Eagles Wake-Up Call: Farewell, Sheil; And Welcome, Josh
Look at Sheil getting right in there and shaking it up with Sammy B. Good body language, solid eye contact. The hand grab is a little awkward but I think that’s mostly because of Bradford’s large mitts. No wonder he’s able to spin it like he does.
Put this photo in the archives. Dig it out in a decade or so, and I think it will show a young star journalist on the verge of capturing all the success that is rightfully his.
(What it will say of the quarterback featured is less clear.)
I have had the very good fortune of working alongside Sheil for the past three years. I remember when we were in the brainstorming phase back in 2012, my very pregnant wife — understandably eager to know what her husband was going to do for work — would ask, “What are you guys meeting about again?” Since we didn’t exactly know ourselves, I’m sure the answers provided weren’t terribly comforting. It’s hard to explain that you’re going off feel. But that’s what it was. I knew that Sheil was excellent, we had struck up a good rapport while taking in those long training camp practices at Lehigh, and we sensed that our respective styles would complement each other’s well. Thanks to Tom McGrath, David Lipson and the people at Philly Mag, we were able to test that theory out. Fast forward to present day. My daughter is three years old, my wife is very pregnant once again, and Birds 24/7 is entering Year 4. The site has surpassed our expectations at every turn thanks to you.
We are losing a co-founder, as you know. And like you, I’m bummed out about it. Kapadia is one of the finest football writers in the country. Beyond that, I consider Sheil a brother at this point, so I’m feeling the loss on that end as well. But he’s earned this opportunity (which I’m sure he’ll be filling you in on shortly) so we let him fly and wish him well.
I’m proud of a lot of things we’ve accomplished here, but I think our biggest achievement lies in the community that has been built. Our readers treat us and each other like family while holding us to a journalistic standard that we try to meet every day.
That factored into our decision to hire Josh Paunil. He earned your stamp of approval last summer by knocking one feature after the next out of the park. He’s hungry, he’s armed with a truck-load of ideas and a gift for writing, and he’s very familiar with and respectful of the brand that we’ve established. I am extremely excited to be teamed with him.
Fortunately, the site’s been up and running long enough to where we have a pretty reliable road map. Yes, you’ll still be able to get your All-22 fix here (more on that later) and the other staples will remain intact. We will stay true to the original vision while continuing to push outward in the name of providing the best coverage possible.
Josh is on the beat beginning today. We wish Sheil the absolute best, and look forward to what’s next.
WHAT YOU MISSED
You probably didn’t miss it, but it’s worth another read. Sheil Kapadia says goodbye to Birds 24/7.
An MRI revealed that JaCorey Shepherd tore his ACL at practice on Sunday.
Take a look at the Eagles practice on Sunday through the lens of our photographer Jeff Fusco.
Boykin, Kelly and the ‘SIW’ potential.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff Fisher talked to Paul Domowitch about the Rams’ decision to trade Sam Bradford.
He is entering his fourth season as the Rams’ coach. Thanks in large part to Bradford’s injury misfortune, the Rams have yet to win more than seven games in a season under Fisher. This season could be make-or- break for him.
While Chip Kelly, who is coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons, can afford to gamble that Bradford’s left knee will stay intact this season, Fisher couldn’t.
He needed a reasonably durable quarterback he could win with right now. And when Kelly offered up Foles – who recorded the third-highest passer rating in NFL history just two seasons ago – for Bradford and those two draft picks, the Rams took him.
“We experienced [Bradford’s torn ACLs] twice,” Fisher said. “It was tough. So, as we’re building our team, do you want to go into next season wondering whether or not it’s going to happen again?
“From a big-picture standpoint, there was a little unwillingness on behalf of Sam’s camp to redo [his contract]. And [the trade with the Eagles] just ended up kind of being the perfect scenario for us.”
Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation looks at the players who are now in line to become the nickel back:
The Eagles have some options to replace Shepherd. Let’s take a look:
• Jaylen Watkins – The second year defensive back spent spring practices working out at both safety and cornerback. Watkins competed for the backup nickel spot last offseason before lining up there in practice during the regular season. Watkins was the first man up at nickel cornerback after Shepherd left practice early on Sunday. The 2014 fourth round pick has an opportunity to step up here.
• E.J. Biggers – The 28-year-old Biggers lined up as a slot cornerback on 57% of his defensive snaps with Washington in 2014. Biggers struggled in coverage so the talent is a concern but he has experience, for whatever that’s worth.
A new chapter for Birds 24/7. Chip Kelly speaks at 11:20 prior to practice.