Good morning. The NFL’s attention is now on Atlanta, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday. This a quiet period for the Eagles after executives and scouts returned from last week’s Senior Bowl, and they will turn their attention to preparing for the scouting combine at the end of the month.
— Zach Berman
Malcolm Jenkins just finished his fifth season with the Eagles, a span that includes two head coaches, four starting quarterbacks, multiple big trades and acquisitions, and notable departures. He saw the Eagles reload after a Super Bowl last season by adding veterans in an effort to repeat. There are comings and goings every year, although there could be more change than usual this offseason.
“I’ve been here in the Chip Kelly era,” Jenkins said, “so nothing will surprise me.”
Jenkins said the Eagles have developed a culture that will be a “destination” to others in the league because the Eagles “will compete every year.”
Jenkins thought the Eagles had a team that could win this season; he bemoaned what could have been had the team been healthier throughout the season. Jenkins has developed enough clout in the organization to speak his mind about what the Eagles could add or improve for next season, but his big focus was on health — not on personnel.
“To me, the biggest thing we faced was just injury,” Jenkins said. “And that’s not anything you can really control in this league. We’ll see what happens — who we have, who remains, who moves on — and we evaluate from there. But I think that’s the most disappointing this year: I think we had everything we needed. Through injuries and other things, it wasn’t the case.”
Jenkins was one player who avoided injury. He took every defensive snap this season. He hasn’t missed a game since coming to Philadelphia. He said the past two years have felt like one long season because of the Super Bowl run and a short offseason. Plus, Jenkins is not one who usually invites idle time away from football. But he’s making sure he takes some time away and catches his breath for his 11th NFL season. His first trip will be to Ghana.
“That’s a priority of mine, to do some traveling,” Jenkins said. “It’s been a crazy couple years. I’ll get some rest. This is my 10th season. I put a lot of miles on the car. I’ll relax, get my mind away, but come back ready to get at it again.”
The Eagles continue to tinker with their coaching staff, with the latest news that they’ll add former Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke in an advisory role. Burke has a long history with Jim Schwartz, working with the Eagles defensive coordinator in Detroit and Tennessee. (This is Schwartz’s defense — that hasn’t changed and won’t change.)
Elsewhere, the Eagles have openings at defensive-line coach, wide-receivers coach, and assistant offensive-line coach. (Those haven’t been formally announced.) I’d watch out for assistant defensive-line coach Phillip Daniels as a candidate for a promotion. Daniels had a 14-year NFL career and has worked with the Eagles defensive line during the past three seasons.
What helps the Eagles with all these openings is the timing. Last year, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo didn’t leave until after the Super Bowl. By that point, the hiring cycle was just about finished. The Eagles should be in position to have their full staff in place by the combine late next month.
The Chris Long Foundation is running a “First Quarter for Literacy Week” initiative to help get books to children in under-served neighborhoods and encourage reading. Long partnered with the nonprofit First Book and four friends in the NFL to distribute 27,600 new books in four cities this week.
Fletcher Cox, former Eagles Beau Allen and Connor Barwin, and Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth made donations, which Long matched. This is part of Long’s First Quarter for Literacy drive, which he started in September when he pledged to donate a quarter of his salary to promote early literacy in Philadelphia and rural Virginia. The drive has raised more than $500,000 this season.
My guess is they continue to carry three quarterbacks, assuming Nate Sudfeld is the No. 2 quarterback. (Or if not Sudfeld, an experienced veteran.)
When Doug Pederson was hired, he had said he wanted to get in the habit of having a young quarterback on the roster to develop. That was Carson Wentz in 2016 and Nate Sudfeld in 2017. I can see the Eagles drafting a quarterback on Day 3 or going after another young quarterback for that developmental role.