Eagles

Michael Bennett explains OTAs absence after 1st Eagles practice

Michael Bennett explains OTAs absence after 1st Eagles practice

After his first practice as a member of the Eagles, Michael Bennett spent a few moments chatting with owner Jeff Lurie. Catching up. 

See, Bennett was with the Eagles earlier this spring, but skipped the team’s voluntary OTAs before reporting to mandatory camp on Monday morning. 

The 32-year-old NFL veteran had a pretty simple reason for skipping OTAs: they’re voluntary. 

“It’s the only job in the world that’s voluntary that people expect you to show up,” Bennett said, after he finally left Lurie’s side. “For me, the offseason is always about how to be a better parent and a better husband. So every year, I work with my kids, teaching them after school, coaching basketball, doing whatever I can. That’s the best thing about the offseason.” 

Even during his time in Seattle, Bennett skipped the voluntary workouts. Maybe it’s more troubling now that he’s trying to fit into a new defense in Philly, but his coaches didn’t seem too worried. Neither did his teammates. 

In fact, Bennett said he had been texting with some of his fellow defensive linemen like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham during his time away from the team. Bennett said he wants to first know his teammates as men before he knows them as football players. 

Tuesday was just Day 1 for Bennett in an Eagles uniform, but he already seems to be fitting in. He already feels “pretty comfortable” with the playbook and seems to be a logical fit in the locker room. 

“I think the culture is just one of a kind,” Bennett said. “I think we have a lot of great coaches, obviously. But then the coaches are all about family, about team and you see it throughout the organization. Whether it’s the equipment guys, training staff, everybody is about the team, that family.”

It’s pretty easy to see how Bennett should fit with the Eagles on the field. He’s a versatile Pro Bowl defensive end who should be able to add to a group that was already one of the best in the NFL. 

He took second-team reps at defensive end on Tuesday, but head coach Doug Pederson said Bennett will be worked in with the first team during this mandatory minicamp. After all, the Eagles didn’t trade for Bennett to make him a spectator. 

“I think coming here, you want to be an All-Star just like you’ve been,” Bennett said. “You want to be one of the top players in the league and you come in with that. I think the organization is expecting that. They’re not expecting me to come in and sit back. They’re expecting me to come in and dominate on the field and that’s my job. Obviously, every day I take the field, that’s my mindset.” 

Off the field, Bennett is facing felony charges for injury to the elderly, stemming from an incident after Super Bowl LI. The 32-year-old didn’t want to talk too much about the incident, saying he’ll let his lawyer handle it for him. 

Aside from the court case, Bennett has never shied away from the public spotlight or from being outspoken about politics, race and other important issues. He also plans on becoming a part of the community in Philly. 

“I think you just want to be a great citizen,” he said. “When you come into a city, you want to feel the atmosphere of the city. You want to visit schools, you want to visit people, eat the food and just immerse yourself in the culture. It’s a new culture for me, coming from Seattle. It’s a whole different vibe and I’m liking it. I think it’s an opportunity to grow as a person and grow with my family in a new situation.”

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Source: Eagles do right by Nick Foles, give him $1 million bonus

Source: Eagles do right by Nick Foles, give him $1 million bonus

The Eagles are doing right by Nick Foles at least one more time. 

Remember when Foles got knocked out of the Eagles’ Week 17 game against the Redskins and finished just a few snaps shy of reaching a $1 million bonus? 

Well, the Eagles gave it to him anyway. 

A league source confirmed an ESPN report Saturday that the Eagles dished out the $1 million to Foles despite him coming a few snaps shy of earning it naturally. 

Thanks to getting knocked out of that Washington game, Foles finished the regular season with 357 offensive snaps out of 1,092 — 32.629 percent. He needed to get to 33 percent to earn that bonus. Normally in these cases, there’s no rounding up. 

This is not a normal case. 

Because after Foles left the Week 17 game, he came back the next week and led the Eagles to a win over the Bears in Chicago in the wild-card round and played the following week in the divisional round. In the last two years, Foles has a 4-1 record in the playoffs for the Birds. 

This is a nice gesture but it doesn’t change anything about Foles’ future. The Eagles are still tying themselves to Carson Wentz long term, which means it’s still likely Foles will be moving on, either as a free agent or through a trade. We explored all those possibilities here.

During the Eagles’ year-end press conference earlier this week, I asked Howie Roseman about how much they have to factor in Foles’ thoughts and feelings when making a decision: 

It’s always gotta be what’s best for our football team and the Philadelphia Eagles. We gotta make decisions based on that. But there’s also a respect factor for guys that have done a lot for us and have been a part of it. We try to factor that in as well. The bottom line is we gotta do what’s best for our football team to win games going forward.

It seems like we’re seeing some of that respect factor with the move to give Foles the $1 million he fell just short of earning naturally. In the Eagles’ eyes, he clearly deserves this bump, sort of like how he deserved a new contract before the 2018 season after his postseason heroics. 

The Eagles have to do what’s best for the team, but they don’t want to burn any bridges with a Super Bowl hero along the way either.

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Derrick Gunn's predictions for AFC and NFC Championship Games

Derrick Gunn's predictions for AFC and NFC Championship Games

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn gives his predictions for the championship round of the NFL playoffs.

Rams at Saints (NFC Championship, Sunday, 3:05 p.m., FOX)
And so the top two seeds in the NFC get another shot at each other. If this one is anything like their regular-season meeting in Week 9, it should be quite the shootout.

In that regular-season affair, the two teams combined for 80 points, 970 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Saints won their seventh straight game while the Rams were dealt their first loss.

With the late-season addition of running back C.J. Anderson, the Rams ran through the Cowboys' defense for 273 yards last weekend. Meanwhile, the Saints came out sluggish against the Eagles, finally woke up and held on to get to this point.

In 2017, both teams exited the playoffs sooner than they were expecting. This time, the Rams' road to the Super Bowl ends in New Orleans.

Patriots at Chiefs (AFC Championship, Sunday, 6:40 p.m., CBS)
The Patriots are like a chameleon. They adapt to their environment on both sides of the ball better than any team in the league. You don’t know what defensive front they’re going to play week to week, and on offense, when you expect them to run, they pass. Prepare to defend their passing attack and they'll run the ball. Back in Week 6, the Pats survived a 43-40 shootout.

But that was in New England. This time, the rematch is at Arrowhead Stadium, arguably the loudest football venue in the league. The Chiefs haven’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1969 season. They haven’t been in the AFC title game since 1993. It's the GOAT, Tom Brady, vs. the new kid on the block in Patrick Mahomes, and he is electric.

This is Andy Reid's fourth straight year that he’s gotten Kansas City in the playoffs. This time, Reid and his crew dance their way into Super Bowl LIII.

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