This Time Around, Momah Has A Shot

 

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

James Brady was around for the first Ifeanyi Momah transformation.

The two have been friends since they were teenagers. They went to different high schools in Long Island but the quarterback and receiver regularly trained together. As kids with little cash and big goals, they used to jump from gym to gym around the neighborhood, taking advantage of the free introductory memberships until it was time to find the next deal.

When they weren’t playing on the same night Brady would go and check out Momah’s games, and remembers the gigantic jump he took once he injected some swagger into that large frame.

“He used to be…I don’t want to say timid, but it was kind of like: ‘Just go up there and box him out! Go get it,'” said Brady.

“I remember watching him going from junior year to senior year, it was like a completely different guy. It was like, ‘Oh, he figured out how to hit’ and then it was just  scary because he was so big, so fast, just flying around and kind of just figured it out. It was awesome to watch.”

 Momah would go on to earn all-state honors as a wide receiver and defensive end for Elwood-John H. Glenn High School before moving onto Boston College, where he would eventually become a team captain. Brady went on to play quarterback for Georgetown before transferring to New Hampshire. He missed Chip Kelly by a couple seasons but the Wildcats were still using the coach’s offense more or less, so he learned how to operate in the grooves of a Kelly system — something that would come in handy down the road.

Momah and Brady found themselves partners once again this past year after the 6-7, 239-pound wideout was released by the Eagles during final cut-downs. The message going out the door from the coaching staff was that he looked uncomfortable and unconfident. Momah agreed.




"I just felt kind of out of place. I wasn't good in and out of my breaks, I felt slower," said Momah, who showed plenty of rust after sitting out most of his senior year at BC with an ACL injury. "Last year I felt like I wasn't pushing myself too much because I was in my own head."

So he went back to Long Island to reflect and to train. And to teach. Brady was running the All Long Island Football Academy and brought Momah in to work with the receivers, which proved beneficial not just for the kids but for the 24-year old as well.

"When you're trying to teach a seven-year old how to run, how to get out of their breaks, this and that, you have to break it down. It really helped him perfect the little things by teaching the younger kids," said Brady. 

The two would put in work before or after the academy sessions. Momah focused on the finer details -- setting defenders up, using his leverage, getting in and out of cuts in different ways. Having some experience in a Kelly system, Brady had a basic understanding of what was being asked of him in Philadelphia, which helped streamline the process. 

There was no specific moment where things clicked into place for Momah, he said, but little by little he began to get his legs back under him. He says that four NFL teams were interested in bringing him in this offseason but he chose to return to the Eagles, and did so with a new feel about him.

"He came back a different player," said receivers coach Bob Bicknell.

While labeling him a standout would be a stretch, Momah certainly looked more the part this spring. Last year, it was pretty clear that he had no chance of making a push for a roster spot. This time around?

"Oh, I definitely think he has a chance. When we actually start playing and we're getting press coverage and playing actual games you'll be able to [judge better]," said Bicknell. "Obviously a lot of things have to happen but he's done a good job."

It remains an uphill climb for Momah. Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff will likely occupy four of the receiver spots. Momah is part of a group that includes Arrelious Benn, Brad Smith, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl, Will Murphy, B.J. Cunningham and undrafted rookies Kadron Boone and Quron Pratt  that are hoping to grab one of the final slots.

There is one thing he has going for him that his competition can't match -- size. As he did back in high school, Momah is once again learning how to use it to his advantage.

"I'm realizing my hands are huge, my body is big. It's like basketball -- just go snatch it out of the air, stay on your feet, go score some touchdowns. Simple as that," he said. 

Well, maybe not that simple on this level. The odds of Momah turning into a dominant force like he was back in his Long Island high school days are small. But the swagger has been re-inserted into that large frame, and that at least gives him a chance of continuing his NFL career.

"I'm going to be on somebody's roster this year, whether it's here or somewhere else," said Momah. "I think you have to have that confidence in order to play well. Last year I was kind of just hoping. This year I'm going to make it happen."

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  • NickS1

    Don’t get my hopes up like this, T-Mac. I’d love to have a receiver with this frame on the roster, and hope this kid continues to grow. It’d be nice to put this kid on the PS if possible. Also, are we only keeping 5 WRs or 6?

    • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

      Go ahead. Get your hopes up. I, as president of the Ifenyi Momah FanClub-(aka MFers 4 Momah), encourage you to get behind this giant of man. Wish ill will upon the Damaris Johnsons and Jeff Maehles of the world. And cheer unapologetically for the soon to be star of your Philadelphia Eagles. Pope who?

      • Brandon Boykin, LOL

        I’ll preside over the Jeff Maehl hater club if you be my vice president. We might have to expand into the “mediocre at best former Oregon players” haters club.

        • travis papa

          I would like to co-chair all these clubs if you guys will have me. I’d rather take a flier on momah than just about any of them. Of that group maehl was the biggest contributor with 8rec for 108 yds and a td for the season. I think just about any of those guys could produce that plus he might have some use on punt and fg block with his size and speed

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            Welcome. Please join! I agree. Maehl has no place!

        • Chris

          I’m in! the guy does nothing for me. There is no reason that Benn and Smith shouldn’t beat him out for those 5/6 spots. I’ll be extremely disappointed if Maehl makes the 53

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            I’m not even a Momah fan. I just really hated that Maehl was even on the team. Like can we call this nepotism? Favoritism? Chip in all his genius cannot convince me that Maehl is better than Benn, the UDFA out of LSU (I have a huge LSU player chub. Probably unjustified), hell even Damaris.

          • kleptolia

            I understand the Maehl hate, but you guys might want to take a look at Iggles Blitz (I think that’s where it was) and pay attention to the Sidewalk and the Ambush article. The same things that made Maehl a starter at Oregon are the same things that kept him on the Eagles last year.
            I still think he might be gone after this preseason, though. Being from Oregon, I like him, but I’m not sure he has the speed to compete in the NFL. Although, he’s still faster than Wes Welker.

          • kleptolia

            Sorry, the article is on Chipwagon. Sorry for any confusion.

      • NickS1

        While I try to not wish ill will because it’s broad, I do wish both would be cut yesterday. I will cheer for every other receiver on the squad right now so long as those two are cut.

    • Brandon Boykin, LOL

      I’d rather have a raw, timid 6’7″ guy who’s still learning to use his frame than Jeff Maehl.

  • JosephR2225

    Does this guy have any ST value at all? They kept 5 WRs out of camp last season, even if they keep 6 this season I imagine Smith and Maehl have a leg up on the competition because they have ST value, so Momah or Benn would have to pretty significantly outperform them as WRs, right?
    Maybe they can line him up 2-3 yards off the LOS on FG attempts and see if he can leap up and block a kick or something.

  • Richard Colton

    Empty your notebook on Mohmah now T-Mac, ’cause he won’t be on the 53.

  • James

    I think Brad Smith takes the 5th WR spot because of his ST ability and his versatility i.e. random QB play. Then it is a matter of whether Chip wants to use up a 6th spot for the likes of Benn, Maehl, or Momah. I put those three in their own tier to take that 6th spot. Momah better be pretty damn impressive on his routes and ST in order for Chip to use that 6th on him. Nice article TMac.

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    I dont know that I’ve ever had such a man crush on a nobody player as this guy. I heard one interview with the kid, and all I want is to see him suceed. That size/speed combo with a good head on his shoulders, there’s no way he shouldn’t make this roster over D.Johnson, Maehle, Cunningham and the udfa rookies. I wish it where as simple as just giving him a spot on the 53 and letting him figure it out. Kick Blocking units seem like an obvious fit. Redzone packages as well. The kid showed some run blocking ability last preseason. Imagine they’re in the redzone going 11 Personnel with Ertz, Coop, Pope, Momah, and Shady? Who’s built to defend that?

    • DAS

      The Seahawks :(

  • TheCatalyst

    I was cheering for the kid last year but it was clear he wasn’t ready. I’m hoping he gets a shot this time around but the numbers definitely aren’t in his favor.

  • jpate

    I like Brad Smith but he really does nothing for me and if he’s shipped off at least we won’t have to see that ridiculous wildcat play in the RZ anymore.

    • JofreyRice

      I thought Smith did a pretty nice job while he was in there. The stupid Wildcat thing wasn’t really his fault. The problem with that play since it was all the rage years ago is that it’s not a viable passing play; the D just knows it’s a run, so they sell out to defend it. Kind of puzzling that Kelly would choose to run it, based on how successfully teams have defended it in the past few years, but it shows that he sees Smith has some unique talents. Not that he’s put a ton of brainpower or thought into it, but maybe Kelly’s worked out a better wrinkle with Smith in the fold for an entire offseason, rather than as a midseason addition.

    • sprawl

      There was no ridiculous wildcat play in the RZ. Brad Smith was at QB and failed to handle the snap, that’s not what wildcat is and failure to handle a snap isn’t an indictment of the wildcat.

      Probably a bad idea to take the ball out of Nick Foles’ hands down there though…

    • mtn_green

      Genius. Chip made the defensive coordinators add another scheme to teach the defense in preparing for the eagles. Defending the wildcat is not following your instinct but being completely able to repress your instinct and follow the gameplan. Defensive coordinators saw the one play and go “oh ish” I have to teach the defense a whole new scheme.

  • dnabrice

    I’ll wait till I see him at the practices in person before I say anything. Last year, he looked atrocious running routes. We’ll see how he looks this year. WR need quicks getting out of routes along with catching ability, not just long speed and height.

    Second yr player, not on a roster, so pretty sure he’s PS eligible. Let’s see if he makes it. From what I saw last year, he will need at least another year in the scheme and with Bicknell to take the next step of making the 53.

  • Scott J

    Just for fun, I would love to see Momah work against Boykin.

    • dislikedisqus

      Money’s on Boykin.

  • JofreyRice

    If they keep 6, here’s my preference: Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Huff, Smith, Benn. Momah’s best hope is challenging Benn for that 6th spot. If they only carry 5 because Burton, or Josey or Fluellen make Kelly carry more at TE/RB, I think he’s gone for sure.

    • cliff henny

      not only battling those guys, but 5th safety ( Reynolds/Johnson) 5th ILB (Knott) 5th OLB (Graham/Long)…yeah, Momah needs to really impress. sounds like at best practice squad guy.

      • JofreyRice

        yeah, I’m hoping Reynolds can push Jarrad Page for that 5th S spot

  • aub32

    Why not give the guy a shot at OLB? We did it for Avant. ;)

  • daveH

    Sheil can you give us an all-22 for The USA World CUp team ?
    ..
    I know no one watches soccer, only 29 million in the US and 50 billion women of all races around the world

  • TNA

    Momah is depth if Benn or another 5-6th receiver are deemed to be too risky in terms of “availability.” Let’s see how training camp goes and hopefully, everybody is healthy and we can just compare ability and fit. But injuries are the biggest variable for this WR squad with Maclin, Benn, and Maehl. So there’s a decent chance Momah makes at least the practice squad if he performs decently and passes guys like Cunningham on the depth chart.

  • SoCalEaglesFan

    You can’t teach 6-7, 240. That’s a large man. Wonder if he has a chance to convert to a hybrid WR/TE?

    If nothing else it will be interesting watching him compete. Usually those bottom of the depth chart Wrs have to play special teams. Can he block kicks? Worth a looksee this coming pre-season.

    • dislikedisqus

      Agree. If he got his act together he would be much more valuable than most of those 3d tier WRs.

  • Fly High

    I think the Eagles will carry 6 WR, I think it is even possible they will carry and only 3 TE, and Momah could be a hybrid. Simply because of all the talent. I think the 5th and 6th receiver spots are no easy choice between Momah, Smith, Benn, and Maehl. This article and other posters have talked about what Momah brings, and Smith brings. Maehl, as well as good ST play, is quick. He had the fastest 3 cone drill at his combine, not striaghtline quick, but has moves. catches most everything, and Avant skill set. Benn is bid and fast, the prototype Chip is looking for. I wish we could keep all 4, but I think my choices would be Benn and Momah, if Momah really shows up at camp, but I would appreciate any of these four.

    • Richard Colton

      What about Mohmah says TE to you? We have a FB/TE hybrid in casey and a TE/WR in Ertz. I honestly don’t know why folks are still pulling for Mohmah. He showed what he can do all of last year – nothing. He’s a camp body.

    • dislikedisqus

      I think Burton mat be the hybrid

  • paul from nc

    Momah > Murderleg

  • Jake Stevens

    Momah had a good college career but suffered an ACL injury. Every Eagles news site has talked about how good the receiver has looked during OTA’s. Even Chip Kelly said he looks like a different player and really looks spectacular. Momah said last year he really felt uncomfortable and like every player that had a spot on the team he was highly challenged by the new system.. but this year the receiver who is 6’8 and runs a 4.4 40 says he feels confident about making the roster and has used his size to catch passes over every one of the Eagles secondary..so I myself am gonna keep rooting for Momah.. he would be Hell if we used him right..FLY EAGLES FLY

    • Token

      he sucks. Cant wait til theres no more news stories about the guy.

      • Richard Colton

        I don’t understand the Mohmah love. Yeah – he has every single measureable you’d want. But he can’t play. Remember? We were all there. We all saw it.

        • Token

          Yea its crazy. He cant play football. Go away already.

          • Koala

            “it’s”

          • Token

            Get a life.

        • Maggie

          Yes. Chipper saw it too, so he was invited back.

        • Addicted2MAmula

          I believe CK is holding on to him for the future. If he dnt make the team hell be on the PS and next year he should be even better. Mohmah, Pope, Maclin, Cooper , Ertz McCoy, Sproles

      • Jake Stevens

        The only players we got that suck r Hendry and Barkley..

        • DaynaGuiguipyt

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          computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was
          $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

  • ronnieblowhard

    Benn has also been doing well in OTAs. The real question here is who adds more to special teams if Chip decides to take a 6th receiver. Benn or Momah? I’d be nice if Momah could play on the practice team for a year before he’s given another shot at making the roster. My only question is do you trust Maclin and Benn’s knees enough to carry them. Two ACL tears is pretty bad and they both are very young to be having a reoccuring issue like that. Maclin just tore his last year on a cut during training camp, not even contact.

    • Maggie

      You bring up a viable point. Hadn’t given much thought to HOW Maclin tore his ACL last year. Maybe his knees’ structure is just weaker or more worn out than some others.

    • KenD

      ACL tears have absolutely nothing to do with contact, in fact majority of ACL injuries are non contact injuries. JMAC will have 90 Rec. this year

  • Dylan MacKinnon

    Would be great if this guy could figure it out, his measurables lend to him being a great reciever, but his skills are just lacking right now.

  • Dietrich Jells

    Bill Sampy….Michael Gasperson….Eagles love hyping Wide outs with 0 shot of making the team

  • Ben

    It seems there are as many Momah haters as there is folks that want him to break through.
    I think he’s a special player worthy of investing time to develop.
    If he can win a roster spot on this team that tells you he has figured it out and can be a really dangerous weapon if deployed against a smaller defender.
    If he can play physical and fast and has cleaned up his route running issues, then why not want him to succeed?
    I would love to see his 6’8 frame going up and over the top of a defender to catch a pass that only he could catch.
    He brings a special characteristic to this group that only a handfull of players could possess.
    I will be rooting for Momah as he would be considered a long shot but man oh man if he can elevate his play in TC and preseason so much so that Chip would be inclined to keep him, that would be awesome.
    Prove them wrong Momah !!! Make this team and prove your worth and you can be a very special talent. Megatronish if you will.

  • 76mustang

    Assuming Momah develops into the real deal, imagine this red zone skill position package:

    Riley Cooper 6-4

    Zach Ertz 6-5

    LeSean McCoy 5-11

    Jordan Matthews 6-3

    Ifeanyi Momah 6-7

    or go empty backfield and add:

    Brent Celek 6-4

    These are the pick your poison personnel groupings Chip and Pat salivate over – Nick is the perfect point guard QB to recognize the defense and convert.

    Momah will need to impress early and often in TC to be considered a roster possibility, and likely will need to figure out a ST contribution role – FG attempt blocker?

  • myeaglescantwin

    a healthy, confident Mohmah would be nasty.