Brandon Graham knows exactly how much playing time he received in 2013.
“Twenty seven percent [of the snaps], right?”
Right. Or 353 of a possible 1,307 defensive plays. That’s obviously not the kind of workload the former No. 13 overall pick envisioned for himself.
“It’s one of them things where you can’t control it, but I tried to make the best out of the opportunities I got, and I guess we’ll see about my future whenever things start to happen,” he said.
Vinny Curry, similarly, is out for a bigger role. He played 337 snaps, or 26 percent of the time. He started off the season as an inactive on game day. His agent was open to a trade. There were reports that the Eagles were listening to offers for him.
“I think I shut all that up,” said Curry. Read more »
Earl Wolff sold out to break up a pass in the second quarter against the Bears and came up limping. He had missed the last four games with a hyper-extended right knee, and found himself back on the trainers table just moments into his return.
“When I tweaked it against Chicago, Cary [Williams] came over when I was sitting with [the doctor], and was like, ‘Earl, man, we need you out there. C’Mon, man. We want you out there, man.’ I was like, ‘Bro, I want to be out there. I guarantee I want to be out there and play.’ But I couldn’t.”
There were rumblings late in the season that Wolff had been given the green light for a return by the medical staff but decided to hold himself out. We asked Wolff if there was any truth to that. Read more »
The Saints are 1-5 in their last six road games, as you may have heard. They certainly have. Drew Brees and company have been bombarded with questions about the slump all week.
The Eagles can relate. They dropped their first four games at the Linc this season, extending the overall home drought to 10 games, and were reminded regularly of their shortcomings. The streak hit double-digits on October 27 with a 15-7 loss to the Giants that dropped the Eagles to 3-5 on the year. Just as Sean Payton joked this week about changing up the Gatorade flavor to flip the mojo, Chip Kelly quipped that maybe he would put the team on a bus and drive them around for a half hour for home games to simulate the road experience.
Those days seem far away now. The streak was snapped with a 24-16 win over Washington in mid-November, and the Eagles went on to win four straight at the Linc to close out the regular season. Just like that they had regained homefield advantage, and in memorable fashion. Read more »
In his time at Westlake High School, Nick Foles established records for career passing yards (5,658) and touchdowns (56). That’s particularly impressive because the previous owner of those records was Drew Brees.
Foles is 24 years old and Brees is 34. By the time Foles was ready for high school, Brees was already a couple years deep into his NFL career. Though they both grew up in Austin, Texas, they didn’t actually meet until last season when the Eagles played at the Saints.
But that’s not to say that Brees had no impact on Foles’ journey. Read more »
Arlington, Texas — Chip Kelly took the podium with a little water in his eyes and a smudge mark on his right cheek — presumably eye black that rubbed off one of the players during the celebration.
It was late in Dallas but the energy from Sunday night’s breath-stealing conclusion was still dancing in the air. The 16-game schedule was complete. And, though it took everything they had, the Eagles were still standing. Year One of the Chip Kelly era, and the Eagles are NFC East champions.
“I told those guys, I thought the first time I met them that it was a special group. I can’t tell you how much they’ve made this transition for me coming from college to the pros, it was those guys,” said Kelly. “They’ve bought in. It’s an awesome feeling when you can work as hard as they’ve worked and to see it pay off, and the results are you’re 10-6 and you’re division champs, it’s a real credit to those guys. They didn’t flinch.”
Looking back, did you honestly expect this to be the end result to your first regular season?
“I expected us to win,” said Kelly. Read more »
This time two months ago, Nick Foles was recovering from his concussion.
The calendar had flipped from Week 7 to Week 8. The Giants were on deck and Michael Vick was once again the quarterback. Foles had failed in his opportunity to lay claim to the starting job. After a dismal outing against the Cowboys, his future was uncertain. But Foles wasn’t focused on those type of things as the fog began to lift. Read more »
The consensus within the Cary Williams circle of trust was that the cornerback wasn’t playing with the same type of edge that he had in Baltimore. Sounds strange, seeing as the feisty corner always seems to be an inch away from throwing haymakers on the field, but this has more to do with what’s been going on between the whistles. His brother said something about it. His best friend. Even his pastor felt he needed to be a bit more ferocious.
But when his wife, Amanda, broached the subject, that was the tipping point.
“When my wife said it, it really kind of sunk in,” said Williams. “I listened because she has been following me for a long time and watching how I played, and she said I just didn’t have the same aggressiveness like how I used to,” said Williams. “I gave a bunch of excuses why, but then when I look in the mirror it just is what it is. I am what I put out there on the field.
“I just wanted to get back into character.”
The defense as a whole was trying to do the same thing. Read more »
Deep down, in places Eagles fans don’t talk about at parties, there’s a realization that special teams could play a big part in determining this team’s fate.
It’s not the most comforting of thoughts, particularly after a game in Minnesota that turned the term “squib” into a curse word in Philadelphia. It’s far more desirable to tie one’s fortunes to the likes of LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson or DeMeco Ryans, but that’s not always the way it works out. Sometimes it comes down to the Alex Henery‘s of the world. Read more »
Chip Kelly offered up this line back in August, and has used some variation of it on multiple occasions since:
“Once you think you’ve arrived in this game, you’re going to get passed on by.”
Opinions vary as to whether that is what happened this past week against Minnesota: if the Eagles allowed the five-game winning streak to dull their focus, particularly as they prepared for a supposedly inferior Vikings team. Cary Williams made it clear where he stands on this debate.
“I’m glad it knocked us off our high horse,” said Williams. “Point proven right there that you have to be prepared, you have to be ready to come out and play each and every week. You can’t come out and not be physical in the beginning and expect a team to just lay down. To a degree we weren’t necessarily the most physical team out there, we weren’t necessarily the most emotional team out there, and I think we to some degree came out flat. So I’m glad that we lost, in the sense that it helped prepare us for this week, understanding that every week is going to be a different test, every team is going to come at us with their best shot.” Read more »
Moments after setting a franchise record for rushing yards in a single game, LeSean McCoy turned the attention directly towards his offensive line.
“I mean the guys up front just gave me opportunities one-on-one, blowing those guys off the ball,” he said. “I think everybody is so intimidated and scared of their guys up front on Detroit, but I think the big guys on my team took a challenge and stepped up.”
Tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the strength of the Lions’ defense. The onus fell on interior linemen Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans to try and keep them under control. They not only did that, but dominated down the stretch to blast open some holes for McCoy to prance through.
Herremans in particular stood out for his handling of Suh. Read more »