Eagles

Why Jeff Lurie thinks this Super Bowl win would be more special

Why Jeff Lurie thinks this Super Bowl win would be more special

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Before the NFL's Opening Night, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie took a brief break to get away from all the Super Bowl craziness. He went to go see a movie. 

He went to see "Molly's Game," a movie based on the life of Molly Bloom, a world-class skier who ran high-stakes poker games full of celebrities. She also happens to be the sister of former Eagles draft pick Jeremy Bloom. 

"It's an amazing story of Molly Bloom," Lurie said. "Just happened to do that as a way to get away. Because when I get up it's very intense and it lasts. I don't let go of it. I embrace it."

Lurie, 66, is embracing everything about the Eagles' improbable run to Super Bowl LII. He described his emotions this week as "focused" and "intense." After owning the team for 23 years, Lurie is desperate to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy now more than ever. 

During Monday's media night, Lurie admitted winning the Super Bowl with this specific team, after all it's overcome, would mean even more.  

"It would," he said. "It would mean everything to win no matter what. But to win this way, I just think it would be a great message to the world that it's not always on paper. You can overcome so much and succeed in life. This is the most resilient group of human beings I've ever watched or been a part of. I feel like that's a quality that really is incredible to have." 

Lurie said it was tough to watch when Carson Wentz went down on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, but he was always confident in Nick Foles. It's why they allocated so much money to that position in the offseason. 

Between eating some of Chase Daniel's contract and signing Foles, Lurie said the team had about $12 million invested in that backup job this season. In the offseason, Howie Roseman called Lurie with that proposition to make sure the owner wouldn't have a problem with it. Lurie said they saw the situation the same way and he wanted to get Foles. 

"He's a big-time, big-game player," Lurie said. "That's Nick."

As Lurie talked to a circling group of reporters, he was smack dab in the middle of a wild scene at Xcel Energy Center, the home of the Minnesota Wild. Fans watched as players and coaches were interviewed by reporters and "reporters" down below. The whole thing is really just one big distraction.

Is he worried about his team getting caught up in the distractions? 

"I would be shocked if they did," Lurie answered. "They are so focused. It's the most together group of athletes I've ever come across in my 23 years of owning the team. They trust each other, they're focused on every play, every practice, every film session. They are so down to earth and selfless. I just don't think there's any chance of that happening." 

It's clear what Lurie thinks of this team. It's a special group to him. That's probably why his players were able to catch him on cell phone videos dancing with the team after winning the NFC Championship Game. After a few players danced in the circle, Lurie jumped in himself. His moves were ... just OK. 

Has he been practicing? 

"I haven't," he said. "They have to be impromptu or they're not real."

Eagles mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

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USA Today Images

Eagles mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. The Eagles are probably enjoying it too — because on Tuesday, they’re back to work. 

That’s when the team’s second round of OTAs begin. The Eagles will have a few more weeks of the voluntary offseason program before the mandatory minicamp June 12-14. 

Let’s take a dip into the mailbag: 

Yeah, I’d consider Jay Ajayi the lead back for this coming season. I really think the Eagles are going to ride him a little more than they did last year now that he’s had plenty of time in the offense. But I still don’t see Doug Pederson or Duce Staley abandoning the running back-by-committee approach. So while I think Ajayi will get the bulk of the carries, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will still play plenty. 

Ajayi will be the feature back, but Pederson will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs too. Sure, the Eagles want to use him up on the final year of his deal, but they shouldn’t do it before they really need him. 

The Eagles really like Mack Hollins and it’s not hard to figure out why. He’s a nice, humble kid who works extremely hard. As a rookie, Hollins played in all 16 games and had just 16 receptions for 226 yards and one touchdown. He was even less productive in the postseason, when he caught one pass for nine yards. 

To answer your question, yes, I think Hollins will be more involved. It also can’t hurt that the Eagles brought in his college position coach, Gunter Brewer. The problem is that as long as everyone’s healthy, he’s still behind Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor. He’ll get snaps, but they’ll be limited. He’ll have to make the most of them. 

Quick Hollins story: Late in the season, I asked him about his lack of offensive production and he looked me dead in the eyes and said his job isn’t to catch passes. I probably looked confused. “My job is to help us win,” he said. “And I’ve been doing that.” 

Got a few questions about bringing in a linebacker and I understand why. On the first day of OTAs, the Eagles cut Mychal Kendricks and lost Paul Worrilow for the season. Earlier this week, I looked at the depth the Eagles have. I still wouldn’t worry about the position. 

I think it’s very possible the Eagles bring in another veteran linebacker, but I’m not sure there’s a huge rush. What might have been lost this week is that to cut Kendricks, the Eagles must feel really good about Jordan Hicks’ recovery. And remember, the Eagles are in two-linebacker sets most of the time. Corey Nelson will have a chance to be the weakside guy with Kendricks gone. And there's still decent depth. 

Maybe the Eagles add a player this summer, but it’s also possible they wait a bit to see what they have. For what it’s worth, I’d at least take a look at Bowman to see if there’s anything left.  

Corey Graham is still available and Pederson seemed more than open to bringing him back, so that’s very possible. Graham was a really important addition last offseason because, like you said, it allowed Jenkins to move closer to the line.

A lot of Jenkins playing that hybrid LB position was out of necessity with Hicks gone. According to ProFootballFocus, he played 42 percent of his snaps at LB, so it’s hard to imagine him doing it more in 2018. Still, Jenkins' versatility and his importance to the team can’t be overstated. 

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

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AP Images

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

Lane Johnson had a breakout season in 2017, holding down the right tackle spot for the Eagles on his way to his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. 

And he even made the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list, which is voted on by players. 

All the way down at No. 95. 

“Obviously, I think it’s a joke to be honest with you,” Johnson said on the Mike Missanelli Show Friday afternoon. 

That’s when fill-in co-host Eytan Shander interjected: “Good it is a joke. You were robbed.”

Johnson, 28, is considered by most to be the best right tackle in the NFL and there will likely be plenty of the guys he shut down during last season on the list ahead of him. 

“Yeah, but that’s alright,” Johnson answered. “Better luck next year. That’s what they tell me. I think it’s just … there’s so many great players, it’s hard to put them in order. I guess just being on there is cool. Hoping next year, I’ll be a little bit lower on the list.”

Johnson isn’t the only Eagles player who might have a beef with where they’re slotted on the list. So far, the bottom 50 have been revealed and the Eagles have four players so far: 

68. Zach Ertz 
69. Fletcher Cox
95. Lane Johnson 
96. Malcolm Jenkins  

Johnson also talked about a few other topics on Friday shows, which was co-hosted by Shander and Geoff Mosher. He mentioned that he’s obviously hated in Boston and loved in Philly for his comments about the Patriots. 

He also talked about his relationship with Jason Peters, becoming a more vocal leader, and, of course, this …