Eagles mailbag: What’s the most exciting training camp battle?

Eagles mailbag: What’s the most exciting training camp battle?

We’re now into the portion of the calendar year where the NFL is normally quiet. By this time every year, minicamps are over and teams are gearing up for training camps to begin in late July. 

This year isn’t any different. But it’s also completely different. 

Hopefully we’ll be getting ready for training camp in a month. 

Until then, let’s get to your Eagles questions: 

I’ll start by saying there will be plenty of training camp battles. The right guard spot will be interesting to watch with the injury to Brandon Brooks. And linebacker will see new faces fighting for spots. 

But the competition I’m most looking forward to is at CB2 between Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones. 

With Darius Slay at CB1, teams will likely be eager to challenge the corner who lines up opposite him. 

While it seems like Maddox is the frontrunner, I’m still not ready to give up on Jones. And as long as he’s on the roster, there’s going to be some hope that he can finally live up to the potential he had when the Eagles gambled by using a second-round pick on him back in 2017. 

No, Jones hasn’t had a very good NFL career and if it ended today, there’s no question that he’d be considered a bust. But Jones has been working hard in the offseason and is more confident than ever. That confidence is likely fueled by several big and clutch plays he made last season. 

That said, Jim Schwartz really likes Maddox, who was a 4th-round pick back in 2018. Maddox’s best position seems like nickel corner but the Eagles have Nickell Robey-Coleman and Cre’Von LeBlanc so Maddox will play outside. 

At just 5-foot-9, he doesn’t have the typical size of an NFL corner but guys at his height have had successful careers and the Eagles don’t seem to care. 

Because there were no spring OTAs or minicamps, Maddox probably has an even bigger edge. My guess is that this spring the Eagles would have rotated the two at the position opposite Slay. Without the spring, Jones will have less of a chance to wrestle away this starting job. But the Eagles would still love nothing more than Jones finally looking like a first-round talent. 

Nah, Howie is still really good at this. And he has fixed the cap situation enough in the last five years to build a winner. The Eagles have made the playoffs three years straight. 

They’re not all going to be hits. So if you look at some individual moves, there are bad ones. None have been worse than the decision to guarantee Alshon Jeffery’s contract in 2020. Roseman did that to free up some cap space last year and I’d bet even he would admit now that it was obviously a mistake. 

But what makes Roseman and the Eagles so good at managing the cap is how they do it over a long period of time. None of this is to take anything away from Joe Banner, because it’s true that the Eagles still use plenty of his tricks in current day. Among them is the idea of re-signing your own players before they can smell free agency. 

But there are other examples of Roseman’s cap wizardry as well. One of my favorite tricks they’ve been using in recent seasons is one to add dummy years to the end of contracts to spread out salary cap hits. They just used it this offseason when they signed Javon Hargrave. 

Hargrave signed a three-year, $39 million contract with a signing bonus but technically it’s a five-year contract in which the final two years void automatically. Why would the Eagles do that? Well, because they can spread out his prorated signing bonus cap hit over five years instead of three. Sure, it leaves dead money when the three years are up, but the idea is that in future years, the cap will continue to rise and the Eagles will be in a better situation to handle it. 

Roob does love Lehigh. Let’s figure this out. We have 14 weeks before the scheduled start of the 2020 season. We typically do two podcasts per week, but we’ll probably miss a few in the summer. So let’s count on around 24 podcast episodes before the opener. So we need him to say Lehigh at a clip of just above once per episode. Once we get to training camp at the NovaCare Complex, it’s going to come up a lot. 

I’m hammering the over. 

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Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

He said he would never do it.

"We'll never change the name of the team," Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. Never. You can use caps."

Now, amid an increased national focus on racism and social justice and mounting pressure from million-dollar sponsors, his tune has suddenly changed.

The Redskins' owner said in a statement Friday that the franchise will review the team's name, seen by many as racist and offensive to Native Americans and others.

Protests against the Redskins' name and logo have been ongoing for decades, but when companies like FedEx and Nike join those protests, things can change very quickly.

Considering the growing pressure now on the franchise, it would be surprising at this point if the franchise elects not to change its name.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the statement read. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has consistently supported Snyder's decision to keep the team name, released a statement saying only, "In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step."

FedEx, which paid $205 million for the naming rights for the Redskins' stadium in 1998, asked the Redskins earlier Friday to change the team name. And Nike, the NFL's official uniform supplier, on Thursday removed all Redskins gear from its website while continuing to allow customers to order merchandise from all 31 other teams.

In the statement released by the team, Snyder said: "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field."

First-year Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, a former Eagles assistant coach and one of three Latin American head coaches in NFL history, indicated in the statement that he favors a name change.

"This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military."

The team's current name dates back 87 years.

The NFL Boston Braves franchise was founded in 1932 and one year later moved to Fenway Park, which it shared with the baseball franchise of the same name. To avoid confusion, owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to Redskins. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937 and kept the name.

Marshall, who owned the franchise until his death in 1969, refused to allow black players on the roster until 1962, which made the team the last in the NFL to integrate. 

Not until U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy threatened to rescind the team's lease at city-owned RFK Stadium did Marshall finally allow the team's roster to be integrated.

Last month, team officials removed Marshall's name from the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedEx Field, and a statue of Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium by city officials after it was vandalized.

Protests against sports teams and logos perpetuating stereotypes of Native Americans and their culture have grown more widespread in recent years but have been held for decades.

In 1991 — nearly 30 years ago — there were organized protests against the Atlanta Braves and Redskins over their team names and logos, according to an Associated Press story. The story quoted Clyde Bellecourt, director of a group called the American Indian Movement, which organized protests outside Braves and Redskins games.

"It's a racist term," Bellecourt told the AP in October of 1991. "We're not thin-skinned, this just makes a mockery of uses a people and of our culture."

And now, it looks like the franchise is finally going to do something about it.

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