Wake-Up Call: Matthews Training With the Best

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Pro Bowl is the mandate. We’re not here just to play football. We’re here to dominate.

That’s the motto that floated off the lips of Tom Bender when speaking of his Atlanta-based program, which trains anywhere from 25-35 NFL players at a time during the offseason. It sounds a bit bold until you consider that his clientele includes the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, arguably the top three receivers in the game.


This is the environment Jordan Matthews has nestled into for the past week, and where he'll remain until the Eagles open training camp. 

"He's learning a lot, he's integrating well and we're cleaning up some of his college issues," said Bender with a laugh.

Issues? Like?

"That's for us to discuss. It's just a matter of getting him to move better, clean up his routes, just clean up all aspects of his game."

The Bender Performance Institute offers a comprehensive training program that ranges from body diagnostics and development to speed and strength training to on-field work. For the latter, Bender uses the talent at his disposal to help in the evaluation process. That means that Johnson, Green and company have been actively critiquing Matthews'  game since he arrived.

"I get feedback from Calvin, I get feedback from Demaryius, I get feedback from A.J. just on how he is looking," said Bender. "How is he disguising his routes? Is he not disguising his routes? And then functionally, how is he maintaining his body position...How is he getting off the line? How is he accelerating? Is he too full-throttle at the beginning? From the defensive backs to the linebackers, the d-ends, the quarterback, the receiver, everybody is giving feedback on what they see. I try to create an environment where it's not competition but everybody is helping each other get better."

The first big-name receiver Bender worked with was Hines Ward, he says. He spent some time away from the game as he trained soccer players over in Europe for a spell. When he returned he was connected with Johnson through another client.

"I didn't know who he was when I first met him," said Bender, who first hooked up with Johnson after his rookie season. "All my guys looked at me like, 'Do you know who this guy is?' And I was like, 'No.' I really don't pay attention to all that and that's what guys I guess feed into with me. I don't care who you are, I'm just going to fix and develop your body. I'm not star-struck."

Similarly, a connection recommended that Bender work with Matthews, and after a phone call with the Vanderbilt product, Bender agreed.

"He's a humble kid. He said, 'Coach, you'll be happy with me.'"

For Matthews, it's a chance to learn from some of the best wideouts on the planet during the lead-up to training camp.

"They're having fun. Jordan's a humble guy and he's been in work mode. He approached A.J. probably the second day he was here and started asking key questions. One of the biggest things A.J. translated is that you really have to take care of your body during the season. Your production is going to relate to how you maintain your body. And as far as with Calvin, he is not a man of many words but he's helping [Matthews] correct some of his route running.

"They've enjoyed him, they've enjoyed his work ethic. He's come  out as far as conditioning...Some of the vets are like, 'Slow down, young buck! Slow the pace down.'"

When asked if Matthews reminds him of anyone, Bender said that he was a little faster than a young Keary Colbert and runs some routes similar to Green.

"As far as overall he's kind of his own enigma right now. I can't really put too much on him as far as his body type. He's going to make his own mark, I think."

Bender said many factors go into how productive a receiver ultimately is. But is he a believer?

"A believer in Jordan? Absolutely."

WHAT YOU MISSED

"Foles runs like Joe Flacco trying to carry Philip Rivers up a flight of steep stairs." What they're saying.

Could Jaylen Watkins work his way on the field in his rookie season? Special teams may be the key.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Bovada released odds for this year's MVP, including two Eagles:

Temper your expectations for the Eagles this year, says Joseph Santoliquito of CBS Philly:

Many in Philadelphia see the Eagles going further than the one-and-done playoff appearance last year in Chip Kelly’s inaugural season, and there is a strong possibility the Eagles could.

As we sit here on July 8, however, the Eagles will have more than a few obstacles standing in their way as they try to step towards the Seattle’s and San Francisco’s of the NFC. Namely, climb four teams that are better than the Eagles right now.

On paper, the Eagles look like the fifth best team in the NFC behind defending Super Bowl champion Seattle, NFC runner-up San Francisco, Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay, and the New Orleans Saints—who beat the Eagles in the wild-card round last year.

Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com dives into the state of the offensive line, which receiver will earn the last roster spot and more in his weekly chat:

I'd handicap it with Maehl over Benn at the moment, but Benn will get a chance to win a job. I think Benn has to be significantly better than the other receivers because he has the biggest durability concerns at that spot.

COMING UP

Sixteen days until the team reports.

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  • http://eaglemaniacal.com EAGLE MANIACAL

    Makes you wonder if switching QB’s next year will hurt him. http://eaglemaniacal.com/2014/07/09/2014-is-make-or-break-for-nick-foles/

    • Formidable

      Not going to happen. With many articles I feel where there is smoke, there must be a fire somewhere. Nope. This was at best a boy scout rubbing two sticks together. I applaud your zeal Beast but this is so far from plausible that a well documented dirt kicking Eagles-hater like Prisco couldn’t support your premise.

      • Charliefoxtrot

        I don’t know man. I love Foles to death but i could learn to love Mariota too, if we could trade Foles for a first round pick I’d be listening. I say this not knowing 1/2 the football knowledge you guys have and only watching a handful of Oregon games, so there’s that.

        Yould have to consider the unique knowledge chip has of both QB’s, which is pretty remarkable really. Has that ever happened in the league, where a QB follows his coach to the same team?

        To me it’d be like trading Scarlett Johansson for Sophia Loren in her prime, both are winning moves if Chip thinks Mariotta has what it takes.

        • JosephR2225

          Sure. Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews followed Spurrier to Washington….

          • Charliefoxtrot

            Ok that’s depressing me.

        • Eagles1018

          So which woman is Foles and which is Mariotta? I mean I love both and would die if either of them, well…but which one is which?

          • Charliefoxtrot

            I’ll break down some tape on the Loren/Johansson matchup and report back.

          • Charliefoxtrot

            Johansson wins by a landslide!

        • Formidable

          Chaliefoxtrot, here’s an analogy that best compares Eagle Manical’s argument.

          Chip Kelly : Jimmy Johnson : Nick Foles : ????

          A: Bernie Kosar
          B: Vinny Testaverde
          C: Steve Walsh
          D: Troy Aikman

          You can like a QB for what he does for you at the college level, but after you know what you have in the pros, just surround them with talent and let them do their thing. Foles isn’t an exciting do-it -all guy but he just does the right things very well like Brady, Flacco, Big Ben. Hopefully he too will be a Super Bowl winning QB.

          • Formidable

            Oh yeah, I neglected the Mannings (yeah even Peyton’s afterbirth), Brees etc. I actually feel better after looking over the list of recent QB winners. Foles is cut from the same cloth as many ring holders (not from powerhouse QB factories, not the most mobile, just efficient and made for the system they play in). If you can keep Mike Vick on the bench, almost beat Brees in the playoffs, run a record of 7-2 after returning from a concussion you have my vote to play until you get outplayed.

          • NickS1

            The only thing in your two posts that I have any real quarrel with is including Flacco. I know, I know, dude played 4 straight games out of his mind to win the SB. But other than that, dude’s 100% overrated.

          • Formidable

            He’s not worth the $ or the accolades but in the end, we want what he has and we may need a QB to do what he did to get it.

          • NickS1

            I can live with that qualification.

          • Charliefoxtrot

            I’m with you 100%, Foles has SB caliber traits, just think in a perfect world if we could plug in, Matrix style, to Foles and give him faster legs Chip would be all for it. At a certain point I think the pro-Foles argument is that no ones whining about Brady’s mobility, to your point.

          • MediaMike

            A read one and run QB has never won the Superbowl. Your points here are one million % correct!

        • MediaMike

          F Mariota, and any other scramble bum. I don’t want any of that running trash here. It’s a total fad.

    • travis papa

      2 critiques on your website. Don’t use a different font color for people’s names you can’t read it on a phone. It’s fine for desktop viewing but it’s pointless and a waste of time. I also read your article from March about the salary cap and I think you should look more into how the rollover works compared to spending floor granted its an old article but the eagles could spend over next yrs salary cap and still have $20 mil in cap space theoretically.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      Boooooooo -1

    • MediaMike

      Spare me the plea for yet another scramble bum as our quarterback. We don’t need Mariota here to run around all day, not learn how to be a real NFL passer, and have a coach-killing career.

  • JosephR2225

    Wow. Megatron, Green, Demariyus…. These guys were pretty good BEFORE spending the offseason with Jordan Matthews. I can’t imagine what they’ll look like now.

    • anon

      why aren’t all the guys at this camp? I guess people use who they like

      • Andy124

        I wonder if it’s invitation only?

        • jpate

          “Similarly, a connection recommended that Bender work with Matthews, and after a phone call with the Vanderbilt product, Bender agreed”

          It’s something like that

          • guest

            Its amazing what you learn when you actually read the article.

            Amazing

          • Andy124

            Well, reading that sentence, you learn how Matthews ended up there. You don’t learn how Green ended up there or how Maclin ended up not there. I think anon’s question is pretty reasonable.

            Many people like to just fill in the blanks with ink. It’s actually an evolutionary survival mechanism, but it’s kind of counter productive in modern society.

          • MediaMike

            Maclin isn’t there because this Bender guy seems to only work with real talent, not “unnamed sources” without a pro-bowl or 1000 yard season to their name.

        • Yes_General

          I believe they all have similar agents. Could be wrong but i thought JM mentioned it in a previous interview.

          • shady25

            It also helps that your are related to the G.O.A.T.

    • Charliefoxtrot

      JJ Watt apparently following JMatts way of life now:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/ESPNNFL/status/486544055564644352

      • PaoliBulldog

        I bet Matthews helped him write that.

      • nolarkinsley

        my Aunty
        Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • eaglespur

      Matthews is lining-up a camp he will run and Bender has applied to attend it.

      • cliff henny

        this bender?

        • laurakfalconer

          my Aunty
          Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Formidable

    I really love this kid. His measurables are awesome. He’s focused and he works hard. I wondered how we would replace DeSean’s production before the draft. Between Jordan and Huff, we shouldn’t lose any sleep in the WR area. This draft class was really deep in talent. I’m excited we have a potential Reggie Wayne on our team vs the Freddie Mitchell’s of the past.

  • BuddyBall

    I’m as excited about this kid as anyone else, but that Keary Colbert reference was sobering.

    • guest

      Right? My thoughts exactly. Although Bender was referring to speed and that was the one advanced attribute Colbert possessed…Speed.

      • Charliefoxtrot

        JMatt just texted me he’s brought Colbert out of retirement and has him training in the high Himalayas, after showing Bender Performance Institute what they were doing wrong and also correcting some incorrect piping layouts in the Linc’s turf heating system.

      • fran35

        Are you sure about the Colbert speed thing? His combine 40 was a 4.6. I always thought that speed was the knock against Keary

    • Eagles4Life

      My face went from :-D to :-/

    • JofreyRice

      haha, yeah, that guy was a bum. But I think it’s better to be realistic. I see Matthews with an Eric Decker ceiling. Ultimately, if this guy is a borderline pro bowl WR that helps the team win when it’s really cold out, I’m totally happy with the pick.

      • Token

        Im unusually high on the guy considering Ive never seen him take a NFL snap. I keep trying to talk myself into the idea that hes the next TO. I realize its unrealistic.

        But I will say I put stock into a guys drive. I think this kid is one of those players that wants to be as great as he can. A student of his craft.

        Hopefully he pans out. I suspect the Eagles are really gonna need him.

        • Birds4Life

          Its official! The Pope can perform miracles! He got Token thinking positive before he has even played a game. I didn’t know if that was even possible.
          The kid definitely looks the part. I hope that he pans out as well! That would be great for us!

      • Breathe 21

        Eric Decker has limited athleticism and is not a borderline pro bowler. His ceiling is a #2 WR. Cooper is closer to Decker than Matthews. It’s possible for Cooper to be better than Decker because he’s more athletic as well.

        • JofreyRice

          Jordan Matthews is not some amazingly freakish athlete. He’s a hard worker that studies his craft, but the 40 time flatters to deceive. Watch some of the video, he didn’t play that fast.

          Decker’s a big bodied guy that runs nice routes, can take advantage of mismatches against smaller corners, and make contested catches in tough spots. He’s churned out almost 2500 yards and 24 touchdowns in the past two seasons. I’ll gladly take that kind of production from Matthews. I think you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re looking for more than that.

          • Breathe 21

            Production and a player’s ceiling is two different things. Playing for Peyton Manning will jolt the production of anybody with some kind of talent.

  • myeaglescantwin

    I’m not on the “infallible Matthews” bandwagon, but i have been hearing all the right things about this kid.
    His work ethic and dedication seem to shine through in every update i hear about this kid. He’s putting himself in position to have a solid career. I hope it translates on Sundays.

    Go Birds.

    • NickS1

      Wait, so you don’t think he’s going to get 140 catches for 2000 yards this season? Damn Negadelphian.

      • myeaglescantwin

        “I’m from NJ. The show-me state”.
        – it’s actually the GARDEN STATE.
        “yeah i got a garden, and all i grow is show-me!!”

        I’ll say one thing, rd-7 fantasy selection
        i’m hoping to nab him and Cooks in the later rounds.

        (if he last)

        • Jernst

          Haha…What’s that from?

          • myeaglescantwin

            i had a meeting yesterday and came with that.
            They were trying to make me “trust” their financials. I don’t trust anything. I need to see it.

        • NickS1

          Cooks will go higher than JMatt in fantasy drafts, IMO. Almost don’t think JMatt gets drafted until after the 10th, at least in my leagues. In NO, Graham is obviously the #1, but no Sproles, Stills only being a deep threat, and a slowing a Colston might convince a lot of people that Cooks is worth the risk. At least that’s how I rationalize it. I can see a lot of people looking at our lineup and not seeing the touches there for MJMatt, with Maclin back, Cooper, Sproles, Ertz/Celek, Shady. There’s a lot more working against JMatt, I think.

          • myeaglescantwin

            True story.
            But i believe that Matthews could be the outside starter by game 1. Even if he’s still only a slot guy, i think he would be worth a late round flyer.

            I honestly believe him and cooks (especially cooks) will break the mold as far as rookie WR’s.
            I see cooks becoming sproles&Henderson hybrid.. A speedy deep threat that gets moved all over the formations.

          • NickS1

            I completely agree that he’s worth a late round flyer, especially in keeper leagues. Mine moves guys up 2rds each year, so I’m trying to wait for him to hit the 11th or 12th before I draft him.

      • Jernst

        It’s gonna be hard for defenses to stop the kid while he’s walking on water

  • Charliefoxtrot

    Is it weird I’m drawing JMatts name in my Hello Kitty notebook surrounded by little hearts and stuff?

    • cliff henny

      it’d be weirder if you didnt

  • Rambler

    Knock it off, Pope. My expectations for you are already way too high.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html unexpected miracle

    My Name is Danielle Hudson.am from USA I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our weeding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her Facebook and she changed her Facebook status from married to Single…when i went to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..i lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday…My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 2 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too,This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him on this e-mail;bravespellcaster@gmail.com i cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he’ will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good luck his email;bravespellcaster@gmail.com,or kindly visit he website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com

    • Philly0312

      I don’t get it…have you called Jordan Matthews? I think he could help.

      • Charliefoxtrot

        Gandalf just called JMatt for Balrog spells and advice on Sarumans weaknesses.

        • Wria978

          like
          Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
          on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Eagles4Life

    This kid will be special.

    • Eagles1018

      Have you seen the Golden Child with Eddie Murphy. Yeah, like that kinda special

  • SoCalEaglesFan

    The overhype machine on Matthews is in full gear. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to live up to it. Feel sorry for him.

    • Joe L

      The trainer compared him to Keary Colbert. Not all that much hype from the outside.

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

    Didn’t realize the Vatican hosted an off-season camp

    • OldDocRoss

      Gotta feel a bit sorry for JMatt. He cures cancer, ends world poverty and brings peace to the Middle East but when he comes back Bender’s all like “we’re gonna have to work on your route running a bit….”

      He’s supposed to be able to rest on the seventh day, darn it!

  • https://www.skinnypost.com/ GayleSaunders

    From the time I heard he was requesting tape of all the DB’s from Phil Savage prior to arriving at the Senior Bowl, I was a fan. The kid is all about the preparation and putting in the work. We haven’t seen him full go live in the NFL yet, but you at least have to respect that a “rookie” is bringing that type of professionalism to the table. Looking forwarded to seeing him develop as a player!

    • Amar

      Not to piss over the party, but he still have issues getting separation from the DBs at the Senior bowl. I’m sure the kid has high work ethic, but the ceiling might not be as high.
      Wait…why is smoke coming out of my keyboard…

      • MediaMike

        I totally agree the separation issues need to be considered. At 6’3″ the thought is that he’ll be able to body up on enough CBs in order to continue to produce. And the sheer number of catches he had at Vandy (while all of the scouts looked at that tape and complained about separation as well) didn’t all come on jump balls.

      • poetx99

        good point but i’m sure he was facing ONEs at the Senior Bowl. for the eagles, at least initially, he’s going to be seeing the 2nd and 3rd CB (granted, one can argue that the 2nd and 3rd QB in the NFL >>> 1st CB in Senior Bowl).

        more to the point, he was just about the only offensive weapon in college, in the SEC, and still put up crazy productivity. when he is one of 2 or 3 wrs (not to mention TEs) in the mix, and defenses have to worry about shady, and chip’s schemes and tempo, i think that is going to completely outweigh any separation issues matthews may have.

        • Amar

          All good points.

  • Scott J

    I hope Odell Beckham isn’t there.

    • MediaMike

      He’s busy icing down an injured knee. I literally started laughing out loud when the Giants reached for that dude; especially with Cooks still on the board.

  • Andy124
    • OldDocRoss

      Fame for Josh The Intern!

      Well deserved too. It was a great read.

  • MediaMike

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Matthews grow and learn as a player this year so he can take over in 2015 as the #1 WR this team truly needs and is currently lacking.

  • Jack

    Matthews works out with Megatron during his time off and DeSean takes pictures of his new cornrows. I’ll take the new kid.

  • Wria978

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­