

11:36 – Let’s start with who’s here. DeMarco Murray’s back, but he did not participate fully as he recovers from an illness.

Kiko Alonso (concussion) was out for the second day in a row. Mychal Kendricks was on the field, but not in pads and did not participate. No reason was given by the team. And the same can be said for Zach Ertz. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Eagle RBs (Jeff Fusco).

Eagle RBs (Jeff Fusco).

Here’s what we saw during today’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.

12:15 – Let’s get to the newsy items first. DeMarco Murray and Kiko Alonso both sat this one out. Murray had an illness, the team said. Alonso suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s practice at the Linc.

On the field, it’s the 3-on-2 drill with three defensive backs and two receivers. Tim Tebow has an early throw picked off by Nolan Carroll on a deep post. But he rebounds and connects on the same throw later in the drill. Actually, this had to have been Tebow’s best practice in an Eagles uniform. More on him later.

12:29 – During the first 7-on-7 period, we see a lot of short and intermediate passes. Last year, the Eagles’ defense actually did a pretty good job of getting off the field, yet it still played the most snaps in the NFL. We know Chip Kelly likes to take shots, but perhaps with Sam Bradford at the helm, the Eagles will try to string together longer drives that wear down opposing defenses and keep Billy Davis’ crew off the field. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: What’s the Difference With Carroll?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Earlier this week, Billy Davis was asked about Nolan Carroll, and he raved about what he’s seen from the 28 year old cornerback.

“He had one of the best offseasons I’ve been around,” Davis said. “He really has. From every competition, I think he won maybe every competition that we had in the offseason through his technique that he’s diving into.”

What are those competitions? Each day during practice – both in the spring and summer – Chip Kelly comes up with something. It might be something in the weight room or something on the field.

“We had plate holds to see who could hold it the longest,” Carroll said, when asked which ones he’s won. “…We had fastest miles per hour during practice, who was the fastest guy.”

Your speed?

“I think it was 21.3 miles per hour. It stayed there for the longest time, and then Denzel Rice beat it. He had 22.1, I think it was. For the longest time, I had the record. Just little things like that. He just wanted to be able to have us compete the whole time, not just be lackadaisical and be complacent certain days and guys not really reaching their peak. Every single day, he put in a surprise competition for us.” Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com says Chip Kelly’s moves have not been as unconventional as some might have you believe:

The Eagles traded Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick and a 2016 second-rounder to St. Louis for Sam Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round choice. Why throw in the second-rounder next year? Because talented quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall carry value even when there are strikes against them. When Kansas City acquired Alex Smith from San Francisco in 2013, the Chiefs gave up a second-round pick that year (34th overall) and a conditional second-rounder in 2014. In 2011, Oakland sent a 2012 first-rounder and a conditional 2013 second-rounder to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer. Both quarterbacks were No. 1 picks.

Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during today’s practice at the Linc.

12:35 – The Eagles put the pads on for the first time, and Jeffrey Lurie is on the sideline. He confirmed exclusively to Birds 24/7 that Chip Kelly says hi to him when they pass each other in the hallway at the NovaCare Complex (feeling the need to make sure everyone knows this is a joke).

12:42 – One on ones between receivers and cornerbacks. Fans don’t get to see all of training camp anymore, so this is a nice gesture by the organization – give those in attendance at the Linc something fun to watch.

Up first is Byron Maxwell against Josh Huff. Maxwell blankets him on an out towards the sideline. Huff dives and takes out an innocent bystander. And I mean takes out. Huff laid out and collided with the guy’s knees pretty violently. Luckily, Gary (he’s wearing a name tag) is able to get up and walk it off. That’s a tough dude right there. McManus would’ve been out for a month.

More from Maxwell. He sets up across from Nelson Agholor in press coverage. Agholor runs a go route down the right sideline. Sam Bradford delivers a good ball, but Maxwell gets his hand in between Agholor’s and breaks it up. He waves to the crowd afterwards, and the fans go nuts. Cory Undlin runs 20 yards to Maxwell to give him some love.

I asked Maxwell to describe the play after practice. Read more »

Kelly Explains Why Eagles Held Murray Back

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

DeMarco Murray was vague Monday when asked why he was limited in certain aspects of practice during the first day of training camp.

But Chip Kelly offered up a clear explanation today.

“We have a hydration status test, and he was a little bit high,” Kelly said. “Obviously when you see guys that are high from a hydration standpoint, then you kind of pull them back a little bit because that’s when they’re susceptible for an injury, so that was a training staff, coaching decision.” Read more »

Travis Long Suffers Torn ACL

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles outside linebacker Travis Long tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the season, the team announced.

NFL Network first reported the injury.

Long suffered the same injury last summer. Chip Kelly has said on multiple occasions that he would have made the 53-man roster had he stayed healthy.

It’s a tough blow for Long and puts the spotlight directly on Marcus Smith. Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham will be the starting outside linebackers, but the Eagles need someone to step into the No. 3 role. Last year, when Trent Cole started and Graham was the No. 3 OLB, Graham played 43 percent of the snaps. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during the second day of training camp.

11:55 – During an early drill, the defensive backs focus on press technique against wide receivers. There’s no pass or actual football involved. They just line up across from each other, and both sides try to win at the line of scrimmage.

On one rep, Jordan Matthews tosses Walter Thurmond aside and scoots past him. Later, Nolan Carroll draws praise from defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. The early “Coach’s Pet” award goes to Carroll. Everyone in the building has been raving about him nonstop since the spring. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘I Wasn’t Worried About It’

Mychal Kendricks (Jeff Fusco)

Mychal Kendricks (Jeff Fusco)

Chip Kelly has indicated in the past that every player on his roster is available via trade for the right offer. And his actions have backed up that stance.

So it stood out Sunday when he offered a big endorsement of Mychal Kendricks, probably Kelly’s strongest to date.

“No, we haven’t had any other [trade] discussions,” Kelly said. “Mychal Kendricks is not going anywhere. I can tell you that right now. You can write that down in ink, not pencil.”

At one point during Sunday’s practice, Kelly walked over to Kendricks, put his arm around the linebacker, and the two shared a couple laughs.

“He reiterated it just now, letting me know that you guys are gonna be asking these questions,” Kendricks said. “…I’m here to stay. That’s a good thing. Read more »

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