Eagles Wake-Up Call: Givens And the Bradford Appeal
Chris Givens said he considered signing with the Jets and Cowboys this offseason and drew interest from a handful of teams overall, but chose the Eagles in part because of the presence of Sam Bradford.
That may seem counterintuitive — a deep ball receiver gravitating towards a quarterback that isn’t exactly known for airing it out — but there’s a shared history, and perhaps an allure stemming from what might have been the first time around.
Givens’ rookie year remains his finest. The fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest caught 42 passes for 698 yards with three touchdowns in 2012 — all career highs. Even set a rookie record by hauling in a 50-plus yard reception in five straight games.
“His strengths match my strengths: he can get the ball downfield and I can get downfield,” said Givens, throwing support behind Bradford’s big-play ability.
Bradford started every game that season, tossing a personal-best 21 TDs. A pair of torn ACLs limited him to just seven games total over the next two years. Working with the likes of Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis and Shaun Hill in Bradford’s absence, Givens’ numbers fell off (he ended with just 11 catches in 14 games in 2014) and was eventually traded to Baltimore this past October.
“It was definitely frustrating but at the same time, I accept full responsibility for not working the way I should have in the offseason and being the receiver I was capable of [being],” said Givens. “I just got a little complacent and a little comfortable knowing that I had Sam and things like that, and once things went south a little bit and I really didn’t have a quarterback to play to my strengths, I couldn’t really do the things I needed to do to get open. So I just looked at that as an opportunity for me to look in the mirror and fine-tune the things in my game that it will take for me to take my game to the next level.”
Givens made some big plays in Baltimore (he averaged 18.2 yards per catch) but had a low batting average (36 percent catch rate). It was a familiar scene, as a Joe Flacco knee injury — sustained against the Rams, no less — triggered a QB carousel that included Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Clausen.
Now he’s in Philly and reunited with Bradford. They’ll be working in a system that Givens believes presents greater opportunity than was offered in St. Louis the last time these two were paired up.
“It’s just more shots, deeper routes. We run the whole route tree here, we’re not just running this route or this route. You get so many more opportunities because you got so many more chances to run different routes.”
The Eagles are in serious need of someone to step up and claim a meaningful role to help Jordan Matthews carry the load. Givens believes he is being provided the resources to be successful, including a quarterback that knows him well.
“This [system] plays a lot more to my strengths. I think it’s more aggressive, we want to attack more instead of doing the things we did back then. It’s just one of those things where I think the coaches, the play-calling, the play-book, it all fits my personality and we all jell well together, and it’s just going to be something fun,” he said.
WHAT YOU MISSED
“You don’t want to give him too much information because you know he’s prepared, and he’ll always be prepared.” NFC East Roundup.
“The whole community of Yazoo City is very shocked and very proud of me, and my family, my whole support system is very happy and very excited for me, and they can’t wait for the season to start.” Weekend Reading.
Who are the Eagles’ most indispensable players on the roster?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
After multiple seasons of a poor secondary, the Eagles’ defensive backs could be on the rise in 2016, writes Tommy Lawlor.
Might is the key word, of course. I like what the Eagles have done with the secondary this offseason and wrote about that for PE.com. There are no guarantees this group will pan out as expected, but the moves this year feel so much smarter than some in recent years. Byron Maxwell was overpaid last year and the pressure of that contract affected his play. That won’t be the case with Leodis McKelvin, who got an appropriate deal for his age, talent and production. He just has to be himself.
It would help a great deal if one of the young players plays well. Eric Rowe, JaCorey Shepherd, Jalen Mills and Denzel Rice all have NFL talent. Rowe has some starting experience. Somebody needs to step up. Mills seemed to be that guy this spring. Training Camp will be a whole other challenge and will give us a better idea of who is ready to help this year.
Former Eagle Irving Fryar has been released from a New Jersey state prison, but as Jan Hefler of Philly.com writes, his sentence isn’t finished.
The former Eagle, who was a pastor at a Mount Holly church when a jury convicted him of conspiracy and theft by deception charges last August, was freed on June 6 and enrolled in the state’s Intensive Supervision Program. The program is offered to eligible nonviolent offenders who are amenable to rehabilitation and have no criminal record.
Under the program, Fryar, 53, was permitted to return to his Burlington County home. He will be regularly monitored by court staff for at least 16 months. He will be subject to home visits, searches, and an initial curfew of 6 p.m., according to guidelines. He also will not be able to leave the state without permission.
Fryar is also required to make regular payments on the total of $615,600 in restitution that he and his mother, Allene McGhee, must pay to various lending institutions they conspired to defraud. Court officials said it is unclear how much Fryar is expected to pay each time toward the amount. McGhee, 74, formerly of Willingboro, was sentenced to three years on probation and also must contribute to the total.
Neither Fryar nor McGhee could be reached for comment Thursday.
We’ll get you your fix.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.