Eagles Announce 8 Team Captains, 1 Surprising CB Makes List

Craig James

Getty The Eagles signed CB Craig James to a one-year contract extension through 2021.

The Eagles announced eight team captains for the 2020 seasons, including one surprise name.

Philadelphia will inscribe the hallowed C on the uniforms of the following players: Carson Wentz, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters (offense); Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Rodney McLeod (defense); Duke Riley, Craig James (special teams).

The last one isn’t a typo, folks. The undrafted cornerback from Southern Illinois turned heads at training camp — and in limited game action in 2019 — before earning himself a one-year contract in Philly. James thrived on special teams and made a key pass breakup last year in Week 4 at Green Bay.

“It’s a little bit of a different approach this year,” Pederson said of the selections, via the team’s official website. “It is important to me to select players who are great leaders, who are going to be captains all year. I felt like these gentlemen represented what we’re looking for in the way they’ve worked so hard and led the way for the team on and off the field. It’s a group I’m proud to call our captains for the season.”

Pederson added that the “gameday protocol” will be different in this unique season, per Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro:

The gameday protocol will be different for 2020. While all eight players will leave the Eagles’ sideline together and walk toward the middle of the field, only one player from each team will be permitted to actually take part in the pregame coin toss. The other seven players for the Eagles, Pederson said, will stay somewhere around the numbers on the field as a group.

“It’s different, like everything else, but you have to adjust and adapt,” Pederson said. “What’s important is that these are our eight captains and I think it’s a great group.”

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James: One of Eagles’ ‘Most Improved Players’

James’ inclusion on the captain’s list should really be all that shocking considering the love showered on him by the coaching staff. According to Jim Schwartz, the 24-year-old cornerback has been “one of the most improved players” on the roster. He carved out a niche for himself on special teams.

“I think Craig was one of our most improved players,” Schwartz said. “He went from being sort of a special teams only guy last year. He did have to start against the Jets, but he was more of a niche special teams for us this year, and came in from the first day of training camp and really looked like a different guy. Cover skills were outstanding; knowledge of our scheme was outstanding; gave us some versatility.”

His ascension up the depth chart — one of only five corners on the 53-man roster — has been very similar to Duke Riley. The former third-round pick out of LSU was named special-teams captain last season and now he enters the 2020 campaign as a starting linebacker. Riley’s incredible work ethic and upbeat positivity have been infectious in the locker room.

“I knew coming here [to Philly] that the quickest way to impress the coaches was on special teams,” Riley said. “And I’ve always taken special teams serious because that was all I did at LSU for my first three years.”

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