Too Little, Too Late?

Reuben Frank:

According to a source, Andy called Juan into his office this morning and dismissed him. Juan will no longer be with the team in any capacity

More to come on this, obviously.

Guts or Glory

Reuben Frank came out with some quotes from Andy Reid about the "toughness" of this Eagles team:

“I like the grit of this football team,” he said Monday in an uncharacteristically descriptive assessment of his team. “I like the toughness of this football team. I like the makeup of this football team.”
“I saw it the end of last year and I’ve seen it through training camp and now I’ve seen it the first five games here,” he said. “You can go into hostile territory and know that they’re all in and they’re not flinching an inch and they’re not backing down from anybody and they’re going in to win the game and that’s their mentality. That’s a good feeling for the head coach. That’s a very good feeling.”
“They were right there 100 percent the whole game, and that’ll take you a long way in this league. You’ve got to start with that. You’ve got to have that.”

"Grit" doesn't seem to have much to do with the change in the Eagles this year. Were the teams over the last few years lacking a hardened desire to win? I doubt it. What's really changed is the defense. This is the first year since 2008 that Reid can count on staying in close games. They may not always be able to pull it out in the end (see last Sunday), but this year's Eagles defense has mitigated offensive mistakes and given Michael Vick second and third and fourth chances to go win the game. That's tremendous.

All in the Family

There have been a number of poorly-written columns about yesterday's tragedy at Lehigh. This one by Reuben Frank is not one of those:

So why would the Eagles practice Sunday, just minutes after Garrett Reid’s death was announced? Why would Reid insist on being on the sideline Thursday night for the preseason opener against the Steelers? 
Because for Andy Reid, the definition of family is a broad one. It covers both his blood relatives and his players. His kids, his team. They’re all part of the same family. 

Jim Washburn is a Quote Machine

Reuben Frank compiled the full transcript of Jim Washburn’s session with the media earlier this week in two parts. It’s so glorious I’m having trouble picking my favorite parts.

“I can’t lie,” Washburn said. “That’s why they don’t want me to talk.”

Please keep talking, Wash.

Throwing Cold Water on Dubious Roster Battles

Reuben Frank put out a list of the top ten roster battles heading into training camp. He hits on some of the biggest ones: Atogwe vs. Coleman, Rolle vs. Chaney, Hanson vs. Boykin. But he also lists a bunch of questionable ones:

  • Dion Lewis vs. Bryce Brown? I’m excited to see if Brown can make the transition to the NFL. He clearly has 5x the physical potential of Lewis. But I’m not really seeing the competition for backup running back. There’s just no way Brown is going to come in after sitting out nearly all of college and immediately pick up the complexity of the Eagles offense and the intricacies of pass blocking, other essential bits. Then again, don’t read this as an endorsement of Lewis, who seems like a poor backup to one of the best players on the roster.
  • Riley Cooper vs. Damaris Johnson? It’s unclear whether the Eagles will keep five or six wide receivers, but I don’t really see the big receivers competing against the smaller ones. Cooper and Marvin McNutt would serve similar roles on the roster, as would Johnson and Chad Hall. Those are the real one-on-one battles. Winners of each competition will be guaranteed a spot on the roster. After that, all they can do is hope the Eagles keep six guys.
  • Clay Harbor vs. Brett Brackett? With the Eagles using more two tight end sets, the question is really whether Brackett can play his way onto the roster — not whether he can beat out Harbor, a more experienced player and much better blocker.
  • Mike Kafka vs. Nick Foles? As with Lewis/Brown, this isn’t a ringing endorsement of Kafka. But Frank is the first person to suggest that Foles even has a shot to replace him in his rookie year.

Ahead of all of the above, I’d rate these battles: Demetress Bell vs. King Dunlap, Jaiquawn Jarrett vs. the Chopping Block, Derek Landri vs. Antonio Dixon vs. Cedric Thornton.

Shady: I Wanted to be One of Those Guys

LeSean McCoy, as told to Reuben Frank at CSN Philly:

“Training during the offseason, I wanted to be one of those guys. I think that’s the biggest difference from this year and last year – the confidence level. When I step on the field now, I feel like I’m one of those guys (opponents) are worried about.

“‘Where’s DeSean Jackson? Where’s Mike Vick? Where’s LeSean McCoy?’ I want to be one of those guys. The whole offseason, that’s what I put in my mind. I don’t want to just be another guy on the field. I want to be a guy who has that confidence that those guys know, ‘I’m ready to play.’”

He got his wish.

DRC Makes No Excuses

Reuben Frank, at CSNPhilly:

He makes no excuses.

“It’s been frustrating basically playing a new, different position, but I’m young, I’ve got a lot of time to just learn,” he said at his locker before practice Thursday. “Slot is a difficult position to play if you’ve never done it before. I never really even paid attention to it because you’re outside doing your thing.

“Outside is a whole different ballgame. That’s really been the most difficult thing. Trying to make that your spot. I asked guys around the league how difficult playing the nickel is and they tell you but until you get out there, you don’t realize how difficult it is and how different it is.

“Once I get it, I got it. But there’s a lot of new concepts. Gotta read run, gap responsibilities – your mind has to work quickly. But with more experience, it’ll come. In the long run, it’ll make me a better corner. I’ll have a better mindset or mentality of the game because playing inside, it makes you more versatile and makes you a better player.”

Is it too late to get Patrick Peterson?