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The Linc: Is Jordan Hicks a Pro Bowl-caliber player?

I’d say yes. What about you?

Eagles news and notes for 12/16

Jordan Hicks ... Pro Bowl? Why Not? -

This is a long shot, for sure, and it's a feel-good story for a 5-8 football team, but it's time to consider what the Eagles have in the middle of their defense: Jordan Hicks, in his second season, has played at a Pro Bowl level this season.

Does that mean he's going to hear his name called when the NFL Network has its Pro Bowl Selection Show on Tuesday? Maybe. Maybe not. Hicks is a second-year player who hasn't yet established his name and his reputation throughout the league, but that's going to come in time. What we've seen from Hicks in 13 games has been encouraging and impressive.

"He's been playing at a high level for us this year, playing good against the run and the pass," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "There's a lot on his plate when it comes to making adjustments, making checks. We have a lot of calls that are double calls, one call versus one thing, another versus something else. Does a good job with all that stuff. I think he's been a good, consistent player for us this year."

Hicks doesn't have eye-popping numbers with just one quarterback sack, one fumble recovery and 78 total tackles, third on the team. He's got just four tackles for loss. But what Hicks has done in his second NFL season has really been exciting, because the Eagles moved him into the middle linebacker position this year and hoped for the best. They knew he had the required nose for the football, which he showed last year as a rookie. They knew he had the football IQ for the game. What they didn't know was how his body, at 6-1 and 236 pounds, would hold up.

So far, so good. Fingers crossed.

Three Philadelphia Eagles Numbers That Matter For Ravens Week - Birds 24/7

75.5 – The Ravens allow the least rushing yards per game in the NFL.

Baltimore boasts the best run defense in the league. That’s not good news for the Eagles. Philadelphia is undermanned at the running back position. Veteran offensive weapon Darren Sproles might miss this week’s game if he doesn’t pass through the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol. Rookie rusher Wendell Smallwood was just placed on injured reserve.

If Sproles can’t play, the Eagles will be left with an uninspiring group of rushers to work with. Eagles leading rusher Ryan Mathews always gets hurt. Kenjon Barner has never been trusted with a big workload and he was a healthy scratch against Washington. Undrafted rookie free agent Byron Marshall was only called up from the practice squad earlier this week.

Even if the Eagles’ rushing talent was favorable, Philadelphia is still dealing with a lot of offensive line issues. The Birds will be forced to start their fifth string option at right tackle, rookie interior blocker Isaac Seumalo, if Allen Barbre can’t play this week. Josh Andrews would be the starter at right guard if Brandon Brooks gets sick again on short notice before kickoff. It’s not an ideal lineup up front.

If the Eagles aren’t able to run the ball effectively, which seems likely, that means Philadelphia will once again have to rely on Carson Wentz’s arm. Wentz played a great game against Washington — arguably his best of the season — but having the rookie quarterback throw all day is hardly a sustainable recipe for success.

Braman calls hit on Darren Sproles 'perfect definition of targeting' - Daily News

"He just mistimed it,’’ Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday. "He wasn’t trying to injure, and that’s an unfortunate deal. He was apologetic about it. But I love his energy. He plays hard, he plays fast. Special teams, he has made his mark.’’

Poor choice of words there, Coach, especially to someone like Bryan Braman, who was still stewing about the hit when I asked him about it Wednesday in the Eagles' locker room. An undrafted free agent like Everett, Braman has been doing for six seasons what Everett has been doing for one. And "War-daddy," as punter Donnie Jones calls him, understands his razor’s edge existence depends on how noticeable he can be in just a few plays every Sunday.

He also understands how quickly he’ll be gone if those plays are not made judiciously. Which gives him a better read on that play, including the pivotal question: whether it was a Fair Catch or not.

"I guess I’m a little different," Braman said. "Because as a cover guy, you’re focused on the returner. Where he goes, you go. You’re not watching the ball through the air. You’re watching the returner, the returner is going to take you to the ball. It’s hard for me to believe you didn’t see a fair catch.

"If he didn’t fair catch it than I can see a difference between just getting there early and a fair catch. But there was a lot there to make me think it was a little easier for him to make that game-time decision than just blame it on being quick."

Steve Smith Sr. tosses helmet, boots football after practice miscues - ESPN

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. showed his frustration during Thursday's practice when he tossed his helmet and then kicked a football.

The outburst came in the first hour of practice, after Joe Flacco overthrew Smith on consecutive deep passes along the sideline. Smith ripped off his helmet and threw it about 15 yards toward the end zone. He then booted a football that was on the ground.

Smith walked to the corner of the indoor facility and sat by himself. Flacco and the rest of the offense never stopped, continuing the passing drills without Smith.

"The reason I did it is because I wanted to," Smith told ESPN.

Sitting in front of his locker, Smith looked at reports about his eruption at practice on his phone.

"According to you guys, you already know," he said. "Why am I going to comment if you already know? ... I don't have to explain anything to you. I can choose to do what I want to."

Smith, 37, is likely playing the final few games of his stellar career. He hasn't announced his retirement, but he has told coach John Harbaugh that this would be his final season.

After a tough 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots on Monday night, Smith talked about how he was trying to stay positive.

Now what? That's the question for Doug Baldwin and other athlete activists — SI

That's what makes sports activism different in 2016, more like what happened in the '60s, says Anthony. “I think you'll see more people doing things. People are starting to feel more comfortable using their voice.”

Finding that voice is the hard part. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins had never paid great attention to the news, never done this much research. But the momentum of the movement today has changed that. “It's still building,” he says. “I got sick of all the hashtags, all the T-shirts, because eventually they come off.”

Jenkins raised a fist during the anthem on Sept. 19, before his team trounced the Bears. But his subsequent meeting with Philadelphia's police commissioner and his visit to Capitol Hill last month to meet with Congressional officials, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, meant something else. “The more people I meet, the bigger this seems,” he says. “But I also feel better equipped.”

In the fall, Jenkins and two teammates, Ron Brooks and Steven Means, rode along in a Philadelphia police car and observed as officers tried to better connect with their community. Jenkins started to see police brutality more as a “symptom of a broken justice system.” He felt empathy for officers who wanted better training and more emphasis on rehabilitating offenders. Many of those officers wanted change as much as he did.

He also saw how the dynamic between police and the community varied from one block to the next. At one stop officers would converse with citizens, sometimes even hugging. At another, the officers responded to a shooting and encountered a woman who said she rarely ventured outside. Gunfire was so common in the area, she hadn't noticed that a bullet had broken her window. As Jenkins listened, the complications of police work became obvious. He'd not considered the officers' vantage point before.

This post first appeared on Bleeding Green Nation, A Philadelphia Eagles Commu, please read the originial post: here

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The Linc: Is Jordan Hicks a Pro Bowl-caliber player?


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