Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defense Turns The Tide

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts
INDIANAPOLIS – It was 3rd-and-9 from the Eagles’ 22 and Andrew Luck was heating up.

The standout QB had never lost consecutive games in his young career and he was fixing to keep that streak alive. A 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by his seven-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Bradshaw put the Colts up 27-20, and he had the offense in position to stretch the lead to double digits with just over five minutes to play.

And then, a remarkable turn of events. Read more »

Boykin Sees Limited Reps Against Jags

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Arguing the merits of moving Brandon Boykin outside is the equivalent of banging your head against the wall at this point. As Chip Kelly re-emphasized at his day-after press conference Monday, it’s not happening.

“It really is how we practice and he practices as our nickel corner.  It’s a very vital position for us.  Billy [Davis] said that that’s a starting position for us, I say that’s a starting position for us, that’s kind of where it is,” said Kelly. “Our third corner outside right now [behind Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams] is Nolan Carroll.”

While the importance of the nickel corner position makes Boykin a starter in their mind, the fact remains that one of the team’s top playmakers sees a limited amount of reps in his current role. That was particularly true in the opener against Jacksonville, as Boykin played 23 of a possible 73 snaps, or 32 percent of the time.
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Playmaker: The Rise Of Brandon Boykin

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Training Camp

On the basketball court is where Al Boykin first really took notice.

Big brother was a high school sophomore and had grown accustomed to having to drag Brandon along with him wherever he went. On this occasion, the setup was a two-on-two game against a couple of older kids in their neighborhood.

“At first, it started out as, ‘Man, I gotta play with my brother. He’s six years younger than us. It might not be much of a game,’ ” Al recalled. “And then we started playing. He was actually killing the other guy. At that point, it was like, ‘Yeah, you could play, bro.’ It was good. And we just rolled it from there.”

Alfred, their father, saw it on the baseball diamond at a much earlier age.

“When he was 5-years-old, I put him in T-ball,” he said. “And I saw that he understood exactly what he needed to do right away. I didn’t have to teach him or anything. He was just 5-years-old, a little kid, and he loved it. …He was a fast learner. He loved sports.”

In every class, there is a kid who seems to win every race. The guy who plays quarterback and shortstop. The one who’s able to climb the ropes with ease, while others struggle to make it past the bottom knot. The first one picked, and the last one standing.

In Fayetteville, Ga., that kid was Brandon Boykin. Read more »

Cooper, Maclin To Play; Boykin Sits

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Starting receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper will be on the field together for the first time this preseason in a game setting.

Cooper makes his preseason debut tonight against the Steelers. He has been sidelined with a foot injury. Maclin (hamstring) did not fully participate in practice this week but will give it a go. It looks like they will be working alongside Jordan Matthews. The rookie has been splitting reps in the slot with Brad Smith, who is out with a groin injury.

Brandon Boykin will not suit up because of a hamstring injury. We saw him out here jogging alongside the injured Chris Polk pregame. He pointed to the back of his right leg on a couple occasions while speaking with a trainer. Cary Williams (hamstring) will also miss the game. Williams sustained the injury on his interception return for a touchdown against the Patriots.

Polk (hamstring), Josh Huff (shoulder), Jake Knott (hamstring) and Julian Vandervelde (back) will miss the game as well.

Read more »

Frustrated Kelly Sounds Off On Penalties

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. — When Eagles players returned to the locker room following their 42-35 loss to the Patriots Friday night, they were greeted by a frustrated and stern Chip Kelly.

“Very strong,” said Cary Williams, when asked about the head coach’s message. “You could tell that he was frustrated. You could tell that he was upset about it. He wasn’t very happy about the way we played.

“He said he’s frustrated about penalties. He said that he wanted us to be better. We don’t practice like that. We shouldn’t play like that. We’ve gotta get our butts in gear and do something about it.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Rookie Progress Report

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

From time to time, we like to check in on how the Eagles’ draft picks are doing. With the first preseason game a day away, here’s an update.

Marcus Smith, OLB – He’s been running with the second team at the Jack spot behind Connor Barwin. And in all likelihood, that’s where Smith is going to see most of his action this season. He has looked the part from the first day of camp – long, athletic and can move in space. A couple days ago, he showed some feistiness, mixing it up with James Casey after the whistle. Smith, who has never before been to an NFL game, will likely make some normal rookie mental mistakes tomorrow night, but overall, he appears to be on schedule to contribute. Read more »

Three Leftover Thoughts On the Eagles

Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Three leftover thoughts before we head to the NovaCare Complex for practice today.

1. I had previously been on the fence in regards to whether Zach Ertz could really be a breakout player in 2014. The issue, to me, was whether he could be a good enough blocker in the run game to stay on the field. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur had a telling comment on that topic yesterday.

“It’s very important for tight ends, number one, to be efficient blockers,” he said. “You don’t always have tight ends that are just going to knock them into next Wednesday, but you have to be an efficient blocker, especially if your thing is to catch passes. I think Ertz is developing more and more and more. I see his confidence starting to really build.”

Last year, Brent Celek was outstanding blocking in the run game. The point Shurmur is making is it’s OK if Ertz doesn’t reach that level in 2014 – or really, ever. He was drafted because he can be a weapon in the passing game. Read more »

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