Eagles

Eagles rave about linebacker T.J. Edwards as rookie prepares for bigger role

Eagles rave about linebacker T.J. Edwards as rookie prepares for bigger role

I spent this past summer reporting and writing my “Surviving Camp” series, which follows one Eagle through training camp. This year’s subject was undrafted rookie linebacker T.J. Edwards. 

The big question was always: Will he make the team? 

Turns out I wasted my time. I should have just asked Kamu Grugier-Hill. He apparently knew the answer the whole time. 

“T.J. is a smart player. He came in and immediately we all knew he was going to be special. You can just see with his instincts that he was going to fit in and he was going to make it,” Grugier-Hill said. 

“We knew before training camp that he was going to make the team already. He was an undrafted guy and for guys like that, it’s a battle to make the team. But we could tell right away.”

Not only did the Eagles like Edwards enough to keep him around at final cuts, but they’re now ready to give him a role on defense. The Eagles cut Zach Brown on Monday and since Nigel Bradham is dealing with an ankle injury, Edwards could get a chance to play meaningful snaps this weekend. 

Against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys in a battle for first place in the NFC East. 

Gerry said Edwards is “definitely ready” for the task. And Edwards agreed. 

“I’m definitely ready,” Edwards said. “I don’t know what that situation looks like. I’m gonna kind of leave that up to the coaches on what they want to do. Definitely ready to go in whatever spot they need me to.”

While Edwards has learned the SAM and WILL positions in the Eagles defense, he’s probably most at home in the middle. Edwards feels most comfortable at the MIKE position, where he’s played the most at every level. 

If Bradham can’t play on Sunday, there’s a good chance we could be looking at a starting linebacker unit with Grugier-Hill and Gerry at the outside ‘backer spots and Edwards in the middle of the defense. 

Of course, when defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz met with reporters earlier in the week, he wasn’t eager about divulging his defensive game plan, but admitted the release of Brown “maybe” meant an increased role for Edwards. 

“All that kid has done when we put him in the game is make the plays that have come to him,” Schwartz said. “He has been physical, he has been a sure tackler, and he has been assignment sound. Those are all three good things to be said about a linebacker.” 

Edwards said he’s now “light years” ahead of where he was in camp and is ready to take on the responsibility of his possible new role. 

What makes a good MIKE ‘backer? 

“I think communication and confidence, really,” Edwards said. “Making sure everyone is on the same page. It’s your job to connect the front end and the back end, so communication from that standpoint is the biggest thing.”

Against the Vikings, Edwards played 10 defensive snaps toward the end of the game. He played two in the previous week against the Jets. While that’s not a ton of playing time, he said those reps gave him some confidence going forward. And Grugier-Hill said, in those snaps, Edwards “was making stuff happen.” 

It seems like he’ll get even more chances to do that this weekend. 



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NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents carry a sneaky amount of power across the league, but they often choose to avoid talking publicly about their day-to-day work.

So when The Athletic polled 30 agents from across the league this week on a whole host of topics, from COVID-19 to Cam Newton, I tuned in - and one question in particular caught my eyes:

"14. Among general managers or front-office leaders, who is the smartest?"

General managers juggle plenty of things throughout the year, one being a spiderweb of relationships with a number of player agents. (A failure to get on the same page with agents was one of the main critiques of former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie!) So if agents think highly of a certain guy, it's obviously a good sign for the whole organization.

So the answers should have Eagles fans feeling pretty good.

Howie Roseman finished in the No. 1 spot, receiving five votes. He landed one vote ahead of New England's Bill Belichick, and two votes ahead of Colts general manager Chris Ballard.

Here are a couple specific quotes about Roseman's acumen, from the agents themselves:

"He knows how to put teams together. And he's working with a limited amount in terms of the cap. He knows how to maneuver and get players that he feels like will fit the scheme even if he doesn’t have to pay them top dollar. He's very smart in terms of chess moves. I'm not a huge fan. I will say that, as well. But he knows what he's doing in terms of putting things together."

"If I was gonna go into the lab and build a GM, it's a guy that can deal with the media, a guy that knows personnel and a guy that knows money. Those are the three things. Howie Roseman is a guy who I think is very good with the media from what I can tell. I know that he knows the money game very well. And I've known him for 15-18 years and he's worked incredibly hard to learn football and how to evaluate to the point now where he's really good. I give him a lot of credit that he can handle all three parts of the job."

That's the kind of evaluation you pin to the fridge. Good stuff.

This echoes what we heard earlier this year from Browns general manager Andrew Berry, a former Eagles front office member, who had nothing but amazing things to say about Roseman:

"With Howie, I've said it before: I think he's the best general manager, currently, in the sport. Very well-rounded skillset. I've taken a lot from in him, in terms of my approach to free agency, trades, general aggression with roster building, contract management, and then just overall people management and philosophy."

Roseman brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, kept Carson Wentz around on a team-friendly deal, and generally keeps the Eagles in good standing with the salary cap.

Keep doing what you do, Howie.

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Madden 21 ratings: Jalen Reagor, 2020 rookies receive first-ever overall ratings

Madden 21 ratings: Jalen Reagor, 2020 rookies receive first-ever overall ratings

EA Sports released ratings for the 2020 rookie class's offensive skill players this week, and Eagles fans should be pretty happy with where their guys landed, with only a few gripes.

First-round pick Jalen Reagor is a 73 overall, coming in as the fifth-ranked wideout. He's one point behind Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who was selected one spot behind Reagor and who will likely be compared to Reagor for at least the length of their respective rookie contracts.

Second-round pick Jalen Hurts, the selection that had (and maybe still has?) Eagles fans scratching their heads, is a 68 overall. He's Madden's fifth-ranked quarterback in the 2020 class, just two points behind Chargers first round pick Justin Herbert and three points behind Packers first round pick Jordan Love.

Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow both lead the way with 76 overall ratings.

Diving a bit deeper, I think Reagor's 79 catch rating is low, as is his 62 strength rating, and Hurts' 65 awareness is a bit rough. But otherwise, things feel about right.

Here's a breakdown of individual skill ratings for Reagor, Hurts, wide receiver John Hightower, and wide receiver Quez Watkins:

Jalen Reagor: 73

Speed: 93
Acceleration: 92
Strength: 62
Agility: 94
Awareness: 67
Catch: 79
Break Tackle: 75
Jump: 94

Jalen Hurts: 68

Speed: 86
Acceleration: 89
Strength: 72
Agility: 88
Awareness: 65
Throw Power: 84
Break Tackle: 75
Jump: 86

John Hightower: 68

Speed: 92
Acceleration: 89
Strength: 49
Agility: 85
Awareness: 65
Catch: 81
Break Tackle: 69
Jump: 90

Quez Watkins: 65

Speed: 94
Acceleration: 90
Strength: 41
Agility: 86
Awareness: 61
Catch: 80
Break Tackle: 74
Jump: 87

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