PHILADELPHIA – Cleaning out some leftovers from Eagles OTAs…
Much was made of the size of rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis, and at 6-6, 340-ish there’s a lot to make of Davis.
A.J. Brown, however, was just as impressive. He’s not as large as Davis, obviously, but the Eagles receiver, when viewed up close, is just as imposing at 6-1, 226.
It’s no wonder he is hard to bring down after he catches the ball.
CB Darius Slay compared him to a running back when Brown makes a catch and turns up field.
Asked about those running back traits by SI Fan Nation’s Eagles Today, Brown gave perhaps one of the best answers of spring.
“I played running back in Pee-wee football, but that just comes from me being fearless,” he said. “I try my best to not let one guy tackle me. You know, if I see one guy, I gotta get past him. I'm not trying to create a highlight I'm trying to score a touchdown.
“You know I'm not trying to get a highlight reel. I'm trying to score, so however it may look, I get past, I stiff-arm him, run him over, whatever it is I'm trying to score. That's my objective."
Connecting and bonding
They were the keywords of spring.
That philosophy is one pillar of Nick Sirianni’s five core principles and hardly a player interview went by when the words weren’t mentioned.
There were plenty of examples of bonding – from raising money at Eagles Autism Challenge to the mural painted at a West Philly elementary school.
There was bowling and even, for about a dozen players a trip to Boston to watch the Celtics against the Miami Heat in a playoff game.
“I know Mr. Lurie is a big-time Celtics fan, that being his home ground,” said Hurts. “And Smitty (DeVonta Smith) is a big-time Celtics fan as well. So, initially, we were going to go up there, Smitty, I, and A.J. and just go watch the game, get to know each other, with Mr. Lurie, coach Sirianni.
“We were going to take a trip up there and go enjoy the game. And we ended up taking a whole group, about 12 guys. It was a great time, a great time of team bonding.
"It was a great game, great atmosphere. It was something we had never really gotten to experience before. I know I personally haven’t. I’ve never been to a playoff basketball game, so that was pretty cool. I actually had been to the Sixers, but a little different.”
Slay was probably spending time with his family, something he said he does plenty of during the offseason, when he got a text about the game, saying, ‘Slay, do you want to go to the Celtics game?’
“I said, ‘Hell, yes. Why wouldn’t I want to go?’ It was a blessing. Shoutout to Mr. Lurie for doing that for us. It was a blessing. I got to hang with some teammates again. Building bonds. Like I said, Coach is real big on bonding. And that’s something we do real well as a team and as a unit here.”
Advice to Smitty
Speaking of Slay, he was asked what he’s noticing about Smith as he prepares to enter Year 2 of his career.
“Just getting better at understanding,” said the veteran CB. “Like I always tell him, in college, man, you’re the Heisman Trophy. He was better than everybody out there. In the league, man, there’s no separation when it comes to talent.
“It’s about who does the best technique at the end of the day. So, I just told him, make everything look the same and make sure you just be a good player, consistent. And he does that very well right now.
"Definitely going against me and all the other guys out here, our goal is to make him one of the best in the game, and he strives to be that. We’ll continue to keep working each other and get him better.”
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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.