Category: Eagles (page 1 of 221)

Regional Sports Illustrated Covers Show off Rival QBs’ Muscles, Foles and Romo Fully Covered

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For Sports Illustrated‘s NFL season preview issue, they’re running four regional covers featuring some rival NFC QB combos (Kaepernick/Wilson, Cutler/Stafford, Ryan/Brees), and the one in our region features a copy-pasted side-by-side of Nick Foles and Tony Romo.

Foles and Romo are the only pair wearing their full jerseys on the covers (and Kaepernick is the only one shirtless because good God if I was that man I’d never wear a shirt and if I was in the same room I’d never be shirtless next to him). To that point, we saw Matt Ryan’s photoshoot on the latest episode of Hard Knocks, and when asked if he wanted to take his undershirt off, he said something to the effect of, “Hell no, did you see Kaepernick? He’s huge.” I assume the same kind of deal happened with Foles and Romo. Can’t imagine Nick would have an issue taking his pants off, though.

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Mychal Kendricks Stars in Music Video for Rihanna Look-alike

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Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, former target and targeter of Rihanna, is now starring in the music video of Rihanna look-and-act-alike Teyana Taylor. Taylor is a former star of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, a show where the whiny kids of rich people show off how whiny and rich they are.

The video, and Kendricks’ impression of Drake in the “Anaconda” video:

H/T to reader Paul

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You Can’t Really Blame Espn for the Michael Sam Shower Report

Everyone’s talking about this today. Deadspin, Awful Announcing, The Washington Post, Sports Grid et al. in one way, shape or form, took aim at Josina Anderson of ESPN for her somewhat ridiculous report about Michael Sam being respectful of other teammates in and around the shower area.

Yeah, it’s a touchy subject, and there was probably a better way to BROACH (love that word) it than explicitly saying, “[...] told me I have not been in the shower the same time as Michael Sam.” But even though most of the media is too squeamish to talk about it, this, for better or worse, is exactly the issue that was a concern when an openly, outwardly gay player entered a locker room full of (frequently naked) meatheads. There’s no dancing around the issue. It’s the situation that was on most people’s minds. Again, for better or worse. It sounds like it’s a non-issue, but you can’t really blame a reporter, or ESPN, for bringing it up (even if they could’ve done so a little more gently).

I won’t presume to know how a gay man or woman feels in a locker room. At 24 (Sam’s age), I know that walking into a women’s locker room full of, say, naked, sweaty cheerleaders would’ve caused me to physically explode. Not in the metaphorical, innuendo sense– actually explode. Burst. Organs everywhere. My body wouldn’t have been able to cope with that sort of thing. I would imagine the feeling is extremely different for a gay guy in a men’s locker room.  But it is something that is a bit of an unknown, at least in this specific example, and the fact that Sam’s teammates are talking and thinking about it, and that Sam, according to said teammates, is consciously altering his routine, “respecting our space,” makes it a topic. Don’t think you can blame ESPN for mentioning it. Blame Anderson for wording it really awkwardly.

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Did Chip Kelly Do Something Unconventional Today?

Kelly Drive t-shirt

He did.

Mike Sando of ESPN ranked the 32 coaches in the NFL on ESPN’s Insider page. That link is behind a paywall, but the folks over at Bleeding Green Nation dutifully captured the Kelly portion. Predictably, it’s awesome:

12. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles (2.20 average)

There were a couple of schools of thought on Kelly. Some were sufficiently excited about him to anoint him as a “1″ [tier] after a single successful season in the NFL. Others of a similar mind thought he was a “2″ trending toward the top tier. Nine voters placed Kelly in that third category, taking a wait-and-see approach. One noted that the Eagles struggled for a stretch last season before taking advantage of an unusually weak NFC East division.

“Kelly is the fascinating guy to me, because with a lot of these young [coaches] I’m not sure, but Chip has a chance to be really special,” a former GM said while putting Kelly in the second tier with the arrow pointing up. “He is going to do it differently. Even the DeSean Jackson thing, he was not afraid to get rid of him. He thinks his system can overcome everything and sometimes those guys know. He interests me greatly.”

A defensive coordinator lauded Kelly for doing an outstanding job with players. The coordinator also suggested time would tell whether Kelly’s offense would have staying power. “I think he is a 1,” a GM said. “I just think he doesn’t give a s— what other people think, and he has his beliefs, he is outside the box and he is true to himself.”

I agree that he doesn’t give a shit what people think, but I don’t believe it’s a conscious effort to think outside the box and stay true to himself. Kelly, as he has said many times, is all about asking why? and, if the answer is not sufficient, doing things in a logical or progressive way. Is that outside the box? Sure. But that’s not the goal. His goal is straightforward: do what makes sense, not what people have always done. Works in many fields, not just sports. Buy a goddamn t-shirt.

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Video: Lingerie Football League Brawl

I always imagined that this is how strippers sort out their tips at the end of the night.

via TMZ

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Firefighter Turned Eagles First-Rounder Turned Bust is Now a Firefighter Again

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Danny Watkins, the Eagles first-round OL draft bust that was laughed at by Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, and Danny Watkins, is now back to fighting fires in Texas. Ian Rappaport reported that Watkins is working as a firefighter in Dallas and is “very happy” with his career move, a feeling that is shared by Eagles fans.

The fact that Watkins is better at (and would rather be) stopping buildings from burning down than stopping NFL defenders is nothing to scoff at, but you should really feel free to scoff all you want at his brief, misguided, and legendarily bad NFL career. And also the fact that the Eagles drafted him.

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Madden 15 Hit Shelves at Midnight to Great Reviews, Including Ours

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Another football season means another Madden video game, and this year’s edition — the first made specifically for the newest generation of systems — sounds like it won’t disappoint. Some early reviews are in for the PS4 and XBOX ONE versions, and they promise great things. I gathered these yesterday, but Kyle made me hold off on posting until today so he could continue living his rough life, playing video games at midnight, and include his review.

Buy Madden 15 on Amazon

 

Kyle, Crossing Broad, 8.9:

I purposely haven’t read these reviews gathered by Jim because I didn’t want my view of the game to get skewed. [Well, OK, that's sort of a lie. I read the IGN review yesterday, but that's the only one. I swear.] I burned the midnight oil by staying up until 3 a.m. last night to play my pre-downloaded copy of Madden 15. And that’s the first positive in this experience: PS4 gives you the option of downloading games up to two days ahead of release so they’re available to play at precisely midnight. It worked flawlessly and saved me a trip to GameStop with a bunch of unemployed, just-out-of-school 22-year-olds (I’m allowed to make that joke because that was me with Madden 06). Acknowledging that it’s impossible to give a full review of all the modes and features with only three hours of playing time, this review is based almost exclusively on the gameplay, which is the most important part anyway.

The game looks great. Everything is absurdly crisp and looks… real. This is hard to explain, but there’s an element in here that the graphics are so good and accurate, they get out of the way completely and you don’t even notice them. I say that as a compliment. It doesn’t look as eye-poppingly good as NBA 2k14 or UFC (that latter of which is the most realistic-looking sports game I’ve ever seen), but the player models look the best they ever have in a Madden game, the lighting is fantastic, animations are good but still sometimes awkward, and the stadium detail is fantastic. That said, it’s driving me insane that THE SPECTRUM IS STILL OFF IN THE DISTANCE. I can understand that, in the older games, the Spectrum remained, since developers were likely using a stadium model built in 2006, but there’s no excuse for a building that was knocked down four years ago to still be serving as a prominent (and detailed!) landmark in the background. Every kickoff toward the north end zone at the Linc will make you want to punch a baby. The new sections aren’t in the game, but that’s understandable. The Spectrum is not.

I hate Jim Nantz as a football commentator.

When you first load up the game, you’re treated to a super cinematic playable sequence where you’re Cam Netown leading a comeback against the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The presentation here, which takes you into the huddle, isn’t in the actual game, but it all uses the actual game engine and feels like something that could be implemented in years to come. It’s a great way to get you in the game and give you the new Madden experience. I turned the ball over on downs and the Seahawks repeated as NFC Champs. Speaking of the Seahawks– don’t play against them, their defense will make you want to hurl your controller through a picture frame and then smash it with a portable hammer. I now know exactly how Peyton Manning felt in the Super Bowl. For real, don’t play against the Seahawks. If you play online and someone takes the Seahawks (which is what happened to me), just quit game. On the flip side, do take the Eagles and LeSean McCoy– he is a mythical beast in the game, specifically on inside run plays, and I can only assume EA will release a Shady patch to prevent users from cheesing online.

The gameplay is outstanding. For the first time since, I’d say, 2005, this feels like a new Madden. Sure, it’s still Madden, but it’s faster, more up-tempo, and more exciting to actually play without sacrificing realism and strategy. Part of that is because defensive controls have been completely revamped. There is an all-new defensive camera (which is optional, along with a range of new camera heights that can be easily selected by pushing up and down on the d-pad) which makes defense more fun and, for the first time ever, not boring and random. Basically, you press R2 (RT on Xbox?) to engage with a blocker and then X or square to make a move on him and get to the ballcarrier. You can perform a conservative tackle (X), aggressive tackle (square), or HIT STICK (right stick). There’s a small vision cone for sizing up your target a la the old quarterback vision cone that everyone hated, but this one actually works, is intuitive, and doesn’t distract from the gameplay. It had been written that defense in Madden 15 played like its own mini game, and I think that’s a fair assessment. You actually feel like you have control, specifically over rushing the quarterback and bringing down ballcarriers. Defending the pass is still a somewhat frustrating experience, if only because the game plays so much faster and your reaction time needs to be that much quicker (magnified by only playing for three hours, no doubt).

Online play, at least (it’s all I played last night), strips out all of the slow presentation options and keeps the focus on playing the game. Unlike every. other. Madden. game. before. it. you won’t find yourself getting antsy to just hike the damn ball. The new playcall menus are fast and intuitive (a welcome change), and the whole in-game menu-playcall interface just feels faster and lighter. I don’t think it can be overstated how big of a factor this is in making the game fun and playable. To me, the one thing that always kept Madden from being as accessible as NHL and FIFA was the slow, methodical pace of play. You can now play a game (again, at least online) in 25-30 minutes. You never feel like you’re waiting around. If anything, you feel like you’re being rushed to pick your play and make your tweaks at the line. This is a good thing, I think.

It’s really hard to put your finger on, but again, the game is more fun than previous versions. Playing and response times feel almost arcadey in that animations are fast and fluid. That doesn’t mean the game’s any easier or less realistic (trust me), it just means EA finally struck the right balance between being a fun video game and an ultra sim. Fashion editor Dan will kill me for saying this, but it’s got an NFL 2k5 (his favorite game ever) feel to it.

I did play around quite a bit with the mini games, which are both fun and mostly useful in developing your skills and teaching you new controls. There are a couple of games that are too simplistic, but most of them are quick, challenging but fair, and informative. The L2-R2 stutter-step speed burst combo? HOT.

If you’re on the fence about getting Madden because “it’s probably going to be the same Madden,” get it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a better Madden, and for me could get to Madden 05 level of goodness thanks to a combination of new defensive controls and fun, fast gameplay.

The full review roundup is after the jump. Continue reading

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Chip Kelly Doesn’t Want to Run “A Million Plays,” Just Wants Points

There's probably a very practical reason why he's licking this mic

There’s probably a very practical reason why he’s licking this mic

As we inch closer and closer to Week One of the 2014 NFL season, the last of the season preview writings are rolling out. And in the midst of all the speculation and prediction, there’s this well-written piece on the surge of up-tempo offensive schemes by Tim McManus. It’s a precursor for the canned commentary you’re going to hear from anyone with a tie and a headset mic in a booth this year, but McManus lays it out from the POV of the tired defense:

When Tony Dungy was with the Bucs, he did an extensive study on how his Tampa 2 defense was impacted by the amount of snaps it faced. What he found is that his unit’s ability to do their job dipped significantly once they hit a specific number.

“There’s a certain breaking point in any defense. The breaking point is over 65 plays,” said Herm Edwards, who was an assistant under Dungy in Tampa from 1996-2000. “For any defense. You don’t want to get into those numbers.”

The Eagles climb into those numbers routinely. Davis’ unit faced the most snaps in the NFL last season at 1,150. That’s an average of 72 per game.

“That’s not good,” said Edwards. “You don’t want that. When we were at Tampa – now, we played a different type of offense, obviously – we never got to 1,000. We were about 850. We never wanted to get into the 60s and the 65s. If we got to 70, we were in trouble because we were worn down because we weren’t a big defense. We were a fast, penetrating defense.”

But that’s not all roses and positivity for the Birds, as we saw in the Patriots game when the defense spent a majority of the first quarter on the field. Cary Williams told McManus, “It’s not easy already to defend in this league. It’s not easy to necessarily to be a defenseman [opposite] this type of offense … You can be out there for a nine-play drive and create a turnover and the next thing you know, 45 seconds to a minute [later], you’re right back out there. It’s hard. But I think we’ve got the guys in this room to get the job done.”

But speed isn’t the true goal, says McManus, who pointed out that the Eagles were 13th in the league in offensive plays per game last season, but second in points per minute, while being “the clear leaders in points per minute differential, which takes into account how their opposition fares in that department against them.” Chip Kelly said, “The perception that we’re going to run 90 snaps a game, and that we want to run a million plays, has never been any part of our philosophical discussion.”

McManus really takes a look at the speed thing from all sides: Defensively, offensively, coaching, validity, and success rates. The whole piece is pretty essential, and you can read it all over here.

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