Eagles

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

With the Eagles set to start the first live portions of training camp Tuesday, CSNPhilly's Derrick Gunn takes stock of how the team has fared thus far.

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WR Nelson Agholor
Say what you want about Agholor — and goodness knows we’ve all said a lot — but what he started back in OTAs and minicamp he's carried over during training camp. Agholor has been catching everything in sight and coaches have noticed his consistency. What’s been most impressive is how he’s catching the ball away from his body, and getting separation from DBs. His athletic ability and speed have never been a question but his focus on securing the ball has been. He spent 2016 putting too much pressure on himself, over-thinking situations and fighting inner demons of self-doubt. Now in his third training camp, Agholor knows this is the biggest camp of his career to prove his doubters wrong and to assure his quarterback Carson Wentz that he can be relied upon. Especially when you consider the talent and competition at WR have increased. For Agholor, so far so good.

LG Isaac Seumalo
One of the more interesting debates heading into training camp was about who will win the starting left guard job. Right now, second-year player Seumalo is in the driver's seat. Last Wednesday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich surprised us all when he said Seumalo had been penciled in as the starter

"He’s very smart," Reich said, "understands what he’s being coached, understands fronts, understands defensive schemes, what to anticipate, very athletic, tough-minded player.”

The Eagles can use an infusion of youth on the offensive line because the other four starters are an average of 29.5 years old, making them one of the oldest starting O-lines in the league. The thought was Seumalo would be replacing Jason Kelce at center this year. But with Kelce still here, the Birds felt they needed to get Seumalo on the field. With a future Hall of Famer to his left in Jason Peters and Kelce’s veteran presence to his right, Seumalo has a good support group to lean on. But keep in mind he will have to continue to work hard because Chance Warmack, a former first-round pick who has started 48 games, is also getting reps with the first-team O-line.

CB Rasul Douglas
So far, what’s not to like about Douglas? He has the size teams are looking for in a corner at 6-2/210. With the Eagles' being thin at CB, Douglas may find himself playing a lot sooner rather than later. Watching him in practices, he’s very aggressive, especially when playing press coverage. At times, he's a little too grabby but good coaching will get that straightened out. He also goes out of his way to seek advice on how to get better in a hurry. Last Thursday, he was seen huddled up with former Eagles great Brian Dawkins. Douglas said he’s asked Dawkins to watch him a little in practices to tell him what he’s doing right and, more importantly, what he’s doing wrong. Who better to ask to critique you than one of the greatest Eagles of all-time? DB coach Cory Undlin told me he believes this third-round pick has the makeup to be a very good corner at this level if he applies himself.

WR Marcus Johnson
This is a young man who has an uphill battle to make this roster, but the Birds are high on him. Johnson joined the Eagles in 2016 as an undrafted free agent and he spent time on their practice squad. He’s not the biggest WR you’ll come across (6-1/205), but he has some ability. He's quick off the line of scrimmage, runs good routes, has good hands and makes tough catches. Unfortunately for him, he’s buried in the numbers game with names like Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Agholor ahead of him. Plus, 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. Johnson can play at this level. It’s just difficult seeing him in an Eagles uniform for the long haul.

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LB Mychal Kendricks
This will be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Kendricks admitted last week he asked the Eagles to release him back in January but the team did not comply with his wishes. It was a frustrating 2016 for him as he played only 27 percent of the snaps. By comparison, Nigel Bradham played 97 percent and Jordan Hicks played 95 percent. He couldn’t understand why he was always the odd man out in nickel situations. Now we wait to see what his role will be in 2017. If his playing time is limited again, how will it sit with Kendricks this time around? Could it get to a point where he becomes more vocal and possibly a distraction in the locker room? If that happens, are the Eagles willing to put up with it? My opinion is Kendricks is the best overall athlete on the Birds' defense, but his athleticism has not always been an asset. His speed at times has been a liability in over-pursuing plays. So far he has been the good soldier and not made any waves, but the key words here are … so far.

Nigel Bradham catches a break in loaded gun case

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AP Images

Nigel Bradham catches a break in loaded gun case

It's been a positive few weeks for Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham.

He had arguably the best game of his NFL career in Week 6 against the Panthers, and he is now no longer facing second-degree misdemeanor charges for a legal issue dating back to 2016, Miami-Dade County court records show.

Bradham had a court date at 9:30 a.m. Monday; he was presumably represented by his attorney. 

TMZ Sports first reported that charges were dropped. 

Bradham, you'll remember, was arrested around this time last year at Miami International Airport for carrying a loaded weapon in a seldom-used zippered compartment of his backpack. 

"How does that happen?" Bradham said last year. "I forgot — it's as simple as that."

He's now off the hook.

"The state had no case against him and they found that it wasn't something he should be criminally sanctioned for," Bradham's attorney, Adam Swickle, told TMZ, also adding that Bradham had a valid concealed weapons permit.

The incident did prompt defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to offer maybe his best quote.

"You do dumbass things," Schwartz said, "pretty soon, you're going to be labeled as a dumbass."

In July, Bradham also avoided punishment for a felony battery charge he faced for an altercation with a Miami hotel worker in July of 2016. This July, he entered a deferred prosecution program to avoid jail time and to stay out of court. 

Without the legal issues hovering over his head, Bradham is playing his best football.

Rob's Rants: Sixers' issues, weak Week 7, Romo a future coach?

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USA Today Images

Rob's Rants: Sixers' issues, weak Week 7, Romo a future coach?

Fresh off a weekend that saw the Sixers drop two ugly games and an NFL Week 7 card that stunk to the high heavens, we are locked and loaded with plenty of ammunition and a prediction mixed in for the latest Rob's Rants. 

Sixers' start
I'm not in panic mode like some Sixers fans after their 0-3 start. They've played three teams that finished seeded 1, 2 and 3 respectively last season in the Eastern Conference in the Wizards, Celtics, and Raptors. Two of those games were on the road.

They have a difficult early schedule and won 28 games last season. However, there are some troubling early trends. Let's start with Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. There's great debate among some regarding Fultz's ugly looking shot. Ugly may be too kind. There are those who believe a shoulder injury is the cause of his changing his form. And there are others who fall in the camp that it's in his head, nothing physical.

Count me in the latter corner. As overly cautious as this organization has been since the Process started, there is no way they would put him out there if this was anything remotely serious. My guess — and it's just that — is that either Fultz or someone in his camp decided to tinker with his form for whatever reason. Why? I have no idea. Things were going pretty well for him. First overall pick, averaged 23.2 points per game in his lone year in college. He shot 47.6 from the floor and 41.3 from three-point range. His shot wasn't broken. His range, vision and handle are what made him the ideal fit in the Sixers' minds to play here alongside Ben Simmons. And they gave up a lot of to move up two spots to get him.

Fultz needs to go back watch his college highlight reel and forget about what's taken place since summer league action. The fact that he and Simmons refuse to shoot anything 12 feet or beyond in an NBA game is a massive issue.

The flip side of the duo's reticence to pose an outside threat is Joel Embiid's allergic reaction to going inside. He shot the ball pretty well last season from three (36.7 percent). We've seen the soft touch and the range, especially for a 7-foot-2 behemoth, and it's a nice complement to his game. But he's fallen way too in love with the jumper in general. He's 0 for 10 from three and shooting just 35 percent overall. That should never happen. Embiid blamed his teammates for not getting him the ball in the post after the Celtics loss. Sorry, big fella, it's not on them, it's on you to get to the block to get fed. Take advantage of that incredible combo of size and agility. Shooting threes and ill-advised drives where you turn the ball over need to stop. This one may be easier to correct than Fultz.

Two other bones to pick. The Sixers have been outrebounded in all three games, including the two Embiid played. That's want, that's effort. Whether we like it or not, Embiid is going to miss games — be it back-to-backs, coach's decision or whatever. The team can't just lay down like it did Saturday in Toronto. A 36-point defeat is unacceptable and embarrassing now that they have an actual NBA lineup, unlike years past. It's not panic time, but it is time to see more from this team.

Weak Seven
I love the NFL, it's my favorite sport. Even when the Eagles don't play like the last two weekends, I still thoroughly enjoy the Sunday action. But there is no way to polish this turd of a Week 7. The large majority of the games stunk, flat out. In 10 of the 14 games, the average margin of victory was 18.7 points. Three teams were shut out and three more scored seven or fewer points. You had matchups such as Jaguars-Colts, Chargers-Broncos, Bears-Panthers, Rams-Cardinals, Cowboys-49ers. You get the picture. Even Sunday night's matchup between last year's Super Bowl combatants, the Falcons and Patriots, turned into a dud. I get that because of injuries and underachieving, they can't all be instant classics. But this was bad. Even the NFL Redzone couldn't quell the stink coming off this dreck. The troubling thing is it wasn't just this past weekend, there's far more bad than good out there. People can blame player protests or cord-cutting for the ratings being down but maybe it's as simple as the product is not as good.

Coach Romo
As much as it pains me to say, Tony Romo is a good announcer. He is insightful, on top of the game and has juice. Does he over-talk at times? Yes. There's an art as both a play-by-play and color analyst to letting things breathe sometimes and Romo needs to learn this. This is only his first year. With time, he'll grasp this concept if he chooses to continue down this road. But the more I listen, the more I think his future is not in the booth but back on the field. Not as a player, but as a coach. His ability to predict and read defenses and his feel for situational football lend me to think coaching will be in his near future. He is beloved by Jerry Jones, and if the Cowboys fall short of the postseason this year or next, it would not surprise me a bit if Jones convinced him to take over the Cowboys. Jones has the deepest of pockets, so money will not be an issue.