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The Read-Option: A Bigger Impact


Happy Friday, Eagles fans! The game is just two day away, but while you wait for Sunday afternoon, catch up on all the latest Eagles content in the November 20th edition of The Read-Option ...

Jenkins: More Than Just A Safety - Max Rappaport

"If you asked fans in pretty much any NFL city in America what position they'd want to play if they were to step onto the gridiron, almost all would say quarterback, running back or wide receiver. After all, they're the players who get the glory. But Philadelphians are a different breed. Take a stroll through the parking lots outside Lincoln Financial Field on a Sunday morning and ask tailgaters which position they'd play. You'll hear a lot of people saying safety and linebacker.

'The safety position in Philadelphia is different,' Dawkins explained. 'In other places, safety is just a part of the defense, the last line of the defense, but in Philadelphia he's the game-changer. ... If you give one of the Philadelphia fans a chance to go out on the football field and play, that's probably what they would do. They wouldn't be all calm. They wouldn't be all to themselves. They'd have a great time, and I think that's the reason my connection with the fans was so strong. They knew I gave it everything that I had, and they knew I had fun with it, and I wore my emotions on my sleeve.'

Brian Dawkins had a connection with the fans that was like few other players in the history of the NFL. He spent 13 seasons in Philadelphia, earning nine trips to the Pro Bowl and six All-Pro honors. Three years ago, his number was officially retired. Jenkins has only been in Philadelphia for two years, missing Dawkins' tenure by five years, but he understands completely why the fans loved No. 20 so much.

'The safety position reflects the personality of the fan base,' Jenkins said. 'Usually your safeties are your hard workers, they have a chip on their shoulder, a lot of enthusiasm, and they're smaller guys hitting bigger guys. And I think that's kind of the mentality of Philadelphia. This city isn't too fond of guys who don't show enthusiasm. If you're an even-keel player, you better make a lot of plays, because they like to see the passion for the game, and I think that's why they loved Dawkins so much. People say they love watching me play, not because I make the most plays or lead the league in interceptions, but just because of my passion.'"

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The Eagles continued to be aggressive at today's practice in preparation for the Tampa Bay game. View the full gallery here...

The Last Word: Ted Williams' Amazing Run - Dave Spadaro

"Dave Spadaro: What is your scouting report on the long line of backs you worked with here?

Ted Williams: Ricky was the consummate worker. He was blessed to have been in the shadow of Jerry Rice with the 49ers. Jerry held him accountable. Ricky always worked. Strong, powerful runner. Very gifted individual. Charlie was probably the best athlete of the group. Fast. There were things he could do with the football that defied explanation.

Duce Staley was the consummate team player. He came in as a running back, but he wanted to get on the field and they asked him if he would play fullback and he said, 'I'll play anything.' He was able to learn two positions, which is very difficult at this level. Very smart guy. What he did as a rookie was far beyond what any rookie ever did. Duce did it all.

I remember Brian Westbrook's workout day here and he brought a guy with him to throw him the ball. Guy couldn't hit the broad side of the barn. Threw everywhere but to Brian, but Brian caught everything. He put on a show as far as versatility. Brian was so humble. Had a knee injury, went to a small school at Villanova. I don't know if he had a chip on his shoulder, but he played like he had one.

Correll Buckhalter was a joy to coach. He knew how to work and he had a quiet confidence about him. He never backed down from anything. He had those knee injuries, and that's a shame.

LeSean McCoy was one of my favorites. He was so young when we got him. The way he made people miss in a small area was so rare.

DS: Then you went back to tight ends and had success with Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. How was that?

TW: Great. They are football players. Professionals. They understood the partnership between the player and the coach.

DS: What is a gameday like for a coach?

TW: When I first got to the NFL, I was so thrilled. I saw all these things on television and I thought, 'Wow, I'm really here.' That wears off. We went 1-3 in my first four games and I realized how hard the NFL is. The thrill of gameday is watching guys prepare to go out there and see all of their hard work pay off. They take that first hit and you see if the players are up to the task. I relish in the success of the people I've worked with for so many years have had. I enjoy the camaraderie. The only thing that lasts is the relationships that have been built."

Eagle Eye: Chalk Talk

Other Views

Eagles' Brandon Graham A Hit In Starting Role - Paul Domowitch, Daily News

"Brandon Graham long ago gave up fretting about what other people think of him.

If you still think the Eagles screwed up royally five years ago when they selected Graham with the 13th pick in the 2010 draft instead of safety Earl Thomas or defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, well, that's your problem, not his.

He is comfortable in his own skin, comfortable with the player he has become. And frankly, so are the Eagles.

As the third outside linebacker last year behind Trent Cole and Connor Barwin, he played 499 snaps and had 5 1/2 sacks and a team-high four forced fumbles.

In the offseason, the Eagles released the 33-year-old Cole and re-signed Graham, an unrestricted free agent, to a four-year, $26 million contract, half of which is guaranteed.

While the new deal has given him long-term financial security, the 27-year-old Graham hasn't become fat and happy. He's been playing like a guy living paycheck to paycheck this season.

Replacing Cole as a starter, Graham is having a very good season. He is second on the team in sacks (4 1/2), tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (three) and tied for second in tackles for losses (7 1/2).

'The thing about B.G.,' said Barwin, 'is he didn't try to change who he is to become an outside linebacker. He took what he's good at and who he is and used that to play the position how he can play it. And obviously, he's played it well that way.'"

Rowe Hopes To Make Bigger Impact Down The Stretch - Nick Fierro, The Morning Call

"Never did cornerback Eric Rowe believe he was a forgotten player. This, despite being limited to special teams after getting an interception in his first action with the Philadelphia Eagles defense in a Week 3 victory and playing nearly every snap the following week.

'I kind of took [not playing] as being a rookie and having to go through it,' Rowe said Wednesday. 'A lot of the vets, like Nolan Carroll and Byron Maxwell, told me that they had the same thing happen to them in their rookie years and even in their second year. I was like, `OK, I understand that.''

Rowe was inserted originally when safety Chris Maragos was forced out with a quadriceps injury. So when Maragos returned two weeks later, he was back ahead of Rowe, and so was veteran corner E.J. Biggers, who barely played the first two weeks.

'I was surprised at first,' Rowe said, 'but I understand the process. You have to look at it from the coaches' point of view. When everybody got back healthy, they jumped back in front of me. So I was like, 'OK, cool, I'm going to keep working, just in case the opportunity comes again.''

According to Rowe, that's what's happening this week as he's being given first-team repetitions in practices (that are closed to the media) as an outside corner in the dime (six defensive backs) package.

A day earlier, defensive coordinator Billy Davis hinted that more would be expected of Rowe in the second half of the season."

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