Eagles

Eagles' long-snapper circus a costly sideshow in loss to Redskins

Eagles' long-snapper circus a costly sideshow in loss to Redskins

No, the Eagles were not holding open tryouts for a long snapper in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-22 loss to Washington (see Instant Replay).

It just looked that way. 

After longtime long snapper Jon Dorenbos suffered a wrist injury and his backup Brent Celek suffered a stinger, the Eagles were driving down the field trailing by two points. Trey Burton, who eventually filled in as the third long snapper, was on the field with the offense. 

That’s when linebacker Mychal Kendricks took it upon himself to grab a football on the sideline and start long snapping to someone on the sideline.

“I don't know what Kendricks was doing, but I know I was the third guy (on the depth chart),” Burton said.

Kendricks said he wasn’t asked by coaches to start snapping, but he practices on his own quite often. He just wanted to be ready.

“I just did it. I just did it,” Kendricks said. “I'm ready for whatever, man. S---. I'm not playing much anyway, ya feel me?”

Where is Kendricks on the long-snapper depth chart?  

“I'm not on it. I'm just ready,” he said. “I was just ready. You know?”

Kendricks said he began to long snap this year and claimed that he’ll sometimes randomly snap a hundred balls at a time, trying to hit targets. “But that's for me, 10 years down the line, if I can be a backup snapper and be a linebacker too,” Kendricks said. “The more you can do, the longer you can stay in the league. And I'm just trying to learn that.”

The Eagles didn’t need his services in that capacity on Sunday.

Instead, Burton came on the field with five minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. On fourth down at the Washington 23-yard line, Burton snapped the ball high to Jones, but the punter and holder was able to get the snap down in time for Caleb Sturgis to boot a 41-yarder. 

At the time, the field goal gave the Eagles a 22-21 lead. 

“I trust [Burton] to play any position on the field,” Sturgis said. “He just about did at Florida. He added long snapper into his repertoire.”

“I did a couple of (warmups),” Burton said. “I was excited. I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get and it went well. Donnie (Jones) made an unbelievable play. The majority of it's on him and he did a really good job.”

Burton said he practiced long snapping during training camp, but hasn’t really practiced since then. Celek said he snaps some balls every week in practice.

Before Celek was knocked out of the game, his attempt to long snap didn’t go so well.

Celek came into the game with three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter. At the time, the field goal would have given the Eagles a 16-14 lead, but Celek’s snap was low and Jones was forced to try to run with it. He was tackled immediately and Washington scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. 

“I could have done better,” Celek said. “I don't know what else to say. I should have done better.”

He wasn’t willing to deflect any blame just because it was a unique situation. 

“I think when something like that happens, you just have to step up and do it,” he said. “It was my job to step up and be the snapper. Obviously, I did not do a good job on that first one and that was a field goal. I am a professional and I should get it done.” 

There hasn’t been much need for a backup long snapper since Dorenbos got to Philly in 2006. Sunday marked his 162nd consecutive game played, which tied him with Harold Carmichael for the longest streak in franchise history.

“It's rare you get even your third guy that much time even in practice,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “I think it was a credit to Trey stepping up, and Donnie obviously did a great job of getting the ball down and a kick to at least go ahead in the game."

Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

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Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

A year ago at this time, Nick Foles was preparing for a season on the bench as he just tried to stick around the NFL after falling back in love with the game.

He has a little higher profile now.

While Foles is preparing to possibly head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz, he is now the reigning Super Bowl MVP and added another trophy to his case on Wednesday night, when he was given the Best Championship Performance award at the ESPYS.

During his acceptance speech, Foles thanked a bunch of folks, used the word “y’all” more than enough times to remind everyone he’s from Texas and spoke candidly about the incredibly unique path his career has taken.

Here is Foles accepting the award from comedian (and Jim Schwartz’s former college teammate … seriously) Jim Gaffigan.

No, an ESPY is no Super Bowl MVP, but it’s a pretty nice honor and Foles is certainly deserving after leading the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl. Just a reminder, Foles completed 65 percent of his passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl LII.

Here’s his full speech from Wednesday night at the ESPYS:

I’m honored to be in front of all y’all. I never planned a speech. I quite frankly never expected to win this award or to even be in this moment. I just want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ability to play the game I love. You know, thank my wife Tori, she’s gone through her own battles the last five years. You’ve always been an inspiration. A lot of my family is here, so thank y’all for always supporting me.

It’s been a crazy career. If any of y’all know my career path, it doesn’t make sense. But you know, I’m here right now. My teammates, coaches, you know what, we faced so much adversity this year, we have an amazing team. It’s so much fun to go to work in that locker room every single day. I couldn’t have done it without y’all. We see what happened. We won the first Super Bowl in Philadelphia history, so we’ve got a special group of guys.

And then to the Philadelphia fans. Y’all get a (bad) rap everywhere, but the passion, y’all bring it every single day. So thank y’all. And finally, there’s a lot of kids watching this and it’s kind of been the theme. There are going to be people who doubt you. Don’t listen to them. What matters is what’s in here (taps on chest) and the people who love you and support you. Go out there every day and be bold. Thank you.

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Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Carson Wentz's remarkable consistency, expectations of Nate Gerry, questions at wideout, a Zach Ertz stat you absolutely won't believe and the rarity of Eagles Hall of Fame teammates.

Roob's 10 random Eagles observations don't get much more random than this!

1. Can we take a moment to talk about how insanely consistent Wentz was before he got hurt? Wentz’s lowest passer rating last year was an 83.0 in the loss to the Chiefs. He threw for 333 yards with two TDs and one INT and that was his worst game of the year. Wentz is one of just four quarterbacks in NFL history to open a season with a rating of 83 or higher in every game through the first 13 games of a season. Which of course is when his season ended. Including the last week of 2016, Wentz goes into 2018 on a streak of 14 straight games with a rating of 83 or higher. That’s seventh longest in NFL history, and the longest active streak. Wentz’s 21 career games with a passer rating of 83 or higher are tied for third most in NFL history by any QB after two seasons, behind only Dan Marino (23) and Russell Wilson (23). And he missed the last three games of the season. What a talent.

2. I’m curious to see Gerry this summer. With Mychal Kendricks off to the Browns and Paul Worrilow out for the season, there are roster spots to be won and playing time to be earned behind Nigel Bradham (out for the opener) and injury-plagued Jordan Hicks. After starting his rookie season on the practice squad, Gerry got an October promotion onto the 53 and got into 10 games and all three playoff games, almost all of it on special teams. He looked bigger and stronger in spring practices as he continues to transition from safety to linebacker. With a good summer, he can definitely find himself in the mix.

3. Ertz had nine third-down catches for first down in the 2017 playoffs. Jason Witten had eight playoff third-down catches for first down in his 15-year career.

4. And Ertz’s nine third-down catches in last year's postseason are the most by any tight end in a single postseason — and second most by any player — in the last 30 years.

5. The Eagles converted 61 percent of their third downs during the 2017 postseason, which is insane. That’s the fourth highest in NFL history by any team in a single postseason (among teams playing at least two playoff games). The Broncos converted 75 percent in 1997, the Rams 63 percent in 2004 and the Colts 62 percent in 1995.  

6. You thought Vaughn Hebron was fast? His daughter, Sanaa, won the AAU national title for the 400-meter dash this weekend in 55.31. That would have placed her fourth in the Big East championships this year. She’s 13 years old. Vaughn’s sons, competing in the 17-18 age group, are no slouches, either. Savion ran 10.78 and 21.68 for the 100 and 200, and Savaughn ran a 2:00 split on the Trenton Track club’s 3,200-meter relay team. So Vaughn right now is at best the fourth-fastest person in his own family. But he does have a couple Super Bowl rings.

7. So many questions at wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Will Mike Wallace slow down at 32? Can Mack Hollins make a big jump in Year 2? Will Shelton Gibson show enough in camp to work his way into the roster mix? Can Markus Wheaton regain the form that made him so dangerous with the Steelers in 2014 and 2015? Can speedy Bryce Treggs make any sort of impact in his third year? Potentially, an exceptional group.

8. Nick Foles is the third-youngest active quarterback in the NFL with at least three career playoff wins. Foles turns exactly 29 years, six months on Thursday. Cam Newton (29, 68 days) and Andrew Luck (who turns 29 in September) also have three postseason wins.

9. Interesting that during 2004 and part of 2005 the Eagles had two future Hall of Famers, Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens. What was the last Eagles team before 2004 with two Hall of Famers? It was actually 1997, when Dawkins and Richard Dent were briefly teammates. Before that, it was 1987 through 1989, with Reggie White and Cris Carter. Before that, you have to go back to 1968, with Bob Brown and Mike Ditka. So the 14 games that Dawkins and Dent played together during an otherwise forgotten 1997 season are the only Eagles games in the last 50 years where two future Hall of Famers played alongside each other on the same side of the ball.

10. Dawkins didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fourth season and didn’t make All-Pro until his sixth. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding that “so-and-so can't play” two weeks into his rookie training camp.

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