Jameis Winston’s Been Saying ‘Fly Eagles Fly’ His Whole Life

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Jameis Winston says he doesn’t know the lyrics to the Eagles fight song, but he knows just about everything else a self-described Eagles fan should.

His favorite player of all-time is Randall Cunningham, and he grew up rooting for “Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Jevon Kearse — all the guys that played for the Eagles in the early, mid-2000s.”

And this weekend, he’ll have the chance to play against his childhood team for the first time.

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Staley: ‘We Won’t Have Any Problems’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

The members of the original three-headed monster had to swallow their pride. Playing for a pass-happy coach like Andy Reid, carries were hard to come by anyway. Now they were being asked to divide those limited touches three ways. Correll Buckhalter led the team with 126 rushing attempts (only 7.8 carries per game) in 2003. Brian Westbrook got 117 carries. Duce Staley toted the ball just 96 times.

More than a decade later, Chip Kelly has assembled his own talented three-man group. The question is worth asking: are there enough carries to go around?
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Jaws, Westbrook Talk Expectations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

The Eagles honored their alumni Tuesday afternoon before their open training camp practice at the Linc.

Ron Jaworski wasn’t in attendance, but Brian Westbrook was, as the organization announced he would be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame. In separate interviews during the day, the ex-players offered their thoughts on the state of the Eagles’ roster and expectations for 2015.

“When I look at the cumulative talent on this offense, it is outstanding,” Jaworski said during a spot on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Morning Show. “I know there is a question at right guard, and is [Allen] Barbre going to be the left guard or Andrew Gardner? But the only question mark I have on this team, quite honestly, on the offensive and defensive side is how quick this talent can come together.

“I think the second half of the season, they will be very good. I think there’s going to be an adjustment period early in the season. There could be nine or 10 new starters on the team.”

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Westbrook Reacts To McCoy Trade

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Brian Westbrook said his initial reaction was surprise when he found out that LeSean McCoy had been dealt to Buffalo, but then, after going over some of the conversations he had and whispers he heard within the NFL’s inner-circle, he concluded that it really wasn’t much of a surprise at all.

Westbrook — a longtime mentor of McCoy — arrived at the same thought that Todd Herremans floated just a few days before: when it comes to skill position players, Chip Kelly believes the system will take care of it.

“I think Chip Kelly, the way he views things – especially on the offensive side of the ball – is that he can almost plug-and-play. He can plug-and-play anybody, and as long as his offense is doing what he wants it to do, it will work,” said Westbrook in a phone conversation with Birds 24/7.
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The 2004 Eagles’ Super Bowl Starters, Then and Now

Photos | Philadelphia Eagles

Photos | Philadelphia Eagles

It seems like only yesterday. But it has been nearly 10 years since February 6th, 2005 — the last time the Philadelphia Eagles appeared in the Super Bowl.

That season was a magical one for Eagles fans, with the team winning its first seven games en route to a 13-1 start. Donovan McNabb instantly clicked with new wide receiver Terrell Owens. Safety Brian Dawkins and newly acquired defensive end Jevon Kearse terrorized opposing offenses. Jeremiah Trotter returned from two years in exile — Washington — to reclaim his starting middle-linebacker spot. It was a dream.

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All-22: The Art Of the Screen Play

lesean screen 5

Brian Westbrook, one of the great screen running backs in the history of the league, continues to be a guiding voice in the ear of LeSean McCoy. It probably came as little surprise, then, that McCoy had a message waiting for him on his phone following the Tampa game on Sunday.

“He texted me after the game and said, ‘Come on, bro. You’re supposed to score on that play.’ ”

The play was a screen pass to McCoy on the Eagles’ first offensive snap of the game. Everything was perfect, from design to execution. What’s more, the Bucs were in the worst possible defense for this particular play call. The seas parted and McCoy was in the wide open field with blockers set up in front of him. He got 44. He could have had the whole thing.

“I should have scored,” McCoy admitted.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a near-perfect screen play with the help of the players involved and the screen maestro himself, Westbrook. Read more »

Duce Chooses McCoy Over Westbrook

LeSean McCoy alone running with football

The question came from about 20 feet away, a parting whaddyathink after a 15-minute conversation with Duce Staley about star running back LeSean McCoy.

So who’s better: B-West or Shady?

Staley turned and started walking back to a pair of reporters. “Right now? McCoy,” he said.

“Right now if I had to go back and get Brian Westbrook at the peak of his career and get LeSean McCoy at the peak of his career…if you were playing fantasy football, who would you pick?” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The ‘Compelling’ 2004 Squad

Today, we take a trip down memory lane and remember a team that will either bring a smile to your face or elicit tears from your eyes: the 2004 Eagles.

ESPN.com is doing a series on the five most compelling NFL teams since 2000, and the 2004 Birds, led by Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and company came in at No. 3, behind only the 2010 Brett Favre-led Vikings and the 16-0 New England Patriots (2007).

Ashley Fox provides a recap of the 13-3 campaign, which ended in a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl:

“When we stepped on the field from OTAs to the first game against the New York Giants, we felt no team could beat us,” Ike Reese said. “We were hunting for the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. That’s who we had to beat. I just remember the level of confidence was at an all-time high for a team coming off three NFC Championship Games. It took us to an almost invincible feeling.”

It’s impossible to discuss that season without mentioning the fallout afterwards. Despite how things turned out with T.O. and the ensuing 6-10 campaign in 2005, Andy Reid told Fox the gamble on Owens was well worth it.

“I like Terrell. All of us could’ve handled it a little different,” Reid said. “I take a little of the blame for that. Everybody I know wants to come after Terrell. I take some of the blame, too. There were things we could’ve done better after the way it worked out. But was it worth it? Yes. I would do it over again. I would. I wish things could’ve worked out better during the Super Bowl. Philadelphia deserved to have a championship there, but it didn’t pan out that way.”

The Eagles had strong leadership on that team, but nobody could seem to find a way to keep McNabb and Owens on the same page for another season.

“If you can somehow keep that team in tact, that offensive staff in tact for another season… you would definitely be the favorites to win the Super Bowl,” Westbrook said last year. “That offense [would have been] the No. 1 offense in the league for a long time, and we would have been so productive.”

Added Dawkins: “What I tried to do was pull guys to the side, away from everybody, and just have conversations with them. ‘What’s going on? What’s the deal? What can I do to help? This is what we need to do to get back on the winning track, and if I can assist in any way, let me know. Even if you don’t let me know, this is what I’m willing to do. This is what we need to do in order for us to get this thing going in the right direction.’

“The thing that you always want to do is get everybody in the room at the same time. That was never able to be done.”

And so, Eagles fans are left to wonder what could have been. But there’s no doubt that “compelling” is a fair way to describe the team that got the franchise closer than any other to the Lombardi Trophy.

WHAT YOU MISSED

What the Oregon sanctions mean for Chip Kelly.

Will Kelly run a physical camp? Players weigh in.

We asked three players a simple question: What do you know about Kelly now that you didn’t know a few months ago? Here are their answers.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers some thoughts on the defense:

The defense won’t be a top unit until the right players are in place. It is possible we could find out we already have those players, but I think that is an extreme longshot. I like this group, but don’t see them turning out to be a great defense. The secondary still needs work and there are front seven questions to be answered.

I’m not enamored with the system we’re running, but it has grown on me. The most important issue for me is that the team did hire the right coaches to teach the scheme. This staff has a lot of 3-4 and hybrid defense experience. If you want to be creative and complex, you must have the right teachers. I think the Eagles accomplished that.

Over on The Philly Post, Richard Rys is not happy that Marvel has teamed up with the Cowboys:

What’s worse, for me as an Eagles fan, is that the one Marvel/NFL tie-in that makes sense for adults who are not virgins is right here in Philadelphia. Future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins was known for his love of Wolverine, the X-Men member with unbreakable bones and a berserker rage. He kept Wolverine figures in his locker and named his on-field alter ego after the character’s code name, “Weapon X.” Marvel honored Dawkins with a Wolverine-inspired poster after he retired. But they could have made a mint with Weapon X shirts; in fact, one local company has made a very cool Dawkins tee that isn’t anywhere near as corny as the Cowboys line. Forget Hugh Jackman — if B-Dawk says a Canadian with retractable claws is cool, it’s gospel.

COMING UP

Haven’t you learned by now that we always come up with something?

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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