Eagles

Eagles’ Rick Lovato makes long snapper history

Eagles’ Rick Lovato makes long snapper history

Rick Lovato thought it was strange when he received a phone call from Doug Pederson on Tuesday evening. Believe it or not, the head coach doesn’t call to chat with the long snapper very frequently. 

Pederson had some good news, though. 

Lovato, the 27-year-old who was working in his family’s New Jersey sandwich shop before the Eagles signed him in 2017, had been named to his first Pro Bowl. 

“It was pretty cool to hear it from him,” Lovato said. 

It meant even more to Lovato because this was the first year in which players and coaches were permitted to vote for the Pro Bowl long snappers. Previously, that duty fell to the head coaches of Pro Bowl teams. So Lovato is a Pro Bowler because his peers think he’s the best at the job. Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox is the AFC representative. 

The idea to allow voting for long snappers began earlier this season in a group text among NFL long snapper — yes, that exists — and it came to fruition sooner than anyone expected. Lovato credited Giants long snapper and NFLPA vice president Zak DeOssie for helping to get voting on the table for this season. 

Still, Lovato initially thought it wouldn’t be in place until 2020. But it happened for this season and he’s heading to the Pro Bowl in a few weeks as one of five representatives from the Eagles, along with Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce and Zach Ertz. 

As you heard those names on Tuesday night, you probably weren’t surprised by Brooks or Cox or Kelce or Ertz … and then there was Lovato. 

What the heck? 

It seems strange to have a long snapper from a 7-7 team make it to the Pro Bowl, but Lovato said he had been keeping track of how well other long snappers from around the league had been performing and he thought he had a chance. 

Lovato actually has five special teams tackles this season. That’s more than just four other Eagles. 

That’s the stuff guys in the know notice. 

“It’s other specialists around the league and coaches who break down film,” Lovato said. “It’s not just how fast you throw the ball or how accurate you throw the ball. Those two things are definitely factors in how well guys do around the league but there’s blocking, there’s tackles, there’s protection, there’s how well your punter and kicker are doing. Cam and Jake had a great year this year as well. All those things matter when you’re talking about long snapping and considering a long snapper for the Pro Bowl.”

Lovato is now the third consecutive Eagles’ long snapper to make the Pro Bowl, following in the footsteps of Mike Bartrum (2005) and Jon Dorenbos (2009, 2014). Eventually, he’ll get his photo on the Pro Bowl wall inside the NovaCare Complex. 

“It was just a shot in the dark,” Lovato said, “but I had a great year and people thought that as well, which is awesome.”

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NFL Rumors: Eagles' Lane Johnson gives his take on possible LeSean McCoy reunion

NFL Rumors: Eagles' Lane Johnson gives his take on possible LeSean McCoy reunion

Lane Johnson and DeSean Jackson spent the better part of a half-hour chatting on Instagram Live on Friday night, discussing Jackson's early days in football, Jackson's long and successful career, and reminiscing about their first season together with the Eagles in 2013.

Towards the end, the two were searching for fan questions to answer when Jackson saw yet another comment asking about rumors of LeSean McCoy returning to Philadelphia for one last season.

Jackson, who's been busy on Instagram with athletes isolated during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, said he'd talked about McCoy enough. For the record, it seems he'd like to see McCoy return.

But then, he turned the question on Johnson: Does Lane want Shady back in midnight green?

It was a brief exchange, but Johnson - as he always is - was honest:

DESEAN: How you feel about Shady coming back?

LANE: [Laughs] Shoot, I want to see it.

Folks, there you have it. 

It sure seems like there could be mounting momentum towards a McCoy-Eagles reunion.

The Eagles are in the market for a veteran running back to spell RB1 Miles Sanders. With Carlos Hyde off the market, they've been frequently linked to McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Whether Freeman will accept a steep discount is unclear, though he made it clear this week that he won't be retiring.

But McCoy might end up being the more reasonably-priced option, and someone who already understands the franchise and city.

McCoy has made clear he'd like to finish his career by playing for the Eagles in 2020. From earlier this month:

“I could see that,” McCoy said Wednesday on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “On another note, since I left, you haven't seen the 25 active in green, so you never know. I’m going to keep my options open, though. I could see myself there in Philly. Like I said, that's home, so you never know.”

We'll see.

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Nick Foles says Eagles nearly wasted Philly Special in NFC Championship Game

Nick Foles says Eagles nearly wasted Philly Special in NFC Championship Game

The Philly Special is one of the most legendary plays in NFL history because the Eagles used it against the Patriots in their incredible Super Bowl LII win. 

It almost didn’t happen like that.  

Nick Foles on his podcast with Chris Maragos, The Mission of Truth, said the Eagles almost ran the Philly Special two weeks earlier in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, which would have essentially wasted it. 

“There’s a lot of detail in the book ‘Believe It’ but this is one I don’t think is there,” Foles said. “We were going to run the Philly Special vs. the Minnesota Vikings and Doug called the play.”

But Foles said he played most of that NFC Championship Game in pain after taking a rib shot early from a blitzing Anthony Barr. While Foles was able to make it through the game and the Eagles won 38-7, that rib pain was one of the main reasons why Foles suggested to Doug Pederson to hold the call.  

The Eagles almost ran the Philly Special early in the fourth quarter during the NFC Championship Game when they already had a 24-point lead. 

We were already up, I think, 31-7, something like that,” Foles said. “I talked to Doug and I was like, ‘ah, we don’t need it. We’re up by so much, let’s not waste it.’ But in reality, another reason was I was worried about turning and running out and trying to catch the ball. I didn’t know if I would be able to lift my arm up and turn and catch it because of the rib shot earlier in the game.

Instead, the Eagles called a play that put Alshon Jeffery in motion and Foles hit him in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass that extended the lead to 31 points and gave us the final score of 38-7. Foles said that watching that touchdown play back, he can see just how stiff he was from the pain. 

So it’s a good thing Foles took a rib shot early in that game. Because if Foles felt fine the Eagles might have run the Philly Special two weeks too early. 

“It almost happened and it was one of those moments honestly it probably does happen if my ribs aren’t killing me,” Foles said. “Because it would have just lit the Linc on fire. It was already insane. Obviously, the Philly Special became a legendary play. I’m glad we didn’t use it then.” 

Yeah, Foles isn’t alone. Who knows what would have happened if they had. 

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