Eagles

Even with trade for Ajayi, Blount says Eagles stayed 'true to their word'

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AP Images

Even with trade for Ajayi, Blount says Eagles stayed 'true to their word'

Howie Roseman said he's still the starter. Doug Pederson said he isn't going to play any less. And Carson Wentz said he's handling everything really well.

What does LeGarrette Blount think?

Immediately after the Eagles traded for running back Jay Ajayi, it was fair to wonder what Blount thought of the move. It was fair to wonder if it meant his role was going to decrease. It was fair to wonder if he was worried about his standing with the team.

So what was his initial reaction to the deal?

"There was no reaction," Blount said Wednesday afternoon by his locker. "I can only control what I can control. That's a decision that was made from up top. I can't say that I have any influence.

"I can't go up there and say 'don't make this trade (or) do make this trade.' I don't control any of that. I just control what I can do out there. Focus on what I have to focus on and make sure that I'm ready for the game on Sunday."

When asked specifically if he is concerned about losing snaps or carries with the addition of Ajayi to the roster, Blount said it was a question he couldn't answer.

He claimed he is just worried about what he can control.

"Just grind every day like I've been doing," Blount said, "and the touches will come."

Blount said he learned of the move from position coach Duce Staley, head coach Doug Pederson and de facto GM Howie Roseman. Blount said the Eagles are going to "welcome (Ajayi) with open arms."

After making the trade Tuesday, Roseman came out at his press conference and said despite the addition of Ajayi, Blount would remain the team's starter. Pederson didn't say anything to dispel that notion Wednesday.

"It means a lot," Blount said. "As far as respect-wise, just acknowledging the fact that I worked my tail off all offseason for this organization. It just shows a lot of character and they're true to their word."

Blount, 30, is off to a pretty good start this season. He has 467 yards on 100 carries (4.7 average) and two touchdowns.

Since the start of last season, there are seven players who have rushed for over 1,600 yards. With Ajayi and Blount, the Eagles have two.

On a one-year deal, this move could be bad for Blount in the long-term, especially because Ajayi is still cheap in 2018 on his rookie contract and is just 24 years old.

But Blount has been a "tremendous team guy," according to Roseman. And Wentz said Blount seemed excited about the move.

"You can never have enough depth," Blount said. "You can never have enough depth at any position. Obviously, [Ajayi is] somebody who can contribute to our team. He's somebody that can help us a lot." 

10 players to watch in Eagles’ Super Bowl LII preseason rematch with Patriots

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USA Today Images

10 players to watch in Eagles’ Super Bowl LII preseason rematch with Patriots

The Eagles are up in Foxboro tonight to take on the Patriots in the second game of their preseason. 

Somehow, there won’t be as much at stake as the last time these two teams met. 

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at stake. This is a great opportunity for a lot of young players to prove themselves before the starters get extended time in the third preseason game. We did a list like this before Preseason Game 1, so we excluded some players to get new names in this one: 

Nick Foles
Let’s start with the QB. Foles missed the first preseason game with spasms in his trap/neck area. But the Super Bowl MVP is expected to play at least a little bit in a preseason rematch of Super Bowl LII. I don’t expect to see a ton of Foles in this game, but I’m curious to see if he looks rusty or if things click for him. Remember, when he took over for Carson Wentz last year, it took him a few games to find a rhythm. Preseason games might be more important for him than other QBs. 

Matt Jones 
Jones also missed the preseason opener with a hip injury, so this is our first chance to see him in game action. For a big back like Jones, game action just seems much more important than anything he could show during training camp practices. With that fourth RB spot up for grabs and with Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey on the shelf, there should be plenty of opportunity for Jones. 

Wendell Smallwood 
The same type of opportunity for Smallwood, who is quickly running out of chances with the Eagles. He looked OK in the preseason opener, but he’s entering his third season with the Eagles and every time it looks like he’s going to have a role, he either gets hurt or can’t capitalize. I still think Smallwood could carve out a decent career, but if he wants it to be in Philly, he needs to start showing up in these games. 

Mike Wallace
Another guy who missed the first preseason game. Wallace missed the game and a few practices with tendinitis, but the 32-year-old has been good this week in camp. He still has his signature speed, which will be fun to watch this season. 

Jordan Mailata 
OK, I’m officially intrigued. I didn’t expect much from Mailata in his first-ever football game last week, but he actually did really well. He’s kind of like a giant baby because he’s learning so much in such a short amount of time. Every time I see him, he looks like a different player. 

Kamar Aiken 
In the absence of Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins and Greg Ward, the veteran wideout has actually been working with the first team. That’s impressive to me because when he first arrived, Aiken struggled with dropping passes, but it now appears like that was just because he was getting adjusted to his new offense and surroundings. He’s been much better recently and is pushing for a roster spot. 

Christian Hackenberg 
I’m not sure if Hackenberg will even play against the Patriots, but if he does, that’s must-see for me. He’s been in the Eagles’ offense for just a few days, but the former second-round pick is a super interesting story. He’s never played in a real NFL game and has been a complete disaster as a pro. But a couple years after being a highly-touted prospect, I wonder if he’ll ever be able to resurrect his career. 

Bruce Hector 
Who? Good question. Hector is an undrafted free agent defensive tackle from South Florida who has been really impressive during training camp. In fact, he’s been getting second-team reps above former sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls. Before the first preseason game, I asked a bunch of vets who they were excited to see. Fletcher Cox didn’t hesitate before he said, Hector. 

Cameron Johnston 
I know I’m a jerk for telling you to watch a punter in the preseason, but here we are. Punter is a real question mark because as talented as Johnston appears to be, he’s equally inconsistent. He did, however, punt a ball 81 yards (it didn’t count) in the first game. I had never seen that before. 

Avonte Maddox 
The fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh has been getting first-team reps as the nickel cornerback this week, so I’d imagine that’s where he’ll be against the Patriots. Maddox never played inside in college, so he’s been learning a new position and has really excelled, jumping De’Vante Bausby on the depth chart. Eventually, Maddox could figure into the rotation of the future. 

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Meet Foles the goat, who lives among Patriots fans in Boston

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Dave Zangaro

Meet Foles the goat, who lives among Patriots fans in Boston

BOSTON — Shortly after he was born, a few zoo visitors jokingly wiped the name of the newborn goat off the dry-erase board at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. 

In the nearly four months since then, the name “Foles” has been written in wet-erase marker. It’s not going anywhere. 

It didn’t take long for Foles — named after Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles thanks to a bet between Zoo New England and the Philadelphia Zoo — to quickly win over everyone who visits him or steps inside the large barn-like pen to give him a rub. 

“He’s sooo cute!” an elementary-aged boy exclaimed to his friends after Foles gave him a little nuzzle. “I wish I could have one.” 

The little boy and his friends started giggling. They couldn’t stop giggling. All the giggling. 

Really, the reactions from children when they meet Foles the goat aren’t that different than the reactions from Eagles fans when they meet Foles the G.O.A.T. 

That’s not all Foles has in common with Foles. The day after he was born, Foles (the goat) was taken for his postnatal exam. It can be a traumatic experience for a newborn goat kid, getting prodded and poked. 

“I don’t think he even cried,” said Hannah Keklak, one of the goat keepers. 

So Foles went into a high-stress situation, kept his composure and remained calm. 

Sound familiar?  

In Boston, most of the grumbling about Foles’ name has died down. It didn’t take long for Keklak or fellow keeper Laura Allaire to be won over by the adorable little goat. Keklak called him “baby” for a while, but eventually, the two admitted Patriots fans gave in. 

“We’ve accepted his name,” Allaire said with a smile and a head nod. 

About two months after Foles’ birth, a group of about 35-40 Eagles fans, wearing jerseys and carrying banners, came to visit the young goat. We’ve always known Eagles fans travel well, but this is a new one. 

Patriots fans are welcome to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, but they won’t find a goat named Brady. 

Foles the goat is sociable, perhaps even more than his family members at Franklin Farm. He seems to love people and eagerly greets them when they enter his space. On Wednesday afternoon, he rested in the shade but became enamored with one male visitor. He licked the salty sweat from his legs, playfully butted his head into his side and acted pretty much like a dog wanting attention. 

This is admittedly the first time I have ever petted one of my subjects. Foles was happy to oblige, nuzzling and eventually standing on his hind legs and resting his front ones on my thigh to get a closer look at me.

 

While the zoo announced Foles’ name on May 10, he was born on April 23. Foles is nearing his four-month birthday, but likely won’t stop growing until he’s about a year old. 

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are originally from Western Africa, but there are many of them in the United States. Foles is one of 10 at the 72-acre Franklin Park Zoo. The goats have a median age of 15 and are herbivores. 

The average size of a newborn is about 1 or 2 pounds, but by the time the zoo introduced him a few weeks after his birth, Foles was already 5 pounds. An overachiever, just like his namesake. 

Like Nick Foles, Foles the goat has a pretty good life, even in the midst of a bunch of Patriots fans. He’s surrounded by his family at the zoo: his dad Lucky, his mom Leia, sister Chewbacca and half-brother Vader. 

So, was Foles going to be named Luke had it not been for the bet? 

Well, actually, when Leia had an ultrasound, it showed a huge baby growing inside her. That’s when the veterinarian began to call the unborn goat Jabba, as in Jabba the Hut. 

Thank God the Eagles won the Super Bowl.

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