JONATHAN KRAUSE has caught passes from both Tom Brady and Sam Bradford, but he is not into comparisons.
That might be because Krause, released by the Patriots at the end of the preseason after spending much of last season on their practice squad, has been employed by the Eagles since joining their practice squad Sept. 22. He moved to the active roster Nov. 24 - curiously, about the same time New England was going through a wide receiver injury crisis and was looking for help. The Pats ended up signing former Eagle Damaris Johnson.
Krause, 5-11, 190, played at Vanderbilt with Jordan Matthews and first signed with the Browns last year before being cut and moving to New England.
"It was nice," he said, when asked about catching passes from Brady. "I was blessed to spend time there. I wouldn't say there's a big difference. Our quarterbacks are great."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Krause on a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters this week.
"Yeah, pretty much everything," Belichick said, when asked what he liked about Krause. "We went down and saw (Jordan) Matthews, we saw Krause, and they both were very productive at Vanderbilt. Jonathan has both inside and outside flexibility, can play in the slot, can play on the perimeter, runs well, smart kid, works hard, good hands, very dependable player, a guy that we didn't get 'til about the middle of the year last year.
"He was in Cleveland and was rehabbing an injury through the early part of the season so he was a little bit behind but 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. He did a good job. Unfortunately he kind of got banged up for us there at the end of preseason, but I like Jonathan. I think he's a good young player with a good future. It was a good move by Philadelphia to get him in their system. He's got a lot of good qualities."
Krause said he has been here long enough to know the offense, if the coaching staff decides to activate him. Making a change in the struggling wide receiver corps might be one of a handful of lineup options open to Chip Kelly, as he tries to shake the team out of a three-game losing streak.
Mathews still missing
Running back Ryan Mathews didn't practice again Thursday. The Eagles' most effective back has been around the team when reporters were present only once since suffering a concussion against Miami on Nov. 15. That was Tuesday's practice, which was held indoors. Mathews (427 yards on 75 carries) watched. He was not around for the Wednesday and Thursday outdoor practices.
Chip Kelly said he doesn't know where Mathews is in the concussion protocol, only knows that the medical staff will tell him when Mathews is cleared.
"We hope at some point we can get him back," Kelly said.
Asked what he's missing, with Mathews gone, Kelly said: "We have less depth there, and I think when we've been successful, we've had two big, physical backs in there, and we're missing a key cog in that right now.
"I thought Kenjon (Barner), when he got in for kind of his first playing time against (Tampa and) Detroit, did a nice job." Barner has 14 carries for 67 yards, all in the last two games.
Wideout Josh Huff, who suffered a much less serious concussion against Detroit and is back at practice now, said the Eagles are missing "the physical presence (Mathews) brings."
"I definitely believe that Ryan is the most aggressive back in the league, in my opinion, just because he brings the punishment to you, instead of the punishment being delivered to him," Huff said. "Obviously, if we get him back, or whenever we get him back, it's going to be a huge lift to this offense."
New England coach Bill Belichick offered the following description this week. Read it and decide for yourself if Belichick is describing:
A. Adrian Peterson
C. Jalil Okafor on the streets of Boston
D. DeMarco Murray
"Tough guy to handle. He's got good vision, he finds space, hard guy to tackle, he can run through tackles, he's got good quickness to make people miss, and he's got good vision to find space . . . It doesn't look like there's much there, but he finds it."
If you guessed "D," you understand the fine NFL art of elaborately praising the opponent.
Defensive lineman Ced Thornton (ankle) and safety Walt Thurmond practiced fully and should play Sunday . . . The Pats listed former Eagles safety Patrick Chung as a limited practice participant Thursday with a foot injury . . . Also limited was linebacker Dont'a Hightower, an important figure in the Pats' run defense . . . In a tweet, Eagles corner Nolan Carroll thanked fans for their thoughts and prayers and said surgery on his broken fibula went well.