Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins: I'd hold anthem demonstration even if team's owner forbid it

Malcolm Jenkins: I'd hold anthem demonstration even if team's owner forbid it

The NFL's never-ending national anthem saga continued Sunday when vice president Mike Pence left the Colts game early after being upset by the sight of players protesting during the anthem.

Later on Sunday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned heads even more by saying that players who disrespect the flag "will not play."

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, through word and deed, has been making a difference both locally and nationally trying to generate change and improve race relations. He had a strong reaction Monday to Jones' comments, expressing gratitude that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie hasn't taken such a stance.

"Well, my first reaction is that I'm grateful that Jeffrey Lurie not only did not express those kinds of feelings but has proactively been in the community and has reached out to try and hear about the issues that we are actually demonstrating to draw attention to," Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn.

"If [Lurie] were to put out such a statement I'd continue my demonstration because my demonstration is in no way disrespectful to our flag, our country or our service members. Neither is anybody in the league who is kneeling. I think we've made that very clear that what we are demonstrating about has nothing to do with the flag but everything to do with social injustice, racial inequality and the things that, you know, Jerry Jones and other owners who are making statements have yet to address.

"And so I'd love to hear their takes on that part of the conversation, what these players are trying to draw attention to. Their thoughts on, you know, police brutality and racial inequality, education gap, the economical gap in these communities that they make money in. And I'd love to hear that part of the conversation so that it's not so argumentative, so that it's not isolating the players who are trying to do the right thing with the platform that they have."

Jones' comments made clear that he wants his players to "stand up for the flag," not kneel, during the national anthem. Jenkins' demonstration has never included kneeling. Since last season, Jenkins and several Eagles teammates have stood and raised their fists during the anthem.

Still, Jenkins reiterated that even if his team's owner said what Jones said Sunday, he wouldn't change his way of demonstrating.

"I would still do it," Jenkins said. "I mean, I've been that committed to it because that decision is not mine. I made the decision a year ago that I was going to use my platform in a way to create positive change both on the field and off the field and having someone tell me I couldn't do that simply because, you know, a president or your bottom line is getting ready to be affected, that wouldn't deter me."

Updating Eagles position battles after 2nd preseason game

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USA Today/AP Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Updating Eagles position battles after 2nd preseason game

We’ve already updated our five Eagles position battles three times since the start of training camp, but it’s time to do it again. 

We have the last days of training camp and the game against the Patriots to judge. 

Let’s jump in: 

Nickel corner 

8/11: Sidney Jones practices after suffering a sprained left ankle in the game, but doesn’t do 11-on-11 drills. De’Vante Bausby starts the day as the nickel corner, but rookie Avonte Maddox also gets some first-team reps. This is the first time we’ve seen Maddox with the starters. 

8/12: After getting some first-team reps yesterday, Maddox gets all the first-team reps. He’s come really far and gets praised by Jim Schwartz after practice. It’s possible he has overtaken Bausby on the depth chart. Jones is back doing 11-on-11s but works with the second team. 

8/13: Maddox again gets first-team reps and has his best day of camp. He gets an interception and several batted passes. Jones works with the second team, has a rough day, but comes up with a huge pick-6 late in the practice. 

8/14: Maddox again gets work with the first team. Jones comes on as the LCB after Mills leaves practice early. 

Preseason game 2: Ronald Darby and Rasul Douglas start the game outside (Mills is out) and Jones starts in the slot. But Maddox quickly rotates in. Both Jones and Maddox give up a touchdown but do some good too. 

Updated prediction: The Eagles have given Maddox a lot of time with the first team, but I think it’s still clearly Jones’ job. But it also seems like Maddox might have passed Bausby on the depth chart. 

Weakside linebacker

8/11: As we’ve seen for a long time, Nate Gerry gets first-team reps, but only at the start of 11-on-11s. Finally, Kamu Grugier-Hill gets worked in with the ones. Not sure why this took so long, but KGH definitely deserves the extra reps. 

8/12: The Eagles weren’t in their base package very much today, but KGH gets the minimal first-team reps. Interestingly enough, at one point Gerry and Grugier-Hill were the two linebackers in the first-team nickel package. They’re not overtaking Jordan Hicks or Nigel Bradham, but maybe coaches wanted to see them side by side with the ones. 

8/13: Gerry picked off a pass at point-blank range. When the Eagles use their jumbo package, Hicks, Bradham, Gerry and Joe Walker are out there. 

8/14: Gerry gets first-team reps, but Walker is on the field in the jumbo package again. 

Preseason game 2: As has been the case for a while, Gerry gets the start ahead of Grugier-Hill at the WILL. He has a good game but plays a lot longer than I would have anticipated. Both guys get in with the first team at WILL, but Gerry stays on the field in the jumbo package, with Hicks, Bradham and Joe Walker. 

Updated prediction: We haven’t even mentioned Corey Nelson in a while; that’s how little impact he’s made. Gerry is the frontrunner, but KGH has been really good too. If nothing else, the Eagles’ linebacker depth is a little better than we first thought. 

Defensive line

8/11: The starting line of Long, Cox, Vaeao and Barnett remains the same. Michael Bennett continues to get worked in for Vaeao on third downs, creating a scary, scary line. Elijah Qualls bounces back from a penalty-filled game to make a TFL and does well in 1-on-1s. 

8/12: For the first time for a non-rotational reason, we see Haloti Ngata get first-team reps at DT instead of Vaeao. Bennett gets work inside on clear passing downs. 

8/13: Didn’t see too much new with the starters, but keep an eye on rookie Bruce Hector. Hector has been working with the second-team defensive line ahead of Qualls at times. 

8/14: Ngata gets some first-team reps next to Fletcher Cox again. The Eagles might be preparing him to start Week 1 very soon. 

Preseason game 2: Big day for Ngata, who starts next to Cox. And Ngata makes some plays; really the first time we’ve seen evidence he still has something left to give. That’s a great sign for the Eagles. A lot of Bennett inside and not just on third downs. Vaeao doesn’t start but shows some good pass-rush ability. 

Updated prediction: For a long time, it looked like Vaeao was going to be able to hold off Ngata. Don’t think that’s happening. Expect the old vet to start next to Cox until Tim Jernigan is ready to return. 

Running back 

8/11: Donnel Pumphrey misses practice again, but Matt Jones returns. Corey Clement was also not at practice after apparently suffering an injury during the first preseason game. Without some bodies, Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood both got some work with the first team. 

8/12: Still no Pumphrey or Clement. Pump wasn’t even out watching practice; Clement showed up late with a compression sleeve on his calf. It seems clear the Eagles are more interested in getting Adams and Smallwood reps with the ones and twos than Jones. 

8/13: Pump and Clement are still out. Adams is having a good day until he pulls up lame after a run play in the red zone. He doesn’t get back in. 

8/14: Adams misses practice after pulling up lame yesterday. Pump and Corey Clement each miss today as well. That means Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Matt Jones get all the reps. 

Preseason game 2: Adams and Pumphrey sit with their injuries, which gave Jones and Smallwood plenty of opportunities. They didn’t make the most of them. Smallwood had one yard on four carries, while Jones dropped three passes. Ajayi, minus one bad play in pass pro, head a good night. 

Updated prediction: I still think one of those last four running backs is going to make the roster, but I have no idea which one. For now, I think Smallwood has a slight advantage. 

Third safety 

8/11: Corey Graham made a nice play on a receiver and would have popped him in a real game. 

8/12: Not much here. Graham and Sullivan continue to work with the second team, with Stephen Roberts being the next guy up of note. 

8/13: Trey Sullivan has a really good day, making a few plays in the end zone. 

8/14: Not much again. Graham is the next guy up, but Sullivan gets some significant snaps too. 

Preseason game 2: Graham gets on the field early as a safety so Malcolm Jenkins can play nickel corner a little. Jeremy Reaves has a nice game but gets called for a new helmet penalty. Stephen Roberts gets hurt. 

Updated prediction: This battle hasn’t been much of one for a while. Graham is the third safety. Trey Sullivan is likely on the roster because of Chris Maragos’ injury. Maybe Reaves can sneak on the practice squad.

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A closer look at Nate Sudfeld's dimes against Patriots

A closer look at Nate Sudfeld's dimes against Patriots

If you don’t want to buy into the Nate Sudfeld hype after just one good preseason performance, that’s certainly understandable. 

So just to make sure we’re on the same page, I’m not either. I’m not saying he’ll ever be a great quarterback or a starter or even a good backup in the NFL. 

But after watching him against New England on Thursday night, I am ready to say this guy can toss some dimes. 

He did it all night against the Patriots. 

I don’t care if it’s preseason and I don’t care if there are high school kids out there on defense, it doesn’t change the fact that some of his throws Thursday were simply impressive. I’m not too surprised by it; he’s shown that ability in practice. But what we’ve also seen from Suds in practice is inconsistency. It looked like he was able to get into a rhythm Thursday. 

Let’s take a look at some of his throws (we’ll go in chronological order) that impressed me from the other night: 

This first one came on Sudfeld’s second drive (second quarter). It’s been interesting watching him this summer. Sometimes it seems like moving around in the pocket gets him going. On this one, it was the opposite. Wendell Smallwood picked up the blitz to buy some time, but Sudfeld couldn’t step into the throw. He was forced to throw off his back foot but showed the arm strength to get the ball downfield. 

Suds sees the blitz and recognizes the 1-on-1 down the sideline. DeAndre Carter was basically tackled early for DPI, but it looked like he had a step on the defender and the throw was going to be right there. 

Sudfeld normally looks pretty good throwing on the run. You could argue this pass was a little underthrown, but it was still put in a good spot for Kamar Aiken in the end zone. Keion Crossen, No. 35, seemed determined to just never let a receiver catch a ball against him again. Another clear DPI. 

A few plays later, Sudfeld hit Shelton Gibson for the first touchdown of the day. We’re going to skip that one, because Gibson’s route was so great, all Suds had to do was loft it up. 

This one came with just 52 seconds left in the first half. Really good experience for Sudfeld in the two-minute offense. The Patriots are using a deep zone, trying to prevent a huge play, but Sudfeld hits Goedert perfectly in stride over a trailing Patrick Chung for 28 yards. Hitting Goedert in stride is huge here because it allows Goedert’s momentum to help get him out of bounds and stop the clock. 

Just two plays later, Sudfeld hits Carter in perfect stride. Poor Crossen didn’t have a very good night. But even with Sudfeld’s double-pump and without him stepping into it, he has plenty of arm and hits Carter in stride. Again, that helped stop the clock. 

Those two throws got the Eagles down inside the 10-yard line with 30 seconds left. The Eagles didn’t score, so Sudfeld gets some of the blame, especially after a weird shovel pass on the fourth down play. But that experience of moving a team down the field in 52 seconds is very valuable. 


We lumped those two together because they happened the same way in a game. First, Sudfeld tried Goedert in that corner of the end zone and then on the next, he came back to Richard Rodgers for the touchdown. Good idea by Doug Pederson to pretty much run the same thing again.

On that second one, watch Sudfeld throw that ball off his back foot. That’s impressive arm strength. That’s a few times now we’ve seen him show off that arm without stepping into a throw. 

I love this one. The Eagles are backed up on their own 2-yard line but they’re coming out firing. Watch Sudfeld look off the safety and then drop a perfect pass in there. Bread basket. 

 
The touchdown to Rashard Davis was just pretty. Nice clean pocket and Sudfeld picked apart the defense. There wasn’t a ton of room for error there between two defenders and near the sideline, but it’s a perfect pass. 

There were a bunch of perfect passes from Sudfeld on Thursday night. I know it was just one preseason game, and that’s why we’re not getting carried away. 

But … feel free to at least be a little intrigued. This guy is probably the backup of the future and fans should feel better about that today than they did this time last week.

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