FanPost

Eagles Academy for Men (Pics Fixed)

Rich Schultz

Sup guys,

I was the lucky winner of the tickets for this weekend’s Eagles Academy for Men. First and foremost, I would like to thank Jason and the rest of the gang for allowing me the awesome opportunity. I took my dad as my guest and it was a real solid bonding time.

Alright I’m going to try and keep this as interesting and informative as possible. Hopefully I can make this experience as vivid as possible in your minds.

We woke up this morning around 7 at our home on Long Island and sped our way to Philly like any New Yorker would.

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We arrived around 9:30 and saw numerous teenagers and men throwing around footballs awaiting registration. Once registration commenced and we headed through the NovaCare Complex there were several images in the initial hallway. First there was the "groundbreaking shovel" from the 2004 construction. (see below)

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Throughout the rest of the hallway were pieces dedicated to each decade of Eagles history (see 1930s and 2000s below).

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We made our way into the auditorium where we were welcomed by a marketing woman for the Birds. She introduced the man of the hour, Jon Dorenbos. Yes. Jon DorenBOSS. The dude comes up and talks for a good bit. Awesome, awesome guy. I’m sure we all know that by now. Here are some things that Jon said and did to confirm his ultimate level of bossness:

  • · Jon started by saying that he was going to be talking for a half hour and that whenever he didn’t know what to say, he would perform magic. He paused then said, "I’m going to do magic." He reached into this backpack that he brought out on stage and whipped out a rope. He performed numerous tricks with the rope amazing everyone each time while saying all these jokes and delivering the performance like a true showman. He says that he is constantly doing shows and MCing for his teammates’ parties and whatnot and I can see why. He is a natural in front of the microphone and really can entertain a crowd.
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  • · After the rope trick he changed the mood of the entire building by telling us that when he was young, his father murdered his mother. His dad went to jail causing him to inevitably bounce from foster home to foster home. One of his foster homes was right near the Reds ballpark where he would always go to this fence before and after home games to see the players drive in and out of the players lot and enter the park. One time, a player was nice enough to come up to him along the fence and talk to him. The player said, "everyone wants to talk to you before you enter the park. That’s why you gotta grab a baby. They’ll leave you alone if you have a baby." So when Dorenbos entered the league with the Bills, he made his way into the players lot and experienced a great welcoming from a crowd of "a thousand people" on this bridge cheering as he walked his way looking for a baby like the Major Leaguer told him to way back in his childhood days. He turned around and realized that Drew Bledsoe had just arrived and they crowd had been cheering for him instead.
  • · After the game, Jon saw a kid along the fence and he wanted to go and say hello to him. Jon was adamant that he really loves his job and the one thing that sucks is that not everybody gets to experience what he experiences. So, he tries his best to let everyone he sees/knows get a feel for what it’s like to be in the league. He goes up to the kid, says "do you wanna go on the field?" The kid says "yea, yea" and starts to get excited. Dorenbos tells him to find his father, he does, and they make their way onto the field in Buffalo. The kid starts running and diving around, getting turf beads all over himself. Jon is loving it and turns to look at the father. He sees the dad is crying. Jon thinks this is either really awesome or really sad. The father says to Jon," this is the first time I’ve seen my son being a kid in three months. At that time the doctors diagnosed him with cancer and told him he had six months to live." Jon saw the power he had gained from his great job and took it upon himself to make these last few months of the kids life worth it. He took the kid places, let him drive to a game (which he strongly didn’t recommend), and really builded a strong relationship with the kid. After their first few times together, the kid told Jon "we are going to the Super Bowl together." And Jon thought, like any Bill would think, "I play for the Bills we kinda suck. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon." Anyways, the kid made him huge tickets made out of the back of cereal boxes. Jon put them on the fridge and kept them as instructed. One day in October, the kid’s father calls and asks Jon to come to the hospital. The kid comes on the line and asks him to bring the Super Bowl tickets. He arrives and the kid says it’s time for the Super Bowl. Jon tells him, "hey man it’s October the Super Bowl isn’t for a few months." The kid goes "it’s been six months and one day. Today is my Super Bowl." A very touching story to say the least.

After that, the big group split up. Half of us made our way to the fieldhouse where there were four drills. I started out at the 3 v. 3 station. This station was kinda dumb in my opinion. It was 3 academy people playing 3 normal workers who were for the most part mediocre athletes). After 30 minutes of that mind-numbing nonsense we made our way to the next drill.

At this drill we received punts and returned them before jumping onto a pad in the endzone. This was cool the first few times but after doing it for a half hour it also got pretty dry. Luckily, some Eagles cheerleaders made their way over to entertain us with their football knowledge (beautiful bodies).

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After that drill we got into the good stuff. My group made its way over to Arrelious Benn’s station. He had us run numerous routes and run through cones as he hooked us up with some pretty decent passes for a wide-out. I would like to note here that Benn is a pretty big boy. He was about 6’1 and had monstrous calves and biceps. Decent arm too, but not quite as good as Riley Cooper’s. I figured Cooper would have a solid arm because he was drafted by the Phils back in the day.

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Riley ran the next drill. He had us do other receiver drills and really got into the mechanics and footwork when running certain routes. He was a funny guy, but definitely seemed more hard-nosed than Benn (the personality differences between the two made me remember when Cooper got into a pretty cool training camp fight his rookie year). Benn was always smiling and complimenting everyone. He would put his arm on everyone’s shoulder when they took pictures and whatnot. And thanked us at the end. Cooper jogged over to us and goes "did you guys see that guys fucking finger man?" And we said "no" because we were all 30 or so yards away and weren’t even facing the direction of his drill. Riley was definitely funny though and seemed to take it a bit personal when someone would drop one of his passes. That was alright though, because he would get really pumped when someone who had been dropping balls caught one. Coop was definitely cool too. I saw his truck in the lot as we made our way back to the main building…I knew it was his because of the National Florida Champs license plate. Another note that I made was how hyped Cooper got when "Cruise" came on by Florida Georgia Line…"this is the song right here y’all".

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After the field portion, we made our way to the team cafeteria. A lot of the stations were closed but I was able to get a good sense of what went down there. Some highlights were the delicious ice cream machine that somehow had no fat, dairy and only 80 calories in each serving, the organic, grass-fed milk, and the labeled stations (see pictures). The food was definitely not Chip Kelly approved. Cheeseburgers and waffle fries were offered, Chip made me feel guilty just looking at them and he wasn’t even there. After lunch, some autographed balls from Jaws, Maclin, and Vick were raffled off. I didn’t win but it’s all good.

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After that, we went to film meetings. First, we met with Tra Thomas for offense. Tra was huge to say the least (check the pic). He looked like he could play in the league still to be honest. He explained a lot of blocking schemes to us and I was happy to show off some of the knowledge that I gained on the site via those Fish videos or whatever they’re called. He was impressed, so that’s a tribute to all of us. Tra was a very nice guy and didn’t shy away from giving his opinions on players and whatnot. I was a bit intimidated by him and caught myself trying to sneak a picture of him as if I was in a high school classroom and trying to text…as if he would tell me not to take pictures. He was adamant that Lane was undoubtedly the best offensive tackle in the class. He said Joeckel was way too robotic and that was obvious. He liked Fisher but he said that Lane is just so natural in his movements and is really going to be a great player. He said the second that Lane came in, he sat him and told him that everyone is going to blow smoke up his ass, except him. He had watched a whole bunch of film on him and started banging out all of the things that they will need to fix over the next few months/years. Tra also told us when asked, that Jason Peters looks just as explosive as he did pre-injury and says he is one of the biggest athletic freaks he has ever seen. Someone asked Tra who the best guy he ever had to block was. His answer? Simeon Rice.

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After the offensive meeting, we made our way to the defensive meeting with Erik Chinander, the assistant defensive line coach that came with Chip from Oregon. Like Chip, Chinander was a really cool guy. He has no trouble speaking and is impressive at conveying difficult ideas and topics in a very simplified manner. Chinander got a lot of his technique stuff from the national champion javelin thrower and a few jiu-jitsu masters. From the javelin thrower, he learned that the most important thing for strength when tossing something (whether it’s a person or a javelin) in having your feet firmly planted in the ground…NOT your hips and NOT your legs. Your feet, more specifically your toes. After, making that point, he showed his players pushing an individual sled and finishing by tossing the thing to the ground. Most made the toss look pretty cool but nobody threw the sled to the ground with more power, velocity, and ferocity than Bennie Logan. I was thoroughly impressed by that. When asked who the backup nose was, Chinander listed Dix but also said that it was a spot that Logan can and will play. While watching film I tried to take note of how they were lining up. While they wouldn’t say whether it was a 4-3 or a 3-4 the one thing that was obvious was that it was always 3-4 personnel. In their base set, it appeared that they had a nose in a 0 technique and 2 ends in a 4i technique with two backers (Trent Cole and Connor Barwin) in 7 techniques on the line of scrimmage. On a side note, Chinander said that Barwin is a big, bigtime player. He seemed really pleased with the work Barwin has done thus far. Other formations I saw looked like the guys were in a 3, 0, and 4i up front. Another front, they moved Cox to nose, Cole to end, and brought in a nickel to play OLB. With this look they sent an extra guy and kept the nickel who was playing linebacker to assist in a better zone coverage. The last formation I noticed was with 2 three techniques and 2 five techniques. In this set, Curry was playing a 3 technique where Chinander said that he really likes him. He said that Vinny can provide a great interior pass rush as a 3 tech. I’m looking forward to seeing that. In regards to Curry’s weight, he said that they would like to see him get even bigger but the nutritionist as well as the rest of the staff don’t want to rush him into gaining weight too fast because it might hurt him more than help him. So they are content with the 280 which he is at right now, but they think he can actually add more but they want to kind of nudge him along in that process slowly as his career transpires. Other cool things that Chinander said were…"Trent Cole came up and said to me, ‘I don’t know why the media makes it sound like I don’t like to drop. I love it." Another thing that Chinander said was, "nobody will outwork Isaac [Sopoaga]. Nobody."

After the defensive meeting, we made our way into the weight room and lab. Here I checked out the equipment, the individual training binders, and the training schedule. The equipment was all top notch obviously (check the pics). Some cool things were that the staff actually got rid of a lot of equipment that had been used in the Reid era. Only about ½ of the room was filled with the equipment while the rest was used for stretching and some dynamic work.

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Besides foam rollers, it was interesting to see that the Eagles had this awesome machine that "the bigger guys" use to really work on the soft tissue. It was basically a ginormous vibrating stand. The strength intern let us all try it out. I leaned my back up against it and instantly got like three cracks. It was awesome. Besides that, there were cameras and iPad like gadgets on every power rack.

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The intern used it and I was very impressed. There was a sensor that tracked the bar and measured how fast it moved as well as how much power was being utilized. It also counted reps for the players. For explosive work, the Eagles will require the players to push the weight as fast as they can. If the trainers’ goal was for them to push the weight at 1.1 meters per second, but the player pushed it at 3 meters per second, then the trainer knows to add on more weight for the next set. All of this is measured to ensure that the players are at their peak explosive ability when they hit the field. The trainer also showed the cameras at each rack which they use to show players what to and what not to do when they are performing their workouts. If a player is bending his knee in when he is squatting the trainer can do more than just tell him, he can show him and the player will get a greater understanding of how to fix it. After all, who purposely bends their knee in while squatting, Another cool machine was the anti-gravity treadmill which looks like a treadmill with a big plastic surrounding. The plastic fills with air and depending on how much his in it, alters the amount of weight the player uses while, running/walking. This allows the player to recover faster without causing any muscular imbalances. In the lab, we saw two cool gadgets as well as another cool treadmill.

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The first gadget was a GPS. Every player has a tiny GPS (see picture) that goes in the back of their jersey. The GPS is used to tell where the players are at all times. This isn’t a daycare device, they use this to see how much each position group has run. For instance, if the wide receivers had run 3000 yards or whatever that day, the coaches know not to give them gassers at the end of the practice. They don’t want to overwork their guys. They are trying to maximize everyone’s potential and overworking them is definitely not the way to do it.

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They also have heart rate devices that players wear at all times when lifting. It goes on the center of their chest like Iron Man. It actually looks awesome. The next treadmill is used to help fix players’ imbalances. For instance, if a player cuts weird or has bad sprint mechanics, the trainers were bring him in and study his movements on this treadmill that is powered by their movement and identify any imbalances and prescribe certain exercises to correct them.

We then made it to the locker room. I'll try and provide some input on all of these images below:

cool sign when you just walk in

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looks like Sopoaga is still in the move in process. Guess he doesn't "outwork" everyone in the moving in process.

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Antonio Dixon had crocs in his locker. Someone needs to teach this man how to dress.

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Dennis Dixon's locker still has a Baltimore Ravens box in it. Found that funny. Still moving in as well

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Here's Trent Cole's locker and his infamous hunting toy on the top shelf.

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Here's Brad Wing's locker. Definitely the most empty of all the players. One pair of socks, one shirt, etc. It sounds like he is going to have a tough time making the team because of the importance of your punter being a quality holder. This is my own inference though. Wing is definitely a great punter.

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Garrett Reid quote mementos could be found in Fletcher Cox's as well as Brandon Graham's lockers.

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This was definitely the most skilled side by side by side trio (D-Jax, DeMeco, and Peters)

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Shady's locker

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Cary Williams seems to be a bit behind because of the marriage. Still needs to take his concussion test.

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Barkley had far and away the most mail in his locker of all the rookies.

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Game room in the locker room. Air hockey, ping pong, foosball, TVs, etc.

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After that, we made it to the special teams meeting held by the boss himself, Jon Dorenbos. He covered punts and punt coverages. He explained all the work that goes into the plays that in the end just look like "clusters" to the untrained football eye. His presentation was very informative, but his stories behind two plays that he showed were absolutely awesome. First, he showed a play where he was getting destroyed by this huge 320 pound guy and Akeem Jordan came over and wrecked the big dude, who then crashed into the rusher next to him, who them crashed into the dude next to him. Dorenbos said they ran to cover the punt after that and he was like "man that was so sick" and Jordan yelled back "I got you dog" mid sprint. Another play that Dorenbos picked out was a pretty normal play. It was the first punt after he had torn some major tendon in his ankle that he was supposed to miss 4-6 weeks for. The week he got hurt, Reid told him that he was going to sign someone to snap for him until he was healthy. Dorenbos didn’t practice until Saturday that week but spent every week sleeping and working every 3 hours in the NovaCare Complex doing his best to get back to work. He didn’t want to work to earn his game check. He wanted to work because if he sat out, the team wouldn’t have put him on IR. They would’ve kept him so he could snap in playoffs. That meant that one of his friends/teammates was going to be cut because of him. Because of this, Dorenbos worked his ass off and made it back for the game. Before the game, Coach Culley, the receivers coach told him to snap the ball and get off the field. Dorenbos said, "nah coach I’m going to snap a game winning field goal and get a solo tackle this game." The Eagles hit a field goal with less than 2 minutes left to win the game by two and the first punt that Dorenbos snapped for he got down the field and made a solo tackle. After the tackle you see him get up, unsnap his helmet like he’s Brian Dawkins and go berserk. After the game, 20 rookies and young guys came up to him and thanked him for his effort. Not because he had a good game, but because he suited up. One of those twenty guys would’ve been out on a job. And those young guys don’t necessarily have a lot of money. They don’t get paid to help move out and move to their new home in a new city. Their kids have to join new schools and make new friends. Their wives have to get new jobs, etc. It’s a crazy thing.

After that meeting, the day was over. We were given autographed, framed Jason Avant posters showing his sick catch in the Bucs game last year and were sent on our way.

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That was my experience. Thanks to all of BleedingGreenNation for the awesome opportunity. I hope you guys enjoyed my post. Please rec it and comment and ask questions on anything. I may have been given the answer or be able to provide some insight based on the practice film that they let us watch.

Miscellaneous Pictures:

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