Subject: Flyers Roster Predictions: Defense
Good stuff from No. 11.
For the second week in a row, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles has been named NFLPA Community of the Week. Last week it was defensive end Chris Long. This week it’s starting quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz donated $120,000 to Canine Partners for Life, which helps provide service dogs to those in need. Awesome.
As an NFLPA Community MVP award winner, Wentz is also eligible for the annual Byron “Whizzer” White (BWW) Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins received the BWW Award in 2017.
Wentz is one of four players to win the NFLPA Community MVP award so far this season. J.J. Watt was honored before the season started, Colin Kaepernick took home the award in Week 1, and Long was named last week’s winner.
It’s cool that the Eagles have so many players on the team who are doing great work off the field in addition to their contributions on the field. It makes the team even easier to root for.
Subject: NFL Draft Snapshot: Royce Freeman
It is early in the season to be diving deeply into draft stuff, sure, but there is obviously a big need on the Eagles roster. Despite the Eagles impressive rushing performance against the Giants last week, it is clear that the team is still an every down back away from the offense truly being unlocked. Having a dependable guy in the backfield who can keep a defense honest will take a lot of pressure off of Carson Wentz and balance out the offense.
So, to keep everyone's ears perked up throughout the season, I will be doing weekly highlights of some of college football's most intriguing running back prospects. Luckily for you guys and even luckier for the Eagles, there area lot of exciting backs in the college level poised to have big roles in the NFL.
We start with a back who has been running all over college defenses since 2014. Oregon's Royce Freeman took college football by storm his freshman year when he rushed for over 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns, paying a huge part in Oregon's national title appearance. When Marcus Mariota left for the NFL after Freeman's first season, Royce took over as Oregon's star on offense. His sophomore year, Freeman rushed for an impressive 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns, scoring another two through the air. Oregon dropped off his junior year last year, however, and Freeman dealt with injuries in his least productive season where he only scored nine touchdowns on the ground while just missing a thousand yards rushing. This season, Freeman seems to be back in business. With only four games in the books, Freeman has rushed for over 500 yards and is leading the country with an impressive 10 touchdowns on only 97 carries so far. He looks to be in for a huge final season in college.
The first thing that stands out about Freeman is his size. At 5'11" and nearly 240 pounds, Freeman is as well built as most backs at any level of football. Unsurprisingly with a back his size, Freeman can pack a lot of punch in every carry.
Freeman has the ability to power through defenders and finish runs with authority, obviously. However, that is expected with backs of his size and while his strength is impressive, his movement is even more surprising given his build.
Not only is he balanced and strong, but his footwork plays a big part in his productivity as well. He does a good job making subtle cuts without losing speed and just as easily makes guys miss as he can run through them.
This is Freeman at his absolute best. The vision, footwork and acceleration through his cuts leads to this massive run where he busts open the entire defense. It is rare to see this type of breakaway from Freeman, but it is a testament to just how athletic he is.
Freeman is a very solid prospect. He may not have any outstanding traits but he is really the whole package considering his size and athletic ability. Not only that, but he is a proven receiver and pass blocker as well. The only thing that limits Freeman is pad level. He has a tendency to run high early in the play and when he's not at full speed, it makes him easier to bring down. He has natural size and strength, but tends to rely on that too much to help him get through the first level of the defense.
NFL Comparison: It could be a lazy comparison, but Freeman has a lot in common with a former Oregon Duck, Jonathan Stewart. Like Stewart, Freeman is not going to ever be an elite back in the NFL, but his blend of size, strength and athletic ability will make him a valuable piece on any offense.
Freeman is not going to be talked about among the elite backs in college football, nor should he be selected as highly as any of them in the draft, but he has a very bright NFL future. For the Eagles, it's hard not to want a back like Freeman in the backfield. He has the physical tools to be an asset in the running game and provides a blocking option or safety valve on passing plays. With how he has carried the rock so consistently at Oregon, he could be the bell cow the Eagles need to balance out their offense.
Subject: Eagles vs. Chargers Final Injury Report: Two starters ruled questionable
The big news is that starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is OUT. This isn’t a surprise; he’s one of five Eagles players who didn’t practice all week.
Here’s what Doug Pederson had to say about Cox’s injury when asked if it’ll be a multiple-week issue.
He's actually feeling better today. I don't think so, personally. When I mentioned day-to-day, it's really day-to-day with him, and he is feeling better, though, even today.
The Daily News previously reported that Eagles players believe Cox will be out for another week or two. We’ll see.
In the meantime, Beau Allen will start in place of Cox. Sixth-round rookie Elijah Qualls will be the backup to him and Tim Jernigan. The Eagles could look to utilize some of their defensive ends at defensive tackle if needed.
Four other Eagles players ruled out for Sunday’s game include: starting cornerback Ronald Darby, backup safety Corey Graham, backup safety/cornerback Jaylen Watkins, and backup defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao.
Jordan Hicks has also been ruled questionable to play after suffering an ankle injury in Week 3. He said he expects to play this week, however, and he’s been a full participant in practice all week.
Starting center Jason Kelce isn’t even listed on the injury report despite being limited in practice on Wednesday. That’s a good sign.
The Los Angeles Chargers have yet to release their final injury report. Rookie wide receiver Mike Williams seems to be the only notable player whose status is uncertain. Starting running back Melvin Gordon and starting right tackle Joe Barksdale are expected to play.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Friday)
CB Ronald Darby (ankle)
DT Fletcher Cox (calf)
S Corey Graham (hamstring)
S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)
DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)
LB Jordan Hicks (ankle)
S Rodney McLeod (hamstring)
Los Angeles Chargers Injury Report (Friday)
To be announced - check back for updates.
Subject: Pete Mackanin Is OUT
Subject: Chargers writer gives 3 reasons why the Eagles will beat Los Angeles
Focusing on LA’s weaknesses.
For the second week in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles are set to play a football team that’s yet to win a game during the 2017 NFL season.
Some believe the Chargers aren’t very good and this should be a win for the Eagles. Others seem to think this tilt could be a trap game for the Birds.
If you’re feeling worried about this game, today’s post might have you feeling a little more confident about the Eagles’ chances.
Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Bolts From The Blue on Thursday in order to preview this Week 4 matchup.
Today, we're back with three reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each own team's weaknesses, rather than just think of why each team is awesome.
So here are three reasons why the Chargers could lose, as written by BFTB’s Richard Wade. Stay tuned to Bolts From The Blue to see why I think the Eagles could lose.
Why the Chargers will lose
Last week, I predicted that the Chargers would lose to the Chiefs and that the score would not be representative of just how badly they were beaten. They were thrashed and well on their way to losing by only a single score when Kareem Hunt ripped off a long touchdown run to make the score closer to how the game had played out, so I was half right.
It was expected by most people familiar with the Chargers that their offensive line would struggle to protect Philip Rivers and that the passing offense would suffer for it. Through three weeks, the offensive line has done a stellar job of keeping Rivers upright. They are sixth in adjusted sack rate allowed and yet the passing offense is still mediocre. Why is that?
Sadly, the primary reason the passing offense has been ineffective is Rivers. He is the best quarterback in franchise history (and the Chargers are a franchise that has had some exceptional quarterbacks including Hall of Famer Dan Fouts). For years he was the only one keeping the offense moving at all. But now, Rivers is a playing like a shell of his former self. His footwork is a mess. His decision making is terrible. He seems to make up his mind pre-snap and lock in on a receiver whether or not he is covered. He makes mistakes that would get a younger quarterback benched.
If he continues his current level of play against Philadelphia, there will be numerous turnovers.
The defensive line featuring last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and September’s AFC Defensive Player of the Month Melvin Ingram has been excellent. They have the second-highest adjusted sack rate in the NFL. And yet they are a middle of the pack defense. There are numerous reasons for that but the one we will focus on is that they are absolutely terrible when it comes to covering tight ends.
They have allowed the second-highest DVOA on passes to tight ends in the league. Only the Ravens have been worse. There are a couple reasons for this. The Chargers have one of the worst safety duos in the NFL. They also have some of the worst cover linebackers in the league. Strong safety Jahleel Addae and outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel, in particular, provide some of the worst coverage you have ever seen.
Add to that the fact that Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in the business and you have a recipe for disaster this week.
StubHub Center. The Chargers’ home stadium is a bit of a joke at this point. It holds only 27,000 fans. Nearly half of those fans are likely to be Eagles supporters. The Chargers are 0-2 in their new home. The whole place just has a bad feeling about it. That probably doesn’t or at least shouldn’t matter, but I don’t like it.
Subject: I Enjoy The Way Brett Brown Pronounces
Subject: Drew Brees Is Somehow The Enemy For Taking a Knee with His Team
Subject: Phillies to Participate in Little League Classic
Subject: Jake Elliott wins two awards, including NFL Rookie of the Week
This is awesome.
Thanks in part to fan voting, Elliott won both awards. The players he beat out include: Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey, DeMarco Murray, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, and Jordan Howard. Well done, Eagles fans.
Elliott is undoubtedly deserving of the honors. His 61-yard walk-off field goal to beat the New York Giants was as clutch as it gets. It was also the longest make of any rookie kicker in NFL history.
In addition to winning these awards, Elliott was also named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 3.
All told, not a bad week to be Jake Elliott.
Subject: Sixers Notes: Injury Upgrades, Ping-Pong Battles, and Looking
Subject: Odell Beckham Jr. was fined for his dumb taunt in the Eagles-Giants game
OBJ actually lifted his leg like a dog and pretended to peepic.twitter.com/NgRwH4nul9— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 24, 2017
When asked if his celebration had to do with Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players, OBJ indicated that it did.
Personally, that seems like some convenient bullshit. Given the way Beckham crawls around before he lifts his leg, I get the sense he was mocking the crawl Brian Dawkins did when he came out of the tunnel. OBJ’s “celebration” took place around the part of the field where Dawk used to do that.
Beckham was flagged for the taunt during the game. He’s since faced a lot of criticism, including from Giants owner John Mara, who was “very unhappy” with the taunt.
The Giants weren’t the only team fined for taunting in this game. LeGarrette Blount also got fined for $9,115. He rolled the ball at New York safety (and self-proclaimed “Giant baby”) Landon Collins after scoring on a short touchdown run.
I think it’s safe to say Blount isn’t a guy who takes crap. I mean, you don’t really need to look further than the time he knocked a dude out cold in college.
An underrated moment from Sunday’s game (hat tip to our friend Brendan Ekstrom) is when Blount ran up to OBJ after Jake Elliott made his kick.
I love how the entire team goes to celebrate with Elliott ... except Blount, who most assuredly was talking crap to OBJ.
Subject: Mackanin Was Good At Keeping A Seat Warm, But Now What?
Subject: Eagles News: Jeffrey Lurie supports Doug Pederson
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/30/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Doug Pederson's fourth-down aggressiveness has Lurie's support - Inquirer
“I just want to sort of explain to you how those decisions get made because it should really take some of the burden off … any coach in the league,” Lurie said Sept. 7. “For a lot of teams — and ours is one — it’s all in the offseason done with mathematics. It’s not based on any form of instinct.” Lurie conceded that there were a few situations in which instinct was necessary – when the math was 50-50, 48-52 – but, in truth, situational football isn’t as black and white. Pederson had to gauge more than just the down, length, field position, quarter, and score before deciding whether to roll the dice. But Lurie’s greater point was that the NFL, by and large, had been too conservative and that old-school coaches and their defenders in the media had failed to adopt a more analytical approach to calling a game.
Chargers writer gives 3 reasons why the Eagles will beat Los Angeles - BGN
Sadly, the primary reason the passing offense has been ineffective is Philip Rivers. He is the best quarterback in franchise history (and the Chargers are a franchise that has had some exceptional quarterbacks including Hall of Famer Dan Fouts). For years he was the only one keeping the offense moving at all. But now, Rivers is a playing like a shell of his former self. His footwork is a mess. His decision making is terrible. He seems to make up his mind pre-snap and lock in on a receiver whether or not he is covered. He makes mistakes that would get a younger quarterback benched.
Eagles Game Preview: The Chargers are a team without a home - BGNRadio.com
Vince Quinn and John Barchard go over the up and downs of the Chargers moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. How much has that effected their 0-3 start? The Eagles seem to matchup pretty well but John thinks line is screaming for a Chargers victory. PLUS, Doug needs a new line with updating injury reports and a lot more!
Wendell Smallwood is improving as an all-around running back, with gifs and stuff - PhillyVoice
Smallwood has worked hard at his pass protection skills, and it showed on Sunday against the Giants. "It's always been an area that needed to get better, and Duce [Staley] has been harping on it," said Smallwood. "As far as me and the running back room, we've been getting a lot of practice at it. We watched the film today, and he said 'Some of those drills are working, and we're going to do some more.' It's been getting better for all of us in that room, and I think with me, as far as using the right technique and being in the right places, it has helped me a lot." Let's take a look at the tape, and show why Staley has reason to be encouraged by Smallwood in pass protection on Sunday.
Off to San Diego - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles got really creative with how they were going to lose on the road. That has to change this year if the team is going to take the next step and become a winning team. Instead of making critical mistakes, they need to start making critical plays. The team did that in D.C., but not in KC. That’s what makes this Chargers game so interesting. This is a long trip, but there won’t be significant crowd noise to overcome. The Chargers don’t have any home field mystique at the new venue. This is a road game, but isn’t like any game the Eagles have played in a long time.
Q&A with Joe Banner: On 4th-down decisions, analytics and acquiring Jason Peters - The Athletic
And he has clearly, since the day he started — and I do believe this is an organizational mindset, not just Doug — decided to be on the more aggressive side of things. So I don't think there's legitimate criticism. It didn't work so the hindsight is always 20/20. But thinking that the defense is playing well and gave them a chance to move the ball, they were kicking off in the second half so you didn't want to be up only 7-0 and have dominated the game and find yourself in a tie game three minutes into the third quarter. So I understand that it didn't work out. But at the time, given the information he had to make that decision and the way the game was going, I think it was a reasonable decision.
Can Defense Continue To Thrive? - PE.com
Beau Allen is using air quotes when he talks about backups. Not backups, says Allen. “Backups,” as in there really is no such thing in the NFL, as the Eagles are finding out with a defense that keeps on ticking in the face of some injuries threatening the foundation of the group ...
Jeffrey Lurie’s Long, Strange Trip - PhillyMag
Once upon a time, a wealthy and sensitive man arrived in Philadelphia, determined to find his place in the world while giving rabid Eagles fans the championship they deserved. More than two decades later, Jeffrey Lurie is still hard at work on both.
Copycat league: Will teams attack Eagles' D the way Giants did? - CSN Philly
So did the Giants leave a blueprint? Is this how teams will try to attack the Eagles in the future? "We'll see," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "I think the Giants' offensive line was struggling before they got to us so I think that was an obvious matchup or concern for them was our rush. I'm not sure how teams will see that, if they feel confident they can block them up. The Giants, they were a quick-passing game anyway, where I think the Chargers are a little bit more downfield, a little more vertical of a pass game. But I do think there will be opponents all year that if they can, will try to get rid of the ball a little quicker just to alleviate that rush."
Carson Wentz’s improvement in second season is encouraging for Eagles - Washington Post
Three weeks into Carson Wentz’s sophomore season, the Philadelphia Eagles sit on a 2-1 record after having beaten two divisional rivals in the Redskins and Giants. While there are other important factors, the development of Wentz is by far the Eagles’ most important going forward. He is currently ninth in the league in passing yards per game average and is fourth in number of passes attempted. Until this weekend against the Giants, the Eagles had relied heavily on Wentz to carry the offense and a lackluster run game. So how is Wentz doing in his development? He has shown some encouraging signs of future potential, even if there are still some areas in which he needs to improve.
Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins' next goal: passing new legislation - ESPN
Instead, Jenkins and other members of the ever-growing players coalition are focused on taking advantage of the oversized megaphones suddenly in their hands to draw attention to the issues that they are demonstrating in the name of. That’s why Jenkins, along with teammates Chris Long, Torrey Smith and Rodney McLeod, as well as coalition co-leader Anquan Boldin, penned a letter to Pennsylvania legislators strongly endorsing the Clean Slate Act, which they believe will reduce recidivism by automatically sealing records for those who have a non-violent, misdemeanor record from 10 years ago, thereby increasing the chances that they can find employment and housing.
32 Observations, Week 3 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: All four of the Eagles starting defensive linemen have three or more sacks and hits combined. They are one of just two teams where each of the primary four pass rushers each have gotten to the quarterback that many times.
Eagles Writer Gives 3 Reasons Why the Chargers Will Beat Philadelphia - Bolts From The Blue
Bolts From The Blue previewed the game with Bleeding Green Nation earlier today in our Five Questions With The Enemy feature. And now we have three reasons why the Eagles could lose by BGN’s Brandon Lee Gowton. Check out Bleeding Green Nation to see why I think the Chargers could lose.
7 things to watch in NFL’s Week 4: Tom Brady could set yet another record - SB Nation
Plus, a few heated rivals will go at it, and London-born Jay Ajayi finally gets to play in his hometown.
Circa Survive has a new album: The Amulet - CircaSurvive.com
Philly-based band that features our big Eagles fan friend and occasional BGN / BGN Radio contributor Brendan Ekstrom (guitar). Go check them out.
I did a number of radio/podcast interviews in recent days. Check them out below.
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BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton
Subject: Eagles vs. Chargers 2017: Game time, TV schedule, online streaming, channel, radio, and more
Learn more about the Philadelphia-Los Angeles matchup set to take place on Sunday.
The Chargers are 0-3 through the first three games of the 2017 season. They kept things close in the first two weeks before the Chiefs comfortably beat them last Sunday.
One would think the Chargers are desperate to get on the board with their first win. That might be the case. Then again, this is a team that’s playing in a market that doesn’t seem to really care about them. The fans the Chargers had in San Diego feel alienated from their former favorite team.
Los Angeles has a number of talented players on their roster. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram combine to form a fearsome pass rushing duo. Former first-round running back Melvin Gordon is more skilled than his career stats might suggest.
Overall, though, it’s not like this team is stacked. Dating back to last season, the Chargers have lost eight games in a row. They’re 10-29 going back to their last four games of the 2014 season.
This is a winnable game for the Eagles. The travel factor is also something to consider, but it’s not like the Birds will be playing in some hostile environment. If Philadelphia wants to contend for the playoffs, they’re going to need to take care of business against lesser teams. The Chargers are a lesser team right now. The Eagles need to show they mean business.
Here's everything you need to know about how to watch the game.
Date: Sunday, October 1, 2017
Time: 4:05 PM ET
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Location: StubHub Center | Carson, California
NFL Network replay: TBD
Radio: SportsRadio 94WIP | Full listings here
Per Bovada, the Eagles are underdogs.
Philadelphia Eagles +2 (-110)
Los Angeles Chargers -2 (-110)
The Eagles are 4-7 in 11 all-time regular season appearances against the Chargers. These two teams last played in the second week of the 2013 NFL season. The Eagles lost to the Chargers by a final score of 33 to 30.
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BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton
Eagles 2017 Regular Season Schedule
Week 1 - at Washington Redskins (Sept. 10, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 2 - at Kansas City Chiefs (Sept. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 3 - vs. New York Giants (Sept. 24, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 4 - at Los Angeles Chargers (Oct. 1, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)
Week 5 - vs. Arizona Cardinals (Oct. 8, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 7 - vs. Washington Redskins (Oct. 23, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football
Week 8 - vs. San Francisco 49ers (Oct. 29, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 9 - vs. Denver Broncos (Nov. 5, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)
Week 10 - BYE
Week 11 - at Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 19, 8:30 PM ET, NBC) Sunday Night Football
Week 12 - vs. Chicago Bears (Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 13 - at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 3, 8:30 PM ET, NCB) Sunday Night Football
Week 14 - at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 10, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)
Week 15 - at New York Giants (Dec. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Subject: College Football Week Five NFL Draft Preview: 5 prospects for Eagles fans to watch
Week Five of the 2017 college football season is here! Today features a good slate of games and always with good games comes great opportunities for NFL Draft prospects to boost their profile. Who should Eagles fans keep an eye on today?
- Steven Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota: Minnesota's defense is led by their disruptive defensive tackle, Steven Richardson. A bit undersized at 6'0" and 300 pounds, the senior defender had seven sacks and 11 tackles for a loss last season but has yet to impact the stat sheet this year. Richardson is explosive off the line and his build gives him an every down advantage in the leverage battle. Facing Maryland (12 PM ET on FS1), Richardson will need to show out against one of the more explosive running games in the country. Richardson has yet to put up flashy numbers this season and this would be a great game to start making those plays in the run and passing game.
- Colton Jumper, Linebacker, Tennessee: The Volunteers lost a lot of talent in the draft last year on both sides of the ball but one of their returning players has emerged as a leader on their defense. Senior linebacker, Colton Jumper, has made an impact for the Vols this year, especially as a run defender and blitzer. The 6'2", 230 pound backer plays fast and smart and does not mind getting physical at the line of scrimmage. Tennessee will need him to stay on his game today against Georgia (3:30 PM ET on CBS) given that the Bulldogs will be handing the ball off a lot to their stable of running backs. While Georgia is massively favored going into this game, a strong game from Colton Jumper could stifle Georgia's offense enough to keep it close.
- Akrum Wadley, Running Back, Iowa: One of the country's most unsung heroes at running back, Akrum Wadley leads Iowa in running and receiving at this point this season. The 5'11", 195 pound senior running back from Newark is rushing only a bit over four yards per carry, below average for the college level, but he is going for an incredibly impressive 22.7 yards on every catch. Wadley is Iowa's only threat on offense so it would make sense that offenses are keying on him. He is not the most athletic back, nor the biggest, but he is a very savvy player with great vision, quickness and a tough running style. Iowa faces a tough opponent with Michigan State (4 PM ET on Fox). The Spartans are usually physical on defense and never an easy team to play, so a win for Iowa will require a big game for Wadley. In a college football landscape loaded with running backs, today could be a nice statement game for the senior running back.
- Adonis Alexander, Cornerback, Virginia Tech: Every year it feels like Virginia Tech has a few defensive backs that warrant attention and surprisingly that is the case this year. Adonis Alexander is eye catching before he even steps on the field, towering over other defenders and offensive players at 6'3" and 200 pounds. His size and arm length makes him a pain in the ass to deal with at the line of scrimmage for wide receivers and it allows him to outmuscle receivers at the catch point on a regular basis. Alexander and Virginia Tech have a season defining match up against Clemson tonight (8 PM ET on ABC). The Tigers will field an explosive offense full of weapons and Alexander will be tasked with limiting one of them on every play. Be it Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow, Ray Ray McLoud or even Travis Etienne; Alexander will need to be on his game all night. The junior cornerback has incredible potential for the NFL and tonight is a good chance to show every what that looks like.
- Shaun Dion Hamilton, Linebacker, Alabama: Unsurprisingly, despite losing over half of the defensive starters to the draft last spring, Alabama's defense is still a buzz saw. While they do not have the same level of pass rush, the coverage and run defending ability of the unit is off the charts. A big reason why the Crimson Tide remains so strong, especially up front, is Shaun Dion Hamilton. Much like Reuben Foster was the leader of the unit last year and flew around the field making offensive players pay for even being in his vicinity, Dion Hamilton brings a similar violence to the field. While he is smaller than the average NFL linebacker at 6'0" and 235 pounds, he is an athletic missile who brings the hit against the run, has the speed to run in coverage and even can impact as a blitzer. Alabama's match up with Ole Miss tonight (9 PM ET on ESPN) could prove to be a bigger challenge than the rankings suggest. Ole Miss has a dynamic offense with an electric mobile quarterback, which seems to always trouble Alabama's defense. Dion Hamilton will likely be tasked with spying the dual threat, Shea Patterson, and his ability to contain the quarterback's running will be massive in making sure Alabama continues its reign of terror.
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles work out four players
The Philadelphia Eagles worked out four free agent players earlier this week. This isn’t unusual; it’s normal practice for teams to host these visits in order to have an emergency list of available players ready to go if injury occurs.
Here’s a look at the players the Eagles were working out, via Howard Balzer.
Anthony Fabiano - 24 years old. 6-1, 303 pounds. Undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Harvard. Played four games and made one start with the Cleveland Browns last season. Spent a week on Washington’s practice squad earlier this month.
D.J. Killings - Great name. 22 years old. 5-10, 187 pounds. Undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft out of UCF. Had seven tackles and two passes defensed in the preseason. Waived by New England via injury settlement earlier this month. Here’s a good article with more info on Killings. His college teammates referred to him as a “genius.”
Damian Swann - 24 years old. 6-0, 189 pounds. Fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Georgia. Played in seven games and made two starts with the New Orleans Saints in 2015. Finished with 20 tackles and four passes defensed. Suffered multiple concussions. Struggled in the preseason this summer.
Givens Price - Great name. 22 years old. 6-4, 310 pounds. Undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. Spent most of his rookie season on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad before appearing in one game with them.
I wouldn’t make too much out of these workouts. The Eagles are just evaluating some depth options. Maybe we’ll see one of these players pop up on Philadelphia’s practice squad at some point this season.
Subject: Watch Carson Wentz mic
Hear from No. 11
The Eagles also released a clip that features some differences from the video above.
- Carson came off pretty whiny about the heat. In fairness, I don’t blame him. I get pretty cranky when it gets hot. And I’m not the one playing football on a 100 degree field in the sun.
- Really love how Wentz points down the field to throw off defenders before taking off running. Smart.
- I like how Wentz was mad at himself for not scoring on his scramble because Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got his ankle.
- Carson really beat himself up for that Alshon Jeffery overthrow. He should. That was bad. It’s not shown in this clip, but another clip circulating on Twitter had Wentz saying “You idiot, Wentz.”
- Jason Peters saying “no more misses, bro” to Jake Elliott is fantastic. I don’t think we’re giving JP enough credit for Elliott’s 61-yard field goal. Imagine Peters saying something like that to you. That is NOT a dude you want to let down. Especially when you’re a 5-9, 170 pound kicker. Peters has five inches and 160 pounds on him.
- Really like the call to run the same play to Zach Ertz.
- Carson made an interesting point that I never thought about before. The Eagles’ bench gets shade before their opponents do. The Giants had to deal with being in the sun all game long while the Eagles at least had some shade in the heat.
- “We’re in field goal range but we’re not settling for three, we’re freaking scoring a touchdown.”
- “YOU SON OF A GUN!”
It’s always fun to see players mic’d up. In this case, you can see why the Eagles really value Wentz’s leadership.
Subject: Eagles sign defensive tackle from practice squad, cut a safety
The Philadelphia Eagles made a roster move on Saturday morning. The team officially promoted Justin Hamilton from their practice squad to their active roster. In order to make room for Hamilton, the Eagles waived safety Trae Elston.
The Eagles promoted Hamilton because two of Philadelphia’s five defensive tackles on the 53-man roster are currently injured. Fletcher Cox and Destiny Vaeao have both been ruled out for Sunday’s Eagles-Chargers game. It’s unclear exactly when they’ll return.
Hamilton played well this summer. He probably would have made the roster if the Eagles didn’t already have so much depth at defensive tackle.
Elston was claimed by the Eagles off of waivers last Thursday. Philadelphia really needed safety depth at the time because Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, and Jaylen Watkins were all not practicing. With McLeod returning this week, however, Elston wasn’t needed around anymore.
The Eagles now have a vacancy on their practice squad. Philadelphia worked out some free agent players earlier this week so maybe they’ll look to sign one of them.
Subject: Previewing the Eagles-Chargers game
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