The season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars is a day closer as the anticipation builds for the start of the 2014 season. Our live coverage begins today at 10:45 AM as coordinators Bill Davis and Pat Shurmur discuss the game plan for Sunday. Let's get you caught up on some news and notes regarding the team ...
1. McCoy For MVP?
He's the defending rushing champion. He's the consensus top pick in fantasy football drafts. Running back LeSean McCoy is also in consideration to win the league's MVP award this season.
"LeSean McCoy has become the most exciting player in the National Football League. I believe he's the MVP this year," said NFL Network analyst and former league MVP Kurt Warner.
On NFL GameDay's Season Preview on NFL Network Tuesday night, Warner's opinion regarding the NFL MVP honors was shared by Warner's former teammate and MVP in Marshall Faulk.
McCoy will surely respond during his press conference which can be seen live online or on our app following today's training session at around 1:15 PM.
2. Carroll II: Protect The Franchise
Cornerback Nolan Carroll II will be the kickoff returner Sunday if rookie wide receiver Josh Huff is unable to play due to the shoulder injury he incurred during the preseason. Carroll has returned kicks in the training sessions and said that the team has done a good job of simulating those plays. Carroll's mindset when it comes to returns is simple.
"Catch the ball. Hit it full speed and secure the ball," said Carroll, who averaged 24.3 yards on 27 kickoff returns in 2010.
In fact, Carroll explained that in Miami they used to call the ball "the franchise," so naturally you'd want to put it in good hands on returns.
Carroll may not have returned kicks in the preseason, but he did get his hands on the ball with a diving interception against the Steelers two weeks ago.
3. Kelly: Smith II Still Developing
Head coach Chip Kelly praised linebacker Marcus Smith II for his improvement in two phases of his game - setting the edge and rushing the passer.
"You've seen some improvement from him and he's doing a better job setting the edge, turning the plays back in, creating some pressure at the outside linebacker spot from a rush standpoint but still has not really gotten to the quarterback," Kelly said.
Smith, the team's first-round pick, is the backup to Connor Barwin at the Jack linebacker spot. Kelly explained that he wants his linebacker to be able to set the edge, rush the passer and drop back into coverage. Smith is a natural at dropping back since he did that at Louisville. Smith has worked hard behind the scenes and is pleased with his progress.
"I definitely feel like I've got a lot better," Smith said. "It's definitely a process for me. It's coming a lot quicker than I even thought."
4. Burton: Hands You Can Trust
Trey Burton was one of two rookie free agents to make the 53-man roster. The Eagles called him over the weekend to end any angst over whether or not he was on the team. With family in the Bucks County area, the moment was that much sweeter for Burton.
"It's awesome, I can't even really put it into words. I've been dreaming about this my whole life," Burton said. "With my family being die-hard Eagles fans, it makes it even more fun and exciting."
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound tight end was an effective weapon in the pass game catching nine passes (on nine targets) for 100 yards and a touchdown in the preseason. Burton said that he and wide receiver Jordan Matthews have a catch every morning for about a half-hour, throwing anywhere from 100-200 balls to each other.
"That's something I pride myself on is receiving and catching every ball that's thrown to me," Burton said.
5. And SWOOP Selects ...
On Tuesday, ESPN unveiled its new "This is SportsCenter" commercial featuring what many of us are doing at this time of year - fantasy drafts. However, this was not a fantasy football draft, but a fantasy SportsCenter anchor draft. SWOOP took part, and made a classic pick, but what's funny is that Philly native and Eagles fan Kevin Negandhi is selected by Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.