Legends and Linebackers

Posted: July 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 50 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.


50 Comments on “Legends and Linebackers”

  1. 1 John Gurney said at 11:12 PM on July 29th, 2013:

    I’m pumped for the 19th, if Donovan’s ceremony is half as good as Dawk’s was I will will be thrilled!

  2. 2 SteveH said at 11:49 PM on July 29th, 2013:

    Love the idea of scoring the practices. Competitors love competition.

    Brandon Boykins!!

  3. 3 Iskar36 said at 12:28 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Any thoughts on Kapadia’s unite on Chip Kelly not tackling to the ground until the preseason?

    “12:38 – The Eagles are in pads for the second consecutive day. As Chip Kelly explained, he’s trying to walk the fine line between making camp physical and not injuring his players. For that reason, there will be no tackling to the ground until the preseason games.”

    I understand the concern about injuries, but that seems almost overly cautious, especially considering the fact that tacking was a weakness of the defense last year (the secondary was most notable, but they were not exclusively at fault). Seems to me that Kelly needs to at least get some talking to the ground practice in.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 12:31 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Kelly talked about it in his PC and his explanation made sense.


    Think of it this way. Reid ran the most physical TC in the NFL last year and the team was Charmin soft during the year. There is no absolute correlation.

  5. 5 Iskar36 said at 12:53 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Having a physical TC guarantees nothing, I agree with that point, but not practicing an essential technique and believing it will work itself out doesn’t pass the sniff test for me at all. Kelly mentions that they are doing everything but bringing players to the ground, and I appreciate his explanation there, but I think you ask any player who tried to tackle McNabb for example, bringing a guy to the ground is still all part of making a tackle, so I don’t buy that 4 preseason games worth of tackling is sufficient. You have to protect your players, but without practicing tackling at least a little, it will be hard to fully blame the players if by the time the season begins, we are a poor tackling team.

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 1:04 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    We’re all learning here, including Chip. If this doesn’t work, he’ll change for next year. Maybe it will help keep the players fresh and we’ll start faster than normal.

    2013 is a giant experiment. There will be mistakes.

  7. 7 GEagle said at 6:15 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Yup..this is the trail and error year for Chip…He will keep what works, change what doesn’t…

    What’s up with our jOint practices with the Pats? Are we hitting them?

  8. 8 eagleyankfan said at 8:29 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I love this idea of the practices with the Pats.

  9. 9 goeagles55 said at 2:10 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    A coach could practice good form tackling technique without actually bringing guys to the ground. For example. have them start close to each other, get low, facemask on the ball, wrap up, and drive the ball-carrier backwards. All while stressing good technique.

    Also, during team drills, have the defenders wrap up on “tackles” instead of just playing rough touch.

    It wouldn’t be as effective as real tackling, but at least they wouldn’t go into the games completely cold on tackling.

    By the way, I’m not agree or disagreeing with your main point, just speculating on what Kelly could be planning on doing. I was initially surprised to hear that there would be zero tackling to the ground during TC.

  10. 10 OregonDucker said at 2:37 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I saw chips PC today, and based on his comments, they are practicing proper tackling technique. They just are not throwing players to the ground.

    Chip mentioned that he does not want players leaving their feet on a tackle but staying upright and square to the runner. From what I have read and video I saw, players are making contact. So one can hope they are being coached on proper technique. A good approach IMHO.

  11. 11 GEagle said at 6:06 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Tom..I meant to ask about this….Do you think that not tackling to the ground is a good way to work on tackling technique?

  12. 12 OregonDucker said at 1:29 PM on July 30th, 2013:

    GEagle – A little Duck history is in order. In Chip’s first couple of years at Oregon, the Duck defense was comprised of very poor tacklers. YAC was especially bad as DBs played patty-cake with runners. Their biggest problem was that they dove at the runner, sometimes missing completely or just arm-tackling. It was a disgrace. (Does this sound familiar???)

    Chip and Aliotta fixed the problem. It will be fixed at Philly too.

  13. 13 GEagle said at 7:16 AM on July 31st, 2013:

    MY MAN(in my best Denzel Washington voice) lol

  14. 14 GermanEagle said at 1:31 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Just woke up… Had a dream of Tommy and Chad Johnson cooking me a meal… 5 scrambled eggs with chorizo sausage… Am I OK or do I need to see a doctor???

  15. 15 SteveH said at 1:33 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Only if Chad slapped Tommy on the ass to let him know what a great job he did cooking those eggs.

  16. 16 GermanEagle said at 2:37 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I slightly remember that Tommy was PANCAKE’d by Chad in the kitchen…

  17. 17 P_P_K said at 8:30 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Tommy, Chad, eggs and sausage? Sorry, my friend, too late for a doctor’s help.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 9:30 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Put me in charge of the eggs and you’ll be fine.

    And as for the doctor…I’ll bring Dr. Jimmy Bama along. He’ll cure you of anything…for just $19.95.

  19. 19 GvilleEagleFan said at 3:56 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Love to hear that Brandon Boykin is doing well for himself. I was a huge believer in him going into the 2012 draft, so much so that when I entered the eagles.reddit.com draft prediction contest that year I had us picking him in the 2nd and going for DL depth in the 4th. Luckily the other two guys I tied with also missed on the third pick and we still went defense in the 4th, so by virtue of the the tiebreaker rules I ended up with a sweet signed McCoy jersey I wear only at home when our game-day vittles don’t involve any possible staining sauces or condiments. Tough for a UF fan to root for a guy from UGA, but he’s been a class act his entire career, college and NFL. Here’s to hoping he can stay in the slot and our outside guys play well enough that we don’t need him out there.

  20. 20 GEagle said at 6:13 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Yeah, Boykin has stud written all over him. Really think he can be special…Speaking of UGA, did people hear their coach call Clowney the best player in the world(at any level)…this Clowney stuff is getting crazy

  21. 21 Media Mike said at 6:22 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Except Clowney was controlled by Taylor Lewan during that entire bowl game. The highlight film hit / fumble / recovery Clowney pulled off was on a TE.


  22. 22 Anders said at 8:24 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I can see Clowney is good, but I think he is getting overrated at this point.

  23. 23 GEagle said at 7:16 AM on July 31st, 2013:

    Better than Peyton, manning, jj watt? Yeah I would say he is over rated lol

  24. 24 GEagle said at 6:10 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    i was kind of annoyed with yesterday’s Donovan celebration. Not that he didn’t deserve it, I just don’t like how it engulfed an entire day of training camp…there are no videos from yesterday’s camp, just a whole lot of Donovan videos….I waited months to get to the new era of chip training camp, and start reading transcripts from practice, I do not like how Donovan invaded a day of our camp and made it about him. the Eagles have Off today, like he couldn’t do it today? he wouldn’t have gotten enough attention? Poor Donovan, always gets a raw deal…..Not to mention, he hasn’t played in Forever, why is he just now retiring?nHe couldn’t do this during OTAs?

  25. 25 eagleyankfan said at 7:28 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I’m with you on this. I’m a “what have you done for me lately” fan. The last few years … meh. My memories of him are not of winning division titles….

  26. 26 GEagle said at 7:39 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    He deserve his day of Honor, but why yesterday. I spent months counting down to Training camp of a new era…I basically tried to fast forward thru life just to get to training camp where I could get constant interviews, and update about this new era of Eagles football, yet we lost an entire day to Donovan. You can’t find an eagles interview yesterday that wasn’t about Donovan…Like, couldn’t Donovan get his day, without taking away from the current players? Vinny Curry hasn’t been interviewed in months, boykin is playing lights out when was the last time we got to hear a word from him? kenny Phillips is allegedly healthy, it be nice to hear what he has to say..Instead of 7 Donovan videos yesterday, couldn’t we get 6 and 1 curry interview?

    much of Sunday was about past players, yesterday was all about Donovan, and today the team is off. why couldn’t the Donovan celebration wait til today, when it wouldn’t take away from the current players? I don’t remember Brian Dawkins taking a day of training camp away from the players…Regardless what I think about Donovan, he Earned Yesterday, but why couldn’t have been today? Or a day in OTAs?…why couldn’t have been last year during the Andy Reid era?….We aren’t even close to having enough intel on chip Kelly and the new era that we have waited so long for..Camp finally starts and day 3 and 4 become about Donovan?…

    Today is an off day, we won’t get any new intel, today would have been the perfect day for a Donovan retirement, and even if it’s an off day, I bet most of the current players would have showed up to support him on their off day anyway

  27. 27 eagleyankfan said at 7:48 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I’m with you on this. I didn’t watch any videos, were any of them “heaving” during the SB? Just kidding….

  28. 28 GEagle said at 7:48 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Hahaha and you think I watched one of those videos? Lol funny

  29. 29 eagleyankfan said at 8:01 AM on July 30th, 2013:


  30. 30 Kevin Powell said at 3:18 PM on July 30th, 2013:

    Remember the “high performance mindset meeting,” well this ceremony just so happened to fit perfectly into the team’s schedule and hopefully inspired a few of them. It’s even possible that Chip wanted it to happen on a practice day so the players could see it.

    Every player interview has been the same since the Spring anyway, they can’t say too much and are very vague about the schemes. It’s not like a day of training camp was taken away from you, Jimmy and Sheil have great practice notes up as always.

  31. 31 Anders said at 8:16 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    and this is why Eagles fans cant have good things…..

    Seriously, why are you so butthurt about McNabb? You know this event was 110% planned by Lurie and not McNabb right?
    Lurie most likely thought it was better to do it on a day when the reporters was scheduled to be at the Nova Care anyway? Its not like the reporters didnt report from TC. Also there is plenty TC film from yesterdays practice on PE.com.

    I advise you to just stop posting about McNabb as you are clearly one of those that would boo him in week 3.

  32. 32 GEagle said at 7:17 AM on July 31st, 2013:

    Never boo McNabb!!! Don’t mean I have. To give a crap about him, right now when I’m in full new eagles era mode

  33. 33 Media Mike said at 6:19 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    How does the Phillips injury help me get Matthews and Cheney cut from this roster? Brutal injury.

  34. 34 A_T_G said at 8:10 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Well, they will get more reps. That might speed things along.

  35. 35 P_P_K said at 8:32 AM on July 30th, 2013:


  36. 36 McNabbulousness said at 7:08 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    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?

    Jesus, that’s a tough fucking question. You could flip that and say “if we did win that 1 title would you trade that for an enjoyable 10 year run with no titles.” Seriously, would you? It’d be pretty tempting to take the title and run. Titles usually stand up a lot better historically as well.

    As a Philly fan I realize it could have been way worst. I can take solace in a slue of favorable memories/moments involving the giants, redskins, and cowgirls (“SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE, LETS GO TO MINNESOTA!”-the very end of the 44-6 radio broadcast).

    random note-Watching the mcnabb tribute video on pe.com brought back a memory I had forgotten. It was “the juke” against the skins. Hadn’t seen that play in a while, let alone in slowmo, and I couldn’t get over how awesome the move itself was. On a big picture scale that game to me was the moment mcnabb had arrived.

    note note-pumped about the reports out of camp regarding brand boykidwonder. That would be a big step forward for the development of that secondary unit if he can get to the next level.

  37. 37 GEagle said at 7:27 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Yeah, it is a very interesting question. Alot of teams win a Super Bowl, and then suck the next 4 seasons…would that have been better than almost a decade of being a top team that was always in the hunt? very difficult question that I can’t even come close to answering..

    I will say that not getting that SB win makes that decade of Eagles football bitter sweet. if we weren’t good enough to win a SB it would be much easier to swallow, but most of the time we were a clear cut favorite, and the team was good enough that I Genuinly believe that we should have a SB to show for it…so while, it was an incredible team, and group of Eagles players it’s a double edged sword because we also underachieved. it would be much easier to look back on that stellar era of Birds football if I felt we were overachievers who really didn’t have what it took to win a SB, but that wasn’t the case which makes things difficult

  38. 38 eagleyankfan said at 7:32 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I don’t think it’s a question at all to be honest. Go ask Jim Kelly. Answer is easy. Giants stunk last year. A lot easy to have a brutal season with a SB ring on your hand. Other than a ring, what else are you playing for?

  39. 39 GEagle said at 7:55 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    last year was brutal. we literally wasted a year of football. those brown paper bag days were terrible….how many dreadful 4-12 seasons are worth 1 SB?…I don’t know how many seasons like last year I can stomach…heck I still can’t believe how bad it was…How many years like last season would you give up fort hat SB win?

  40. 40 eagleyankfan said at 8:31 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    To be able to say we have at least 1 SB ring? As many as it takes.

  41. 41 Kevin Powell said at 3:31 PM on July 30th, 2013:

    It’s all circumstantial. My brother is a diehard Ravens fan, he’s lived in Baltimore his whole life and grew up with the team. He talks about how being so close in previous years against the Patriots made the Denver game feel like the Superbowl, and that once they won the actual Superbowl, it was hard to reach the same emotional peak that he experienced two weeks earlier.

    Same goes for the Red Sox in 2004, the ALCS is what will always be remembered and celebrated, not the actual World Series sweep against the Cards.

    Although the media may not treat it as so, in such a luck-influenced sport, long term success is much more impressive and satisfying than one Superbowl and a decade of sucking. Almost every Giants fan I know takes the two Superbowls for granted, sure they won it, but did they really mean a lot? It’s like if a lonely man with no family won the lottery, would it really be that satisfying?

  42. 42 eagleyankfan said at 7:40 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    So – chip is not tackling to the ground to avoid injuries. Um, day 2 of “pads” and we’re down 2 people to torn ligaments(I know – Mac went down Saturday, but it’s still only 2 days of pads). So far, so good.
    In a way, I do like the holding back. One day, the Eagles will unleash that energy. Probably on the Pats. :).

  43. 43 BlindChow said at 8:07 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    If only he would have allowed tackling, those injuries wouldn’t have happened!

  44. 44 GEagle said at 7:48 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    Question:… What’s up with the joint practice with the Patriots? Same no tackling to the ground rules?….If we aren’t hitting each other to prevent injuries, I don’t think I want to see us hit opposing players who aren’t invested in our players health….I can count on Demeco not hurting one of his brothers, but awhile ago I learned, never to trust the patriots

  45. 45 A_T_G said at 8:07 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    I am fine with us hitting them…

    Maybe Chip can channel Buddy and agree to a nice friendly event, then beat the crap out of them without warning.

  46. 46 Dominik said at 8:20 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    So you are rooting for the Game of Thrones way to do business? (don’t want to spoil here, so I’m not going into more details ;))

  47. 47 BlindChow said at 8:18 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    How did Oregon typically rank in tackling? Last year, The Eagles tackled in camp, yet ranked last in the league in missed tackles. I’m willing to give Chip the benefit of the doubt on this one. It certainly couldn’t be any WORSE than last year…

  48. 48 eagleyankfan said at 8:54 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    in fairness to the 2012 Eagles, they were allergic to tackling, so they avoided it at all costs.

  49. 49 OregonDucker said at 1:36 PM on July 30th, 2013:

    See my post above – first couple of years under Chip the Ducks were terrible. DBs left their feet and arm tackled. It was fixed.

  50. 50 Buge Halls said at 9:38 AM on July 30th, 2013:

    ” Would you really trade that decade of memories for the 2002 Bucs trophy?”

    A thousand times YES!!!!! I would trade every win from then until now just so I wouldn’t have to hear “So how many Superbowls have the Eagles won? Oh, yeah ZERO!” ever again in my life!