Eagles invite 7 players to try out at rookie camp


Eagles invite 7 players to try out at rookie camp

The Eagles on Friday open a three-day rookie minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. They have invited seven players to try out:

Blaze Caponegro, LB - Temple, 6-1, 225
The Allenwood, N.J. native recorded 45 tackles with a fumble recovery in 2013, his senior season at Temple. After being redshirted in 2009, Caponegro played in 33 games in four years at Temple, finishing with 110 tackles and three sacks.

Jamie Childers, TE - Coastal Carolina, 6-5, 250
In 2012, the Rams signed Childers to a three-year deal as an undrafted free agent. He played in one preseason game with St. Louis before being cut. The Giants had Childers in training camp last season, but released him on Aug. 26. In college, he played both quarterback and tight end.

Ryan Donohue, LB - Connecticut, 6-0, 239
Donohue started seven games -- played in 11 games -- last season with the Huskies, finishing with 28 tackles. He began his college career at Maryland and transferred to UConn in 2011.

Anthony Larry, LB - Eastern Washington, 6-3, 250
Larry had 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss in his senior season at Eastern Washington in 2013 after sitting out the 2012 season because of academics. He was a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker in college.

Mackey MacPherson, C - Syracuse, 6-2, 290
MacPherson, who served as team captain at Syracuse, made the 2013 All-ACC second team after starting 13 games with the Orange. He played in 12 games as a freshman, then started every game in his final three years at Syracuse.

Davon Morgan, DB - Virginia Tech, 6-0, 196
Morgan, who played four years at Virginia Tech from 2006-2010, has spent the last two years playing defensive back for the Richmond Raiders in the Professional Indoor Football League. At VT, Morgan was an All-ACC safety.

Baker Steinkuhler, DT - Nebraska, 6-6, 290
Steinkuhler, whose father, Dean Steinkuhler, was a first-round pick by the Houston Oilers in 1984 and played eight years in the NFL, attended the Houston Texans’ minicamp last year but didn’t attend training camp. He played in 51 games, starting 28, at Nebraska from 2009-2012.

NFL Notes: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant out after concussion in practice

NFL Notes: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant out after concussion in practice

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will miss the next preseason game after sustaining a concussion in practice.

Coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday that Bryant was hurt a day earlier when the receiver's head hit the shoulder pads of safety Barry Church. Garrett says Bryant was held out of the rest of that practice and will not play Thursday night at Seattle.

On his Twitter account Tuesday, Bryant promised Cowboys fans that he is OK.

Garrett said Bryant seemed "much better" Tuesday, and the coach doesn't think there is a long-term concern.

Bryant had four catches for 74 yards in two preseason games. He had a touchdown catch in each game.

Patriots: Brady ready after 'silly accident' with scissors cuts thumb
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady says he's ready to play after a "silly accident" cut his right thumb with a pair of scissors before the Patriots preseason game against the Bears last week.

Brady says he missed the first two practices this week for personal reasons, but he's available and ready to play as New England prepares to play at Carolina.

He says the accident with the scissors occurred when he was trying to get something out of his cleats and the scissors slipped and cut his thumb. Brady said he wanted to play, but coach Bill Belichick made the decision he'd sit out.

Brady has yet to appear in a game this preseason. He's got two remaining opportunities before the start of four-game regular-season NFL suspension for what the league says was his role in "Deflategate."

Bills: Receiver Marquise Goodwin sustains possible concussion
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin is being evaluated for a possible concussion sustained during practice on Tuesday.

Coach Rex Ryan would only say the player was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol, which makes it unlikely Goodwin will play in Buffalo's preseason game at Washington on Friday.

The fourth-year player was hurt when the back of his head slammed against the turf while attempting to make a catch in the end zone during a red-zone drill.

Ryan says he didn't have an update on the status of right tackle Jordan Mills, who hurt his knee and did not return.

Ryan expects Watkins and linebacker Manny Lawson to make their preseason debuts Friday. Watkins has practiced the past two weeks since recovering from surgery in April to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Lawson missed the first two weeks of training camp with a partly torn chest muscle.

Eagles safety Jaylen Watkins stopped making excuses and started improving

Eagles safety Jaylen Watkins stopped making excuses and started improving

When Jaylen Watkins was released by the Eagles a year ago, he started looking for excuses.
He never got a fair chance. Flip-flopping back and forth from corner to safety hurt him. The coaches didn’t like him.
He felt sorry for himself, and that lasted for two weeks.
Then he realized he had to be honest with himself or he was never going to be able to resurrect his NFL career.
“There’s two ways you can take being released, man,” Watkins said. “You can say it’s a failure or you can be honest with yourself and say, ‘Hey man, I’ve got to get better.’
“When you get released, immediately you try to find reasons to justify why you got released, and I think I did that for the first two weeks. But then I understood that if I want to play this game, I’ve got to find the reason I got released.”
Watkins, a fourth-round pick in 2014, spent his rookie year with the Eagles, playing in four games, mainly on special teams. After he was released last Sept. 1, he signed to the Bills’ practice squad, where he began the process of addressing his deficincies.
“For me, it went back to tackling,” he said. “When I was honest with myself, why did the Eagles release me? There were a couple plays I should have made, and I just said, ‘Next time around, let’s just see if I can clean this up and maybe it’ll work out.’
“And if it doesn’t, then find something else I have to get better at and focus on improving there. It’s about correcting what you know is really wrong.”
In Buffalo, Watkins was reunited with younger half-brother Sammy, whose 2,029 receiving yards the last two seasons are 22nd-most in NFL history by a player in his first two years.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Jaylen Watkins made the most of his time with the Bills.
“I just looked at it as an opportunity,” he said. “A lot of people don’t get them in this world, and I realized I didn’t take advantage of mine the first time. So going to Buffalo, went up there and got better, learned some things from those guys.
“I was playing corner in Buffalo but I was on scout team, so I was doing a little bit of everything. Playing corner, playing safety, covering my brother, covering tight ends, Charles Clay, so I got a lot of different things every day and I took advantage of it.”
The best thing about being in Buffalo was the two months Watkins got to spend with Sammy. Since they went to different high schools in Florida and different colleges, it was the first time in their lives they were teammates in organized football.
“It was great,” Jaylen said. “I would wear the other team’s (Darrelle) Revis or Malcolm Butler (jersey) or whoever they were playing and lock in on him. [Sammy] would get 15 targets each practice and I couldn’t go for the ball because it was scout team, but I was able to actually get more rough with him than most DBs because I’m his brother and he wanted that from me.
“So I was able to get some good work for two months, and it made me a better player.”
When Eagles corner Nolan Carroll broke his ankle playing against the on Lions on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, the Eagles signed Watkins off the Bills’ practice squad to take his roster spot.
He ended up playing 80 snaps in late-season games against the Cardinals and Redskins and although his tackling still wasn't where it needed to be, he showed enough in coverage to survive the transition from Chip Kelly and Billy Davis to Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz.
This summer, Watkins has played exclusively safety, and he’s been one of the biggest surprises in camp. He’s played very well in both preseason games and has been solid in practice.
“I played safety in a similar system in college, covering the slot, being active in the box, so it’s familiar to me,” he said. “Being able to recognize formations and sets and stuff like that, I do pretty well with that now. The coverage part, I feel good about that. That comes easy for me.
“Tackling? I knew that’s where I had to get better and I feel like I put out two good games of tackling so far, so I feel good about that.”
Nothing is set behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, but right now it looks like Watkins is ahead of third-year pro Ed Reynolds, who was taken one round after Watkins in that 2014 draft, and rookie sixth-round pick Blake Countess.
Chris Maragos, a safety by trade, is essentially guaranteed a roster spot because of his special teams ability.
“His challenge has always been tackling and run game,” Schwartz said before practice Tuesday. “Last year, if you watched a little bit of him, that’s where he broke down a little bit. Early in camp this year, that’s where he broke down.
“He’s worked very hard, and the coaches have worked very hard with him, to address that, and you’re seeing the results of that. He’s playing more aggressively in the run game. And there’s times that safeties can play aggressively, and there’s times where they can’t.
“When you’re the last line of defense, you’ve got to get that guy on the ground however you can. But there’s sometimes where there’s leverage and there’s a hole to fill, you need to be a missile, you need to go fill it, and he’s done a good job of that.
“He’s on the right track. We just need to keep seeing improvement from him. I’m very proud of him. He’s done a really good job. It’s easy to work on your strengths. He’s really shown he’s willing to work on his weaknesses, and it’s shown on the field.”
Watkins said the coaches told him after the draft and free agency that from this point forward he was going to play safety.

The Eagles have a bunch of young corners, and the move to safety has allowed Watkins to really establish himself at one position.  

“This year, it was like, ‘We’re going to move you to safety and that’s it, where in the past it was, ‘OK, you’re going to play some of this and some of that and we might move you back and forth,’” he said. “Now I can focus on one thing.
“It’s tough to do both. You can do it in college because you’re just more athletic but once you get to this level, man, it’s tough to juggle.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of anything I can as long as I can play, man, and it’s working out good for me. Just keep learning as much as I can from Malcolm and Rodney."

Like Watkins said, getting released can send a player in a lot of different directions. 

A year later, Watkins has turned it into a positive.

“Obviously, I would have loved to never get released and be here all last year," Watkins said. "But I don’t know if I would have been the same player if I hadn’t gone through it. I don't know if I'd be the same player if I hadn't been released."

Dorial Green-Beckham expects first-team reps Saturday night

Dorial Green-Beckham expects first-team reps Saturday night

Dorial Green-Beckham’s most common nickname is DGB. Get it? It’s short, sweet, and a heckuva lot easier than spitting out that law firm of a name every time.
Still, Jordan Matthews has a different nickname for his new teammate: LeBron … “because he’s so freaking huge.”
Yup. He is. Green-Beckham on Monday said he’s not quite as heavy as his listed weight of 237 (he actually weighs 230), but he’s every bit of 6-foot-5. Still, LeBron is a nickname that’s new to him.  
“Naw, that’s the first that I’ve heard that,” Green-Beckham said Monday afternoon. “It’s weird because everybody that sees me outside of football always mistakes me for a basketball player."
Green-Beckham is big; with that, nobody argues. But now, the Eagles have to hope his impact on the field will live up to his LeBron-like stature.
On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Green-Beckham got on the field in a limited fashion, was targeted twice and didn’t pull in a catch. After being with the Eagles for less than a week, he said on Monday he expects to get some playing time with the first-team on Saturday night.
“Yeah, I expect that,” he said. “And as of right now, I’m still just trying to find my role. It doesn’t matter where I am on the depth chart right now. I’m just trying to figure out the playbook and figure what I need to do to help my teammates.”
What does offensive coordinator Frank Reich think of his new weapon?
“He’s an impressive physical specimen,” said Reich, who added that as a coach he sometimes lines up across from the receivers.
“When he runs at you, his size, his speed. It just kind of grabs you,” Reich said.
Green-Beckham said he’s caught passes from all the quarterbacks since arriving last week. If he does take first-team reps on Saturday night, he’ll be catching balls from Sam Bradford.
“Yeah, we've had a few route sessions in,” Bradford said. “Kind of what I thought. He's just a big, physical, strong wide receiver. Obviously, there's been a lot of information thrown at him over the last couple of days. We're trying to get him up to speed. But I'm really excited about today because it will be the first time to get out there after an install, go through some of the game plan plays and just get some work with him in a normal practice situation.”
The Eagles traded away reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly to bring in Green-Beckham, who was a second-round pick just a year ago before sliding down the Titans’ depth chart.
In Philadelphia, he brings a rare combination of size and speed the Eagles could definitely use.
For now, though, Green-Beckham has been concentrating on his playbook, which he’s been studying away from the facility too.
So what’s he expecting in the third preseason game on Saturday night?
“Get a couple targets, get a couple catches,” he said.