Fantasy becomes reality as Eagles talk parade expectations

Fantasy becomes reality as Eagles talk parade expectations

For about the past month, every morning when Chris Long would drive to work, he would daydream a little bit. 

When he'd get down to Broad Street near the NovaCare Complex, he couldn't help but think about what the whole area would look like during an Eagles Super Bowl parade. 

Millions of people. Sea of green. Pure joy. 

It's all happening on Thursday. The Eagles' parade for winning Super Bowl LII starts at 11 a.m. and goes up Broad Street before finishing on the iconic steps of the art museum. 

What is it going to be like? 

"That's a great question," Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles said. "I don't think anyone really knows. We're really excited about it. I know there's supposed to be millions of people. I can't wait to go down Broad, go down to the art museum and just see everything. This is what you dream of, so it's really cool." 

Pretty much every Eagles player has been looking forward to the parade since they pulled off a 41-33 win in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night in Minneapolis. While they were celebrating on the field and in the locker room, Eagles fans took to the streets of Philadelphia to party. 

Jay Ajayi said the players saw all of that via social media and he knows it'll be nothing compared to the actual parade. 

Jordan Hicks, who has been with the Eagles since 2015, told a story on Wednesday from when he first arrived in Philadelphia. Merrill Reese told him that when the Eagles eventually won a Super Bowl, the city was "going to go nuts." In recent weeks, and especially in recent days, Hicks has thought a lot about that conversation. 

"I'm excited to get to this parade to just really put my eyes on the city and get to celebrate," Malcolm Jenkins said. "Obviously, everybody involved is having a really good time right now."

When asked how it feels to provide this level of joy for so many Eagles fans, Nelson Agholor had an interesting viewpoint. 

They didn't do it alone. 

"We're blessed. We all did it. They did it too," Agholor said. "The people that are smiling, they did it. Playing two games in the playoffs at home and taking over that and then going over to Minnesota and taking over that, the city of Philadelphia, everybody, we earned this. Let's go party. I'm going to try to not swear on air." 

No one really knows what to expect from Thursday's parade, other than it's going to be crazy. For Long, this is his second parade in two years after winning Super Bowl LI with the Patriots a year ago. 

How will this parade compare? 
"It'll be better because they've been waiting longer," Long said. "In my experience, these fans are unbelievable here in Philly." 

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

USA Today Images

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

On Thursday, before the final practice of the long spring, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked if there were any players lower on the depth chart who have stood out over the last few weeks. 

Pederson started by mentioning some players who came into the league last year. Eventually, he named six guys. 

Let’s take a look at each of them. 

Rashard Davis
The first name to come out of his mouth. Not bad for a first-year player from James Madison. Davis is 5-foot-9, 175. The receiver also has the ability to return, something we’ve seen him do since he’s been with the Eagles. 

Davis was signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago and spent most of the 2017 season on the practice squad. He was signed to a futures deal after the completion of the season. 

At JMU, Davis was a standout receiver and returner, on his way to being named an FCS All-American. Davis returned four punts for touchdowns and had 42 catches for 530 yards and three more touchdowns as a receiver. 

With the Eagles, he faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but they seem to like his versatility. 

Greg Ward
Pederson mentioned Davis and Ward in the same breath and it’s easy to see why. Both are smallish slot receivers who were a part of the same undrafted class. Ward’s story is slightly different though. At 5-11, 186, Ward was a prolific quarterback at the University of Houston but is making the transition to receiver at the NFL level. 

He was signed as an undrafted player last year and spent the season on the Eagles’ practice squad, at times taking over scout-team QB reps to imitate mobile quarterbacks. 

While at Houston, he proved to be a dual threat. He was a good passer, but his legs made him dangerous. This spring, Ward got some run with the first-team offense and the Eagles seemed to like his trick-play potential. This past week, we saw the offense run some trick plays with him, where he became the passer. On one, he even threw the ball to Nick Foles, sort of like the Philly Special. 

Shelton Gibson 
Last year, Gibson was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, but he didn't get to play a ton. He caught just two passes all season and they came in that regular-season finale against the Cowboys. 

But Gibson has looked good this spring (see story). That's a really good sign because he had a terrible spring and terrible summer as a rookie. It was probably in part because he came from a really simple college offense and had to pick up the Eagles' complex scheme. 

This year, he's thinking less and making more plays. 

Rasul Douglas 
It seems a little weird to put Douglas on this list after he was a third-round pick a year ago and then started five games in the Super Bowl season, but he’s buried on the depth chart. 

The thing that hurts Douglas is his body type. He’s strictly an outside cornerback. So while Sidney Jones, De’Vante Bausby and D.J. Killings have gotten first-team reps in the slot, Douglas is planted firmly behind Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby at outside corner. He’s probably behind Jones either way. 

That’s gotta be tough for Douglas, going from starter to being back on the bench. But he’s the perfect example of the depth this team has at the position. Pederson says Douglas has “emerged” this spring. 

Dallas Goedert
It’s no surprise Pederson is bullish on Goedert, whom he said is “going to be a nice fit for us as a tight end.” The rookie from South Dakota State had a great spring. He caught everything and is an athletic specimen. 

There’s a really good chance Goedert can be a monster in the red zone (see story).

Still, a long way to go, and we’ll see what happens when the pads go on, but there’s no reason to think Goedert can’t be a huge contributor as a rookie. 

Aziz Shittu
Probably a name you haven’t heard in a while, but Shittu has stood out as much as any defensive tackle can in non-padded practices. 

Shittu came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2016. But thanks to that stupid college graduation rule he missed all those spring practices. That allowed another undrafted rookie (Destiny Vaeao) to get in front of him and Shittu never recovered. He was brought back to the practice squad in 2016 and then signed a futures contract before last season, but then suffered a knee injury in May and was placed on IR. 

It appears he’s healthy now and is showing some of that burst that made him intriguing to the Eagles in the first place. 

Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings


Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the Eagles' Super Bowl rings. How does it compare to what Barrett got with the Steelers championship winning team in 2006? How will the players spend these coming weeks off? And the guys get you ready for the weekend.

1:00 - Eagles get their rings.
5:00 - Should Gunner and Barrett have gotten rings?
8:30 - What are those parties like?
11:00 - How hard is it to move on from last year and look ahead?
13:00 - This is when Super Bowls are won.
15:00 - Guys get you ready for the weekend with some weird news stories over this week.

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