Eagles training camp observations, Day 6: Don't forget about Alshon Jeffery

Eagles training camp observations, Day 6: Don't forget about Alshon Jeffery

Today was the eye of the storm. 

Sandwiched between Tuesday's long practice and Thursday's scheduled marathon practice, today was a light 10-10-10 workout in shorts. These practices are without pads and there are periods designed for the offense and periods designed for the defense. 

Not as competitive as Tuesday, but still plenty to note: 

1. Jason Kelce didn’t practice on Wednesday but it wasn’t injury related; just a veteran rest day for him. Likewise, Jason Peters went through all the warmups and stretching but didn’t participate either. Doug Pederson has been good at managing his veterans. 

Cre’Von LeBlanc (he’s still in a walking boot) and Paul Worrilow were not at practice. Mack Hollins was out on the field, but didn’t participate in team stuff again. 

2. Without Kelce and Peters, the Eagles had this first-team offensive line (left to right): Andre Dillard, Stefen Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Lane Johnson. 

Interested to see Seumalo slide to center and Wiz come in at guard, but offensive coordinator Mike Groh said they did that just to get Seumalo some center reps because Wiz has gotten a ton as second-team center. 

Without Wiz with the second team, rookie Nate Herbig took over. 

3. With how much we’ve talked about DeSean Jackson and even Nelson Agholor during this training camp, we can’t forget about Alshon Jeffery. No. 17 made two big catches today. One was going across the middle of the field when Carson Wentz hit him with a beautiful pass in stride ahead of Orlando Scandrick. The other came against Josh Hawkins in the end zone. On that one, Jeffery used his big body to create separation and went up to haul in the pass. 

4. Good awareness from Tre Sullivan on an interception during a defensive period. Rasul Douglas stepped in front of a Nate Sudfeld pass to pop it in the air and Sullivan was able to pick it off and head the other way. 

5. Saw Miles Sanders get some kick return work today. Kick returning in this modern NFL really isn’t super important (most kicks are touchbacks anyway), but perhaps this could be part of Sanders’ role, depending on his piece of the pie on offense. Sanders returned 38 kicks during his freshman and sophomore years at Penn State when he was Saquon Barkley’s backup. He averaged 20.1 yards per return. 

6. Sudfeld threw a dart to the back of the end zone to Zach Ertz who got in the air to catch it and then planted both his feet in bounds for a touchdown. Relatively quiet camp for Ertz, but he’s past the point where that really matters. Get him to Week 1. 

7. Shelton Gibson nearly caught up to a ball that was overthrown, laying out horizontally, but he couldn’t haul it in. It would have been a tough play. “Gotta catch the tough ones,” a disappointed Gibson said after practice. It’s probably been somewhat of a disappointing camp for the third-year pro. He was the talk of the team last spring and summer but hasn’t had a great 2019 training camp. 

8. Slight change with the starting corners today. Still Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox, but today Jones was the nickel corner. The constant has been Douglas on the outside. Maddox and Jones have been rotating their roles. 

9. Scandrick had another good day. He hasn’t been here long, but the veteran definitely wasn’t out of shape. I still want to see more, but if the Eagles can’t get healthy at cornerback, it wouldn’t shock me to see him be on the opening day roster. 

10. Blake Countess, who missed a couple days earlier in training camp, has now been back for a few days and got second-team safety reps with Deiondre’ Hall. It’ll be a little interesting to see which safeties the Eagles keep. Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo and Sullivan? Are Hall and Countess in the mix? Some decisions to be made in the preseason games. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: There’s a giant cardboard cutout on a stick of Wentz’s face above Sudfeld’s locker. It’s pretty funny. I’m sure there’s a story behind it. 

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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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