Shelton Gibson

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Shelton Gibson, Marcus Smith, Nelson Agholor

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USA Today Images/AP Images

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Shelton Gibson, Marcus Smith, Nelson Agholor

It was a pretty ordinary punt on Sunday against the Bears. The first of the game. Donnie Jones hit it perfectly and Joe Walker downed it inside the Bears' 10-yard line. 

It was a special punt for Shelton Gibson. 

It was the first NFL snap of the young receiver's career. He used a quick twitch inside to beat his man and could have downed the ball if it bounced to him instead of Walker. 

"I had to take advantage of my opportunity," Gibson said. "That's what I had to do. I want to do that every single week."

Gibson, who had been inactive for the first 10 games of the season, played in his first game last Sunday. He found out on Tuesday that he was going to be active, but claims he didn't treat the week of practice any differently. 

When asked why Gibson was active over Marcus Johnson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich said it was about "spreading the love a little bit." But Gibson earned a chance. If he hadn't worked hard in practice over the first few months of the season, he doesn't get that shot. 

The rookie from West Virginia had a rough go during the spring and part of training camp. He dropped way too many passes and probably would not have made the team had he not been drafted in the fifth round. 

Most of the season for Gibson has been spent as a scout team player, responsible for giving the defense the looks it needs for that upcoming week. On top of that, Gibson still needs to be on top of the Eagles' playbook. It is basically like having two jobs. 

Gibson said the biggest thing he tried to take from his time waiting to play was to learn how to be a pro. Learning how to be a pro is somewhat of a cliche, but to Gibson it means consistently having energy in practice. He's learning that from Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. 

In his first regular-season NFL game, Gibson played four offensive snaps and seven on special teams. 

"No jitters at all," Gibson said, "just because I've been listening to my coaches and every practice here is like a game. That's how we practice every day. Just do the same thing every day."

Hello, old friend
The Eagles will see a couple familiar faces this weekend in Seattle in Matt Tobin and Marcus Smith. 

Smith, of course, was the Eagles' first-round pick in 2014 and never came close to living up to that draft status. He never even started a game in Philly and was released in July. 

He hasn't suddenly turned into a Pro Bowler in Seattle, but he does have 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble in 10 games with the Seahawks. He's already tied his career-high for sacks, which he set last season. 

Smith has played 184 defensive snaps (24.7 percent) for the Seahawks this season, despite a few injuries. Smith played a career-high 218 for the Eagles last season. 

"We thought he had plenty of ball left," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Sometimes guys go places and the expectations are so high that it's hard to meet up with it. You get a high draft pick like that and your expectations are so high that it just doesn't fit. We saw him as a guy that could help us, jump in and be versatile. He's done all of that. He's been a good addition to our team. We're happy to have him."

Scene of the crime
This weekend the Eagles are back in CenturyLink Field, where things finally toppled over for Nelson Agholor last season. 

Agholor faked Richard Sherman out of his shoes and was wide open. Maybe too wide open. He dropped a perfect pass that hit his hands. 

It wasn't that drop or that game that pushed things over the edge, but that was the final straw. Agholor was given a mental health day the next weekend when the Packers came to town. He was a healthy scratch. 

That decision was a big one for Agholor, but also for Pederson. 

"I think it was definitely big on both our parts because it was the first time I've really had to sort of bench a player for the performance or whatever or just the sort of the slump that he was in," Pederson said. "I really think that it was a great — it was a wakeup call I think for him, but he embraced it the right way. Part of the conversation that he and I had leading up to me sitting him that week — like I said, he embraced it. 

"It's a learning experience for both of us, but he came out of it much better. [He was] a lot more confident when he came out of it, and really from that point on, even the last couple games of the season, began to play like the Nelson Agholor we thought we had."

That decision obviously ended up working out for Agholor and the Eagles. He came to spring practices as a confident player and has been a real threat since. He has 458 receiving yards and six touchdowns this season. And he's become dynamics when he gets in space. 

Quote of the Week I: "He's trimmed down. I mean, you see him walking around. He's got abs now. I don't think that's something he had in training camp." — Lane Johnson on if LeGarrette Blount is looking faster  

Quote of the Week II: "If last year, people were judging me on that, then shame on them. You feel me? Turn the tape on this year and you know what's up." — Vinny Curry 

Quote of the Week III: "It's pretty cool. Ton of respect for a guy like LeBron. I was a kid watching him tear up the league when he was a rookie. I love watching that guy play. He's unbelievable, quite the talent, one of the most impressive athletes in the world. It's pretty humbling to hear that stuff." — Carson Wentz on hearing he's LeBron James' favorite player

Random media guide note: Carson Wentz's favorite TV show is "Friday Night Lights" — wonder if he's a Riggins or Saracen guy? 

How simply navigating locker room can be a difficult task for some Eagles

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Tom Finer | NBC Sports Philadelphia

How simply navigating locker room can be a difficult task for some Eagles

As soon as a towel-clad Jaylen Watkins walked out of the showers and into the Eagles' locker room Thursday afternoon, his shoulders slumped and he let out a near-silent sigh. 

He approached the horde of reporters near his locker stall before he locked eyes with one who was standing directly in his space. The two chuckled as they awkwardly sidestepped each other to swap positions. 

The media contingent that covers the Eagles is one of — if not the — biggest in the entire league. That's great news for fans, who have plenty of options. 

It's not great news for Watkins, who just wants to get changed. 

Watkins' locker is positioned just to the left of team leader Malcolm Jenkins'. Jenkins holds court with reporters a couple times per week, which can be a slight inconvenience for Watkins and Patrick Robinson, who also shares a wall with him.

And Watkins knows whenever there's a political story in the news, reporters are going to want to talk to his outspoken teammate. 

"I guess that's what comes being next to Malcolm," Watkins said. "You get good insight on stuff, but you also have to deal with the baggage that comes with him." 

NFL locker rooms are weird places and it's not because of the nakedness. After all, locker rooms are meant for changing. But trying to change while a group of media members slowly infringes upon your personal space makes it a little strange. 

But for three 45-minute windows each week, reporters fill the room. On any given Wednesday or Thursday during the week at the NovaCare Complex, there can be as many as 30 to 40 media members in attendance. It's just a part of the deal in Philadelphia.

For Shelton Gibson, this is all new. 

The rookie receiver said reporters weren't allowed in the West Virginia locker room. They met with players in a different space.

Being placed next to Torrey Smith has been a great thing for Gibson and the two have become close. But Smith is one of those guys who draws a crowd. 

"It's funny," Gibson said. "Last week I was looking at it. It's just like, you can't interrupt. You're not hoping that he'll hurry up or anything. It's just funny because [it's just a] big ass [crowd] around your locker." 

While Watkins normally stands behind the media scrum, waiting for his moment to pounce, Gibson has taken a different approach. While waiting for the crowd to disperse, he takes walks. He'll find a teammate in another part of the locker room to visit. Sometimes, though, he will hang around as Smith gets interviewed. He wants to see how the veteran handles it all and he always comes away impressed. 

In the middle of the locker room, on the right side, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are neighbors. Two of the best defensive players on the team, they are both pretty popular interview subjects.

So just about every week, one of them will walk out of the showers and see a seemingly impenetrable wall of camera and recorder-holders in their way. As veterans, though, they're beyond patiently waiting. 

"It's cool, man, because I just tell everybody to move out the way," said Graham, one of the more jovial players on the team. "That's all. That's my cue to have a little fun with the reporters." 

Watkins has dealt with this long before he was placed next to Jenkins. In fact, during his first training camp in 2014, he was in a popup stall in the middle of the floor. The locker on the wall nearest to him belonged to LeSean McCoy. It used to be annoying, especially when he didn't have a good day of practice, but there's not much he can do about it. 

After practices, the coaching staff will tell the players if that day is a media day. When Watkins knows it is, he hurries into the locker room as fast as he can and if he's lucky, he gets out before Jenkins gets in. 

But sometimes it backfires. Sometimes when Watkins goes to the cold tub and for treatment, he'll get back in the room at the same exact time Jenkins is about to start answering questions. 

And then the waiting begins. 

"So I just kind of stand by the side and let it happen," Watkins said with a shrug. "I'm used to it now."

Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

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Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — The Eagles have four draft picks on their inactive list for the season opener. 

Rasul Douglas, Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson, Elijah Qualls, Chance Warmack, Dexter McDougle and Steven Means are all inactive for Sunday's game against Washington. 

The Eagles were completely healthy heading into Sunday's matchup in Washington. Every player on the 53-man roster practiced in full all week. 

Pumphrey expected to be inactive. After a terrible preseason where he averaged just 1.9 yards per rushing attempt, Pumphrey made the 53-man roster but said during the practice week that he would be inactive. He was right.

With Pumphrey, Gibson, Douglas and Qualls inactive, four of the Eagles' eight draft picks are on the inactive list Sunday. (Sidney Jones is on NFI and Nate Gerry is on the practice squad.) The only active draft picks are Derek Barnett and Mack Hollins. 

Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement is active. 

McDougle might eventually have a role on the Eagles' defense, but for now, he's still the newcomer after the Eagles traded for him in late August. 

The Eagles kept just seven of their eight offensive linemen active, which makes Warmack the odd man out. Their backup offensive linemen are Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stefen Wisniewski. 

The Eagles technically have just three cornerbacks active: Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Patrick Robinson. But Jaylen Watkins, while technically listed as a safety, has been playing corner and Corey Graham can play corner as well. 

Washington's inactives: Mack Brown, Joshua Holsey, Tyler Catalina, TJ Clemmings, Anthony Lanier, Jeremy Sprinkle and Josh Harvey-Clemons.