Mychal Kendricks. (Jeff Fusco)
The Eagles made plenty of changes during the offseason, especially on the defensive side. Gone are defensive coordinator Billy Davis, inside linebackers coach Rick Minter, and outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern. Along with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz comes linebackers coach Ken Flajole, who arrives after three years as Cleveland’s inside linebackers coach.
Flajole, who decided to stay in the NFL after originally accepting the defensive coordinator position at UTEP in mid January, enters his 17th season as a coach in the league. He comes to an Eagles team which has gone through a big overhaul after firing Chip Kelly before the end of the 2015 season.
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Photo by: Jeff Fusco
Mychal Kendricks‘ “Welcome To Philadelphia” moment came in the aftermath of a home loss a couple seasons back. He heard his name being howled from above the tunnel and against his better judgment, looked up as he was heading off the field.
“Some dude got my attention and he’s like, ‘Kendricks!’ — he was crying — ‘Kendricks! You ruined my liiiife!’ I mean bawling. He was drunk. ‘You ruined my life!’ I’m like, ‘Sh*t, I’m the sad one. We just lost a game.’ That was fairly intense.”
For Najee Goode, it was an attention-grabber of an entirely different variety.
“Man, going up to an autograph signing in 2013 and seeing a chick with body paint on her top half — Eagles body paint. I’m like, ‘These motherf*&%ers crazy,'” he said with a laugh. “I liked it though, but I was like, ‘Damn.'”
Dennis Kelly‘s came in the form of advice via the always civil world of social media.
“Somebody told me to jump off the Ben Franklin onto a bed of spikes through Twitter after a game,” he said. “That was a nice little [piece] of critical feedback.”
None of the dozen or so Eagles players polled by Birds 24/7 have had a similar experience to the one Ryan Howard went through at Citizens Bank Park last weekend when the slumping slugger had a beer bottle thrown at him on his way back to the dugout (though there are members of this coaching staff who would tell you that J.D. Drew isn’t the only one to have Duracells flung in his direction). Such incidents, though, can trigger an examination of the relationship between professional athletes in Philadelphia and the fans. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
The Eagles announced Wednesday the signing of linebacker Najee Goode to a one-year deal.
Details of the deal were not disclosed.
After missing the 2014 season with a pectoral injury, Goode was a special teams contributor during the 2015 season, including scoring a 24-yard touchdown on the Chris Maragos-blocked punt in the Eagles’ 35-28 win over the Patriots. It was the second-longest punt return touchdown in team history.
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Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images
We reached to some players (both former and current) to get their thoughts on the Doug Pederson hire. Here’s what they had to say. Read more »
Photo By Jeff Fusco
Let’s get the usual disclaimers out of the way:
- It’s only June, and the Eagles haven’t even practiced in pads yet.
- There will be more roster moves made between now and September.
- Players unfortunately will get injured.
Having said all that, providing an early 53-man roster projection allows us to at least get a handle on what camp battles should be taken seriously come August.
It’s also just a fun exercise for the sleepy days of late June. And we’re pro-fun here at Birds 24/7. So here you go: Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
Back in March, Chip Kelly was asked about the wisdom in trading for Sam Bradford, a quarterback who had played just seven games in the previous two seasons because of injuries.
Kelly’s response, coupled with the other moves he’s made this offseason, seem to indicate that he believes the Eagles may have a competitive edge when it comes to gambling on players coming off of injury.
“The history right now in terms of sports science and what doctors are doing now has moved forward,” Kelly said. “It’s unbelievable. Look at the year Jeremy Maclin had coming off of two ACLs. Look at our center. Jason Kelce came off an ACL when I first got there, had a sports hernia surgery in the middle of the season and still made the Pro Bowl. Our left tackle [Jason Peters] who’s arguably a Hall of Famer is coming off of two Achilles’ and has played at an outstanding level.”
The Eagles have not been scared off from targeting injured players this offseason. Ryan Mathews played just six games last year. Walter Thurmond has appeared in six games or fewer in three of his five NFL seasons. Miles Austin has missed 15 games the past four seasons. And there’s Bradford, as well.
The team guards its sports science methods like they’re matters of national security. But earlier this offseason, the Eagles quietly changed Shaun Huls’ title from sports science coordinator to director of sports science and reconditioning. The team declined to make Huls available for this story, and he has not spoken with the media since being hired, but Kelly has talked about reconditioning. Read more »
Some key members of the Eagles are recovering from injury this offseason. Here’s what we know about where things stand with a handful of them: Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
The Eagles announced a series of moves Tuesday.
They placed Allen Barbre (ankle) and Najee Goode (torn pectoral muscle) on Injured Reserve and placed Evan Mathis (medial collateral ligament) on Injured Reserve Designated For Return. Mathis is eligible to practice with the team in six weeks and to return to play in eight weeks.The team also signed Emmanuel Acho and Kevin Graf from the practice squad and made the signing of guard/tackle Wade Smith official.
Originally claimed off waivers in 2013, Goode was the primary backup at inside linebacker behind Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans. Acho and Casey Matthews are the backups at the moment, though there was a report that the team was taking a look at some linebackers this week.
Acho (6-2, 240) appeared in six games for Philadelphia in 2013 after being selected from the New York Giants practice squad prior to Week 8. The 23-year-old was re-signed to the practice squad in August. Graf (6-6, 309) was signed to the Eagles practice squad after spending training with the team. He started 39 games at right tackle at USC and earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a senior in 2013.
Here’s a position-by-position look at how the Eagles’ defense performed against the Bears, after having re-watched the first three quarters.
If you missed the breakdown of the offense, click here. Read more »
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 »