Eagles

No Jordan Hicks means Nigel Bradham wears 'green dot' responsibility

No Jordan Hicks means Nigel Bradham wears 'green dot' responsibility

With the loss of Jordan Hicks for the season, the Eagles are going to put more on the plate of Nigel Bradham. 

Well, at least more on his helmet. 

When they take the field against the 49ers on Sunday, Bradham's helmet will have that little green dot, indicating he'll be the one communicating with the Eagles' coaching staff. 

Big deal, right? 

"I mean, you hear something and you say it again," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Wednesday. "You could put a tape recorder out there and do it." 

But a tape recorder can't tackle. A tape recorder can't set the front. And a tape recorder sure as hell can't become a leader of men.

Bradham can. And the Eagles hope he will.  

While maybe folks shouldn't make too much of Bradham being the new communicator among the linebacker group after Hicks' Achilles injury, maybe there is something to be said about his overall new role in the defense. 

"In some things, he needs to be able to make calls and some things he doesn't," Schwartz continued. "He's done a good job with it. And his leadership is starting to show. He's spreading his wings that way a little bit. 

"He plays with a lot of energy on the field. But being in front of the huddle and being the communicator, I think you start to see that a little bit more from him.

"I don't want to minimize what that is. I don't want to put too much on it. I mean, having a green dot on your helmet doesn't make you a good player.

"But he's done a good job in that role. He's done it already this year. And he's going to have to stay in that mode."

Bradham has been pretty solid since his arrival in Philadelphia in 2016, but he's been even better over the last month of the season. He said he'll need to become much more vocal as the team rides out the rest of the season without Hicks. 

Without Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) on Monday night, the Eagles used Bradham, Najee Goode and Joe Walker for most of the game. 

The good news is that Kendricks will probably be back for Sunday's game against the 49ers. 

While the Eagles have three linebackers in their base package, they spend around 70 percent of their defensive snaps in nickel, which means Bradham and Kendricks will be the two linebackers on the field. The two of them didn't get much work together all offseason but have been since the start of the regular season while Hicks dealt with a couple different injuries before the big one that ended his season. 

"We feel good, man," Bradham said about playing with Kendricks. "We'll play hard, we'll communicate and we'll try to keep this thing going. We want to keep it rolling and keep this defense solid."

In January, unhappy with his lack of playing time, Kendricks asked for the Eagles to trade or release him. 

Good thing the Eagles didn't. Because without Hicks, Kendricks is going to have to play a huge role on the defense for the rest of the season, which the Eagles hope includes a deep run into the playoffs. 

"It's huge," Bradham said. "We all know Mych. Mych is a tremendous player. His athleticism is unbelievable and his ability to make plays. He's made plays in this league throughout his career. It's obvious and evident what he can do on the field. It's a blessing to have him, honestly."

When the Eagles are in their base defense, head coach Doug Pederson hinted that they'll use a combination of Goode and Walker to fill in at the MIKE position. Either way, Bradham will still be the one relaying information and making most of the calls on the field. He doesn't think it will be a problem doing that from his normal outside 'backer position. 

Bradham handled those extra duties for most of Monday's game and thought it all went well. That's why he thinks things will continue the same way come Sunday afternoon as the Eagles try to keep things going without Hicks. 

"I think we'll be OK," Goode said. "We still have Mychal and Nigel to rally around." 

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

The NFL’s new policy that aims to eliminate on-field demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem has been the biggest news of the day. 

The policy (outlined here) has been met with plenty of reactions, even from a couple notable Eagles players (see story)

On Wednesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released the following statement: 

I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.

Lurie is considered one of the more socially aware owners in the NFL and his players have been very appreciative of his support in the past. Lurie even joined his team on the field during this season in September after President Donald Trump publicly said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.'"

But this statement doesn’t really answer any questions. 

While it’s noteworthy that Lurie is proud of players who fight for positive change and at least he mentioned the reason players are protesting in the first place, the Eagles’ owner didn’t address any specifics about how the Eagles will address the new anthem policy and possible fines that could be levied by the NFL to the Eagles. Nor did Lurie address if or how the Eagles would discipline players now that the power to do so is in their hands. 

In fact, Lurie didn’t specifically mention the anthem or protests at all. 

It was first reported that the policy passed unanimously, but then it was revealed that 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. Lurie, presumably, voted for the policy. At least we know he didn’t vote against it. 

Earlier in the day, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said his team would support any players who wanted to protest during the anthem and would not fine them.

Lurie’s statement fell short of answering some important questions. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

As expected, the reactions started pouring in Wednesday when the NFL announced its new national anthem policy.

From players to organizations and groups outside of football, many are acknowledging the league's polarizing decision.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Wednesday night (see story). Here's a look at how his team could be affected (see story), while players have started to express their thoughts on the policy.

"Ultimately it is taking the players' voice away," Lane Johnson told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. "I think there will be some backlash from their decision."

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long also released statements on their Twitter accounts.

Here's a look at some of the reactions: