Eagles

Eagles mailbag: Biggest 2019 concern, rookie of the year, LBs

Eagles mailbag: Biggest 2019 concern, rookie of the year, LBs

I answered half of your questions yesterday and saved the rest for today. 

The first batch were about Shelton Gibson, Mack Hollins, training camp and I picked a candidate to have a breakout season.

Let’s get to the rest right now: 

I’m tempted to say the health concerns about the offensive line, but instead I’m going on defense to the defensive end position. In my last mailbag, I picked Derek Barnett as a breakout candidate for 2019, but even if he does break out, the Eagles don’t have great depth at the position. They started last season with these top four defensive ends: Brandon Graham, Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long. This year, their top four are probably: Graham, Barnett, Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat/Shareef Miller. That could be a problem. 

At least the Eagles now have much better depth at defensive tackle with Malik Jackson and a presumably healthy Tim Jernigan. But will that be enough to cover of the deficiency of depth at edge rusher? Not sure. 

I’ll make the safest bet here and say Miles Sanders. I don’t like that Sanders was forced to miss the entire spring with an injury, but among all the rookies, he has the best chance to get significant playing time. Andre Dillard won’t play unless Jason Peters gets hurt. JJ Arcega-Whiteside is behind three very talented receivers. Shareef Miller has room to grow. And Clayton Thorson won’t play. Maybe there’s an undrafted guy who carves out a role, but we know Sanders is going to play and be a complementary player with Jordan Howard and Corey Clement. In fact, I still think Sanders can have a big year as long as he can stay healthy during training camp. 

I think they’re doing it to give themselves flexibility. If a team were to trade for Halapoulivaati Vaitai, they’d do it because they think he can play tackle, not because he learned how to play guard. And based on the spring, it seems like the Eagles are preparing Vaitai to play right guard if Brandon Brooks isn’t ready for Week 1. Doug Pederson even mentioned the importance of Lane Johnson learning how to play next to Big V; that comment wasn’t lost on me. Ultimately, I think the versatility can only help Vaitai and it might help extend his career. 

It’ll be Kamu Grugier-Hill. He played 32 percent of defensive snaps last season and I think he can handle even more this season. I thought he played well when he got the chance last year and he’s in line to have a big role in the defense this year. Zach Brown is kind of playing catch-up as he learns the defense. He’ll play in base defense, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Nigel Bradham and KGH on the field in nickel situations. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

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.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

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.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles