Eagles

After his younger brother’s success, Marken Michel ready to make a name for himself

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After his younger brother’s success, Marken Michel ready to make a name for himself

As Marken Michel has been clawing to create a football career of his own, he watched as his younger brother went to a college powerhouse, got drafted in the first round of the NFL draft and then became a Super Bowl champion as a rookie. 

That would make a lot of guys jealous. 

Not him. 

“There’s never been a bone of jealousy in that relationship at all,” said Allen Pinder, a close family friend whom Marken and Sony Michel consider an older brother. 

While Sony has found fast success in the NFL, his older brother (by about year and a half) has taken a more circuitous route. 

Marken Michel, 25, went undrafted out of UMass in 2016, spent that summer with the Vikings and then went to the Canadian Football League for the past couple seasons before joining the Eagles in January. 

After an impressive offseason, Sony’s older brother might finally have his own chance to stick in the NFL. 

At the end of the day, I said this my first year when I came out of college,” Marken said last week, “one of us is going to put that last name on an NFL jersey. Whether it’s me or him or both of us. He knows I’m super proud of him. I’m always there with him every step of the way. I’m always going to root for him.

Always competitive

While Marken is a receiver now, he was a quarterback until his junior year of high school. Sony, of course, was the running back, who played varsity football as an eighth-grader. Pinder, 37, doesn’t think that would have happened without older bro watching out for him. 

In fact, Pinder thinks a lot of Sony’s football success can be directly attributed to Marken. 

“Marken pushed Sony and Sony wanted to be like Marken,” Pinder said in a phone call last week to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Marken started off with more success than Sony did and it has kind of driven Sony to be like, ‘I need to get where Marken’s at.’ Marken always fueled Sony. ‘I need to work harder, I need to be better.’”

As you might imagine between two athletic brothers who are a year and a half apart, there was a constant competition between them as they grew up in Florida. They competed in everything. Football, baseball, basketball. 

Marken said they used to have 3-point shootouts at their childhood park. He was asked who is ahead in the all-time tally and he didn’t hesitate. 

“Me,” he said. “Of course.” 

Would Sony corroborate that? 

“He better, or he’ll be lying.” 

The two are wildly competitive but are also best friends. When they talk, it’s rarely about football. But, of course, when Sony played in Super Bowl LIII in February, Marken was there rooting for him. Marken said that Sony knows when he’s watching him play, he better not mess up. 

Sony’s Patriots won Super Bowl LIII, 13-3, over the Rams. Sony had 18 carries for 94 yards and scored the game’s only touchdown. 

“He knew it,” Marken said. “He knew if he didn’t, I would be on him.” 

North of the border

After things didn’t work out for Michel in Minnesota, where Pinder thinks he wasn’t really given a great opportunity, he ended up with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. He was the CFL West Division Rookie of the Year in 2017 and was a part of the Grey Cup-winning team in 2018, although he missed the end of the season with a broken scapula. 

He was bummed to miss the Grey Cup in November but was thrilled his team won. Since he was in OTAs in May, he and linebacker Alex Singleton (who is also on the Eagles’ roster) missed the ring ceremony. Singleton was heading north for the Stampeders first game of the season this past weekend and Michel gave him the job of bringing his ring back to him. 

In two years in the CFL, Michel made a name for himself, catching 72 passes for 1,215 yards and eight touchdowns. He had so much success, it wasn’t easy to leave. 

“I kind of felt like I had a good situation up there in Canada,” Michel said. 

Back to the NFL 

Michel didn’t tell anyone when he signed with the Eagles. His family — Sony and Pinder, included — found out when the Eagles announced it on Twitter. 

Pinder said he knew Michel had a couple workouts, but he didn’t know how they went. When confronted by his brother via text, Michel simply texted back a smiling emoji. 

“I’m real low key,” Michel said. “I don’t like the spotlight.”

But he found it this spring. Michel has emerged as a real contender to steal one of the final roster spots at receiver for the Eagles. In the absence of a few starters at OTAs and minicamp, Michel even got some first-team reps and worked well with Carson Wentz.  

If things don’t pan out with the Eagles, Michel could probably go back to Canada and resume what was already a promising career, but he’s trying not to think about that or anything aside from giving this chance everything he has. 

But he is well aware the Eagles play the Patriots this season. If he makes the team, little brother will be waiting.

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Why Eagles' Sidney Jones could make a big leap this season

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Sidney Jones' first two seasons have been marred by injuries, but NBC Sports Philadelphia's Ray Didinger thinks he could make a big leap this year.

“I still do believe he has the ability to be a starting cornerback in the NFL, and a good one," Didinger says.

Can Jones have a breakthrough season for the Eagles?

Hear why Didinger thinks it could happen in the video above.

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Carson Wentz takes a mighty tumble in NFL Network’s top 100 list

Carson Wentz takes a mighty tumble in NFL Network’s top 100 list

A year after breaking into the top three on the NFL Network’s top 100 list, Carson Wentz took a mighty big tumble this year, coming in at No. 96. 

No, Wentz wasn’t back to his 2017 form last year as he came back from a torn ACL and LCL, but did his play fall off enough to drop him 93 spots? 

Probably not. 

During that 2017 season, Wentz was playing like the league MVP. And while the team didn’t have the same success with him last year, his numbers weren’t that much worse. 

2017: 13 games, 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 60.2 percent, 101.9 passer rating 

2018: 11 games, 3,074 yards, 21 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 69.6 percent, 102.2 passer rating 

Here’s the list of quarterbacks to have passer ratings over 100 in each of the last two seasons: Drew Brees, Jared Goff, Deshaun Watson and Wentz. 

So he was still pretty good in 2018. But, OK, fair enough, he wasn’t the same player as the previous season. Even Wentz has admitted as much. And the team was 11-2 with him in 2017 and just 5-6 last season. That surely played a role. 

In the Wentz video on NFLN, we hear from Luke Kuechly, Najee Goode and Mike Daniels: 

We can’t compare Wentz to the quarterbacks higher on the list because he was the only QB revealed on Monday night in the countdown from 100-91, but he is the 15th-ranked QB on the list. He won’t be the worst QB on the whole list.  

Ranking players regardless of position is hard and this is about as inexact a science as there is. While it is true that players vote on the top 100 list, it’s not like it’s done with great reverence. A lot of guys vote for their friends, teammates or college teammates. But there are some players who take it seriously and put a good amount of thought into it. And, whatever, it’s fun. 

Here’s a look at the first 10 on the list: 

I’d expect there are a few more Eagles to come. Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins were on the list last year, although Jenkins was at 96, so he’d need to move up to make it again this season. 



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