Eagles

Cre’Von LeBlanc ready to return to Eagles and fill this role

Cre’Von LeBlanc ready to return to Eagles and fill this role

When the Eagles get back to practice on Wednesday, cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc will join them for the first time this season.

The Eagles on Tuesday afternoon activated LeBlanc’s 21-day practice window, signaling an upcoming return from Injured Reserve. 

LeBlanc, 25, hurt his foot early in training camp and has been on IR for the entire season until this point. He’s not on the 53-man roster yet, but the Eagles have an open roster spot that could go to him later in the week. 

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said they’ll need to get LeBlanc back at practice and see where he’s at physically first. 

“It’ll be nice to have him back,” Schwartz said. “He was an important member of our defense last year and we certainly have roles that he can fill.”

Presumably, LeBlanc will fill the backup nickel cornerback role behind Avonte Maddox, but Schwartz can find other ways to get him involved. In recent weeks, the Eagles have used two versions of their dime package: one with three safeties and one with four corners. 

With Maddox’s flexibility, the Eagles could probably use both of them on the field at the same time in the dime package. Maddox has previously played a safety role and could do it again, giving the Eagles their best group of defensive backs. 

Each team gets to bring back two players from IR each season as long as they serve at least eight weeks. LeBlanc is well over that and he’ll be the first returning player for the Eagles this year. Jordan Mailata is also eligible to return, but perhaps the Eagles are holding out hope DeSean Jackson could return in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

The Eagles claimed LeBlanc off waivers last Nov. 5 and he eventually helped solidify a decimated secondary for the playoff run. He signed a one-year extension on Sept. 2. 

While the Eagles’ secondary is much healthier than it’s been in a long time right now, they’ll certainly welcome back another piece. And Schwartz will find a role for him. 

“We’ll take it one day at a time,” Schwartz said. “See what he looks like physically. He’s only been working on the side with trainers. He hasn’t been out with, not only position coaches, but against other players. We need to see what he looks like that way. If he looks good, we’ll get him back into the swing as quick as we can.”

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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