Eagles

After 2 days of joint practices, Ravens understand hype around Eagles’ offense

After 2 days of joint practices, Ravens understand hype around Eagles’ offense

There’s been a ton of buzz around Carson Wentz’s upcoming season. Plenty of national talking heads have even picked him as an MVP candidate.

All-Pro safety Earl Thomas III understands the hype.

After admitting it was tough to get a truly great read on Wentz after just two Eagles-Ravens joint practices this week, the 30-year-old six-time Pro Bowl safety offered this:

I would tell you, in this league there’s a small pool of guys that you would classify at an elite level,” Thomas said to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “And I think he’s definitely in that pool.

Thomas is a no-nonsense, speak-the-truth kind of guy. So if he’s saying this about Wentz, you can probably take him for his word. And in a controlled practice like this, Wentz wasn’t even making the off-schedule plays that have largely defined his success in the NFL.

Still, for two days, Wentz and the Eagles’ offense had a spirited clash against a Ravens’ defense that was No. 1 in the league last season and boasted a very strong secondary before adding Thomas. Over those two practices, Wentz won some battles and the Ravens won some battles.

But a few Ravens defensive backs got on the bus Tuesday wholly impressed by the offense they faced at the NovaCare Complex.

“That’s a potent offense that has some big-time playmakers,” nine-year vet Jimmy Smith said. “It was good to get out there and practice against them.”

The Eagles have no shortage of offensive weapons this season and Dallas Goedert wasn’t even on the field for these two practices as he recovers from a calf injury.

But having Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor on the field is enough of a handful. And after hearing all those names, Thomas quickly interjected that Darren Sproles (even at 36 years old) is still a matchup problem too.

Trying to cover everyone is pretty difficult.

“Yeah, it kind of makes it tough to game plan,” fellow starting corner Marlon Humphrey said. “Every team just about has a guy you want to double, but when you kinda got two or three guys you could double, it makes things a little bit tougher.”

What also makes this group of Eagles’ receivers so difficult is that they’re all so complementary.

• Jeffery is the big-bodied veteran who uses that body to catch 50-50 balls

• Agholor is the shiftiest of the bunch but has lightning speed too

• Jackson is the deep-threat who takes the top off the defense

And Pederson lines them up everywhere. Each of those three receivers lines up inside and outside at times. Imagine facing Alshon on one play and DeSean on the next; that’s tough.

“I don’t think I’ve really seen a guy like DeSean Jackson,” said Humphrey, a former first-round pick entering Year 3. “I noticed it yesterday and then I watched it on film. He kind of just glides over the ground. I knew he was fast, but I didn’t know he was that quick at the line. To be [entering his 12th season], he’s pretty fast. Some good work.

“The best thing for me was I got a chance to go against a big guy like Alshon Jeffery, who if he gets any sort of separation it’s usually a catch and really good speed too. And against an MVP-caliber quarterback. Really good opportunity to work for us.”

It was also a good opportunity for us to find out what we already suspected. This Eagles’ offense could be pretty good.

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Stephen Jackson says the Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson after Instagram posts

Stephen Jackson says the Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson after Instagram posts

After DeSean Jackson made anti-Semitic Instagram posts quoting Adolf Hitler and Louis Farrakhan, the Eagles released a statement calling the wide receiver's posts 'absolutely appalling' and promising 'approporiate action'.

Whether the posts will ultimately cost Jackson his job with the Eagles is unclear, but according to former NBA player Stephen Jackson, it may have been presented as a possibility.

In one of many statements Wednesday defending the 33-year-old wide receiver, Stephen Jackson claimed that DeSean Jackson called him and said the Eagles threatened to cut him:

I didn't support the post, as far as Hitler and him supporting Hitler. I don't know support Hitler, I don't know nothing about Hitler, and I could give a f**k about Hitler. All I know is he was a cruel guy. I don't stand for that, and I don't support it. My whole reason for supporting D-Jack was, before I got on Instagram, he called me on the phone and told me that they was threatening to fire him, but they didn't do that to [Riley] Cooper. And I was like, 'You're right, you shouldn't have to apologize if they didn't make him apologize.

The Eagles did in fact punish wide receiver Riley Cooper in 2013 after he was filmed shouting the n-word at a country music concert, fining him an undisclosed amount of money. The team also condemned Cooper's comments in a public statement, as they did with DeSean Jackson's comments.

Cooper was not released for his comments, however, and was signed to a five-year extension in 2014. Cooper was released in 2016.

You can watch the full Stephen Jackson video below:

Stephen Jackson also said in a different post, which has since been deleted, that DeSean Jackson was "speaking the truth" in the posts.

In one of the original Instagram posts, DeSean Jackson highlighted a quote, which was incorrectly attributed to Hitler:

The white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were. The white citizens of America will be terrified to know that all this time they’ve been mistreating and discriminating and lynching the Children of Israel.

DeSean Jackson also posted a clip from a speech Farrakhan made in Chicago on July 4 where he alleged that White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were plotting to use a virus vaccine to "depopulate the Earth." 

Farrakhan is a noted anti-Semite and homophobe who was among several prominent people whose posts were banned 

DeSean Jackson apologized publicly multiple times on Tuesday for his posts and comments, and also reportedly spoke with and apologized to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, both of whom are Jewish.

The Eagles signed DeSean Jackson to a three-year, $27 million deal in March 2019.

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The Eagles all-time team: Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, Tommy McDonald make the cut

The Eagles all-time team: Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, Tommy McDonald make the cut

Over the next few weeks, we'll be unveiling our all-time Eagles team. 

We enlisted the help of Eagles reporters Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro, Quick Slants hosts Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks and Quick Slants producer Mike Mulhern for voting. 

We asked each person to rank their top five players at 16 different positions. A 1st-place vote was worth five points, a 2nd-place vote was worth four, and so on. 

Up next: Wide Receiver

Complete voting

1. Harold Carmichael = 23
2. Mike Quick = 16
3. Tommy McDonald = 15
4. DeSean Jackson = 13
5. Terrell Owens = 8 

The breakdown
New Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael got three 1st-place votes and Mike Quick and Tommy McDonald each got one. Harold was 2nd on the two ballots where he wasn’t first, and Quick got a 2nd-place vote, a 3rd-place vote and two 4th-place votes in addition to the one 1st-place vote. McDonald got the other 1st-place vote along with two 3rd-place votes and two 4th-place. DeSean Jackson got a 2nd, two 3rds and two 4ths. T.O. was as high as 2nd on one ballot and 4th on all four others. Interesting that the same five WRs were listed on all five ballots.

Did we get it right?
It’s tough comparing eras, but McDonald was the best in the business in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Carmichael was the best in the league from the early 1970s through the early 1980s and Quick was as good as anybody in the NFL from 1983 through 1987. So it really comes down to who did it the longest and most consistently, and that's Carmichael. From 1973 through 1983 — a span of 11 years — nobody had as many receiving yards or touchdowns. There’s a good reason he’s going into the Hall of Fame next summer. On our team, we’re coming out in a three-receiver set, and Carmichael, Quick and McDonald are clearly the top three in franchise history.
 
Complete team so far:
QB: Donovan McNabb 
RB: LeSean McCoy
WR: Harold Carmichael
WR: Mike Quick
WR: Tommy McDonald

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