Eagles

Mike Trout predicts Super Bowl pain for Tom Brady

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Mike Trout predicts Super Bowl pain for Tom Brady

Mike Trout hasn't decided if he will travel to Minneapolis to watch his beloved Eagles play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Trout said he enjoys staying at home and watching the game on television with his family. (There's something cool about that.) He also digs the commercials.

Wherever baseball's best — and highest paid — player decides to watch the game, he will have one important accessory with him: his dog mask. The same one he wore at Lincoln Financial Field during the Eagles' trouncing of the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

"I will definitely be wearing that dog mask," Trout said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "Gotta ride with it."

Eagles tackle Lane Johnson gave Trout the dog mask that has come to symbolize the Eagles' place as an underdog in the playoffs and again in the Super Bowl. The Eagles have come to relish that status.

"A lot of people doubted them," Trout said. "They lost the majority of their captains and starters (to injury), but they're still fighting. Next-man-up mentality."

Even some of Trout's teammates with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim doubted the Eagles. But no more.

"They give me grief all the time," Trout said. "Now they're all rooting for them. Throughout the season, there were a lot of ups and downs. But now we're going to the Super Bowl."

Trout, of course, was raised and still lives in Millville, New Jersey, less than an hour's drive from Philadelphia. He grew up a fan of all the Philly teams and, in fact, was in the parking lot outside of Citizens Bank Park celebrating with friends the night the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

Trout, 26, is a season-ticket holder with the Eagles and a close friend and hunting buddy of Carson Wentz. Trout, who saw his first Eagles game back in the Veterans Stadium days, was able to visit with several Eagles players after Sunday's big win over the Vikings.

"I told them to go get it," he said. "Obviously, there hasn't been a Super Bowl champion in Philadelphia. I told them to go get it."

Trout recalled watching Super Bowl XXXIX more than a decade ago. The Patriots beat the Eagles, 24-21, in that one.

Trout sees a different Eagles team in the rematch.

"This team is just a little bit different," he said. "They want to win and it's not just one guy carrying them. Every guy has a part in it."

Trout's buddy, Wentz, won't be playing in the Super Bowl. He may have been on his way to the NFL's MVP award hadn't he been knocked out by a season-ending knee injury in December. Nick Foles has taken over and been at the helm for two playoff wins.

In six spectacular seasons in the majors, Trout has won two American League MVP awards and finished second three times. (That's why he will make $34 million in 2018.) He finished fourth in the voting in 2017 and would have finished higher if he hadn't missed significant time with a thumb injury that required surgery. He feels for Wentz, who has to watch from the sidelines.

"It's definitely difficult," Trout said. "I went through it last year. It's tough for him. I thought he was the MVP. It was hard to watch when he went down. But he's working hard. He's walking. I'm sure he'll be ready for next season.

"What he did on the field this season was amazing, and now Nick has stepped up."

Tuesday's conference call was set up by the Angels' media relations department because of the large demand to speak with Trout, who has emerged as the Eagles' most visible fan, woofing and pumping his fist in triumph with the rest of the fans at the Linc. Trout said he'd never heard the place louder than it was as Patrick Robinson ran back that game-turning pick-six in the first quarter Sunday night.

Philadelphia fans dream of a day when they will be cheering for Trout rounding the bases in a Phillies uniform. He is signed through 2020. His free agency is not that far away.

As always, Trout deflected a question about whether he could see himself playing in Philadelphia someday.

"I'm an Eagles fan," he said. "Obviously, I grew up a Philly sports fan. I love playing in Anaheim. I have a couple more years on my contract. I love Anaheim and the West Coast."

That wasn't exactly a no.

Trout was more direct when asked about what he expected in the Super Bowl.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "Anybody that goes against Tom Brady is going against the best and maybe greatest of all time.

"I still think the Eagles will pull it out and they're going to win, 31-24."

And the decisive play will be?

"An interception of Brady," Trout said.

The Giants are in disarray (so are the Redskins and Cowboys)

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The Giants are in disarray (so are the Redskins and Cowboys)

While we await confirmation Nick Foles will become an unrestricted free agent (more on that here and here), let’s check in with the rest of the NFC East. Good news, Eagles fans — the club may not get anything in return for their Super Bowl-winning quarterback, but their offseason is still off to a better start than their division rivals’.

The Giants are a mess

The headlines have not been kind to the organization over the past week. Odell Beckham Jr.? Possibly on the move. Landon Collins? As good as gone. And the Giants still don’t know what they’re doing about a quarterback for 2019.

The mere possibility the Giants could trade their best player and one of the top receivers in the NFL should be concerning to any QB who might take the job. Beckham was reportedly on the block last season too, and the organization ultimately decided not to pull the trigger, yet league insider Jay Glazer boldly predicted a swap is coming this offseason. The key word there is predicts, not reports, but Glazer is connected and wouldn’t throw that out there on a whim.

While Beckham’s fate is unclear, Collins seems certain his time in New York is over. The three-time Pro Bowl selection cleaned out his locker on Wednesday, then took to social media so there was no mistaking how the action relates to his impending free agency.

The Giants appear poised to get weaker on defense, perhaps on both sides of the ball, yet ideally would find a signal caller to replace Eli Manning. Sounds like their front office has a great sales pitch!

But Colin Cowherd says Ciara wants to live in New York, so I’m sure the Seahawks plan on shipping Russell Wilson — a top-10 franchise quarterback — over to the Giants any day now.

Washington, also a mess

Similar to the Giants, Washington needs a quarterback and may lose a key cog on defense.

It was no secret Alex Smith would miss 2019 with an injury, and general manager Doug Williams more or less confirmed the club is searching for a solution. I believe Washington has a better team, more aggressive management and thus is a more likely landing spot for Foles than New York, so this a situation to monitor in free agency. For now, the offense is in a bind.

Washington is not expected to use the franchise tag on Preston Smith, either. The 26-year-old outside linebacker is headed toward free agency with 24.5 sacks in four NFL seasons.

The Cowboys are a mess, too

Jason Garrett is officially a lame-duck head coach in the final year of his contract. Nobody knows who will be calling the plays for the Cowboys offense in 2019 — Garrett or new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was the team’s backup quarterback less than two years ago — but the staff in place led the best players in the conference to seven points in the Pro Bowl in January. What could possibly go wrong?

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Would Giants really let Landon Collins become a free agent?

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Would Giants really let Landon Collins become a free agent?

Landon Collins is arguably the Giants’ best defensive player and he’s just 25 years old. 

So would the Giants really let him walk? 

It would be hard to believe, but apparently, this happened today: 

After that tweet, Paul Schwartz from the New York Post reported Collins had, in fact, not cleaned out his locker. 

Well, who would know if Collins cleaned out his locker today? Collins might have an idea. 

It certainly seems like the situation between player and team has reached a boiling point of sorts. 

A few days ago, I wrote the Giants simply couldn’t afford to let Collins walk, so if they couldn’t reach a long-term deal, they would need to slap a franchise tag on him. And it seems very possible the source of this contention could be over the chance the Giants slap a franchise tag on Collins. 

Here’s what NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo had to say about the situation: 

That all seems to make sense. According to other recent reports before today, there wasn’t much movement between Collins and the Giants on contract talks. Collins has made it clear he doesn’t want to be franchise tagged, which could set up a situation where the Giants tag him (the safety tag will be about $12 million in 2019) and there’s a standoff. 

Collins has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons and was an All-Pro in 2016. 

I still think the Giants really can’t afford to let Collins leave. He’s too good and too young and they’d miss him too much. In my list of the top pending free agents from the division, I ranked Collins behind just DeMarcus Lawrence and Nick Foles (see story)

If Collins does end up as a free agent, that’s great news for the Eagles because while they probably wouldn’t be in the market for his services, at least he’d likely be leaving the division. 

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