PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Darren Sproles is a veteran running back with 10 years of NFL experience. Jordan Matthews is a rookie wide receiver, yet to play a snap in the NFL. Both are new additions to the Eagles’ second ranked offense and both are adding to the hard working climate head coach Chip Kelly, and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, have built.
“I don’t know what he’s missing,” Shurmor said of Matthews—the Eagles’ second round draft pick—on Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show. “He’s big, he can run, he can catch, he works as hard as anyone. He was just out here catching extra balls while some guys were eating breakfast. He works extremely hard. You know, and then, he gets it. I mean, you need more than a fishing license to get in to Vanderbilt. So, I mean he’s got the mental capacity you know? He’s got really what you’re looking for and you add that with the fact that he works as hard in practices and trains as hard as anybody. I think the future—it’s going to be a bright future for him.”
Matthews, 22, was not heavily recruited out of high school, but excelled playing four years at Vanderbilt.
“This guy has learned how to work from the bottom and work his way through it, and that’s priceless,” Shurmur said of Matthews on Monday morning.
On March 13th, the Eagles acquired Sproles from the New Orleans Saints for a fifth-round draft pick. The electrifying scat-back has accumulated over 2,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards, while playing 122 career games with the Chargers and Saints. Immediately in Philadelphia, his work ethic is evident.
“He’s an outstanding player and you can see right away why he’s had success for so long, just in the training sessions,” Shurmur said of Sproles. “He’s the hardest worker we have out there. He catches every ball, finishes, he’s smart, we can move him around. He’s a running back and that’s where he plays, but if we want to move him out of the backfield or line him up at some wide receiver position he can handle it. He’s a tough guy to deal with.”
While Matthews and Sproles are exhibiting their intense work ethics, already during their second practice of training camp, a little scuffle broke out between LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole. Shurmur says he likes to see the competitive spirit.
“It’s boys being boys,” Shurmur explained. “There’s times where this kind of stuff happens. It’s a very competitive environment. Certainly every time you’re out there playing you want to be a good teammate, you want to get your work done and help the guy playing against you get better. Hey, every once in awhile those competitive juices spill over and hey, it worked out fine. It’s nice to see guys competing instead of just going through the motions.”
As for the reigning NFL rushing champ, Shurmur says “Shady” has actually lost weight and is in excellent shape.
“From our standpoint and watching the way he’s come back from the summer, he’s in great shape—he’s actually lost a couple of pounds,” Shurmur said of McCoy. “And just based on the first two training sessions here, he’s moving around great. He understands that he’s got a chance to have a great year and he’s gotten himself in shape, and he’s ready to go.”
Quarterback Nick Foles enters this season as the clear starter for the first time in his career, coming off a season where he lead the NFL in passer rating. However, critics have questioned his timid personality as a leader. Shurmur disagrees.
“Obviously I’ve heard some of the comments and read some of what’s been said and I totally disagree with it,” Shurmur said of Foles. “You know, people are who they are and I think what’s most important for a quarterback is to be genuine. Behind the scenes, and in the huddle, and interacting with the players, there’s absolutely no question in anybody’s minds over here at the NovaCare Complex—especially mine—there’s no question in my mind that he knows how to lead this team and he’s got a great effect on all of the players around him.”
With a year to study tape and learn about what the Eagles do, some are concerned opposing defenses will be better prepared to stop the fast-paced offense. Not so fast.
“We’re going to do some new things on offense, some of them might be obvious to the fans, some things not so obvious that’ll keep defenses thinking a little bit,” Shurmur said. “And so, we’re going to change and evolve a little bit. The fact that teams have seen what we do and have studied it, well, we’ve done the same thing.”
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