Eagles add more Super Bowl experience to the roster | Early Birds
The Eagles have eight players with Super Bowl rings after signing Will Beatty.
Good morning, Eagles fans. This is a Wednesday edition of Early Birds. The Eagles return to the practice field at 12:45 p.m. Coach Doug Pederson has a 10:30 a.m. news conference, and quarterback Carson Wentz speaks at noon.
The Eagles made another transaction Tuesday, adding tackle Will Beatty and waiving Taylor Hart. What stands out about this move is that it's for another veteran with a Super Bowl ring — the second in as many days. It shows that Howie Roseman and the front office recognize the opportunity this season. That spot often goes to a developmental player. That's how the Eagles used it last season. But the Eagles clearly value experience, considering the position they're in and their potential. They now have nine players on the 53-man roster age 30 or older, along with three 30-plus players on injured reserve. Eight players in the locker room now have Super Bowl rings. (Corey Graham, Chris Long, Dannell Ellerbe, LeGarrette Blount, Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith, Chris Maragos, and Beatty)
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Frank Reich held news conferences on Tuesday. It was interesting to listen to Schwartz discuss Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. It's common for a defensive coordinator to compliment the quarterback he's facing that week, but Schwartz puts thought into how he talks about players. This is part of what he said about Prescott: "I've been around the NFL for a pretty long time now. I don't know if I've ever seen a better thrower on the run than Dak Prescott. He can throw scrambling to his left. He can throw scrambling to his right. There are not many quarterbacks that can do that."
The players had the day off on Tuesday. Tight end Zach Ertz spent the late afternoon at Northeast High School, where he worked with the football team as part of a Campbell's Chunky Soup promotion. "I was able to take them through some drills, take them through some one-on-ones, celebrate with them, and be a part of their practice today," Ertz said by phone after he "filled in" for coach Phil Gormley while surprising the players. "It was definitely a big surprise. They were pumped, though. Obviously, the energy around the Eagles right now is huge and being there with the kids, they had a lot of fun, they enjoyed it a lot. They got a lot of energy with their state championship coming up. I was happy to be a part of it." Ertz, by the way, said his hamstring "felt good" and there was no setback or soreness from Monday's practice. He called today's practice the next big test.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
Eagles running back Jay Ajayi could take on a bigger role Sunday. In fact, Frank Reich said he'd be comfortable using Ajayi for any play in the game plan.
Cornerback Ronald Darby and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe should help the defense, Les Bowen writes. But when?
The Eagles added tackle Will Beatty. Also, find out what Reich thinks about Carson Wentz's film study.
Cole Beasley and Jason Witten are the Cowboys the Eagles must focus on stopping, Mike Sielski writes.
There were many questions in Tuesday's weekly chat. Here's the transcript with all the answers.
If you missed Tuesday's newsletter, it offered a look at two of the players returning from injury.
From the mailbag
I don't like answering a question with "I don't know," but I really don't know. A player has a limited shelf life to sign a big deal, and after playing on one-year contracts for two seasons, it would make sense for Alshon Jeffery to find the best deal he can get for 2018 and beyond. But I can tell you that he seems to like Philadelphia and the Eagles locker room, and the Eagles like him. If he doesn't reach 1,000 yards — he's on pace for 889 — it would be three consecutive seasons without topping that mark. So it will be fascinating to see how he's valued around the league. On one hand, there aren't many players with his talent: He has size, speed, and a big catch radius. On the other hand, he'll be 28 and a few years removed from producing like one of the NFL's best receivers, so his value might not warrant top-10 receiver money. I think it would make sense for the Eagles to keep him. He makes the other receivers better with the attention he commands, and he's shown flashes of his play-making ability. I still think you'll see big games from him the next few weeks, and it wouldn't surprise me if he inches closer to 1,000 yards. Plus, what's the alternative? The Eagles could sign a different receiver or draft one, but I'm not sure that's a better route than keeping Jeffery. Mack Hollins could develop into a starter, but he's not ready to be a Jeffery-type player. And Nelson Agholor might be more effective in the slot. It always comes down to price, but I'd try to find a way to keep Jeffery.