Eagles Add Interesting TE

Posted: July 25th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

NFL teams keep an open mind when it comes to finding players. That’s especially true at TE, where basketball players have even become stars. Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham did not have traditional football backgrounds. Both of them have more Pro Bowl appearances than years of college football experience.

The Eagles signed a Canadian rugby player on Monday to add to the TE mix. Adam Zaruba, 6-6, 265, is a long shot, but has the kind of size you want in a TE. He also is going to be the kind of physical player the Eagles could use at the position.

Please keep in mind that Zaruba is at the bottom of the roster. He has a limited football background and isn’t going to come in and steal a roster spot from one of the holdovers from last year. You want Zaruba to add a big, physical presence to practice, but also to see if he is worth possibly developing for the future.

Zaruba isn’t on the field yet.

Most non-football guys don’t pan out, but teams will keep looking, hoping to find the next hidden gem.


Doug Pederson had some strange comments in his press conference yesterday. He talked about Jordan Matthews being healthy, but also not practicing. That is pretty contradictory.

Pederson later admitted something was up with Matthews’ knee, but then reminded us he’s not a doctor and told the media to talk to the Eagles medical staff for specific info.

Beyond that, Pederson didn’t say anything particularly compelling or interesting.


Jeff McLane wrote an excellent piece on CB Rasul Douglas.  After getting off to a hot start in the spring, things changed for Douglas as the coaches opened up the playbook.

“It was strong at first because we were only running a few coverages. And once we started learning a few [more] coverages, I just started mentally messing up with a lot of checks,” Douglas said on Monday after the first day of training camp. “My brain processed the first call, but once I got the second call, I had to process that, but the play was already snapped.”

Douglas has the tools to play in the NFL, but like so many rookies he has to adjust to the complicated schemes and playbooks. The mental side of pro football is usually the bigger challenge for young players. Real good piece from McLane.


Fran Duffy and Chris McPherson posted some great notes from the first day of practice. Go read this.

2. Only one tight end is in attendance during the early stages of camp, and that’s another undrafted free agent in Shepherd’s Billy Brown. The 6-4, 255-pound Brown has NFL size and looked smooth in drills today, catching everything that went his direction. – FD

Brown has to shine as a receiver if he’s got any shot at either a roster spot or the practice squad. Blocking is going to be the real challenge for him, but coaches will be patient there if he’s impressive enough when catching passes.

8. A trimmer Corey Clement looked smooth catching the ball out of the backfield. Running backs coach Duce Staley told Clement that he wants him to tip the scales at 215 pounds. After weighing 227 at the start of Rookie Camp, Clement reported at the goal weight.

“I spent a lot of time on the conditioning part. I really didn’t touch weights too much. It was all body weight stuff,” said Clement of his time away from the NovaCare Complex ahead of Training Camp. “I just made sure that I slimmed down coming into camp. I feel great. Coming in and out of my routes, running, I feel a lot lighter on my feet. I just want to show the coaching staff I can be a lighter back and more versatile.” – CM

I recently re-watched some tape of Clement from Wisconsin. He has pretty good feet, but his upper body is kinda stiff. That makes for an odd combination. He did catch a screen pass and deliver a nice gain in the game. He’ll have to show he can be an effective receiver to really push for a roster spot.

I think Duce was smart to have Clement lose weight. Clement isn’t a power runner so being up in the 230 range doesn’t really benefit him. He’s better off being light and being able to cut and make moves.


LB Joe Walker is also back and practicing.


37 Comments on “Eagles Add Interesting TE”

  1. 1 daveH said at 12:16 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    1 ZARUBA jersey with igglesblitz logo please !!

  2. 2 Ark87 said at 12:39 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    How’s his arm length? I say give him Lane’s “protein” shake mix and convert him to tackle. The tradition must continue!

  3. 3 or____ said at 1:55 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Sounds like Billy Brown (UDRFA TE) is a hot Na Brown name…

  4. 4 RogerPodacter said at 4:24 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    JimmyK put Greg Ward as the early leader for the Na in his day 2 camp notes.

  5. 5 BobSmith77 said at 2:47 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    From the previous thread:

    I really miss training camp in Lehigh too. It game me a reason to go up with my dad to Lehigh and make a day of it including him visiting a friend or two from his college days at Muhlenberg College.

    ‘Flight Night’ flat out sucks in every facet. It is a glorified scrimmage where the ‘bargain tickets’ for kids cost $12/ticket last year and the best seats for adults cost $30/ticket. No players sign autographs or interact with fans either.

    There aren’t reduced prices for amenities at the Linc and parking is still regular season price ($40/game) as well in the city lots around the Linc.

    Best part is this is advertised as being ‘fan friendly’ when it is nothing but a straight up revenue grab especially compared to the experience in Lehigh.

  6. 6 A_T_G said at 3:11 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Agreed. The year my boys were old enough to go, we took my dad to Lehigh and watched the guys practicing a few yards from us. We could see what reporters were focusing on, hear coaches talking, and players interacting with fans. We sat on the bottom row of the bleachers while WRs practiced toe-tapping sideline grabs with only a runnung rack between us and them. It was awesome.

    It was also the last year it was held there.

  7. 7 Dave said at 3:58 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Although I’m a Lehigh Valley homer and would not travel to the Linc to see the Eagles practice in any fashion, would it hurt the team to let a few thousand fans into practice each day?

    Lurie has been given hundreds of millions of dollars form taxpayers…put up some effen bleachers at Novacare and let fans (and by fans, I mean parents and children) watch practice closeup and have daily meet and greets with the players on the field after practice.

    Sheesh, even the media isn’t allowed to watch all of each and every practice.

    Does the secrecy and practice privacy actually help the team? I wish the Philadelphia media would hammer Lurie and Pederson on this point.

  8. 8 Someguy77 said at 8:41 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Honestly Lurie deserves to get hammered less on this point and more for trying to hold Temple hostage by more than 2x the rent for home football stadiums & wanting a large slice of other revenue sharing too.

    The new Temple President used this is his cover to build an ill-advised stadium which will be a huge boondoggle not to mention create a lot of long-standing tension with its neighbors.

    It was a a complete shitty move by Lurie and except for a few alternative news blogs wasn’t even really covered. If the major news outlets would have covered it, I wondered if they feared getting cut out or exceeded by the Eagles.

  9. 9 Dave said at 9:14 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    I can’t say that I follow anything Temple-related but I can imagine your frustrations. With that being said, Lurie (and formerly Banner as well), made no bones about it that his #1 priority is to make money as he was looking for taxpayer handouts to acquire land and build his stadium.

  10. 10 D3FB said at 8:39 AM on July 26th, 2017:

    What a shame your dad went to such a garbage college. 😛

  11. 11 A_T_G said at 3:05 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Someone asked Jimmy (and then deleted the tweet) if Zarubu signing mean Celek was getting cut.

  12. 12 RogerPodacter said at 4:25 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    hah, was wondering what that deleted tweet was

  13. 13 A_T_G said at 3:14 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Lucky Whitehead, the player the Cowboys cut to make an example, was cleared of all charges and was not in the area when it happened…just like he told the organization. The guy that was arrested didn’t have ID and told the cops he was Whitehead.

    We should sign him. I bet he is dying to diagram Cowboy plays right about now.

  14. 14 Sean Stott said at 3:18 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    I love that, make an example out of the guy who did nothing. Not the guy who can’t stop molesting women.

  15. 15 or____ said at 3:51 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    There are reports tho (not sure how reliable) that Dallas was looking for an excuse to cut him anyhow. It might be that he’s a problem and this was a dumb reason/awful timing, but really not worth signing anyway.

  16. 16 A_T_G said at 5:50 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    I read that, or a similar report, but it was ambiguous. It said that they were fed up and looking for a reason to send a message, but it wasn’t clear if it was his behavior specifically or the general conduct of the team as a whole. Given the off-season, the latter seems possible.

  17. 17 ColorSgt said at 11:41 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    They probably cut him because he wasn’t guilty and were afraid he wouldn’t fit in on the team.

  18. 18 BobSmith77 said at 3:54 PM on July 25th, 2017:


    “A new study suggests that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repeated head trauma, may be more common among football players than previously thought. The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found CTE in 99 percent of brains obtained from National Football League (NFL) players, as well at 91 percent of college football players and 21 percent of high school football players.”

    The article does go on to state it is a highly subjective research group that lacks an adequate control group and possibly suffers from selection bias (players that donate their brains).

    This was an eye-opening number and I wonder how long it take to filter down & possibly further youth participation.

  19. 19 Mitchell said at 3:57 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Couple things: 1. What was their criteria for CTE and 2. Like you said there is a possibility of confounding variables.

  20. 20 Sean Stott said at 4:00 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Well the big problem is that these are people who self identified as having brain issues.

  21. 21 Bert's Bells said at 4:32 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Already has. Anecdotally, I’ve heard from a bunch of people who won’t let their kids play Pop Warner.

  22. 22 xmbk said at 8:05 AM on July 26th, 2017:

    And yet soccer has been shown to cause more concussions per player than football in kids. I’m cautious with my kids, but I’ll wait for more info before making them live in a bubble.

  23. 23 CrackSammich said at 9:15 AM on July 26th, 2017:

    One asks kids to run full speed into each other, and the other asks them to catch a ball punted 30 yds with their head. Football only seems safer than futbol because the latter isn’t as intentionally violent.

  24. 24 ChoTime said at 4:34 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    In these write-ups, the worst are the titles: “99% of Football Players Have Brain Damage, Says Study.” The second worst is the 1st sentence: “A new study suggests… [no, the study doesn’t suggest that, the writer of the abstract suggests that].”

    No, actually, the worst are the scientifically illiterate who grab on to their interpretations of the study because of confirmation bias.

    (By the way, not saying you did this, Bob, just riffing on a pet peeve of mine.)

  25. 25 Dave said at 4:07 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    I disagree on Zaruba being a long shot to make the roster. Bryan Braman was 100% useless as a defensive end/linebacker in his 3 years with the team but was a monster on special teams. Zaruba has 20 lbs on Braman and hopefully has similar aggression in hitting people on the run being a rugby player.

    Chris Maragos is very limited as a safety but again is extremely important on special teams.

    Both Braman and Maragos are about hitting and tackling only. If Zaruba can make his presence known on special teams in a similar role, he may actually add more value by being involved in a limited number offensive snaps per game as as well being more valuable on fake field goals, punts, and onside kicks as a receiving/recovery option.

  26. 26 or____ said at 4:09 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Not sure how discussing two long time football players relates to him.

  27. 27 Dave said at 4:29 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Not sure how you didn’t understand the context of my post.

  28. 28 or____ said at 4:34 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Braman and Maragos were proven NFL special teams aces prior to coming to the Eagles.

    What does Zaruba bring? Other than pounds and (hopefully) aggression? For all we know he’s never put on pads or a helmet before.

    I just don’t see how he is not a long-shot.

  29. 29 Dave said at 4:48 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Before they were proven special team aces, they were camp bodies trying to make a roster in Seattle and Houston.

    Braman is no longer with the team.

    The Eagles value special teams.

  30. 30 or____ said at 4:53 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Fair enough. I think the assumption is that Hollins replaces what Braman gave on ST

  31. 31 Dave said at 5:20 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Quite possible. My hope is Hollins becomes a positional starter alongside Alshon in the future.

  32. 32 or____ said at 5:33 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Potentially. The word is hes a day one ST stud tho.

  33. 33 daveH said at 7:56 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    A few big hits and he’s #2 in tshirt sales. .. hope he is a beast… hope he crushes Zak and Deke ..hope they name an island after him and fly the igglesblitz logo flag and have a national drink and a happy hour

  34. 34 teltschikfakeout88 said at 9:55 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    You mean Save rocca? Got popped in the preseason game against the Ravens…Antwan Barnes threw a cheap shot…sort of…

  35. 35 daveH said at 11:54 AM on July 26th, 2017:

    That was a nasty hit on Sav yes. . Think it was ‘clean’ ..by an hairline. .. welcome to the NFL. . But Sav had been great for us

  36. 36 ColorSgt said at 8:33 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    I still think he’s a long shot, but appreciate the special teams angle that I wasn’t thinking of at first.

  37. 37 Tumtum said at 11:02 PM on July 25th, 2017:

    Hope you are right. Won’t bank on him being a stud at special teams. Many great athletes have sucked at ST. It really isn’t just about effort.