Eagles

Ronald Darby regrets Twitter rant

Ronald Darby regrets Twitter rant

Athletes deal with outside criticism in different ways. 

On Tuesday morning, Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby dealt with some of his. During a series of three tweets to his 46,000-plus Twitter followers, Darby said "half way fans that sit around and wait for mistakes to talk trash" would be getting blocked.

He quickly realized that probably wasn't a good idea. 

"I was just in my feelings," Darby said on Thursday afternoon. "I gotta grow up. I had a horrible game, probably one of the worst games I have ever played. And that ain't nobody's fault. People expect highly of us. I do apologize ... to y'all too for that. That was childish. And I'm too grown for that."

Darby, still just 23, said he realized he made a mistake with the tweets when his supporters began to baby him. He called playing in the NFL a "grown man game." 

Darby isn't the first player to take criticism too hard. And he won't be the last.  

"I was like Darby when I first got here. It was annoying," fellow defensive back Jaylen Watkins said. "You think I'd be ready for it; I played at UF. The one thing I noticed, that you can't get mad because they fill out the stadium. ... You can't ask them to be so into the game and filling up stadiums and then when we do bad, say, 'Hey, be quiet.' It kind of comes with the territory."

Watkins, of course, said there's a line some fans cross. He thinks it's understandable for fans to question on-field things. If a fan wants to question effort on a particular play or why that player did something, fair. Name-calling crosses that line. 

"With that being said, clearly Darby doesn't suck," Watkins said. "When you make a comment at him that he sucks, it's very irrational. It makes you pissed off as a player, as a teammate."

The game that led to Darby's three tweets — two of which have since been deleted — was one of the worst of his career, according to him. He made a huge, game-changing interception, but also struggled for most of the afternoon. 

While Watkins pretty much tries to let the criticism roll off his back, Brandon Graham learned to handle it a little differently. 

Julius Erving might be the career leader in blocks in the city of Philadelphia, but Graham has to be pretty damn close. The Eagles' defensive end has become a well-known Twitter blocker. 

"That's the best thing," Graham said. "Changed my life." 

Graham noted that the same people he blocks on Twitter will be the ones begging him to unblock them when things start going better. He said after 2013, the first year with Chip Kelly, is when he came to his epiphany and began to use the block button. 

"That's when I really flipped it," he said. "That's when I was like, 'Why am I even worried about this stuff?' All you gotta do is block them. They say something, they interrupt your eyes as you're scrolling, 'OK, I don't want to see that. OK blocked.' You know what I'm saying? Because you shouldn't have to read all the bad comments, especially if you don't want to. 

"For me, I'm not going to look for anything bad, I'm always going to try to get better at what I need to work on. Overall, some people just coming at you because they can type and just say whatever on social media."

Head coach Doug Pederson said all he can do as a coach is try to educate players and make sure they understand there are always going to be highs and lows. 

"Some guys it bothers them, some guys it doesn't," Malcolm Jenkins said. "With any teammate, you just want to make sure that they're focused on the next play, the next game, not getting too far down on themselves, not getting too high on themselves. I think Darby's one of those guys, he has high expectations for himself and when he doesn't meet them, it gets to him. Gotta make sure that, at the end of the day, even the last game, the pick he made changed the game. 

"In this league, nobody is immune to getting beat, nobody is immune to having a bad game. But we're going to need him moving forward and he's been a huge part of what we've done this year. Just got to remind him of that sometimes. I don't think we have anything to worry about." 

This isn't the first time Darby has dealt with any kind of criticism, but it is a little different in Philly. Darby praised Buffalo's die-hard fans but said they're not as active on social media. 

"Here, it's like everyone and their mother got an Instagram, Twitter, everything," Darby said. "You hear from all over."

Now he just has to learn to deal with it.

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

usa-rasul-douglas-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

Rasul Douglas made a huge play during the special teams portion of Wednesday's practice. Going 1-on-1 against veteran special teamer Najee Goode, the Eagles' rookie plowed through him and sent Goode to the turf inside the practice bubble. 

Goode bounced up and locked down the next rep, but for a few seconds, there was pure exuberance on the practice field. A bunch of Douglas' teammates ran toward him and celebrated, while coaches gave him kudos. 

A couple hours later, Douglas didn't even remember it. 

"What play?" the rookie asked. 

After making sure he was serious, out came an iPhone to show Douglas this video: 

"Oh, I don't even remember that," he said. 

While Douglas might have been locked in and focused enough to forget about the most exciting play during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, it was the kind of play that got the whole team going. 

Without remembering the specific instance, Douglas rightly guessed that it was his defensive back teammates, who ran over to congratulate him and celebrate. 

"We get so happy when one of us makes a play because we work hard and we know our goals in our room," Douglas said. "And we know our energy transforms and just passes along to other people. You can get somebody energized and they get somebody else energized." 

Head coach Doug Pederson elected to have his team in pads Wednesday in an effort to keep the team's intensity and physicality high as the team gets ready for the NFC Championship Game. 

That play helped. 

"I think Coach Pederson talks about it all the time; match his intensity," linebacker Nate Gerry said. "So when you see something like that, I guess that's matching the intensity. It just kind of sets the tone for practice."

During the Eagles' first-round bye, the team's players council went to Pederson and asked for an extra day in pads. Pederson planned on one leading into the divisional round game against the Falcons, but his veteran leaders didn't want to go an extra week without that intensity, so the Eagles strapped on their pads. 

They did it again last week and they did it again Wednesday. 

All season the Eagles have believed they're going to play the way they practice, so it shouldn't be much of a shocker. Pederson and the Eagles — despite all the hoopla around the championship — tried to treat Wednesday like any other Wednesday. In part, that meant getting the pads on and going through a tough practice. 

"We ain't going to play on Sunday without pads, so you just have keep in tune with what you do," Douglas said. "I think pads are good." 

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

usa-zach-ertz-eagles-falcons.jpg
USA Today Images

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has moved into the top 10 in NFL jersey sales this week, according to national sales figures from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

This week’s Dick’s Jersey Report shows Ertz making the biggest jump in the top 10, moving up 22 spots from No. 29 last week to No. 7 this week.

“There must have been a lot of women’s soccer fans buying jerseys this week,” Ertz said jokingly, referring to his wife Julie, a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Could be. It’s not like Ertz had a huge game Saturday. He caught three passes for 32 yards in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons in the conference semifinal playoff round at the Linc. But he did make his first Pro Bowl this year and finished the season with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught the miracle last-second pass from Case Keenum to send the Vikings into the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia on Sunday, also made a huge jump, moving from No. 23 to No. 4.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz remains in the No. 2 position in jersey sales, despite not playing since he tore his ACL Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. Only Tom Brady’s jersey sold better over the past week.

The rest of the top 10 is Rob Gronkowski third, Antonio Brown fifth, Leonard Fournette sixth, T.J. Watt eighth, Julio Jones ninth and Le’Veon Bell 10th.

Wentz remains the top-selling jersey this year, according to Dick’s after finishing last year at No. 3. Tom Brady, the top-selling jersey last year, is No. 2, followed by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Gronkowski.

There are no Eagles other than Wentz and Ertz in the top 50.