Eagles

How is Isaac Seumalo dealing with tough week, possible benching?

How is Isaac Seumalo dealing with tough week, possible benching?

Earlier this week, a couple of his teammates expressed their concerns that Isaac Seumalo's confidence could be killed by his apparent benching. 

Seumalo isn't worried about that. 

"No," the second-year offensive lineman said Friday while facing the inside of his locker, exposing just the fluff of his afro.

It was the first time he spoke to reporters all week. 

"I'm preparing to play and regardless of what happens, whether I'm starting and playing or not," Seumalo said. "I'm going to be a great teammate. I'm a Philadelphia Eagle first and foremost."

Head coach Doug Pederson on Friday claimed he hadn't yet made a decision about his starting left guard (see story). Seumalo did his part too, saying he wasn't sure whether or not he would remain the starter this week. He went with the normal line, that he's preparing to start because he always prepares like a starter. 

But this week during portions of practice open to the media, Chance Warmack has been getting first-team reps at Seumalo's old position and several players in the locker room clearly indicated that there had been a switch. 

Warmack is in. Seumalo is out. 

If that is indeed the case, and Pederson benches last year's third-round pick just two games into his second season, is he worried about Seumalo's psyche? 

"No. I think if that's the decision, then no, I don't," Pederson said. "I think Isaac is a smart guy, and he's sharp, he understands, and we'll be fine."

Pederson might not be worried about ruining Seumalo's confidence but some of the guys with lockers next to the young lineman, namely Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson, don't seem to share the same sentiment

Players weren't aware of the apparent switch until they arrived to practice Wednesday morning. That's when Brooks found out, when Warmack lined up between Jason Kelce and Jason Peters. 

"It's just unfortunate, man, seeing a young guy like that after having a bad game," Brooks said Wednesday. "He's a young player, you don't just want to kill his confidence this early in his career. A bad game, for that to happen, I wish he could work through it. I just wish he had a chance to bounce back."

On Friday, Seumalo admitted this has been a tough week after struggling against Kansas City and giving up three of his team's six sacks in the loss. 

"Yeah, but I still don't have to worry about a meal, shelter over my head, clothes on my back," he said. "I always take perspective. I get to talk to my mom and dad. This is something correctable. It's not the end of my world." 

Talking with his veteran teammates this week has been helpful, he said, although he declined to divulge the specifics of those private conversations. The same goes for his talks with his football coach father. 

Seumalo also declined to explain his process to get over past struggles. He made it clear this isn't the first time he's been faced with adversity. He took particular umbrage with a question from a reporter, who asked if he's ever struggled in his career. 

"What did you ask?" Seumalo said. "Did you ask if a football player has ever struggled before?

"Bro, if you ask that to any football player, nobody's perfect, you know. But how you get back from those defeats and not playing well, that's what people will remember. I promise I'm going to get better. Like I told him, prepare like I'm going to play and know that I'm a really good player. That's about it."

This time, Seumalo — and his coaches, for that matter — are convinced his struggles are with technique. He'll have a chance to fix them during weeks of practice but it appears he won't get a chance to line up Sundays and prove he's still worthy to play in this league. 

On Friday, when asked, Seumalo praised Warmack, his likely replacement. He said Warmack is big and strong and there's a reason he was once a first-round pick. While all that is true, there's a reason Warmack was available on a one-year deal this offseason and there's a reason he has never lived up to his high draft status. 

Presumably, there was also a reason why the Eagles decided to get rid of Allen Barbre in the summer and name Seumalo the starting left guard without an open competition. That hasn't worked out so far. 

"Being in my second year, I've seen and heard about a lot of things. Nothing surprises me," Seumalo said. "Nothing's going to affect me. I'm going to get ready to play. If I play, I can't wait. If I don't, I can't wait to see how good Chance or [Stefen Wisniewski] or whoever's playing is going to play. There's no drop-off. Those guys are going to play great." 

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

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Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

Washington head coach Jay Gruden has faced Carson Wentz just three times so far.

That's all he needed to think Wentz is special.  

"I think he's progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I've seen really," Gruden said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday. "His ability to make plays in the pocket, his ability to stay in the pocket in the face of a rush and still deliver balls accurately, his command of the offense. 

"I think he's already proven this short in his career that he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly, and he's going to be for a long time. And I don't know how he got to Philadelphia. And I'm very upset about that." 

Wentz is 1-2 against Washington in his first three games, but that first win came in this season's opener on the road. In that game, Wentz completed 66 percent of his passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one pick, for a passer rating of 96.8. 

And Wentz has gotten even better since then. He's now the favorite in Vegas to win the NFL MVP. 

When asked how daunting it might become to face Wentz twice per season for the foreseeable future, Gruden pointed out that it's similar to the Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Then he pointed out they still have to face Eli Manning twice per season. 

"Every week it seems like we're playing against an excellent quarterback and knowing that Wentz is going to be there for a long period of time just puts a few more gray hairs on my head," Gruden said. "But love the competition and it's our job to get after him and make him uncomfortable." 

While Wentz is clearly the Eagles' quarterback of the future, things are a little cloudier in Washington, where Kirk Cousins is in his second year of playing on a franchise tag. 

Gruden said the "intent" is to have Cousins for the long-term, but it's already been a long saga and there's still no deal in place. 

Cousins has had a crazy career path. He began as Robert Griffin III's backup after being taken three rounds later in the same draft in 2012. But he won the starting job and he's started every game for Washington the last three seasons. 

Thursday, on a conference call with Philly reporters, Cousins said he thought there was a good chance the Eagles were going to draft him in 2012. He felt that way after meeting with Howie Roseman and Andy Reid before the draft. But instead, the Eagles took Nick Foles 14 spots ahead of him. 

After watching the Eagles rotate quarterback since then, Cousins doesn't have any hard feelings. 

"I think the Eagles have ended up with the guy that they want," Cousins said. "I think they're really excited about Carson Wentz and for good reason. They're one of the best teams in the league on third down, and some of the plays he's making off-schedule are very special. I think they're very content and I'd like to think the Redskins are as well. Hopefully, it can make for a great rivalry that a lot of fans can get behind and get excited about, hopefully, for many years ahead."

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

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Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

Redskins running back Chris Thompson doesn't want to bring his family to the Linc Monday night because he's afraid of what Eagles fans will do.

Doug Pederson hopes Thompson changes his mind.

"Philly fans are some of the meanest fans I've ever experienced," Thompson told ESPN radio's Washington affiliate, ESPN 980, on Wednesday, according to a story in the Washington Post.

"I heard that's the one stadium you keep your family from going to. My family will be (up from Florida) this week, and they were like, 'I want to come to the Philly game.' I said, 'Absolutely not, you're going to have to wait until Dallas comes around. … I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away."

Pederson said he loves Eagles fans and the energy and passion they bring but also said he hopes Thompson or any opposing player feels comfortable bringing his family to the Linc.  

"I just know that playing at home is a great advantage for us," Pederson said before practice Thursday. "Our fans are great, they're energetic, I love playing at the Linc. 

"You know, I hope every family can watch their sons play. I think it's important that they're there and have a chance to watch their siblings play, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents.

"Right now in the league, every stadium is great for the home team and ours is no different. We're just excited now to finally be getting a stretch of games where we can play for the home fans."

Thompson, a fifth-year running back out of Florida State, has played at the Linc twice, in 2015 and 2016, both Redskins wins.

The Eagles, 5-1, host the 3-2 Redskins in a national TV game Monday night at the Linc. The Eagles are 8-2 at home under Pederson, including a 2-0 mark this year, although they're only 4-6 at home against the Redskins over the last 10 years.