NFC Notes: Eagles, Giants, Washington

     

Eagles

Traditionally under HC Doug Pederson, the Eagles have preferred to operate with an extreme committee approach at running back, with three and sometimes four ball carriers with roles in the rotation. However, after an impressive rookie year from 2019 second-round RB Miles Sanders, that could be changing in 2020. 

“I’m excited about him handling the full load,” assistant HC/RB coach Duce Staley said via the Athletic’s Zach Berman. “I don’t see Miles as a guy that you’ve got to monitor his touches. … I think you put him in and you let him go.”

  • The Eagles haven’t added any veteran backs to the roster this offseason despite being linked to a few, leaving RB Boston Scott as Staley’s likely No. 2 back: “We call him ‘Little Big Man.’ He’s small, but he runs big. He has that quick twitch — he can make people miss or he can actually run past you. And his hands are good.”
  • Eagles RB Corey Clement is the current No. 3, with 2018 UDFA Elijah Holyfield and 2019 UDFA’s Michael Warren and Adrian Killins pushing for a spot. Staley thinks the 5-9, 218-pound Warren offers something different: “I love this kid’s film. He may be a little bigger than some of the backs we have. But I tell you, his feet are maybe nicer than some of the backs we have. So, he may look like a bowling ball, he can run you over, but he can also make you miss.”
  • At 5-8 and 177 pounds, Killins has a different skillset but one Staley also finds intriguing: “If you go back and watch the highlight film, man, he’s explosive. One of the things of course is his size … but I strongly believe … if you’re small, you’ve got to be special. And if you are both, boom, you have a chance. So you just can’t be small and not special. Usually those guys don’t make it. Well, put him in that category of being small and special.”

Giants

When Giants TE Evan Engram has been on the field, he’s been one of the most dangerous receiving tight ends in the NFL the past three years. Actually being on the field has been the catch, though, as Engram has missed 14 of 48 possible games, including half of last year with a foot injury. Engram has heard the criticism that he’s an injury-prone player but he says he feels great going into 2020 and isn’t listening to any outside noise. 

“I feel great. I’ve had a very blessed offseason,” Engram said via the team website. “I’ve been working my butt off in rehab and getting back. Right now, I am just going out and doing everything I can for the team and what practice is with the trainers. I’m not really worried about what all the other people are saying. I can only control what’s in front of me each and every day. That’s coming in, working hard during training camp and learning this offense and being a good teammate and a good leader.”

  • Giants OC Jason Garrett has been impressed with Giants QB Daniel Jones so far: “He clearly has ability. He has a big arm. He’s always trying to find a way to gain more knowledge and become a better quarterback.” (Ralph Vacchiano)
  • When asked if he’ll play a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, Giants DC Patrick Graham said New York plans to be multiple: “I always answer ‘Yes.’ … 3-4, 4-3, 2-4, 3-3-5 … whatever you say, I’ll say ‘Yes.’” (Vacchiano)
  • Giants OL Nick Gates‘ two-year, $6.825 million extension includes a $1.5 million signing bonus and $3.175 million total guaranteed. (Dan Duggan)
  • Gates will make base salaries of $675,000, $2.8 million ($1 million guaranteed) and $2.05 million during his three years under contract. He also has a $25,000 workout bonus in 2021 and 2022 and a $425 bonus per each game active in 2022. 
  • Giants K Chandler Catanzaro signed a one-year, $910,000 deal for the veteran minimum and counts just $750,000 against New York’s cap due to the veteran salary benefit. 

Washington

While Washington QB Alex Smith has an established history as a reliable veteran in the NFL, part of the calculus for HC Ron Rivera asserting Smith will join the quarterback competition if he’s cleared from his injury is testing 2019 first-round QB Dwayne Haskins. So far, Haskins has responded to the challenge and is saying the right things. 

“I’m excited for Alex,” Haskins said via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “I hope he gets back to full 100 percent health. Whoever is in the quarterback room, I have to compete with, and even though he’s not really practicing with the offense, he’s still working hard, and even if we get to run against each other in competition and drills, I’m trying to make sure he gets me better and I get him better. We look at Alex as somebody who’s a mentor in the room that can help us every day as far as getting ready for who we’re playing each week and who we’re getting ready for next week.”

Haskins’ struggles as a rookie were well-documented. But the second-year player has responded to Rivera’s challenge, losing weight and getting in better shape while also showing a much stronger command of the playbook. Rivera wanted Haskins to seize the role of franchise quarterback for the Washington Football Team and that’s what Haskins is determined to do. 

“I think mostly it’s just a mentality, going in every day and handling your business on and off the field,” Haskins said via Jhabvala. “I just know you have to have a certain presence and confidence when commanding an offense or commanding the huddle. Having learned that going into the last couple games of the season last year, I’ve just been trying to master the same edge that a Tom Brady or a Drew Brees has when he steps into the building; you know that he’s there. …The offense needs a guy that’s going to take ownership and lead, and why not be me? So that’s what I’ve been doing.” 

  • Washington DE Ryan Kerrigan said he’s made it clear publicly and privately he’d like to remain with the team beyond the conclusion of his contract this season: “Want to show the coaches I’m someone they can rely on.” (John Keim)
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