Eagles Wake-Up Call: Getting Cut By Chip

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

For Emmanuel Acho, cut-down day last year was all positive. The Eagles’ linebacker had played well in the preseason and earned a surprise spot on the 53-man roster.

But things change quickly in the NFL, and two days later, Acho got a call from GM Howie Roseman, telling him the team was letting him go in favor of Najee Goode.

Acho made his way to the NovaCare Complex, but it wasn’t just to turn in his playbook. He met separately with Chip Kelly, Billy Davis and linebackers coach Rick Minter. The process wasn’t exclusive to Acho. The Eagles offer the same courtesy to every player who is let go.

“Obviously every guy that’s here that’s part of the 90-man roster, their lifelong dream is to be an NFL football player,” Kelly said. “To be the one to have to tell them that it’s not gonna happen here is difficult, and it’s something that is inevitable. You have to go from 90 to 75 and from 75 to 53. It’s part of the job, but it’s not a fun part of the job. We make sure that every player meets with me, every player meets with his position coach, every player meets with the coordinator on their side of the ball. You try to be as human as you can with it, but it’s always a difficult time when someone’s goal is to play in this league.” Read more »

Rule Emphasis Affects Man Coverage, Benefits Eagles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Billy Davis felt like words alone couldn’t get his message across, so he reached over and grabbed the sleeve of a reporter’s shirt with his thumb and index finger.

“They’re throwing everything. They’re not playing. That one that got us off the field… [Tom] Brady to Curtis Marsh, the 3rd-and-3. I swear, it was that,” he said, barely yanking on the sleeve. “But it was that. He did it. So the flag was our’s. But it was only that. It wasn’t the pull where it moved his body. It was a feeler cloth deal. Can’t complain because we did it, but…”

Defensive coaches at the NovaCare Complex are walking a fine line. They don’t want to make excuses when asked about the new emphasis on illegal contact downfield. But they want to be honest in explaining that the job of defenders in coverage just got a whole lot more difficult.

What’s perhaps more fascinating, though, when it comes to the Eagles is how the emphasis affects the other side of the ball. Read more »

Still Standing: Celek Sets Tone For Eagles

Brent Celek scores in the first quarter.

Brent Celek set up in-line next to right tackle Allen Barbre. When Nick Foles took the snap, he released and headed up field before turning diagonally to the sideline on a corner route.

Foles scanned the field, tried to move the safety with his eyes and then came back to Celek. The eighth-year tight end turned his body towards the line of scrimmage, reached his hands over his head and made the grab for a 22-yard gain. Just as he did, safety Patrick Chung lowered his shoulder into Celek’s chest, while cornerback Malcolm Butler sandwiched him and knocked his helmet off.

Celek rose to his feet, turned towards the end zone full of Patriots fans, balled his fists and let out a yell.

“When a guy like that makes a catch like that, takes a hit and helmet falls off and jumps right up, it’s a boost to everybody,” said Nick Foles. “…With the young guys seeing that, they see the fire you need. It just gives you something. I know when I saw that, it just pumped me even more than I was because one of my teammates sacrificed for us at that moment and just got up and was ready to go. He’s just got that toughness. He’s very unique.”

It’s a scene Eagles fans have seen play out for years. Celek has played in 117 games for the Eagles (regular season and postseason). This was the first quarter of a preseason game in August, but he was playing the way he always does. Read more »

Physical, No More

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Reality has set in here at the NovaCare that the emphasis on illegal contact and similar infractions this year is going to significantly impact how the game is played.
Read more »

Ertz Opening Eyes In New England

Ertz
FOXBORO, MASS. –
 There is a growing buzz about Zach Ertz as he gets set to enter his second NFL season. Is he aware of what’s being said and written about him?

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I’m on Twitter now and then, on Instagram.

“My mom will retweet something or my agent will retweet something. And it will just be like, ‘Zach Ertz, breakout year coming’ or whatever. I read it and it’s good that there are positive things that are being said about me,” he said, “but at the same time if I go out and have a few drops, the last training camp they said I have bad hands, so it goes both ways.”

True enough. This camp there has been little to pick apart about Ertz’s game, though. He has been getting open with regularity and catching about everything that has been thrown his way. That trend continued this week during joint practices with the Patriots. During one period of 7-on-7s Thursday, Mark Sanchez threw a total of five passes. Three of them were touchdowns tosses to Ertz.

“He’s athletic. He’s fast, he’s faster than I thought,” said Patriots linebacker/defensive end Chandler Jones. “I feel like he is more of a skill player than anything. He runs his routes very well. I’ve had the opportunity to cover him during two days of practice and he’s been a handful.” Read more »

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