Eagles

Will Jay Ajayi make his Eagles debut this Sunday?

uspresswire-ap-pederson-staley-ajayi.jpg
USA Today Images/AP Images

Will Jay Ajayi make his Eagles debut this Sunday?

The clock started counting down from the moment Jay Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia. 

Five days until kickoff. 

The Eagles' new running back will have three days of practice and a Saturday walkthrough before the Birds host the Broncos at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

Will Ajayi play? 

Well, head coach Doug Pederson wouldn't say Wednesday. But it seems quite possible that Ajayi might have at least a limited role depending on how the week of practice goes. 

"It all depends on how well he does pick it up," Pederson said. "And listen, you can't just throw everything at him right away. He's got to sort of push Miami's offense out one side and embrace ours. It's harder to do than easier. We've just got to spend some extra time with him and do the best we can to get him at least a few plays that he's comfortable with."

If Ajayi does play Sunday, he'll face the second-best rush defense in the NFL (after the Eagles). Denver has given up just 72.9 yards per game on the ground this season. 

Pederson said there will likely be some carryover from the Dolphins to the Eagles, but the terminology and even the way the Eagles teach footwork might be different. Pederson said they'll need to spend extra time with Ajayi to get him comfortable. 

Carson Wentz said it'll be on the coaching staff and players to help Ajayi catch up. From there, he and his new running back will need to work on forging chemistry. 

"That stuff sometimes takes time," Wentz said. "It takes a lot of communication. It might be watching film and showing him some looks and some different things. I think with Duce (Staley) as his running backs coach, Duce does such a great job with all the running backs, I think he'll get him up to speed really quick. We'll just have to get through that." 

Once Ajayi is comfortable and has the offense down, it would stand to reason that his role in the offense will increase. On Wednesday, Pederson sidestepped questions about the roles of the running backs once that happens. He simply said the running backs have strengths and the Eagles want to gear their offense to utilize them. Eventually, though, Ajayi will have a bigger role in the offense and there are only so many snaps and carries to go around. 

"This guy's a tough, powerful runner and he's got great vision," Pederson said of Ajayi. "He's got a great first step, quick back inside behind tackles and guards. One guy doesn't necessarily bring him down all the time. You have to go back a little bit to really watch him run routes and see that he's very capable of being a route runner out of the backfield and brings a really aggressive run demeanor to our offense." 

After the game Sunday, the Eagles have a bye week, which should allow Ajayi to spend some extra time learning his new playbook. 

"It's hard," Pederson said. "All he's known is Miami and we've got to get that out."

A backup again? Life after Super Bowl has Nick Foles more than happy

A backup again? Life after Super Bowl has Nick Foles more than happy

The question to Nick Foles was how long did it take to fully understand exactly what he had accomplished.

For the reality to really hit him.

“Still working on it,” he said. “You know, I don’t know if it’ll ever really set in. I don’t know if it’s ever really meant to.”

Foles, who replaced an injured Carson Wentz in December and then led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship with a record-setting postseason performance, met with the Philly media Tuesday for the first time since the Wednesday after the Super Bowl and spoke about what the last few months has meant to him.

“To be part of and to do it in the city of Philadelphia with the guys I did it with after everything that had gone on, it’s something that’s very humbling and very special,” he said. “I feel undeserving to be a part of it.

“There’s times where I wake up and I’ll walk in [the next room] and see the banner and I’m like, ‘Wow, did that really happen?'"

Foles completed an NFL postseason-record 73 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception that plopped right out of Alshon Jeffery’s hands during playoff wins over the Falcons, Vikings and Patriots.

At some point, he’ll go back to backing up Wentz and next year he’ll likely be starting somewhere else. But he said Tuesday he’s not thinking about the future right now. He’s just grateful to be an Eagle.

“I look in my locker and I see the Eagles colors in my locker and part of me is like, ‘I’m a part of the Philadelphia Eagles,’ because once I wasn’t here,” he said. “So I’m still adjusting to all that.

“It’s really special for the city and it was really special for me to be a part of it. It’s really special for everyone in that locker room. It will be forever.

“I’ve run into so many people across the country — because I live in California in the offseason, that’s where my wife’s from, that’s probably where we’ll raise our kids — and still there’s Eagles fans everywhere.

“Grown men coming up to me at dinner when I’m with my father, pretty macho guys, that all of a sudden break down crying and you see the emotion and the heart of it.

“They’ve waited their whole life, their father waited his whole life, their grandmother, and I know when we won the game all of us in this locker room realized this, and that’s why it was so special, because we did it in such a unique, special city.

“That’s why like when everyone wants to talk about, ‘Hey, do you want to go start [somewhere else]?’ Yeah, I have aspirations to lead a team.

“Do I wish I could play my whole career here? Absolutely. But I know the situation and I am grateful to be in this locker room at this moment to be here because I genuinely do love the city.”

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

A few days ago, the Eagles and Nick Foles agreed to rework his contract.

The restructured deal included a $2 million signing bonus and incentives based on whether Foles starts and reaches certain goals, plus a mutual option for 2019 (see story). Monday, it became clearer how the Eagles were able to get Foles more money up front when Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Brooks tweeted this:


Brooks restructured his current deal last Friday to help out his quarterback (see story)

NBC Sports Philadelphia had Brooks and RT Lane Johnson on Quick Slants Monday. Brooks had this to say about the restructure and his tweet:

Whenever it comes to a restructure, I just wanted to throw it out there — one, to clarify as far as exactly what happened and then two, probably the most important thing is look at what Nick did. I literally did whatever it took to get him extra money. I mean, everything he’s done for us as a team, for us as a city. The Super Bowl MVP. You know, going out there, launching that thing every week. The leader he is. The high character guy he is. And when they approached me about it, it was kind of like, 'Nah,' but then after understanding it was for Nick Foles, then I said, 'Without question, let’s go ahead and get it done.' He deserves it, he brought the first championship to the city, so it was a no-brainer, without question for me.

Brooks' close friend and linemate Johnson added:

The man was thrown into the fire and came out on top. I mean, he was really thrown into a tough situation and only had two weeks the last part of the season to kind of get in a rhythm, and you know how those games went. The guy went out there and delivered. I’m just so proud of him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. We’re all happy for him.

As it gets closer to the 2018 NFL draft, the rumors continue to swirl that Foles could be traded. If it happens, a number of his teammates have told me Foles deserves his own team.

Will Foles be in Eagles green come September? Only time will tell, but whether he’s here or elsewhere, Foles will always have the respect and admiration from a group of guys who completed a magical season.