Merry Christmas To Our Birds 24/7 Family

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

It hasn’t been the most blissful of Eagles seasons but your loyalty to the team and this site has remained strong. That’s a testament to the best fans, and the best online community, in the business.

Thank you for welcoming Josh with open arms. We parted ways with one of the top football writers in the country this year in Sheil, but the rookie has shown up strong and will earn similar accolades before long. I continue to be proud of the work that is churned by Josh and Adam, two of the bright young stars in the industry.

Big things ahead. Here’s wishing everyone a blessed holiday and a prosperous 2016 — both on the gridiron and otherwise.

— Tim


Showing Up: Inside Fletcher Cox’s Journey
By Sheil Kapadia

“Losing my brother had to be one of the hardest things that I’ve faced as a young man,” Cox said. “Everybody says it’ll get better. There’s days where I don’t think it’ll get better. Some days I may believe that. But some days I’m like, ‘This’ll never get better.’ “

Kenjon Barner: With Family In Mind
By Josh Paunil

“What set are you from?” one of them asked.

“I’m not in a gang,” Kenjon responded.

The strangers weren’t satisfied, however, and one of them pulled out a gun. Blanchard started sprinting toward her son, but the gunman fired a shot. She ran even faster toward her son, but the gunman fired another shot while Kenjon was writhing in pain on the ground.

Trey Burton: Through the Pain
By Adam Hermann

On the very last page of the book, the final sentence read, “Don’t just be another statistic.”

Burton says he reads plenty, but never remembers specific sentences. Just that one. It stuck with him.

“It had all the numbers in the book, about how something like 85 percent of the people in jail come from fatherless homes,” Burton says, “and it had the percentage of guys committing crimes who are from fatherless homes. It had this whole breakdown of how the odds are against you, tremendously. The odds are against you if you have two parents, really. But if you’ve got one parent, the odds are just raised so much more.”

The final sentence became Burton’s calling card, and Peacock was there to make sure Burton stuck to it.

The Teachings Of Professor Azzinaro
By Tim McManus

Azzinaro, the Chip Kelly confidant and leader of one of the top defensive fronts in football, has a way of cutting through the bullshit and grabbing the truth by the throat. A former Golden Gloves boxing champ and judo brown belt, the stocky Staten Island-turned-New England-er with the more-salt-than-pepper mop, thin-rimmed glasses and Santa scruff is an imposing figure whose voice cracks like a gun shot through the steady practice hum.

Jason Peters: Twilight Before the Hall
By Tim McManus

Jefferson remembers seeing something come over his longtime friend as the two-day event wore on without a phone call.

“I was there with him through the whole draft process. We sit there, we sit there, we sit there. And I see something in his eyes. He told me, ‘B, they don’t know. They don’t know.’ And he was just so mad. He just had that look.

“If you were there and looking at his eyes, you could bet everything that he was going to be what he is right here today.”

Q&A With Shaun Huls’ Mentor
By Josh Paunil

“So Shaun is learning to be somewhat of an expert in this Postural Restoration in helping his Philadelphia Eagle players. He also did it with the Navy SEALs. People who don’t know what that is, they will someday because it’s growing rapidly across the country. It’s something he’s been using for years everywhere he’s been.”

Could you tell me more about how PRI works?

“A lot of times people have surgery when they don’t really need surgery. They just need to have their postural aligned properly; it’s just a little out of whack. Shaun is looking for ways to improve talent, which would include being able to load people properly and have them be at what we call neutral so they’re not out of balance and you can’t load weight on them.”

On the Mathews Over Murray Argument
By Tim McManus

Count Brian Westbrook among those who believe Mathews is better suited for this offense.

“[Dating back to] earlier in the season, I kind of felt that his style probably fit this offense a little bit better just because of the way he runs and his ability to be shifty in certain situations,” said Westbrook.

“With DeMarco, I actually like him as a running back. The problem is that the style that he has kind of lends itself to making people miss downfield instead of in the backfield. And because of the struggles the offensive line has had and because of some of the types of runs that Chip has DeMarco running, it really doesn’t play into his favor.”

All-22: What To Expect From Sam Bradford
By Sheil Kapadia

The 2013 Rams offense was the definition of dink and dunk. Per PFF, only 8.4 percent of Bradford’s passes traveled 20+ yards downfield. That ranked 37th out of 40 quarterbacks. Remember last year when it seemed like the Eagles never went downfield once Sanchez took over? Even then, 12 percent of Sanchez’s passes went 20+ yards downfield.

Overall, 133 of Bradford’s 159 completions in 2013 (83.6 percent) came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

But much of the Eagles’ offense the past two years has been about chucking it downfield. They see a lot of single-high looks, and defenses have had to respect the run game. In 2014, the Eagles’ passing game produced 63 plays of 20+ yards, third in the league. In 2013, that number was 80, tops in the NFL.

It’s fair to wonder whether Bradford can push the ball downfield effectively in this offense.