Eagles

Eagles scratching surface with Donnel Pumphrey in their offense

Eagles scratching surface with Donnel Pumphrey in their offense

They call it the Pony set. It's an apt name. 

It's the moniker of the Eagles' two-running back formation when 5-foot-8, 176-pound rookie Donnel Pumphrey and 5-foot-6, 190-pound veteran Darren Sproles share a backfield. 

"It creates a lot of mismatches because we have great wideouts on the field as well as Carson Wentz back there," Pumphrey said. 

"With both of us back there, we can just do crossing patterns and keep the linebackers all mixed up. Even when we motion out, it's going to most likely be a linebacker on us and it's a mismatch on its own." 

The Pumphrey-Sproles comparisons are unavoidable, yet understandable. While the two don't have identical body types, they're both small and it seems like Pumphrey will have a Sproles-like role with the Eagles. 

Sproles, 33, previously has talked about retiring after the 2017 season, so the fourth-round pick could be his heir apparent. Pumphrey has also been working on returning kicks and punts during OTAs, something he didn't do much of in game action in college — and he's looked comfortable doing it. It's yet another thing he can learn from Sproles. 

"It's honestly been unbelievable to play under his wing, learn different stuff, different aspects of the game with him," Pumphrey said. 

As the current round of OTAs began in the rain on Tuesday, the Pony set was scratched momentarily because Sproles was away for a family matter. It will return, but in the meantime, the Eagles have been showing the various ways they plan on using their new versatile weapon. 

That means, in addition to his duties as a running back, Pumphrey will be used out of the backfield as a receiver and in the slot. On Tuesday, the Eagles stacked him as the back end in a bunch formation, almost hiding him behind bigger receivers. 

"Pump is so laterally quick," Ertz said. "You see it out there. His change of direction is incredible. Obviously, the coaches are going to have unbelievable pieces to use in this offense between him, Sproles, myself, we added guys like Alshon (Jeffery) and Torrey (Smith). Hopefully the middle of the field will be a little more spaced out than in years past. So we're excited to use him in different ways. 

"I mean, you put Sproles and him on the field, how is a defense going to match up? Are they going to play base, will they play dime? Sproles has obviously shown he can run between the tackles, we'll see how much Pump can do in the run game. I think guys are excited to see especially when the pads go on, live bullets, to see that lateral quickness." 

Ertz said the Pony set will create problems for defenses similar to those occurring when he and Trey Burton come out in the Eagles' two-tight-end set. Which defense will teams choose to use? 

And then Ertz questioned what teams would do if the Eagles come out with 176-pound Pumphrey next to 250-pound LeGarrette Blount in the same backfield. If Pumphrey is a pony, Blount is a thoroughbred stallion; but each serves his own purpose in the offense. 

"We've got a lot of chess pieces, so it's up to Doug (Pederson) and Frank (Reich) and [QB coach John DeFilippo] to kind of make the most of this," Ertz said. "But that's the good thing, they've shown they can do it in the past and we trust them as offensive players that they'll put us in situations to be successful."

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

He said he would never do it.

"We'll never change the name of the team," Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. Never. You can use caps."

Now, amid an increased national focus on racism and social justice and mounting pressure from million-dollar sponsors, his tune has suddenly changed.

The Redskins' owner said in a statement Friday that the franchise will review the team's name, seen by many as racist and offensive to Native Americans and others.

Protests against the Redskins' name and logo have been ongoing for decades, but when companies like FedEx and Nike join those protests, things can change very quickly.

Considering the growing pressure now on the franchise, it would be surprising at this point if the franchise elects not to change its name.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the statement read. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has consistently supported Snyder's decision to keep the team name, released a statement saying only, "In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step."

FedEx, which paid $205 million for the naming rights for the Redskins' stadium in 1998, asked the Redskins earlier Friday to change the team name. And Nike, the NFL's official uniform supplier, on Thursday removed all Redskins gear from its website while continuing to allow customers to order merchandise from all 31 other teams.

In the statement released by the team, Snyder said: "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field."

First-year Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, a former Eagles assistant coach and one of three Latin American head coaches in NFL history, indicated in the statement that he favors a name change.

"This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military."

The team's current name dates back 87 years.

The NFL Boston Braves franchise was founded in 1932 and one year later moved to Fenway Park, which it shared with the baseball franchise of the same name. To avoid confusion, owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to Redskins. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937 and kept the name.

Marshall, who owned the franchise until his death in 1969, refused to allow black players on the roster until 1962, which made the team the last in the NFL to integrate. 

Not until U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy threatened to rescind the team's lease at city-owned RFK Stadium did Marshall finally allow the team's roster to be integrated.

Last month, team officials removed Marshall's name from the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedEx Field, and a statue of Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium by city officials after it was vandalized.

Protests against sports teams and logos perpetuating stereotypes of Native Americans and their culture have grown more widespread in recent years but have been held for decades.

In 1991 — nearly 30 years ago — there were organized protests against the Atlanta Braves and Redskins over their team names and logos, according to an Associated Press story. The story quoted Clyde Bellecourt, director of a group called the American Indian Movement, which organized protests outside Braves and Redskins games.

"It's a racist term," Bellecourt told the AP in October of 1991. "We're not thin-skinned, this just makes a mockery of uses a people and of our culture."

And now, it looks like the franchise is finally going to do something about it.

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