Brandon Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)
Jeff Stoutland gives each of his linemen areas to work on during the break between OTAs and training camp. By the sounds of it, when Brandon Brooks came looking for his assignment, the o-line coach didn’t have a whole lot to choose from.
“I told him, ‘Boy I’ll tell you what, after evaluating your film in free agency’…I said, ‘some of the things I thought maybe there was some issues with, that’s your strength.’ The use of his hands in protection are unbelievable; getting into the second level and blocking linebackers, he’s been extremely productive doing that,” said Stoutland for a podcast on the team’s website. Read more »
Jason Peters and Jeff Stoutland. (Jeff Fusco)
We kicked off this series by looking at the wide receivers, linebackers and defensive linemen. Now, let’s move on to the offensive line.
Projected starters (left to right): Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson.
Reserves: C Bruce Johnson, C/G Josh Andrews, C/G Barrett Jones, C/G Stefen Wisniewski, G Malcolm Bunche, G Dillion Gordon, G Darrell Greene, G Isaac Seumalo, G/T Andrew Gardner, G/T Dennis Kelly, G/T Matt Tobin, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
The Eagles weren’t shy about spending money this offseason on the offensive line in an attempt to counteract Chip Kelly’s years of neglect. Howie Roseman handed Lane Johnson a 5-year, $56.26 million extension, and he signed Brandon Brooks to a 5-year, $40 million deal in free agency. Meanwhile, Jason Peters is in the second season of his 4-year, $41.3 million extension, and Jason Kelce is in the second season of his 6-year, $37.5 million extension. Read more »
Malcolm Jenkins. (Jeff Fusco)
This week’s roundup of the best Eagles links around the web.
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Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)
For your mailbag question to be considered, complete the form at the bottom of this post.
How do you rank the top longterm players on the Eagles? -Terry
NFL teams unexpectedly cut and trade players all of the time, but one thing Howie Roseman has brought to the Eagles this offseason — at least for the near future — is clarity. By giving out twice as much guaranteed money as any other team since the beginning of the calendar year, it’s clear who the team values and wants to build around.
But one of the biggest question marks with Roseman has never been his salary cap management — it’s talent evaluation. So this is an interesting mailbag question to consider, and although the Eagles made a big trade to acquire a guy they think could be a franchise quarterback, they are building around a core group of players who went 7-9 last year and were on a team which often appeared worse than their record suggested.
Is that a nucleus you can win a Super Bowl with? Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
Howie Roseman retold the Fletcher Cox draft story Thursday. About how they had a trade worked out with Seattle to move up from 15 to 12 if one of their targets happened to still be on the board; that they never anticipated one of those primary targets — Cox — to actually last that long; and how a last-second offer forced them to contemplate their chosen course of action.
“When he got to 12 and we were ready to make the pick, we had agreed on the trade, and then we got a call from another team offering us to move back for a future one,” said Roseman. “And so we just kind of took a minute and just thought about Fletcher and what we projected him to be. And if he was that, how would we get that guy again? And all around the room, everyone agreed that to get a 6-4, 310-pound guy, 35-inch arms, powerful, athletic, great character, we’d have to pick in the Top-5 — 21 years old. For us, even if that future one was a 12 or 13 or 14, we thought it was a unique opportunity that we were able to get that kind of guy, so we just kind of made the pick.”
Roseman called it “one of my favorite stories that we’ve had here.” And no wonder: it’s a triumphant tale involving the single-best pick he’s ever made. Chances are, he’s got some good ones about Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson as well.
The key thing, as we work to make sense of the decision to pour $143 million of guarantees into those four players, is the very fact that there are stories to tell. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
What strikes you is how casually they greet the alleged corruption.
Congressional investigators recently released a 91-page report supporting the claim that the NFL inappropriately attempted to influence a sports-related study on brain disease by the National Institutes of Health. After committing an “unrestricted” $30 million donation to the NIH, the NFL apparently balked when a $16 million grant was given for research efforts to be led by neurodegenerative disease expert Dr. Robert Stern, who has been critical of the league in the past, and attempted to redirect funds to grant applicants with league ties.
“No conversations [with the NFLPA] yet. I think everyone is waiting to get a little more information,” said Eagles player rep Malcolm Jenkins. “But I also don’t feel like anyone is caught by surprise. I feel like we’ve felt like that was the case the entire time anyway.”
That what was the case?
“That the NFL wasn’t being 100 percent [in respect to] their findings of the investigations on concussions… I’m going to speak for myself, but I don’t think players really have the confidence in the league to do the right thing — or completely the right thing — when it comes to player safety.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
Like Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews, Lane Johnson said he also traveled to Oklahoma to spend time with Sam Bradford this offseason – though his visit was more of the rocking chair and lemonade variety.
“No, I did a lot of sitting,” he said when a reporter jokingly asked if he was out there running routes for the quarterback. “I had to rest this offseason. I was tired.”
Johnson skipped the MMA training during the break (though he may spend a month there later in the offseason, he said) and pulled back on the weight lifting so that the body could heal. The 25-year-old dealt with knee and ankle injuries (at a minimum) over the course of the season. With 44 starts and three NFL seasons now under his belt, he is feeling it more than he once did and taking his cues from other veteran linemen on how to properly recover in-between seasons.
“You’re not working out, lifting, you feel like you’re not up to any good. But I felt it was necessary to get the body back right,” said Johnson.
Particularly after three seasons working under Chip Kelly. Read more »
Jack Conklin. (USA Today Sports Images)
During a 75-minute conference call with reporters Monday morning, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said he believes the Eagles need to focus on building their offensive line, and that Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin could be a good fit at No. 13 in this year’s draft.
“I think, in terms of offensive line, I think that’s the [Eagles’] big need area, the big problem they have right now and going into this year, is solidifying the guys up front for the quarterback, whoever that may be,” Kiper said. Read more »
Jason Kelce and Jason Peters. (Jeff Fusco)
With a decade in the NFL already under his belt, Barrett Brooks could feel his career winding down in Pittsburgh. He played in nearly 100 games in his first six seasons alone, and he didn’t have much left in the tank.
But then Bill Cowher started giving Brooks “maintenance days,” which Brooks says extended his career by two or three seasons. The former offensive lineman expects Doug Pederson to do the same for Jason Peters, which is why he thinks Peters will still be productive.
“[Pederson] knows how to give guys days off, and that’s going to be huge,” Brooks said. “He’s going to give them days and allow them to sit down to rest. Chip [Kelly] wasn’t having that. Chip still made him practice. You can’t have a guy like that.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
In 2008, Lane Johnson was playing quarterback at Kilgore College. In 2010, he was working at tight end and then defensive line for Oklahoma. This time three years ago, he was considered a raw projection pick. And now, he’s the fourth-highest paid tackle in the NFL.
“It’s sinking in now,” said Johnson after signing a five-year contract extension Friday. “I’m very fortunate to be drafted to a great place where I was able to develop and get better every year, and have the right coaches help me with that…I’m fortunate where I’m at and owe a lot of thanks to the people that have helped me along the way.”
Johnson’s new deal contains $35.5 million in guarantees (including a $10 million signing bonus) and is worth up to $63-plus million. The 25-year old believes the Eagles drafted him to eventually play left tackle and feels the contract accounts for that. But there is no rush. Signs are pointing to Jason Peters being back with the club in 2016, which seems to be just fine by Johnson. Read more »