Eagles' vets warn about Super Bowl nonsense

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Eagles' vets warn about Super Bowl nonsense

They've never experienced anything like it before, and they never will again.

The Super Bowl and the week leading up to it are like nothing else in sports. Or on Earth.

It's seven days of insanity, and the Eagles' numerous Super Bowl veterans have been counseling the rest of the team since the NFC Championship Game victory not only on what they're about to face but also how to deal with it.

"They might think it's going to be like a bowl game," Torrey Smith said. "But it's nothing like a bowl game."

The Eagles spent the last week practicing in the relative calm of the NovaCare Complex in South Philly. On Sunday, the team travels to Minneapolis for a week of hype leading up to Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium a week later.

"There's a lot going on," said Corey Graham, who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012. "A lot of parties. A lot of shows, events. Your family wants your time. They want to enjoy it with you. Everyone's always calling you for this and for that. 

"You have to try to avoid all that. If you're not a strong-minded person and don't know how to say no, you can get caught up in it. You have to realize why you're there. You're there for a football game. You're not there to enjoy it. 

"You're not there to be out there partying and going to all that nonsense. The better you are at understanding the main purpose, the better off you'll be."

Smith and Graham are among six Eagles on the 53-man roster who've played in a Super Bowl: Smith, Graham and Donnell Ellerbe with the Ravens, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long with the Patriots, Malcolm Jenkins with the Saints and Will Beatty with the Giants. Chris Maragos, who's on injured reserve, won one with the Seahawks. 

Doug Pederson has used most of those guys in the past week to address the players, both as a group and individually, to share their wisdom and experience.

“You’ve got to be a professional," Blount said. "I told the young guys that you've just got to be a professional. It’s hard to control your emotions. 

"As rookies and stuff, even if they’ve played in a national championship, they still haven’t played in a game of this magnitude. It’s tough. It’s a long week, and you’ve just got to control your emotions.

“There’s going to be a lot of distractions as far as family and friends and media. You’ve got to put all that in the drawer, toss all that aside for however long it takes us to prepare for this game. 

"Don’t worry about anything that’s going to cause you any stress or any kind of emotional backup. Whatever it might be, you just put it away and focus 100 percent on this game."

Maragos said one positive that's come out of his season-ending knee injury is his ability to see the big picture in a way the guys on the active roster can't.

"Unfortunately, I'm not playing, but I'm grateful to have the opportunity to see things from a broader perspective," Maragos said. "All these guys are narrowed in on their job and what they're doing and maybe I can really give these guys a different viewpoint, having been through it.

"Just give these guys a foreshadowing of what's to come. 'Hey, listen, on this day, expect this, on this day, expect that.' Trying to give them the ability to kind of see things ahead of time, so they're a little bit more prepared when they get there."

Media Night is Monday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Tuesday through Thursday, there will be extensive media obligations at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Friday and Saturday everything shuts down. Sunday is game day.

It will take forever to get here.

"Don't get caught up in all the stuff that's going on outside," Graham said. "Don’t get caught up with your family and all the festivities and all the nonsense. Keep it exactly the same way it is when you're at home. 

"Normal work week. If you normally get your message on Tuesday and your chiropractor on Wednesday and all that stuff, keep it the same. Don't do anything different. 

"Obviously it's an important event and a great time for you and your family, but don't get caught up in the nonsense. You can enjoy it afterward. You’ve got to focus on the task at hand because with the Super Bowl, if you're not winning, it's a waste of time."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out the me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.