Tag Archives: Trent Cole

Eagles Moving Closer to Being Ready for the Regular Season

24 Aug

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy scores on a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Foles. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy scores on a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Foles. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Perhaps the biggest questions for the Eagles coming into the 2014 season is how much has their defense improved and can the offense put up even bigger numbers than they did last season?

On the defensive side of the ball, the answer  has come with some uncertainty throughout the preseason. Last week against the New England Patriots, the Birds starters and reserves got pushed up and down the field for over 400 yards of offense.

The Eagles starters on defense got a better sense of themselves in the Birds 31-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night at Lincoln Financial  in the pivotal third preseason game, considered to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

Mychal Kendricks and Trent Cole go after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Thursday's preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Mychal Kendricks and Trent Cole go after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Thursday’s preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Webster Riddick.

The Birds held Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense to 94 yards in the first half before letting the second team take over late in the first half. It was a good bounce-back from their performance against the Patriots.

What impressed defensive coordinator Bill Davis was the way his team got off the field on third down situations, something they didn’t do against the Patriots. The Eagles starters were 3-of-7 in stopping third down conversions.

“It was real nice and we know third downs are a point of emphasis for us,” Davis said. “It hasn’t been good enough, we moved forward. … We have to do better than we did tonight, but I did like the way it got better.”

With the season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars (Sept. 7) on the horizon, the defense still has a lot of work to do to be ready for the regular season.

“Personally, you should never be satisfied,” said Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole. “We have room to improve. I think we’re ready, but there’s always room to improve. While we’re on the right road and everything’s in the right direction and looking good out there, now we can improve on the positive things that we took from this game and improve all week.”

The only disclaimer to the Eagles improved play on defense is that they were facing a bad Steelers offense that couldn’t get out of its own way.

Roethlisberger was out of sync with his receivers and they just couldn’t establish any kind of rhythm offensively.  Quite frankly, the Steelers were just awful on offense and didn’t get on the scoreboard until the second half when the Eagles second team took the field.
If there’s a unit that is ready to start the season, it’s the Eagles offense. During their stint on the field in the first half, the Birds first-team offense rolled out to a 17-0 halftime lead on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to LeSean McCoy, a one-yard run from running back Darren Sproles and a 36-yard field goal by Alex Henery.

With the preseason behind the first-team starters on offense, the Birds seem to be pleased with the progress they’ve made from the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

“I feel like we’ve improved as a unit and as a team,” said Foles, who completed 19-of-29 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception. “There are a lot of corrections to make from this game, but I feel like we out there and got in a rhythm faster and started moving the football. “

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin grabs his right knee in pain after his foot apparently got stuck in the turf. He was not seriously injured. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin grabs his right knee in pain after his foot apparently got stuck in the turf. He was not seriously injured. Photo by Webster Riddick.

The one thing the Eagles will have when they open the season is their starting wide receivers—Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.

Things got scary midway through the first half when Maclin’s right knee buckled into the Lincoln Financial Field turf. The crowd held its collective breath with Maclin writhing in pain from the same knee that put him on the injured reserve list last season.

After returning to the sideline, Maclin started running like normal and eventually got back out on the field. But he admitted that he got a little worried.

“Absolutely, it is something that brought back flashbacks,” said Maclin, who caught six passes 43 yards. “When I got up and could walk when the initial shock went away. I was pretty good.”

The Eagles have one last preseason game next Thursday (Aug.28) against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field. The game will be played by second and third string guys still trying to make the team.

Notes- On Saturday, the Eagles cut 14 players. All NFL teams must cut down their rosters to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles roster currently stands at 76. Here are the players who were released:
TE Blake Annen
OL Michael Bamiro
OL Karim Barton
WR Kadron Boone
WR B.J. Cunningham
OL Donald Hawkins
TE Emil Igwenagu
LB Jake Knott
DE Joe Kruger
S Daytawion Lowe
DE Frances Mays
S Davon Morgan
K Carey Spear
DE Alejandro Villanueva

Bring on the Cowboys: Eagles Ready for Big D Showdown After Stomping the Bears

23 Dec

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

LeSean McCoy scores two touchdowns in win over the Bears. Photo by Webster Riddick.

LeSean McCoy scores two touchdowns in win over the Bears. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—It’s official, the Eagles 2013 season will come down to a nationally-televised Sunday evening contest in Dallas.

It’s win or your season is over.

“It’s going to be the biggest show on earth and it’s going to be a circus down there like always and we’re going to treat them like every other team,” said Eagles linebacker Trent Cole.

Actually next week’s matchup was decided before the Birds put a king-sized 54-11 butt-whuppin’ on the Chicago Bears in their final regular-game at Lincoln Financial Field when the Cowboys got a last-second win over the Washington Redskins.

Suffice it to say, the Birds are now in playoff mode.

“Playoffs just start a week early for both teams,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “If you win, you get an opportunity to keep playing. You lose, you’re going home.”

Though the game was meaningless to them, a fired-up Eagles squad made quick work of a Bears squad who blew an opportunity to clinch the NFC North. The Birds played like a team with its season on the line.

“Very simply, we’re from Philadelphia and we fight. That’s it,” Kelly said. “If there’s a game on, we’re playing, end of story. All this stuff about backing in and not worry about things, I have no idea. There’s so many different scenarios. It could have been a tie. What if there’s a tie when we go to play Dallas next week and then we give a game away the last week?

“If we’re going to line up and kick off, you tell us what time to show up and we’ll be there.”

The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a one yard by LeSean McCoy and pair of Nick Foles touchdown passes to wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Brent Celek.

In the second quarter, the Birds added a 49-yard field goal by Alex Henery. The Bears got on the board with time running out in the half on a 50-yard field by Robbie Gould.

The Birds ended the competitive portion of the game early in the third quarter on a safety forced by defensive end Cedric Thornton, who tackled Bears running back Matt Forte in the end zone. After the free kick, the Eagles drove 67 yards in six plays to McCoy’s second one-yard touchdown run.

That’s when Eagles fans starting chanting, “Dallas Sucks” and “We want Dallas.”

Speaking of Shady, the Eagles put the ball in McCoy’s hands early and often after giving him only eight carries against Minnesota last week. He gained 133 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns.  McCoy is 37 yards away from Wilbert Montgomery’s club record for yard rushing in a single-season.

“Shady said early in the week that he wanted to put the offense on his back,” said Eagles center Jason Kelce.  “I think that everybody saw on film that this was a team that can give up some big plays on the ground, so it’s exciting to see such a crucial player in your offense to be that enthusiastic about taking over a game.”

For the game, the Eagles rushed for 289 yards. Along with McCoy’s rushing totals, back running back Bryce Brown gained 115 yards, including a 65-yard run for a touchdown.

Defensively, the Eagles dominated Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, sacking him five times. Leading the Birds charge was linebacker Cole who had the pleasure of putting Cutler to the turf three times.

“Trent was lights out tonight and that’s what Trent is capable of doing,” said Eagles inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “He’s capable of taking over games, dominating the offensive tackles, getting to the quarterback. That’s what he’s capable of doing.”

The Eagles also forced two turnovers including a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown by nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin.

 

 

 

The Quarterback Hunter: Trent Cole Comes up for Big Eagles in Win Over Chicago

23 Dec

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

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Trent Cole (58) sacked Jay Cutler three times in the Eagles win over the Bears. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Trent Cole (58) sacked Jay Cutler three times in the Eagles win over the Bears. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—One of Trent Cole’s favorite pastimes, whether it’s on or off the field is hunting.  Off the field, it’s usually a deer running through the woods within the periscope of Cole’s shotgun.

On the field, Cole has always had a passion for hunting down quarterbacks and putting them to the turf.  In the Eagles 54-11 blowout of the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field, Coles hounded Bears quarterback Jay Cutler as if he were a Lion stalking its prey.

“He doesn’t know what he means to this team,” said Eagles inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks. “He just goes out there and he just plays his heart out. I don’t think he realizes the type of energy and the type  of charge he gives the offense when he makes those big time plays on third down.

“When we see him make a play, here’s a guy still doing what he’s doing, raising the bar on every play. He just goes, man. …He’s a big part of this team.”

Cole had three of the Eagles five sacks on including one on the game’s third play that forced an early Bears punt. After the game, Cole’s teammates said he set the tone for the defense with his aggressiveness.

“Trent was lights out tonight and that’s what Trent is capable of doing,” said Eagles inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “He’s capable of taking over games, dominating the offensive tackles, getting to the quarterback. That’s what he’s capable of doing.

“We just had to put him into situations where he is able to rush the passer and showcase his talents.”

Cole said he likes to be the catalyst of the defense and to make things happen to get the team going.

“As a team player, I want to go out there and make an impact and do whatever I have to make an impact on this team,” said Cole after Sunday’s game.

With the new coaching staff and the Eagles 3-4 defense, Cole had to make the difficult transition from being a defensive end in a three-point stance to a stand-up outside linebacker, something that wasn’t all that easy for him.

“I kept a great attitude about it. That transition from eight years as a defensive end and now transitioning into a linebacker in my ninth year is kind of hard, you got to suck it up,” Cole said. “I told myself that I was going to be great at this position. I kept a good attitude about it and listened to the coaches and talked to some of my teammates about how to play outside linebacker.

“Things are going good for me, I’m just going to keep improving and doing what I can.”

So far this season, Cole has eight sacks from the linebacker spot, not bad for a guy who hasn’t played the linebacker position during his professional career.

“It’s a tough transition when you ask a guy who has been rushing for 10 years to drop back and cover zones and things like that. That’s a big chance,” Ryans said. “That’s a big change. He’s an unselfish player and he does whatever we need him to do for our team to win.”

Elimination Game: Birds Fight to Hold on their Jobs

29 Nov

With the release of veteran defensive end Jason Babin, Eagles players are wondering who’s next . Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles cut defensive end Jason Babin.  Are More Heads on the Chopping Block?

Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

Near the closing minutes of a playoff game when the outcome has been decided, former NFL head coach and TV  color analyst John Madden used to talked about the finality for the losing team and the realization that the season is coming to an abrupt end.

For the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles and for that matter every other non-playoff team , the realization that they are not going to the postseason manifests itself with sudden personnel changes, speculation about the futures of the coaching staff  and players trying to put a positive spin on what has otherwise been a horrible season.

“I feel like on paper, the talent on this roster is ridiculous, but you don’t play the games on paper,” said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. “It’s the turnovers, the penalties, the injuries, which aren’t little. That’s how it’s going. We just got to keep positive.”

The only elimination game the players are in now is the fight to hang onto their ability to make a living as football players. The Eagles released veteran defensive end Jason Babin, who had 18 sacks last year and went to the Pro Bowl.

Of course, head coach Andy Reid said it was to give younger players like defensive end Vinny Curry a chance to play.  In a real sense, Babin’s release is a reminder that the Eagles right now are a sinking ship. When the boat is going under, everybody is expendable.

“It’s a process and the way things are done in the NFL,” said defensive end Trent Cole. “I don’t live life worried. I live for the next day and I worry about what’s now. When I worry about now, I don’t have to worry about the future.”

Considering that Cole has just 1.5 sacks, it makes you wonder why he wasn’t the one who got cut. Oddly enough , Babin was in Cole’s garage when he got the phone call from Reid that he had been cut. In the aftermath of Babin getting cut, Cole said there was a point where he had to turn off his cell phone.

“I’m just going to keep [coming here] every day. I’m just going to keep doing my job and [keep] working at it. If my day comes, my day comes,” Cole said.  “I’ve had the realization my day is going to come near and this is what it is. Me, personally, I had that realization that I’m just going to play until I can’t play anymore.”

Looking at the way at the Eagles secondary has played this season where blown coverage’s have become a weekly occurrence, you would think that somebody on that unit would have gotten their walking papers as well.

By the end of the season you will see a huge exodus of players to go along with a few coaches like defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and of course, Reid.

Prior to Monday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, former Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame, said he doesn’t blame Reid for the team’s 3-8 record.

“It’s about the guys in that locker room because we’ve seen the system work and at times, it’s worked brilliant,” Vincent said. “Teams don’t win in the National Football League because they’re the most talented team. It’s about execution. At the end of the day, it’s about locker room accountability.”

Vincent said he has seen in chinks in this team’s armor from the way they’ve conducted themselves on the sidelines and from quotes that he’s read, it’s not surprising that the losses have happened with the current group of Eagles players.

Last week, DeSean Jackson, who is out for the season with broken ribs, said the Birds lacked the kind of veteran leadership in the locker room that he saw from veterans like Brian Dawkins when he was a rookie.

But Maclin said not having that presence of guys who’ve been around for awhile is no excuse for the Eagles to be where they are now.

“I don’t feel that’s any reason for us to be sitting where we are,” Maclin said. “I feel like everybody is not like that (Dawkins), everybody’s not that kind of person. The way you handle that is to understand the personalities on your football team and for guys to respect each other and that’s how we turn this around.”