Eagles Wake-Up Call: Thurmond’s Move To Safety
The Walter Thurmond-to-safety move wasn’t on many people’s radars, including Walter Thurmond’s.
There was no discussion of a position switch when he signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Eagles earlier this offseason, he said. Far as he knew, he was coming in to compete for one of the corner spots. And why wouldn’t he think that? That’s his position. According to Thurmond, he’s never played a game at safety over the course of his career.
Once in the fold, he got a tip that a request was going to be coming down from the top that he consider a position change, and sure enough, it arrived about three weeks ago.
“The coaches came to me and asked me if I wanted to change positions. It was still my decision — it wasn’t a forced move — it was whatever I felt comfortable with,” he said. “And I decided to make the transition to safety, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compete.”
The safety spot opposite Malcolm Jenkins is still very much up for grabs. Earl Wolff is not all the way back from offseason knee surgery and has been a limited participant this spring. On Thursday, it was special teams ace Chris Maragos lining up with the ones alongside Jenkins. Jaylen Watkins, who added some muscle mass in preparation for a position change of his own, was third-team safety with Jerome Couplin. Thurmond and Chris Prosinski manned the second unit.
“He’s always around the ball. I think he’s had a lot of experience playing nickel, so he’s been an inside guy. He can see things,” said Kelly in explaining why Thurmond was chosen for this assignment. “He’s very intelligent. He’s an intuitive football player. He is the first guy out of that corner mix that is getting a shot at inside.”
Thurmond (5-11, 190) has played both outside corner and nickel during his five-year career with Seattle and the Giants. The 27-year-old believes that his experience in the slot has provided him with some training for the safety position. But there is much to learn.
“I’ve had some solid days at practice, but it’s still getting accustomed to the position, being at it all day, going against live competition,” he said. “We go at such a fast pace, and you have to think about the new coverages and making the right calls and then technique. So it’s working each day to put all those things together, to be more comfortable out there. It’s still early. We’re about to start June, there’s a couple more months before we really get thrown into the fire. But I’m going to be ready, for sure.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“You start chasing perception and you got a long life ahead of you, son.” Kelly, players address LeSean McCoy‘s comments.
We got our first look at Sam Bradford Thursday. What we saw, and what the QB had to say about whether he suffered a setback.
Running diary from Kapadia: Practice observations, depth chart notes and more.
Kelly on Evan Mathis, the injury situation and Bradford.
Nolan Carroll is running with the first team opposite Byron Maxwell.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff McLane offered the following analysis of Tim Tebow‘s showing Thursday:
There have been reports that Tebow’s throwing motion and release had improved after his work with Tom House, but there didn’t appear to be much difference than how he looked two years ago. I haven’t watched Tebow up close for his entire career, but it still takes a long time for him to cock, load and throw. There’s an unnatural dip in his windup. Tebow has never been a good practice quarterback and he’s obviously still learning a completely new offense, so there shouldn’t be too much stock taken in how he threw on one non-contact day in May. But the guess here is that it will be difficult for Tebow to beat out Barkley for the third spot, even if you include his intangibles. He struggled to throw the ball downfield. He was working with a bunch of young receivers, but he often held the ball too long or would check down with a short pass. At one point late in practice, he had a throw tipped at the line that fell into the arms of 6-foot-9 rookie defensive end Brian Mihalik.
Malcolm Jenkins responded to LeSean McCoy‘s claims of racism. From John Gonzalez of CSN Philly.
In a somewhat telling reply, Jenkins said he and Kelce weren’t really surprised that McCoy was traded — but they were surprised that he would say something so inflammatory.
“Chip has been very, very transparent on what he’s evaluating us on,” Jenkins said. “That’s not only what we do on the field, but what we do in our assessments and how disciplined we are with our nutrition and all the sports science stuff. I haven’t seen him make a move outside of those parameters. I don’t think anybody in the locker room now thinks we have an issue with race. I don’t see that being a problem in the future. I don’t think there’s any need for Chip to address it [with the locker room].”
A Tebow feature and more coming your way. OTAs continue at the NovaCare on Monday.