NFL Wire News

Eagles’ switch of Thurmond pays off


The Sports Xchange

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to switch Walter Thurmond from cornerback to safety has worked out well.

Thurmond has done an outstanding job in his first season the new position, and he had an interception last week that set up a touchdown.

Through five games, Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 3 safety behind Harrison Smith of Minnesota and Eric Berry of Kansas City.

“The reason we moved him was because of his vision and instincts and the ability to play the ball from the nickel spot,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said.

“His football intelligence and IQ is very high. He really understands formation of personnel grouping, route tendencies, what two-and-out means with one coming in, and those types of things.

“That, together with some of the defenses we have to kind of highlight where he can roam a little bit and pick what route the quarterback is looking at what looks like is coming, that combination has had Walt playing at a pretty high level.”

–Slow starts has been a problem for the Eagles’ offense this season. They have scored a league-low three points in the first quarter of their first five games, and only 37 points in the first half. Last year, they scored 130 points in the first quarter and 247 in the first half. “I think it comes back to staying on the field on third down,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “You can see, when we get a lot of plays — and we got close to 90 plays the other night (against New Orleans) — then the ball gets spread around, nobody is asking why this guy didn’t touch the ball or that guy didn’t touch the ball. You’re going to get a lot of completions and you’re going to yards rushing. We just have to stay on the field.”

–It will be an interesting reunion for Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo Monday night. They were assistants on head coach Andy Reid’s Eagles staff for eight years. Then they spent two years together in St. Louis in 2009-10 when Spagnuolo was the Rams’ head coach and Shurmur was his offensive coordinator. “We learned a lot of football together,” Shurmur said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Steve. He’s been very, very successful. Very detailed coach and you can see his fingerprints all over the (Giants) defense now.”

NOTES: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring), who has missed two of the last three games, didn’t practice Wednesday and isn’t expected to play Monday night against the Giants. … Wide receiver Nelson Agholor didn’t practice Wednesday. Because the Eagles don’t play until Monday night, the team doesn’t have to disclose the nature of injuries until Thursday. Agholor, the team’s first-round pick in the April draft, has only eight receptions in five games. … Linebacker Kiko Alonso (knee), who has missed the last three games, is expected to sit out the next two games against the Giants and Carolina, and then try to return after the bye week. … Defensive end Fletcher Cox was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week for his three-sack performance against the Saints on Sunday. He also forced two fumbles. … K Caleb Sturgis has managed to hang on to his job despite missing two extra points and a 33-yard field goal attempt in the two games since replacing injured Cody Parkey.

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