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."

Eagles' Dannell Ellerbe, Will Beatty playing catch-up with new team

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USA Today Images

Eagles' Dannell Ellerbe, Will Beatty playing catch-up with new team

After signing with the Eagles about a week and a half ago, Will Beatty has been working hard to catch up. 

He's learning a new offense, new terminology, new teammates. 

And a new building. 

"I'm still trying to figure out where everything is here," Beatty said. "A lot of the doors here are not labeled, so it's like 'where does this door lead?'"

Eventually, the 32-year-old offensive tackle finds where he's going. For the most part, he just tries to follow his teammates. When he's the only player around, he begins to worry and checks the schedule to make sure he's not missing something. 

Beatty isn't alone. He was brought in last week a day after the Eagles signed veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Both players are veterans over 30. Both players have won a Super Bowl. And both are playing catch-up. 

How has it been going? 

"Really good," head coach Doug Pederson said. "In both cases, picking up the offense with Will and the defense with Dannell. Dannell has probably gotten a couple of reps with our defense in the past couple of weeks. Both of them are doing really, really well."

While Ellerbe has gotten some practice reps, don't expect him to have a role with the defense just yet. Pederson on Friday morning said Ellerbe's role is still to get comfortable with the defense. 

While Jim Schwartz said Ellerbe was going to learn all three linebacker positions, Ellerbe has been focusing more on MIKE and SAM. The former Saint said he likes to learn the entire concept of the defense. The biggest hurdle is learning the new terminology. 

"I've been sitting out since OTAs, so it's been a while," Ellerbe said. "It's like riding a bike. Just repetition."

Both players were inactive against the Cowboys, less than a week after their arrivals. It is yet to be seen if either will have roles down the stretch. 

When Beatty eventually finds his way to the practice field, he has been working with the Eagles' second-team offense, which means he's going against the Eagles' first-team defense every day. That's a good way to shake off some rust. 

For now, second-year player Joe Walker has been playing the MIKE position in the Eagles' base defense. If Ellerbe were to ever get on the field, it would likely be in that spot. But Walker has been playing OK since Jordan Hicks went down. 

During meetings, Beatty pretty much stays quiet when he has questions. He writes down what he doesn't understand and then brings it to offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland afterward so he doesn't slow down the entire group. It's basically like seeing a teacher after class for extra help. 

One of the tough parts about joining a team in the middle of the season is everyone is already settled into a routine. Beatty and Ellerbe are working just to catch up. 

"It's a little different, but would much rather be doing this than anything else," Beatty said. "This is a great organization. Everyone welcomed me with open arms."

Eagles Injury Update: Jake Elliott (concussion) cleared to play vs. Bears

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Eagles Injury Update: Jake Elliott (concussion) cleared to play vs. Bears

After a week of worrying, everyone can finally relax. 

Jake Elliott is going to play on Sunday. 

The Eagles' kicker officially cleared the NFL's concussion protocol on Friday morning, when he was cleared by an independent neurologist. Throughout the week it looked likely that Elliott would be able to play, but it didn't become official until Friday. 

Elliott suffered a concussion against the Cowboys during the first half of Sunday's game at AT&T Stadium. The Eagles needed to finish the game going for two-point conversions and with linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill kicking off. 

"When the hit happened on the opening kickoff, I was a little bit rattled," Elliott said on Friday afternoon. "I had never had a concussion before. That was my first one. I didn't feel too loopy right at the time but as the first quarter went on, it just started to get worse and worse. That final play I was in there, was kind of a little bit of a haze. I decided to go seek someone out after that."

It wasn't until Elliott missed a 34-yarder that he went and got checked out. He said he didn't want to make excuses for the missed kick but "was a little bit out of it" on that play.  

Meanwhile, Beau Allen (knee) and Trey Burton (back) will both be game-time decisions, according to head coach Doug Pederson. Both are listed as questionable. 

Burton's back spasms came from the game on Sunday and he has been dealing with the issue all week. He missed practice on Thursday. If Burton can't play, the Eagles would go into Sunday's game with two tight ends — Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. If Burton is inactive, Celek will likely have an increased role, Pederson said. 

If Allen can't play, it's likely rookie Elijah Qualls will be active for the first time since the Arizona game. Qualls has played just eight defensive snaps all season.