Eagles OL coach knows Chance Warmack like back of his hand

Eagles OL coach knows Chance Warmack like back of his hand

The last time Chance Warmack played under Jeff Stoutland, he was an All-American, first-team All-SEC and helped the Crimson Tide win a third national championship in four years.

A lot has changed since then.

Stoutland joined Chip Kelly's staff in Philadelphia the next year, and Warmack was selected 10th overall by the Titans in the 2013 draft. Stoutland's coaching style has translated to the NFL, but Warmack's dominance hasn't.

Now reunited after Warmack signed a one-year deal to join the Eagles this offseason, the duo is trying to re-find some of that magic.

"Chance and I had a lot of success together in the past," Stoutland said. "I know Chance like the back of my hand, and I'm excited about getting back with him, getting back together and getting him back to the level he played at when we were together before.

"I don't want to get into where he was at before because I wasn't there. I just know when I was with him, I know where to start, I know where his vulnerabilities are and I know where he needs to improve."

Warmack went to Tennessee and became an instant starter. He started 48 games with the Titans until he landed on injured reserve early last season with a hand injury.

But he wasn't the type of dominant player the Titans thought they were getting.

Sure, Warmack was a starter with the Titans, but he never lived up to his draft status, and the team elected to forgo exercising the fifth-year option on his contract. Arguably his best season came in 2014 when ProFootballFocus ranked him as the 16th best guard in the NFL.

That's not bad, but not nearly the kind of production the Titans expected when they took him with a top-10 pick, especially as a guard. In Warmack's 2013 draft class, he was actually the second guard taken, three spots after Jonathan Cooper, who has actually had less production since entering the league after breaking his fibula and missing his rookie season.

But those two are the only guards who have been taken in the top 10 since 1997. Of the 15 guards taken in the top 10 in the modern era (since 1970), three have become Hall of Famers.

Warmack isn't even a starter right now. But he's hoping Stoutland will be able to help him find what once made him a special prospect.

"He's a very direct coach, puts his hands on you," Warmack said. "He wants you to do it a particular way, he's very detailed. You can respect that a lot as a player. Just plugging in every day, man. You're trying to get better as a player every day, little by little."

Why is Stoutland the right coach for Warmack?

"I guess I just know the buttons to push in coaching him," Stoutland said. "I know the technique that he needs to perfect to be better. I guess, like anybody else here, if you had success somewhere with somebody, then you feel good about it."

It's been over four years since Warmack and Stoutland worked together, but Warmack said the O-line coach is the same guy now that he was when Warmack was a 19-, 20-year-old kid.

Warmack will turn 26 in September.

"Same guy. Very detailed coach," Warmack said. "Looks at every little thing that could make you a better player on the field. You gotta appreciate that."

With Tennessee, Warmack played right guard, a spot that's spoken for by Brandon Brooks in Philly.

Warmack's decision to come to Philly on a one-year deal was clearly influenced by the opportunity to play under Stoutland again. But it starts with himself.

"I have to have high expectations for myself," Warmack said. "It's just icing on the cake to have a coach who knows you and knows how you think and can elevate you."

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

BOSTON -- A person familiar with the situation says the New England Patriots have agreed to terms on a deal with former New York Jets linebacker David Harris.

The new two-year pact could be worth as much as $6.75 million, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal has not yet been announced.

Harris, a 2007 second-round pick from Michigan who has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in New York, was released earlier this month by the Jets in a series of offseason moves to cut high-priced veterans. He was the franchise's second-leading tackler.

He now moves within the division to play for Bill Belichick, who has lauded Harris' play in the past. It also gives the Patriots some veteran depth to pair with Dont'a Hightower.

Jaguars: Rhaney claimed off waivers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The Jaguars announced the move Wednesday and said they released rookie offensive lineman Parker Collins to make room on the roster for Rhaney.

The 6-foot-2, 301-pound Rhaney was a seventh-round draft pick out of Tennessee State by the Rams in 2014. He spent his first season on injured reserve but played in every regular-season game the past two seasons, starting once at left guard in 2015.

Packers: Guion arrested on suspicion of DUI
HONOLULU -- Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in Hawaii.

Honolulu police booking records show Guion was arrested early Wednesday in Waikiki. He was released after posting $500 bail.

Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey says in a statement that the team is aware and will refrain from making further comment because it's a legal matter. He says he doesn't know what Guion was doing in Waikiki.

Guion was suspended without pay by the NFL for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He started 15 games last season, making 30 tackles. The nine-year veteran agreed to a three-year deal worth $11.25 million in February 2016.

NFL: Former player Ryan Jones shot dead
RENO, Nev. -- Nevada authorities say former NFL linebacker Ryan Jones was shot dead over the weekend in a Reno apartment and two other people suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway declined comment Tuesday on the circumstances that led to Sunday's shooting because detectives were still interviewing people for their investigation.

Jones, 26, signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and had a stint with the New York Giants before becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.

He was the first Montana Tech football player in the college's history to sign an NFL contract.

Jones graduated from Hug High School in Nevada before attending Sierra College and then Montana Tech in 2011.

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks is a good middle linebacker. 

After his first two seasons in the NFL, the former third-round pick has piled up some eye-popping numbers. 

In his first 24 games in the league (his rookie season was cut short with a pec injury), he has seven interceptions, 14 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two sacks. 

He's just the fifth player in NFL history — and only linebacker — to have that many INTs, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles in the first two years of his career. 

Hicks, who turns 25 later this month, is already really good. The next step is to become great. 

Is there room for more growth? 

"I would hope so," Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole said last week. "We're all emotionally tied in with our guys. I think he's done a great job for us. Is there room for improvement? No question. But he works at it. It's important to him. I know it's important for him that he puts the team success above himself. 

"I would suspect that there's more ceiling for him at linebacker. And I expect him to work at those things." 

Hicks actually had a chance to work on some of those things this offseason. As he exited last year, it was clear Hicks possessed ball-hawk traits, but admittedly needed to get better against the run. 

After his first NFL season, Hicks was stuck recovering from his torn pectoral and subsequent surgery. The rehab didn't allow him to strength train as much as he would have liked. 

This year, it's been a different story. He's hit the weight room hard, put on some extra weight, and hasn't been hamstrung by a tedious rehab process. 

"It's been great, man," Hicks said. "Having a full offseason to get in rhythm, having a full offseason to lift and get stronger and not have to take a step back to rehab and do everything over again, it's huge. Huge. To just build and stack and stack on top of each other."

Flajole agrees with Hicks, that the extra time in the weight room will help him against the run, specifically at the point of attack.  

Flajole isn't the only person in the NovaCare Complex who thinks big things are still ahead for Hicks. After the season finale against the Cowboys last season, Malcolm Jenkins said he thought Hicks is "trending to be one of the better linebackers in this league."

While Hicks wants to improve his run defense, it's undeniable that the strength of his game — to this point — is his knack for being around the ball. He always seems to be making a big play, whether it's an interception or a fumble recovery. 

It might seem like chance, but Flajole doesn't discount it as such. 

"He's a very instinctual guy and I think he understands the game," Flajole said. "The thing that can't be discounted for Jordan is that he works at it. He watches a lot of tape and because of those things, he feeds off of tendencies that the offense would give him, either by down and distance or formation. And he uses those to his advantage." 

For the second straight year, Hicks will be in the same defense under Jim Schwartz and will have the same battery mate in Nigel Bradham, who enters the second year of his two-year deal. 

At some point before the 2017 season starts, Hicks will set some personal goals for himself, like he does every year. While he hasn't set them yet, Hicks said they are normally leadership-based or stat-based. 

"It definitely gives you something to reach for and keep you on track," Hicks said. "Just like you set team goals. If you're not setting goals, you're just working towards nothing, just shooting in the air at nothing." 

One thing the goals won't be is accolade-based. Sure, Hicks would like to be named to his first Pro Bowl, but that won't be on the checklist. 

If he gets better than he's been in Year 1 and 2, it'll only be a matter of time before the recognition catches up with his stats. 

"I'm not really worried about the accolades at this point," he said. "It's not really what I'm focused on. I believe that if you're doing what you need to do, day in and day out, you're giving it everything you got, the rest will come. I'm focused on what I can do for this team, what I can do to make this team the best it can be. And let the rest fall in place."