What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here are some of the top Eagles-related stories so far this week:
Former Eagle and current Jaguars safety Earl Wolff describes the night he survived an armed robbery and kidnapping back in February for the MMQB.
My captors are panicking. I hear them conspiring, wondering if my friend has called the cops. They rush me back into the vehicle and secure zip ties around my ankles and my arms, which are tied behind my back. They put an itchy hat over my face. Now we’re driving and driving, and I have no idea where we are or what time it is. At some point, two other men get into the vehicle and five of us are crammed into the backseat. I am exhausted. I try to keep my faith. I try to think of my mom. I am numb, but she is all I have left.
The car jolts to a stop. I am pulled out of the back seat and shoved onto the road. Lying on my back, I think, I can’t die this way. And then, in the distance, I hear the faintest sound of police sirens. The men hear it too, and they scurry into the car and speed away.
I am left alone.
I am alive.
I manage to shimmy out of the arm ties, and then slide the hat off my face. I’m surrounded by the woods. I can’t free my legs because those ties are too tight, so I begin to hop. I hop and hop and hop down the road. I am looking for a house with lights on, but everything is dark. There are no cars driving by, just silence.
With Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, and Carson Wentz together with different personalities, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo has been in control throughout camp, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Obviously, everything’s going to be positive and optimistic in training camp. And that’s what you’re getting from the Eagles when I’m talking to the guys here. And they talk about that quarterback room because it’s a potentially awkward situation. You’ve got Sam Bradford, who re-upped after a somewhat rocky season last year. Then you got Chase Daniel, who came over and I guess assumed he would be competing for time. And now he’s sandwiched in-between Bradford and the quarterback of the future, who is Carson Wentz.
But I’ll tell you this, in talking with Eagles officials about this, the guy in control of that quarterback room is the quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. He just came from Cleveland, where he dealt with Johnny Manziel. He’s had Terrelle Pryor in the past, he had JaMarcus Russell. So when I tell you that as far as an awkwardness standpoint, this doesn’t even compare with anything that he’s dealt with in the past.
And all those situations have kind of prepared him for this, and everything I’ve gathered is that DeFilippo is fostering a cooperative environment in there rather than a competitive one. Obviously, these guys are all vying for playing time, but everything right now sounds positive and optimistic as far as how DeFilippo is handling these personalities.
Mike Sando of ESPN talked to 42 league insiders for his quarterback tier rankings. He has Bradford 28th overall and puts him in Tier 3, which is described as “Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win.”
An offensive coordinator called Bradford the ultimate tease as a highly skilled player who can appear rattled and does not deliver ultimately. Bradford still has not played behind a strong offensive line or in an offense with exceptional weaponry.
“He has the arm talent, I think he is a smart guy, I think he is a little [soft], which came out the way he handled his business to begin with this offseason,” a QB coach said. “I just don’t see the decision-making, consistent accuracy and the fortitude that [makes me think] we have a shot to win every Sunday. With Doug Pederson coaching, I would take Alex Smith over Bradford, but it’s the same kind of situation.”
Bradford entered this offseason with 78 TD passes and $78 million in career earnings. The $22 million guaranteed in his current deal will push him to the $100 million mark.
“I’m not the greatest Bradford guy,” another QB coach said. “I don’t think he can create anything himself, and in this day and age, pockets aren’t going to be clean.”
Tim Tebow is setting his sights on a new sport, writes Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN broadcaster Tim Tebow is actively pursuing a career in professional baseball and plans to hold a workout for Major League Baseball teams later this month, according to his agents Jimmy Sexton and Nick Khan.
For almost the past year, Tebow has been training in Arizona and Los Angeles to hone his hitting and fielding skills in a sport he has not played on a full-time basis since 2005.
Tebow was an All-State baseball player in Florida that year and hit .494 as a junior, helping Nease High School reach the final four of the Florida state playoffs.
Darren Sproles will not return any punts during the preseason, which will give an opportunity for Kenjon Barner and Byron Marshall to shine, writes Turron Davenport of USA Today Sports.
“We want to protect him and keep him ready for the regular season,” Pederson said. “So, we’ve got some young guys we want to look at back there. Especially early on in camp, we definitely want to make sure that these young guys are ready when needed to be if something were to happen to, say, Darren during the regular season.”
The young guys that Pederson is referring to surely includes Kenjon Barner. Barner had a standout preseason last year and looks to have a bigger role on offense in 2016. Keep an eye out for UDFA Byron Marshall in the punt return game as well.
Both Marshall and Barner have taken turns returning punts in training camp. Along with Sproles, they have been utilized extensively as pass-catchers out of the backfield.
Pederson is putting together ways to get the ball to each of the all-purpose backs in space to replicate a punt return situation as that is where they are at their best with the ball in their hands.
Donovan McNabb‘s case for the Hall of Fame is a very tough one, and he probably won’t get in, opines Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders.
Donovan McNabb: Hard Pass
Donovan McNabb’s Hall of Fame case really fell apart after he was traded from Philadelphia to Washington in 2010. He could have solidified it with a strong performance away from the Eagles, but McNabb struggled in Washington, once getting benched for Rex Grossman in a two-minute situation due to “cardiovascular endurance.” There was some evidence throughout his career that McNabb couldn’t come through in such situations with the game on the line. Some of it was captured on video, and some of it, like his alleged puking in Super Bowl XXXIX, was not true. But there was a definite sluggishness to that Super Bowl performance, for which teammate Terrell Owens famously called McNabb out years ago.
In his final playing season, McNabb was benched for Christian Ponder in Minnesota before eventually calling it a career. Despite playing in a West Coast offense that favored screens and short passes, McNabb had just one season ranked in the top 10 in completion percentage. His low interception totals were more of a product of the way he scrambled, his high sack percentage, and his Earthworm Jim-killing ground balls that no human could catch. McNabb had multiple turnovers in all seven of his playoff losses with the Eagles.
Randall Cunningham has yet to crack the top 25 semifinalists in 10 ballots, so why would McNabb fare any better in the process? He was less of a rushing threat than Cunningham, and his peak passing season (2004) was not as good as Cunningham’s peak (1998). The latter also nearly resulted in a Super Bowl appearance, but we know Gary Anderson missed that big field goal. McNabb’s lone Super Bowl season came in what was one of the weakest seasons (2004) on record for the NFC as two 8-8 teams made the playoffs. Atlanta was the No. 2 seed and only ranked 17th in DVOA that year.
McNabb was a pretty good quarterback for about a decade (2000-2009), but he never did enough to lock up a spot in the Hall of Fame. We’re still going to remember the shortcomings of his career, and some of the goofiness like not knowing an NFL game could end in a tie. It would be very surprising to see McNabb as a semifinalist, which is uncharted territory for quarterbacks you expect to see in his tier (Cunningham, Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Joe Theismann, and Steve McNair). Good, but rarely great.