Eagles

Why this Eagles youth movement just might work

Why this Eagles youth movement just might work

When the season began, the Eagles had one of the oldest groups of skill players in the league. The nine backs, receivers and tight ends on the field for the opener against the Redskins averaged 27.6 years old.
 
When the Eagles face the Redskins again on Sunday, that number will be down to 23.3.
 
DeSean Jackson and Darren Sproles are long gone. Alshon Jeffery’s season is over. 
 
The new guard is in place, and if the Eagles are going to win the NFC East it’s going to be with a bunch of kids with lots of energy and talent but very little experience.
 
But one thing stands out about all the young guys. They don’t act like young guys.

This is a youth movement by age but not by attitude.
 
“It comes from being around all these the vets and seeing how they go about their business,” rookie running back Miles Sanders said. “You don’t see a lot of playing around and joking around here. They go about their business and get their work done, and we kind of take after them. You don’t want to be the guy out there messing up or they’re not going to trust you to be out there. So it’s just that type of mindset that we have. We’ve got to be on our (stuff) and be accountable.”
 
When the season began, the Eagles had the 3rd-oldest roster in the NFL.
 
They’re now 17th-oldest.
 
It’s too early to determine how many of these young guys are here for the long haul. But one thing that ties them all together is a serious-minded approach to football. 

And that’s not always the case with young guys.
 
“It just shows how serious they are about it,” said Zach Ertz, at 29 an elder statesman. “As a veteran player, you want to see the young guys come in and take this extremely seriously because we put a lot of stock in this thing and we’ve been through it for so long and so it’s extremely important to us. So as a veteran player, you want to see that, and that’s a very easy way to gain trust from the older guys — seeing them approach it a certain way. Not just when they’re starting or playing a lot but how they’ve been approaching it the whole offseason.”
 
The Eagles go into Washington for a crucial game Sunday, and five running backs and receivers likely to be in the rotation — Sanders and Boston Scott at running back, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and Robert Davis at receiver — have played 44 career games.
 
Combined.
 
The Eagles are putting a tremendous amount of responsibility on these kids at a key moment in the season.
 
“Some guys have the work ethic, some guys just don’t have it,” Ertz said. “Some guys think they’re still in college, and it’s not a job, where other guys kind of embrace it and say, ‘This is my profession, this is what I’m going to do, this is what I’m passionate about and hopefully I want to play for a long time, so I’ve got to take this thing seriously and invest in it so it pays off in the long run.’”
 
Sanders, the rookie second-round pick, has had a significant role all year, but Scott, Ward, Robert Davis and Josh Perkins all came from the practice squad and Arcega-Whiteside didn't play for much of the season.
 
Now they’re all in key roles for a team that’s struggled but is somehow in the playoff hunt.
 
“These guys take it very seriously,” Nate Sudfeld said. “I’ve got a unique perspective on it because I’ve been around these guys for a long time, so I see the work they put in behind the scenes, and it’s not easy to keep putting in the work when you don’t feel like it’s showing out on game days because you’re not playing. But to see those guys putting in this work behind the scenes, doing things the right way, and taking advantage of opportunities, that’s why everyone respects them.”
 
We’ve all seen young guys who have plenty of talent but for whatever reason never pan out.
 
Maybe they liked to party too much. Maybe they didn't spend enough time studying. Maybe they thought talent along was enough to get by.
 
We haven’t seen any of that this year.
 
Where is this coming from?

A lot of it starts with Sanders, who is kind of the unofficial leader of the youth movement. At 22, he’s such a serious, driven kid, and his attitude clearly rubs off on everybody else.
 
But it goes deeper than that. A big part of player evaluation is trying to determine what kind of people you’re adding to your team. 
 
One clown, one key guy who isn’t putting in the work, can destroy a locker room. Because others invariably follow him and wind up off track themselves.
 
“These guys, they could very easily be just excited for the opportunity to get on the field, and it is a big moment for them, they’ve worked really, really hard and now have the opportunity to contribute as a starter in the NFL,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “But I think they’re all locked and loaded on what the team needs to do to win, and that’s a testament to them, it’s a testament to the leadership on the team, as well as the coaches. While they’re happy and excited to be here, it’s all business.”
 
Sanders certainly looks like a stud, but it’s way too early to predict what kind of careers most of these kids will have or what next year’s roster will look like.
 
But for a team that really hasn’t had many exciting young offensive contributors in recent years, at least there’s hope.

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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