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June 10, 2017

What they're saying about Eagles: The deal with Matthews, the next Papale, and ... paintball?

The voluntary portion of the Eagles' offseason schedule is now over, and on Tuesday, mandatory minicamp gets underway. After that, the team will have some time off before returning to the NovaCare Complex for training camp in July. 

Needless to say, there's going to be a lot to talk about this week, but before looking forward, let's take one last look back at what the local and national media are saying about the Birds coming out of OTAs.

First, a look at some of the things we've been saying here at PhillyVoice:

     •  Thoughts on the 6 players who stood out to Pederson (Kempski)
     •  Eagles are going 'fullback by committee' (Kempski)
     •  Matthews' absence from spring practices is interesting (Kempski)
     •  In Year 2, Eagles' Pederson plans to stay aggressive on fourth down – and that's a good thing (Mullin)
     •  After impressing Pederson, Eagles rookie CB Rasul Douglas taking first-team reps (Mullin)
     •  Eagles OTA practice notes, June 8, 2017 (Kempski)

And, now, let's move on to what the other guys are saying about the Birds:

What’s really going on with Jordan Matthews?

Brandon Lee Gowton | Bleeding Green Nation
Our own Jimmy Kempski also wrote about Matthews' absence from OTAs. You can read more about that, here, but it's also worth noting that Jimmy wasn't alone in thought that there could be something more here:

Perhaps the Eagles’ messaging about Matthews should be taken at face value. It’s very possible the team is choosing to rest him so he’s ready in time to fully practice when training camp begins in late July.

It’s also easy to wonder if the Eagles’ approach has anything to do with the trade rumors Matthews has been involved in. And that wouldn’t conflict with anything they’ve said. But the reasoning behind the Eagles’ extra cautious approach with Matthews could be at least some what motivated by the fact he needs to be healthy in order to deal him.

Matthews downplayed the trade rumors when asked about them in late May. Of course, the decision isn’t up to him. There’s a very real chance the Eagles might not keep Matthews around beyond is year. He’s set to be a free agent after this season and he could desire more money than the Eagles are willing to pay. If that’s the case, Philadelphia should at least consider getting value for him now while they can.  []

'Invincible 2?' Local WR waits outside NovaCare with sign

Turron Davenport | The Eagles Wire

Rashaun Sligh is a local athlete that played high school football at Northeast High School in Philadelphia. Sligh went on to play for Valley Forge Military Academy before transferring to East Stroudsburg.

Sligh then transferred to Temple in the fall of 2014. That was when things started to get a bit more difficult. He lost his eligibility after transferring and fell upon some hard times…

Sligh was camped out in front of the Eagles facility last Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday while the team was going through OTAs. He plans to be back at his post again when the Eagles hold their minicamp next week.

His strategy awarded him a one on one conversation with one of the Eagles position coaches. Wide receivers coach Mike Groh stopped and talked to Sligh when he saw him. Ironically, one of the three positions that Sligh plays is wide receiver.  []

Why Birds aren’t interested in Maclin 'at this time'

Les Bowen | The Philadelphia Daily News

In 2017, is it likely Maclin will be more productive than fourth-round Eagles rookie Mack Hollins or fifth-round rookie Shelton Gibson? Yes. But Maclin, looking toward his ninth season at age 29, is unlikely to be all that productive in two or three years, when the Eagles think they'll be ready to seriously contend for a Super Bowl.

The Eagles aren't willing to give Maclin any of Hollins' 2017 reps. They even seem averse to declaring 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor a sunk cost, and in fact, Agholor seems like a new man at OTAs. (Yes, yes, stop snorting and waving your hand dismissively, I know, I'm just telling you how it looks right now.)

Pederson said there was no interest "at this time" because we all know how the NFL goes. Alshon Jeffery gets hurt or suspended again next week, the Eagles suddenly could be quite interested in Maclin, if he hasn't signed.  []

Wentz-Jeffery dubbed one of NFL’s ‘rising QB-WR combos’

Gil Brandt |

With a number of receivers and quarterbacks changing uniforms or pairing up for the first time in 2017, I thought I'd compile a list of rising QB-WR combinations with a good chance to join the upper echelon of aerial partnerships.

3) QB Carson Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles

Wentz faded after a fast start to his rookie season. Since then, he's had vision correction surgery and worked privately on mechanics and footwork. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman presented Wentz with the best offseason gift, signing Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Jeffery is a very underrated player who has been hampered mostly by lower-body injuries, which the Eagles think they have a plan in place to correct. Jeffery has the ninth-most receiving yards in the NFL since 2013 (4,182), along with 43 plays of 25-plus yards, tied with Julio Jones for the fifth-most in that span. I really like this pitch-and-catch duo to have a big season -- Wentz is good, and Jeffery will make him that much better.  []

Is Jenkins secretly ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World?’

Tim McManus | ESPN

Less than an hour after the Eagles wrapped up a day of OTAs, safety Malcolm Jenkins is on the road. By 3 p.m., he is halfway across the city in the back of his new, brick-and-mortar designer menswear store, Damari Savile, completing the transformation from football player to fashion aficionado. He emerges in a tailored dark blue suit and checkered shirt, sporting a few accessories, including a pin of a clinched, black fist like the one he raised above his head during the national anthem before all but one game last season…

Damari Saville officially opens Friday. Four days will be for appointments only, and three will be open to the public. Walk in, and you might have your measurements taken by Jenkins himself.

"That's kind of the fun part is that I actually enjoy picking out the fabrics and designing the suit," Jenkins said. "I obviously have a full-time job somewhere else, but when I can, I will be here. We've done that already -- taken people's measurements and orders -- and I've been very much a part of that process."  []

Eagles go on surprise paintball trip

Dave Zangaro | CSN Philly

Instead [of practicing], the team went on a 45-minute field trip by bus to play paintball as a team-building activity. When some players arrived at the NovaCare Complex on Friday morning, white Eagles busses were already waiting for them. 

"It was a great time," Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said in an interview with CSN's Derrick Gunn that will air on Quick Slants Friday night at 6 (part of it is above). "It's the first kind of team-building we've really done since I've been here. In the four years I've been here, we've always used the OTAs on the practice field. I thought it was extremely neat to go out there as a team. We bussed out there, it was about 45 minutes to where we went. And it was fun. Some of the guys have been paintballing a long time. I've never been, so I could see why they do it. It was pretty fun."  []

Five takeaways from OTAs

Brandon Lee Gowton, John Barchard, James Seltzer | BGN Radio

The BGN Radio crew discussed several topics coming out of OTAs and answered a ton of readers questions on their latest show. You can listen to the full podcast, here. In the meantime, here are their five biggest takeaways from OTAs:

1 - Carson Wentz hasn’t looked awesome
2 - Derek Barnett has been really impressive
3 - Rasul Douglas could be a starting cornerback by Week 1
4 - Nelson Agholor has been consistent, which is more impressive than flashes
5 - Shelton Gibson is going to take some time to develop

Johnson promises good season of staying in right lane

Bob Ford | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Lane Johnson bragging that he's the biggest he's ever been wasn't necessarily something to be expected this season, but if he's not worried, who among us should doubt him? He has sworn off supplements and says the weight is staying on him just fine.

"They claim they're certified, but I ain't risking it," he said.  []

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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