Eagles

Eagles ask Pederson to make this week harder

Eagles ask Pederson to make this week harder

There's a pretty big reason why the Eagles like playing for Doug Pederson. 

He listens. 

So when the Eagles' player council came to him with the suggestion they strap on the pads this week and have a tougher week of practice, Pederson obliged. It sort of fits into that emotional intelligence category. It's just the latest example of Pederson's willingness to listen and trust his players. 

"They just came to me and kind of asked if we could get back into pads," Pederson said. "I didn't ask questions, and I said, ‘Sure.’"

Without a game this weekend, the Eagles will still practice twice this week and once with pads. This comes after a week in which the Eagles had just a couple of walkthroughs and one light practice day. 

The Eagles will possibly put on pads one day next week as well. 

Several players on the offensive side of the ball seem to think tougher practices might help them out of their funk (see story). The Eagles will practice Wednesday and Thursday this week. 

Pederson noted coaches handle this bye week in the playoffs differently. Some elect to give the team the week off, some have meetings, some do walkthroughs and some practice with shells. 

During his playing days in Green Bay, Pederson remembers times when the coaches would get them in pads for a day of practice during that bye week. So when his players came to him and asked for it, he quickly gave them their wish. 

"I think they understand that there is a sense of physicality that we have to get back to," Pederson said. "I'm not saying we're not there because obviously football is a physical game, but I think there is a sense over the course of a few weeks when you've been in shells, pad level begins to rise, and intensity sometimes can be minimized.

"So you get back into pads and it sort of refocuses the guys a little bit. It's not like we're going to tackle. It's not a training camp type of practice. The fact of just having them on, banging around on one another, but still protecting each other, I think can be a nice asset for us going into our first game."

Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

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USA Today Images

Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

It turns out winning the Super Bowl is pretty good for business. 

The NFLPA on Friday released its top 50 player sales list from March 1-Feb. 28 and the Eagles were the most represented team on the list, with five players ranking in the top 50. 

3. Carson Wentz 
17. Zach Ertz
22. Nick Foles
43. Alshon Jeffery
45. Jay Ajayi 

This list is a combined total of all officially licensed merchandise, not just jerseys. It shouldn’t be surprising that Wentz is near the top of this list, behind just Tom Brady (1) and Dak Prescott (2). Even though he was injured late in the year, he was having an MVP season before going down and is obviously the Eagles’ quarterback of the future. 

But Foles making the list at 22? That’s pretty impressive. Remember, for most of the 2017 season, Foles was just a backup on a two-year deal. He had to make a heckuva comeback once he took over for an injured Wentz and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship. Foles returned to the top 50 list after two years off of it. 

Weirdly, Foles sold more drinkware product from Wincraft than any other player — 10 times more than any other player!

And there are likely a lot of Eagles fans walking around the city with players on their legs. Five of the top 10 sellers of Strideline socks were Eagles: Foles, Wentz, Chris Long, Ajayi and Jeffery. 

Only Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. sold more in Fathead decals than Wentz. 

Here’s the top 10: 

1. Brady
2. Prescott
3. Wentz
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Antonio Brown
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Beckham Jr. 
8. Russell Wilson
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Derek Carr 

Eagles aim to master late 1st-round picks

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AP Images

Eagles aim to master late 1st-round picks

The Eagles will be at a disadvantage on April 26, when the first round of the 2018 draft begins in Dallas. Thanks to winning the Super Bowl — remember that? It wasn’t a dream — they have the 32nd and last pick of the first round. 

It’s a disadvantage they hope to have every year. 

“Yeah, that’s the goal,” Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas said on Thursday. “Hopefully we’ll be picking in the late 20s and early 30s [every year].” 

There’s an art to hitting in the second half of the first round and it’s obviously harder to find success there than it is in the top half. The good news for the Eagles is that Douglas learned under Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome, who is one of the best general managers in the NFL. Newsome’s team has often picked late in the first round and he’s often been able to find some great talent in that range. 

Ed Reed was picked at No. 24, Todd Heap at 31, Ben Grubbs at 29. There are more too. 

“Ozzie is patient,” Douglas said. “Ozzie Newsome is a Hall of Famer for the Cleveland Browns and he should be a Hall of Famer for the Baltimore Ravens as a GM. He’s the absolute best. His first two picks (Reed and Terrell Suggs) are first-ballot Hall of Famers. He was able to have great success in the 20s. Those players you specifically named, they were not a move up or move down guys. Those were guys that Ozzie was patient and he let the board come to him. Some of those picks were met with greater fanfare than others.”

They can’t all be hits, of course. In 2013, the Ravens took safety Matt Elam, who played in 41 games for Baltimore in three seasons, but was out of the league by 2017. Many consider him a bust. It happens. But it’s hard to argue with the Ravens’ body of work. 

The Eagles haven’t been nearly as consistent picking in the 20s in recent years. Nelson Agholor was No. 20 in 2015 and finally fulfilled his potential last season. But before then, Marcus Smith was 26 in 2014 and Danny Watkins was 23 in 2011. The last time the Eagles came off a Super Bowl appearance, they picked DT Mike Patterson with the 31st pick in 2005. A decent player, never a star. 

Douglas thought there were a lot of hits late in the first round of last year’s draft, but admitted it “varies year to year.” 

For now, the Eagles own the 32nd pick, but they’re definitely not ruling out a possible trade. On Thursday, de facto GM Howie Roseman said the team is “open for business.” 

There’s also plenty of appeal for other teams who might want a specific position with No. 32 because of a possible fifth-year option in their contracts. A few years ago, the Vikings traded for No. 32 to get Teddy Bridgewater. This week, the groundwork for possible draft day trades will happen, Roseman said. The Eagles will have contact with other teams to gauge their interest in moving up or down around their area of the first round. 

If the Eagles don’t move up or down, they feel comfortable at 32. 

“I guess when you’re picking, any number you’re picking, whether it’s 14 last year or 32, you’ve got to have 32 guys to be excited to take,” Douglas said. “Right now, we have 32 guys we’d be fired up to get. How it plays out, we’ll find out.”