When NFL teams prepare for an opponent, they generally scout the best players on the opposing squad. Normally they are standout stars.
The Patriots were scouting the key Eagles players during Thursday’s practice and singled out one surprising name: Nathan Gerry. The third-year linebacker had a breakout game in Week 5 against the Jets, but overall he’s been a middle-of-the-road player.
Gerry ranks third on the Eagles in total tackles (23) and has been stout in run defense while contributing one sack and two interceptions, including one he returned 52 yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia allows the fourth-fewest yards on the ground in the NFL at 87.3 yards per game.
He has been decent in covering tight ends over the middle, too. But Gerry has drawn extreme criticism for his inability to make easy tackles and let running backs ramble right over him.
The 24-year-old is a jack of all trades since he plays all three linebacker spots. He seems to be a personal favorite of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. However, Gerry has never been confused with the greats at the position or even Eagles legends like Jeremiah Trotter and Byron Evans.
That’s why it was surprising to see the Patriots throw the yellow scout-team jersey on No. 47 at practice. Apparently, Bill Belichick is a huge Gerry fan. The other guy New England was preparing for was defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Schwartz and the Eagles have always thought highly about the converted college safety. Remember, the team flat-out cut Zach Brown and were missing Kamu Grugier-Hill for a good portion of the first half of the season. The under-sized Gerry has remained one of their unquestioned leaders while manning the middle.
“He’s responded to every challenge we’ve put in front of him,” Schwartz said of Gerry back in training camp. “When we’ve had some of those live contact practices is when he’s shown up the most. Like I said, you expect him to be good in coverage, but he’s played very tough, very physical.”
Jon Dorenbos Serving as Eagles Honorary Captain
The Eagles announced retired long-snapper Jon Dorenbos will be the team’s “Honorary Alumni Captain” for Sunday’s game. He’ll also be appearing at Lincoln Financial Field’s HeadHouse Plaza before kickoff to sign copies of his new book called “Life is Magic.”
Dorenbos’ story was one for the ages. The Eagles traded him to New Orleans in 2017 following an 11-year career in Philadelphia, then the transaction was reversed after doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm that required surgery.
The trade literally saved Dorenbos’ life and the Eagles later rewarded him with a Super Bowl ring. In fact, owner Jeffery Lurie personally invited him to the Super Bowl in Minnesota where he watched his former teammates claim the franchise’s first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“Had I played, I’d die. If you can’t play in it, this is the next best way to enjoy it,” Dorenbos told The New Orleans Advocate. “Mr. Lurie called me and said he wants me to be a part of it, said I was here a long time and he said, ‘We’re going to win this, and you’re going to get a ring.’”