Ellerbe says Eagles feel like 2012 Super Bowl Ravens

Ellerbe says Eagles feel like 2012 Super Bowl Ravens

With Jordan Hicks hurt and then Joe Walker hurt, the Eagles turned to veteran Dannell Ellerbe as their first-down linebacker late in the season.

Ellerbe, a nine-year veteran and a Super Bowl winner with the Ravens in 2012, signed with the Eagles on Nov. 13, and after playing just one snap his first five weeks here, he played 27 in the win over the Raiders and 48 in the regular-season finale against the Cowboys.

We spoke with Ellerbe about Ray Lewis, winning the Super Bowl and what he likes about this Eagles team on this week's "5 Minutes with Roob."

Roob: You came into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2009. What were the challenges of starting your career undrafted?

Ellerbe: Originally, I was on the scouting reports with a first-round grade going into the draft, but I got hurt and some other things came up. So I just wanted to show that I belonged in the league. You have a guy with a first-round grade who’s an undrafted free agent, it’s not because of his play. So I decided to go to the Ravens because they’re known for defense, and it worked out.

Roob: You got to play from 2009 through 2012 in Baltimore with Ray Lewis. What was that like?

Ellerbe: One of the greatest to ever do it. He was a great guy to study and the energy that he brings, I haven’t been with anybody like him since.

Roob: You intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game back in 2012, helping the Ravens get to the Super Bowl. What's it like picking off the greatest quarterback ever on that stage?

Ellerbe: Our defense was clicking on all cylinders. So it was great. Everybody was making plays, so it was just my turn to make my play. I had a broken thumb so I had a big cast on my hand, and that made it even more special.

Roob: How tough was it being on the street the first three months of this season?

Ellerbe: I knew I was going to get picked up sooner or later. I was just trying to treat my body right and trying to stay in shape and keep working out. I got away from the game completely. I didn’t watch any games until I started getting interest from teams. I just wanted to be fresh.

Roob: Why did you ultimately choose to sign with the Eagles?

Ellerbe: I came here because this was the team that really wanted me. There was no turning them down.

Roob: How hard is it to get into shape to play regular-season football without a training camp?

Ellerbe: The only way you can be in football shape is to play football. Even when I come to training camp, I’m prepared, but the only way you can prepare to play football is to play football and getting those reps.

Roob: You’ve been here two months now. What’s your impression of this team?

Ellerbe: It’s like a family. It’s like a family. It’s like we felt when I was at the Ravens. Everybody vibing with everybody and everybody getting along. It just feels like a family atmosphere.

Roob: You’re one of several guys on this team that's won a Super Bowl. Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount. What can you guys who’ve been to the top of the mountain teach the younger guys? 

Ellerbe: Basically just staying focused. At the end of the day, it’s still football. The only thing that magnifies this game is the outside, the outside people and the crowd. At the end of the day, we’re doing the same thing. We’re playing a nameless faceless team. We’ve just got to go out there and play our game.

Roob: Is that a tough lesson for young guys to learn?

Ellerbe: For the young guys right now, I don’t think they’ll fully understand it until they get older. They’re just living in the moment right now. But we try to preach to them that this is not guaranteed. My first four years in Baltimore, we were in the playoffs and I got used to being in the playoffs, and after we won the Super Bowl, I haven’t been back to the playoffs since, so this is my first playoff game since the Super Bowl.

Roob: That was a crazy Super Bowl. What do you remember about that moment?

Ellerbe: They cut the lights off! Winning it, it was a feeling like no other. I just started running around on the field. My body just left me. I just broke down and prayed. It was great.

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.