Eagles

Eagles' win over Falcons shows Doug Pederson's message got through

Eagles' win over Falcons shows Doug Pederson's message got through

The biggest thing we learned about the Eagles Thursday night?

It’s that they were listening.

Just three days after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, Doug Pederson was back at the NovaCare Complex, laying out his plan for the offseason to his players.

He spoke about sacrifice. He spoke about staying hungry. He spoke about not being satisfied with just one Super Bowl title.

More than anything, he spoke about turning the page. Enjoy the parade. Enjoy the ring ceremony. Enjoy all that comes with being a champion.

But do it all with an eye on tomorrow.

"There's a side of success that's not the glamorous side, and it's the side that's … 'Who's going to hold out in OTAs? Who's going to want the next big contract? Who's going to miss this or that for an endorsement deal or an autograph signing? " Pederson said about 62 hours after the Eagles put the finishing touches on the Patriots in Minneapolis.

“It's the not-so-glamorous side of success.”

All offseason, you sensed that Pederson’s message was getting through. But you couldn't be sure.

Nobody held out of OTAs or training camp, even guys like Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi and Brandon Graham, terrific talents whose contracts are up after this season.

Nobody missed a practice for an autograph signing and nobody missed a meeting because of an endorsement deal.

Nobody made trouble. Nobody embarrassed the team. Nobody showed up out of shape after hitting the banquet circuit too hard.

As opening day grew closer, there were a lot of positives signs.

Training camp was very tough, very hard, very physical, very grueling. Pederson certainly didn’t go easy on anybody just because they had won a Lombardi Trophy.

He worked them hard, and they embraced it. They wanted it.

And as training camp went on, it almost seemed like talking about the Super Bowl was taboo. The celebrating was over. The dog masks were in mothballs. The last echo of that unforgettable parade had long since faded.

Everything pointed to a team that had moved on.

Taking down the Super Bowl LII signs in the locker room was a symbolic gesture, but it’s one that really said a lot about where this team’s head was at. They didn’t want any reminders of that game because it had nothing to do with beating the Falcons.

The game? It was ugly, like openers often are. You have teams playing meaningful football for the first time in half a year and they’re often not particularly well-played games.

But what stood out Thursday night in the Eagles' 18-12 win over the Falcons was that, despite their mistakes, the penalties, the mental errors, the Eagles battled and fought with just as much hunger and determination and motivation and passion as they did every Sunday a year ago (see Roob's 10 observations).

Super Bowl hangover? Complacency? With this team?

You saw nothing of the sort.

The Eagles didn’t play particularly well Thursday night at the Linc, at least not on offense, but you couldn’t ask for a stronger effort.

The defense fashioned four brilliant goal-line stands, holding the Falcons to just one field goal on trips to the 1-, 3-, 5- and 15-yard.

And the offense, shaky and sputtering and awful much of the night, always seemed to make a play late when it absolutely, positively had to make a play.

The biggest thing I wanted to see Thursday night was how hungry this football team was just seven months after Super Bowl LII.

Every team talks about moving forward and avoiding complacency. But it’s very difficult to actually do.

But there’s something special about Pederson. He has a clear, simple message and he knows how to get it across, and he has a group of players that will run through brick walls to carry out that message.

That’s what Thursday night was. A team overcoming a big giant opening-day brick wall and finding its way to 1-0 over a really good team in a game with huge NFC playoff implications.

And after 70,000 fans watched a banner raised to the sky commemorating one Super Bowl, 53 Philadelphia Eagles were on the field starting their quest to win another.

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Eagles announce several new jersey numbers for 2020 season 

Eagles announce several new jersey numbers for 2020 season 

We have a long way to go before the start of the 2020 season but we have some jersey number updates from the Eagles. 

Most of these new numbers are for new players, but Jalen Mills is also switching out of the number he’s worn for the first four years of his career. 

Here they are in numerical order: 

Jalen Mills: 21

Mills spent the first four years of his career in No. 31. But his rookie contract is over and he’s returning as a safety in 2020. So new position, new number. 

“It’s just recreating myself,” Mills said this week. “Recreating that Green Goblin, that monster. It’s a new position, it’s a new feel, and it’s going to be new energy.”

Mills said he admires guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who each changed their jersey numbers throughout their NBA careers. 

The No. 21 became available after Ronald Darby left in free agency to head to Washington. Darby wore 41 back in 2017 when he arrived in a training camp trade; Patrick Robinson had the 21 on his one-year deal.

Complete Eagles history at 21: James Zyntell, Les Maynard, Paul Cuba, John Kusko, Herschel Stockton, Allison White, Chuck Cherundolo, William Boedeker, Al Pollard, Jim Carr, Joe Scarpati, Ray Jones, Jackie Allen, Wes Chesson, Al Clark, John Sciarra, Evan Cooper, Eric Allen, Bobby Taylor, Matt Ware, William James, Joselio Hanson, David Sims, Roc Carmichael, Jerome Couplin, Leodis McKelvin, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby

Darius Slay: 24 

In Detroit, Slay wore No. 30 during his rookie season back in 2013 but had the No. 23 in the next six years. But in Philly, Rodney McLeod has 23, so Slay is happily changing to 24 to honor the late Kobe Bryant.

“I’m going Kobe mode,” Slay said. “Black mamba. Rest in peace to the  One of my favorite players. I will look good in 24.”

Last season, Jordan Howard wore the No. 24 during his one-year stint with the Eagles. 

Complete Eagles history at 24: Howard Auer, Joe Carpe, Dick Lachman, Jack Knapper, Herman Bassman, Joe Pilconis, Rabbit Keen, Bill Schneller, Dom Moselle, George Taliaferro, Don Schaefer, Nate Ramsey, Artimus Parker, Henry Monroe, Zac Henderson, Ray Ellis, Russell Gary, Reggie Brown, Alan Reid, Alan Dial, Corey Barlow, Tim McTyer, Darnell Autry, Rod Smart, Blaine Bishop, Sheldon Brown, Joique Bell, Brandon Hughes, Nnadmi Asomugha, Bradley Fletcher, Ryan Mathews, Corey Graham, Jordan Howard

Will Parks: 28 

During the first four years of his NFL career, Parks wore No. 34 in Denver as a sixth-round pick. But that number is owned by Cre’Von LeBlanc in Philly. 

So Parks will hop into the No. 28 that was vacant for most of last year until Jay Ajayi was signed during the season. 

Complete Eagles history at 28: Dick Thornton, Guy Turnbow, Algy Clark, Joe Pilconis, Max Padlow, J. “Stumpy” Thomason, Harry Klopenburg, Ray Keeling, Bob Jackson, Paul Dudley, Jim Gray, Bill Bradley, Lou Rash, Greg Harding, Don Griffin, Mel Gray, Clarence Love, Amp Lee, Correll Buckhalter, Ramzee Robinson, Marlin Jackson, Dion Lewis, Earl Wolff, Wendell Smallwood, Jay Ajayi

Nickell Robey-Coleman: 31

As an undrafted player, Robey-Coleman came into the league and wore No. 37 for his first three seasons in Buffalo before he got a big-time improvement and took over 21 in 2015. For the last three seasons, he wore 23 with the Rams but that’s taken by McLeod here. 

So he’ll be in the 31 that Mills wore for the last four years. 

Complete Eagles history at 31: Joe Carter, Tom Graham, Irv Kupcinet, William Brian, Bob Masters, Emmett Mortell, Jerry Ginney, Phil Ragazzo, Jim Castiglia, Ted Williams, Art Macioszczyk, Dan Sandifer, Ebert Van Buren, Ron Goodwin, Tom Bailey, Wilbert Montgomery, Troy West, Tyrone Jones, Brian O’Neal, Derrick Witherspoon, Al Harris, Daryon Brutley, Dexter Wynn, Ellis Hobbs, Curtis Marsh, Shaun Prater, Byron Maxwell, Jalen Mills

Trevor Williams: 41

You might have forgotten the Eagles signed Williams back in January, but the cornerback and Penn State product has 39 NFL games and 27 starts to his name with the Chargers and Cardinals. 

He has previously worn 42, 24 and 22. 

Complete Eagles history at 41: Ted Schmitt, Foster Watkins, Buist Warren, Gil Steinke, Frank Ziegler, Jerry Norton, Bob Freeman, Howard Cassady, Harry Wilson, Richard Harvey, Randy Logan, Earnest Jackson, Keith Byars, Alvin Ross, Fred McCrary, Johnny Thomas, William Hampton, Thomas Tapeh, Stephen Spach, Tanard Davis, Antoine Harris, Jarrad Page, Emil Igwenagu, Randall Evans, Ronald Darby, De’Vante Bausby

Jatavis Brown: 53

Everyone pretty much understood that Nigel Bradham wasn’t going to return to the Eagles in 2020 but now they went ahead and gave his number away. Bradham wore 53 for the last four seasons in Philly. 

During his first four NFL seasons with the Chargers, Brown was No. 57 but that’s occupied in Philly by second-year linebacker T.J. Edwards. 

Complete Eagles history at 53: Walt Masters, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ken Farragut, Bob Pellegrini, John Simerson, Bob Butler, Harold Wells, Fred Whittingham, Dick Absher, Dennis Franks, Fred Smalls, Jody Schulz, Dwayne Jiles, Maurice Henry, Ivan Caesar, John Roper, Bill Romanowski, N.D. Kalu, Hugh Douglas, Mark Simoneau, Moise Fokou, Ryan Rau, Najee Goode, Nigel Bradham

Javon Hargrave: 93

Not long after news broke that Tim Jernigan was heading to Houston, Hargrave got his jersey number. 

A switch was necessary for Hargrave, who wore 79 during his first four seasons in the NFL with the Steelers. The Eagles already have a No. 79 who is pretty good in right guard Brandon Brooks. And Hargrave wore 97 in college but that number in Philly is owned by Malik Jackson. 

Complete Eagles history at 93: Tom Strauthers, John Dumbauld, Ray Phillips, David Bailey, Greg Townsend, Daniel Stubbs, Darion Conner, Pernell Davis, Levon Kirkland, Marco Coleman, Jevon Kearse, Trevor Laws, Jason Babin, Brandon Bair, Tim Jernigan

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NFL Draft Betting: Take this under on running back D'Andre Swift

NFL Draft Betting: Take this under on running back D'Andre Swift

With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, now is the time to start scouting your first round bets - if you haven't already.

NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg has identified one over/under he likes quite a bit: local product and Georgia running back D'Andre Swift's draft slot at 31.5.

Feinberg said he likes the under on Swift going before the 31st overall pick this year.

"There is a separate bet you can make, will there be a running back taken in round one of the NFL draft, where the yes is minus-300," Feinberg explained.

In this year's draft, Swift is largely considered the best running back prospect available, so Feinberg sees the likelihood of Swift earning a first-round nod as fairly high.

Plus, history is on Swift's side. 

Despite the supposed league-wide devaluation of the running back position, at least one running back has been selected in the first round in each of the last five NFL drafts, with three in 2018, and two in both 2017 and 2015.

While NFL general managers aren't eager to spend big money on running backs, but when they can be had on rookie contracts and with fresh legs, they feel like good investments.

And Swift seems to be a good first-round investment.

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