Inside Voices: Training Versus Practice

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

There is a saying that floats around the NovaCare Complex, one that many of the players can recite on the spot:

You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. 

“When the game is on the line, it’s the fourth quarter in a rivalry game in prime time, you’re not all of a sudden going to rise to the occasion,” Malcolm Jenkins explained, “you are going to sink to what you’ve trained and prepared for. Obviously we’ve done a good job of training in those situations because we’ve showed up pretty well.”

The term “training” has replaced “practice” in this team’s lexicon. It’s subtle, but significant. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Hurdle For Ertz

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Zach Ertz has been putting in plenty of overtime the past two weeks in the name of getting his blocking game right.

Leading up to the Rams game, he stayed after practice every day to work on his technique with Jason Peters following a rough outing against San Francisco. This week, Ertz and his position coaches lingered on the NovaCare fields long after the training sessions had come to a close.

“I want to block. I want to be a good blocker,” said the second-year tight end. “I want to show the coaches that they can trust me to put me in there and get it done.”

Entering last Sunday, Ertz had played 64 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps and held a slight edge (185 to 179) over Brent Celek in downs played. Against St. Louis, it was a different story. Ertz received just 29 snaps compared to Celek’s 58. James Casey, who was averaging eight plays per game prior to Sunday, saw his number jump to 25. The reason for the change seems pretty straightforward: Read more »

Ryans: ‘We’ll See How It Goes’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

DeMeco Ryans donned a helmet for the first time at practice this week, but said he likely won’t know until Sunday whether he’ll be able to play after suffering a groin strain against the Rams.

“When Sunday gets here, we’ll see how it feels,” he said. “If I can go, if I’m effective, feel like I can help my team, I’ll be out there. If I’m not, then I won’t be.”

On the Eagles’ official injury report, he was listed as limited.

“Just trying to get back to it, just trying to get back into where I can go full swing,” Ryans said. “Certain movements don’t feel too good. When I’m effective, I’ll be out there.” Read more »

Kendricks, Ryans Sit Out

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans both sat out of Wednesday’s practice.

Kendricks got some hopes up by exchanging his hat for a helmet yesterday but he only did some light work on the side, Chip Kelly said. Today he was back in a baseball cap and did not even participate in the stretching portion of practice. He seems like a long shot to play Sunday at this point.

There is a little more optimism when it comes to Ryans, who injured his groin against the Rams.

“If there is one guy that I wouldn’t count out of anything, it would be DeMeco, but we’ll see how he progresses during the week” said Kelly. “The one thing about DeMeco, he’s extremely honest with you. He’ll tell you if he can go or can’t go, that’s exactly what he told the trainers on Sunday. We’ll see where he is. It sounds like he is progressing. We’re hopeful for that but we’ll see what happens over these next couple days of training.”

Kelly said no decision has been made on who would wear the headset if Ryans can’t go, and didn’t seemed too concerned about it.

“It’s really not that big of a deal for us on the defensive side of the ball,” he said.

There is no denying, though, that Ryans is the on-field conductor for this Eagles defense. His presence is pretty critical to the overall operation. Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho are the next men in if Ryans and Kendricks can’t go.

Chris Polk (hamstring) sat out for the second straight day.

Brad Smith (groin) is listed as out for Sunday night’s game. Connor Barwin (knee), Brandon Boykin (hamstring), Trey Burton (achilles), Nolan Carroll (hamstring), Josh Huff (shoulder) and Matt Tobin (ankle) were all full participants. 

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Foles Riding the Wave

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

At this point last season, Nick Foles was preparing to make his first start under Chip Kelly.

It was Week 6 and Michael Vick had injured his hamstring against the Giants the game prior and Foles, after losing the quarterback competition to Vick that summer, was about to get another crack at it. He did well in Tampa that week, tossing three touchdowns and no picks en route to a 31-20 Eagles win. Any optimism that came from that performance was quickly squashed in the following game when Foles stumbled hard against Dallas. He left that dismal outing with a concussion and zero assurances that he would start another game for the Eagles. Many analysts and fans alike were convinced that the quarterback of the future was not on the roster.

Then came Oakland and up rose Foles. His seven-TD afternoon was the start of an eight-game string that opened some eyes, set some records, and convinced some souls that Foles was the real deal.

If we take a step back and look at the stock chart, that’s the way it’s gone since Foles arrived in Philly as a third-round pick in 2012. There have been big spikes in both directions, and fan sentiment has followed in kind. Right now he’s in an ebb, and there is concern about what his inconsistent play means when it comes to the long-term stability of the position. Read more »

Billy Davis Backs His Corners

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher have taken some heat for their play down the stretch against the Rams. While Billy Davis did not absolve them, he made the point that there is plenty of blame to go around for the late-game breakdowns on defense Sunday, and maintains that the Williams-Fletcher pairing is the one that gives the defense the best chance to be successful. Read more »

Injury Updates On Kendricks, Ryans

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

It seemed like a positive sign for the Eagles Tuesday when Mychal Kendricks exchanged his baseball cap for a helmet and took part in the portion of practice open to the media.

But afterwards, DeMeco Ryans poured a bit of cold water on the possibility that Kendricks might return against the Giants. Read more »

Chip On Foles: ‘I Think It’s Fixable’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Nick Foles was throwing off his back foot quite a bit against the Rams and seemed unsettled prior to delivery for much of the day, leading to some off-target throws. Chip Kelly was asked for his assessment after watching the tape.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Outside Help

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

The Eagles forced three fumbles against the Rams and in each instance, an outside linebacker was prominently involved.

Trent Cole‘s caused the biggest boom. He burst past tackle Jake Long with an inside move early in the third quarter and crushed quarterback Austin Davis, forcing the ball loose. Cedric Thornton recovered it in the end zone for his first-ever touchdown. That’s 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles through five games for Cole, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday Sunday. Reports of his demise may have been exaggerated. He has 10.5 sacks over his last 12 games.

“Hey, I’m the type of guy that’s going to make my actions speak. I kind of laugh every time you hear somebody say [my best days are behind me],” said Cole. “I just laugh, and smile and [say], ‘Here you go. Take that one.’ I hear about the heat that y’all bring to me. You’re bad-mouthing me and the next thing you know you’re like, oh s—, you back up. You back up. But that’s alright. That’s what you’re supposed to do.  I love it. It’s all part of it. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I laugh about it because it’s all fun.

“I’m not done. I got some years left in me. I’m not going to say how many but I’ve got some years left in me.” Read more »

‘A Win And A Knot In Our Gut’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Players and coaches seemed to be dealing with conflicting emotions following the Eagles’ 34-28 win over the Rams.

They walked off the field 4-1 and there is plenty to like about that, but the last quarter-plus Sunday left the team a bit unsettled, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Read more »

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