Eagles

Doug Pederson proud to see Sidney Jones push himself in practice

Doug Pederson proud to see Sidney Jones push himself in practice

A couple days after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said 23-year-old cornerback Sidney Jones needed to “break through that threshold” as he deals with a lingering hamstring injury, Pederson has been happy with what he’s seen this week at practice. 

Pederson thinks Jones heard the message. 

“I do,” Pederson said on Friday. “What he’s done this week, he’s really pushed himself in practice, he’s challenged himself. I’ve seen that with him. That’s the part that I’m probably most proud of with him.”

Jones has practiced all week and is expected to play on Sunday; Pederson said he thinks they’ll be able to give the cornerback his normal workload in the game. Based on the injury situation with the team, that means Jones will likely start in Minnesota. 

Even aside from the Achilles injury that basically made his rookie season a redshirt year, Jones has struggled to stay healthy during his short career in the NFL. Hamstring injuries have plagued his last two seasons. Most recently, he suffered a hamstring injury in the Packers game and left after just 10 snaps. While he was active last week, he didn’t play. 

On Friday, Pederson gave a more in-depth answer to clarify what he meant by saying that Jones needed to “break through that threshold” with the injury:

I think what happens is, think of a player or think of a time when you’ve been ill or sick and you still have to go to work and you still have to show up. You almost have to trick your body sometimes that you’re OK. With injury, it’s a little the same way. 

“I think about dealing with my surgery back in March. There were times when you’re OK and you’ve gotta walk. You’ve gotta be able to get on your toes, you gotta be able to run. And until you do that and gain confidence, you’re probably going to hold yourself back. In any athlete, not just Sidney, that is the case. We have to get him out on the practice field, we have to push him as coaches. Not risk further injury; we’re not gonna do that. But get them to feel comfortable and confident that everything is OK. 

“And once they push past that barrier, then we’re good and then they learn to play that way, they learn to practice that way. That’s why guys like Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, the (Jason) Kelces, you look at Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, guys that have played for a long time, they’ve been able to do that. And you learn that at an early age, early in your career. It just gives you confidence moving forward. You’re kind of pushing that threshold, you’re busting through that barrier and all things are good.

This is not the first time Pederson has said something publicly like this about Jones. He mentioned it last year, too. The head coach clearly seems to be indicating that Jones needs to be a tad tougher as he fights through injury. We’re in Week 6 of the NFL season — no one is feeling 100 percent. 

Jones was once thought to be a first-round talent when he was drafted in 2017, but the Eagles took a chance when they took him in the second round as he was recovering from an Achilles tear. The thought at the time was that they were getting a bargain at pick No. 43. So far, that draft pick clearly hasn’t paid off. 

The most frustrating thing about Jones is that he flashed that potential this summer at training camp. He finally looked like the talent the Eagles thought they were drafting. And now he can’t seem to get over these hamstring injuries. 

But if Pederson is right and Jones can “break through that threshold,” he might still be able to help the Eagles this season and beyond. If not … his career could end up being a massive disappointment. 

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Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

A few years ago, Rick Lovato was working in his family’s restaurant, Joyce’s Subs and Pizza, in Lincroft, New Jersey, just waiting for a chance.

He wasn’t the best at making pizza, but Lovato could make a mean breakfast sandwich. 

Maybe he still can, but Lovato won’t have to worry about picking up an apron again anytime soon. He’s in the middle of what might end up being a long and profitable NFL career. 

The Eagles on Tuesday signed the 27-year-old long snapper to a four-year extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2023 season. 

Lovato has been playing this season on a one-year deal he signed in February and was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. It’s worth noting that kicker Jake Elliott and punter Cameron Johnston are also in the final years of their contracts, so perhaps another move or two will be coming. 

While this deal won’t break the bank the way Brandon Brooks’ extension did last week, the Eagles seem interested right now in re-signing some players they want to keep around. 

The Eagles initially signed Lovato in December of 2016 after Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist. Lovato performed well enough that the Eagles traded Dorenbos the following August and made Lovato their full-time long snapper. 

Lovato has played in 45 regular-season games and five playoff games with the Eagles, including Super Bowl LII. He has a giant Lombardi Trophy tattooed on his side. 

Being a long snapper is kind of like being an offensive lineman in some ways. The less you hear about the long snapper, the more likely he’s performing well and not making mistakes. So, for Lovato’s sake, hopefully this is the last time you hear his name for a few years.  

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Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

We've got some overall defense, some Zach Ertz and some Miles Sanders in this week's edition of 10 Roob Stats.

Yes, we can always come up with positive stats even when the Eagles lose!

—> The Eagles have held three straight opponents to 17 or fewer points and fewer than 300 yards. This is only the second time that’s happened in the last 11 years. They also did it against the Steelers, Bears and Browns — the first three games of the Doug Pederson Era. Only the Patriots and 49ers have also had such streaks this year.

—> Carson Wentz’s current streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown pass is 3rd-longest in Eagles history, behind Wentz’s 22-game streak over the 2016 through 2018 seasons and Randall Cunningham’s 18-game streak in 1987 and 1988.

—> Wentz played his 50th career game Sunday. Among all QBs in NFL history in their first 50 games, he ranks 9th in most TD passes, 9th in passing yards, 12th in accuracy, second in completions and 3rd in interception percentage and has the 4th-highest passer rating.

—> Zach Ertz’s nine catches Sunday give him 55 this year. He’s the first player in Eagles history with six straight 50-catch seasons. Keith Byars [1988-92], Jeremy Maclin [2009-14], and Brian Westbrook [2004-08] had five.

—> Zach Ertz now has 17 career nine-catch games. Only Tony Gonzalez [25] and Jason Witten [20] have more in NFL history among tight ends. The last two games mark the fourth time in his career he’s had nine catches in consecutive games. The only other players in Eagles history to do that once are Pete Pihos in 1955 Terrell Owens in 2005.

—> One more Ertz: He’s increased his career total to 492 receptions, 20th-most in NFL history by a tight end. He only needs 14 to pass six more tight ends and move into 14th place. At his current rate, he’ll be in the all-time top-10 by Week 3 of next season.

—> The Eagles allowed 14 TD drives of 60 yards or more the first six games of the season. They’ve allowed 4 the last four games.

—> They’ve also held six straight home opponents under 100 rushing yards, the 6th-longest streak in franchise history and 3rd-longest since 1955.

—> The Eagles are on pace to allow fewer than 1,400 rushing yards ad fewer than 3.8 per carry in the same season for only the second time since 1991 and the sixth time since 1955.

—> He didn’t have a huge game Sunday, but Miles Sanders did add 47 scrimmage yards to his 2019 total and now ranks second among all rookie NFL running backs with 688 scrimmage yards, behind only Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, who has 1,067 (and 97 more touches).

—> Sanders’ 688 yards are most ever by an Eagles rookie running back after 10 games (35 more than Lee Bouggess in 1970) and second-most by any rookie, behind only DeSean Jackson (732). Sanders needs to average 52 yards from scrimmage the rest of the season for 1,000. The only Eagles rookie to reach 1,000 scrimmage yards was Jackson (1,008 in 2008). The most by a running back was LeSean McCoy’s 945 in 2009.

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