New year, similar situation for Eagles' Kinne

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New year, similar situation for Eagles' Kinne

Once again, G.J. Kinne has a spot on the Eagles' roster that won't exist when the regular season begins:

The fourth quarterback.

Last offseason, Kinne participated in OTAs and training camp with the Eagles but was always going to be the odd man out after Nick Foles, Michael Vick and Matt Barkley. He spent the season on the practice squad.

Vick isn’t around anymore, but Mark Sanchez is, leaving Kinne in the same uncomfortable position of fighting for a spot that he knows will be difficult to acquire.

Almost all of the talk regarding quarterback competition since OTAs began at the end of May has centered on the battle between Sanchez and Barkley for the backup spot. Kinne so far has been splitting the third-team reps with Barkley.

“I’m not worried about where I take reps,” Kinne said after Tuesday’s practice at minicamp. “I’m just worried about trying to get better. Whenever they put me in, that’s where we go.”

A former standout at Tulsa who went undrafted after finishing his college career in 2012, Kinne has yet to make an active NFL roster.

After spending most of the 2012 offseason with the New York Jets, Kinne played for the Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) and San Antonio Talons (AFL) that season before signing with the Eagles in February 2013. 

Performances at OTAs and minicamp can be held only so highly -- there are no pads or contact -- but Kinne looked sharp in drills during Tuesday’s practice and throughout OTAs.

“It’s been going a lot better than last year,” Kinne said. “I feel a lot more comfortable in the offense now.”

Spending last year with the Eagles -- even if only on the practice squad -- benefited Kinne by getting him acclimated to how NFL offenses are run, especially in a system like Chip Kelly’s that demands a lot out of its quarterbacks.

“We focus on everything [with quarterbacks],” Kelly said. “There's not one thing we look for more. You don’t say, ‘He has a quick release, so it’s OK he doesn’t have a strong arm.’ I think you want the whole package.”

Kinne knows where he stands among the Eagles’ backup quarterbacks. Barkley is a former fourth-round pick who starred for USC, and Sanchez has 62 NFL starts and two AFC Championship game appearances under his belt, leaving Kinne as the least heralded by far.

He tries not to think about that, choosing instead to focus on himself. If anything, having experience with his fellow quarterbacks will further his development.

“Mark, Matt and Nick have all been great to work with,” Kinne said. “Mark is a really good guy and everyone’s really excited to have him.”

Eagles Injury Update: Mathews and Matthews to return to practice

Eagles Injury Update: Mathews and Matthews to return to practice

If you're searching for some good news following the Eagles' dismal 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday afternoon, here it is. 

Jordan Matthews (ankle) and Ryan Mathews (knee) are going to return to practice this week, head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday. 

Ryan Mathews, who suffered an MCL sprain against Seattle, has missed the last two weeks. The Eagles averaged just 77 yards rushing in those two losses, going with Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner. 

Jordan Matthews, who has been the Eagles' best and most consistent receiver this season, suffered an ankle sprain against the Packers and was inactive on Sunday against the Bengals. It was the first game he ever missed in college or in the NFL. 

Wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, who injured his midsection and got X-rays during the game, has an oblique contusion, according to Pederson. Green-Beckham is sore and will be held from practice on Wednesday, but Pederson expects him to be "OK" for the Washington game on Sunday. 

Pederson said right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is "coming along," but isn't yet ready to return. 

"He's going to do a little more this week, not from a practice standpoint but from a rehab standpoint, and he's doing good," Pederson said. "But we'll see where he is again later in the week."

In Vaitai's absence, left guard Allen Barbre has shifted from left guard to right tackle and Stefen Wisniewski has replaced him at left guard. 

Doug Pederson admits 'not everybody' played hard in loss

Doug Pederson admits 'not everybody' played hard in loss

Doug Pederson’s press conference was humming along as expected on Monday morning, the day after the team’s 32-14 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati. 

Like he did minutes after the game, Pederson again expressed the idea that the Eagles didn’t lose for lack of effort. 

“I didn’t see any quit in the guys,” he said several different ways throughout the 19-minute session with reporters. 

The effort’s there. There’s no quit. 

Those are the types of responses we’ve become accustomed to hearing from Pederson over the last couple of weeks after embarrassing losses. And it looked like that was how Monday was going to end, with that same message being repeated ad nauseum. 

Until Pederson made a shocking admission. 

Could he honestly say every one of his players played hard against Cincinnati?

“Not everybody,” he said. “Not everybody, and that's the accountability that I talk about. You know, I hold coaches accountable for that. I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me and I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go. 
 
“But at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. You know, this is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league -- I mean, there's some teams that are better than others, obviously -- but for the most part, anything can happen each weekend.”
 
Not everybody. The admission of that fact is far more shocking than the reality. Fans who watched Sunday’s game will probably be able to pinpoint several plays where one or more Eagles might not have given full effort. 
 
But for a first-year head coach to come out and admit it in public is rare. Perhaps Pederson felt emboldened to say something because he’s been assured of his status within the organization (see story). On Monday, he said he “for sure” thinks his job is secure after this season based on reassurance from Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman. 
 
While Pederson said it publicly, the conversation between him and his players about accountability will continue. It seems unlikely Pederson will take it a step further by cutting or benching players, but his team will definitely hear the message its head coach put out on Monday. 
 
While Pederson commented that “not everybody” played hard, it seems like he’s convinced that portion of the team is the minority. Overall, he’s still convinced that guys are buying in. The reason he gave was the feedback he’s been getting back from his leadership council (a group of veteran leaders he has depended on throughout the season). 
 
Earlier in the press conference, Pederson was asked about one play in particular, when Zach Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict as Carson Wentz scrambled for a 10-yard gain in the first quarter. The video shows Ertz making an effort to avoid the linebacker.
 
“Looking at the tape and watching where Carson was scrambling of course he was heading toward out of bounds and I think he just pulled off at that point,” Pederson said. “That’s all I can say. But I’m definitely going to ask him why.”

With a 5-7 record, the Eagles’ playoff chances are all but completely gone, so the last quarter of the season will be about effort, pride and finding out who wants to be back on the team in 2017. 

To end his press conference, Pederson was asked if this Eagles team needs to be “loved up” or if it’s time for some tough love.  

“I think it's both. I think it's both,” he said. “I think there's a level of that tough love. There's got to be that accountability that I was talking about. You know, I implore and I challenge the leaders of the football team to stand up and really not only hold themselves [accountable] but the rest of the team. Listen, it's not a panic move or anything like that, but just, ‘Hey, let's just make sure we're doing things right.’ Everybody just do things right, do their jobs, do their assignments, you know, and good things are going to happen. 

“Obviously, again, it starts with me, and I've got to make sure that I'm doing it right and I'm holding myself accountable, and as you mentioned earlier with Jeffrey and Howie, if they're holding me accountable and all that, that's where it starts, and then I relay that message to the assistants and on to the team.”