Eagles

Adam Gase: With Alshon Jeffery, 'you don't have to think, just throw it up'

Adam Gase: With Alshon Jeffery, 'you don't have to think, just throw it up'

PHOENIX -- Just throw it up. 

Those were the words that came from Adam Gase during his one season coaching Alshon Jeffery. At times in 2015 with the Bears, Gase would forget about intricate play calls and offensive scheme. 

He had Alshon Jeffery. Just throw it up. 

"Alshon might be the only player that I've ever coached when I called the play to the quarterback, I said I don't care what the coverage is, throw it up," said Gase, now entering his second season as the Miami Dolphins' head coach, at the AFC coaches breakfast in Phoenix on Tuesday morning at the league's annual meetings.  

"He's got a unique body, the wingspan and the range that he has to catch a ball is unique. I don't think I've ever coached a player that had the body type he had. Unbelievable ability to go up and get the ball. And he makes a quarterback's life so easy because he is so big."

He'll be making Carson Wentz's life easier for at least the 2017 season after signing a one-year contract. In addition to the one year, the Eagles will have the first crack at re-signing the big wideout and will have the option of tagging him. 

That 2015 season in Chicago, when Gase was the offensive coordinator, wasn't even one of Jeffery's career years. That season, injuries plagued Jeffery, who played just nine games. 

But in those nine games, he still looked like the same player who had grown into one of the league's best receivers in the previous two seasons. In nine games in 2015, Jeffery caught 54 passes for 807 yards and four touchdowns. 

While Gase praised Jeffery's route-running ability, which often gets overlooked because of his other attributes, there's no mistake about what Jeffery's strength is: going up and making a play. 

What can that type of play-making ability mean for Wentz as the QB enters his second NFL season? 

"You don't have to think, you can just throw it up," Gase said. "Like, you can just legitimately throw it up with two guys on him and he'll go get the ball."

In addition to adding Jeffery this offseason, the Eagles also brought in former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith after two subpar seasons in San Francisco. 

Smith signed a big deal to join the 49ers, but his two seasons, under two different head coaches, were nothing short of disastrous. 

But Smith's former head coach, Baltimore's John Harbaugh, thinks Smith has something left and, when asked, said he wanted Smith back this offseason.  

"Torrey's a hard worker," Harbaugh said. "He's a very good football player. He's a better person. He's going to be great in the community. He's going to be great in the locker room. He's going to show up every day with a great attitude and he can get down the field and make plays. Those are probably his strengths."

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 to 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.