June 30, 2007

McNabb Training Like Rocky

..."The thing that helped in my regard was to have that confidence and trust in the leg, knowing it's pretty much fixed," he says. "Now I have to just strengthen the quad and calf muscles."

Phase 2 is under way now in Phoenix, where McNabb resides in the offseason. He is working out at MakePlays.com, a combination athletic performance and rehab center where McNabb has trained during the offseason since 2000. He also goes to two other facilities in Arizona — one to lift weights and develop his core strength, the other to work on flexibility.

Tim McClellan, the director of strength and conditioning at MakePlays.com, is helping McNabb bridge the gap between what he started in Philadelphia and what he hopes to be able to do at training camp. They are focusing on traditional exercises that emphasize strength training, stability, acceleration/deceleration and change of direction.

McClellan also incorporates some unusual drills. In one, McNabb wears a pair of Strobe Specs, glasses with lenses that open and close at varying speeds. This gives McNabb the sensation of "feeling" a pass rush without being able to see everything clearly. In another drill, McClellan tosses odd-shaped dog toys on the ground, and McNabb must catch them on the bounce. The toys have nubs that cause them to change direction abruptly, so McNabb is working on his hand-eye coordination. (Think of Rocky Balboa chasing chickens.)

..Read More at Sporting News>>

Holcomb to Minny?

QB Trade?

Tarvaris Jackson is going to be a very good player eventually in this league. But with only the underwhelming Brooks Bollinger behind him, don't be surprised if the Vikings go after a veteran quarterback for insurance.

Here's a name for you: Kelly Holcomb.

It's a situation that even intrigued Holcomb when we talked.

"You do think about situations like that," Holcomb said. "Every now and again, you hear some rumblings and rumors about that. I think it makes sense. Coach Childress was a coordinator in Philadelphia. It is the same offense. Obviously the Eagles just drafted Kevin (Kolb) to go with Donovan (McNabb) and AJ (Feeley). I love the guys in Philadelphia and love the professionalism and Andy Reid and the staff and I'd like to stay. But there is a logjam here and that situation you are describing, with the young talented quarterback in Minnesota, is one I've thought about."
...Fox Sports>>

This makes a lot of sense. Minnesota needs a QB bad, and The Eagles have too many quarterbacks. They might as well get something for Kelly. I am liking this connection with Brad Childress, hopefully we can just keep on making good trades with them.

June 28, 2007

Beautiful Day

Still one of the best videos ever. Chad Lewis had the game of his life. The O-line just dominated. The defense brought it too. Time to get another chance at the Super Bowl. See you in Arizona!

June 27, 2007

Bethel Johnson NOT cut?

The Eagles cut Bethel Johnson. Or did they?
As I was checking out the new look of the Eagles website, I noticed something very strange. Bethel Johnson's profile still appeared on the active roster. Many published reports have said that Johnson was released. I even reported the same news on this blog. So why would he still be on the home page? I thought it could have just been an error, since they are re-doing their entire site, but then after further investigation, I think people may have jumped the gun on this one.

According to the Eagles new re-designed website, Bethel Johnson is still on the active roster, he is listed as the first string kick returner on the depth chart, and there is no mention of him being axed on the transactions page.

Looks like those reports were premature. I wonder why this has not been clarified yet? You would think that the Eagles would have made an announcement by now? So who is right? The Eagles site, or the Trenton Times? Was I in a coma for a few days, and just missed that he really was not cut? Where is the Eagles Message Board when you need it? Looks like we will all have to wait until this afternoon to get that back.

June 25, 2007

Eagles Website Gets New Look

I joked last week about the fact that Eagles fans were going to lose their minds due to the official Eagles Message Board being taken offline for a week. It turns out, the boards were down -- and still are -- as part of a complete overhaul of the Philadelphia Eagles website.
...continue reading at Fanhouse>>

June 24, 2007

This and That

Apparently Jevon Kearse has been partying too much.[700Level]
Kearse even appeared in a rap video.[700Level]
Looks like the Eagles are not in trouble after all.[Bleeding Green Nation]
Andy Reid's kids however are still facing their problems.[Fanhouse]
Tommie Harris's desire for McNabb to be the Bears QB, was just 'a joke'.[Eye on the Eagles]
A.J. Feeley, and Heather Mitts have thrown in the towel.[Iggles Blog]
The Eagles new website will be launched Monday at 2.[PE.com]

I am always looking for new ways to improve the blog, and recently I added a video widget on the sidebar. Check them out sometime when you are bored. Here is Hank Baskett's 87 yard TD against Dallas Oct. 8th:

Not the best video, but kind of a cool view of things.

June 21, 2007

Poking fun at TO never gets old

Very slow times folks. Here is a video of some fans heckling OD


What's An Eagles Fan To Do Until Monday?

The Eagles message board is down until Monday! That really blows. I had almost the same reaction as Enrico Campitelli did.

There isn't much to talk about in Eagles land. We resort to picking apart comments made by other teams players at charity golf outings. The lack of news isn't even the worst of it. Going through my daily Internet routine today I was shocked to find out that the Eagles Message Board, not only a fine place to go troll watching but also a good source of gossip, is offline until June 25th! Um.. What am I supposed to do?
Ugh he's right. What can you do?

read more at Fanhouse>>

June 19, 2007

Bartrum Retires After 13 NFL Seasons

After 13 seasons in the NFL and seven with the Eagles, tight end and long snapper Mike Bartrum decided to hang up his cleats on Tuesday and retire.
"I can't say enough to show how much I appreciate being able to play in the NFL for so many years," Bartrum said in a statement. "Retiring as a Philadelphia Eagle is something that is very special for me. The memories I have shared with the players, coaches and Eagles organization are some of the best memories of my life."
more at PE.com>>

June 18, 2007

Curse of Billy Penn lifted?

Keeping alive a centuries-old tradition - with a Philadelphia twist - a beam was hoisted to the highest point of Comcast Center today, topping off Philadelphia's new tallest skyscraper.

There was a small tree at one end of the beam, which had been signed by workers and those gathered for the ceremony, and an American flag at the other.

Between them was a statue of William Penn, the city's founder. There is a myth that Philadelphia's sports teams will not win a championship as long as a building "rises above Billy Penn" on City Hall, said Bill Hankowsky, chief executive officer of Liberty Property Trust, the Malvern company that is building Comcast Center.

He was referring to the controversy two decades ago when One Liberty Place, also built by Liberty, became the first to break that barrier.

"We don't believe in the myth, but to be safe we've added the statue of Billy Penn," Hankowsky said.

King disses McNabb

Peter King shows us again why he should really just stop thinking. In his most recent article for SI.com, he ranks all 32 NFL quarterbacks, and ranks Donovan McNabb 12th. Twelve??!!? You gotta be kidding me. How the heck is one of the best QBs ranked 12th? Here is his lame reasoning...

"It's not that I don't like Donovan McNabb. I do. I just don't trust him to
stay healthy. I rank the Eagles' QB 12th because I have no confidence that
McNabb, at 30 and having missed a combined 13 games over the last two years,
will be upright in December."
What an idiot. The only QB's who have not been hurt since McNabb came into the league in 1999, are Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre. Getting injured is a part of the game, and dissing a player for getting hurt is just moronic.

Here is the dopes complete list:

1. P. Manning Ind.
2. T. Brady NE
3. D. Brees NO
4. C. Palmer Cin.
5. M. Bulger St. L
6. M. Hasselbeck Sea.
7. V. Young Tenn
8. P.Rivers SD
9. J. Kitna Det.
10. J. Cutler Den.
11. T. Romo Dall.
12. D. McNabb Phil.
13. S. McNair Bal.
14. B. Favre GB
15. C.Pennington Jets
16. J. Delhomme Car.
17. B. Roethlisberger Pit.
18.M. Leinart Ariz.
19. M. Schaub Hou.
20. J.P. Losman Buf.
21. M. Vick Atl.
22. J. Garcia TB
23. E. Manning Giants
24. T. Green Miami
25. A. Smith SF
26. J. Campbell Wash
27. R. Grossman Chi.
28. B. Leftwich Jax
29. J. McCown Oak.
30. T. Jackson Min.
31. C. Frye Cle.
32. B. Croyle

John Kitna at 9? Last time I checked, all that guy does is throw a ton of interceptions, lose a lot of games, and he has spent most of his career on the bench.

Tony Romo ahead of McNabb? How did he do against the Eagles on Christmas? What about the playoff blunder? I will never forget that moment.

Jay Cutler took a playoff bound team, and flushed their season down the drains. In the most crucial game of the year against the stinkin 49ers, he was terrible. He single handedly knocked them out of the playoffs, and King has him in the top ten.

Matt Schaub has 2 career starts, six career TDs, and six INTs. How does he even deserve to be ranked? That guy is all hype, and the Texans made a major mistake by trading for him.

This is a terrible list. I am now going to rectify things..

1. Peyton Manning Ind.
2. Tom Brady NE
3. Drew Brees NO
4. Carson Palmer Cin.
5. Donovan McNabb* Phi.
6. Phillip Rivers SD
7. Matt Hasslebeck Sea.
8. Marc Bulger Stl.
9. Trent Green Mia.
10. Vince Young Ten.
11. Chad Pennington NYJ
12. Ben Roethlisberger Pit.
13. Tony Romo Dal.
14. Damon Huard KC
15. Matt Leinart Ari.
17. Daunte Culpepper Jax.(after trade)
18. J.P. Losman Buf.
19. Jake Delhomme Car.
20. Alex Smith SF
21. Steve McNair Bal.
22. Jeff Garcia TB
23. Jay Cutler Den.
24. Eli Manning NYG
25. Brett Favre GB
26. Michael Vick Atl.
27. Jason Campbell Was.
28. John Kitna Det.
29. Jamarcus Russell Oak.
30. Rex Grossman Chi.
31. Derek Anderson Cle.
32. Tavarias Jackson Min.


lose brain cells by reading the entire article at SI.com>>

Tommie Harris says Bears win Super Bowl with McNabb

Donovan McNabb is much more respected elsewhere judging by the comments of a couple of Pro Bowl talents helping the quarterback at his All-Star Kids Football Clinic Saturday.

Like in his hometown of Chicago, for example.

Chicago Bears Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris went overboard in his praise of McNabb. Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, super sensitive about his ability, can expect to be cross-examined when the news reaches the Windy City.

“Donovan is a great guy, he’s a positive guy,” Harris said. “And I’d love to have him as my quarterback in Chicago.

“I know if he comes to the Chicago Bears, we can win the Super Bowl. If he comes to Chicago, we can definitely win the Super Bowl.”[Read more at DelcoTimes]

Inside Slant

Quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee, surprised his teammates by participating in the Eagles' final four Organized Team Activity workouts of the spring this week. McNabb hadn't been expected back on the field until training camp.

While McNabb threw the ball well and was able to move around, he still is taking a cautious approach to his comeback.

"We have to stick to reality," he said. "We never know what may happen. You're trying to eliminate as many setbacks as possible, and you want to continue to be smart with it. If that means coming into training camp and the leg is not where I want it to be, then that means... [USA Today]

June 16, 2007

Birds left the nest

Pretty good video. Got me pumped up for this season. I can't wait!

June 15, 2007

Westbrook ranked 9th

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football is out already, and Brian Westbrook comes in as the ninth ranked player overall. After having a career year, Westbrook finally gets some respect in the fantasy world. No more grabbing Westy in the 2nd-3rd round. Here is a picture of the top players:

Donovan McNabb: 'My Knee Is Fine'

Prior to this week, most Eagles fans didn't expect to see Donovan McNabb take the field for at least another few weeks. We hoped he'd be ready to get into the action during training camp come August. I don't think anyone expected Donovan to participate in four straight days of mini camp activities this week. McNabb, in a press conference held today at the NovaCare complex in South Philadelphia, said that he isn't rushing back.

McNabb has talked with guys who have gone through similar injuries and gone through similar rehabs. From the Eagles website:

McNabb said that he wanted to return to the field prior to the start of training
camp for a number of reasons - to see how the leg would respond and to work on
chemistry and timing with his receivers. He felt that this was "the time to push
it" in terms of his rehab. After the four days of workouts, McNabb said that he
is "past the point" of knowing the knee is healed. He said that he did enough to
gain the trust and confidence in his knee that if he had to run to buy some
additional time he would feel comfortable doing so. Reid was pleased that McNabb
did not favor the leg in any of the workouts.
Donovan points out repeatedly that he's trying "to be smart with the whole deal." Andy Reid said that if Donovan McNabb doesn't experience any setbacks, he should be ready to start the 2007 season as the Eagles quarterback. Reid also noted that in order for McNabb to take the opening snap against the Packers at Lambeau on September 9th, number five will have to see some game action in the pre-season.

The next steps for Donovan and the receivers is the annual workouts in Donovan's home turf in Arizona. Things are looking good for the Birds leader, let's hope things continue in a positive direction.

The Philadelphia Eagles website has a video of the full question and answer session with Donovan McNabb that was held today.

June 14, 2007

My quest for Eagles tix

Single Game Tickets Sold Out In Minutes

Single-game tickets to Eagles home games sold out Thursday morning. On sale at 10 a.m. via internet and telephone, tickets were snapped up by fans as fast as they were made available.
"This sale is overwhelming," said Leo Carlin, who has seen close to five decades of football in Philadelphia as he enters his 48th season as director of client ticket relations with the Eagles. "Twenty years ago, it was not unusual that tickets could be purchased the day of the game. Now, the demand for tickets surges each year and the tickets go even faster than the year before. It is a powerful display of fan passion." *

What a terrible system used to sell these tickets. I understand that there is a limited amount, but why even use the web site? Ten Million people all at work jam up their server, and nobody gets tickets from there. Why not just scrap the phone/online sales, and sell the tickets at Ticketmaster outlets? This way it is actually first come first serve, instead of this phone nonsense. I used a combination of phone/online to get my Eagles tickets, and it was a very frustrating ordeal.

With some friends help, I called multiple numbers, and one line got through at 9:57. They were hung up on, because it was not 10:00 yet. What a bunch of jerks. Couldn't they just hang on the line for 3 minutes? A minute later, I was able to fill in the form for Ticketmaster online. Two tickets, any price, anywhere for the Giants game December 9th. It told me there was an eight minute wait, and then up popped this on my screen.
I wanted to break my monitor at this point. After some deep breathing I calmed down, and realized that it is just scam. The same thing happens every year. I try to get tickets, I get left on hold trying to call Ticketmaster, and I end up having to pay 200 a seat through stub hub.
I was still on the line however, and I refused to give up. When the clock read 10:20 I had almost lost all hope of getting Eagles tickets. In the words of Charlie Manuel I was very flustrated to say the least.
Then finally I heard a human voice on the other end of the phone. She went on to give me more disappointment. "Eagles tickets are sold out" the woman said. Failure again I thought. Until I asked her to please check again, and to my surprise it worked! She had two single tickets, but they were not be together. At this point I did not care, I just wanted to be at a game. Get me inside the stadium, and I will be happy.
So it was not all bad, because I did manage to actually get two single seats in separate sections to the Seahawks game. I guess me, and my friend will be standing for the game. That's ok with me, because the seats are lousy anyways. Victory!

June 13, 2007

2007 Season Preview

It's a slow time, so I thought I would post this video. Very well made I think. It might not be up very long because of the new youtube copyright policy.

Eagles fans This is our year!

June 12, 2007

Draft Review: QB Kevin Kolb

I hated this pick when I saw it during the draft. I was hoping for the razor back corner back Chris Houston, and instead the Eagles took the quarterback from Houston. I was shocked just like McNabb was, and everybody else was. That shock then turned into an anger, because I felt the Eagles had blown it. Not only did they give up Anthony Spencer to the Dallas Cowboys, but they drafted a player who wont help them win a Superbowl this year.

The hatred grew inside of me, to the point that I was ready to start an anti-Kevin Kolb campaign. I think the main reason for that was that I did not want to believe that the end of McNabb as an Eagle could be near. After watching McNabb develop over his career, going deep into the playoffs four of those years, and seeing what a great QB he has become, it is hard to imagine the Eagles without him. Even though Jeff Garcia did well last year, I really just felt like five would be back next year. I think all Eagles fans, including his critics will miss Donovan McNabb when he is no longer here.

My first reactions to the pick, were very harsh, and after having a few months to think about things, those feelings changed. I feel that the Eagles decision was due to the fact that McNabb is 30 years coming off a torn ACL injury, and he has been injured three of the last five seasons. That would make a QB prospect pretty important priority in the draft, and I understand now why they took Kevin Kolb.

I am not sold on Kolb's abilities though. He ran a shotgun style offense at Houston, and many plays were gimmicky. That offense is very different from the west coast offense Big Red has implemented here. I also think the competition level he faced is very weak, and the NFL is a huge step up from that. I do like Kolb's size, and watching film, he seems to be very accurate on short routes.

There are many questions that I have of Kevin Kolb, and I am hoping that the Eagles front office picked the right guy. Other QBs that were available at that spot, were John Beck, Drew Stanton, and Trent Edwards. I would hate for one of them to turn out to be great, and the Eagles dropped the ball on one of them. We will find out soon enough.

The best thing about picking the QB is with Donovan McNabb still around as of now, Kolb has plenty of time to develop behind him. The coaches can mold him into the QB they envision for their offense, and he will likely have at least a few years, before he is asked to be the man.

June 11, 2007

McNabb Practices

All Signs Positive In McNabb's Return To Practice


Donovan McNabb returned to the practice field at the NovaCare Complex on Monday, marking the first time the quarterback has participated in practice since tearing his right ACL against the Tennessee Titans on November 19 last season.

McNabb's participation in Organized Team Activities was limited, as the Eagles coaches took precautions to protect the franchise quarterback.

"He looked great," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said of McNabb immediately after practice. "You couldn't tell that he was gone. He's made differently I think."

After warming up and running through a few offensive plays during individual drills, McNabb participated in 11-on-11 drills against a defensive scout team. McNabb took just three snaps - two of which were running plays. McNabb's one pass was approximately a 45-yard bomb which was completed to wide receiver Reggie Brown. The pass was partially underthrown, but it still possessed of the trademark tight spiral and high arc of a McNabb deep ball.

After that series, McNabb took part in 7-on-7 drills working exclusively on pass plays. He took six snaps and completed three passes - two check downs to running back Brian Westbrook and a 15-yard strike over the middle to tight end Lee Vickers. Two of his three incompletions were drops in tight coverage by fullback Thomas Tapeh and wide receiver Kevin Curtis, respectively.

McNabb didn't appear at any point to favor his right leg or show any semblance of discomfort. At 12:03 PM, just over an hour after he had stepped onto the field, McNabb was given a pat on the shoulder-pads by head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder, who then ushered the quarterback off the practice field, thus ending McNabb's first day back.

When asked if there was any specific plan for how much work McNabb would receive over the rest of the OTA, which wraps up Thursday, Mornhinweg said McNabb and the coaching staff would "take it day-by-day."*

Great news! Love to hear that McNabb is doing well. For being labeled as "injury prone", McNabb sure does seem to recover well from being hurt.

June 08, 2007

TE Celek Hurt

Eagles Celek leaves practice
John Nalbone, of the Trenton Times, reports Philadelphia Eagles TE Brent Celek (undisclosed) left practice early Thursday, June 7, because of an undisclosed reason.

Eagles K. Hunt signed
Les Bowen, of the Philadelphia Daily News, reports the Philadelphia Eagles have signed undrafted free-agent TE Kyle Hunt (Southeast Missouri State). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Eagles P. Patterson released
Les Bowen, of the Philadelphia Daily News, reports the Philadelphia Eagles have released QB Perry Patterson. *

Just add Celek to the list of injured tight ends. They are very thing there now. I never even heard of Kyle Hunt, but I guess they need some bodies at this point. The fact that they signed a tight end, also means that Celek's injury could be serious. We'll find out soon enough. Perry Patterson sure lasted long didn't he?

Eagles Continuing Two Gap Technique

Written by Garry Cobb

I'm convinced now that Jim Johnson is a brilliant blitzer but on basic run defense he's below average. After talking to Eagles new defensive tackle Ian Scott, I learned that the Birds are foolishly continuing to play a two gap technique at times against the run.

The two-gap technique is utilized by bigger D-lines like the Patriots and the Cowboys. If a smaller defensive line like the Eagles gets caught sitting at the line of scrimmage and playing two-gap techniques, they will get worn down and lose their effectiveness like their defense did a year ago.

Ian said there was one major difference between what he was asked to do for the Bears and what he'll be asked to do for the Eagles. Scott said, Chicago played a one gap system all the time and asked their DT's to simply get off on the ball, attack, disrupt and get penetration into the backfield. He said the Birds ask for the same most of the time, but some of the time they want them to play a two-gap technique.

Let me break this down for you. On a one-gap technique, each player is asked to control a single gap along the line of scrimmage. A gap is the area in between offensive blockers on the line of scrimmage. Defensive linemen are asked to get off on the ball and get penetration upfield. They don't have to worry about anything other than controlling their particular gap. This technique is ideal for smaller defensive lines which have more speed and quickness than they have size. The Eagles qualify as one of these types of lines.

In a two-gap technique defense, you ask your defensive linemen to control the gaps on each side of their blocker. The defender has to be able to control the blocker then come off to either side of him. This takes a tremendoujs amount of size and strength. You're asking a defensive linemen to take on a 330 pound blocker, then control the opponent and be able to toss him either way before coming off and making a play on the ball.

Notice that Scott said the Bears smallish and speedy defensive line is never asked to play two-gap technique. Remember the Indy game, when the Eagles were asked to play two gap against the Colts. It was embarrassing.

The Bears had a much better run defense and never play two gap techniques. Don't think the Eagles should copy what the Bears are doing.*

I remember when G brought this issue up last year, and I think he has a valid point. These guys are too small to be 2 gappers. Let them do what they do best, rush upfield, be disruptive. Pete Jenkins is a very good defensive line coach, but I do not think he is a good fit for the Eagles defense.

June 06, 2007

McNabb on WIP

Donovan McNabb was on the morning show on Monday. If you have not heard it yet, here it is [Donovan McNabb on 610 WIP]

He shows a lot of class as usual, and addresses a lot of key issues. McNabb touched on his health, his relationship with the fans, being booed at the draft, his reaction to the Kolb pick, his leadership abilities, the teams wide receivers, Terrible Owens, and even the final minutes of the Superbowl.

I know I'm a few days late with this, but I thought it was important to have available for everybody. If anybody needs a sleep aid, here is the [Andy Reid interview] later in the show.

Bethel Johnson Cut

Eagles B. Johnson cut
Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, reports Philadelphia Eagles WR Bethel Johnson has been released from the team after failing his physical.*

Well as speculated before, the stress fracture was a bad break for Bethel. You can't earn a roster spot when injured. The news that Jeremy Bloom has looked great, also hurt his case. I'm willing to bet he will get picked up by somebody after some injuries before the season starts.

June 05, 2007

Eagles sign QB

Former Syracuse QB Patterson signs with Eagles

PHILADELPHIA - Quarterback Perry Patterson, a three-year starter at Syracuse, signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday.

Patterson threw for 1,865 yards and 12 touchdowns last season at Syracuse, Donovan McNabb's alma mater.

McNabb isn't participating in the team's final minicamp , officially called organized team activities , because he's still recovering from surgery for a torn knee ligament. The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback could be ready for the start of training camp.

"He's getting closer. He's just trying to be smart with it and keep the swelling out of there, which he's done a great job with," coach Andy Reid said. "And, he's working like crazy. We're just taking little steps with it and being as cautious as we can and have him still be productive in his return."

Patterson, 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, gives the Eagles five quarterbacks on the roster, joining A.J. Feeley, Kelly Holcomb and rookie Kevin Kolb.

June 02, 2007

Draft Review: DE Victor Abiamiri

Some people wonder, why the Eagles would select a defensive end in the second round., but not me. Jevon Kearse is now 30 years old, coming off a serious knee injury, and has been pretty much average on the field. Darren Howard is also 30, dealing with nagging injuries, and has not played well since the 04-05 season. Juqua Thomas is more of a situational pass rusher, and Jerome McDougle is just a flat out bust. The only young talented DE on the roster, is Trent Cole, and that is not very good for the future.

So looking ahead as the Eagles often do with the draft, the Eagles selected Victor Abiamiri with the 57th pick in this years NFL draft. I like this pick a lot, and I hope he will be a force to deal with for many years. Abiamiri already brings has more of one thing, than any other defensive end on the team, and that is size. At 6'4" 270 lbs, he is the biggest of the group. That will hopefully improve the Eagles run defense, as he seems stout against the run. He will also be able to provide a pass rush, as he had 11 sacks this past season at ND. He is the balanced player the Eagles have really lacked at end.

June 01, 2007

Undrafted Daniels Has a Shot to Start

by Andrew Zuckerman
ComcastSportsNet.com Contributor

When you hear an NFL player with a nickname like “Tank,” your first thought might be about how big or strong he is.
That’s not the case with the Eagles’ Torrance Daniels though.

Known to everyone as “Tank,” Daniels was no older than five when he received his nickname – from his older brother and his older brother’s friends, who noticed Daniels had an oversized head for someone so young.

“Man, you got a tank head!” one of them blurted out.

The nickname has stuck ever since.

“Many times people think it’s because of something to do with sports, and it’s mainly because my head was huge as a little kid and my brother’s friends were just calling me tank head,” Daniels said, laughing.

You wouldn’t expect someone with such an intimidating nickname to go through his playing career as an underdog. But Daniels has been doing it since college, and it is continuing now during minicamp.

He played football at Division II Harding University, a private school in Arkansas with an enrollment of about 6,000, known more for religion than athletics.
When Daniels, an undrafted rookie, stepped onto the field wearing an Eagles uniform last season, he became the first player from Harding to compete in the NFL.

Daniels started out on the practice squad and slowly worked his way up to special teams. In just six games, he made nine tackles on special teams, including three in the Eagles’ playoff win over the Giants.

“For me, it had a lot to do with my hunger and my excitement about just having
an opportunity,” Daniels said. “So many guys never even get the opportunity, so
when my number is called I just really take advantage of it. The old cliché,
‘Play like it’s your last time’ – I just really felt like you never know when
exactly could be your last time.”
Now, Daniels has an outside shot at seeing time as the Eagles’ strong-side linebacker.Chris Gocong is the starter, for now, and the Eagles drafted Stewart Bradley in the third round, but Daniels could sneak up on the depth chart, especially since neither of the two in front of him is a proven player.

In fact, Daniels is the only one of the three to play in a regular-season game. Gocong spent last season on injured reserve and Bradley is a rookie.

It’s not quite like trying to win a spot from Jeremiah Trotter or Takeo Spikes.

“Of course, anytime you don’t have a Pro Bowl player in front of you, you feel like you have a better opportunity,” Daniels said. “But either way, you have to work so hard. Everyone is so good on this level.”
The focus on the strong-side has been on Gocong and Bradley, leaving Daniels in yet another underdog role.
“Honestly, that doesn’t bother me, not having my name mentioned with who’s going to play SAM,” he said. “I just want to do what I can do. I can play football, and I want to be the best SAM linebacker I can be. If that means people don’t know about me until I break out, that’s fine by me. I don’t have to have my name mentioned. It doesn’t bother me being the dark horse.
“I kind of like being the underdog. I actually prefer that better than being the man, so to speak.”
He isn’t the man yet in Philadelphia, but when he returns home to Arkansas, he is. When Daniels visits Harding, he is treated like a king.
“I go back to my little school and I’m like a rock star,” Daniels said. “It’s still just football, but everyone expects me to have all these exciting and wonderful stories to tell them. It’s kind of fun. It’s exciting to be where I am.”*
E-mail Andrew Zuckerman
Tank seems like a great kid, and I hope the best for him. In theory he does have as good a chance as anyone on this team to win the starting job at SAM linebacker, because of the lack of experience, and there being an open competition. Realistically, I am not so sure he can actually win the job. He would have to really impress the coaches, and both Gocong, and Bradley would have to play very bad. I guess anything is possible in the NFL. My guess is, that he becomes very big for the special teams this season, and plays limited defensive snaps as a backup.