Eagles

Malik Jackson learning to play with Fletcher Cox, without Fletcher Cox

Malik Jackson learning to play with Fletcher Cox, without Fletcher Cox

As the newcomer, Malik Jackson knows he has to learn how to play next to Fletcher Cox. He needs to learn the nuances of Cox’s game and how the All-Pro likes to rush the passer. 

That’s a little hard without Cox at practice. 

When Jackson took the field for his first session as an Eagle on Tuesday at OTAs, Cox wasn’t on the field as he recovers from an offseason foot surgery that’s expected to keep him sidelined until training camp. That’s Cox’s return goal, so Jackson and Cox won’t line up next to each other for over two months. 

So Jackson is trying to find other ways to get ready to play next to the Eagles’ best defensive player. Here’s what he told reporters on Tuesday: 

It’s my job to come in here and adjust to him because he’s been here, he’s the guy. For me, you watch film, you see what he likes to do, you talk to the guys around here. You understand what he likes to do when he rushes and stuff and you [learn] from that. 

It certainly can’t hurt for Jackson to glean as much as he can from the tape, but there’s a level of rapport that just can’t be built until the two are on the field together. For now, Jackson is getting used to playing next to Tim Jernigan, who is working with the starters in Cox’s absence. 

Eventually, Jackson’s presence could be a huge boost for Cox, who is already one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL. Last month, he seemed excited about the possibility teams won’t be able to shift protections to one player all the time. Double and triple teams have become the norm for Cox in recent seasons. 

But Cox in April also cautioned reporters that getting on the same page with a new defensive tackle next to him won’t just come during practices in training camp. There are few live-tackling sessions in camp and sacks are off limits because of red jerseys. 

We’re going to spend some time together and it’s nothing that can happen overnight,” Cox said. “It’s things that have to build over the season, him being next to me. Me learning how he plays, him learning how I play certain things. … It’s going to take some time. Some of those things we can pick up in training camp, but most of those things, the important things, I’d say will have first, second, third, fourth game of the season when we get those game reps.

A big difference will be on third downs, when Jackson is expected to stay on the field. In the last couple of seasons, Cox has lined up next to a smaller defensive end — Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham or Michael Bennett — on third downs. Now, he’ll be next to Jackson, who is listed at 290 pounds. That’s going to be a change.  

For Jackson, all this is a change. He’s coming to a new defense and a new team. The 29-year-old, who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos before going to Jacksonville, said he likes the vibe in Philly. Everyone is relaxed and having fun, but serious about their work, he said. He also likes Jim Schwartz’s defense. 

Early on, returns on signing Jackson are pretty good. But we won’t see his full value until he lines up next to Cox in a game that matters. That will be the pay off, which is why he’s doing everything he can to get ready for that moment. 

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Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Last week, we took a look at Howie Roseman’s five best trades, so today we’re looking at the other side. 

To be fair, when I came up with these lists, the good one was much longer than the bad. In general, Roseman is pretty good when it comes to trades. But they can’t all be hits. 

As a reminder, we’re looking at the following years: 2010-14, 2016-now. Chip Kelly was in control during 2015. 

Here’s my ranking of Roseman’s five worst trades: 

5. Trading for Golden Tate 
During the 2018 season, the Eagles needed a boost so Roseman pulled off a trade to get Tate from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick. While the Eagles eventually got back a fourth-round compensatory pick to soften the blow, the acquisition of Tate never really worked out. 

Sure, you can point at the touchdown catch in the Double Doink playoff game in Chicago as a reason why this trade was actually a success … but let’s be real. This trade didn’t work out the way the Eagles were hoping. In the final eight games of the 2018 regular season, Tate caught 30 passes for 278 yards and 1 touchdown. He signed with the rival Giants in 2019. 

The lasting memory of this trade will probably be the unfortunate words from then-offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who admitted it had been “challenging to integrate” Tate into the offense during the season. 

4. Dion Lewis for Emmanuel Acho 
In April of 2013, the Eagles dealt Lewis to Cleveland for Acho. While Lewis never played for the Browns because of injury, he eventually resurfaced with the Patriots in 2015 and showed off some of the talent the Eagles initially saw in him during the 2011 draft. 

He has never become a star, but from 2015-2019, Lewis has played in 62 games for the Patriots and Titans and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry. He has 2,139 rushing yards, 1,260 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns during those seasons. 

Acho played two seasons for the Eagles and a total of 20 games with two starts. He became a special teams contributor for those Chip Kelly teams but played a total of 288 defensive snaps. 

3. Joe Mays for J.J. Arrington  
The Eagles drafted Mays in the sixth round of the 2008 draft but the linebacker played in just 13 games in 2008 and 2009 before the Eagles shipped him to Denver in July of 2010 for Arrington or a conditional draft pick. 

Arrington missed the entire 2009 season after microfracture knee surgery. He didn’t make the Eagles that year (he never played in the NFL again), so the Birds got back a 2012 sixth-round pick they ended up using on Marvin McNutt. 

While Arrington never played an NFL game again, Mays from that point on in his career played 65 games with 37 starts for the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs and Chargers. 

2. Stealing DGB from the Titans 
At the time, it seemed liked the Eagles fleeced the Titans by getting Dorial Green-Beckham for reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly. Turns out, it was the other way around. Sometimes if it seems too good to be true … 

The Eagles pulled off this trade in August of 2016 and upon first glance it was a major steal. Just a year earlier, the Titans took DGB in the second round and he had a really good rookie year statistically. In 2015, he caught 32 passes for 549 yards (17.2) and 4 touchdowns. 

At 6-5, 225 pounds, he was the ultimate size/speed guy with the potential to be a great player. But it became clear pretty soon after that trade that DGB wasn’t destined for greatness. He was a friendly guy but immature and didn’t seem to want it. He played that 2016 season with the Eagles, catching 36 passes for 392 yards and 2 touchdowns on talent alone, but the Eagles cut him the following June. 

Since then, Green-Beckham has been out of the league and has been dealing with some legal issues. He’s become a cautionary tale of wasted talent. 

Meanwhile, Kelly has played in 58 games (16 starts) for the Titans and got a three-year extension before last season. 

1. Dealing Chris Clemons for Darryl Tapp 
One of Roseman’s first trades ended up being his worst. In March of 2010, the Eagles traded Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick to get Darryl Tapp from the Seahawks. Tapp was about three years younger than Clemons, who was longer and lankier. Before the trade, here were their career stats: 

Tapp: 4 seasons, 32 starts, 18 sacks 
Clemons: 5 seasons, 3 starts, 20 sacks 

So you can see why the Eagles made this trade. They thought they were getting a potential starting defensive end who was already better and had more upside in their defense. But they ended up losing pretty big. 

Here’s what they did with their new teams: 

Tapp: 3 seasons in Philly, 3 starts, 6 sacks 
Clemons: 4 seasons in Seattle, 59 starts, 38 sacks 

In his first three years in Seattle, Clemons ended up having 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks and started every game for the Seahawks; during that span, he was sixth in the NFL in sacks. Tapp was a role player in Philly. 

Honorable mentions: Trading away Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong, trading away Asante Samuel for a seventh-rounder, trading away Eric Rowe for a fourth-rounder.

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Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

A day after some of the NFL’s biggest black stars called on their league to condemn racism and support their fight, the NFL has responded. 

In a 1:21 video, commissioner Roger Goodell did just that. 

Goodell gave his condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality and then offered up the following statement: 

While Goodell didn’t specifically mention Colin Kaepernick, it seems like the NFL will not fight players who wish to demonstrate during the national anthem. In fact, Goodell said the NFL will “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” 

Kaepernick began his peaceful protest nearly four years ago, back in 2016. 

This video from Goodell and the strong statement from the league comes just a day after Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and more created a video asking for this type of response from the league. To the league’s credit, it came pretty promptly. 

In time, we’ll see what this means. It’s been an emotional week in the United States and this feels like a good start. But it also feels like a beginning for the NFL, a jumping off point. As far as players are concerned, this can’t be an empty statement. We’ll find out soon enough if there will be actions to back these words. 

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