5 minutes with Roob: Nate Gerry, track superstar?

5 minutes with Roob: Nate Gerry, track superstar?

Roob: Hey everybody, welcome to 5 Minutes with Roob. We’re here today with Eagles’ — well, we’ll call you linebacker/safety Nate Gerry. Before we started this, I made a list of the five greatest Eagles ever from Nebraska. So, I just wanted to bounce this off you.

No. 5: Dave Rimington, the great center who I believe was your interim AD over the last couple months.

No. 4: Correll Buckhalter, the great running back.

No. 3: Irving Fryar, who I think should be in the Hall of Fame, a tremendous wide receiver.

No. 2: Bob Brown, who is in the Hall of Fame. Offensive tackle.

No. 1: Nate Gerry. You gotta go No. 1 because we’re doing this, so that’s why the list. But a lot of great Nebraska Cornhuskers came to the Philadelphia Eagles over the years. Welcome to Philly and you’re back on the active roster now, what’s the practice squad like? What was that experience like for you? Is it any different than being on the 53, other than on payday, I guess?

Gerry: No, when you’re at this level, every day you’re trying to work on your craft no matter the level, no matter the term you’re under, I guess. For me, still transitioning to a new spot, I’m just trying to get better every day at the new position. So, I think being on the practice squad, it helped me progress a little more, but I think that I still have the tools to be a very good linebacker, so just being able to work every day is the same.

Roob: Now, I’m a big track and field guy and I seem to remember 10.54 (seconds) in the 100m and 21.52 in the 200m, I believe were your (personal records). Two-time state champion and threw the shot put 47 feet in one meet that you were asked to throw the shot put. How much of a track guy were you growing up in high school, and how much did you love doing that?

Gerry: To be honest with you, I wasn’t a track guy at all. That was my dad and my brother, they were the 400-meter runner guys. I was a baseball player, actually. After my freshman year, playing school ball, I wanted to be a college football player. Coming from South Dakota, it’s tough to get recruited and things like that, so I sat down, talked to my coach, and an easier way to get your name out there was with track. I didn’t really know or understand how fast I was until, I think I won the first meet in the 100m, and I was in like Heat 3. So, it was kind of an eye-opener for me, so after that I kind of put a lot of work into it. But a lot of that work was just because I wanted to be a football player. 

Roob: What was life like in Sioux Falls and Washington High School, I guess, kind of out of the way, like you said. It’s tough to get noticed and then coming to Philadelphia is a little bit different. What was your life like growing up there?

Gerry: I love Sioux Falls, I love South Dakota. The people there are great. On our license plates, it says ‘Great Faces, Great Places’ and that’s exactly what it is. There’s a lot of great people there. It’s not very big, but it’s big enough. You’re able to do your own thing. It was a great place for family, very safe. So I loved everything about it. I’ve had a lot of support from South Dakota and I’m very honored to be one of the only guys to come out of South Dakota. So, to have the support of the whole state means a lot to me and my family. It’s a little different coming out to Philly but I’m still transitioning a little bit.

Roob: What’s been the biggest thing to adjust to in this city?

Gerry: Probably all the traffic, man. That’s one thing they’re not lying about. Philly traffic, it’s the real deal. 

Roob: I still haven’t adjusted. It took me an hour and a half to get down 95 to work yesterday. Now, you actually started as a linebacker in college, right? You started out at linebacker and then moved to safety as a sophomore?

Gerry: I started as a safety, kind of lack of depth. Coach asked me if I could move and I told him I would. So, I guess I could say I started …. but I went through a whole summer playing safety and I got through the transition, but throughout the whole year, my safeties coach was still trying to pull me away and he always told me at the end of the year that I was going to get moved back to safety. It worked out in the long run.

Roob: It did, and you have knowledge of two positions. There’s guys like Malcolm (Jenkins), who’s a safety, but he plays linebacker in some defenses. How has it helped you to have kind of the background of both positions?

Gerry: I think it helps with both run and pass. Safety, you gotta do a little bit of both. And same with linebacker, you gotta do a little bit of both. So being able to know run fits as a linebacker helped me as a safety and vice-versa. Then playing safety helps me as a linebacker with coverages and stuff like that. When I was playing safety, I knew where the linebacker should’ve been. So me playing linebacker, I know where the safeties and stuff are at. So they go hand-in-hand together.

Roob: Now, there’s a lot of people — I think you lost three games in high school, Nebraska has always been a powerhouse. I covered Mike Rougier in high school, great Nebraska running back. So to come here and be a part of what this team is doing, how cool is it to start your pro career — team is 7-1, won six straight and everything is just rolling. It’s a great locker room and a great bunch of guys. How cool is it to start this way?

Gerry: It’s great, It’s like you said, especially being a rookie coming in, there’s a lot of things on your plate. It helps having a lot of wins, but I think a lot of it has to do with the players inside of this locker room and the coaches who brought us all here. I think they did a tremendous job of getting the right people. I think that’s one of the reasons for our success; our locker room, and how close everybody is and how everybody works together. There’s a lot of credit that goes upstairs, too, but we put it together on the field. 

Roob: Well we appreciate a few minutes, Nate Gerry. And by the way, the Penn Relays, the biggest track meet in the world every April in Philadelphia, if you decide to run, if you wanna run the 100m, the 200m, the 4x200m or something, I can get you a spot in there.

Gerry: I’m going to have to save my hamstring after football season. I don’t know if I can get it to do that anymore.

Roob: Probably a good idea. Thanks for your time.

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

USA Today Images

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

On Thursday, before the final practice of the long spring, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked if there were any players lower on the depth chart who have stood out over the last few weeks. 

Pederson started by mentioning some players who came into the league last year. Eventually, he named six guys. 

Let’s take a look at each of them. 

Rashard Davis
The first name to come out of his mouth. Not bad for a first-year player from James Madison. Davis is 5-foot-9, 175. The receiver also has the ability to return, something we’ve seen him do since he’s been with the Eagles. 

Davis was signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago and spent most of the 2017 season on the practice squad. He was signed to a futures deal after the completion of the season. 

At JMU, Davis was a standout receiver and returner, on his way to being named an FCS All-American. Davis returned four punts for touchdowns and had 42 catches for 530 yards and three more touchdowns as a receiver. 

With the Eagles, he faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but they seem to like his versatility. 

Greg Ward
Pederson mentioned Davis and Ward in the same breath and it’s easy to see why. Both are smallish slot receivers who were a part of the same undrafted class. Ward’s story is slightly different though. At 5-11, 186, Ward was a prolific quarterback at the University of Houston but is making the transition to receiver at the NFL level. 

He was signed as an undrafted player last year and spent the season on the Eagles’ practice squad, at times taking over scout-team QB reps to imitate mobile quarterbacks. 

While at Houston, he proved to be a dual threat. He was a good passer, but his legs made him dangerous. This spring, Ward got some run with the first-team offense and the Eagles seemed to like his trick-play potential. This past week, we saw the offense run some trick plays with him, where he became the passer. On one, he even threw the ball to Nick Foles, sort of like the Philly Special. 

Shelton Gibson 
Last year, Gibson was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, but he didn't get to play a ton. He caught just two passes all season and they came in that regular-season finale against the Cowboys. 

But Gibson has looked good this spring (see story). That's a really good sign because he had a terrible spring and terrible summer as a rookie. It was probably in part because he came from a really simple college offense and had to pick up the Eagles' complex scheme. 

This year, he's thinking less and making more plays. 

Rasul Douglas 
It seems a little weird to put Douglas on this list after he was a third-round pick a year ago and then started five games in the Super Bowl season, but he’s buried on the depth chart. 

The thing that hurts Douglas is his body type. He’s strictly an outside cornerback. So while Sidney Jones, De’Vante Bausby and D.J. Killings have gotten first-team reps in the slot, Douglas is planted firmly behind Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby at outside corner. He’s probably behind Jones either way. 

That’s gotta be tough for Douglas, going from starter to being back on the bench. But he’s the perfect example of the depth this team has at the position. Pederson says Douglas has “emerged” this spring. 

Dallas Goedert
It’s no surprise Pederson is bullish on Goedert, whom he said is “going to be a nice fit for us as a tight end.” The rookie from South Dakota State had a great spring. He caught everything and is an athletic specimen. 

There’s a really good chance Goedert can be a monster in the red zone (see story).

Still, a long way to go, and we’ll see what happens when the pads go on, but there’s no reason to think Goedert can’t be a huge contributor as a rookie. 

Aziz Shittu
Probably a name you haven’t heard in a while, but Shittu has stood out as much as any defensive tackle can in non-padded practices. 

Shittu came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2016. But thanks to that stupid college graduation rule he missed all those spring practices. That allowed another undrafted rookie (Destiny Vaeao) to get in front of him and Shittu never recovered. He was brought back to the practice squad in 2016 and then signed a futures contract before last season, but then suffered a knee injury in May and was placed on IR. 

It appears he’s healthy now and is showing some of that burst that made him intriguing to the Eagles in the first place. 

Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings


Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the Eagles' Super Bowl rings. How does it compare to what Barrett got with the Steelers championship winning team in 2006? How will the players spend these coming weeks off? And the guys get you ready for the weekend.

1:00 - Eagles get their rings.
5:00 - Should Gunner and Barrett have gotten rings?
8:30 - What are those parties like?
11:00 - How hard is it to move on from last year and look ahead?
13:00 - This is when Super Bowls are won.
15:00 - Guys get you ready for the weekend with some weird news stories over this week.

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