Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘Players Just Want Transparency’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

What strikes you is how casually they greet the alleged corruption.

Congressional investigators recently released a 91-page report supporting the claim that the NFL inappropriately attempted to influence a sports-related study on brain disease by the National Institutes of Health. After committing an “unrestricted” $30 million donation to the NIH, the NFL apparently balked when a $16 million grant was given for research efforts to be led by neurodegenerative disease expert Dr. Robert Stern, who has been critical of the league in the past, and attempted to redirect funds to grant applicants with league ties.

“No conversations [with the NFLPA] yet. I think everyone is waiting to get a little more information,” said Eagles player rep Malcolm Jenkins. “But I also don’t  feel like anyone is caught by surprise. I feel like we’ve felt like that was the case the entire time anyway.”

That what was the case?

“That the NFL wasn’t being 100 percent [in respect to] their findings of the investigations on concussions… I’m going to speak for myself, but I don’t think players really have the confidence in the league to do the right thing — or completely the right thing — when it comes to player safety.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Fit For Jenkins?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Malcolm Jenkins is the perfect example of why scheme fit matters.

The 28-year-old has proven to be one of the top acquisitions of the Chip Kelly era. Though his signing was met with little fanfare (T.J Ward and Jairus Byrd were the two big free-agent safeties that year, you’ll remember), Jenkins came in and brought stability to the position for the first time since Brian Dawkins departed for Denver in 2009. This past season, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the second best safety in the NFL.

Such success makes it easy to forget some of the struggles he had before arriving in Philly.  Back in 2012, the same site had him as the league’s lowest rated safety along with his defensive backfield partner Roman Harper thanks in part to a combined 32 missed tackles. Read more »

NFC East Roundup: The Rise And Fall Of RGIII

Robert Griffin USA Today

Robert Griffin USA Today

Let’s take a spin around the NFC East to see what’s going on with the rest of the division:

Jason Reid of ESPN did a longform piece on Robert Griffin III detailing some of the dysfunction that accompanied his time in Washington.

Feb. 5, 2013 — Griffin called for a meeting. He declined to tell Mike Shanahan what he wanted to discuss, saying only it was important. Griffin, Mike and Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur gathered in the offensive meeting room at the team headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia. With the coaches seated, Griffin walked to a blackboard and wrote:

  1. Change things.
  2. Change our protections.
  3. Unacceptable.
  4. Bottom line.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Opportunity For Smallwood

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Just about every time you looked up, there was Wendell Smallwood.

The Eagles are a bit short-handed at running back at the moment. Darren Sproles has been absent all offseason and Oregon rookie Byron Marshall is among those impacted by the NFL graduation rule. That left the likes of Ryan Mathews, Kenjon Barner, Cedric O’Neal and Smallwood to carry the load as OTAs got underway at the NovaCare.

Duce [Staley] gave me a lot of reps. I was with the twos and the threes,” said Smallwood following Tuesday’s practice. “He’s telling me I’ve got to get my motor going. He wants me to be contributing to this team so I definitely think I’m going to have to get a lot of reps and have to get better.”
Read more »

A Different View From the Inside On Bradford

Jordan Matthews, Sam Bradford

Malcolm Jenkins and Jordan Matthews reminded those gathered around them Tuesday of a fundamental truth about the NFL: it’s a business.

“There’s 52 guys in here that feel like they’re overworked and underpaid. That’s just the reality of it,” said Matthews. “Everybody wants more money. Everybody wants this and that.”

For proof, reporters simply had to shift their eyes down the locker room some to the vacant stall typically occupied by Fletcher Cox. The standout defensive tackle has been missing all offseason as efforts to re-up his contract continue. Darren Sproles, too, has been a no-show, which reportedly has something to do with trade discussions that were held over draft weekend. Yet there has been very little external blowback, particularly compared to the storm that Sam Bradford‘s recent actions created. Read more »

Bradford: It Was Condon’s Idea

Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford did his part to help the narrative that the “holdout” and accompanying trade demand was an agent-driven decision.

Speaking to the media for the first time since all of this went down, Bradford said that he placed full confidence in Tom Condon to navigate the situation, and it was Condon that ultimately chose this path.

“I was told [about the Eagles trading up to the No. 2 spot] Wednesday, participated in the practice on Thursday and then I believe Friday is when Tom called me and felt like we needed to take some action,” said Bradford.

So it was his idea?

“Yeah.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: OTAs Preview

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles begin OTAs today. This morning’s session starts at 10:50 and is fully open to the media. Our first chance, then, to check out the 2016 squad led by first-year head coach Doug Pederson.

Here’s the full schedule (with the four media access days in bold):
— May 17, 18, 19
— May 24, 25, 26
–May 31, June 1, June 2, June

As a reminder, contact is not permitted  but teams are allowed to conduct 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Here’s what we’re looking for as practices get underway:

Bradford’s behavior

Sam Bradford is scheduled to address reporters in the auditorium this afternoon. It will be his first public comments since demanding a trade following the Eagles’ move up to No. 2 to select Carson Wentz. How Bradford conducts himself from this point forward will impact the health of the locker room, for better or worse. Will he be fully engaged, or noticeably distant? Will the presence of Wentz motivate him or knock him off-kilter? Will he do his part to form a decent working relationship with the rookie, or ice him out? We get our first exposure to the Bradford/Wentz dynamic this week. Read more »

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