Reuben Frank

Longtime NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall opens up about Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson as teammates

Longtime NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall opens up about Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson as teammates

Longtime NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who had 43 interceptions and made three Pro Bowl teams before retiring following the 2017 season, wrote this week about his five favorite teammates of all-time.

Two of them are very familiar names.

In a piece on NFL.com, Hall listed Michael Vick as his favorite teammate of all-time and also included DeSean Jackson at No. 4.

Considering that he had over 500 teammates, that's impressive! 

Hall spent 2004 through 2006 with Vick in Atlanta and 2014 through 2016 with D-Jack in Washington. He wrote about his favorite teammates in a first-person piece on NFL.com.

Here’s part of what Hall wrote about Vick:

Growing up in Virginia, I remember watching Vick play at Virginia Tech from afar (before I got there) and was mesmerized by what he did as a quarterback. When I arrived in Atlanta my rookie year, I quickly realized that everything people said about Vick was true. He was revolutionary. Sure, I was used to seeing quarterbacks run all over the field in high school and even college. It was unusual to see a player do it at the NFL level, though, and he did it all the time. I remember getting up out of my seat on almost every drive when our offense was on the field -- when the defensive players usually sat down to catch our breath on the sidelines -- because Vick was exciting as hell to watch. And, hey, we had the best seat in the house.

Vick, who went on to spend five seasons with Jackson in Philly, had one of his best seasons ever with Hall in Atlanta in 2004, when the Falcons wound up losing to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

“One thing Vick didn't get enough credit for was his arm strength,” Hall wrote. “Until you're physically on the field and trying to stop Vick, you don't realize how difficult it was. I had to be in tight coverage on every route because he could throw the hell out of the ball and drop it right into the receiver's hands. I gained much more respect for that part of his game after playing with him in Atlanta early in my career.”

The Falcons traded Hall to the Raiders in the middle of 2008, but they released him after just eight games.

He signed three days later with the Redskins and spent the last 9½ seasons of his career in Washington, including three years with Jackson.

We didn't start out as great friends. That's no secret,” Hall wrote. “With Jackson being a Philadelphia Eagle for the first six years of his career and me being a DB in Washington at that time, how could we be? But when I got the chance to help recruit him to Washington in 2014 -- my then-teammate Pierre Garcon, rapper Wale and I took him out in D.C. -- I was stoked because I would no longer have to play against him. And from his first day in Washington, he pushed me and made me work in practice like no other receiver had. I generally wasn't worried about receivers out-running me, but I was with DJax. He was a younger speedster and I was a veteran who still felt like I could stay with anyone. He forced me to perfect my technique because I couldn't rely solely on my speed against him. We were both great at tracking the ball -- an aspect of my game that I always prided myself on -- and we had fierce competitions in practice. I wish that I had been healthier during our time together and that I had been teammates with a receiver of his caliber for more of my career. Iron sharpens iron -- and we bettered each other.

Jackson signed with the Redskins after Chip Kelly engineered his release from the Eagles after the 2013 season. 

Jackson caught 142 passes for 2,702 yards and 14 touchdowns in three seasons with the Redskins before spending two years in Tampa and then returning to the Eagles before last season.

Hall said Jackson “is the total package as far as receivers are concerned, in my opinion, and it's too bad he didn't reach even greater heights with the Redskins. Sure, he had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Washington and led the league in yards per catch in 2014 and '16 (20.9 and 17.9 ypc, respectively) but I still think DJax could've been more of a centerpiece for us during those years. Years later, he's still playing at a high level -- just with those damn Eagles again.”

Hall had four interceptions in his career against the Eagles, tied with Ricky Manning for the most vs. the Eagles in the last 20 years. He victimized Donovan McNabb, Nick Foles, Vince Young and Kevin Kolb once each.

So he might speak fondly of Vick and D-Jack, don’t expect many people in Philly to speak fondly of Hall.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Who are the Eagles' 10 best players under 25 years old?

Who are the Eagles' 10 best players under 25 years old?

There was a piece on NFL.com this week listing the top under-25 players in the NFL by position.

The list was impressive and really makes you realize how much remarkable young talent is in the league.

Among those listed are record-setting Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes; Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who had over 1,300 yards last year; Pro Bowl offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Orlando Brown; sack machines Nick and Joey Boss; and star defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey, Jamal Adams and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

There were 25 guys in all. 

And no Eagles. 

Not surprisingly.

The story used the scheduled 2020 opening day as its cutoff. Only players who will be 24 or younger as of Sept. 13, 1995, were eligible.

Which got us thinking about the best Eagles under 25.

And it’s a little ominous.

The Eagles haven’t had a player under 25 make a Pro Bowl since kicker Cody Parkey in 2014 and they haven’t had a position player under 25 make a Pro Bowl since Nick Foles in 2013. Their last defensive players under 25 to make a Pro Bowl were Michael Lewis and Lito Sheppard in 2004.

For the sake of comparison, 30 NFL players who began last year under 25 made a Pro Bowl just last year, and 91 different players under 25 have made at least one Pro Bowl since the last Eagle did.

The Cowboys, for the sake of comparison, have had five.

Now, Pro Bowls are just one way of measuring young talent, but the urgency for the Eagles to begin developing younger players is clear. 

Especially when you look at this list of the top 10 Eagles under 25. 

For the record, Dallas Goedert, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Hassan Ridgeway and Will Parks are already 25, and Greg Ward, Rasul Douglas and Joe Ostman turn 25 this summer. And we’re not including rookies just because who knows.

1. RB Miles Sanders
Had one of the finest rookie seasons in Eagles history, with 818 rushing yards, 50 catches and 1,327 scrimmage yards. Led all NFL rookie running backs in scrimmage yards. Turns 25: May 1, 2022.

2. DE Derek Barnett
Barnett has been OK, but a top-15 pick with 14 sacks in three years probably shouldn’t be your second-best under-25 player. Among players who entered the league in 2017, Barnett’s 14 career sacks are only 11th. Turns 25: June 25, 2021.

3. CB Avonte Maddox
Has shown a lot of promise, mainly as a slot and mainly down the stretch in 2018. May have inside track for a starting outside corner spot in 2020. Turns 25: March 31, 2021.

4. OT Andre Dillard 
His three decent starts at left tackle last year earn Dillard the No. 4 spot. His awful start at right tackle is why he’s no higher. Turns 25: Oct. 3, 2020.

5. DE Josh Sweat
OK, now it gets tricky. Sweat had 4.0 sacks in 352 snaps last year, which isn't a great ratio. But at least he played and contributed. Turns 25: March 29, 2022.

6. LB T.J. Edwards 
Didn’t play a lot as an undrafted rookie — 112 defensive snaps all year — but looks like a solid inside linebacker prospect. Turns 25: Aug. 12, 2021.

7. CB Sidney Jones 
Obviously, Jones has been a huge disappointment since the Eagles drafted him in the second round in 2017, but at least he showed a couple brief flashes last year that give us hope. Turns 25: April 29, 2021.

8. DT Anthony Rush 
Came off the practice squad to give the Eagles a late-season lift with 152 snaps over the last nine games. Turns 25: Sept. 1, 2021

9. CB Craig James 
We’re at the point where we’re going with a special teamer here. James played nearly 250 special teams snaps last season. Turns 25: April 29, 2021.

10. WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside 
I know, I know, but somebody has to be No. 10, and at least JJAW had seven 1st-down receptions last year. That’s 70 percent of his career catches! Turns 25: Dec. 31, 2021.

The rest: Here are the remaining players on the current roster (not including rookies) who will be under 25 on opening day: Marcus Epps, Marcus Green, Deaontay Burnett, Nate Herbig, Elijah Holyfield, Albert Huggins, Jordan Mailata, Shareef Miller, Sua Opeta, Keegan Render, Tremon Smith.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

The day Chip Kelly big-timed Merrill Reese

The day Chip Kelly big-timed Merrill Reese

Everybody loves Merrill Reese, and Merrill Reese loves everybody. 

OK, almost everybody.

Merrill has been the voice of the Eagles for over 40 years. He’s the dean of NFL play-by-play broadcasters, beloved by players, coaches and team officials for four decades. 

And then there’s Chip Kelly.

“I had no relationship with Chip,” Reese said. “None.”

Reese spoke on a recent Eagle Eye podcast with myself and Dave Zangaro and related a story that illustrates Kelly’s prickly personality during his three years as Eagles head coach.

It was Nov. 27, 2014, Thanksgiving Day, and the Eagles had just gone into AT&T Stadium and destroyed the Cowboys, 33-10, on national TV in a battle for first place in the NFC East. 

You remember the game.

Nick Foles was out for the year, so Mark Sanchez got the start and had his best game as an Eagle. Jeremy Maclin caught 8-for-108, LeSean McCoy rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, Jordan Matthews caught a TD pass, and the Eagles sacked Tony Romo four times and intercepted him twice. 

At the time, it seemed like a monumental win.

The Eagles improved to 9-3 and dropped the Cowboys to 8-4, and the mood was jubilant on the charter flight back to Philly.

Merrill was jubilant and couldn't wait to share his emotion with the coach.

I walked up to him on the plane flying home from Dallas after that great Thanksgiving night game, maybe the best game of his career here, and said, ‘Great game, Chip, it was really fun to call that,’ and he looked over and said, ‘Oh,’ and turned his head.

Yes, Chip Kelly big-timed the great Merrill Reese.

Even Rich Kotite didn’t do that.

“He was the worst communicator of any coach I’ve ever been around,” Reese said about Kelly. “I mean, Richie was mercurial, up, down all over the place, but Richie could be warm and nice. You never saw that with Chip.”

Curiously, once Kelly big-timed Merrill, his career began spiraling downward.

The Eagles lost their next three games, didn’t make the playoffs, then began the next season 6-9 before Kelly was fired.

Kelly went 2-14 in his one year with the 49ers and is 7-17 in two seasons at UCLA.

Let's do the math:

Before Chip big-timed Merrill, he was 65-16 as a head coach.

Since he big-timed Merrill, he’s 16-43.

I don't think it's a coincidence.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles