Tra Thomas on Matt Pryor: ‘My God, he could be nasty’

Tra Thomas on Matt Pryor: ‘My God, he could be nasty’
It looks like Matt Pryor will get the first crack at right guard, and Pryor turned to a pretty good former Eagle to help him prepare. Pryor reached out to Tra Thomas, the Eagles’ three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, as he prepares for the 2020 season. “I’ve seen that Tra Thomas did a video cut-up of me…

It looks like Matt Pryor will get the first crack at right guard, and Pryor turned to a pretty good former Eagle to help him prepare.

 

Pryor reached out to Tra Thomas, the Eagles’ three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, as he prepares for the 2020 season.

 

“I’ve seen that Tra Thomas did a video cut-up of me and I reached out to him,” Pryor said on a podcast with Dave Spadaro on the Eagles’ official web site. “Get some tips … just to pick his brain.”

 

Thomas, who spent the 1998 through 2008 seasons with the Eagles, put together a video cut-up of Pryor from his limited playing time this past season and posted it on YouTube.

 

Thomas appeared Tuesday on 94 WIP with Ike Reese and Jon Marks and explained why he believes Pryor can handle right guard.

 

When Reese asked Thomas why he thinks Pryor can handle right guard with Brandon Brooks out for the season, Thomas jokingly snapped at his teammate of seven years:

 

“Did you not look at the clips? Did you not see what this man was doing against starters?”

 

Pryor, a sixth-round pick in 2018, didn’t play as a rookie but got significant snaps in three games last year — 42 snaps in the first Seattle game after Halapoulivaati Vaitai moved from right guard to right tackle to replace Andre Dillard, 35 snaps after Brooks hurt his shoulder in the regular-season finale against the Giants and then all 64 snaps in the playoff loss to the Seahawks.

 

“He might not have a lot of film, but (for) someone that only came out there and played (three) games, he had a hell of a showing,” Thomas said. “I saw enough out of him that I would feel somewhat comfortable for him out there.”


 

Thomas raved about Pryor’s technique and suggested he just needs to be more aggressive to succeed as a full-time starter.

 

Which is exactly what he told Pryor.

 

“My first tip was, ‘Dog, you have to finish every time,’” Thomas told Reese and Marks. “I just feel like if he had that little extra dog in him, my God, he could be nasty. He’s extremely aggressive, he has a good understanding of when to shoot his hands, the timing of it, and he also understands how to set based on how this defensive tackle is attacking him. So you don’t see him over-set a lot of times.”

 

Pryor said he’s been working out with a group of offensive linemen at Lane Johnson’s home gym in South Jersey — The House of Lane.

 

There are other options for the Eagles. They could sign a veteran, and youngsters like Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig and Jack Driscoll will certainly get looks.

 

But right now, it seems like the job is Pryor’s to lose.

 

“Sadly, nobody ever wants their opportunity to come from an injury, but a lot of people say that’s where a lot of people build their legacy, it’s always off some random kind of thing happening,” Pryor said. “But everybody knows Brooks. Three back-to-back Pro Bowls, and I saw him work and I’ve seen how he transformed himself from the end of last year to now and that’s really pushing me to better myself and be prepared. Big shoes right there.”

 

Brooks tore his Achilles on Monday while running at the NovaCare Complex. This will be the third straight season he doesn’t finish because of an injury.

 

“I’m going to be ready to go,” Pryor said. “It’s time to take my game to a new level. I know the opportunity is there. You don’t like it to happen when somebody gets hurt. We all feel for Brandon. But he will be helping me, as he’s done in the past, and I’m going to be at my best.”

 

With a little help from one of the greatest Eagles offensive linemen of all.

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We’re less than three months away from the scheduled start of the 2020 NFL season, but Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t so sure if it’s going to happen. 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and expressed some serious doubt about the NFL’s plan to have a season this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said to CNN. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.

Having a season in a bubble is what the NBA is planning to do at Disney World in Florida. But even that plan has been met with some skepticism and legitimate concerns. 

The NFL earlier this month sent a memo to all 32 teams outlining the protocols required for players to return to NFL facilities. The long document had guidelines about tiers of access, restricted space and physical distancing guidelines. The cumbersome guidelines were called “humanly impossible” by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. 

Earlier this week, NFL Network reported that several Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, including star running back Ezekiel Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19. Texas has seen an influx of coronavirus hospitalizations this week. 

“We expect we are going to have positive tests,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said to ESPN this week. “That is part of the increased testing that we will be going through and that is something that we just want to make sure that our protocols are working and to date. We are seeing very positive reactions in the sense that we are making sure we respond quickly, protect the personnel that may be impacted by that and others that may be in contact with them.”

The Eagles’ NovaCare Complex is open but their coaches, including head coach Doug Pederson, haven’t been back in the building. The Eagles wrapped up their virtual offseason earlier this week. 

Training camp is expected to start in late July but the Eagles are still working through the logistics. Pederson mentioned the possibility of using Lincoln Financial Field in addition to the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles are in the process of gaining GBAC Star accreditation as they clean and disinfect the Linc and prepare for a season. 

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It might be the greatest play in Pro Bowl history.

Third quarter of the 2006 Pro Bowl in Honolulu. The AFC had a 4th-and-6 near midfield and AFC coach Mike Shanahan ran a trick play, punter Brian Moorman taking the snap on a fake and racing off toward the right trying to run for a first down.

Ka-blouie.

Redskins safety Sean Taylor, then a 23-year-old playing in his first Pro Bowl, came up and absolutely destroyed Moorman, who fumbled the ball out of bounds a few yards short of the first-down marker.

— NFL (@NFL) January 26, 2018

It was the kind of hit you rarely see in a real game. Much less an exhibition.

Taylor had been selected as a Pro Bowl alternate and was only playing because Eagles safety Brian Dawkins pulled out as his wife experienced a difficult pregnancy.

Back home, Dawkins was watching on TV and marveled over Taylor’s hit.

“He blew up the kicker,” Dawkins said. “I couldn’t make it because of the issue Connie was having in her pregnancy with our twins. So he was blessed to go, and that play will forever be a part of our enjoyment when we think of big hits. And of course when we think of his dominance.”

Taylor was only 24 when he was killed during a robbery attempt at his home in Miami in November of 2007. His girlfriend and their 18-month-old daughter witnessed the murder. 

Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, goes back to his formative days in Miami, where he became a star of stars on one of college football’s greatest teams; how he attracted the eye of Redskins decision-makers prior to the 2004 NFL draft; and his former teammates and peers answer the question of how Taylor would be looked at today had he not died more than a decade ago. 

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“The year he passed, I thought it all clicked for him,” said Dawkins, who was inducted into the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame in 2018. “He and his girlfriend had just had their daughter and seemed to be in a great place. He was leading differently, from my conversations with some of his teammates. And his play on the field was outstanding.”

Taylor and Dawkins shared a home state of Florida, they shared a position and they shared a mentality. 

They were two of the most ferocious hitters the game has seen in a generation. And when a Hall of Famer like Dawkins admires the way you play the game, you know you’re doing it the right way.

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