Duce Staley never asked Ryan Mathews to tone down his physical style

Duce Staley never asked Ryan Mathews to tone down his physical style

Ryan Mathews' two-year run with the Eagles came to an unceremonious end last week when he was finally released after months in limbo. 

Mathews still had a roster spot and a locker for the last few months but most fans probably forgot he was on the team. He was even given special permission to rehab from his neck injury and subsequent surgery away from the team facility. 

Cutting him last Tuesday was merely a formality. The Eagles were simply waiting for him to heal completely and be cleared by doctors. 

It wasn't much of a surprise that Mathews ended his 2016 season on the injured reserve. In fact, that's kind of been a staple of his career. In seven NFL seasons, Mathews has played all 16 games just once. He missed a total of six games in two seasons with the Eagles.

It's possible that Mathews, who turns 30 in October, has already played his final NFL game. If that's the case, it will be a shame. Because when he's on the field, he's a dynamic and tough runner. But it seems like he's never on the field. 

And a lot of that has to do with his hard-nosed running style. Mathews is a punishing runner. It's just that often he's the one who comes out on the wrong side of it. 

While that physical style of running has been Mathews' hallmark, it's also likely been the biggest obstacle in his career. 

Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley emphatically said Saturday he never thought about asking Mathews to tone it down. 

"I would never do that," Staley said. "I think once you start talking about telling a guy to change his running style, I think you're kind of pointing him in the wrong direction. You have to understand this is something that's been done by that individual for a very long time. So to come along and be here for a year or two and all of a sudden try to change the way he runs, nah, not a good idea."

In 26 games with the Eagles, Mathews' yard per attempt average was 4.60. That's the third-highest mark in Eagles history among running backs with at least 250 attempts. LeSean McCoy's average with the Eagles was 4.65 and Ernie Steele's average in the 40s was 5.18. 

Because of his injuries, Mathews won't be remembered extremely fondly in Philly and that's a shame too. He was fun to watch — despite the fumble in Detroit — and played the position the way most fans really appreciate. 

"He's one of those guys that's going to pin his ears back, he's going to go and he's going to try to run you over," Staley said. "He plays with that physical style that old-school style of running back. That's what he plays with. I like it actually. 

"But you have to understand how fast and physical this game is. Things do happen. It's very unfortunate that injury came about. I thought he was having a good year. Once again, this is a violent game we play and things like that happen. You have to adjust and move on."

Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

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Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are again one step closer to making it to the Hall of Fame.

Both former Eagles were named as two of 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2018 class.

Their inclusion on the list Tuesday is not a surprise at all. Both were on the list of finalists last year, but did not make the 2017 class to the dismay of Eagles fans.

The 15 finalists will be announced during January and Hall of Fame voters will cast their votes for the inductees on Super Bowl Saturday.

This is Dawkins' second year of eligibility and Owens' third. Traditionally it has been difficult for safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame, which might have hurt Dawkins. Owens has likely been hurt by his abrasive personality. Both are very worthy candidates and have a shot to be inducted this year.

Joining them on the list of semifinalists are six who made it on their first years of eligibility: DB Ronde Barber, OG Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss and DL Richard Seymour.

The original list of 108 nominees was cut down to 27 semifinalists instead of 25 because of ties.

Here is the full list of semifinalists:

S Steve Atwater
CB/S Ronde Barber
OT Tony Boselli
WR Isaac Bruce
S LeRoy Butler
Coach Don Coryell
RB Roger Craig
S Brian Dawkins
G Alan Faneca
WR Torry Holt
OG Steve Hutchinson
OT Joe Jacoby
RB Edgerrin James
Coach Jimmy Johnson
CB Ty Law
LB Ray Lewis
FS John Lynch
C/G Kevin Mawae
LB Karl Mecklenburg
WR Randy Moss
DE Leslie O'Neal
WR Terrell Owens
DE Simeon Rice
DE/DT Richard Seymour
LB Brian Urlacher
CB Everson Walls
WR Hines Ward

Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

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Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

Former Eagles cornerback Dexter McDougle has found a home with another one of the top teams in the NFC. 

McDougle on Tuesday signed with the New Orleans Saints, who, like the Eagles, are also on an eight-game winning streak. 

McDougle, 26, came to the Eagles in a trade with the Jets for safety Terrence Brooks in late August and even signed him to a one-year extension in early September. 

The former third-round pick in 2014 played more than the Eagles likely anticipated during his eight games active in Philly. 

In total, McDougle played 55 defensive snaps, and just three weeks ago played 32 of them in a pinch against the 49ers. He also played 135 special teams snaps (50 percent through the Denver game). 

McDougle was waived last week when the Eagles brought in linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. McDougle was expendable as Ronald Darby returned from his dislocated ankle. The only game McDougle was inactive was the opener, before Darby's injury. 

Without McDougle, the Eagles still have plenty of corners. They have five on the roster, including Jaylen Watkins, who is listed as a safety but has played corner this season.