Eagles

Ajayi accomplishes something McCoy, Westbrook never did as Eagles

ap-jay-ajayi-eagles.jpg
AP Images

Ajayi accomplishes something McCoy, Westbrook never did as Eagles

Through three games with the Eagles, Jay Ajayi has just 20 carries. 

To put that in perspective, before the trade to Philly this season, he had four individual games in Miami with more carries. 

Ajayi had just five rushing attempts in Sunday's 31-3 win over the Bears (see Roob's observations)

"It's coach's call," Ajayi said Sunday night about the distribution. "Take advantage of the opportunities when you get them."

Ajayi didn't have a great afternoon against the Bears. He had minus-4 yards rushing until a 30-yarder early in the fourth quarter. And on the tail end of that 30-yarder, he fumbled the ball away. Luckily for the Eagles, Nelson Agholor was there to fall on it (see story)

While Ajayi got just five carries, LeGarrette Blount got 15 carries for 97 yards. 

Why was he the back of choice Sunday? 

"Well, again, a lot of it came down to the style of defense the Bears ran this afternoon," head coach Doug Pederson said. "They got into a little bit of a five-man front with a five-down, really a sixth guy being the linebacker. We had several run schemes again in the game plan like we normally do, and the ones were a little more conducive for him to run sort of downhill at them and attack them that way, so he was obviously the back of choice."

Even with his struggles Sunday, Ajayi did something pretty amazing. He had a 30-yard run for the third straight game. That's something LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook and Duce Staley never did in an Eagles uniform. 

And Ajayi has done it in his first three games with the Eagles. 

Ajayi clearly has some burst. It's shown several times this season. But on several occasions Sunday, it looks like he might have been trying to do too much instead of taking an easy gain. When asked in the locker room if that was the case, Ajayi simply said, "nope." 

Ajayi said it's exciting to be on a team this good, that he's never been on a team like this.

But is he OK with his workload? 

"I just run the plays that coaches call," he said. "I'm happy we're winning. Let's keep it going."

When do players know their football days are over?

us_brady.jpg
USA Today Images

When do players know their football days are over?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Father's Day weekend. What kind of basketball parent is Barrett? The guys give their 53-man roster after spring practices. Tom Brady says he can feel his playing days are getting numbered. When do players first start realizing that the end is near and what makes that reality most difficult? Also, how should the Giants handle Odell Beckham Jr's contract situation?

"I think that Saquon [Barkley] is going to be better than [Zeke] Elliott." -- Barrett Brooks.

1:00 - What kind of basketball parent is Barrett?
3:00 - Father's Day weekend recap.
5:00 - Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices.
15:30 - Tom Brady tells Oprah the end is near... When do players start seeing that reality?
20:00 - The hardest part about having to say goodbye to football.
23:00 - Odell Beckham's contract situation.

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

More on the Eagles