We’ve got a good collection of weekend reads for Eagles fans. Carve out some time and check them out for yourself.
YOU TAKE THE three-minute walk from the painted red “W” on the field to the locker rooms, then a four-minute walk to the parking lot. You pile in a friend’s car, pull out of the parking lot, and drive down curving Union Centre Boulevard, past a bank and an insurance office, past the West Chester baseball complex. Then turn right on Princeton Glendale Road and drive until you see the mismatched, red-and-blue-fonts on the sign above Willie’s Sports Cafe in an unassuming Butler County, Ohio strip mall.
This is where you could find Jordan Hicks in the fall of 2006, with Aaron Phelan, Jordan Thompson, Mark Fowler, and plenty of other members of his Lakota West freshman football team. They were a force that year, losing just one game, while Hicks earned attention for his dominating play.
Larry Cox, the head football coach at Lakota West High School was so enamored with the linebacker, whom he first saw playing seventh-grade basketball that, for the first time in his 10-year tenure, he wanted a freshman on varsity. “I just thought to myself,” Cox says, “‘This kid’s got something about him.'”
“I only move a kid up if I think he can play varsity,” Cox says a decade later. “Jordan’s the only one I’ve ever felt that about.”
With the Senior Bowl in the books, many mock drafts were updated recently with new analysis and intel. We selected several to give you a sense of the Eagles’ potential options at No. 13.
ESPN’s Todd McShay ($) thinks the Eagles will draft Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin. McShay predicts Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker will be available at No. 13, while he has the Browns and Cowboys selecting California quarterback Jared Goff and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
At 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, Conklin shows good mobility for his size, along with very consistent awareness, technique and effort. He plays with power and is a finisher in the run game. He’s balanced enough to protect a quarterback’s blind side. Even after signing Lane Johnson to an extension, the Eagles need to plan for the future at tackle with Jason Peters now 34.
Here’s what the local and national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
The Eagles will soon have to make an all-important call on how to proceed at the quarterback position.
February 16 is the first day that teams are able to designate franchise or transition players. That window remains open until March 7 — two days prior to the official start of free agency. Howie Roseman and crew need to decide whether the right move is to apply that tag to Sam Bradford.
Early signs suggest that neither side is in a hurry to get Bradford into a long-term contract. The Eagles front office has had no problem identifying Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz and Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox as part of the core group that they want to commit to. When it comes to Bradford, however, there have been plenty of niceties but few true indicators that either party is ready to ink a lucrative multi-year deal. Read more »
When talking to the media after Vinny Curry’s press conference, however, Howie Roseman denied that the Eagles have been slow to engage Cox in contract negotiations.
“I would say the last person we’re trying to play games with or be disrespectful to is Fletcher Cox,” Roseman said. “Fletcher Cox is always a priority to us.” Read more »
Vinny Curry grew up in Neptune, N.J. with Eagles jerseys and pictures along the walls of his home. He wanted to be like Ricky Watters, so when he started playing football at 8-years-old, he played running back.
Soon after, he switched to defense. The position change proved to be a wise move, as 19 years later, he’s now under contract with the Eagles for five more years to remain on the defensive line.
“I really can’t see myself playing for nowhere else,” Curry said on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, I bleed green. That’s just what it is.” Read more »
With a decade in the NFL already under his belt, Barrett Brooks could feel his career winding down in Pittsburgh. He played in nearly 100 games in his first six seasons alone, and he didn’t have much left in the tank.
But then Bill Cowher started giving Brooks “maintenance days,” which Brooks says extended his career by two or three seasons. The former offensive lineman expects Doug Pederson to do the same for Jason Peters, which is why he thinks Peters will still be productive.
“[Pederson] knows how to give guys days off, and that’s going to be huge,” Brooks said. “He’s going to give them days and allow them to sit down to rest. Chip [Kelly] wasn’t having that. Chip still made him practice. You can’t have a guy like that.” Read more »
The last time the Eagles’ win total dropped by at least three, a new head coach quickly turned the team around and won 10 games the following season. This year, Doug Pederson is hoping to replicate Chip Kelly’s early success in Philadelphia, as well as Andy Reid’s reversal in Kansas City.
“I just came from a place where we turned the culture of the organization around, we turned the culture of the community around, and two out of the three years, we’re in the postseason,” Pederson said Tuesday on 97.5 The Fanatic. “It can be done. In my opinion, we’ve got a little bit better talent here, and I’m looking forward to working with these guys.”
Whether Pederson achieves that success will largely be determined by his quarterback. After praising Sam Bradford at his introductory press conference, Pederson seemed to express a more patient approach in deciding Bradford’s future yesterday, noting that free agency is more than a month away, before concluding: “We’ve got time.” Read more »