Training Camp is a week or so old. The Eagles look like a pretty good team. The defense has won its share of battles, but the offense is still the side of the ball with the most firepower. Shady McCoy has looked flat out terrific, as a runner and receiver. It is always a good sign when your best player shines in practice.
For PE.com, I wrote about what we’ve learned so far. I focused on rookies, new guys and young players. Here’s my take on Malcolm Jenkins.
Malcolm Jenkins looks like the real deal. There is no question that the safety had to be addressed after last year. The team moved aggressively in free agency and landed Malcolm Jenkins. They felt he fit the team on the field and had the kind of leadership skills that could help as well. Jenkins is having a terrific camp so far. He’s made plays in the passing game when the ball is thrown his way. He has covered well, both in man and zone coverage. Jenkins looks like he’s been in this defense for several years instead of just several months. He has been everything the coaches hoped.
Jenkins is also helping as a leader. He is a good influence on both Earl Wolff and Nate Allen. Jenkins is helping Wolff to figure things out. Young players need guidance since safety is a position where knowledge is so critical. You must see the right things and make the right decisions. Instantly. Being able to learn from a successful veteran can really help. Allen doesn’t need help with that side of things. Jenkins is pushing him to play more aggressively. We won’t know how that is going until we see Allen in a preseason game with full hitting and tackling.
I know a lot of fans wanted the Eagles to go after T.J. Ward or Jairus Byrd in free agency. It sure looks like the Eagles made the right call. Byrd had offseason back surgery and is working his way into the lineup. Ward was arrested this spring for misdemeanor assault and has had to deal with that situation. Those guys are very talented players, but Kelly wants more than that. He wants the right guys. Jenkins has been a perfect fit in the locker room and there is value to that.
The presence of Jenkins is one of the reasons I feel optimistic about the defense. He’s not going to be Brian Dawkins, Pt. 2, but he doesn’t have to be that. Just being an effective, reliable FS will do this defense a world of good.
One thing I didn’t say much about is the O-line. It sounds like Allen Barbre is having a good camp. Jimmy Bama has praised his pass blocking. We haven’t heard much about Lane Johnson at all. He’s running with the #2 offense so I assume he’s getting the best of whoever he goes up against. We’re pretty clueless about the rest of the backup OL. And that is an important group. We need someone from Dennis Kelly-Matt Tobin-Andrew Gardner to step up and show they can be the first guy off the bench during the year.
Outsiders who watch the Eagles practice seem to come away impressed and that’s a good sign. It doesn’t sound like the team has the appearance of a juggernaut, but this is just Year 2 for Chip Kelly. I didn’t anticipate this team being an elite Super Bowl contender this season. I had them a notch below that. I certainly hope I’m wrong.
We’ll start to get a feel for the team on Friday night when they take on the Bears.
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Reuben Frank wrote one of his “25 Random Points” articles. Good stuff, as always.
2. When Donovan McNabb left Philly five years ago, I said that within 10 years, all the bitterness, ill will and frustration Eagles fans felt regarding the greatest QB in Eagles history would be gone, and he’d be able to return here and finally be appreciated for all his accomplishments instead of being remembered for his deficiencies and chronic lack of connection with Eagles fans. It sure happened with Randall. When he left in 1995, he wasn’t popular at all. But today he’s revered here and rightfully so. For Donovan, that 10-year period would have ended in 2019. But every time he opens his mouth, he resets the clock. We’re now looking at 2024. At the earliest.
Totally agree. Donovan has been his own worst enemy in the last few years. He says things that range from dumb to merely awkward. I hope he gets into a comfort zone in his life so that we can get back to the point where we think of him fondly. I’ve got a lot of great memories from his days as Eagles QB. It would be nice to enjoy them.
9. Seth Joyner has never even been a Hall of Fame finalist, but he absolutely should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Think about it – 52 sacks, 24 interceptions, 26 forced fumbles. Joyner is the only player in NFL history with 50 sacks, 20 interceptions and 20 forced fumbles. In fact, he’s the only player just with 50 sacks and 20 INTs. Joyner was unquestionably one of the most productive playmaking outside linebackers in NFL history, not to mention a force against the run on one of the NFL’s best defenses over a period of a number of years. Joyner and Eric Allen have both been victimized by Reggie White’s legacy. But as gifted as Reggie was, that great defense was more than one person. Joyner and E.A. should both be enshrined in Canton. That Joyner hasn’t even become a serious candidate is a disgrace.
It is sad that there is so little appreciation for Seth Joyner on the national level. Part of that is due to the fact he was a 4-3 OLB. Those players have a tough time making it into the HOF. Derrick Brooks just got elected, but he has a shiny Super Bowl ring and also spent his entire career with one team.
Joyner – 172 career starts – 52 sacks – 24 INTs – 26 FFs – 12 FRs – 5 career TDs
Brooks – 221 career starts – 13.5 sacks – 25 INTs – 24 FFs – 4 FRs – 7 career TDs
Based on just stats, Joyner deserves to be in just as much if not more than Brooks. But Brooks was the face of the Bucs defense for 14 years. He was rock solid off the field and a great team leader. Joyner could be a firecracker. Not everyone was fond of being around him, especially when he got into a bad mood.
If Jeff Fisher had taken over the Eagles in 1991 instead of Rich Kotite and Joyner had finished his career in Philly, you wonder what kind of a difference that would have made. Kotite brought out the worst in Seth. And there was no way he was going to stay in Philly and play for Kotite without getting big bucks, which Norman Braman didn’t want to pay. So Joyner went off to Arizona to reunite with Buddy. Joyner played well, but that falls under the category of “If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”. The Cards were a mediocre team back then and they got little media attention. How many people know that Seth actually played some Safety for the Cards due to some injuries? If Urlacher had done that in Chicago, it would have been talked about for years.
25. One more Hall of Fame note: Eight Pro Bowls seems to be the magic number for offensive linemen to reach the Hall of Fame, and Jason Peters is at six. Of the 27 offensive linemen to make eight Pro Bowls who are eligible for Hall induction, 21 are in the Hall of Fame. The way Peters played last year coming off those Achilles surgeries and with no sign of slowing down, I think Peters does make his way to Canton one day.
Peters needs a couple of more years, but he certainly has a realistic chance to be a HOF’er. Heck, a few more SNF games with Cris Collinsworth gushing about him might just do the trick.