Inside Voices: Training Versus Practice

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

There is a saying that floats around the NovaCare Complex, one that many of the players can recite on the spot:

You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. 

“When the game is on the line, it’s the fourth quarter in a rivalry game in prime time, you’re not all of a sudden going to rise to the occasion,” Malcolm Jenkins explained, “you are going to sink to what you’ve trained and prepared for. Obviously we’ve done a good job of training in those situations because we’ve showed up pretty well.”

The term “training” has replaced “practice” in this team’s lexicon. It’s subtle, but significant. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Hurdle For Ertz

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Zach Ertz has been putting in plenty of overtime the past two weeks in the name of getting his blocking game right.

Leading up to the Rams game, he stayed after practice every day to work on his technique with Jason Peters following a rough outing against San Francisco. This week, Ertz and his position coaches lingered on the NovaCare fields long after the training sessions had come to a close.

“I want to block. I want to be a good blocker,” said the second-year tight end. “I want to show the coaches that they can trust me to put me in there and get it done.”

Entering last Sunday, Ertz had played 64 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps and held a slight edge (185 to 179) over Brent Celek in downs played. Against St. Louis, it was a different story. Ertz received just 29 snaps compared to Celek’s 58. James Casey, who was averaging eight plays per game prior to Sunday, saw his number jump to 25. The reason for the change seems pretty straightforward: Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Rams

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Rams.

QUARTERBACK

Nick Foles - He’s not playing well. Foles is missing throws, making questionable decisions and looks jittery in the pocket. Overall, he went 24-for-37 for 207 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Foles turned the ball over a second time on a fumble while scrambling. Read more »

One Yard Away, Eagles Offense Fails To Finish

Photo Credit: Robert Stanton - USA Today

Photo Credit: Robert Stanton – USA Today

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — With 6:35 left in the game, all of a sudden things started to click.

Down 26-21, the Eagles needed to drive 91 yards to take the lead and escape Levi’s Stadium with a fourth straight victory. They were able to pick up 90 of those yards, but faced with two opportunities from the 1 yard line, the Eagles were unable to close the deal.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Nick Foles. “It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to try to break it down or anything. We just didn’t execute the play. In that situation, I have to give the guys an opportunity to make a play, and I didn’t do that. We’ll work toward it so in those situations we have to capitalize and get the ball in the end zone.”

Foles targeted Brent Celek with his first pass, but there wasn’t much there, and the result was an incompletion.

On the second play, Foles rolled to his right and looked for Jeremy Maclin, but he sailed the throw, and the 49ers’ offense got the ball back. Read more »

Um, Guys? Brent Celek’s New Lifestyle Brand Is Surprisingly Amazing

REVISIT

The Washburn Weekender, $1,400. | Photo via REVISIT.

Welcome to the start of the NFL season! For Eagles fans, this means you’re only a few days away from the first regular season game. But in the interim between last season and pre-season outings (which you can read all about over on Birds 24/7), Eagles tight end Brent Celek was busy at another venture: a “lifestyle brand.”

Wait! Don’t groan yet.

Rule Emphasis Affects Man Coverage, Benefits Eagles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Billy Davis felt like words alone couldn’t get his message across, so he reached over and grabbed the sleeve of a reporter’s shirt with his thumb and index finger.

“They’re throwing everything. They’re not playing. That one that got us off the field… [Tom] Brady to Curtis Marsh, the 3rd-and-3. I swear, it was that,” he said, barely yanking on the sleeve. “But it was that. He did it. So the flag was our’s. But it was only that. It wasn’t the pull where it moved his body. It was a feeler cloth deal. Can’t complain because we did it, but…”

Defensive coaches at the NovaCare Complex are walking a fine line. They don’t want to make excuses when asked about the new emphasis on illegal contact downfield. But they want to be honest in explaining that the job of defenders in coverage just got a whole lot more difficult.

What’s perhaps more fascinating, though, when it comes to the Eagles is how the emphasis affects the other side of the ball. Read more »

Still Standing: Celek Sets Tone For Eagles

Brent Celek scores in the first quarter.

Brent Celek set up in-line next to right tackle Allen Barbre. When Nick Foles took the snap, he released and headed up field before turning diagonally to the sideline on a corner route.

Foles scanned the field, tried to move the safety with his eyes and then came back to Celek. The eighth-year tight end turned his body towards the line of scrimmage, reached his hands over his head and made the grab for a 22-yard gain. Just as he did, safety Patrick Chung lowered his shoulder into Celek’s chest, while cornerback Malcolm Butler sandwiched him and knocked his helmet off.

Celek rose to his feet, turned towards the end zone full of Patriots fans, balled his fists and let out a yell.

“When a guy like that makes a catch like that, takes a hit and helmet falls off and jumps right up, it’s a boost to everybody,” said Nick Foles. “…With the young guys seeing that, they see the fire you need. It just gives you something. I know when I saw that, it just pumped me even more than I was because one of my teammates sacrificed for us at that moment and just got up and was ready to go. He’s just got that toughness. He’s very unique.”

It’s a scene Eagles fans have seen play out for years. Celek has played in 117 games for the Eagles (regular season and postseason). This was the first quarter of a preseason game in August, but he was playing the way he always does. Read more »

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