Eagles

A first look at Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame ring

A first look at Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame ring

If you’re going to this Sunday’s Eagles-Panthers game, you’ll get a treat at halftime, when Brian Dawkins will receive his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence. 

The entire halftime will be devoted to celebrating Dawkins’ induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year. 

Here are our first views of the ring he’ll receive: 

You can see that each ring is unique. Dawk’s has his bust, position and name and is engraved with the Class of 2018. 

The ring, made by Kay Jewelers, is set in 14K gold and has 1.75 carats of diamonds. 

During the ceremony, Dawkins’ ring, his gold jacket and his bronze bust will all be on the field with him.

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Miles Sanders proving he's much more than a runner

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USA Today Images

Miles Sanders proving he's much more than a runner

JACKSONVILLE — Miles Sanders was happy with how he ran the ball Thursday night.

He really started beaming when he was asked about his blocking.

Sanders, the rookie second-round pick from Penn State, showed off his improvement as a blocker on Clayton Thorson’s TD pass to Greg Ward.

The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-4 from Jacksonville’s 38-yard-line on the second play of the second quarter, and the Jags sent linebacker Joe Giles-Harris up the middle on a blitz.

Thorson stood in the pocket and Sanders stood up Giles-Harris, giving the rookie quarterback time to heave the ball toward Ward, who caught it just inside the 20 and weaved his way through traffic for a 38-yard touchdown.

It was precisely the type of play a rookie running back has to make if he wants playing time.

We all know Sanders can scoot. 

If he can pick up the blitz like he did Thursday night? He’s going to play a ton.

I get excited when I pick up blitzes and pick up the right guys," Sanders said after the game. "I feel like I’m getting better at that. As far as knowing where the blitz is coming from and knowing the calls that I got, I think I’m pretty good at that. It’s just technique I have to work on though. I feel like I’m decent at that and getting better every day.

Ward wasn’t aware of Sanders' blitz pickup until after the game, but he said he wasn’t surprised.

Ward and Sanders’ lockers are near each other at the NovaCare Complex, and Ward says he’s been really impressed with the 22-year-old’s progress and just how seriously he takes the blocking aspect of his job.

“It says a lot,” Ward said. “He’s already doing a good job in that area, focused in on it and trying to get better. That’s what you want in a rookie.”

Sanders also had a couple runs Thursday night that showed everybody why the Eagles are so high on him.

“Felt like I was more patient back there, felt like I was more comfortable,” he said. “Thought it was a good day.”

On the first play of the game, Sanders darted up the middle for 12 yards, and later in the first quarter, running from the Eagles’ 5-yard-line, he ran 16 yards to open what would be a 95-yard TD drive.

On the 12-yarder, he showed tremendous vision and acceleration, reading the hole and cutting back inside for extra yards.

On the 16-yard run, he ran behind a big block by rookie left tackle Andre Dillard. Interesting to note that he was first hit on the 9-yard-line but dragged cornerback Tre Herndon and defensive tackle Eli Ankou all the way down to the 21-yard-line. That’s 12 yards after first contact, and that’s huge.

Just showing I can break tackles and I can get yac, yards after contact,” he said. “That’s big in this league. That’s what separates the average running backs from the great running backs. Just getting extra yards and keeping the play alive.

Sanders was 3-for-3 rushing in the preseason opener against the Titans and really never had any room to work.

Sanders only got five carries this time but netted 31 yards — all in the first quarter. The Ward TD was his 11th and final play of the night.

O-line blocked their ass off, just making them look good, that’s what it’s all about,” Sanders said. “Just being patient out there and doing everything Duce (Staley) tells me. I’d say I’ve come a long way since the offseason, absolutely. All I can really say is that I’m working every day. Come in here and work.

Since Chip Kelly jettisoned LeSean McCoy after the 2014 season, the Eagles have had a different leading rusher every year: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount and Josh Adams.

Right now, Adams is the only one in that group who’s even in the league, and he’s fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot.

Offseason pickup Jordan Howard is an accomplished player and a former Pro Bowler. But when it comes to getting truly excited about an Eagles running back?

It’s been a little while. And Sanders sure seems ready to end that drought.

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Rookie Shareef Miller spinning his way closer to a role with Eagles

Rookie Shareef Miller spinning his way closer to a role with Eagles

Shareef Miller doesn’t spend much time working on his spin move. He even admitted he doesn’t really like spinning. 

He might have to change that view. 

“I gotta keep working on that,” Miller agreed after Thursday’s preseason game in Jacksonville. 

Because in the second quarter against the Jaguars, Miller used a spin move to perfection on third down to take down Gardner Minshew for his second sack of the preseason. 

“Coaches always say, when you get the quarterback depth, then counter back with a spin or something like that,” Miller said. “That’s what I did. I don’t really work on spin. I don’t really like spinning. I just felt it and I did it and it worked.” 

In his second taste of NFL action, Miller played 33 snaps on Thursday night and turned in an impressive performance. He had 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits and 2 TFLs. 

When the Eagles used the last pick in the fourth round to draft Miller — a local product from Northeast Philly — out of Penn State, expectations were tempered. For a while, it seemed like he would not be ready to contribute in his rookie season. It even seemed like Miller was a candidate for a *wink, wink* injury and a trip to IR for a redshirt season. 

It might be time to rethink that stance. 

In practice and now in the preseason, Miller just keeps getting better and making more plays in both the pass and run game. And on a team with questionable defensive end depth, that’s a welcome sign. 

Miller has noticed a change in himself too. 

“Yeah, I’m more comfortable,” he said. “It’s slowed down for me. I can be myself.”

It’s not just Miller who has looked good this summer. Fellow defensive end Daeshon Hall — formerly a Panthers’ third-round pick — is off to a white-hot start in his preseason, leading the NFL in sacks, TFLs, QB hits and forced fumbles. And then there’s Josh Sweat, a fourth-round pick last year who has been quieter in these preseason games, but has had a ton of hype around him going into 2019. 

The development of these three is an important one for the Eagles.  

Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett are going to start at defensive end in 2019. Vinny Curry is also a known commodity off the bench. But there was — and probably still is — plenty of reason to question the Eagles’ DE depth after that. Remember, the start of the 2018 season saw Michael Bennett and Chris Long coming off the bench; both those guys are gone. 

Now, the free agent addition of DT Malik Jackson makes the fourth defensive end spot less important because he’ll be on the field on third downs, but there still should be at least a minimal role for that fourth edge rusher no matter who wins the job. 

And Miller is spinning his way into the mix. 

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