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 »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Johnson/Kelly Comparison

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

When Peter King of The MMQB wrote about Chip Kelly earlier this week, he compared the Eagles’ head coach to Jimmy Johnson.

Before his first training camp practice of the season on Saturday, we spent time in his office, and when we parted, I thought how much he reminded me of Jimmy Johnson when Johnson entered the league 25 years ago. Respectful of the other coaches and teams, but they aren’t going to dictate what he’s going to do. Totally confident that his style will work in the NFL. Unlike Johnson, Kelly’s not brash on the outside. Like Johnson, he knows deep down his way will win. Johnson brought a small, fast defense into a league that was going bigger and bigger. It worked.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie read King’s piece and was asked about the comparison. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Davis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis met with reporters Sunday. Below are three things that stood out.

1. We’ve written plenty in this space about the high number of snaps guys like DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin played last year. Part of that had to do with the defense’s inability to get off the field. Part of it had to do with the team’s lack of depth at certain spots. Part of it had to do with pace and style of the offense.

But going forward, Davis wants to get those guys off the field a little bit more.

“It’s something we are very concerned about,” he said. “We don’t want any of them to play all the snaps. It’s too many snaps for any one defensive player. We know we had way too many. It benefits both us and the player and DeMeco or Mychal [Kendricks] that we get a rotation in there, too. We’ll get that rotation all the time through different packages and with the addition like you touched on of some new players. It will give us a little bit more flexibility. Read more »

Photos: Eagles Training Camp, 7/27



Eagles Wake-Up Call: ILB Training Camp Preview

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacksoutside linebackers and running backs. Now it’s on to the inside linebackers.

The pressing question: How will the Eagles spell DeMeco Ryans?

As you know by now, Ryans played more snaps than any other linebacker in the NFL last year. During the owners meetings in March, I asked Chip Kelly if he planned to spell Ryans more in 2014, and he said adding depth was a priority.

But free agency and the draft are unpredictable, and the Eagles were unable to add new talent to this position. Billy Davis was clear last month that he plans on subbing in more for Ryans. The problem? That’s not going to happen unless the Eagles like their backup options. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Goode Eyes Bigger Role

Eagles LB Najee Goode puts on helmet

Two snaps into the Eagles’ Week 9 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Najee Goode got the call.

Mychal Kendricks went down with a knee injury at Lambeau Field, and Goode was chosen to replace him alongside DeMeco Ryans at inside linebacker. He played the rest of that game and then started the following week against the Redskins.

“There was a lot of positive feedback, stuff I gotta work on, but a lot of positive feedback,” Goode said. “Getting in there, not necessarily messing up, doing some good things, showing a lot of good signs and flashes of being a good, consistent player. Making some pass break-ups. Green Bay, was able to disrupt the run a lot different than what they thought they were gonna get. It was a confidence booster for me and to also see what I’ve gotta work on.” Read more »

Photos: Eagles Mini-Camp



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