Former Giant knows Eagles have good shot at beating Patriots

Former Giant knows Eagles have good shot at beating Patriots

ST. PAUL, Minn. — During the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era, the Patriots have been beaten twice in Super Bowls.

And the Eagles are pretty similar to the teams who took them down. 

Just ask a guy who was on both.

"Yeah, definitely," said former Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora as he wandered around the floor at Xcel Energy Center during media night.  

"They have an outstanding pass rush and a plethora of pass rushes they can throw at a quarterback. If anybody has a good chance of doing it, it's going to be Philadelphia because of the players they have on the defensive line."

Umenyiora played in Super Bowl XLII when the Giants beat the Patriots, 17-14, in 2008 and he played in Super Bowl XLVI when the Giants beat the Patriots, 21-17. On Monday night, he approached Belichick while the coach was on the podium, introduced himself and shook his hand. 

Umenyiora wasn't wearing the two Super Bowl rings he won against him. 

The Giants sacked Brady a total of seven times in those two games and the pressure they got on the future Hall of Fame quarterback is looked back upon as one of the key reasons they were able to win those games. 

"You gotta be able to get to the quarterback without blitzing too many times," said Umenyiora, nearly describing Jim Schwartz's defensive philosophy. "I think Philadelphia has the guys to be able to do that."

In those two Super Bowls, the Giants' strength on defense was their line and they forced Brady into a lot of missed passes. He completed 56 of 89 passes (62.9 percent) during those two games. 

Umenyiora said the Giants never saw Brady get frustrated or flustered, but they did see him miss some passes he normally would make. He thinks that was a product of the Giants' pass rush. 

"We could tell he wasn't really in the same groove he usually is," Umenyiora said. 

The Eagles' sack numbers weren't overwhelming this season, but they have a couple Pro Bowl-caliber players up front and boast a rotation that goes eight or nine deep. In addition to having the best run defense in the NFL in 2017, they also became a nightmare for opposing defenses. 

Now 36, Umenyiora watched the Eagles all season and came away impressed with that front four and its pass rush. 

"Well, obviously Fletcher Cox is outstanding on the inside, but Chris Long, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, those pass rushers they have on the outside are bringing it every single play," he said. "They're quick, they're explosive, they're fast. They have a very good front seven."

When asked if he thinks the Eagles' pass rush will be the key in the game for them on Sunday, Umenyiora said it probably would. But then he turned around, looked at Brady, who was still surrounded by a crowd of media members about 10 deep, and shook his head. With that guy, Umenyiora finished, anything is possible. 

Still, he likes the Eagles and isn't ruling them out in Super Bowl LII like many already have. 

"Yeah, absolutely [the Eagles] have a chance," Umenyiora said. "They can actually win this game. It's going to be tough. It's going to be the hardest fight of their lives. But they have a chance for sure." 

Eagle Eye podcast: Previewing second preseason game

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Eagle Eye podcast: Previewing second preseason game

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the likelihood of Carson Wentz not being healthy for the regular season opener. Is this the best team Doug Pederson has had in Philadelphia? Also, how do players approach the second preseason game?

1:00 - Updating Carson Wentz's status.
4:00 - Guys still confident Wentz will start against the Falcons?
7:00 - Doug Pedereson says this is the deepest team he's had.
10:30 - Doug Pederson and Nick Foles speak about preseason snaps.
15:00 - How do players approach the second preseason game?

Subscribe and rate Eagle Eye: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

New Eagles wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer has a history with Alshon Jeffery

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New Eagles wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer has a history with Alshon Jeffery

Eagles new receivers coach Gunter Brewer will get to coach Alshon Jeffery for the first time this season, but he’s known him for almost a decade.

And he can’t wait to finally get his No. 1 receiver back on the field. 

“His being a southern guy like myself,” Brewer said with his drawl. “I enjoy his demeanor and not only the way he talks but just the way he’s got that swagger and confidence. I’m looking forward to when he is out there, seeing him snatch balls out of the air.” 

Jeffery is still on the Active/PUP list after rotator cuff surgery and might be in jeopardy of missing the start of the season, but head coach Doug Pederson seems happy with Jeffery’s progress so far. So … wait and see. 

Brewer, whom the Eagles hired after promoting Mike Groh to offensive coordinator, came from the University of North Carolina. But he first met Jeffery after the 2010 college football season at the 2010 college football awards ceremony in Florida at Walt Disney World. 

At the time, Brewer was there because he was co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Oklahoma State and his star receiver, Justin Blackmon, was also nominated for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, handed out annually to the best receiver in college football. 

The two spent a couple days “chewing the fat” within the group. After that, Brewer followed Jeffery’s career. According to Brewer, Jeffery still recalls the meeting and the couple days together. 

“He remembered he should have won it,” Brewer said with a smile. 

Of course, that’s pretty debatable. Blackmon ended up winning the award after a tremendous season. He beat out Jeffery (South Carolina) and Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma). 

Here are their stats from that year: 

Jeffery: 88 catches, 1,517 yards, 9 touchdowns

Blackmon: 111 catches, 1,782 yards, 20 touchdowns

Broyles: 131 catches, 1,622 yards, 14 touchdowns

A couple years later, all three players went in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft. Blackmon went fifth overall, Jeffery and Broyles went in the second round, at picks 45 and 54, respectively. 

All three had great college careers, but Jeffery is the only one still in the league. Injuries derailed Broyles' career and off-the-field issues took Blackmon out of the NFL. Both haven’t played since the 2014 season. 

Meanwhile, Jeffery is coming off a season in which he played through a torn rotator cuff, got a big contract and won the Super Bowl. He probably isn’t very upset about not winning the Biletnikoff Award anymore. 

Brewer hasn’t gotten to coach Jeffery on the field yet, but he’s been around him plenty in the building and in the meeting room. He’s enjoyed that part of it, at least. 

“He’s in every meeting,” Brewer said. “He does everything everybody else does. Nothing different. He’s great with the young kids, although you wouldn’t know it because he’s soft-spoken. He’ll pull one off the side, ‘should have done this the other game.’ I had him over by us and he was great about it. ‘Coach, you see that?’ He has his way of delivering that. When he talks, people listen.” 

Brewer certainly did nearly a decade ago. Now, they get to do it on the same team. 

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