PHILADELPHIA — The Good Guy Award in his hand, Jason Kelce thanked the local chapter of the Professional Football Writers Association for the hardware Friday and held it up While standing near another good guy in Brandon Brooks, who retired after the 2021 season largely due to injuries.
Nothing is promised in pro football, and those besties certainly illustrated that, the 34-year-old Brooks looking like he could still play the game. Minutes later Kelce affirmed how he had earned the reward through his professionalism in dealing with reporters league wide while talking about expectations for the Eagles, who are coming off a three-point loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.
The hype is deafening for the Eagles and MVP runner-up Jalen Hurts, armed with a major contract extension and almost all the pieces that got the Eagles to the title game. Underscored by the Chiefs’ loss Thursday night to the Detroit Lions the Eagles were two days shy of playing their opener against the New England Patriots Sunday at Gillette Stadium, yet the popular buzz was them taking another step toward avenging that Super Bowl loss.
“I think Philadelphia’s media are very strong,” Kelce said. “Fans are very vocal. Sports media is very much alive. You guys know that. And I think you have to really do your best to not listen to the outside noise. … The moment you think you’ve made it in this league, and you stop worrying about the guy behind you, you’re done. That’s kind of what happens. And I really hope, again, we’re very much of the mindset that we can very easily lose to anybody.”
The Eagles are four-point favorites over the Patriots, who have seen growth in quarterback Mac Jones with the addition of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Last year Patriots head coach Bill Belichick mistakenly thought it was a good idea to have longtime defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, now with the Eagles as a senior assistant, call the plays. This year, the Eagles aren’t certain what to expect from the Patriots’ offense other than a lot of three tight end looks.
The Eagles on the other hand, know exactly what they can do and how to do it a little bit differently.
Kelce nonetheless feels this is a good time for the Birds to check themselves. All the stuff about having the most talented roster in the league won’t help if the Eagles fail to bring it every Sunday.
“We’re still in the process of trying to get better and find out who we are,” Kelce said. “Obviously, we have a lot of talent. We know that. We’re still working on some things. This is a long season. We’re trying to get better each and every week. I don’t know what this team’s going to be. It’s a different season.”
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Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was the subject of a recent story in The Athletic in which he gave up the play-calling duties seven games into the 2021 season at the suggestion of Jonathan Gannon, then his defensive coordinator and now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
The Eagles were 2-5 at that time and are 21-6 in the regular season since Sirianni stopped calling plays.
Sirianni has said publicly that assigning the play calls to then offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, now head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was a good thing, and that it helped him manage the entire game more effectively. He didn’t mention doing it at the suggestion of Gannon.
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Wondering what the duties are for general manager Howie Roseman’s assistant, Alec Halaby? Until Friday, so were a lot of folks.
Explaining that the assistant GM role varies from team to team, Halaby nonetheless indicated that he’s kind of the setup reliever while Howie Roseman is the closer.
“I’m fortunate to be able to work across a lot of different parts of the operation,” Halaby said. “So the bulk of my time is spent on personnel with our pro guys, with our college guys. But I spend a lot of time on analytics. … I spend a lot of time with our cap guys. I spend a lot of time with sports performance, a lot of time with our coaches. So I think, you know, I’m grateful that Howie has let me, that I’m able to work across all those different areas. And it keeps you sort of continuously learning throughout your career and understanding how the whole operation works.”
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The Eagles are fully healthy and ready to go for the Patriots. The Patriots are going to be without the services of cornerback Jack Jones (hamstring).
Listed as questionable for the Patriots are quarterback Matt Corrall (not injury related), offensive lineman Mike Onwenu (ankle), wide receiver DeVante Parker (knee), running back Rhamondre Stevenson (illness) and guard Cole Strange (knee).
Source: Berkshire mont