The most unexpected person in the Eagles locker room is Bryce Brown… what is he doing there?

Before he even played a down in college, we had been hearing about Bryce Brown. The running back from Wichita was the nation’s top recruit according to Rivals.com in 2009, and his drama-filled process was must-see Internet. Where to begin? Well, he committed to Tennessee after delaying his announcement, saw his advisor investigated by the NCAA, saw his dealings with Miami looked into as well, left Tennessee, transferred to Kansas State… and played one game. Brown was, of course, one of the biggest college busts in history. Rarely has a player had such hype and done so little. To be honest, after he washed out at K-State, I stopped paying attention. I figured it was over, that he’d fade to […]

Recapping this road trip: The Philadelphia/Baltimore edition

All right… So, productive trips to Baltimore and Philadelphia are in the bank, and they culminated with the Eagles 24-23 win over the Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field. And you saw what I had learned all week in a bunch of segments on First on the Field and GameDay Morning. What else happened on my trips to Baltimore and Philly? Well… – As I mentioned in my Rap Sheet Rundown, the Eagles D is nasty. You can read all about the fierce pass-rush and the ability to cover man-to-man that makes them stout. But two guys I was really impressed with are rookies: LB Mychal Kendricks and slot corner Brandon Boykin. Kendricks roamed the middle of the field hunting down […]

Rap Sheet Rundown: The Week 2 Edition

I can’t lie. Yesterday’s Ravens-Eagles game was one of the most intense regular-season games I’ve been to in a while. Lots of hitting — not all of it between the whistles — lots of questions, lots of drama, and an absurd finish. In the end, it was Eagles 24, Ravens 23. What stood out to me? That Philadelphia defense is just nasty. Tough, creative, swarming, suffocating. It was nothing like we came to expect last year. Sure, they were ranked decently high last year by the end. But as CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie pointed out after we discussed his green mohawk, it never felt like that. “We had some time where we were like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ ” DRC told me […]

What do the turnovers say about the 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles?

So, our time in Philadelphia is up after four days, and it was a blast. The Eagles closed it out with a 24-23 win over the Ravens, a thrilling showdown that featured an insanely loud Lincoln Financial Field providing the finishing touches. In the end, despite four turnovers, the Eagles out-lasted Baltimore thanks to the late-game heroics of QB Michael Vick (who I interviewed 1-on-1 on the field). Again. So… they are 2-0 with two, one-point wins. But where is what I’m left with: What does that mean? Are the Eagles a fantastically talented and efficient team that has overcame nine turnovers in two games because they are awesome? And are they a team that will be dominant if they stop […]

Nine really random things and whatever else is going on around the NFL…

As we do every week, let’s take a swing around the NFL, looking at a bunch of random things … So, what’s been up? 1. Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, right? That’s what they tell me. And to be fair, I did feel the love spending four days here (though that had a lot to do with cheesesteaks). But it really should be called the City of Brotherly Love/Hate. That’s the relationship between the fans and their teams, it seems. Such intense emotion, such deep feelings, I’m blown away every time I come here. It’s one reason I love returning to Philly. But I never really had context until I talked to Eagles coach Andy Reid about it. […]

Reactions and reflections after a couple days spent with the Philadelphia Eagles…

The week of work and collection has come to an end, as we brace ourselves for Sunday. Wednesday, I was in Baltimore with the Ravens. Then, Thursday and Friday, I was in Philly with the Eagles. As for what I learned, you’ll see a lot of that on NFL Network’s First on the Field and GameDay Morning. But want a few quick thoughts? Let’s go… – It was a rough day for Eagles QB Michael Vick  against the Browns, one that included four interceptions. The consensus seems to be that there were mistakes he made mentally, not physically. Trusting his eyes and knowing what he’s looking at will be important as he moves forward against the active Ravens front. But Vick, who […]

Is it time for the Miami Dolphins to admit they are simply rebuilding?

There are times when I’ll have a thought (rare as it may be), and I’ll start to think of ways to articulate it in this space. I’ll go through a couple of options, figure out what I want to say, then begin writing. Other times, I’ll have an idea, then see a fellow reporter describe exactly what was going through my head probably better than I could. That was the case this morning with this column by Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  He begins discussing the fact that the Miami Dolphins home opener won’t be a sellout (amazing), and then morphs into a few other points. The most salient of which is this, noted “to give the new […]

The most underrated thing about Eagles QB Michael Vick has nothing to do with anything on the field

Hello from Philadelphia, where I’ve spent the day. The Eagles practiced, and there was a whole bunch of interviews. Gearing up for Sunday’s Eagles-Ravens game. It’s safe to say, it wasn’t a fantastic experience for the Eagles — Iggles — last week. Sure, sure, they did win, but they looked ugly doing it. QB Michael Vick threw four interceptions, which tends to overshadow the game-winning drive against the Browns. With that in mind, two things I’ve realized after spending a bunch of time here. One, Vick has an offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg who does a fantastic job keeping Vick focused on what he needs to be focused on. And two, Vick handled criticism as well as anyone. The first thing: Mornhinweg […]

The Ravens’ no-huddle offense and Joe Flacco are walking hand-in-hand to a new contract…

As you might have read a time or 1,000 during the offseason, Joe Flacco is up for a new contract. The Ravens QB is in the final year of a five-year deal that is paying him $12 million, and no one denies that a new deal will get done. But when? And wouldn’t the Ravens be smart if they did it sooner rather than later? I talked about this some in my hit for Total Access yesterday, before I headed out to Philadelphia. That’s where I am now, and where I’ll stay the rest of the week. But that no-huddle offense might be driving up Flacco’s price for the Ravens. And I’m not alone in thinking that. As effective as Flacco […]

Rap Sheet Rankings: The Week 2 Edition

We gave you a first look last Wednesday at a new weekly feature. It was our maiden voyage of the Rap Sheet Rankings, and now we’re back for more. Ready to turn the page on Week 1? Time to put the joys of victories or the crabbiness of defeat behind you? Pumped to look ahead? Cool. We’ll do it with you. As I did the first week, I ranked all 16 games 1-16, giving you a snapshot of what you’ll be looking at. The best game in my view? Jets-Steelers. The fightin’ Tim Tebows get to show us if the product they put on the field vs. Buffalo is real, while Big Ben’s team is dying to show us that wasn’t […]

Recapping this road trip: The Nashville edition

It’s been a busy few days, taking me to a few places I wasn’t expecting. Let’s see… I spent last week in Nashville, gearing up to cover the Patriots-Titans game. Then, it was a day in Mississippi with The Banktress and her family… and now in Baltimore. I’ll talk some Ravens today, then head to Philly for the rest of the week. But before we delve into the Ravens-Eagles slugfest this weekend, let’s review. Want to hear what Nashville was like? – Man, Nashville’s got to be one of the easiest cities around. No traffic, nice people, everything is close… just easy. It’s really got everything. Solid restaurants, a downtown for the young people (like Vanderbilt students), a downtown for […]

After another last-second win, Lions QB Matthew Stafford says, ‘We’re never out of it’

At this point, Matthew Stafford may be used to this scenario. Struggle some in the beginning, deal with the adversity… then come through in heroic fashion in the end. Who can forget this classic, after all? It was that way Sunday. The Detroit Lions QB threw three picks in the first half against the Rams, appearing out of sync. It looked like a brutal opening loss was in the cards. Except, there he was on the final drive, marching 80 yards in 1:45 to win it on a TD pass to RB Kevin Smith. Ho hum, Stafford was 6-of-8 passing for 80 yards on that drive, with one incompletion as a spike. What did we learn? “Yeah, we’re never out of […]

Looking the Patriots and Titans and why running the football still matters…

Well, it was a Week 1 for the ages. An offensive explosion like we’ve never seen. But it wasn’t all passing. In fact, after watching the Patriots beat down the Titans — and after writing this Rap Sheet Rundown for yesterday — it made me realize there’s this other important thing. Running the ball. Still important. Still essential. And something that, when you’re good on offense, can make you great. Why did the Patriots beat the Titans? A lot of reasons. But a main one was simple and old-school. They ran the ball and stopped the run. Maniacal runner Stevan Ridley gained 125 yards on 21 carries… which a TON of carries for a passing team. Aerial assassin Tom Brady? […]

Rap Sheet Rundown: The Week 1 Edition

Remember on Wednesday, we debuted one weekly feature called the Rap Sheet Rankings? It was our 1-16 look at the best games, in order. Well, it’s time for our other weekly treat, which we’ll file every Monday morning. Say hello to the Rap Sheet Rundown. What I’ll do every week is file a lead story from the game I’m at, which was Patriots-Titans yesterday. Then, I’ll take a step back and examine what else we learned. It’ll be a little like what you’ve been reading here, but perhaps with fewer grammatical mistakes and made-up words. It’ll be fun and fast, a way to take stock of what you saw Sunday. Want to see? Check out the inaugural edition of the […]

Bandaged nose and all, Patriots QB Tom Brady says, “I never mind a little blood”

First things first. Patriots QB Tom Brady suffered a bloody nose when Titans pass-rusher Kamerion Wimbley sacked him early in the 34-13 beat-down here at LP Field. But I’m told that, upon first examination, that Brady did not break his nose. He’ll be reassessed tomorrow. But still, there he was (left) with a bandage on it during his post-game after an efficient 23 of 31 performance for 236 yards and two TDs. Brady quipped to me, “Guess it’s not the preseason anymore. That didn’t happen in the preseason.” He’s right. What I loved, though was his reaction. Lots of jokes… and some seriousness. Brady said, “I never mind a little blood.” The image he has is one thing, and he […]

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