Braxton Miller's stay on Eagles' practice squad likely to be a short one

Braxton Miller's stay on Eagles' practice squad likely to be a short one

Braxton Miller is on the Eagles’ practice squad.

He most likely won't be for long.

This is a typical Howie Roseman move. Bring in a kid with tons of upside who didn't pan out in his previous NFL stop, sign him to the practice squad, let the coaches take a good look at him for a few weeks, then either move on to the next guy or promote him to the 53-man roster.

The Eagles on Monday morning formally announced what was revealed over the weekend, that they had added the former two-time Big Ten Player of the Year to their practice squad.

Miller, who converted from quarterback to receiver his last year at Ohio State, was released last month after two largely disappointing seasons with the Texans.

The Eagles need help at receiver. They need some firepower. 

Maybe Miller isn’t the answer, but he said one of the reasons he came here was because of a sense that of all the teams he spoke with, the Eagles offered the best chance at a quick jump to the 53-man roster.

“It came down to what’s the best opportunity for me,” Miller said after practice Monday. “Start here and work my way up. Compete and show what I can do.”

Miller is an intriguing prospect and definitely worth taking a look.

He’s 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he can run, he can catch, he can throw. It just remains to be seen if he can do those things on the NFL level.

“I love this type of scheme, everybody making plays,” he said. “Just trying to show them I’m on top of my game. Keep working hard and fitting in with the guys who are already here. Anything the coaches want me to do, I’ll do it.”

Miller was the Texans’ third-round pick in 2016 but was just 15 for 99 receiving as a rookie and 19 for 162 last year. 

Other than a 57-yard catch from Tom Savage against the Titans last December, he didn’t catch a pass of 20 yards or more in his two seasons in Houston.

He was released Sept. 1 and has been back home in Columbus, Ohio, since, figuring out his next step.

“It’s been up and down,” Miller said of his time with the Texans. “I had good moments and bad moments. Everything’s a process, so I’m just hoping for the best. Just compete and have fun doing it. That’s the thing. Get back to having fun doing it and being around a group of guys who have fun doing it.

“It’s a fresh start. Different scheme, different offense, different culture. The love that I got when I came here first day is great. I can tell everybody plays for each other, and that’s what I like.”

The Eagles, who got just 43 receiving yards from the wide receiver spot in their win over the Falcons Thursday night, also added receivers Reggie Davis and Dorren Miller to their practice squad Monday.

Davis, who played at Georgia, was with the Falcons this summer and Miller was with the Jaguars. 

It’s got to be a little humbling for a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy finalist to be on a practice squad, where he'll earn about $8,000 a week after earning $1.7 million the last two years in Houston.

You’d think.

Miller smiles and shakes his head when asked about that.

“I’m good,” he said. “As long as I’m on a team right now playing ball and showcasing my talents, it’s a great opportunity and being coached by one of the best. Just happy to be here, go out and compete and have fun.

“I always keep a smile on my face, always be happy because I’m just blessed to be here. Blessed to be playing football and being healthy. I got a son at home who keeps me happy so I can’t be down too much.

“It’s all part of the journey. It’s a process. Don’t feel like I’m on the practice squad. Feel like I’m free, playing football, being happy, having fun.”

Some guys stay on the practice squad for a year or even longer.

You get the feeling that won't be the case with Miller. This isn't a 22- or 23-year-old kid the Eagles want to take time developing.

He's a third-year pro, 25 years old, a former third-round pick.

This is no long-range project.

The Eagles should know soon whether he's going to be a part of their future or just another big-name guy who's not cut out for the NFL.

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Source: Eagles do right by Nick Foles, give him $1 million bonus

Source: Eagles do right by Nick Foles, give him $1 million bonus

The Eagles are doing right by Nick Foles at least one more time. 

Remember when Foles got knocked out of the Eagles’ Week 17 game against the Redskins and finished just a few snaps shy of reaching a $1 million bonus? 

Well, the Eagles gave it to him anyway. 

A league source confirmed an ESPN report Saturday that the Eagles dished out the $1 million to Foles despite him coming a few snaps shy of earning it naturally. 

Thanks to getting knocked out of that Washington game, Foles finished the regular season with 357 offensive snaps out of 1,092 — 32.629 percent. He needed to get to 33 percent to earn that bonus. Normally in these cases, there’s no rounding up. 

This is not a normal case. 

Because after Foles left the Week 17 game, he came back the next week and led the Eagles to a win over the Bears in Chicago in the wild-card round and played the following week in the divisional round. In the last two years, Foles has a 4-1 record in the playoffs for the Birds. 

This is a nice gesture but it doesn’t change anything about Foles’ future. The Eagles are still tying themselves to Carson Wentz long term, which means it’s still likely Foles will be moving on, either as a free agent or through a trade. We explored all those possibilities here.

During the Eagles’ year-end press conference earlier this week, I asked Howie Roseman about how much they have to factor in Foles’ thoughts and feelings when making a decision: 

It’s always gotta be what’s best for our football team and the Philadelphia Eagles. We gotta make decisions based on that. But there’s also a respect factor for guys that have done a lot for us and have been a part of it. We try to factor that in as well. The bottom line is we gotta do what’s best for our football team to win games going forward.

It seems like we’re seeing some of that respect factor with the move to give Foles the $1 million he fell just short of earning naturally. In the Eagles’ eyes, he clearly deserves this bump, sort of like how he deserved a new contract before the 2018 season after his postseason heroics. 

The Eagles have to do what’s best for the team, but they don’t want to burn any bridges with a Super Bowl hero along the way either.

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Derrick Gunn's predictions for AFC and NFC Championship Games

Derrick Gunn's predictions for AFC and NFC Championship Games

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn gives his predictions for the championship round of the NFL playoffs.

Rams at Saints (NFC Championship, Sunday, 3:05 p.m., FOX)
And so the top two seeds in the NFC get another shot at each other. If this one is anything like their regular-season meeting in Week 9, it should be quite the shootout.

In that regular-season affair, the two teams combined for 80 points, 970 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Saints won their seventh straight game while the Rams were dealt their first loss.

With the late-season addition of running back C.J. Anderson, the Rams ran through the Cowboys' defense for 273 yards last weekend. Meanwhile, the Saints came out sluggish against the Eagles, finally woke up and held on to get to this point.

In 2017, both teams exited the playoffs sooner than they were expecting. This time, the Rams' road to the Super Bowl ends in New Orleans.

Patriots at Chiefs (AFC Championship, Sunday, 6:40 p.m., CBS)
The Patriots are like a chameleon. They adapt to their environment on both sides of the ball better than any team in the league. You don’t know what defensive front they’re going to play week to week, and on offense, when you expect them to run, they pass. Prepare to defend their passing attack and they'll run the ball. Back in Week 6, the Pats survived a 43-40 shootout.

But that was in New England. This time, the rematch is at Arrowhead Stadium, arguably the loudest football venue in the league. The Chiefs haven’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1969 season. They haven’t been in the AFC title game since 1993. It's the GOAT, Tom Brady, vs. the new kid on the block in Patrick Mahomes, and he is electric.

This is Andy Reid's fourth straight year that he’s gotten Kansas City in the playoffs. This time, Reid and his crew dance their way into Super Bowl LIII.

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