Eagles

10 Eagles who will be hurt most by limited spring workouts

10 Eagles who will be hurt most by limited spring workouts

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has already been a very strange NFL offseason and it doesn’t seem like anything is going to get back to normal anytime soon. 

While the NFL has forged on despite the spread of the virus, first with free agency and soon enough with the draft in some form, the league has already postponed offseason workouts and there’s a real chance NFL teams won’t have any OTAs this spring. 

The Eagles were scheduled to begin their offseason workouts on April 18 and OTAs would have started in May. 

If there are no spring practices (rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp) this offseason, the Eagles might actually be in a better situation to handle that than the other three NFC East teams. The other three — the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins — hired new head coaches for the 2020 season. That means a whole lot of changes are coming to Dallas, New York and Washington. 

It’s not like the Eagles don’t have any changes. They have a new offensive coordinator, defensive line coach, defensive backs coach, receivers coach and a few new offensive voices. But at least they still have Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz in place. 

The potential of lost spring practices will definitely hurt any rookie that gets drafted or signed. It’s hard enough being a rookie in the NFL and now they’re going to be behind. Because of that, expectations for some rookies might have to be tempered a little bit. 

We know rookies will suffer, but here are 10 Eagles already on the roster who will be negatively affected if there aren’t practices this spring: 

Jalen Mills  

He’s entering Year 5 in Schwartz’s defense so at least Mills will have a good grasp of the scheme, but new DBs coach Marquand Manuel might be making some changes too. And now Mills shifting to a hybrid safety role; any extra practice time probably would have helped. If nothing else, it would have given the Eagles a chance to figure out exactly how they want to use Mills. You can extend this to the entire new-look secondary, including free agent signing Will Parks, who will have to catch up once training camp arrives. 

Javon Hargrave 

The Eagles signed Hargrave to a three-year, $39 million deal because they think he will be a great scheme fit and they’re probably right. But I remember back to 2017 when the Eagles traded for Tim Jernigan. Jernigan played in a 4-3 before but had been playing in Baltimore’s 3-4 for a few years. I remember him telling me it took him longer than he expected to flip his mindset and muscle memory from two-gapping to getting upfield. That’s the transition Hargrave is going to go through and the more time he has to do it the better off he’ll be. 

Jordan Mailata 

We’re entering Year 3 of the Mailata experiment but the difference in 2020 is that he might actually need to play. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is gone and unless the Eagles draft someone, it looks like Mailata is the swing tackle. For a guy who didn’t start playing football until relatively recently, he can use every second he can get on the football field. 

Carson Wentz 

The Eagles will presumably add a receiver at some point this offseason, most likely in the draft. And they’ll probably add a couple. Getting on the same page with receivers is important for any quarterback and missing out on that time would hurt. If that happens, Wentz will probably try to find a way to make it work on his own time if possible. 

Jatavis Brown 

Another newcomer, Brown seems to be a perfect fit for what the Eagles want out of a modern linebacker. He’s had some ups and downs during his four years with the Chargers and this is a chance for a fresh start. But if he’s going to win a starting job, he’ll be behind Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley, who have already been in the defense for at least one year. 

Genard Avery 

At the end of the season, when asked about Avery, Howie Roseman said they always knew they’d have to see what Avery could bring with a full offseason. Well, that’s probably not happening anymore. The Eagles traded a fourth-round pick for the defensive end/standup rusher during the season and Avery played 33 total defensive snaps. 

Elijah Holyfield

The Eagles signed Holyfield at the end of the 2019 season after a year on the Panthers’ practice squad. The 22-year-old running back hasn’t played in an NFL game yet, but the Eagles liked him enough to bring him in at the end of 2019 as they looked ahead to the future. 

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

After a really disappointing rookie season, JJAW was probably hoping to get on the field as soon as possible to start working on his second NFL season. Any extra time with Wentz would help too. 

Shareef Miller 

The Philly native basically had a redshirt season in 2019, which wasn’t his expectation but it wasn’t that surprising. But now with Vinny Curry likely gone, there will be some opportunity and the more he can show the coaching staff, the better his chances will be of making the team and then maybe earning some playing time. 

Sidney Jones 

This is going to technically be Year 4 for Jones and as Roseman said last week, it’s time for him to prove it. That’s hard to do when you’re not on the field. It also seems like Avonte Maddox is the frontrunner for the starting job opposite Darius Slay, but the Eagles would probably love it if Jones could win that position. Gonna be hard without practices. 

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Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Jalen Reagor hasn't yet set foot on a football field wearing midnight green, but the Eagles' first-round pick is already a pro at comebacks.

Professional Talker Skip Bayless popped off about Reagor's (admittedly unexpected) draft slot late last week, making fun of the Eagles for taking Reagor at No. 21 overall.

Here's what Bayless had to say:

I about fell out of my chair over that, for the wrong reason. Jalen Reagor went way higher than any draft expert had mocked him. I'm mocking that pick right now, because I thought it was a silly pick, because there were four, five other receivers I would've taken over Jalen Reagor.

There are, of course, different ways to responds when a person like Bayless (loud, looking for attention) singles out a player.

You can try to argue the points made, and point out that while Reagor going at No. 21 overall may have been a surprise, you'd be hard pressed to name four wideouts who went after Reagor and are widely seen as better players.

Justin Jefferson at No. 22? Fine. Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25 is a pick 'em, as is Tee Higgins at No. 33, and most basically everyone would give Reagor the edge over guys like Laviska Shenault, K.J. Hamler, and Chase Claypool.

You can take the petty angle and remind Bayless, a noted Cowboys fan, which team is the reigning NFC East champion. (It's the Eagles.)

Or you can be Reagor, and simply tell Bayless that you heard what he thinks, and keep it moving:

Nice and subtle. Reagor is keeping a list, but he's unbothered. Perfect.

Something tells me this clip will be re-shared plenty when Reagor scores his first touchdown against the Cowboys.

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How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

ESPN's decision to seize on the success of "The Last Dance" by teasing a similar documentary about Tom Brady has grabbed sports fans' attention, even if the doc doesn't come out until 2021.

And while reliving Brady's greatest accomplishments isn't an ideal way to spend several hours, the way the Eagles are intertwined with Brady's Patriots legacy certainly suggests there will be tons of insights for Philly fans in the final product.

Like, maybe, Brady saying he feels the fabled 'Patriot Way' began because of the Eagles.

Here's the doc's producer Gotham Chopra, talking to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, on the way Brady viewed his time in New England:

CHOPRA: There was something we recently did on that 2004 Super Bowl, where he talked about the culture of that team. All this stuff you hear about Patriot Way, and Do Your Job, stuff that Bill has created over the years, the philosophies, this is the year that really happened.

He’s like, ‘First year, kind of a miracle. The next Super Bowl, O.K., now we’re getting our feel. And that first Eagles Super Bowl, this is where the Patriot Way was born.’

Welp.

Odds are good the Patriots would've been great for the last 15 years no matter what, but it's sort of frustrating to know the Eagles losing to Brady helped, at least in Brady's mind, establish New England's brand of success.

Who knows: If Donovan McNabb & Co. managed to pull out the win, maybe we would've had a very different last 15 years.

One thing Eagles fans can get excited for, at least, is Brady's reaction to losing Super Bowl LII to the Eagles.

It's unclear how much behind-the-scenes stuff we'll see from the game - Chopra said Brady suddenly got cold feet about filming in Minneapolis that week - but It sounds like it really changed him as a person:

CHOPRA: What he told me about that Eagles loss, it was dealing with it as a father, dealing with it as a husband. He was a very different person than with the Giants losses, he had a different perspective that I think poised him for that game. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s really interesting how a guy who’s still at it is learning like that.’ Because he’s like [Michael] Jordan, he’s incomparable. There’s no one else who has that story, has that perspective.

It's so strange to think how, despite playing in a different conference, the Eagles have played a pretty significant role in shaping the way the world sees Brady and the Patriots.

For better, and for worse.

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