Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

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Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

Eagles linebacker Joe Walker, who missed all of last year with a serious knee injury, has been voted by his teammates this year's Eagles recipient of the prestigious 2017 Ed Block Courage Award. 

Walker joins such hallowed names in Eagles history as Andre Waters, Kevin Turner, Correll Buckhalter, Chad Lewis and Jason Avant in receiving the award, given annually to a player on each team who shows a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage on and off the field.   

Walker, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon in 2016, suffered a knee injury the second week of training camp last summer but bounced back to make the 53-man roster this year and has played in all six games for the 5-1 Eagles.

With Jordan Hicks hurt in the second half Thursday night in Charlotte, Walker played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the Panthers. He's played 53 special teams snaps this year.

Ed Block was the Colts’ trainer from 1954 through 1977 after earning a Purple Heart in the Army under General Patton in the tank corps in World War II.

The 32 Ed Block Courage Award winners will be honored at the annual Ed Block Courage banquet in Baltimore this spring.

For more information on the program, go to www.EdBlock.org.

Here is a list of all the Eagles’ Ed Block Courage Award winners since the inception of the program in 1984: 
 
2017     Joe Walker
2016     Nolan Carroll
2015     Fletcher Cox
2014     Jeremy Maclin
2013     Jason Kelce
2012     Colt Anderson
2011     Mike Patterson
2010     Jason Avant
2009     Michael Vick
2008     Jon Dorenbos
2007     Montae Reagor
2006     Jerome McDougle
2005     Chad Lewis
2004     Derrick Burgess
2003     Correll Buckhalter
2002     Shawn Barber
2001     Duce Staley & Tommy Brasher
2000     Cecil Martin
1999     Mike Mamula
1998     Bobby Taylor
1997     Rhett Hall
1996     Kevin Turner
1995     Charlie Garner
1994     Fred Barnett
1993     Andre Waters
1992     Jerome Brown
1991     David Alexander
1990     Ron Solt
1989     Mike Quick
1988     Wes Hopkins
1987     Gerry Feehery
1986     Jody Schultz
1985     Ron Jaworski
1984     John Spagnola

For Torrey Smith, North Dakota trip revealed critical quality about Carson Wentz

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For Torrey Smith, North Dakota trip revealed critical quality about Carson Wentz

Torrey Smith spent four years with Joe Flacco, who won a Super Bowl in 2012. And he spent two years with Colin Kaepernick, who reached a Super Bowl in 2013.

And he sees those Super Bowl qualities he saw in Flacco and Kaepernick in Carson Wentz.

"I think Carson has that make-up," Smith said. "That's why they picked him here."

Smith was one of the Eagles' receivers that spent some time this offseason with Wentz in Fargo, North Dakota, where Wentz starred at North Dakota State.

And he said after visiting the North Dakota State football complex and spending some time around the Bison program, he understands how Wentz got to be the way he is.

"I'd say one of the biggest things I learned about him just by going to North Dakota is you see how and why he's that way," Smith said. "Obviously, he's like that as an individual, but the way they built their program is the same way.

"There's nothing celebrated about all the championships they won. You see it in their trophy case, but you go in that weight room, there's nothing. It's work time. It's all about getting to the next one. Their success, they're worried about the future, and I feel like he's kind of the same way."

The North Dakota State football program has won 13 national championships in either NCAA Division II or Division I Football Championship Subdivision, including five in a row from 2011-15. Wentz was the starting quarterback on the 2014 and 2015 championship teams.

"I remember asking him about that one time: 'You ever talk about the records or anything?'" Smith said. "And he said, 'No, we kind of just go about our work.'"

Wentz is off to a phenomenal start this year for the 5-1 Eagles. He has thrown 13 touchdown passes and just three interceptions and has had a passer rating of at least 90 in each game during the Eagles' four-game winning streak.

Smith was asked after practice Tuesday whether Wentz fits in with those other Super Bowl quarterbacks, and he didn't hesitate to say yes.

"There's nothing that's too big for him," Smith said. "People kind of look at him (differently) because he's young, but his mentality is not a young guy at all."

Roob's Random Points, part 2: Seth Joyner, Eagles Hall of Fame and Paul Simon

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Roob's Random Points, part 2: Seth Joyner, Eagles Hall of Fame and Paul Simon

In Part 2 of this week's Roob's Random Points (see Part 1), we babble on about Seth Joyner's preposterous absence from the Eagles Hall of Fame, Simon and Garfunkel, the Eagles' first-quarter dominance, a band called RFA, Nelson Agholor and much, much more!

Dive in!

1. David Akers goes into the Eagles Hall of Fame Monday night, and he absolutely deserves it. Greatest kicker in Eagles history. All-time franchise leader in games played and points. But we have to once again ask why the Eagles Hall of Fame continues to ignore Joyner, one of the greatest outside linebackers of the modern era! Joyner is the only player in NFL history with 25 interceptions and 50 sacks. In fact, of the 136 players in NFL history with 50 sacks, only three other players in NFL history have half as many interceptions as Joyner (Mo Lewis 14, Clay Matthews 16, Junior Seau 18). And of the 155 players with 25 or more interceptions (since sacks became an official stat in 1982), only five others have half as many sacks (Brian Dawkins 26, Ronde Barber 28, Rodney Harrison 30½, William Thomas 37, Ray Lewis 41). Joyner also returned three fumbles for TDs — fifth-most in NFL history by a linebacker. He was a beast against the run, a hawk in coverage, deadly as a blitzer. And he did all of this as an eighth-round pick who was the 208th player taken in the 1986 draft (and promptly released, only to be re-signed). Joyner, who has also become a brilliant football analyst for NBC Sports Philadelphia, should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For him to not even be in his own team's Hall of Fame is a disgrace.

2. Gotta say I don't get why Joel Embiid is starting the season on such a dramatic minutes restriction. Brett Brown said, "Somewhere in the teens." The teens? The teens??? It's been eight months since his surgery, and it's not like he's shown any signs of it in his preseason stints. He looks phenomenal, to use Larry Brown's favorite word. Let the kid play!

3. Think about this for a minute: The Eagles are 5-1 despite missing Darren Sproles, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Ronald Darby, Wendell Smallwood, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Caleb Sturgis and Jaylen Watkins for a combined 25 games. Amazing.

4. It's crazy how dramatically field goal kicking has improved just in the last few years. Through 2012, only five kickers in NFL history had made 85 percent of their career field goal attempts (Mike Vanderjagt, Nate Kaeding, Rob Bironas, Robbie Gould, Shayne Graham). In the five years since the entire league combined has made 85 percent of its field goal attempts!

5. And 15 of the 19 most-accurate kickers in NFL history are currently active. So, for example, Ryan Succop is one of the 20 most-accurate kickers in NFL history but ranks only 15th out of 30 active kickers in accuracy! (I love kicking stats.)

6. Only nine quarterbacks in NFL history have started all 32 games their first two seasons in the league. Of those nine, only four had a winning record (Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton). If Carson Wentz stays healthy and the Eagles just win four games the rest of the year, Wentz joins that group.

7. I'm convinced they make phones out of the world's slipperiest material so it's almost impossible not to drop them and break them and have to buy new phones.

8. The Eagles have scored 44 first-quarter points. They scored 56 in the first quarter all last year. In fact, they've outscored their opponents, 44-6, in the first quarter. They're only the 13th team in NFL history to score 40 or more first-quarter points and allow six or fewer through six games. And this is the first time since 1979 they haven't allowed a first-quarter touchdown in their first six games. Last year, they constantly got into first-quarter holes. This year, they've really been able to take command of games early and then just dictate on both sides of the ball the rest of the way. Impressive stuff.

9. I don't think the Eagles are going to lose a game at the Linc this year.

10. "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you," is one of the all-time greatest lines in popular music. And it's so brilliant that Paul Simon could get away with following it up with something as seemingly inane as, "Woo woo woo." But the "woo woo woo" actually serves an important function in that verse in the Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Mrs. Robinson." The Joe DiMaggio couplet is so compelling that the "woo woo woo" serves as a chance for the listener to let the previous line truly sink in and regroup. It's like a momentary respite from the genius. Which is in itself genius.

11. Hard to believe the Eagles have never had a 4,000-yard passer. Wentz is on pace for 4,224, but as of now, the Eagles are one of only two teams that have never had a 4,000-yard passer. The Bears' club record is 3,838, set in 1995 by Erik Kramer. The Eagles' franchise record is 3,918 by Donovan McNabb in 2008. Maybe if he hadn't gotten benched for the second half against the Ravens that year he would have gotten it.

12. There are like 10,000 great bands in Philly, and my new favorite one is called RFA, and I have no idea what it stands for or even if it stands for anything, but I saw them play at the Manayunk Harvest Festival Saturday at Pretzel Park and honestly it reminded me of seeing a then-unknown band called The Strokes at the TLA opening for Guided by Voices in February 2001 — eight months before "Is This It" was even released. Great songs, boundless energy, killer musicianship. Everything I need in a band.

12½. How cool is it that when Nelson Agholor makes a big catch we're not even surprised anymore!