Wake-Up Call: On the Eagles’ Trip Out West
Monday in San Diego started with a “firecracker, Fourth of July freedom workout” which included hill sprints and an intense weight-room session prior to the guys taking a break for a team-bonding barbecue.
“It was a knock-down, drag-out, tough, tough workout,” said renowned trainer Todd Durkin, who is hosting the Eagles’ week-long get together at Fitness Quest 10. “They earned their protein shakes and burgers that day.”
A few Durkin devotees like Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and Chase Daniel have been at the facility for a good bulk of the offseason. The rest of the group — which includes Sam Bradford, Carson Wentz, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Chris Givens, Rueben Randle, Josh Huff, T.J. Graham, Paul Turner, Xavier Rush, and Cayleb Jones — made the trip to take part in the player get-together in front of training camp.
It’s a bigger gathering than last year when Mark Sanchez helped assemble an “Eagles West” of sorts. Bradford was still going through rehab at the time and didn’t make it. He’s participating this week along with Wentz and Daniel — a positive sign for the current state of the quarterback room. With three QBs in attendance and a larger contingent overall, the Eagles have been able to pretty well simulate a practice session, per Durkin.
“It’s huge. These guys are getting extra time in together with basically a team session,” he said. “These guys have [a good amount of their] offense here between some of the running backs and wideouts and all three quarterbacks. We’re not just going out there and saying run a slant or run a dig or run a comeback or a jet, these guys are using the terminology.
“It’s every bit of a practice tempo. These guys are using their terminology and working on checks and signals and things like that. It’s been really, really powerful for those guys.”
Durkin, who has been working with Drew Brees for the last decade-plus and with Daniel the last handful of years, is getting his first exposure to Wentz. While rightly noting that Wentz has two quarterbacks ahead of him at the moment, Durkin has liked what he’s seen out of the rookie signal-caller.
“My first impression is the young man has a tremendous amount of talent. I like his swag, I like his confidence, I like his leadership,” he said. “From the beginning I think he has a huge upside and I think if he’s got the work ethic that he seems to have, is willing to work at his craft and is willing to continue to spend time on mastering his craft, then he’s got the ability to be great.”
Durkin says all three quarterbacks have been open-minded and coachable. He described Agholor as “focused.” Called Ertz a “blue-collar workhorse” and an “old-school throwback.” Described Sproles as the “Grand Poobah” whom everyone takes their cues from.
“Whatever Darren does, these guys watch — not just the Eagles but anyone here because he’s had a tremendous career and he is a man of meticulous routine and these guys know he does things the right way,” said Durkin.
The regulars like Sproles and Ertz may stick around for a bit. The rest of the crew is expected to begin flying out today. Maybe they’ll squeeze in a quick firecracker before they head out.
“The thing that is sticking out to me is just some of the spirit of the excitement and enthusiasm for the upcoming season. And not just with the three quarterbacks, but also the wideouts. Just speaking with these guys around the facility and the field, these guys are pumped for this year,” said Durkin. “They recognize they have talent and I think they’re excited about the new coaching regime that has come in, they believe in the system and I think they’re real excited.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“Now, he’s equally adept at taking away slot receivers as he is rolling to the top of a defense as a pure safety, making him an excellent personification of the league’s current need for positional versatility.” Some quick reads regarding Malcolm Jenkins and Fletcher Cox.
“It’s last call for Marcus Smith. He needs to start moving the needle if he wants to extend his stay in Philly. If he can’t thrive in this defense, he can’t thrive.” Analyzing the DL depth chart.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Congressman Bob Brady says that the 2017 NFL Draft will be held in Philadelphia, writes Wendy Ruderman from Philly.com.
Although the city did not confirm that a deal had been made, Brady (D., Phila.) said that Mayor [Jim] Kenney called him Thursday to tell him that the city had agreed to host the draft and to commit $5 million to pull off the three-day event.
Brady said the mayor initially had expressed concern about the financial commitment but changed his mind after he was convinced that the city could raise the money and not put the burden on taxpayers.
Brady said the Building Trades Union would put in more than $1 million toward building a temporary stage and arena on the Ben Franklin Parkway with seating for about 3,000 spectators.
“The NFL wanted to come here, which is a good start,” Brady said in a phone interview. “I talked with the mayor. The mayor had a concern about money because he didn’t want to put the city in debt, rightfully so, so we had to go around and see if we could get some people that would help finance it and I think we were kind of successful.”
It looks like former Eagle LeSean McCoy‘s case will be officially dropped by the Attorney General Kathleen Kane, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.
LeSean McCoy’s attorney said Thursday the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s investigation into the Feb. 7 brawl in a Philadelphia nightclub that allegedly involved the Buffalo Bills’ running back has been dismissed.
Dennis Cogan, McCoy’s Philadelphia-based lawyer, told The Buffalo News last week that he did not expect the AG’s office to charge his client. On Thursday, Cogan said he was informed the case was officially closed.
In April, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office said it would not pursue charges in the incident that sent two off-duty Philadelphia police officers to the hospital with injuries.
A look at realistic expectations for Doug Pederson.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.