Eagles

Eagles expecting boisterous Josh Norman to shadow Alshon Jeffery

Eagles expecting boisterous Josh Norman to shadow Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery is every bit as quiet as Josh Norman is loud and boisterous. 

So there's a good chance Washington's brash cornerback will start to talk trash on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field. There's also a good chance Jeffery will simply shrug his shoulders and jog back to the huddle seemingly unfazed.

Trash-talking isn't Jeffery's thing. It's Norman's bread and butter. 

Jeffery and Norman faced off last year on Christmas Eve in Chicago when Jeffery was still with the Bears. Norman traveled and lined up against Jeffery on every snap. On Wednesday, Jeffery said he couldn't recall if Norman talked trash in that game. 

But with Norman's track record, there's a pretty darn good chance he did. And there's also a pretty good chance Jeffery shrugged his shoulders and jogged back to the huddle. 

"I just go out and just play football," Jeffery said on Wednesday afternoon. "I let my game do the talking. All that other stuff will take care of itself."

The two will battle again this week as the Eagles open their season in Washington against a division foe. While Washington's head coach Jay Gruden said the team hasn't yet decided if Norman will travel to cover Jeffery throughout the game, the Eagles aren't going to buy that type of indecision. They're preparing as if Norman will spend his afternoon in Jeffery's grill. After all, Gruden didn't commit to traveling Norman but did hint that way. 

"We know what kind of threat [Jeffery] is," Gruden said.  

Recently, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson went back and watched every one of Jeffery's targets in Chicago from the last couple of seasons. That included last year's game against Norman, when Jeffery caught five of 10 targets for 92 yards. 

"I just wanted to go back and, No. 1, see him against Josh Norman," Pederson said. "I think it's important to see how he played, good or bad. How did Josh play him? I think you can learn a lot from that. And then just watch the type of routes he was running. There's good and bad on the film. It's not all the positives; it's not a highlight film, by no means. It's the good and the bad. Alshon won his share and Josh won his share. It's a good battle. I think those two have a lot of respect for each other and it's great competition. I just wanted to see how he handled a little pressure in those situations."

Jeffery said he doesn't get more amped up or even care who covers him, but he does seem impressed with Norman as a cornerback. He compared him to his teammate in Chicago, two-time Pro Bowler Charles "Peanut" Tillman because of the way Norman makes plays on the ball. 

Norman can be an aggressive player — is there a way to take advantage of that?  

Well, Jeffery said he and Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh, who was also with him in Chicago, would work every day with Tillman. Those lessons taught Jeffery how to play against a player like that, who is always trying to punch the football out. 

"Figuring out ways to catch the ball and keep the defenders from breaking up the ball," Jeffery said. 

Jeffery enters this season on a one-year deal with something to prove. After two straight 1,000-yard seasons in 2013 and 2014, he had just 807 receiving yards in 2015 and just 821 in a 12-game season in 2016. He's hoping to regain form after teaming up with Carson Wentz in Philly. 

The Eagles used Jeffery sparingly in this preseason and even in training camp, when Jeffery suffered a shoulder injury and was then held out even after he healed thanks to a decision by Pederson. 

Eagles fans haven't gotten to see much of Jeffery so far, so Sunday will be an exciting day. 

"I definitely encountered it. Everyone is telling me how excited they are to see me play," Jeffery said. "At the same time, I'm excited myself. I can't wait to see what I'm going to do out there myself. Sunday is going to take care of itself. We're just going to go out there and play our ball."

Jeffery is one of a few new additions to the Eagles' offense, along with Torrey Smith and running back LeGarrette Blount. With a healthy offensive line and a more experienced Wentz, expectations for the offense have risen in 2017. 

"Hopefully we go out there and we score a lot of points," Jeffery said. "That's all I expect. As long as we get the win, that's all that matters."

Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

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Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

Eagles linebacker Joe Walker, who missed all of last year with a serious knee injury, has been voted by his teammates this year's Eagles recipient of the prestigious 2017 Ed Block Courage Award. 

Walker joins such hallowed names in Eagles history as Andre Waters, Kevin Turner, Correll Buckhalter, Chad Lewis and Jason Avant in receiving the award, given annually to a player on each team who shows a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage on and off the field.   

Walker, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon in 2016, suffered a knee injury the second week of training camp last summer but bounced back to make the 53-man roster this year and has played in all six games for the 5-1 Eagles.

With Jordan Hicks hurt in the second half Thursday night in Charlotte, Walker played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the Panthers. He's played 53 special teams snaps this year.

Ed Block was the Colts’ trainer from 1954 through 1977 after earning a Purple Heart in the Army under General Patton in the tank corps in World War II.

The 32 Ed Block Courage Award winners will be honored at the annual Ed Block Courage banquet in Baltimore this spring.

For more information on the program, go to www.EdBlock.org.

Here is a list of all the Eagles’ Ed Block Courage Award winners since the inception of the program in 1984: 
 
2017     Joe Walker
2016     Nolan Carroll
2015     Fletcher Cox
2014     Jeremy Maclin
2013     Jason Kelce
2012     Colt Anderson
2011     Mike Patterson
2010     Jason Avant
2009     Michael Vick
2008     Jon Dorenbos
2007     Montae Reagor
2006     Jerome McDougle
2005     Chad Lewis
2004     Derrick Burgess
2003     Correll Buckhalter
2002     Shawn Barber
2001     Duce Staley & Tommy Brasher
2000     Cecil Martin
1999     Mike Mamula
1998     Bobby Taylor
1997     Rhett Hall
1996     Kevin Turner
1995     Charlie Garner
1994     Fred Barnett
1993     Andre Waters
1992     Jerome Brown
1991     David Alexander
1990     Ron Solt
1989     Mike Quick
1988     Wes Hopkins
1987     Gerry Feehery
1986     Jody Schultz
1985     Ron Jaworski
1984     John Spagnola

Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

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Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

The City of Philadelphia did an incredible job hosting the 2017 draft.

And it still wasn't enough to keep the event. 

The NFL announced the 2018 draft will be held in the Dallas Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium. Dallas — or technically Arlington, Texas — will be the third city to host the draft in three years, following Chicago and Philly. 

It has been rumored for months that Jerry Jones had his city as the favorite to host the next draft. Turns out those rumors were right. 

Good luck topping what Philly did in 2017 though. 

“Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the Draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event’s evolution and grow it even further,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality.” 

The 2018 draft will begin on April 26. The NFL's release said the draft site will include the field, stands and outdoor plazas. 

According to the NFL, at the 2017 draft, a record 250,000 fans attended the three-day event along the Ben Franklin Parkway. The estimated economic impact for the city was $94.9 million. 

“The Draft was a family-friendly event for Philadelphians and visitors across the country,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “I thank all of our public and private partners, especially the City employees and first responders, who made this event a success and allowed Philly to shine in the national spotlight once again.”

Aside from the numbers, the draft in Philly was aesthetically pleasing. The television shots from the Parkway were gorgeous and the vibe around the entire event was special. 

Things went so well, NFL senior vice president of events Peter O'Reilly said the draft in Philly was a "resounding success." 

It won't be coming back in 2018, but the next time it does, the city will be ready.