Sports have always come naturally for Walter Thurmond. He was a two-sport star in football and track at West Covina High School in Los Angeles, and was on the radar of college recruiters for much of his youth. But from an early age, he knew that he wanted more in life than to simply be known for the athletic gifts with which he was born.
When Thurmond tore three ligaments in his knee during his senior year at Oregon, he was rudely reminded of how fleeting his career as a professional athlete could be. It was that injury that pushed him to start thinking about his career once he hung up his cleats.
"In the NFL, it's only 3.5 years for the average career," he explained to PhiladelphiaEagles.com's Chris McPherson on this week's installment of the Eagles Insider Podcast. "(I understand) that this career as a football players only lasts until you're 30-35, at the longest."
Thurmond has always had an interest in the arts, particularly movies, and now, as a sixth-year veteran, the 28-year-old has parlayed his success in the NFL into a new venture, filmmaking. He has produced three films so far – two documentaries and one original screenplay called Chapter and Verse, taking a hands-on approach with each but also relying heavily on the knowledge of the experienced teams he's built for each project.
"It takes a team to be able to make a great product in film (just like) it takes a great team to win games," he said of the parallels between the two fields. "From the management level of an owner, to the GM assembling all the talent, whether it be for film or for the football team, obviously your head coach, the director who's scheming everything up ... There are a lot of similarities within that aspect."
Thurmond went on to discuss his experience moving from cornerback to safety with the Eagles, almost signing with Philadelphia as a free agent in 2014 and the challenges of facing the New York Jets and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
Also on the Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Out takes a big-picture look at the Eagles' 0-2 start
Enemy Intel looks at the key Eagles-Jets matchups
Game Time analyzes which teams can still take flight or are grounded
Mailing It In answers a lot of your Twitter questions
To have the Eagles Insider Podcast delivered directly to you every week, be sure to subscribe to the podcast here.
- Max Rappaport
Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell take an in-depth look at the X's and O's of team strategy and philosophy. In this week's episode of the podcast, the two turn the page to the Jets game after a disappointing defeat in the Eagles' home opener.
Clearly, the run game has been the biggest struggle for the Eagles' offense.
"I think it can be fixed, but I think there are multiple reasons why the run game hasn't worked as is always the case," Cosell said. "It's always easy to say, and people might say that's a cop out, but I think there have been a lot of missed or poor blocks up front, including the tight ends."
The two also discussed the Jets' secondary, an area on defense where this New York team is stacked with skill. It is sure to present a problem for the Eagles' wide receivers.
"I don't think they can rely on isolation routes, particularly with their wide receivers because I don't think they're going to win. That's not going to happen in this game," Cosell said. "Now what you're dealing with is schemes and concepts that can break down man coverage. The two people who would theoretically have a chance to win in this game against man, I think, would be Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles."
However, as Duffy and Cosell explained, two players performing well will not be enough to alter the course of this Eagles offense.
While the team will not debut a completely restructured offense, Chip Kelly will need to edit his plans. However, until kickoff, those changes will remain only with the team. As Cosell and Duffy discussed, it will be very interesting to see what the Eagles' offense does come Sunday.
"You would have to assume that there will be some tweaks, some variations, some wrinkles in the Eagles' offense," Cosell said. "Now, you can't do this anyway in the course of a week during the season. It's not like you'll see a brand new offense. No team can do that, certainly not a team with a new quarterback.
"I mean, can Tom Brady and Bill Belichick do it? Sure, but they've been doing it for a long time. There's going to be some tweaks. Now the question is are the tweaks and wrinkles going to be unconventional, out of the box?"
Also on the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast:
Two-Techniquewith Brandon Graham at the 26:52 mark Saturday Scouting with Virginia Tech beat writer Andy Bitter at the 31:47 mark
To hear Duffy and Cosell's analysis week in and week out, be sure to subscribe to the podcast here.
- Julie Bacanskas