Donovan McNabb had his retirement ceremony today. Not only did he retire, the Eagles retired #5. That’s a huge honor in the NFL. Each team has 53 players and there are only 99 numbers. Think about DL. No Eagle can wear 92 or 99. And I”m sure Derek Landri’s #94 will be retired soon enough.
Great day for Donovan. PE.com has the full video. Jeffrey Lurie opened things up with some good comments. Then Brian Westbrook said some very nice things. Brian Dawkins stole the show with his comments. Heck, I bet he could make Jimmy Bama sound like a good guy.
As for Donovan’s PC, that was awkward. There were some touching moments, but he made it feel more sad than celebratory. He admitted that his emotions got to him so maybe that affected the way he spoke. Donovan did mix in some jokes. Still, the content felt more down than I hoped for. That said, this was a huge step for Donovan. He did embrace his past. Donovan has a lot to be proud of. As Dawk noted, life before 5 was very different.
Younger and newer fans just don’t understand life before Donovan. We had to hope for an answer at QB. Donovan changed that. He delivered results. Instead of hoping for good QB play, we grew to expect it. That’s a gift, my friends.
At Dawk’s retirement ceremony, his comments about Jim Johnson were simply amazing. I was hoping we’d get something like that from Donovan in regard to Big Red. Donovan talked about him and you could sense that might have been a moment where Donovan could have totally lost it. He did keep things under control.
It was great to hear Donovan talk about Honey Buns, Duce, Congressman Runyan and even Jim Johnson. This is what I’m talking about. 1999-2009 was a great time. We don’t have a Super Bowl. So the hell what!!! Would you really trade that decade of memories for the 2002 Bucs trophy? At what point does one season…one 3 or 4-game playoff run trump a decade of great memories, great players and even better people?
I had fun seeing highlights of Thrash, Pinky and FredEx catching passes from Donovan. It was awesome seeing him take the snap from Honey Buns or JamJax and then dropping back to make something magical happen. How cool was it to see the first TD pass to Chad Lewis? And of course you can argue that his greatest TD pass also went to Lewis, when the Eagles sealed the 2004 NFC title game.
Enjoy that decade. Celebrate that decade. It was great. Lombardi or not, it was special.
Welcome back to the family Donovan, even though you never really left.
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Bad news from camp today. ILB Jason Phillips tore his ACL. He was projected to be a backup player, but a key STer.
This is a blow, but also an opportunity. Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews and Jake Knott all have a chance to step up and win an ILB job. The Eagles could also look around for a veteran to add to the mix. Former Eagles Omar Gaither and Joe Mays signed with teams today so don’t dream of seeing them in midnight green this year.
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Good news. The Eagles signed OLB Travis Long today. Here are some notes I’d previously written on Long:
A much more interesting idea is going after OLB Travis Long. He played at Washington State, but went undrafted because he had a torn ACL. Long had surgery back in November and is now getting healthy enough to work out for teams.
Long, 6-4, 245, wasn’t a great player at WSU, but was very good. He finished his career with 20.5 sacks. He played DE/LB in a hybrid defense. Long lacks the explosion to be a special pass rusher, but he could be a backup and role player in the NFL. Former Eagles scout John Middlekauf had him graded as a 6th round pick.
I’m sure Kelly is familiar with him. Long had 4.5 TFLs against Oregon in 4 games. Long had 42 TFLs in his WSU career. That production and his frame make him appealing as mid-summer addition. The key will be his knee checking out. As for the timing of that, Donovan McNabb tore his ACL in November 2006 and played the next summer and all season. Long playing this year isn’t a given, but is possible.
Long is here to add depth to the OLB spot. Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham are the big 3. Phillip Hunt has played here the last 2 years. Chris McCoy has shown good flashes in practice. Still, there was a need for depth. Long is an experienced 3-4 OLB.
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Jimmy Bama’s practice notes. I like what I’m hearing about Brandon Boykin.
• Yesterday at the Linc, Brandon Boykin went up to make a play on a ball in the air with one hand, and almost came down with a magnificent circus catch, but couldn’t haul it in. 50 push-ups. Today, he stayed in DeSean Jackson’s hip pocket for a good 5+ seconds before almost making a diving INT. “I had a diving (play), trying to intercept (a pass) today against D Jack,” said Boykin. “My helmet came down, and I missed it, and I gotta do 50 push-ups because I got my hands on the btrall. That’s something we do as defensive backs. Coach (Todd) Lyght and coach (John) Lovett always preach if you can get your hands on it, they expect you to intercept it.”
Brandon Boykin has done a boatload of push-ups so far through the first 4 days of full-team practices, and that should be read in the most complimentary way possible. Boykin is having an absolutely tremendous camp so far. He has covered the full gamut of receivers, from speed demons like DeSean Jackson (in addition to the aforementioned near diving pick, he also defensed a deep ball to Jackson today perfectly), to bigger guys like Ifeanyi Momah. Boykin has stood out to me more than any one player on the entire team, and there is no reason, in my opinion, that he should be relegated solely to slot corner duty. He is earning the right to stay on the field in any and all defensive packages.
Boykin has gotten work both on the inside in the slot, and on the outside. He has looked great at both spots. He estimated that his reps have been split at roughly 50-50, inside vs outside, and talked about the difference between Year 1 and Year 2. “Just from a standpoint of me being comfortable on the field,” Boykin said, “Me being comfortable with the speed, me being comfortable outside and inside, I feel like I can play both at a high level.”
Make sure to check out the link so you can see Jimmy’s attempt to artistically portray a Michael Vick pass. Classic.
Also interesting to get his take on Kenny Phillips.
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Sheil Kapadia’s practice notes. Mr Kapadia conveniently left out any pretzel stories today. He did talk about TEs blocking.
1:38 – One-on-one time. In previous years, the coaches would place a ball behind the line of scrimmage, and the tight end would have to stone the blitzing linebacker. But this year, they’ve switched things up. The drill is not meant to simulate only pass protection. The tight end is in charge of blocking the outside linebacker, while another offensive player simulates a running back. In other words, the tight end is trying to block the defender to a certain side, and the defender is trying to shed the block and get to the ball.
From what I can tell, the defense gets the better of the offense. Trent Cole houses Emil Igwenagu, and Connor Barwin chucks Zach Ertz to the side.
But this is another sign that the expectation is Kelly will emphasize the run game.
Sheil did get some interesting info from Chip Kelly on a scoring system he uses in practice. It allows the offense and defense to compete in various drills.