Eagles undrafted LB T.J. Edwards got noticed as a bad quarterback

Eagles undrafted LB T.J. Edwards got noticed as a bad quarterback

T.J. Edwards cracked up each time he talked about his days as a quarterback at Lakes High School in Illinois.

“I’m telling you, I was not a good quarterback,” Edwards said at his locker after a recent Eagles rookie camp practice. "We ran the spread, too. I was throwing it just about every down."

He was good enough to get noticed by Wisconsin while playing quarterback. But not as a quarterback.  

He’s now a promising undrafted rookie linebacker with the Eagles. Back then?

In high school Edwards was a self-described “pretty bad” QB who Wisconsin noticed on film for his … blocking?

“Threw a couple blocks as a quarterback,” he said. “So that was it.”

Talk about a strange road to the NFL.

Edwards barely played any defense in high school and never played linebacker. Just “a couple snaps” at safety.

But whenever Lakes’ running backs reversed direction? Guess who was out front of the play laying out opposing safeties and linebackers?

The pretty bad quarterback.

I was a low-level recruit so they weren’t tracking me too much, but I was a good kid, didn’t have any off-the-field issues,” Edwards said. “Glad I threw those blocks. Really, they were just running back cut-backs, and I just happened to run across the field and make a block once in a while and they noticed it on my junior year film.

Edwards wound up at Wisconsin, where he was a four-year inside linebacker starter on Badger teams that went a combined 42-12 and won bowl games the last three seasons.

He had eight sacks, 10 interceptions, 110 tackles for loss and 25 pass deflections and averaged 7.0 tackles per game.

When he went undrafted, there was only one place he wanted to go.

I expected to get drafted, but when that didn’t happen it was on to the next thing, it was fine,” he said. “I knew they wanted me. It was a pretty easy decision. I’m blessed to be here and try to do whatever I can to put myself in the best position. I’m happy with the way everything turned out. I think I’m in the right spot to be as good a player as I can be. I have a great opportunity here, so I’m glad I didn’t (get drafted). I think it definitely puts an extra chip on your shoulder, but at the end of the day everyone here has a little chip on their shoulder no matter what. You use it as internal motivation, but you still have to work as hard as you possibly can.

Edwards has a long way to go, and the practice squad is a realistic goal, but he does have at least shot to stick.

The Eagles added veteran inside linebackers L.J. Fort and 2016 Pro Bowler Zach Brown this offseason, and Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill have roster spots locked up, but there could be a spot for someone like the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Edwards if he has an exceptional training camp.

“I think I fit in well,” Edwards said. “I just think in terms of the culture here and in terms of who’s here now, they have really good players in every spot, so I can come in and learn from guys.”

Edwards played at Wisconsin with Corey Clement, and as a matter of fact their lockers face each other in the NovaCare Complex locker room. They’re very close, and Clement was one of the first people Edwards talked to after he signed here.

Like Clement, Edwards went undrafted. And we all know how it went for Clement. He became a Super Bowl hero as an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin.

His message to Edwards was to focus on the little things, view football as a job now and always give tremendous effort.

Just a wild guess that effort won’t be a problem for a guy who got himself noticed by college coaches for his lead blocking as a quarterback.

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What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

What's next after Eagles' latest cornerback catastrophe?

MINNEAPOLIS — After the game, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas spoke about putting the game behind them, learning from their mistakes, moving on.

But this was such a thorough collapse by the Eagles’ two third-year corners it really makes you wonder if that’s even possible.

Kirk Cousins attacked both Jones and Douglas all afternoon Sunday to the tune of 333 yards, four touchdowns and a 38-20 dismantling of the Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Eagles have now allowed 16 touchdowns passes in six games, and the only QB who didn’t throw one — Luke Falk — isn’t even in the league anymore.

We’re a confident group,” Douglas said. “We know what we can do. You’re not about to play in the league and not have a bad game. Everybody has bad games, as a team and as individuals. So we’ve got to just find out what we did wrong, fix it all up and move on, because we know the Cowboys are going to watch the film and try to do the same thing.

Douglas allowed two long touchdowns to Stefon Diggs, and Jones allowed an Adam Thielen touchdown, mis-played a short Diggs catch into a big play and was just shaky all day.

Douglas has played fairly consistent this year, but Jones has struggled both to stay healthy and to perform when he is on the field.

Sunday was a terrible day for both of them.

“We’re still putting pieces together,” Jones said. “We haven’t came to form. We know what we’re capable of and we’re still trying to do that.”

This is the first time since 1965 the Eagles have allowed five TD passes of 40 yards or more in their first six games. 

They allowed just three last year.

It’s very frustrating,” Jones said. “Obviously you try to eliminate those and make it hard for them to drive down the field, but when we give it to them easy it’s pretty frustrating.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins took the blame for the second long Diggs touchdown.

“I should have been back there.,” he said. “I just vacated the deep end of the field. We just did too many things to give them extra tries. We turned it on one point and it started to turn around, but it was too late.”

How do you put this sort of embarrassment behind you?

It’s not hard at all,” Jones said. “Watch film, go over your mistakes, what you need to do to get better and just practice. We have a game next week, we can’t think about this one. It’s over. We lost already. We’ve got to move on as a team. We’ve got the Cowboys, a divisional game and we’ve just got to move on to that.

Jones didn’t play against the Jets because of his nagging hamstring. He left the Vikings game briefly “to get right” but did finish.

He was a second-round pick, and so far we just haven’t seen it.

“I feel like I’m very close,” he said. “I just have to put the pieces together.”

Jalen Mills should be back this week, and Ronald Darby, Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox are all expected to return at some point this year.

But let’s be honest. 

It’s not enough.

The Eagles need help. Jones and Douglas are still young players and could get better.

But right now, if this team has serious playoff aspirations, their corners just aren’t good enough.

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Zach Brown doesn’t want to talk Kirk Cousins, but Vikings are happy to troll

Zach Brown doesn’t want to talk Kirk Cousins, but Vikings are happy to troll

MINNEAPOLIS — As you might have guessed, Eagles linebacker Zach Brown wasn’t eager to talk about Kirk Cousins following the Eagles’ 38-20 loss to the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Earlier in the week, Brown told ESPN he thought Cousins was the weakest part of the Vikings’ offense.

On Sunday, Cousins threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles.

Did Brown regret saying what he did?

“I’m here to talk about the game, not about that,” Brown said. “Any other questions besides about Kirk Cousins?”

While Brown didn’t want to talk about Cousins, the Vikings’ social media team had no problem trolling in the wake of their blowout win.

When asked about Brown's comments, Cousins claimed he hadn't heard them and took the high road.

“I didn’t even know what he said," Cousins said. "I really do stay ignorant, not read anything and that’s for my best interest. But Zach was a teammate in Washington. He’s one of the better linebackers I’ve played with or against. Have a lot of respect for him, and if you’re trying to write a story about how it was a motivator this week, it wasn’t, because I didn’t even know about it.”

Cousins became just the fourth quarterback to complete over 75 percent of his passes for over 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles. The others: Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2018, Peyton Manning in 2013 and Phil Simms in 1984.

Eventually, Brown was asked how he thought Cousins played and gave an answer:

“He did a great job today. He played good. Hats off to him.”

Brown was teammates with Cousins in Washington for the 2017 season. That year, the Redskins went 7-9. Cousins threw for just over 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns but also threw 13 interceptions. He also fumbled a career-high 13 times. Brown, earlier this week, mentioned that Cousins was careless with the football. Cousins threw one pick on Sunday but it didn’t end up mattering.

Overall, the 38 points given up to the Vikings on Sunday were the second-most surrendered by the Eagles during the Jim Schwartz era, behind just the blowout 48-7 loss to New Orleans last season.

“At the end of the day, we gotta do our job on our side of the football,” Brown said. “Hats off to them, they got the best of us today. But we gotta do our job on both sides of the football. We gotta eliminate penalties on ourselves too. They got the win today, but you never know, we might end up seeing them again.”

If these two teams do meet again, Brown might want to be a tad quieter next time.

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