Eagles

Tom Brady the GOAT but beatable, Malcolm Jenkins says

Tom Brady the GOAT but beatable, Malcolm Jenkins says

The Eagles didn’t celebrate their NFC Championship win for very long. By the time the players hit the locker room, they were already looking ahead to their Super Bowl LII matchup against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

No surprise, the Eagles aren’t in awe of Brady, no matter how many world titles he’s won.

“He’s definitely the greatest quarterback of all-time, but that doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said after the Eagles’ 38-7 win over the Vikings. “We have a destination that we’re getting to no matter who’s in front of us.

“We have somewhere to go. We’re not worried about what’s in front of us. We’re going to run through whoever it is.”

Brady and the Patriots will be gunning for their sixth Super Bowl championship when the teams collide in Minneapolis on Feb. 4. They can also win their third in four years for the second time, and it will be their eighth trip to the big game in 17 seasons. Their level of success is truly unparalleled in NFL history.

Yet, if Jenkins and his teammates are lacking a healthy fear of the Patriots — even relishing the opportunity to play the reigning champs — that’s simply because the Eagles feel they belong on this stage.

“I think we match up well,” Jenkins said. “They have a real good scheme where they isolate people, but if there’s any defense out there that can match up with every single person, I think it’s this defense, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Jenkins played a major role in the last meeting between the Eagles and Patriots. The Pro Bowl safety had a 99-interception return for a touchdown — one of two Brady turnovers — in a 35-28 victory back during the 2015 regular season.

The Patriots wouldn’t go on to win the Super Bowl that year, coming up short in the conference title game instead, but were again defending champions at the time. The Eagles weren’t scared then, and they certainly aren’t scared now.

They’re not merely willing to stand up to the bully in the schoolyard. It almost sounds as if the Eagles are trying to pick the fight.

“Pretty boy Tom Brady,” Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said. “He's the best quarterback of all-time, so nothing I'd like to do more than dethrone that guy.”

It’s going to take more than tough talk to knock off the greatest quarterback and dynasty in NFL history. Then again, the Eagles have faced as many or more challenges than perhaps any team to ever reach the big game.

If the Eagles were able to persevere all the way to this point, overcoming rampant skepticism and countless injuries, defeating the Patriots in the Super Bowl shouldn’t seem improbable at all.

“All of the adversity we faced early in the season — we were on the road three out of the first four games, had all these injuries early — all of that prepared for us this time to where anything can happen out there, and this team is going to be unfazed,” Jenkins said.

“Everything that we’ve done throughout this whole year has prepared us to be at this moment. We’re more confident than ever that we’re not just going to the Super Bowl to feel good about making it.

“We’re going to win, and that’s everybody’s mentality on this team.”

Eagles see honor of White House visit, but players still undecided

Eagles see honor of White House visit, but players still undecided

The Eagles organization accepted an invitation to the White House to commemorate its Super Bowl LII championship on June 5. The question is how many of the flock will be migrating to the nation’s capital that day? 

The decision was a hot topic of discussion on Tuesday, Day 1 of voluntary OTAs. 

“I’m excited to be going to be honored as world champions. It’s a great honor,” Doug Pederson said. “We’re still working through some logistics right now, so we don’t have all the details today, but excited to be going.”

So the head coach will be attending. As for Carson Wentz, “I know for me, personally, if the team decides as a whole, most guys want to go or be a part of it, I’ll be attending with them,” he said. “I think it’s just a cool way to receive the honor nationally and be recognized. I don’t personally view it — I know some people do and everyone has their opinion on it — but I don’t view it as a political thing whatsoever. I don’t mess with politics very often.”

Wentz may not mess with politics, but Donald Trump’s short tenure in office is the definition of polarizing and it’s impossible for some of his teammates to be apolitical when it comes to visiting the White House. 

“Because of the political climate we’re in, it will be taken as a political statement one way or another, whether you want it to or not,” said Brandon Brooks, who has yet to decide if he will be making the trip. “The biggest thing is you have to separate politics from the experience of going to the White House. Me, personally, it really is a tough decision because the president we have now, I agree with some things and some I don’t, so I’ll be looking within myself.” 

Some players such as Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins are on record as saying they will not be going to the White House regardless of what the team as a whole decides. 

“For me, there’s a lot going on with that administration and I don’t think it’s the time to really have any kind of productive or constructive conversations about policy,” Jenkins said. “I definitely want to avoid being used as some kind of pawn. The way things have gone the last few months, I don’t think the time is right for that.”

Long and several other players made it very clear that whatever your choice, it will have no ill effect in the locker room. 

“As far as teammates, yeah, we all have a choice, so nobody’s judging anybody,” Long said. “It’s an honor to get to go to the White House and it means something different to everybody else.” 

Zach Ertz echoed Long’s sentiments about staying unified. 

“I’m still deciding. This isn’t going to be a divisive moment in the locker room,” Ertz said. “Guys are going to respect one another’s opinion. One of the things I’ve spoken about is my wife (U.S. women’s soccer player Julie Ertz) had gone in the past after they won the World Cup and she spoke about how fun it was to go there and to learn so much, see the history. So just an opportunity to go there whether you agree with the organization that’s in there or not. It’s the premiere building in this nation.”

Eagles reportedly turned down a Nick Foles trade offer from Browns

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USA Today Images

Eagles reportedly turned down a Nick Foles trade offer from Browns

Earlier this offseason, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman explained why the price tag for Nick Foles would be high if they ever decided to trade him.

Turns out, he wasn’t kidding. 

Because according to NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the Eagles turned down an offer from the Cleveland Browns for the No. 35 pick in the 2018 draft.

That seems like a more-than-fair price for the 29-year-old quarterback who will be a backup if everything goes as planned in Carson Wentz’s rehab. But the Eagles have been consistent in their valuation of Foles, first by not trading him and then giving him more money with a mutual option for the 2019 season.

While Wentz was on the practice field Tuesday and looked great throwing the football and showing off some footwork (see story), it’s clear the Eagles still have some concerns about Wentz’s health in 2018. And having the Super Bowl MVP as a backup is the best insurance policy going. 

The report from Silver says that after the Eagles received the offer for Foles, they ran it by the quarterback, who told them he’d prefer to stay in Philadelphia. That also jives with Foles’ public comments about wanting to remain in Philly. He said that he’d obviously like to be a starter again, but in the right situation. He became a starter in a bad situation once in St. Louis. 

When talking about not trading Foles in March, Roseman mentioned the hit rate for certain rounds of the draft while weighing the prospect of trading an important piece like Foles. The Browns ended up keeping that No. 35 pick and took running back Nick Chubb out of Georgia. 

And it seems like the Eagles weren’t in love with that general area of this year’s draft. You’ll remember, they traded back from their No. 32 pick all the way to 49 to take tight end Dallas Goedert out of South Dakota State. While the No. 35 pick seems like it’s just out of the first round, it’s clear the Eagles, based on moving out of 32, didn’t value that area this year. At least not enough to part ways with Foles. 

“He’s still on the team because he’s an incredibly valuable member of the Philadelphia Eagles,” Roseman said at the annual NFL meetings in late March. “When you talk about that position and what’s gone on, you’ve seen it in the free-agent market, you’ve seen it in the trade market. We’re in the business of making sure we get the right value for the player. What our value is for a player is going to stick.”

During that same interview in March, Roseman was asked if he could see a situation unfold like the one that netted a first-round pick for Sam Bradford a few years ago. Roseman used his generic “we’ll do anything we think makes the team better” response. But if that type of opportunity arose, the Eagles would likely listen. 

With all the information we have, though, we know it would take a lot.