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[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 13:36:26 EDT from rss

Subject: 5 offensive tackles the Eagles could trade for in the absence of Jason Peters

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The SB Nation NFL team sites will be doing theme weeks all throughout the 2017 NFL season. This week’s theme is: “What's the one trade you would make right now?


The Philadelphia Eagles received terrible news on Tuesday when MRI results revealed Jason Peters tore his MCL and ACL. The future Hall of Fame left tackle is out for the season.

So what will the Eagles do now? Though it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it sounds like the plan is to start Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle while keeping Lane Johnson at his usual position on the right side.

The Eagles seem to like Big V. They probably wouldn’t have traded away both Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin if they didn’t have some level of confidence in him.

But has Vaitai proven himself to the point where the Eagles shouldn’t even consider external options? I wouldn’t say so.

With that in mind, here are some offensive tackles the Eagles could acquire via trade. The 2017 NFL trade deadline is set for next Tuesday, October 31 at 4:00 PM ET. The deadline is usually quiet but Howie Roseman is the most active executive in the league when it comes to trades, so you can’t rule it out.

CORDY GLENN

Our friends over at Buffalo Rumblings think the Bills are a prime trade partner with the Eagles, and not just because the two teams already made a trade this summer: Ronald Darby for Jordan Matthews. (And not just because the Eagles traded with Buffalo to get Peters, either.)

Buffalo has a glut of tackles. While most teams keep three or four on the roster, Buffalo has five. If the injury is significant enough that the Eagles don’t think Peters can return to form this season or maybe ever, they could potentially swing a game-breaking trade for Cordy Glenn.

Glenn has a major contract and rookie Dion Dawkins filled in when Glenn was sidelined with an injury. Buffalo’s handling of Glenn suggests they’d be willing to part with him for the right compensation and he’s the cornerstone Philadelphia could build on.

The 28-year-old Glenn would be an immediate replacement for Peters. He has plenty of experience at left tackle thanks to his 75 career starts at the position.

The complication with Glenn is that he carries big cap hits over the next several seasons. As shown by via Over The Cap:

The Eagles, who currently only have $6.9 million in cap space, are projected to have only $6.1 million in 2018. That amount ranks third fewest in the league. And the Eagles have quite a few key players set to be unrestricted free agents that they’ll have to pay to keep around (Tim Jernigan, Alshon Jeffery, Nigel Bradham, etc.) Trading for Glenn could limit who the Eagles could re-sign. It could also cost a significant draft pick to get him. Philadelphia currently doesn’t own a pick in Round 2 or 3.

Another complication in trading for Glenn, or any established veteran, is the Eagles might hope Peters, who is close friends with owner Jeffrey Lurie, can come back next season. Philly might not be looking to make a long-term commitment at left tackle. Or maybe they are if they feel like Peters might just retire. It’s a complicated situation.

In short, I don’t think Glenn is a convenient option for the Eagles.

SEANTREL HENDERSON

I think this might be the Eagles’ best bet.

Henderson has started 26 games over three seasons after being undrafted in 2014. The 25-year-old blocker would’ve played more if not for missing games due to Crohn’s disease. Henderson was suspended for four games in 2015 and 10 games in 2016-2017 combined due to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but Henderson claimed he was using marijuana to deal with the pain from his disease.

Henderson returned to the Bills’ roster earlier this month after being suspended for the first five games of the season. He’s fallen behind on the depth chart in the mean time.

Henderson, who has experience at both left and right tackle, shouldn’t be too expensive to acquire. Maybe the Eagles can get him for their sixth-round selections. The Eagles have two fifth-rounders.

It’s also worth noting Henderson’s cap number is a mere $778,816 for this season. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, which means the Eagles don’t have to make a long-term commitment to him.

Henderson isn’t some great player. He’s also played more on the right side than the left, so he might not be a direct replacement for Peters. But at 6-7, 335 pounds, he has the type of size the Eagles like in their linemen.

Yet another factor to consider here is that Jeff Stoutland was the offensive line coach (and later interim head coach) at Miami when Henderson made nine starts as a true freshman in 2010. We all know Stout likes his former college players (see: Chance Warmack).

JORDAN MILLS

Another Bills offensive lineman. Mills has made 56 career starts at right tackle. He only has a $1.65 million cap hit this year. He’s signed through 2018 but he’s easily cuttable after this season. Mills currently ranks 40th out of 74 offensive tackles graded by Pro Football Focus this year, for what it’s worth. For reference, Vaitai is 57th. Mills could be another inexpensive option for the Birds.

DUANE BROWN

Here’s a big name of interest. The Texans’ starting left tackle recently returned to the team after staging a holdout that lasted six games into the season. There’s a belief Brown could be traded, but I don’t think he’s a great option for the Eagles. He’s been away from football for quite some time now and giving up a valuable asset for a 32-year-old who has had some injury issues recently doesn’t seem like the best idea. Not to mention his desire for more money. Plus the Texans might just want to keep him since they’re in contention for the AFC South title.

JOE STALEY

Staley would be a great replacement for Peters. Except that he’s 33 years old and he has a $11 million cap number in 2017. The 0-7 49ers might be willing to deal Staley since they’re rebuilding. They wouldn’t move him before San Francisco plays Philly this week, though.

FREE AGENTS

This is obviously a post about trades, but I’d be remiss not to mention some free agent options. Branden Albert is a big name and he has experience with Doug Pederson from Kansas City but NFL insider Adam Caplan reports the Eagles don’t seem to have interest in him. Cyrus Kouandjio has a connection to Stoutland thanks to playing at Alabama. Will Beatty is also still out there, but bleh. As you can see, this is slim pickings.

WHAT THE EAGLES SHOULD DO

I think the Eagles should give Big V a chance and see how he does this weekend against the 49ers. If he’s an absolute disaster, the Eagles probably need to make a move. At 6-1, they’re in position to contend this year. That doesn’t mean they need to sell the farm, but they have a great opportunity in front of them right now. They might need to get a little more aggressive than they’d usually be. Henderson still seems like the best bet to me with respect to cost and ability. Even if Vaitai plays well enough to hold the starting job, it wouldn’t hurt to have Henderson as a backup.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 12:54:57 EDT from rss

Subject: Details and Quotes From Bryan Colangelo

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There’s a lot to parse after Bryan Colangelo’s media availability this morning, but here are some key takeaways from the discussion regarding Markelle Fultz’s shoulder injury: Fultz will sit out the next three games and be reevaluated in a week there is no structural damage to his shoulder Colangelo suggested that Fultz changed his shot…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/uYrov07AUWQ/details-and-quotes-from-bryan-colangelos-press-conference.html

[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 14:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles work out a familiar face at offensive tackle

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Coming back to Philly?

The Philadelphia Eagles might be signing a former defensive lineman to help replace Jason Peters at left tackle.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. The Eagles reportedly worked out Taylor Hart on Wednesday, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

Philadelphia originally drafted Hart in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He didn’t amount to much, however, and the Eagles decided to move him to offensive tackle this offseason.

Hart, who is a good athlete, actually didn’t look too bad this summer. Relative to expectations, at least. There was thought he might make the 53-man roster. He probably would’ve made the practice squad, at least, if he was still eligible for it. Here’s what I wrote around the time of final cuts:

It could come down to [Dillon Gordon] versus Hart. Gordon’s an interesting player because the former tight end can line up as a sixth offensive lineman in certain packages. The Eagles have also used him at fullback. Hart hasn’t been used as creatively but the former defensive tackle has shown surprisingly nice progress this summer. I’d lean with Gordon being the guy. Maybe the Eagles go heavy on the offensive line and keep both?

OL Taylor Hart - Looked better at OT than DT, actually. Might be worth a practice squad spot if he was younger.

The Eagles wouldn’t be signing Hart to put him in at left tackle right away. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is bound to get the start in Peters’ absence. But the Eagles are going to need more depth at tackle in case something happens to Lane Johnson or Big V.

The Eagles also have some trade options at tackle if they want to make a deal.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 14:01:40 EDT from rss

Subject: Report: Dusty Wathan To Be Next Phillies Manager

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Several MLB teams hired new managers over the last few days and the Phillies might be next. USA Today columnist and MLB Network insider Bob Nightengale reports that Dusty Wathan will replace Pete Mackanin: The Philadelphia #Phillies zeroing in on Dusty Wathan to become their next manager, promoting him from Triple A Lehigh Valley —…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/PChaG5Mzsvg/report-dusty-wathan-to-be-next-phillies-manager.html

[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 16:17:44 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Derrius Guice

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Eagles target?

Derrius Guide was one of the two most hyped college football players coming into the season. After starting the season with two straight 100+ yard performances, injuries limited the talented running back for a handful of games. With a running back conversation that it is often so crowded, recency is king and it is easy to fall out of mind after a few less than stellar weeks.

Guice is squarely back on the radar, however, after a dominating performance against the Ole Miss Rebels last week. Guice carried the ball 22 times for 276 yards (12.5 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Luckily for Guice, LSU and college football fans; the third year player looked healthy and back on top of his game.

Guice is a freakish athlete with incredible lateral movement ability, strength and long speed. His athleticism is even more impressive considering his well built frame at 5’11” and 220 pounds.

Guice is back in the top 25 for rushing yardage in college football this season after that impressive game and considering how LSU running backs are used; Guice will climb higher with every week. It is exciting to see one of college football’s best players healthy again and he should re-enter the conversation of the best backs in college football.

Other Performances of Note:

  • Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, Offensive Line, Notre Dame: While I want to put Notre Dame’s awesome running back, Josh Adams, on here for his incredible 19 carry, 191 yard, three touchdown day against USC; it feels more appropriate to recognize the studs blocking for him up front. As good as Adams was, the Notre Dame line was monstrous last weekend. Mike McGlinchey and Quentin Nelson mauled the Trojans and opened gaping holes for the running game to dominate.
  • Malik Jefferson, Linebacker, Texas: While many expected the Oklahoma State/Texas game to become a shootout; Malik Jefferson is a big reason the game stayed low scoring, even if Texas ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Jefferson looks like different player this year. He is more confident an his instincts are locked in which lets his athleticism show in full capacity. He was all over the field against the Cowboys and he is asserting himself as one of the better linebackers in the country.
  • Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State: It is unsurprising to find Barkley on these lists, but it is important to credit him for his 100 yard day against a strong Michigan defense where he also caught passes for over 50 yards and a touchdown. While Barkley’s overall numbers are not elite this season; no offensive player is as important to his team’s success this season (besides maybe Lamar Jackson). Barkley is an all around star who will continue to key Penn State’s success this season.
  • Deshon Elliott, Safety, Texas: it is crazy to think two Texas defenders made the list this week considering how rough their defense has been recently. However, Elliott’s five interceptions, two forced fumbles and four tackles for a loss are worth taking notice of. Against Oklahoma State; Elliott was sound in coverage but incredibly disruptive against the run. Elliott, a 6’2”, 210 pound junior is having a serious breakout year and that may carry him to being a coveted draft prospect.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 16:54:36 EDT from rss

Subject: Taylor Hart, Eagles agree to contract

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He’s back in Philly.

After bringing him in for a workout, the Philadelphia Eagles are signing Taylor Hart, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

Hart, 26, moved to offensive tackle this offseason after failing to amount to much as a defensive tackle in the NFL. He exceeded very low expectations by pushing for a roster spot but ultimately was released in final cuts.

Several Eagles reporters had the Eagles keeping Hart in their final roster projections. The feeling here is he would’ve made the practice squad if he was still eligible, which he is not.

Hart is hardly a savior in light of the Jason Peters injury. But he gives the team more depth at the position. Here’s what Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said about Hart during his Wednesday press conference.

“All my grades on Taylor, when he was here, were very high. It’s a tough business. There are only so many [roster] spots. But I was very impressed with Taylor through OTAs and training camp and thought he showed a lot of good signs.”

Halapoulivaati Vaitai is still likely to start at left tackle with Lane Johnson potentially staying at right tackle. Isaac Seumalo is currently the backup swing tackle, but the Eagles could look to use Hart there instead. Or Hart could be Seumalo’s backup in that role.

As of this post, the Eagles still haven’t officially announced the Hart signing. Both Peters and Jordan Hicks are expected to be placed on injured reserve today, which will free up two roster spots. We know Hart will replace Peters, but there’s no word on who will replace Hicks just yet.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 18:13:54 EDT from rss

Subject: Jason Peters officially placed on Eagles

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This is the worst.

The Philadelphia Eagles officially placed starting left tackle Jason Peters on the injured reserve list on Wednesday afternoon. The future Hall of Famer’s season is over after suffering both MCL and ACL injuries in the Eagles’ win over Washington on Monday night.

In a corresponding move, the Eagles officially signed former defensive tackle and current offensive tackle Taylor Hart to their 53-man roster. [More details on that here.]

It really sucks that Peters’ season (and possibly career) is over. He was playing at such a high level this year. Peters has never gotten to enjoy a playoff win. It was looking like that might change for him this season.

In addition to his on-field contributions, Peters is such a valued and well-respected member of the locker room. Just look at what Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich had to say about him on Wednesday.

Now, I'm not going to lie, Jason Peters is a rare player. I have no problem saying I've been around this game for 30 years, and I've been around some great offensive linemen, a lot of great offensive linemen. I mean no disrespect to any of them because there are a lot of great ones, but Jason Peters is the best one I've ever been around.

The Eagles have lost some key players to IR this season. Here’s a look at the full list:

OT Jason Peters

RB Darren Sproles

S Chris Maragos

K Caleb Sturgis

RB Donnel Pumphrey

CB Randall Goforth

DT Aziz Shittu

WR Dom Williams

With Peters gone, it’s expected Halapoulivaati Vaitai will replace him at left tackle. That hasn’t been officially determined yet, however.

The Eagles are still expected to make some more roster moves soon. Jordan Hicks suffered a season-ending Achilles injury and will also go on injured reserve. No word on who will take his roster spot.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 18:55:58 EDT from rss

Subject: Markelle Fultz

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Markelle Fultz will miss three games due to his lingering shoulder soreness, an issue that GM Bryan Colangelo addressed at Wednesday morning’s shootaround. Head coach Brett Brown had his chance to speak on the topic before the 7 p.m. tip off against Houston. “I’m glad for him,” Brown said of his rookie guard. “I think we…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/sYCIUUcARxo/markelle-fultzs-people-and-the-sixers-are-engaging-in-the-strangest-he-said-she-said-ever.html

[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 20:08:58 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles release

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Eagles injury update.

The Philadelphia Eagles held a walk-through on Wednesday instead of a regular practice since they played a game on Monday night. This injury report is an estimation.

One player did not practice: linebacker Jordan Hicks. He’s out for the year with an Achilles injury. It’s only a matter of time until the Eagles place him on injured reserve. The Eagles already placed Jason Peters on IR (sigh).

One player was limited in practice: cornerback Ronald Darby. Darby returned to practice last week and was limited all week before being ruled questionable to play against Washington. The Eagles’ starting corner was then ruled out for the game, but NFL insider Mike Garafolo said Darby “has a shot” to play against the 49ers. We’ll see how Darby progresses throughout the week.

Seven players were listed as full participants. Notable names on that list include Alshon Jeffery and Mychal Kendricks. Jeffery is appearing on the injury report for the first time this season with a groin issue. Kendricks suffered a hamstring in practice last week and was unable to play against Washington. It seems like he should return this week, which is important with Hicks out.

Rookie cornerback Sidney Jones is still on the reserve/non-football injury list. Still no timetable for his return. [Here’s the latest update on him.]

Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Wednesday)

Did Not Participate

Jordan Hicks (achilles)

Limited Participation

CB Ronald Darby (ankle)

Full Participation

WR Alshon Jeffery (groin)

LB Mychal Kendricks (hamstring)

DE Brandon Graham (shoulder)

DT Timmy Jernigan (ankle)

RB Wendell Smallwood (knee)

DT Beau Allen (foot)

DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)

San Francisco 49ers Injury Report (Wednesday)

To be announced - check back for updates.





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 21:39:55 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles sign former Villanova linebacker to practice squad

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The Eagles are bringing back another familiar face.

The Philadelphia Eagles made a change to their practice squad on Wednesday evening. The team officially released defensive Alex McCalister (as previously noted) and signed former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry to take his place.

Cherry signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent during the 2016 offseason. He was on Philadelphia’s practice squad all season before competing for a roster spot in training camp this summer. Cherry had some nice moments in training camp but his limitations were also on display.

The Eagles were clearly looking to add more depth at linebacker following the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by Jordan Hicks. Cherry mostly projects as a special teams player in the NFL, though.

Philadelphia is currently carrying seven linebackers on their roster: Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Kamu Grugier-Hill, and Nate Gerry. That figure will drop to six when Hicks is placed on injured reserve, but the presence of Cherry gives the Eagles seven for practice.

UPDATED LOOK AT THE 2017 EAGLES PRACTICE SQUAD

LB Don Cherry

WR Rashard Davis

CB D.J. Killings

WR Greg Ward Jr.

CB DeVante Bausby

QB Nate Sudfeld

C/G Josh Andrews

TE Billy Brown

OT Dillon Gordon

RB Byron Marshall





[#] Wed Oct 25 2017 23:30:44 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Power Rankings Roundup Week 8: The majority has the Eagles at No. 1

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A look at what the experts are saying about the Birds.

Today we continue our weekly roundup of how various media outlets have ranked the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL power rankings. It’s always interesting to see how the Birds stack up from an outside perspective. But first, let's start by revisiting mine.

Bleeding Green Nation

1 - There should be no more doubt at this point. The Eagles literally have the best record in the NFL at 6-1. Carson Wentz is playing at an MVP level. The offense is balanced and efficient. The defense ranks No. 1 in stopping the run. From there, the Eagles can generate pressure and get after the quarterback. The Eagles are legitimately the best team in the NFL. (LW: 1)

SB Nation

1 - No explanation (LW: 1)

ESPN

2 - 86.4 percent. Carson Wentz leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (17) and already has surpassed his TD total from last season (16). He also has led the Eagles to their best start since 2004 and has given them the best chance of winning the NFC East. (LW: 2)

NFL.com

1 - There's a new No. 1, and it's not a familiar one. When was the last time the Eagles were the best team in pro football? Maybe in the first two months of the 2004 campaign, when Andy Reid's squad started the season 7-0 on the way to the franchise's second-ever Super Bowl berth. The 2017 team could be headed in the direction of Super Sunday, especially if Carson Wentz plays like he did Monday night. The 64-yard bomb to rookie Mack Hollins was a dime. Even more difficult? His throw on the corner route to Zach Ertz to set up a score before half. Impossible would describe Wentz's heave to Corey Clement on a little wheel route in the end zone. On a 1-10 scale, the difficulty on that toss was a thousand. Wentz's mobility is what gets me. MVP? (LW: 2)

CBS Sports

1 - Carson Wentz has three straight games with at least three touchdown passes. The loss of left tackle Jason Peters with a leg injury will hurt in a big way. (LW: 2)

Yahoo! Sports

1 - There should be as much excitement as possible about Carson Wentz, but the loss of left tackle Jason Peters is really tough. He’s going to be very hard to replace. Still, as the lone one-loss team remaining in the NFL, they deserve the top spot. (LW: 1)

Washington Post

2 - QB Carson Wentz was terrific Monday night against the Redskins and is becoming very prominent in the race for the NFL’s MVP award. It wasn’t only his passing, it was his ability to escape the Washington pass rush and make something out of nothing. That could serve him well for the remainder of the season with Monday’s loss of left tackle Jason Peters to an injured right knee, a huge blow that plays a part in the Patriots overtaking the Eagles for the top spot. How to replace Peters will be a major issue going forward. Will Lane Johnson be moved from right to left tackle? (LW: 1)

Bleacher Report

1 - This Eagles offense is merely average. When you have one of the best players in the NFL as your quarterback, however, you get a top-notch unit. Wentz is unreal, and after Monday night, he's an MVP frontrunner. His running and downfield throwing are as good as it gets, and he's a big, strong presence in the pocket. The Eagles defense was tremendous against Washington and not even at full strength. Having the best defensive player in the NFL, Fletcher Cox, certainly helps. The defensive line is arguably the best in the NFL as well. The secondary isn't the best, but with a strong front seven and Jim Schwartz dialing up plays, the Philly defense gets it done. Philadelphia has announced itself to the world as one of the league's top teams. One thing to watch going forward, though, is the loss of offensive tackle Jason Peters. If he's indeed done for the year, it will be huge. (LW: 2)

USA Today

1 - Is Carson Wentz ready to follow Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson as second-year starters to lead franchise on Super Bowl magic carpet ride? (LW: 2)

Reddit

1 - Carson Wentz continued his MVP-caliber season with circus throws, desperate scrambles, and 4 touchdown passes to complete a sweep of the Redskins for just the first time since 2013. The Eagles are now firmly perched above the NFC East and the entire NFL with the league's best record going into a home meeting with the winless 49ers. (LW: 2)

Sporting News

1 - Carson Wentz keeps throwing strikes, and his receivers keep hitting home runs. They've rounded second looking for a lot more. (LW: 2)

Pro Football Talk

1 - Before they can be a Team of Density, they need to be sure that it’s not Carson Wentz‘s destiny to get injured while being reckless with his body. (LW: 2)

Rotoworld

1 - Never mind the steady diet of touchdowns—Carson Wentz is quickly becoming one of the league’s best scramblers. His 63 rushing yards against the Redskins were a career-high and his 196 rushing yards in 2017 are already more than he had all of last year. Four of Zach Ertz’s team-leading five touchdowns (already a career-high) have come over his last three games. Monday night’s win extended the Eagles’ winning streak to five. (LW: 2)

Pro Football Focus

3 - Another impressive week has the Eagles with the league’s best record at 6-1. They find different ways to win each week, jumping on Carson Wentz’s back when their running game was less than efficient against Washington Monday night. With Jason Peters out for the season, however, it’s an open question as to how long the party will continue (at least offensively) in Philly. Wentz has been a different player when pressured (64.7 passer rating, 21st) than when kept clean (117.4, third). Early returns have been fantastic for the quarterback from North Dakota State. This is the next test. (LW: 3)

Sports Illustrated

3 - No explanation (LW: 2)

Football Outsiders

4 - No explanation (LW: 2)

numberFire

5 - No explanation (LW: 3)


Analysis

The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 5. The most common ranking is 1. The average ranking is 1.76, which is up a little from last week’s average of 1.9.

The Eagles have the best record in the NFL. They have the league MVP. They should be the unanimous No. 1. Apparently that’s not the case.

Philadelphia won’t really be able to prove the doubters wrong this week since they play the 49ers. A win would only cement their position. A loss, however, could result in a significant drop.





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Nolan Patrick yet lives

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*The Flyers are back on the ice tonight, up in Ottawa. And after a very scary hit on Tuesday night, it would appear that Nolan Patrick is okay. [Philly.com]

*But before tonight, let’s go back to Tuesday’s big pile of trash poop. Here’s ten things we learned. [BSH]

*Our pal Charlie also has ten things, but you have to pay for them because they’re super good. [The Athletic]

*So, how can the Flyers bounce back from their first real stinker of a game this season? [Flyers]

*Did we need a reminder that this team is a work in process? I think that’s something we’ve all known from game one. [Philly.com]

*The Flyers media team sat down to discuss what this team is so far. [Flyers]

*Know what might be the best thing about this young season? Robert Hagg. It’s hard to overstate how valuable he’s been to the team thus far. [NBC Sports Philly]

*So Michal Neuvirth has the best save percentage in the league. Stats aren’t real. [Courier-Post]

*So this is a look at what the Flyers’ defense will look like tonight when Erik Karlsson hits the ice. [ProHockeyTalk]

*It’s super fun that the Flyers are no longer considered when making a list of the league’s biggest tire fires. [ESPN]

*Speaking of tire fires, the Edmonton Oilers can’t score goals. Turns out Connor McDavid canNOT carry 20 guys on his back. [SB Nation]

*For funsies, what kind of hockey fan are you? [Wayfair Canada]

*And finally, even when the hockey is bad, Kate’s pictures are still good. [BSH]





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 08:44:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: NFL insider says Jim Schwartz

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/26/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

NFL notebook: Broncos need to go to Paxton Lynch; Jim Schwartz's stock rising - CBS Sports
Jim Schwartz might be the hottest coaching candidate when we reach 2018. He did get the Lions to the postseason -- no easy feat -- and he had Buffalo's defense in the top five a few years back and now has the Eagles menacing people on that side of the ball. He'll have his pick of jobs.

5 offensive tackles the Eagles could trade for in the absence of Jason Peters - BGN
I think this might be the Eagles’ best bet. Seantrel Henderson has started 26 games over three seasons after being undrafted in 2014. The 25-year-old blocker would’ve played more if not for missing games due to Crohn’s disease. Henderson was suspended for four games in 2015 and 10 games in 2016-2017 combined due to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but Henderson claimed he was using marijuana to deal with the pain from his disease. Henderson returned to the Bills’ roster earlier this month after being suspended for the first five games of the season. He’s fallen behind on the depth chart in the mean time.

Eagles Belong In The Super Bowl Contender Convo - BGNRadio.com
John Barchard, James Seltzer and Vince Quinn breakdown this thrilling victory from the Eagles on Monday Night Football... which despite some bumps and bruises that sent Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters to the training room, this Eagles squad came together to put on quite a show. Carson Wentz was once again jaw dropping and the crew believes he is 1000% in the discussion for NFL MVP.

Eagles rookie DE Derek Barnett showed promise Monday night, with gifs and stuff - PhillyVoice
On Monday night, Barnett finally made an impact on the stat sheet, as he had two sacks and a tackle for loss. When the Eagles made him the 14th-overall pick in April, Barnett was just 20-years old. Most of the players taken in next year's draft will be older than him. While he has yet to dominate, Barnett looks the part of an eventual good starter in the NFL.

False Positives - Iggles Blitz
There are plenty of other teams who have gotten off to hot starts and then faded down the stretch. Can the Eagles sustain their 6-1 start? What would make them different? The Eagles do feel different to me. They went 7-9 in 2016 and were highly competitive in many of the losses. They were only a handful of plays from going to the playoffs. Doug Pederson inherited a good infrastructure when he took over the team and then did a good job of making improvements. He put together a really strong coaching staff and got the whole team on the same page.

Eagle Eye: Will The Defense Keep Using This New Look? - PE.com
On the first play, the Redskins face third-and-9, and the Eagles send a Cover-0 blitz. All of their coverage players are on an island with no safety help in the middle of the field. This is an A-gap pressure by Schwartz, who forces the issue right in Cousins’ face. He guarantees that a defender will get home by lining up defensive tackle Fletcher Cox directly over the center and sending safety Malcolm Jenkins with linebacker Nigel Bradham through both A gaps. With three defenders on the inside, and both guards covered up by defenders, the running back can only pick up one of the two second-level defenders. The back chooses to block Jenkins, leaving Bradham to come in free. The ball comes out early and is nearly intercepted by safety Rodney McLeod.

'Backpack' and biking: Eagles WR Mack Hollins drawing attention - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins called himself just a "Padawan" when it comes to his touchdown dance, so he was hesitant to put himself too high on the list of top Eagles celebrations this year. "I mean the home run one, any time we hit a deep ball we'll do the home run one," said Hollins, beginning his rankings. "I saw an edit of Nelson [Agholor] when he fell back and they turned [the end zone] into a ball pit; that was pretty cool." "I could put myself up there, but I could be better. You can always grow," he joked.

Comparing Carson Wentz to Dak Prescott makes you realize something crazy - SportsDay
I don't think I see a lot of ability for the Cowboys to catch the Eagles. The Eagles are the No. 1 rushing defense in the league. The Cowboys have got to go play them twice and their strength on defense shuts the Cowboys' strength down.

Everybody Believes in Carson Wentz Now - The MMQB
The first thing you need to know about how well Carson Wentz is playing in 2017 is that some of his teammates weren’t even all that impressed with his nifty 17-yard scramble to convert a third down late in Monday night’s 34-24 win against Washington. You know, the play where Wentz was engulfed in a scrum of eight other men—four teammates and four opponents—and somehow scampered free, ducking and darting like a house mouse you thought you had corralled. The Washington defense looked demoralized after that play, wondering, like the rest of us, how the heck did that sucker get loose? To some of Wentz’s teammates, however, this was nothing out of the ordinary. “That’s just Carson,” rookie running back Corey Clement said with a shrug. “If you see him practice, he does stuff like that all the time. I wasn’t surprised. I’m sure nobody else was surprised.”

All-22: With Jason Peters out, can Vaitai step up at left tackle? - The Athletic
There will be an adjustment period for sure. So much of the Eagles' run game is based on timing with combination blocks and getting to linebackers at the second level. Peters and Stefen Wisniewski developed a good rapport. Now Vaitai will have to do the same. It's not a question of whether there will be a dropoff; it's a question of how big the dropoff will be. Vaitai's development will be tested, and the growth he shows will help determine how far the Eagles go the rest of the way.

Are Eagles fans taking Malcolm Jenkins' greatness for granted? - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Could someone as accomplished as Jenkins be taken for granted or underrated in Eagles fans' eyes? Our own Reuben Frank touched on this in his 10 Observations after the Redskins game. Perhaps because of his stance on social injustice or raised fist, some fans may either overlook or just not give Jenkins the credit he's deserved for his durability and stellar play on the field. He was dominant Monday vs. the Redskins, registering 10 tackles, a sack and the type of game-altering tackles that kill opponents' drives.

With a green dot on the back of his helmet, Eagles LB Nigel Bradham takes on more responsibility - Inquirer
Watch linebacker Nigel Bradham closely on Sunday, and you’ll notice a lime green dot on the back of his helmet. It’s been on the back of his helmet three times this season – only when Jordan Hicks was sidelined in games. With Hicks out for the year because of a torn Achilles tendon, Bradham will have that dot on the back of his helmet going forward. It means he’s wearing the headset on defense. By wearing the headset, Bradham will relay the play call from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the other defensive players, which is usually Hicks’ role. He’ll help position the defense, too. It’s an important job that requires leadership and communication. Schwartz didn’t want to overstate the difficulty of it, though.

'Nobody expects V to be JP': Philadelphia Eagles aim to ease pressure on Peters' replacement - PennLive
Expectations for Vaitai will be high, particularly because the Eagles own the NFL's best record at 6-1 and are preparing to make a push for the postseason. It'll be up to more experienced linemen to help ease the pressure, left guard Stefen Wisniewski said. "I mean, those are big shoes to fill, for sure," Wisniewski said. "Nobody expects V to be JP. But we expect him to be a good player. He's going to have to learn and improve every week like everybody else does, but I think we've all seen what he's capable of. And I think he's capable of filling in."

49ers-Eagles injury report: Trent Brown, Brandon Fusco miss Wednesday practice - Niners Nation
The San Francisco 49ers returned to practice on Wednesday, and they have some notable players showing up on the injury report. The DNPs are particularly important. Brandon Fusco, Trenton Brown, and Joe Staley all missed practice. Staley’s is not listed as a veteran’s day off, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was somewhat that. Staley did not leave Sunday’s game, while Fusco and Brown did. Both Fusco and Brown would seem questionable at this point, which could mean Zane Beadles and Garry Gilliam will play on Sunday. Erik Magnuson could also end up active if Fusco is inactive.

NFL Panic Index 2017, Week 8: The year terrible quarterbacks took over - SB Nation
Can’t relate.

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[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 10:00:10 EDT from rss

Subject: Free agency tells the tale of the NFC East

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Bang for the buck

We’re nearly midway through the season, but we can already crown a champion. The offseason champion that is. Sure, no team that won the offseason has ever won a Super Bowl*. A division title? Well that’s another story. The fortunes of the NFC East this season can be illustrated through what each team did in free agency. Or didn’t do.

*This has not been verified

Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

Last Week: Spotted the Redskins a touchdown midway through the 2nd quarter, then led at halftime and never looked back.

This Week: Host the 49ers. t.r.a.p. g.a.m.e.

What they needed in free agency: WRs, a RB, a DT, and a CB.

Did they get it? Oh hell yeah. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith might only be third and fourth in receiving yards on the Eagles, but they provide enormous value creating space for Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. Carson Wentz Is Our Baby but there’s no way this offense is this good without them. LeGarrette Blount is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. The Eagles got Wentz weapons, and he’s been The Punisher. Tim Jernigan kept the defensive line going when Fletcher Cox was out, and Patrick Robinson has been one of the best slot corners this season. An incredible haul, and with Chris Long providing good value as a rotational DE, every free agent the Eagles signed with the intention of giving meaningful playing time has worked out.

And Nick Foles is probably really good at bringing the QB room coffee. Gets everybody’s order perfect every time.

Washington Redskins (3-3)

Last Week: Lost to the Eagles, again. So much for that.

This Week: Host the Cowboys.

What they needed in free agency: New WRs and some guys who can play defense.

Did they get it? Uh, no. Terrelle Pryor is proving the lack of a market for him was right, he averages three catches a game with the same 55% catch rate as in Cleveland. Pierre Garcon’s two best games have more total yards than Pryor’s entire season. Only four players count for more against the Redskins 2017 cap than Pryor. Brian Quick has as many yards as he does snaps: 11. On defense, they gave Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee $13.5M guaranteed to revamp their line, both have played fewer snaps than fellow free agent Ziggy Hood. They also signed DJ Swearinger.

The Redskins currently have the fourth most cap space for 2018. Dan Snyder is going to Dan Snyder, and it’s going to be beautiful. Have you seen the QB market for next year? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Sam Bradford is their QB.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Last Week: Defeated the winless 49ers, have a cookie.

This Week: Visit the Redskins.

What they needed in free agency: A defense.

Did they get it? LOL. The Cowboys signed three players in free agency to help out their defense. None of them are still on the team. Nolan Carroll was signed to give the young secondary a fallback veteran. He was released. Stephen Paea was supposed to help out a depleted defensive line. He retired because his knees don’t work anymore. Damontre Moore was theoretically supposed to give the pass rush yet another rotational piece, he was suspended to start the season and then released.

What makes the Cowboys foray into free agency even more laughable is that it was totally avoidable. Dallas was already familiar with all three players, they played against them. The Cowboys roasted Nolan Carroll for years. Paea signed with the Redskins in 2015, they cut him after one year. They maybe couldn’t have seen his knees being an issue, though a guy who can’t make it half a season probably had a lot of red flags if he took a medical, but Paea wasn’t good. Moore was drafted by the Giants in 2014 and kicked off the team in 2015 for fighting a teammate over headphones and spent 2015 and 2016 on three different teams. They didn’t have to dig deep to find tape on these guys to evaluate.

New York Giants (1-6)

Last Week: Failed to score 28+ points for the 16th consecutive game and lost to the Seahawks 24-7.

This Week: Bye week, thank god.

What they needed in free agency: An offensive line and a running game.

Did they get it? They barely even tried to address those issues. Shaun Draughn didn’t make it out of camp, and DJ Fluker started the season inactive. You get what you pay for, maybe don’t shop at the dollar store.

Tweet of the Week





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 10:30:01 EDT from rss

Subject: The Eagles are well equipped for the loss of leadership

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Plus, two other thoughts on the Birds ... and a game-by-game notebook

It’s almost mid-season, and the Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFL.

Just relish that.

Relished? OK, let’s get to it. With Kirk Cousins’ future employer coming to town on Sunday, here are three thoughts on the Birds before we review, in our game-by-game notebook, just how Philly got to 6-1 in the first place:

  1. If ever there were a year the Eagles could afford to lose leadership, it’s this one: I say this in regards to Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks joining Darren Sproles and Chris Maragos on the sidelines. Yes, it’s very unfortunate that so many respected veterans have fallen victim to injuries, and left tackle remains unsolved. But there are more reasons for hope than usual. Firstly, you’ve already got the ultimate up-and-coming leader at quarterback. In front of him, Lane Johnson has been peaking at right tackle, and there haven’t been many complaints about Jason Kelce, either. The linebacker loss can be alleviated, at least in part, by Jim Schwartz’s reliance on nickel packages — and Mychal Kendricks’ return to form. And it’s not as if Malcolm Jenkins isn’t also on the back end of the secondary, leading the defensive charge.
  2. Regarding the incessant — and usually unnecessary — debate over Carson Wentz as a “franchise quarterback” (i.e. the guy the Cleveland Browns could’ve had): I think it’s fair to suggest that the Wentz believers should simply enjoy the magic of No. 11 rather than worry about combating every stubborn narrative, and that the Wentz skeptics should start letting the QB’s play speak for itself.
  3. If you’re waiting for the Eagles to collapse, you might be waiting for a while. I’m always optimistic, but I also think it’s premature to pencil the Eagles in for anything beyond the regular season. And yet, still, if you’ve watched this team, how in the world can you not expect them to be either 8-1 or 7-2 entering the bye week? Wentz is playing better than he ever has, and even after the latest wave of injuries, the defense could be regaining reinforcements thanks to Kendricks and Ronald Darby.

***

Week One: Eagles 30, Redskins 17: Year Two of the Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson regime started with the Birds ending a five-game losing streak to the Redskins at FedEx Field, where Jim Schwartz’s front-four rotation led the way. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan combined for four sacks and two forced fumbles, the second of which was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Cox, sealing a two-score, fourth-quarter lead. After fellow cornerback Ronald Darby was carted off with an injury, Jalen Mills also aided an Eagles “D” that gave up just 64 rushing yards and three third-down conversions, intercepting Kirk Cousins on a red-zone pass when the ‘Skins trailed by two. With uneven protection and a non-existent running game, Wentz (26-39, 307 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs) was the victim of a Ryan Kerrigan pick six but channeled his inner Donovan McNabb on an opening-drive scramble and 58-yard TD heave to Nelson Agholor, then extended plays with tight end Zach Ertz (8 receptions, 93 yards) to set up three Caleb Sturgis field goals and a Gatorade bath for Pederson.

Week Two: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20: Late-game grit and a stout start for Jim Schwartz’s defense weren’t enough for Doug Pederson to best ex-Eagles coach Andy Reid at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs used a 53-yard touchdown run from rookie Kareem Hunt, back-to-back fourth-quarter scores and six sacks of an overburdened Carson Wentz to decide a close one. Big stands from a banged-up Eagles secondary offset a rare Darren Sproles fumble on a punt return inside Birds territory, holding Kansas City to a 6-3 halftime lead, but heavy pressure on the Eagles QB led to a tipped interception and more red-zone chances for Reid’s unit. Still, Wentz (25-46, 333 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) started efficiently (7-of-9), spread 19 first-down throws to Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Zach Ertz and scrambled his way to a team-high 55 rushing yards on another dismal day for the backfield. Down two scores with :14 left, his 9-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor preceded a perfect onside kick from fill-in Jake Elliott, who made up for an earlier 30-yard field goal miss and set up a game-ending Hail Mary try.

Week Three: Eagles 27, Giants 24: They were without four injured starters on defense, gave up 366 passing yards to Eli Manning and lost a 14-0 lead after 21 unanswered Giants points, but Doug Pederson found — and stuck with — a rushing attack, not to mention a clutch kicker, as the Eagles sent New York to 0-3. LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement battered their way to a combined 160 yards on the ground, the former putting Philadelphia up 7-0 in the first. Clement tied the contest at 21 on a 15-yard fourth-quarter run after back-to-back-to-back TDs from the Giants — two acrobatic grabs by Odell Beckham Jr. and a 77-yarder by Sterling Shepard. But rookie kicker Jake Elliott, in his second game replacing an ailing Caleb Sturgis, was the real Eagles hero, booting a team-record 61-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Carson Wentz (21-31, 176 yards, 1 TD) again found tight end Zach Ertz for a score, while the Eagles “D” had a goal-line stand and stout play from young cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas, the latter of whom had a pick along with Patrick Robinson.

Week Four: Eagles 26, Chargers 24: With Eagles fans turning Los Angeles’ StubHub Center into an unofficial home game, Doug Pederson kept the pedal to the metal, pushing Philadelphia atop the NFC East with a run-first approach sans an injured Darren Sproles. LeGarrette Blount (16 carries, 136 yards) led the way with a 68-yard Marshawn Lynch-esque gallop on a fourth-quarter drive that prefaced a diving Wendell Smallwood (79 total yards) touchdown and helped the Eagles dominate time of possession. Corey Clement also got five third-down carries for an offense that didn’t turn the ball over and set up four field goals, including a 53-yarder, from Jake Elliott. The Chargers kept it close as Philip Rivers (347 yards) extended drives with Keenan Allen, found Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard score and pulled L.A. within two with 6:48 to go shortly after a 35-yard TD run by an untouched Austin Ekeler. But the Eagles defense set the tone with an opening-series takeaway, a Chris Long strip sack, and helped establish an early 7-0 lead on a throw from Carson Wentz (17-31, 242 yards, 1 TD) to Alshon Jeffery.

Week Five: Eagles 34, Cardinals 7: A career day for Carson Wentz (21-30, 304 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) and a suffocating start for Jim Schwartz’s defense all but put the Cardinals away after one quarter, when the Eagles led 21-0 after consecutive Doug Pederson-scripted marches down the field. A 15-yard lob from Wentz to tight end Trey Burton started the scoring, and a 76-yard punt return from recently reacquired Kenjon Barner (133 total yards) preceded TD passes to Zach Ertz and Torrey Smith, the latter of whom went 59 yards. Arizona’s Carson Palmer found John Brown for a second-quarter TD, but otherwise, the contest was all Eagles — the D-line got in Palmer’s face, the Cards got just 31 rushing yards and Philly’s Patrick Robinson broke up pass after pass, also blocking a field goal try. Barner and LeGarrette Blount also found lanes vs. a typically feisty Arizona “D,” and receiver Nelson Agholor’s 72-yard third-quarter bomb, with a juke and backward fall into the end zone a la DeSean Jackson, was the icing on the cake. Safety Rodney McLeod forced a fumble to stop a potential last-minute Cards TD.

Week Six: Eagles 28, Panthers 23: On the road with three days of rest, the Eagles overcame 10 penalties -- to Carolina's one -- and a scrappy Panthers defense that capitalized on injured tackle Lane Johnson's absence to pressure Carson Wentz and force an opening-drive fumble. Quarterback Cam Newton kept Carolina close with a 16-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 10, plus a late throw to rookie Christian McCaffrey that kept his team within one score. But Philly also engulfed his ground support via linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham (25 combined tackles), and cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Rasul Douglas all intercepted him -- Douglas after Fletcher Cox pressure, Robinson off a juggled dump-off and Mills on a wayward deep ball that headlined back-to-back defensive stands with about three minutes left. Two of the turnovers came deep in Panthers territory, where Wentz (16-30, 222 yards, 3 TDs) found Ertz for two TDs and, later, slot receiver Nelson Agholor for a 24-yard catch-and-run. A two-point try and two Jake Elliott field goals at one point had the Eagles up 28-16.

Week Seven: Eagles 34, Redskins 24: If 2017 is the year of Carson Wentz’s magical leap forward, Monday night vs. Washington was when the rest of the country got the memo. Dogged by four Eagles penalties and a punt-like pick on the opening series, Wentz (17-25, 268 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) quickly took command of the game, finding rookie Mack Hollins, tight end Zach Ertz and reserve back Corey Clement for three straight scores — Hollins on a 64-yard bomb and Clement on an improbable sideline touch pass that came with Redskins swarming an off-balance Wentz. While erasing a 10-3 deficit, the quarterback also gained a team-high 63 rushing yards, 17 of which came on an inexplicable escape from a scrum in the pocket. The Eagles defense, which lost an injured Jordan Hicks, gave up two Jordan Reed touchdowns as Washington pulled within 10. It also sacked QB Kirk Cousins four times, forcing an easy Corey Graham interception. Philly later lost left tackle Jason Peters to injury but sealed a Redskins sweep with a fourth-quarter Nelson Agholor TD and two Jake Elliott field goals.





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 09:26:11 EDT from rss

Subject: No Buyer

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Talk about a forgettable day for the Sixers. It began with General Manager Bryan Colangelo having to address the media after Markelle Fultz’s agent decided to go rogue with conflicting information on the rookie’s injured shoulder. It ended with a dramatic collapse in a 105-104 home loss. Neither situation had to happen. The Fultz drama…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/SHZhLCjPvg4/no-buyers-remorse-four-observations-from-rockets-105-sixers-104.html

[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 09:17:12 EDT from rss

Subject: Your Thursday Morning Roundup

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So that whole Markelle Fultz, shoulder thing? Yeah, it got way more confusing yesterday. In the late morning, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo met with the media to hopefully update the world on Fultz and provide some clarity: Colangelo opening statement: pic.twitter.com/9MEhGCSjeC — Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) October 25, 2017 Our Kevin Kinkead recapped the Colangelo presser…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/XvtGbY6aNN4/your-thursday-morning-roundup-12.html

[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 11:11:36 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles will reportedly keep Lane Johnson at right tackle following Jason Peters injury

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Makes sense.

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to keep Lane Johnson at right tackle and NOT move him to left tackle despite the fact Jason Peters suffered a season-ending injury on Monday night.

Multiple reports indicate Johnson is staying at his usual starting position with Halapoulivaati Vaitai taking over for Peters on the left side.

The Eagles haven’t officially confirmed these reports just yet. Doug Pederson will be asked about it during his next press conference, which is set for Friday morning.

Keeping Johnson at right tackle makes sense for a few reasons.

Replacing Peters with Big V makes it so that the Eagles aren’t changing multiple spots on their offensive line. Johnson to left tackle with Big V to right would mean two changes. That could unnecessarily complicate things.

Another reason why keeping Johnson on the right side makes sense is that the Eagles are set to face a lot of productive pass rushers on that side of the line: Von Miller, Demarcus Lawrence, Khalil Mack, etc. Now, it’s not like the other team can’t just put their best pass rushers over Big V instead. But if another team is going to do that, it’s going to force them to move a player out of position and into a situation where they’ll likely be facing extra attention via chip block or double teams.

Johnson, meanwhile, ranks as the player who receives the least amount of blocking help. He’s doing a great job one-on-one.

The drop-off from Peters to Vaitai is obviously significant. Peters is quite simply one of the best left tackles to ever play the game. He’s a Hall of Famer.

Big V had big shoes to fill. He doesn’t need to be Peters; that would be unrealistic. But if he can just show competency on the left side, that could be enough to keep the Eagles’ hopes alive.

The good news is Vaitai has shown some positive signs so far.





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 12:00:03 EDT from rss

Subject: Crunching The Numbers: San Francisco 49ers

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Will the Eagles keep rolling against the Niners? (Spoiler: The answer is yes they should.)

Welcome to another edition of Crunching The Numbers! In these posts, I compare the Eagles against their upcoming opponent in a few key areas and use that to make some high-level predictions about the game plan for that week. If you’d like to read up on why I chose the statistics I use, or see an archive of this series, check out this hub.

Going into the Redskins game, I was nervous, but I told myself if the Eagles emerged victorious I would be 100% on board the hype train (I’ve been on the Wentz Wagon for a while now). I was totally prepared to hop on full-stop, ready to dream about angling for that elusive #1 seed. The Eagles have burned us so much in the past with these hot starts, but I was ready to cast history aside and believe.

And so now I do. Almost. Because life can never be 100% fun, the Birds lost Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks for the season. I’m impressed by the team’s resiliency so far with injuries this year, but losing someone like Peters is a big hang-up for me. Once I’m satisfied that they can weather this latest round of injuries, I’ll have my foot fully on the gas all the way to Minneapolis. The fact that Big V played pretty well in Peters’ absence is an encouraging sign. In any case, the Eagles could not have really asked for a better opponent this week to try and re-settle the offensive line.

But I digress. How did my predictions from last week hold up? Overall, my two main points were:

  1. The Eagles should be aggressive early, testing the Redskins weak secondary deep and going for it on fourth downs.
  2. On defense, the corners should play press with a Cover-2 shell while using linebackers to contain Thompson

Wentz did indeed go deep early, and although the first one was an arm punt interception, his perfect tosses to Mack Hollins and Zach Ertz and the end of the first half really put the Eagles in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game. As for the fourth downs, these have really been a non-factor recently because Wentz is simply too good at converting third downs and the team has often found themselves with double-digit leads, making fourth down calls an unnecessary risk.

As for the defense, I don’t have access to All-22 so it’s hard for me to assess the defensive alignments properly. However, from what I saw the Eagles kept two safeties deep quite a bit during the game. It must have been somewhat integral to the game plan, because when Hicks went out Schwartz opted for the “big nickel” package (three safeties) to bring Jenkins down near the line of scrimmage instead of simply playing McLeod single high. Additionally, while Thompson had a touchdown, he had a quiet night otherwise. He only had 38 yards on 7 carries as Gruden all but abandoned the run, and his 5.2 yards per catch is a far cry from his ridiculous season average of over 18. All that being said, I was way off with the press-man play with the corners. Schwartz seemed to give a nice cushion to the receivers all game long, and although it sometimes burned them it also invited long-developing pass play calls that the Eagles defensive line feasted on consistently. They played more than good enough to win with so many injuries, so I’ll happily take the ‘L’ on that call.

But enough about the Redskins. What can we say about the Eagles next opponent? (Numbers in bold-face indicate that team has the advantage. Numbers in parenthesis represent league rank.)

Matt Takes

Er... not much. The 49ers are 29th or worse in every statistic except one, and even then they’re still only 21st. I was curious as to what these numbers would be like since only two weeks ago people were commenting on how close all of San Francisco’s games have been. But the numbers we see here are what you’d expect of an 0-7 team: bad. In fact, there’s such a disparity between the Eagles’ numbers (three of which are top-ten) and the 49ers that I’m going to forgo the traditional format of offering insight based on who possesses the football. I just don’t think there’s enough to say to fill a space like that without film study, and we have several excellent film students that post here often.

Instead, I’m going to go into how the Eagles can lose this game, since “any given Sunday” is a real thing that exists. Given the Niners’ play on defense, I don’t think there’s any way they keep Wentz and Company from scoring without Philadelphia having a bad day at the office. And since “bad play” is not really great analysis, I’ll discount that possibility, even though it technically exists.

This means that the 49ers are going to have to win on offense behind rookie quarterback CJ Beathard. There’s an old saying that goes, “If you let a bad team hang around long and let them believe they can win, they probably will.” This is San Francisco’s best shot at pulling off the upset. They need to play as if they are the worst team in the league playing the best team in the league, and that this game is the Super Bowl. Pull out all the stops here: trick plays that aren’t on tape yet, making fourth down calls in your own territory, onside kicks, the whole nine yards. If the 49ers can somehow turn this into a shootout, then they’ll have a chance. It almost worked against Washington. If the Eagles aren’t on top of their game it will work against them too.

But the question is... Is this worth it? To go through such an effort when your team is clearly in rebuilding mode, the team you’re playing has such a commanding lead of their division that it makes no sense to play “spoiler,” and that there is no real rivalry between these two teams. I’m sure Kyle Shanahan is desperate for a win, but I’d also hedge my bets he gets somewhere in the neighborhood of three years to right the ship. It wouldn’t be fair to put him on the hot seat now given the dearth of talent on the roster, especially when the coach and GM were hired together.

So really, that what it boils down to. Yes, handing the best team in the league their second loss of the season would be satisfying I’m sure, but for a team like the 49ers my guess would be they’d feel much MORE satisfied going all-out to beat the Seahawks in Seattle. In short, a loss is possible here for the Birds (as it always is), but I’m having a hard time feeling nervous about this one.

Of course, it’s always games like this that the Eagles found ways to lose. Bucs (and Titans) in 2006. Bengals in 2008 (okay yeah that was a tie, whatever). Raiders in 2009. Vikings in 2010 (and 2013... ugh).

Now’s the time for Philly to show they’re not like those past teams. That they’ll win the games they’re supposed to win and surprise in the games they’re supposed to lose. That nobody is going to catch them napping. That they’ll overcome injuries and keep flying high.

That this year is the start of something special.

Go Birds.





[#] Thu Oct 26 2017 12:00:09 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators preview: Flyers look to get back on track

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Nolan Patrick is okay you guys.

The Flyers are back on the road following a five-game home stand with a visit to Ottawa to face the Senators. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm from the Canadian Tire Centre, with the game streaming locally on NBCSP and on the airwaves at 97.5 The Fanatic.

Coming off a lackluster showing in a 6-2 loss to the Ducks in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Flyers will look to turn things around against a Senators team that the Flyers took two of three meetings against a season ago.

It should be a fun matchup between a couple teams in the top 10 in goals scored with

the Senators averaging 3.44 per game and the Flyers not far behind at 3.33.

Ottawa is off to a 4-1-4 start through nine games, but have lost three of their past four games. The Sens are lead offensively by Derick Brassard with 10 points (6G, 4A) while the always dangerous Erik Karlsson lurks with six assists in four games since returning from the injury list to start the season.

The Flyers were largely shut down in their last outing against the Ducks, but did continue to see success from their top line of Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. Couturier had both Flyers goals and the line combined for five points in the rout. Coach Dave Hakstol will continue to lean on the trio to produce offensively while the rest of the line combinations find chemistry with bodies in and out of the lineup.

Hakstol has had to juggle his lines in recent games after leaving his forward and defensive corps largely together to start the year. Jordan Weal missed a pair of games, Taylor Leier missed the last game and Andrew MacDonald is out for four-to-six weeks with a lower body injury. To make matters worse, rookie Nolan Patrick left Tuesday’s game early with an upper-body injury.

One way to help the offense would be an effective power play, which the Flyers didn’t have in going 0-for-6 on the man-advantage against the Ducks. That number also included a failed two-man advantage in the third period for more than a minute. Things won’t get any easier against the Senators, who currently have the top penalty kill in the NHL at a 92% clip.

In goal the Flyers would be wise to turn to Michal Neuvirth after Brian Elliott struggled on Tuesday against the Ducks. Neuvirth leads the NHL in both goals-against average (1.36) and save percentage (.957) in three games but has seen the Flyers get shutout in two of his three starts. He’s also 4-1-1 in his career against the Senators with a sparkling .939 save percentage and a 1.85 goals-against average.

For Ottawa, it’s Craig Anderson getting the call between the pipes. The veteran is 3-1-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in seven games. In his career he’s 10-5-3 against the Flyers.

Flyers lineup (subject to change):

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Weal - Filppula - Simmonds

Lehtera - Patrick - Konecny

Leier - Laughton - Raffl

Defense

Provorov - Gostisbehere

Sanheim - Hagg

Manning - Gudas

Goalies

Neuvirth

Elliott





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