Eagles' new 'wrecking ball' Genard Avery ready to go after QBs

Eagles' new 'wrecking ball' Genard Avery ready to go after QBs

The newest Eagle calls himself “a monster on the field” and “a wrecking ball.”

Meet Genard Avery, who the Eagles acquired from the Browns Monday in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round draft pick.

At 6-foot, 250 pounds, he sure doesn’t look like a defensive end. In fact, when he plays for the Eagles, he’ll become the shortest defensive end in franchise history, a distinction currently held by a handful of 6-1 guys, most recently Darryl Tapp in 2010 and 2011.

Guess what he says to that: “Size is not on the stat sheet when you get sacks.”

If he can produce, who cares how tall he is.

“You can’t play their game,” the similarly built but slightly taller Brandon Graham said. “You can’t play the big-boy game. Sometimes you’ve got to set them up with speed and get them off-balance a little bit. But he’s doing a good job from what I can see so far.”

Avery had 4 1/2 sacks as an outside linebacker with the Browns last year, then became a forgotten man in Cleveland this year, getting just five snaps on defense before the Browns unloaded him.

Avery didn’t want to talk about Cleveland: “I’m focused on the Bears, man. Focused on my opportunity here.”

Can’t blame him. Who would want to talk about being part of that franchise?

“He got a motor though, for real,” Graham said after practice Wednesday. “I told him, 'Man, you’re motivating me to go out there and make sure I get to this ball and make sure I keep doing it.' Because he can do it, I gotta make sure I do it. Can’t have somebody come in here and show you how to practice. Supposed to be the other way around. He’s just exciting. He’s got a shot, you know? He looks good already. I just want to see how well we work well together. If you’re going to help us, we’re going to help each other.”

Avery was originally the Browns’ fifth-round pick in 2018. He averaged 42 defensive snaps per game last year before falling out of favor this year.

“He is strong,” Jim Schwartz said, “He's not the tallest guy in the world, but he is sort of thick and strong, and Brandon Graham is sort of the same way. He's not quite as heavy as Brandon, but the way we play those edges I think he can be successful in our run defense as well as pass. … We're excited to have him, and he's done some good things pass rushing and we'll try to get him up to speed as quick as we can.”

Avery said he’s already in the gameplan for the Eagles’ game against the Bears Sunday at the Linc.

At whose expense?

Graham has five sacks, all in the last four games, and Derek Barnett has 3 1/2, all in the last five games.

But Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry have one apiece — one fewer than Orlando Scandrick — and Shareef Miller hasn’t played.

Will be interesting to see who's active, who's inactive, who's part of the rotation.

The Eagles had 10 sacks against the hapless Jets but they have just 11 in their seven other games.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Avery said. “They love me here. … They welcomed me with open arms. Do what I can and take advantage of my opportunity. … It’s a winning organization. I’m ready to win.”

Avery is the first defensive player the Eagles have acquired at the trade deadline since 2009, when they shipped wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a 5th-round pick to the Rams for linebacker Will Witherspoon.

The Eagle most familiar with Avery is kicker Jake Elliott, his teammate at Memphis from 2014 through 2016.

“He’s going to go get the ball, I’ll tell you that,” Elliott said. “Quick twitch, fast dude, big powerful guy, gets off the ball, always the strongest guy in the weight room, and it shows on the field. I don’t really know what happened in Cleveland, but I know he’s happy to be here.”

Avery’s favorite moment during his brief stint with the Browns?

He strip-sacked Nick Foles in a preseason game last summer.
“It was a highlight of my (time) in Cleveland.”

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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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