Richard Rodgers

How swap of tight ends Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins changes Eagles' offense in 2019

How swap of tight ends Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins changes Eagles' offense in 2019

Richard Rodgers tried to walk off the field on Monday, but he couldn’t. Instead, he sat down in pain after a practice rep and lowered his head into his hands. Shortly after a hug from Doug Pederson, the Eagles’ anguished third-string tight end was carted inside. 

Just like that, Josh Perkins’ odds of making the Eagles’ roster skyrocketed. But he wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood after practice. 

“It’s terrible,” Perkins said on Monday afternoon. “I’ve seen him working his butt off the last few weeks, trying to get back out here. … It just sucks for him. I feel real bad for the guy.”

Such is life in the NFL. One man’s injury is another man’s opportunity. 

For the second year in a row, it appears that Perkins is going to get an opportunity, unfortunately, at the expense of Rodgers. It was a surprise Perkins made the roster out of camp last year, but it made more sense when Rodgers was placed on IR before the opener. Perkins spent the first nine weeks of 2018 as the Eagles’ third-string tight end before an injury of his own. It seems he’s destined for that role again this season. 

I just try to stay locked in each day,” Perkins said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Coach always says, ‘Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.’ So when you’re thrown into the fire, you already know what to do.

Even before this injury to Rodgers, Perkins was pushing for a roster spot. The 26-year-old Perkins had a “steady” training camp, according to offensive coordinator Mike Groh. Pederson said this will be another good opportunity for Perkins. 

For his part, Perkins thinks he’s “light-years” ahead of where he was this time last year. Now, he knows the playbook and is able to fine-tune any mistakes. 

With a receiver background, Perkins is just a different player than Rodgers, who is better as a blocker on the line of scrimmage. Without Rodgers, Perkins admitted the Eagles will probably need him to block more at the LOS and it’s a part of his game he’s worked hard to improve. 

“I’m never scared to put my head down,” Perkins said. “We can bang all day.” 

But as much as he works on his blocking, Perkins’ strength is what he can do in the passing game. Heck, the Eagles basically used him as a receiver early last season. 

Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz noted if the Eagles want a blocking tight end, they can use an extra offensive tackle, which they’ve done plenty in the three years under Pederson. 

Ertz also explained what the difference in third-string tight ends means for him and Dallas Goedert. Basically, in a three-TE package, the type of third tight end dictates where Ertz and Goedert line up in the formation: “Dallas and I are pretty much always going to be on the field when we go three tight ends, so it either shifts us one tight end down in the formation or one tight end up in the formation. We feel good about either one of them.”

“If they put a nickel in, we can run the ball,” Perkins said. "If they put a linebacker in, we can throw the ball. I feel like I’m a great matchup threat. I feel like I can be a versatile piece to the offense.”

In nine games last season, Perkins caught five passes for 67 yards. With Ertz and Goedert ahead of him, there will probably still be limited offensive opportunities for Perkins this year, but he’s learned to make the most of any opportunity whenever — or however — it comes. 

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Ultimate Frisbee, turkey sandwiches, near retirement: Eagles share favorite Nick Foles stories

Ultimate Frisbee, turkey sandwiches, near retirement: Eagles share favorite Nick Foles stories

It doesn’t sound like Nick Foles will play in Thursday’s preseason game against his former team, but we do know it’ll at least be a chance for him to catch up with his teammates before the game. 

Even though he’s now the Jaguars’ starting quarterback, Foles means a lot to Philadelphia and to his teammates still left here. 

With that in mind, I asked a few of his former teammates for their favorite Nick Foles stories. Here’s what they came up with: 

Zach Ertz

“My favorite one on the football field I always come back to is the final drive in the Super Bowl when he was just so confident. He didn’t really care. It seemed like he was so calm that he was like the moment wasn’t even there, like we were just out in the bubble practicing like a Thursday during the season. He was so calm. He was just like, ‘I just want to say I love you guys and let’s go get this thing.’ That’s probably my favorite one. That pretty much epitomized him. He just cared so much about each and every person that he ever played with. 

“He was my first roommate on the road. So our rookie year, he would order a turkey club before bed every away game. I have so many stories like that. Just an incredible person.” 

Brandon Graham 

“Knowing that Nick was going to retire the year he won the Super Bowl because his elbow and everything was … he just felt like his elbow wasn’t getting better. He started doing acupuncture, started doing some stuff that we tried to add to help him and ended up helping him. And, man, look what he’s doing now. 

“That’s my favorite story now because I remember him coming in the first day back [in 2017] and the first time seeing him. It was like, ‘Man, how you doing?’ Checking in to see how he was doing. And I remember him saying he was going to retire after this year because his elbow and stuff was messing up. I just went to him and was like, you should try acupuncture just to see if it makes you feel better. He ended up trying it, it made him feel a little bit better and he started progressing and getting better. And Nick just waited for his moment and that boy took off. I’m excited for him. That was nothing but God, I know. Because he was ready to be done. That’s why I say never give up.”  

Brandon Brooks 

“Before the touchdown to Torrey Smith in the NFC Championship against Minnesota — the flea flicker — as soon as the play comes in, he looks at the wrist band. He looks at the O-line and goes, ‘Just give me some time, boys, it’s going to be a touchdown right here.’ Sure enough, it was.” 

Wendell Smallwood 

“We played Ultimate Frisbee in OTAs and I was going against him. He was running down and he’s got his hand up, like, ‘Hit me!’ I jumped up and next thing you know, his legs were on top of my head. He Moss’d me. That’s the funniest story we got. And he always clowns me about it. He would always say, ‘You better hope you’re not playing Ultimate Frisbee today’ because he did me bad one day.” 

Carson Wentz 

“I always credit Nick for getting me into liking coffee. Nick was always making coffee every morning and I was never a big coffee guy and I tried the stuff he makes. I credit Nick for getting me into coffee a little bit.”

Nate Sudfeld 

“I don’t even know where to start. He’s like my brother. I have so many. Probably just playing the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and him just playing lights out. He scrambled out and threw to [Nelson Agholor] turning up the sideline in like the third quarter and converted. He’s playing lights out and Frank Reich turns to me and I’m just like, blank stare, ‘What just happened? What a play!’ And Frank’s like, ‘He’s unconscious.’ And I look at Nick and he’s just like … (Sudfeld makes a ho-hum straight face) out there just doing his thing. It was classic. It was one of the early glimpses I got of how great he is.”

Stefen Wisniewski 

“When I think of Nick Foles, obviously a great quarterback, but I think of conversations we had about our faith in Christ. Just being in Bible study. Foles would be quoting some deeply intellectual bible commentary he was reading. I was just like, 'This dude’s a beast.’ That’s what he’s reading in his free time. He’s studying the Bible, he’s reading what these really, really smart people wrote about the Bible. I’m like, ‘I like this guy. This is my guy.’” 

Richard Rodgers 

“I beat him in cornhole last year in training camp and I never let him forget it. He went to U of A (University of Arizona), so we have a Pac-12 rivalry already (Rodgers went to Cal). I was down a little bit in cornhole and I had to come back and beat him. I let him know about it the whole year. He needs a rematch at some point and I’m waiting for it. If you interview him, you can let him know I’m waiting for the rematch.”

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Eagles bring back Richard Rodgers on 2-year deal

Eagles bring back Richard Rodgers on 2-year deal

Here come the Eagles, stealing that opening day spotlight from the Phillies. 

OK, not quite. 

But the Eagles on Thursday afternoon did re-sign tight end Richard Rodgers to a two-year contract to keep him around as their third tight end. 

Rodgers, 27, began last season on IR with a knee injury, but returned for the second half of the season, playing in seven regular-season games and both playoff games. He had just one catch for seven yards. 

With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert firmly entrenched in their roles as the top two tight ends on the depth chart, Rodgers figures into the roster as a veteran presence and their third option. Josh Perkins held that position until a knee injury of his own. He’s still on the team too. 

The Eagles will likely use a lot of 12 personnel in 2019, but don’t count on them using a ton of 13 personnel to get Rodgers in the game. They used some 13 personnel last year but that was because they lost so many receivers, they were really using Perkins as a wideout. 

In 2018, Rodgers had a base salary of just $790,000 and then he had one catch for seven yards, so it’s not like re-signing him is going to break the bank. It likely doesn’t even mean he’ll definitely be on the 2019 roster. 

Rodgers played just 42 offensive snaps in the regular season and just three in the 2018 postseason. 

His best season came in 2015 when he was still with the Packers. That season, Rodgers caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. That was four years ago, but Rodgers isn’t a bad option as a third tight end. 

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