Eagles

Eagles' newcomers not surprised 'special' team atop NFC

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USA Today Images

Eagles' newcomers not surprised 'special' team atop NFC

Tim Jernigan didn't have any choice in the matter. 

While he might be the Eagles' most important offseason acquisition, Jernigan was brought to Philadelphia in early April in a trade with Baltimore. 

Things have worked out pretty well, though. In a contract year, Jernigan has been great playing in a system that's almost completely foreign to him and he's probably earning himself a ton of money. But aside from that, he's been a key to the Eagles' quick 5-1 start. 

The Eagles are sitting pretty at the top of the NFC East and the entire NFC. 

That's not a shock to Jernigan or the rest of the Eagles' newcomers. 

"I'm not surprised at all," Jernigan said. "I knew that we had talent coming into the season. And more than that, I knew the work we had put in on the field in the weight room and away from football. Guys really bought in. The biggest thing now is not getting complacent with 5-1. Things can change fast. You never know. We still have 10 games guaranteed left. We have to focus on that."

This is Jernigan's fourth NFL season and he has been on just one team with a winning record. That came in his rookie season in 2014, when the Ravens went 10-6. 

There seems to be a really good chance this season could be even better for the Eagles. 

"I think we have a pretty good team, man," Jernigan said, echoing Carson Wentz. "I think we're going to be special."

While Jernigan had no choice in coming to Philadelphia, plenty of big-name free agents did. Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount and even Chris Long all chose to come and play for the Eagles, who were coming off a 7-9 season. 

Obviously, one of the big reasons, especially for the receivers, was the chance to play with Wentz. While Wentz didn't have a stellar rookie season, he showed flashes of what might make him a franchise quarterback. 

The Eagles also had some other key positions with talent. Their offensive line featured two Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackles, a veteran center and a really solid guard. Their safety duo is one of the best in the league. Their middle linebacker is young and good. Their tight end has been productive. There were question marks, sure, but still talent. 

And then the team added those key free agents. 

"There's a reason I signed here," Jeffery said. "A lot of key additions, picking up Torrey, picking up LeGarrette, me and Timmy and some other guys. The front office staff did a great job putting us together. But just seeing how they were last year, just a few pieces here and there, it could be big." 

While Jernigan missed the really good years in Baltimore, Smith didn't. Jernigan's first year with the Ravens was Smith's last, which meant Smith was there for the 2011 season when the Ravens lost in the AFC championship game and the 2012 season when they won the Super Bowl. 

So Smith knows what a special team looks like. And he sees something special in the Eagles' locker room. That's why 5-1 is coming as no surprise. 

"I knew as soon as I came in here, it just looks right," he said. "That's from the top down. It has the right feel. I said that the first day I came here and I still feel that way and obviously, you're able to see that, the way guys have been working." 

On the short list of five guys in the Eagles' locker room who have won Super Bowls, three of them came this offseason: Smith, Long and Blount. 

On Tuesday, Blount preached the importance of not getting caught up in the hype (see story). He preached the importance of focusing on only the game in front of them. They haven't accomplished anything yet. 

While Blount is trying to make sure the team stays grounded, he's not surprised either. It seems like no one is. 

"I feel like we've been a confident team since we started, all the way back from OTAs, training camp, preseason," he said. "I feel like we've always been a confident group. That's one of the things that you need in order for you to be a winning team. You have to have confidence. You have to have confidence in yourself, as well as the guys that you're going to be playing with, the coaches, and it goes on from there. You have to have confidence."

Eagles fan who ran into subway pole reportedly alive!

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Eagles fan who ran into subway pole reportedly alive!

Transit police say an overzealous Philadelphia Eagles fan whose attempt to rally subway passengers went viral when he ran into a concrete pole is OK.

The mishap occurred as Philadelphia celebrated the Eagles' 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game Sunday night.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Thomas Emmet Ashton, who recorded the video, says the super fan in the Brian Dawkins jersey was running alongside the train trying to rally passengers before he crashed into a pole.

Transit Police Chief Tom Nestel says the man jumped up, gave his friends a high-five sign and caught the next train. He hasn't been identified.

Former Pederson hater calls Super Bowl 'horrendous matchup' for Pats

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AP Images

Former Pederson hater calls Super Bowl 'horrendous matchup' for Pats

Don't you try to get on our good side now, Lombardi.

As the Eagles gear up to play for the Vince Lombardi trophy on Feb. 4 against the Patriots, it appears they've already won the Mike Lombardi trophy.

On his GM Street podcast Sunday night following the Eagles' win, Lombardi said he's picking the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.

"It's a horrendous matchup for the Patriots," said Lombardi, who spent time with New England's front office and coaching staff from 2014 to 2016.

"I'm gonna pick Philadelphia in the Super Bowl come hell or high water. ... I think it's a horrendous matchup for New England, I do. What Jacksonville did in the first half (of the AFC Championship Game), running Kansas City's style of offense, spread the field, force you to play inside and with power, that's been the kryptonite for New England, and that's what Philly does all the time."

Lombardi even went as far as to say the Eagles could be the toughest NFC team the Patriots have faced during Tom Brady's string of Super Bowl appearances.

"Of all the teams they've played in the playoffs, this will be the most complete type of team they've had to play because they're good in all three areas," Lombardi said.

The Patriots know that all too well. In December 2015, in one of Chip Kelly's final games as Eagles head coach, they went up to Foxboro and beat the Patriots, 35-28, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.

This cast of Eagles characters is different, but six key defensive players from that game — Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks and Beau Allen — remain. Don't underestimate the confidence the defense gained in that game.

As for Lombardi, the man is a fountain of knowledge and interesting stories from his decades in the NFL. Week after week, GM Street gives you the kind of insight few other NFL podcasts do. But he took a lot of heat in Philadelphia this season because of his strong preseason criticism of Doug Pederson.

He took all of that back this weekend after watching Pederson call a near-perfect game that constantly put Nick Foles in position to succeed.