Photo By Jeff Fusco
As we wrote back in April, Josh Huff has been working with Rischad Whitfield — known by his clients as “The Footwork King” — this offseason to try and improve his get-off from the line of scrimmage.
“Last year, Josh had a problem getting off press coverage at the line,” explained Whitfield. “When he was lining up out wide, defensive backs were jamming him and it was taking him forever to get off the line…I’ve been working on a lot of press releases. I’ve been working on a lot of different footwork moves for Josh that can help him get open because once he gets open and gets that separation from the DB, everything else is history because he is so explosive and fast.”
In the weeks since, Whitfield has been posting snippets of his workouts with Huff to offer a glimpse into their training: Read more »
Photo By Jeff Fusco
Sam Bradford plans to play out the final year of his contract rather than sign a new deal with the Eagles this season, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
This shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Bradford has little incentive to sign a long-term deal with the Eagles now, as Joel Corry laid out for us a couple months back.
“You can’t really do anything with his deal because Bradford is not going to sign an extension right now. Any extension you offered him wouldn’t be worth his while most likely because he is in a buy-low position right now. Coming off two injury-plagued years, what type of deal could he get?” Read more »
Jeffrey Lurie. Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY
Below is an excerpt from my Eagles Almanac chapter exploring whether Jeffrey Lurie has been firm enough when it comes to the organizational power structure. If you haven’t done so already, click here to purchase this year’s edition of the Almanac.
Steve Tisch was enjoying a much more tranquil experience at the Arizona Biltmore. Strolling by the same spot where Lurie would be grilled a day later, the co-owner of the Giants casually made his way towards the hotel for lunch, stopping in the shade for a casual talk about cheesesteaks and power structures with a loitering reporter.
In a 2013 piece titled “Who’s Really in Charge?” NFL.com’s Albert Breer noted that the Giants’ model has remained largely unchanged since 1979. The general manager heads the football operations (draft, 53-man roster, etc.) while the coach has authority over the game day roster and the coaching staff. “The goal, ultimately,” writes Breer, “is to have an agenda-free building with a number of different people invested in the final product and meaningful delegation of responsibilities.”
“Is it unique to the other 31 clubs? Maybe. Actually, I hope so,” said Tisch. “Because if it’s working and it’s been working for going on four decades, that’s fantastic.
“I think ownership has created a very clear organizational chart and a very clear ownership and management style which does work and seems to continue to work. It’s very defined and internally seems very fair and very successful and produces great results.”
Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Here is a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
Peter King of MMQB lists Sam Bradford’s progress as one of the most interesting stories heading into training camp:
Chip Kelly better know what he’s doing. (Somehow, I don’t think that’s the first time that’s been said this off-season.) In the 31 months since New Year’s Day 2013, Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 draft, has played seven football games. He’s lost four. His 2013 and 2014 seasons were both ended by a torn ACL. Kelly acquired Bradford from the Rams in March, then tried like crazy to trade for Marcus Mariota six weeks later. And so this is a mildly important training camp for Bradford. And for Kelly.
NFL Analyst Mike Mayock praised Kelly’s offseason moves:
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re better,” Mayock said. “Again, they were 22nd in points allowed last year and they gave up all kinds of yards. They’re gonna get better on defense and if they take care of the ball on offense, run the ball with DeMarco—we keep forgetting about DeMarco Murray and running the football again. Run the ball, take care of Sam Bradford. Yeah, I think they’re a better football team.” Read more »
Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Ertz has spent the 2015 offseason tracking down extra edge.
He sought the counsel of tight end great Tony Gonzalez. Studied under former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to improve his blocking. For strength and conditioning, he joined Darren Sproles out in San Diego to work with renowned trainer Todd Durkin.
LaDainian Tomlinson was Durkin’s first NFL client, and the tree quickly grew branches from there. Tomlinson brought in Sproles and other Chargers teammates like Drew Brees, who has now been with Durkin for 12 years. The client list also features Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush, among others. Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find current Eagles tight end coach Justin Peele, who played 10 seasons in the league. Seeing the benefits of training with Durkin, Peele recommended that Ertz make the trip out west.
“The big thing that we want to do is number one, get Zach in the best shape of his life and then make sure he has the mental frame approach because he has been working with some of these elite guys,” said Durkin a couple weeks back. “Zach is one of these guys that has the ‘it’ factor. He has that mental ability and desire to be great, and he’s doing everything he needs to do to put himself into the upper-echelon of tight ends in the league. Read more »
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
As the start of training camp inches closer, here’s what is going on elsewhere in the NFC East.
The Cowboys beat Wednesday’s deadline, signing Dez Bryant to a long-term deal, earning praise from ESPN’s Mike Sando:
Back in June 2014, I asked NFL coaches and personnel people for insights into Bryant, [Demaryius] Thomas and some of the other big-name receivers whose contracts were going to expire this offseason.
“Bryant is a better player than all those guys with the possible exception of Thomas, who is so technically sound,” a coach said. “But Dez can actually take over a game.”
Bryant’s sideline antics did not concern one GM contacted at the time.
“You’d better pay Dez Bryant,” this GM said then. “The antics you see, that is raw emotion, his competitive flair coming out.”
Read more »
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Photo By Jeff Fusco
Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend:
Field Yates of ESPN.com listed the Eagles running backs as one of the top-five offensive position groups in the NFL:
The Eagles acquired [Darren] Sproles prior to the 2014 season for a fifth-rounder, and that proved to be quite the bargain. He provided immediate impact as a pass-catching phenom, constantly creating mismatches in open space. [DeMarco] Murray and [Ryan] Mathews came at a heftier price tag in free agency this offseason, but each brings obvious value to the Eagles’ backfield. Murray was the best back in football for much of 2014, showing off excellent vision and acceleration behind the aforementioned Cowboys line. Mathews, meanwhile, has the churning leg power to move piles, along with an ability to make defenders miss in the hole. They both come with injury baggage: Last year was Murray’s first season staying healthy for 16 games, and Mathews has missed 18 games in five seasons, including 10 in 2014. But the one-two punch should provide insurance of sorts for each other. Philly traded away an extraordinary talent in LeSean McCoy this offseason, but the ground game should keep cooking.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz thinks a contract extension for Fletcher Cox needs to happen soon:
There is some thought that you don’t pay 3-4 DEs big money. Their job is mostly to 2-gap. Find an athletic DT and move him to DE, ala Cedric Thornton. You can get several years of good play for minimal money. Go spend big money on LBs since they are the true life blood of the 3-4. Read more »
Photo By Jeff Fusco
I could play here.
That thought ran through the mind of WR Rasheed Bailey last year when he attended his first Eagles game. The North Philadelphia native sat up and gazed out over the field, dreaming of one day being able to run routes for Chip Kelly’s squad. Now Bailey has less than three months to prove to Kelly and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff that he is deserving of a spot on the 53-man roster.
This time last year, Bailey was at Delaware Valley University, coming off a career high 977 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. But something clicked during his final season, and Bailey exploded for 1,707 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading all D-3 receivers in both categories. Del Val head coach Duke Greco tried to find an explanation for Bailey’s breakout year.
“Every mistake he made during his junior year, he didn’t make in his senior year,” Greco said. “All those normal little things that a lot of times guys learn as freshmen, and I think maybe it took him a little longer to make these mistakes. That’s the thing with him; he has been a hard worker. He doesn’t make mistakes twice, and if you tell him he needs something fixed, he’s got it, which is amazing. I mean I’m not like that, and I don’t think most people are. Read more »
Andrew Weber / USA Today
Today’s question comes from reader Kevin, via email:
Who in the NFC East has the most issues before camp?
This question happened to come before the Cowboys and Dez Bryant agreed to terms on a new contract, but now seems like a good time to take a look at strengths and weaknesses within the division.
Dallas Cowboys – The strength last year was obviously the run game. The Cowboys still have their offensive line intact, but will they be able to dominate on the ground with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden? That’s the obvious question that needs to be answered, but I’m not sure how much we’ll learn until the regular season begins.
The Cowboys ranked fourth overall offensively in DVOA last year – third in rushing and fourth in passing. With Tony Romo coming off a season in which he posted a career best 113.2 passer rating and Bryant back in the fold, the offense should still be pretty good. Read more »