Paul Turner

Doug Pederson's favorite water ice? Jordan Mailata at FB? And other very important Eagles training camp questions

Doug Pederson's favorite water ice? Jordan Mailata at FB? And other very important Eagles training camp questions

The Eagles officially report to training camp today. While some beat writers may be covering boring topics such as who will be the team’s starting WILL linebacker or if Sidney Jones can finally live up to his pre-draft hype, I’m here to tackle the hard-hitting, under-the-radar questions that all Eagles fans deserve to know. 

What is Doug Pederson’s favorite flavor of water ice?

It’s clear that Doug Pederson loves ice cream. Vanilla flavored Haagen-Dazs, to be exact (and none of that “Breyers BS,” as he would say). When it comes to Philadelphia, however, water ice rules the summer. In years past, the Eagles have frequently made Rita’s water ice (Pop’s, Italiano’s and John’s in South Philly are all markedly better, but I digress) available to media members at Eagles training camp practices. Look at it as a little mini reward for standing around in 20-year-old polo shirts, cargo shorts and Nike Air Monarch IVs in 96-degree heat. So what flavor would Doug like best?

Easy money is on vanilla, obviously given his ice cream love. Is Doug a vanilla person overall though? He is an archetypal middle-aged dad, sure, but his play-calling certainly isn’t vanilla. Rita’s has the classic flavors like cherry, chocolate, vanilla, mango and some others. I feel like Doug might go for mango. Just imagine him taking you to get water ice after your little league baseball game. He tastes his water ice, looks at you, smiles and says, “You know I’m a big mango guy.”

Who will be the Henry Josey Memorial Training Camp Fan Favorite?

This award could’ve easily been named after Ryan Moats, Paul Turner or Na Brown, but I’m going to give the title to Henry Josey, the 2014 undrafted rookie out of Missouri who had 225 rushing yards on 34 attempts in the preseason that year but still didn’t make the Eagles’ roster. People were mad!

Whatever player this ends up being, he will either be a wide receiver or running back. People only care about offense: pass-catching backs, gigantic possession receivers, speedy slot guys or bruising runners. These guys must be longshots to make the team to begin with to qualify. I think it’s DeAndre Thompkins. He’s an undrafted rookie receiver out of Penn State (people will eat that up and say he’s From Here even though he was born in Florida). 

He averaged 15 yards per reception in his four years in Happy Valley. Big play potential! He only needs to catch one 55-yard touchdown in garbage time in the first preseason game from Clayton Thorson to have people buzzing that he should make the team over Mack Hollins. Is he an NFL player? Probably not. Will people care about that? Absolutely not. 

Will Jordan Mailata get fullback reps?

Last year’s winner of the Henry Joseph Memorial Award, Jordan Mailata is an offensive tackle whose absurd physical profile and history as a professional rugby player in Australia quickly gave fans a reason to attach themselves to him. That background has irrationally caused Eagles fans to want to get Mailata involved with the offense as a skill position player. There’s no position old school football fans love more than a fullback. 

The Eagles don’t even use a fullback, but when they’re up 38-7 against the Chargers in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and at the one-yard line going in, they need to turn Mailata into William “The Refrigerator” Perry and have him barrel through for the touchdown. Doug needs to start planning for this moment in training camp.

Mailata and I also go to the same barber, so if he scores a touchdown in the Super Bowl, it’s like I scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl. And I really want to do that. 

Can Anthony Fabiano be the new Jon Dorenbos?

Former Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos has become a national sensation for his magic routine, as seen on America’s Got Talent, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and other similar programs. With Dorenbos retired, the Eagles are sorely lacking in players who can do weird stuff like magic tricks.

Enter Anthony Fabiano. He’s a 26-year-old center out of Harvard with one year of NFL experience under his belt. The Eagles’ website says he likes to juggle. Now, I obviously have never seen this guy play and I had no idea who he was before 10 minutes ago, but it is imperative that he makes the Eagles’ roster. 

You need one guy in your friend group who can juggle or ride a unicycle or do a quick magic trick at a bar. If everyone in your friend group juggles or does magic, you’re either Gob Bluth or in dire need of some new friends. One guy who can juggle though? That’s key. The Eagles need a player like that in the locker room to keep things loose. 

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Eagles cuts tracker to 53: Fifth-round pick LB Nathan Gerry among players cut

Eagles cuts tracker to 53: Fifth-round pick LB Nathan Gerry among players cut

Updated: Saturday, Sept. 2, 4:14 p.m.

The Eagles on Saturday cut their roster down to 53. 

Here are the cuts made.

QB Matt McGloin — McGloin played a lot in the preseason (out of necessity) and clearly didn't do enough. He was released on Friday. In four preseason games, the 27-year-old Penn State product went 76 for 109 for 581 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a passer rating of 73.99. Comfortable with Nick Foles' health, it appears the Eagles will carry only two QBs.

QB Dane Evans — Evans was waived. Evans, the fourth and final QB on the depth chart, was not expected to stick. In the preseason, the Tulsa product went 23 for 43 for 224 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a passer rating of 47.

WR Paul Turner — The Eagles released Turner with an injury settlement. Turner suffered a fractured scapula this year and couldn't get on the field. The source said he also reached an injury settlement, so Turner will become a free agent once he clears waivers. 

CB Sidney Jones — Jones was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, so he's no longer taking up a roster spot. This means he'll miss at least the first six weeks of the season. 

The following players were also waived: 

LB Nathan Gerry

WR Greg Ward

DT Justin Hamilton

DE Alex McCalister (waived/injured)

S Tre Sullivan (waived/injured)

P Cameron Johnston

G Darrell Greene

WR Bryce Treggs

OL Dillon Gordon

TE Billy Brown

RB Byron Marshall 

CBs C.J. Smith

CB Jomal Wiltz

OL Dallas Thomas

OL Aaron Neary

OL Josh Andrews

LB Don Cherry

DT Winston Craig

WR Rashard Davis

TE Anthony Denham

LB Carlos Fields 

CB Aaron Grymes

DE Jake Metz

C Tyler Orlosky

T Victor Salako

LB Christian Taco

DT Gabe Wright

TE Adam Zaruba 

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Frank Reich praises WR group, competition is 'very tight'

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Frank Reich praises WR group, competition is 'very tight'

If Howie Roseman's goal at the wide receiver position this offseason was to turn a weakness into a strength, he certainly achieved it. 

Even after the trade of Jordan Matthews. 

As the Eagles approach their final preseason game on Thursday night, there is an intense battle brewing for the final receiver spot or two. 

"This is, without a doubt, the best group that I've been around for a while," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Monday. "I mean, from top to bottom, very competitive. They've all flashed. They all deserve to be here. I believe some of these guys, for a couple guys who might not be here, I think they're going to end up someplace else. That's how confident we feel in this group.

"I think, all in all, we're just very happy with the progress they've made and the chemistry in that room and the production that they've had in practice and in games."

It's unclear what the Eagles' receivers group will look like after final cuts. The Eagles kept just five wideouts after final cuts in 2016, but there seems to be a decent chance they'll carry six into 2017. 

Most folks seem to think these four players are locks for the roster: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins. 

That means the Eagles have these six players fighting it out for either one or two remaining spots: Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson, Bryce Treggs, Greg Ward, Paul Turner and Rashard Davis. 

Gibson was a fifth-round draft pick who played better later in the summer after a disastrous start, but he's not guaranteed a spot. Johnson has been very impressive and might be the front-runner. Treggs was on the team last year but didn't have much of an impact. Turner made the initial roster in 2016, but was cut shortly after to make room for Treggs; this summer he's dealt with a serious shoulder injury. Ward is a converted quarterback who has shown a lot of promise. And Davis is a latecomer but is a proven return man. 

There are decisions to be made and they might not be easy. 

So how tight is the competition for those last couple of spots? 

"It's tight. It's very tight. It's always tight," Reich said. "When it comes down to those last roster spots, Coach always emphasizes that it's not only what they do as a receiver, but what they do on special teams, and how they can contribute. Position versatility and special teams, all those things factor into the roster."

For a long time, Matthews was the fifth receiver who was guaranteed to make the roster. His departure in the Ronald Darby trade seemed to open up opportunity for another player. 

"If I'm in that room, and I'm one of those players, yeah, you have to believe that," Reich said. 

More snaps for Kendricks?
Mychal Kendricks has been having a pretty productive preseason. That might be putting it too lightly. 

"Yeah, well, I don't know if you could have any more production than him in the preseason," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "Good gracious. A little bit of it is being opportunistic, but he's been in the right spots."

Kendricks' production is hard to argue with. In three preseason games, he has three interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown. 

But the real question surrounding Kendricks is if this is the beginning of more playing time. Last year, he was a part-time player despite being a starter in the team's base package. He was the odd linebacker out when the Eagles went to the nickel package, which happens about 70 percent of the time. It's possible that the Eagles could find ways to use Kendricks as a blitzer — a role in which he thrives — but Schwartz has been hesitant in the past because he didn't want to tip their hand in such situations. 

Schwartz, though, did reveal something interesting on Monday. Because Jordan Hicks has missed some time recently with a sore groin (he's expected to be fine for the opener), the Eagles worked their nickel package a little differently on Sunday. Nigel Bradham slid into the MIKE position and Kendricks replaced him in the two-linebacker nickel package. That's a look the Eagles will probably never use in the season when Hicks is healthy, but right now, they're trying to prepare for everything.

"If we had a game today, Jordan Hicks couldn't play," Schwartz said. "It's our responsibility to get the guys that can best produce on the field. He's certainly forced himself into that conversation."

Back and Beau than ever
Big ol' Beau Allen returned to the practice field on Sunday afternoon after passing his physical and being removed from the non-football injury list. Allen was pretty excited to get back on the field after working out privately throughout all of training camp. 

But apparently, those private workouts on separate fields kept him in good shape — "great shape," according to Schwartz. 

"Talking to him yesterday, he felt his timing was off a little bit, just timing of hands and steps," Schwartz said. "That will come back to him. He even said to me that this isn't his first rodeo. It will come back quick.

"Ideally, we'd like to get him some time in this game. He's fine. But just for, in my mind, and in his mind mentally, when we play the [Washington] Redskins, it's no longer, ‘How is it going to feel?’"