Eagles

Eagles mailbag: 1 open practice, breakout player, Mack Hollins

Eagles mailbag: 1 open practice, breakout player, Mack Hollins

We have officially entered the NFL’s dead period. It’s really one of the only times during the year when there’s not much NFL action. Sure, there are some signings and some news breaks, but teams are off until training camps begin. 

The Eagles will report to training camp on July 24 before their first practice on July 25. 

With some time to spare, let’s answer your questions: 

https://twitter.com/Snydz777/status/1141719185615142914

First, I want to make sure everyone knows I do not run the Philadelphia Eagles and this was not MY decision. Because if I ran the Eagles, there’s no way I’d do this. 

If you haven’t heard, the Eagles will have just one open training camp practice for fans at the Linc this summer. They are charging $10 per ticket and that money goes to the Eagles Autism Challenge, which is an absolutely great cause. But this isn’t the way to raise money for that great cause. 

I totally understand the outrage and frustration for fans. For me, the biggest issue isn’t the $10, it’s limiting the amount of open practices. It wasn’t that long ago that you could watch nearly 20 practices for free at Lehigh and the first year they held camp back in Philly, they still at least had four. To have one open practice is just unforgivable. It’s hard to get to an NFL game and it’s equally as hard to pay for it. So training camp has offered a way for fans to get close to their favorite football team for decades. How many people do you know who have a special story from Lehigh or West Chester? I get those days are long gone and I understand why. The positives of having camp at your own facilities outweigh the positives of the team-bonding experience away from the city. 

But why can’t the Eagles at least have one more open practice? We haven’t gotten a good reason yet. 

My biggest issue with the news is the limited access, but the $10 isn’t great either. I know it’s for charity, but a free family event has now turned into something that will cost over $50 for a family of five. It’s so hard for families to afford anything involved with the NFL and training camp was, to me, kind of like a sacred thing. It sort of feels like the Eagles knew they wouldn’t face as much backlash by making it for charity, but this still isn’t right. 

I don’t believe Gibson’s injury is serious. He was healthy enough to watch practice on the sideline and didn’t appear to be very hurt. I’d expect him to be ready for training camp. 

But has he really made great strides? I haven’t seen that. I know he had a good spring and summer last year, but that success didn’t really translate into the season in 2018. He had one catch last year. It was a 48-yarder, but just one. In his first two years, he has three catches for 59 yards. That’s almost nonexistent offensive production. And think about how desperately the Eagles needed a deep threat last year after Mike Wallace went down early. And still, Gibson played double digits in snaps just once all season. 

The biggest thing Gibson has going for him is his ability as a gunner on special teams. He’s been able to carve out a niche there, but he’s definitely fighting for a roster spot this summer. I don’t think he has one locked up. 

He is! And I captured proof during minicamp! 

I guess I’ll use this space to talk about Hollins. It was a good sign to see Hollins return to practice, even if he was just limited during minicamp. If he is trending the right way, he’ll be able to be a full participant at camp and then theoretically make the roster as the fifth receiver. He needs to stay healthy, but that should be his job to lose. Unlike Gibson, we’ve actually seen Hollins have some success. He had 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown as a rookie and it’s a shame he lost his entire second season. Aside from his ability as a receiver, he’s a good special teamer, which is important for those last couple receivers on the depth chart. 

Hollins hasn’t talked to reporters — at least in an official capacity — since about a week before the 2018 season, when he said he was ready to go. Then he missed the entire season. The mystery around his injuries has made his name a joke over the last year and that’s a shame too, because if he can stay healthy, I think he could have a role on this team. 

My pick is Derek Barnett. And the Eagles could really use it. 

One thing we know is as long as Barnett is healthy, he’s going to have a ton of opportunity. He’s going to be a starter and with the addition of Malik Jackson as a pass-rushing DT and the loss of Chris Long and Michael Bennett, it looks like Barnett could really be a three-down player. 

I actually think there was a good chance Barnett was on his way to a breakout season last year before injury. His stats don’t look great; he had just 2 1/2 sacks in six games, but he suffered his shoulder injury in the Tennessee game and tried to play through it in the next two games. So, really, he had 2 1/2 sacks in his first four games. Actually, he had 2 1/2 sacks in back-to-back games against the Colts and Titans, so it seemed like he was getting hot. It’s Year 3 for Barnett in 2019 and the Eagles are expecting — and really need — him to have a big season. 

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Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

The timing is a coincidence. But it's a fascinating coincidence.

On Thursday afternoon, just days after Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was condemned by the team for sharing "appalling" social media posts citing quotes he thought were from Hitler, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s new film production company announced the completion of a documentary, “The Meaning of Hitler.”

A release from Cinetic Media and Play/Action Pictures, a documentary film production company founded by Lurie, described the movie as “a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism, and the weaponization of history itself.”

The movie has been in production for three years, the announcement of the film was planned several weeks ago, and the timing is a total coincidence. 

But the fact that Lurie, who is Jewish, has been working on this project for several years does give us an idea of how important this topic is to him and gives us a sense of how hurtful Jackson’s actions must have been to him.

The film is based on the award-winning 1978 book, “The Meaning of Hitler,” by Raimund Pretzel, who wrote under the pseudonym Sebastien Haffner. The book won several international awards, including the Wingate Literary Prize.

Lurie is listed as co-executive producer of the film along with Marie Therese Guirgis, who won the 2018 DuPont Award for Documentary Feature for On Her Shoulders.

Before he bought the Eagles in 1994, Lurie produced several movies, including Sweet Hearts Dance, I Love you to Death and V.I. Warshawksi. He’s won two Academy Awards - one as executive producer of Inside Job, which won Best Documentary in 2011, and another as executive producer of Inocente, which won Best Documentary Short Film in 2013.

According to the release from Lurie’s production company, the film took three years to produce and was filmed in nine countries. It was directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, who produced a series of acclaimed documentaries about the Iraqi war, and features contributions from numerous noted historians.

“As fears of authoritarianism and fascism now abound, the film explores the myths and misconceptions of our understanding of the past, and the difficult process of coming to terms with it at a time in our history when it seems more urgent than ever,” the release states.

“We couldn't be prouder that The Meaning of Hitler is the first completed film made by our new documentary production company, Play/Action Pictures,” Lurie said in a statement. “I envisioned Play/Action to be a leading creative force for films that engage with the most crucial and challenging issues of our time. The rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism in the United States and the world over are among the most important and serious threats we face today."

Lurie’s company is currently working on three other documentaries, including “Black Woodstock,” directed by Philly native Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), an author, movie producer and drummer in the Roots.

The press release from Lurie’s production company does not mention Jackson.

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NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.

But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.

The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:

Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.

If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.

Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.

Probably because there isn't one.

These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.

A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:

And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:

Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:

The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.

That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players. 

We'll see if it lasts an entire season.

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