Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles vow not to lose intimidation battle vs. Pats

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Eagles vow not to lose intimidation battle vs. Pats

The Eagles are headed to Foxboro on Tuesday for the start of joint practices, but unlike last year, they’re bringing some extra motivation.

Apparently, only one team brought the proper level of intensity and intimidation to last year’s scrimmages in South Philly, and it wasn’t the home team. Both teams were warned about getting too physical, but the Eagles felt they were the only team playing by the rules.

This time, there’s just one rule.

“When we strap up, we’re gonna be ready to go,” cornerback Bradley Fletcher. “We want to have a little something to it that maybe we didn’t really have last year, so we’re gonna have a lot more of that this coming week.”

For whatever reason, the Eagles were a little too gracious when they welcomed the Patriots to the NovaCare last August for a couple of practices leading up to their preseason game.

Pats quarterback Tom Brady, in particular, seemed right at home finding his new receivers against an Eagles defense that offered very little resistance -- except, of course, Cary Williams, who was tossed out of one practice for tussling.

That’s another issue, some Eagles acknowledged.

Despite an agreement between coaches Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick to kick jousters out of practice, a message shared by each coach in meetings with his respective team, only one team seemed to tone down on contact and extracurricular activity.

Apparently, it wasn’t coincidence, either.

“I had that same meeting in New Orleans and we got whooped,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We got sucker punched, so I think we’ll have our guard up this time.

“The coaches tell you, ‘Hey you’re going to get kicked out of practice if you fight,’ and all this and you go up there thinking ‘OK, this is gonna be a practice,’ and they’re ramped up. It’s hard to turn that switch on once you turn it off.”

So the Eagles were already dialed up Monday afternoon, even after a routine walkthrough without pads, especially the defensive backs. They had their sights set on revenge and showing the Patriots what’s in their DNA.

No more Mr. Nice Guys.

“The tempo is definitely going to go up some more when you go play against a different team for a few days,” Fletcher said. “We’re gonna have the pads on and it’s gonna ramp it up, so we’re definitely going to be be ready for it.”

About a week ago, Williams made headlines for critical comments about joint practices and about the Patriots, who were once penalized for illegally videotaping an opponent’s defensive signals. Williams expressed concern about another team -- especially the Patriots, citing Spygate -- having an up-close look at their playbook and personnel. He said these practices weren’t beneficial.

Jenkins disagreed. Sure, the Pats get an idea of what the Eagles will do, Jenkins said, but it’s a two-way street.

“Now, there’s things that you have to do. You’ve got to change some of your signals because you’d be dumb not to take notes on what the other team is doing,” he said. “So from that standpoint you don’t want to open up your entire playbook when you’re there.

“But I think it’s good for your team to kind of come together and go against another opponent in practice day after day. I think it brings you closer, because you really got to have each other’s back every day when you’re out there. It gets ramped up and turned up and you really get to really see who likes to compete and who shies away from competition.”

The Eagles didn’t have joint practices in the 14 years Andy Reid coached them, but Reid liked conducting his annual camp away at Lehigh for the same reasons Kelly likes joint practices, for the camaraderie building and intensity.

Reid’s teams bonded in dorm rooms and cafeterias for two long weeks away in the mountains. His practices always featured tackling, so fights frequently broke out and alliances were formed quickly. Kelly’s team bonds through combat against other opponents.

“I think it needs to be that way,” Jenkins added. “It’s competition that’s gonna bring the best out of both teams, and we can always get told to slow down. You don’t wanna ever have to tell anybody to speed up.

“The biggest thing is compete as a team. Go out there and really day in and day out, period in and period out, compete and see where we stand. We definitely don’t want to go out there and get pushed around. We’ve got to start out fast, from practice [until] the game and really just establish ourselves and see what we’ve got.”

Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

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Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

Eagles receiver Paul Turner, who has been missing from Eagles practice since Aug. 2 with a shoulder injury, will be out for another three weeks. 

Turner's injury is more serious than previously thought. He actually has a fractured scapula, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. 

Turner, 24, initially made the Eagles' roster out of training camp last year but was cut when the team claimed Bryce Treggs off waivers. He then spent the first 10 games on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster. He ended up catching nine passes for 126 yards in four games as a rookie. 

During last year's training camp, Turner instantly became a fan favorite as a rookie out of Louisiana Tech. He shined in practices and then was the NFL's leading receiver last preseason with 17 catches that went for 165 yards. And he also had a tremendous one-handed grab. 

With another three weeks added to his recovery time, making this year's roster will be incredibly hard for Turner, who is buried on the depth chart. Three weeks will bring us right to the start of the regular season. 

Other players have been making a push for the final roster spot at receiver. Marcus Johnson, in particular, has shined this summer. 

The rise of Steven Means and his sack celebration of many names

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The rise of Steven Means and his sack celebration of many names

Some of Steven Means' teammates call his sack celebration The Hammer. Some say it's The Nail In the Coffin. Assistant defensive line coach Phillip Daniels calls it The Undertaker.

Means says he likes them all. 

"The Atomic Bomb," interjected fellow defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao, who was listening in from the next locker. "Because when it hits …" 

That might be the new leader in the clubhouse. 

Whatever it's called though, Means has been doing the emphatic celebration much more often in recent weeks. That's a good sign for the 27-year-old and his chances to make the Eagles' 53-man roster. 

In the Eagles' preseason opener, Means had a half sack. Last Thursday against his hometown Buffalo Bills, Means picked up two more.

And after each sack in games and in practice (yes, he does it in non-contact practices too), Means celebrates with what has become his hallmark. He first points both fingers toward the sky, "giving God the glory," before it looks like a surge of pure energy flows through his body, starting with his toes until he releases it with a leg kick and one swift downward chopping motion with his hands. 

Means started doing the celebration during OTAs last season. It wasn't something he planned — "It just happened," he said. But he liked it and has continued it since, including last season in the fourth quarter against the Vikings, when he picked up his first-career regular season sack. 

"I don't know," Means said smiling. "I'm just out there having fun, just trying to make plays. And keep doing [the celebration]. If I'm doing it, I know I'm doing the right thing." 

This training camp, Means is a part of an extremely deep group of defensive ends. Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are the starters. Chris Long and Derek Barnett and next up. And then there's Means and last year's seventh-round pick Alex McCalister. There seems to be a chance that just one between Means and McCalister will make this year's team. 

Even though they're competing for a roster spot, Means doesn't really think about his fellow defensive ends as competition. His brain just doesn't work like that anymore. His only competition is the offensive linemen he faces during games. 

So when McCalister picked up a sack of his own Thursday night, Means looked even more pumped about it than he did. 

"Seeing us come from where we come from and being successful at this level, I'm ecstatic for anybody when they're out there making plays," Means said. "And if I'm out there with them, I'm probably going to be more excited than them every single time."

When the time comes for the coaching staff to decide on the 53-man roster, Means will have at least one advantage. During this training camp, he's worked at defensive end and has also taken some reps at defensive tackle. DT is a new position for Means but he's excited about adding some versatility to his résumé.  

"One of the big things we've done with Steven, obviously, he's gotten a few more opportunities," defensive line coach Chris Wilson said. "And he's taking full advantage of it. That's one thing he does consistently. He's physical, he's smart, he plays with a great motor. He's always in position to make plays and when he's had opportunities in the game."

Since entering the league as a fifth round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2013, Means has become somewhat of a journeyman in the NFL. He was with the Bucs, Ravens and Texans before joining the Eagles in December 2015. 

When he signed with the Eagles, he joined a coaching staff with Chip Kelly and Billy Davis that was on its last legs. Kelly was fired three weeks after Means got to Philadelphia and Davis was let go after the season. 

Then something great happened for Means. New head coach Doug Pederson brought on Jim Schwartz as his defensive coordinator and Means got a chance to play in an incredibly aggressive defense that allows defensive linemen to attack quarterbacks. 

"I'm just going to be 100 percent honest with you," Means said, "I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. Wherever Schwartz is, that's where I want to be."

Now entering his fifth NFL season, Means laughs thinking about how far he's come and about "how bad [he] probably was" as a rookie. Means finally looks like he's found a good spot in Philly. 

He's taken over the fourth quarters of both preseason games. In these two games, he has 2 1/2 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, 2 passes defensed, 2 tackles for loss and 4 combined tackles. 

Means has been filling up the stat sheet and turning heads along the way. 

"Letting God just play through me instead of trying to make something happen myself," said Means, who is vocal about his faith. "I'm a lot more comfortable and confident."

It shows every time he gets a sack and The Atomic Bomb hits.