Kadron Boone hopes to find a way with Eagles

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Kadron Boone hopes to find a way with Eagles

At this time last year, Kadron Boone was heading into his senior season at LSU, looking to build on a career year as a junior.

Now he’s fighting for a spot on the Eagles’ roster.

After catching 26 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns in 2012, Boone had just seven receptions in 13 games last season, leading to a precipitous fall off of NFL draft boards. But a sub-4.5 40-yard dash time at LSU’s April 9 pro day drew the eyes of several teams, including the Eagles.

Boone still did not hear his name called in May’s NFL draft despite the impressive workout. The Eagles took a chance on the 6-foot, 202-pound receiver, signing him as an undrafted free agent. One NFL scout told CSNPhilly.com that the Eagles found a steal in Boone, saying, “He’s gonna make that team.

The ups and downs have taught Boone lessons that he has carried into Eagles training camp.

“I think it taught me a valuable lesson in life,” Boone said Monday after practice at Lincoln Financial Field. “Just take advantage of the opportunities that you’re presented.

“I’m just bringing that mindset over. In my first year, it’s going to be all about finding my way whether it’s on special teams, whether it’s offense. Whenever I get an opportunity to showcase my talent, [I’m trying to] make the best of that opportunity.”

As a senior, Boone turned his seven receptions into 129 yards and two touchdowns. With 2014 draftees wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (first round to the Giants), running back Jeremy Hill (second round to the Bengals) and wide receiver Jarvis Landry (second round to the Dolphins) also lining up on LSU’s offense last year, opportunities were hard to come by.

“I didn’t get a lot of opportunities in my senior year,” Boone said. “But the ones I did, I made a play. Whether it was a big block that led to a touchdown or whether it was a big catch on third down or whether it was a touchdown.”

Now Boone’s playing with another talented crop of offensive weapons, and he recognizes the experience that surrounds him. He’s trying to soak it up like a sponge, learning from pass-catching veterans like Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Brad Smith.

“With them being in the league, if I do something in practice, they’ll correct it,” Boone said. “Anytime I have a question, I’m able to go up to those guys and ask them a question.

“If you watch us together, we critique each other. So, it’s not just [Maclin] telling me what I messed up on. If we see something, we’ll tell him, ‘Hey this is what we saw on your part.’ Just critiquing each other, and that’s the close bond we already have.”

Along with the vast talent around him, Boone has found comfort in another area: the fans. Playing high school and college ball in the football-rabid South, he knows all about passionate fan bases.

“It was great to see the turnout that we had here today,” Boone said after the team’s first open practice to fans. “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been hearing about how they’re the best fans. You can see the dedication that they have to us.”

Eagles repeating pattern of digging first-quarter hole in defeats

Eagles repeating pattern of digging first-quarter hole in defeats

It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself. And it’s not a winning pattern.

Week after week, the Eagles are digging themselves a first-quarter hole. And week after week, they’re too far behind to catch up.

They trailed the Lions 14-0 in the first quarter. They trailed the Redskins 14-0 a minute into the second quarter. They fell behind the Cowboys 10-3 early in the second. The Giants jumped up on them 14-0 just six minutes in. And on Sunday, the Bengals led 10-0 before the first quarter was over.

If football games began at the start of the second quarter? This would be a different season. The Eagles would be 7-4-1.

The Eagles has actually outscored their opponents in the second, third and fourth quarters.

But the first quarter has been fatal.

The Eagles have been outscored by 32 points in the first quarter – 65 to 33. That’s their fourth-worst first-quarter scoring margin in the last 25 years, behind only three other nightmarish seasons – 1998 (minus-52), 2005 (minus-51) and 2012 (minus-75).

It’s also fourth-worst of any NFL team this year, ahead of only the Jets (minus-36), Broncos (minus-37) and Dolphins (minus-56).

Some teams – like the Broncos and Dolphins – have enough firepower to fight from behind.

The Eagles don’t.

They’re 4-0 when leading after the first quarter, 1-1 when tied after the first quarter and 0-6 when trailing after the first quarter.

At 0-6, they share the second-worst record in the NFL when trailing after 15 minutes with the Jaguars and 49ers. The Browns are 0-8 when trailing after the first quarter.

Last time the Eagles didn’t win a game all year when trailing after the first quarter was 1998. Before that 1977.

“It’s tough, especially in this league, to dig yourself a hole,” Carson Wentz said. “Whether the defense is struggling or the offense giving them points with turnovers and different things, it’s been a variation of a lot of those things. 

“It’s tough to dig yourself a hole against anybody, especially against good teams. So we’ve got to avoid that and we’ve got to come out swinging a little better early in games.”

The last time the Eagles won after trailing following the first quarter was the Dallas game last year, when they trailed 7-0 and won 33-27 in overtime.

What does it say about a team when it’s allowed twice as many points as it’s scored in the first quarter?

It sure seems like the Eagles several times this year simply haven’t been ready to play.

“The start to games, it's a mindset,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “It's truly a mindset. It's one of those things where as a team you want to come out and you want to kind of make the first punch, so to speak, or swing first. 

“We did it against Green Bay. We went down and scored, we matched touchdown for touchdown there. And we've done it throughout the course of the season. We've got to be a little more consistent offensively, too. That can also help. And then defensively it's just a matter of working to get off the field.

“It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game if you can do that early in a football game.”

The Eagles have scored just three first-quarter touchdowns all year (only the Broncos have fewer) and haven’t scored more than seven points in any of their 12 first quarters.

They’ve allowed nine first-quarter touchdowns, and only one team has allowed more – the Dolphins with 10.

Wentz has completed 67 percent of his first-quarter passes but with just one TD pass and four interceptions.

Incredibly, the Eagles have only five plays all year of more than 20 yards in the first quarter – just one in the last four games. Only the Saints, Jaguars and Broncos have fewer.

Why are the Eagles so bad early in games?

“There is no other answer than to execute one play at a time,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “There's no magic formula. I think we've had good energy at practice. I like the way we practice. I feel like we are putting together good plans.

“We're showing flashes of being a good football team. We need to be more consistent. We need to make more big plays. It's hard to sustain 14-play drives. We've missed a few plays here and there. We just all – coaches, players together – need to make it work one play at a time.”

The only teams to outscore the Eagles in the second half are the Cowboys (13-10), Seahawks (10-8) and Packers (13-3).

When a team has outscored its opponents by 61 points in the second, third and fourth quarters combined and it’s 5-7, the focus has to be on the first quarter.

That means preparation. That means being mentally and physically ready. 

“Yeah, I do look at all of that, and that's part of my job is the (pregame) schedule and all,” Pederson said. “But these guys are in a great frame of mind on game day. They're loose; they're energetic; they're ready to go. They're focused. 

“You see it in pregame. It's been unfortunate, but it's something we've got to focus in on a little bit more … and try to strike first.”

The Eagles will try to end their three-game losing streak at 1 p.m. Sunday when they face the Redskins at the Linc.

The Redskins, 6-5-1 but with a two-game losing streak, beat the Eagles 27-20 in Landover, Md., in October.

“I think it just comes down to being focus and locking in,” Wentz said. “You’ve seen us. There’ve been games where we’ve come out and we’re rolling right away.

"We just have to find a way to maintain that and be consistent with that. The goal is to come out swinging right away.”

Eagles Injury Update: Jordan Matthews back at practice again

Eagles Injury Update: Jordan Matthews back at practice again

Jordan Matthews, the Eagles' best receiver, was back at practice again on Thursday. 

Matthews was a full participant on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday, which is a very good sign for the Eagles. Last week, he returned on Thursday, but then had to sit out Friday and missed Sunday's game. 

It was the first game Matthews had ever missed in his career. Even with the missed game, Matthews still leads the Eagles in receptions (57), receiving yards (686) and receiving touchdowns (3). 

Fellow receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen) was on the practice field early but left as the Eagles began to stretch. He did not practice for the second straight day. 

Without Green-Beckham and with Matthews hobbled, the Eagles are light at receiver, with just Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner. Head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles want to keep Turner involved in the game plan even with the return of Matthews. 

Ryan Mathews (knee) was on the practice field again on Thursday, while Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) is still out. It looks like Vaitai will miss his third straight game this weekend.