Early Birds: Get to know Jonathan Krause; Byron Maxwell following a WR; Connor Barwin is "Man of the Year" nominee
Jonathan Krause might be the 53rd player on the roster, but he’s an intriguing name to know.
1) Jonathan Krause might be the 53rd player on the roster, but he's an intriguing name to know. The Eagles promoted the wide receiver from the practice squad last week in a curious move because it gave the Eagles seven wide receivers – a number they never had at that position during Kelly's time in Philadelphia. The Eagles overlooked other positions that might have needed an extra body to get Krause on the roster.
That means either another team wanted him, or the Eagles wanted him. Krause said he is not aware of another team's interest to add him to the 53-man roster, and Eagles coach Chip Kelly said the decision was made because of the way Krause has performed at practice.
"He's a kid that each week, when we're out here in training, that has stuck out to us and given him an opportunity to show us what we can do," Kelly said. "If he has a good week in practice, we'll see where that puts him."
Krause spent last season on the New England Patriots' practice squad, and he learned under Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Krause does not have the size in the slot that former Vanderbilt teammate Jordan Matthews has, but he knows how to play the position. In fact, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was impressed by Krause, who had 11 catches for 89 yards in three preseason games with the Patriots.
"Jonathan has both inside and outside flexibility. Can play the slot, can play the perimeter. Runs well, smart kid, works hard, good hands. Very dependable player," Belichick said. "A guy we didn't get until about the middle of the year last year. He was in Cleveland, was rehabbing an injury through the middle part of the season, so he was a little bit behind. Mentally caught up quickly, and really did a great job for us on the practice field.
"We had a hard time covering him when he was on the scout team being our opponent's receiver. So he did a good job, and unfortunately got banged up for us at the end of the preseason. But like Jonathan. Think he's a good young player with a good future. Was a good move by Philadelphia to get him in their system. I think he has a lot of good qualities."
2) Byron Maxwell does not expect to follow the opponent's top receiver this week, but he could in future weeks. With Nolan Carroll out of the lineup, it seems like an obvious move to have Maxwell against a top receiver instead of just on the left side. Rookie Eric Rowe is now the other starting cornerback. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said it will depend on the matchup.
"As you go through the matchups, like early on [against Detroit] I actually didn't think [Lions WR] Golden Tate and Eric was a great matchup because [Tate is] a smaller, quicker guy," Davis said. "That goes in and out of what the matchup is and how big they are. Eric is a tall, long body that actually matches up well with the longer, taller receivers.
"But I think somewhere in the second series of the third quarter, we just made the wholesale change to match Max up and let Eric go on the other side. … So we'll move in and out of that as we see needed. As the game goes on, you look to see which matchups you're struggling at and that's all over the board; that's from the nickel slot to the outside ones, to the running backs and the backers. We're constantly looking at the matchups that favor us and that we're struggling with, and then we move accordingly."
Maxwell played the right side with the Seahawks. He also played slot at times. He has played the left side with the Eagles. That versatility would allow him to travel around the field. Plus, the team made him one of the five highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL for a reason.
3) Connor Barwin was the Eagles' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Barwin's Make the World Better Foundation has helped revitalize two parks in Philadelphia.
Each of the 32 nominees receives a $5,000 donation for the charity of his choice. The winner receives an additiona; $50,000 donation, and the two runners-up will receive an additional $6,000 donation. The winner will be announced Feb. 6.
"There's a lot of guys in this league that do a lot of good stuff," Barwin said. "I don't really know how it works. We'll find out. … It's a pretty big honor. I'd be proud to represent this city and this team."