Jim Washburn rarely holds back.
Through two-and-a-half days of training camp at Lehigh, the Eagles defensive line coach has been as vocal as ever. The fact that there are probably only two defensive linemen here (Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry) who will make the roster doesn’t matter to him. He prides himself on being able to motivate everyone – from Pro Bowlers like Trent Cole to undrafted free agents.
But when Brandon Graham steps onto the field later this week, Washburn is pretty sure motivation won’t be an issue.
“He doesn’t need Vinny Curry to motivate him,” Washburn said, referring to the fact that the Eagles spent a second-round pick on another defensive end. “He’s got everything to motivate him. He’s been beat down. That’s the way it goes, right? You’re a first-round draft choice. You don’t produce great the first year. The guy up north [Jason Pierre-Paul] playing his ass off. People throw that in his face all the time. Somebody said, ‘You gonna pimp him to death?’ I said uh-uh. I don’t have to. I don’t need to.”
Howard Mudd has 37 years of NFL coaching experience, but he doesn’t want to have to do all the talking.
The Eagles’ offensive line coach encourages players to help each other out and critique themselves.
Which brings us to second-year guard Danny Watkins. The 2011 first-round pick had a shaky rookie season, filled with more downs than ups. Before the season, Watkins lost his starting job to Kyle DeVan, and when he eventually got on the field, he had his share of issues in pass protection.
So after the season, Mudd asked Watkins, and the team’s other offensive linemen, for a written self-evaluation. When he saw what Watkins had to say about his first year in the NFL, Mudd was impressed.
We should probably start with the feedback.
Since the announcement that we would be partnering with Philly Mag to bring you Birds 24/7, we have been overwhelmed by the support we have received. A big reason why this blog exists is because the idea of Sheil and Tim made simple sense: Combine two distinctive styles that could serve as a genuine complement to one another, and use the synergy to create a full-service home for Eagles fans. It is comforting to know that so many of you are warm to the idea.
So, thank you. We’ll work to meet your expectations.
The goal is to create a one-stop site that will bring you breaking news and original analysis while throwing a lasso around the web and pulling in all the pertinent info about your team. The coverage will be original and all-encompassing. It will be intense. We’ll be sentenced to the sofa more than once, undoubtedly.
What a great season to jump into this venture. The Eagles are coming off a devastatingly disappointing season and the head coach, ring-less for 13 years and counting, is in full fight-out-of-the-corner mode. Joe Banner has been exiled, the organization is potentially on the verge of a significant restructuring but no worries, says the quarterback, the Eagles have what it takes to create a dynasty. You get the feeling, one way or another, something big is about to go down.
So much to get into. So much on the line. So much fun to be had.
So let’s start it. We are extremely excited about this project and glad you will be a part of it. Big things ahead.
–Tim McManus and Sheil Kapadia
DeMeco Ryans arrives with high expectations after the Eagles have continually failed in recent years to find an adequate middle linebacker. Barring injury, he is a lock to start in the middle when the Eagles open the season against the Browns. But can he be good enough in coverage to stay on the field for all three downs?
The Eagles were in nickel about 46 percent of the time last year, according to Football Outsiders (you’re going to see me cite that stat quite a bit). In Houston, Ryans earned the reputation of being a great leader and a great teammate. But it’ll be hard to lead if he’s replaced in sub packages and on the sidelines nearly half the time.