Eagles

With Jason Peters, Eagles getting much more than just a right guard replacement

With Jason Peters, Eagles getting much more than just a right guard replacement

A month ago, just hours after Brandon Brooks blew out his Achilles, I wrote this: 

"Jason Peters doesn't have a job, and the Eagles don't have a right guard. This is a no-brainer."

And I also wrote this: 

"Howie Roseman should be on the phone right now with Peters, offering him a few million bucks to return to Philly and reinvent himself as a guard."

Nice to see Howie's listening!

Peters is back to play right guard, and that's great news for the Eagles.

Nothing against Matt Pryor, who I think would have done a capable job at right guard if he got the call and has a nice future ahead of him.

But Jason Peters is in an entirely different class. It's not often you lose a 3-time Pro Bowler and get to replace him with a 9-time Pro Bowler.

Peters is 38 and going into his 18th season, but this is not a normal human being. There is zero question Peters can not only handle right guard but also thrive there.

It makes sense in so many ways.

Peters may not have the quickness and athleticism he had in his prime, but he's still as powerful as ever, and moving from tackle to guard there's less of a premium on movement and running and footwork and more of a premium on strength and power. 

J.P. is a football player more than he is a tackle or a guard. He's a student of the game, and if two decades working under people like Juan Castillo and Jeff Stoutland doesn't prepare you for a position switch, nothing can.

The Eagles get a lot out of this deal. They get a mentor for the young offensive linemen. They get an emergency left tackle if something happens with Andre Dillard. They get a future Hall of Famer in between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. And they get one of the team's biggest inspirational leaders back in the locker room.

And Peters gets to extend a career that's been in limbo since the Eagles cut ties with him back in March.

If it's 3rd-and-2 and you're running Miles Sanders behind Kelce, Peters and Johnson, I like your chances.

The big question with a position switch like this is always whether the guy really wants to make the change. If your heart isn't in it, you won't succeed.

Left tackle may have more cachet than right guard, but for Peters, it's never been about his ego. The guy's made nine Pro Bowls, and he's going to the Hall of Fame. He's secure with his legacy.

The dude just loves to compete and he loves to win, and now he has the chance to do that again.

"As long as I can do it, I'm going to (play)," Peters said last summer. "Whether that's tackle or guard, I can play all the way across the board." 

There are a lot of people out there who aren't J.P. believers anymore. Too many penalties, too many injuries.

And I get that. But moving inside will eliminate a lot of those concerns. And it's not like everybody else on the team has been healthy the last few years. 

Peters finished strong last year and that was encouraging. He missed those three games against the Cowboys, Bills and Bears with a knee injury, but the last eight games he missed six of 599 snaps and played at a high level during the stretch run.

If the price of having a Hall of Fame backup right guard is a few false starts and a handful of missed snaps here and there? I can live with that.

And if anybody can go in and play a new position without OTAs, minicamps or preseason games, it's Jason Peters. 

"I still can get it done," Peters said after last season ended. "If I couldn't get it done, I would just walk away. But I can still go."

This is a move that had to be made. And if you don't think he can pull it off? Then you just don't know Jason Peters.

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Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

DeSean Jackson is 33 years old now and he’s coming off a sports hernia surgery that basically wrecked his 2019 season. 

But he still has it. 

On Friday afternoon, former NFL receiver Chad Johnson shared some 1-on-1 practice video that Jackson sent his way from the Eagles’ ongoing training camp practices. Johnson was pretty excited to get these clips and posted a couple on his Twitter account. 

That one is Jackson going against Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, in his first training camp with the Eagles. This will be a fun battle all camp long. Last year in training camp, DeSean dominated but he didn’t have a top tier cornerback to go against. 

It was fun to watch Jackson do this to the DBs in camp last year, but now he’s going against a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best corners in the game. And Slay still stood no chance. 

That little hesitation step from Jackson and the explosion out of it is pretty wild. In a regular foot race no one is going to beat Jackson; if he gets the DB flat-footed, forget about it. And Jackson is going to beat corners as long as he’s healthy. That’s why so many defensive coordinators slide any help they can that way. 

And then there’s this hitch route that Johnson posted with some NSFW language.

On that one, you can see that Slay has to respect the deep ball and Jackson has that change of direction ability. One of the misconceptions about Jackson is that he’s just a go route deep threat; but that’s not the case. He can run short and intermediate routes well and it’s all set up from his ability to burn corners deep. 

The Eagles won’t be in pads until Monday, which is also when reporters are allowed to watch practice. I can’t wait to see this battle in person and report back. 

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Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Twenty-five years ago, Randall Cunningham retired after a dismal final season with the Eagles. 

Two years later he came out of retirement, signed with the Vikings and a year later had one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever, earned MVP honors and would have taken the Vikings to the Super Bowl if not for some terrible coaching by Dennis Green.

Cunningham’s offensive coordinator his last year in Philly? Jon Gruden.

Gruden today is head coach of the Raiders, and one of his pet projects is Nelson Agholor.

“A change of scenery worked for Randall Cunningham, maybe it will work for him,” Gruden told the Athletic.

Interestingly, Cunningham, who settled in Las Vegas after playing college football at UNLV, is now the Raiders’ team chaplain.

As for Agholor, he’s trying to rebuild a career that despite some great moments in 2017 and a brilliant Super Bowl never lived up to expectations.

"I trust him and I think he was picked high in the draft for a reason,” Gruden said of Agholor. "He’s a good player. You can pick up the Philadelphia Inquirer and they will probably say something different, but this guy has caught over 200 passes, he’s a young guy, he has played split end, flanker and in the slot. He caught eight or nine passes in a Super Bowl (9-for-84) and won a Super Bowl. So he's a world champion. He's a great person.”

Agholor caught 224 passes for 2,515 yards and 18 touchdowns in five seasons with the Eagles, who made him the 20th pick in Chip Kelly’s 2015 draft.

He never caught more than 768 yards in a season and he surpassed 64 yards in only nine of his 76 games here.

Agholor said he and Gruden actually have a family connection that goes back to when he was in high school at Berkeley Prep in Tampa and Gruden had just finished coaching the Buccaneers.

“He actually used to hang around after his days coaching in Tampa, he still lived in Tampa, and he would always go to a racetrack near his home, and my brother worked at that racetrack so him and my brother spent a lot of time talking every morning when Jon was getting his coffee about football and about my college career and things like that,” Agholor said in a Zoom call with Raiders writers. 

“So it’s a blessing to be in this opportunity having a previous relationship. But at the end of the day I chose this relationship because he knows the game and all I want to do is learn and be a better player.”

The Eagles, who paid Agholor nearly $19 million over the last five years, made no attempt to re-sign the 27-year-old after last season ended.

He signed a one-year minimum salary benefit deal with the Raiders worth barely above minimum wage - $1.0475 million.

In Vegas, he’ll likely compete for slot reps with Hunter Renfrow, who had 49-for-605 with 4 TDs as a rookie 5th-round pick last year.

“Honestly, this is a beautiful opportunity for me to get a chance to play with a guy like Jon Gruden, who has a background in coaching receivers,” Agholor said. “I chose this opportunity to make myself a better player. There’s no better opportunity to play for a head coach that knows receiver play and can articulate ways you can get better.

“My No. 1 goal is to progress as a player.  Lot of things that happened in the past, some really good things and some things I wanted to grow from. I told myself this opportunity is to be 2 percent better than the player I was in my previous five years.”
 

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