Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Fletcher Cox calls 49ers' Joe Staley to clear the air

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Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Fletcher Cox calls 49ers' Joe Staley to clear the air

Fletcher Cox made sure to call Joe Staley this week after his block on the 49ers' offensive tackle left Staley with a gash under his eye and a fractured orbital bone.

At the time, Staley thought it was a dirty hit, so Cox called him to clear the air. 

"We talked through it and he did tell me that he's been on the opposite side of that situation," Cox said. "And at that point right there during a football game, what can I do besides check on him? He's fine and we have no beef or nothing going on."

Cox said it was a mistake that his hand slipped through Staley's face mask. Cox said he was glad Staley was OK (relatively) and was thankful he didn't break his hand. 

The block came after Jalen Mills' second-quarter interception and helped Mills get into the end zone for his first career pick-six. 

"This game is so fast," Cox said. "Most people don't understand. I understand that he was probably frustrated at the time and thought it was a dirty play. But honestly, who goes out and pokes people in the eye on purpose? We got helmets on so why would you do that?"

Three's company
There was absolutely no doubt for Nate Sudfeld. 

He wanted to stay in Philadelphia. 

And that's exactly what happened. Sudfeld, the Eagles' third-string quarterback, was signed to the 53-man roster earlier this week as the Eagles prevented the Indianapolis Colts from poaching him off the practice squad. 

"Never for one minute that I've been here have I thought that they didn't believe in me and I've wanted to play my best for them," Sudfeld said. "I'm thrilled that they think of me that much and did everything they could to keep me around and see a future with me being a part of it."

Keeping Sudfeld might have surprised some fans, but it's pretty clear the Eagles must think a lot of him. They showed interest in him during the 2016 draft when Washington took him in the sixth round. But Sudfeld never forgot about his encounters with the Eagles. He even chatted with Eagles coaches before the two games against them last season. 

Sudfeld likes it so much in Philly he said he would have even considered staying on the practice squad instead of joining the Colts' 53-man roster. Good thing for him, the Eagles didn't know that. They signed him so they wouldn't lose him. He's felt the love from the Eagles for a long time. It's why he decided to come to Philly this September instead of staying in Washington. 

"Absolutely," Sudfeld said. "They showed interest during the draft process and then got to see them before games and things last year. They were saying hi. That little stuff has been great." 

Nick Foles is obviously the Eagles' backup quarterback for now, but it seems possible that Sudfeld could end up being the Eagles' backup quarterback at some point. There are always teams who need quarterbacks and Foles might not be a bad option for some of them. 

Did Sudfeld really think about leaving? 

Yeah, of course. But he talked it over with his family and his agent. "Ultimately, I'm happy I stayed here," he said.

More praise for Wentz
It's going to become an every week thing. The opponents who are about to play the Eagles are going to praise Carson Wentz. That's how well he has been playing this season. 

The top-notch Denver defense is no exception. 

Von Miller is impressed: 

“He just has that vibe about him. I hate comparisons in the National Football League. I don’t want to compare him to Ben Roethlisberger or Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck because he’s totally different than them. He does have the ability to stay up. He’s not trying to go down. He’s out there trying to play football. He’s not even playing quarterback. He’s out there playing football. It’s similar to Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck, but like I said, I’m not making any comparisons. He’s totally different. He’s faster than those guys. He’s quicker than those guys. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Here's head coach Vance Joseph when asked how Wentz went from North Dakota State to the NFL's MVP race: 

“I’m not sure. His background, but he’s the second pick of the draft for a reason. He’s a talent. He uses his legs. He’s a big guy, he has a great arm and he has great legs. He has courage and poise and he’s smart. I’m not sure how he got to that school, but where he is now, he’s a special player. He’s up for the MVP, in my opinion, watching the guy play. He is a playmaker and he plays with a lot of courage. He has some Brett Favre in him. He doesn’t slide, he runs for first downs and he hangs in the pocket and holds the ball a long time on occasions to make big plays. He’s a special player. I’m not sure how he got there, but where he is now, he’s special.”

Here's what Broncos DC Joe Woods had to say about Wentz: 

“He’s a big guy. He can make all the throws. He has great touch on his deep ball. Guys just bounce off of him in the pocket. I know guys compare him to Ben Roethlisberger and I see why. He is a good young quarterback. It’s only going to get better. He’s doing a hell of a job right now.

Quote of the Week I: "I'm just glad now that there's two backs I don't want to see in December are both on my team. Good luck to everybody else." — Malcolm Jenkins on the trade for Jay Ajayi

Quote of the Week II: "I always say, man, it's an 80-20. Eighty percent chance I'm gonna catch it. Twenty percent chance it's going to be incomplete." — Alshon Jeffery on 50-50 balls 

Quote of the Week III: "I woke up today as a Philadelphia Eagle and I’m very excited about that." — Jay Ajayi 

Random media guide note: If Destiny Vaeao could play another sport, he would want to be a forward for the Manu Samoa rugby squad. 

Eagles Stay or Go — The Joneses

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Eagles Stay or Go — The Joneses

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Donnie Jones
Roob: Jones turns 38 before camp starts and goes into his 15th NFL season out of LSU next year. Jones, who hasn't missed a game since 2004, is as reliable as ever. Including the postseason, he had 26 punts inside the 20-yard line and just six touchbacks. In five years here, he's established himself as the greatest punter in Eagles history. His 45.3 average and 40.6 this past year were very good. They'll drag a guy in to compete, but Jones is still terrific.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jones is 37 now but he's a punter and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Before the 2016 season, Jones said he wasn't interested in retiring any time soon and there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to stop yet. He had another good season in 2017. Of course, the Eagles proved that no one is immune from the business of the NFL when they decided to go with Rick Lovato over Jon Dorenbos in 2017, but Jones is still a really good punter. During Super Bowl week, Jones got a kick out of hearing he was the only Eagles player who was able to have a legal drink when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl. Jones joked that's probably what he was doing. 

Verdict: STAYS

Sidney Jones
It'll be fun to see what Jones can do with a full healthy offseason and training camp. Along with Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Ronald Darby, he's a big part of the most talented young stable of cornerbacks the Eagles have ever had. Where does everybody fit in next year? We'll see. But I expect Jones to be here and playing at a high level for years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: It was probably a pretty good thing for the young corner to get some experience toward the end of his rookie season. Fans should be excited about Jones if he really is back to being the player he was before his injury. Because before he tore his Achilles at the Washington pro day, Jones might have been the very best cornerback in a deep cornerback draft. The Eagles have a little logjam at the cornerback position; what a great problem to have. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go —2 big contracts and a fringe player

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Eagles Stay or Go —2 big contracts and a fringe player

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Tim Jernigan
 Jernigan had a very good first half, an OK second half of the season and really didn't do a lot in the postseason, and there's no doubt the Eagles would like to see him maintain his level of consistency throughout the season. But he's certainly not going anywhere, not with $11 million in dead money vs. a $5 million cap hit. Jernigan's talent is undeniable. He just needs to find a way to keep it going through the year.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: I was a little surprised about how little Jernigan played in 2017. He played just 48 percent of the Eagles' snaps and in the playoffs, he played about as much as Beau Allen. Now, I know Jernigan dealt with an ankle injury throughout most of the year, so maybe that played a role. But for a guy who signed a four-year extension worth $48 million during the year, I really didn't see enough. He started off the season really strong, but then seemed to level off some. Maybe the ankle had something to do with that. In any case, he's now signed through 2021. The Eagles need more out of him. 

Verdict: STAYS

Lane Johnson 
 We finally saw what Lane Johnson could do with a full season, and it was impressive. Johnson was named first-team All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl team, and he deserved all of it. Johnson, suspended two of the last three seasons for testing positive for banned substances, was a beast at right tackle. He's not going anywhere for a long time.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: That was the season we've all been waiting for from Johnson. He was a dominant right tackle in 2017 and finally made it to his first Pro Bowl roster. He deserved it. For a long time, there's been a stigma about playing right tackle and that makes sense on its face. Protecting the quarterback's blindside has historically been more important, but defenses have adjusted. That's why guys like Von Miller, DeMarcus Lawrence, Justin Houston and Joey Bosa generally rush against right tackles. Johnson shut down those guys and more last season. It's a big reason why the Eagles didn't move him to left tackle when Jason Peters went down. That was the right call. 

Verdict: STAYS

Marcus Johnson
Roob: Johnson stuck on the active roster all year and got into 10 games, catching five passes for 45 yards. But wide receiver depth is certainly one area the Eagles will try to upgrade this offseason. Johnson will get a long look with the other young receivers in camp, but he faces an uphill battle. He's got good speed, size and athleticism, but can he put it all together and catch the ball consistently enough to stick around another year? We'll see.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The young wide receiver had a great spring and summer a year ago to earn his spot on the roster. He really worked his tail off to get better and the Eagles rewarded him with a roster spot. From there, he carved out a role on offense. He was the Eagles' receiver in their 13 personnel (three tight ends) package for much of the early season. But then in late November, Johnson lost his active spot to Shelton Gibson, who didn't play as big a role on offense but was a better special teamer. That was a shock to Johnson at the time. He'll have a shot to make the roster this year, but losing his job on Sundays in 2017 isn't a good sign. 

Verdict: GOES