Subject: Of Eagles
He’s Daddy Gronk.
Each Wednesday, the SB Nation NFL team sites explore a special theme. This week's theme is: Which offensive lineman on your team would make the best skills position player?
Center Jason Kelce, at a spry 295 pounds with a history of second-level speed, makes for an intriguing candidate. What he lacks in power against beefier foes in the trenches he more than makes up for with athleticism, and there’s a lot of potential there for some kind of power back/fullback role, especially on sweep plays. Give him a thick number like 48 and get him in the flats. That’s a bruiser.
Johnson, however, is the obvious choice, and as funny as this whole scenario is, Lane as a skill position player, specifically a tight end, would be no joke. They called Chicago Bears tight end Adam Shaheen “Baby Gronk” in honor of Rob Gronkowksi, but Johnson would be “Daddy Gronk” at 6-foot-6, 317 pounds. The guy played tight end at the University of Oklahoma before converting to defensive end (and then tackle), so he’s got the chops to make a switch, and don’t tell me you couldn’t throw him in goal-line packages as a Zach Ertz complement.
Give him a few years to shed some weight, and this would be a feasible reality ...
“Starting at tight end ... from Oklahoma ... Laaaaaaane Johnsonnnnnnnn!”
[BLG note: this week’s theme was inspired by this Marshall Newhouse play.]
Subject: Thanks, Doc
Subject: NFL Power Rankings Roundup Week 10
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 we’ll start by revisiting mine.
1 - The undisputed best team in the NFL. Philly dropped 51 points on one of the NFL’s top defenses. Carson Wentz is the NFL MVP. Doug Pederson is the Coach of the Year. Jim Schwartz’s defense ranks No. 1 in both stopping the run and generating pressure. This is just a complete team. No one should want to play the Eagles right now. (LW: 1)
1 - Who’s going to stop these Philadelphia Eagles? Now 8-1, the team hasn’t lost since a Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and it’s perfectly realistic to imagine the Eagles going to a Super Bowl for the third time ever. After dealing a 51-23 thrashing to the Denver Broncos in Week 9, the Eagles will get a bye week to refresh and recuperate before trying to cap a season that looks destined to end with the team’s first NFC East title in four years. Carson Wentz has 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions, the team hasn’t been held under 20 points all season, and now they add Jay Ajayi to the mix. There’s a lot of season left to be played, including two games against the Dallas Cowboys, who are lurking in the shadows at 5-3. But there’s really no reason why Philadelphia shouldn’t feel really good about its chances at a division crown and so much more. (LW: 1)
1 - Preseason ranking: 15. Carson Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes (23) and is the primary reason the Eagles jumped from 15th heading into the season to first in our midseason edition. Thanks to the great start, Philadelphia is the FPI favorite to win the Super Bowl (20.8 percent chance). (LW: 1)
1 - The first quarter of Sunday's blowout of the Broncos told you all you needed to know about these Eagles. Carson Wentz led them on three scoring drives in three possessions. The third was set up by a mid-tier free-agent acquisition who has proven himself to be another contributor, if not star, for Doug Pederson's team: Patrick Robinson, whose interception of Brock Osweiler in Denver territory made that scoring march rather short. It was paid off by another unheralded player in running back Corey Clement. The dot on the previous Eagles possession was provided by kicker Jake Elliott, who has been absolutely huge for Philly this season. Can't imagine anyone would argue with this ranking. (LW: 1)
1 - The schedule is about to get a lot tougher the next month. We will know a lot more about them come December. (LW: 1)
1 - They put up 51 points without Zach Ertz, who has been their most reliable receiver. Against a Broncos defense that is still among the best in the NFL. They’re deep on offense, especially with Alshon Jeffery heating up and Jay Ajayi in the mix. The Eagles have a bye week and then a fun Sunday night matchup at Dallas on Nov. 19. Win that and they’re running downhill to a division title. (LW: 1)
1 - There is no reason to doubt any longer that this is the NFL’s best team. It’s not an early-season illusion. It’s past the halfway point of their season, and the Eagles are the league’s most complete team. The offense hasn’t missed a step since losing left tackle Jason Peters. Newly added RB Jay Ajayi made an immediate contribution Sunday. The progress made by QB Carson Wentz and Coach Doug Pederson in their second year together is the key to all of this. (LW: 2)
1 - If the Patriots are the best team in the AFC, the Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFL. Adding running back Jay Ajayi to help balance out the offense puts an already elite team over the top. What's elite about Philadelphia? Well, quarterback Carson Wentz for one. His play in year two has been incredible. He can attack downfield, buy time in the pocket, make plays with his legs and create offense on his own. There isn't anything he cannot do, and when the Eagles need to rely on him, he delivers. The fact Wentz and the Eagles offense just dropped 51 points on Denver should tell you all you need to know about how dangerous this unit is. On the other side of the ball, the defensive line is elite. Fletcher Cox and Co. are capable of wreaking havoc and messing up plays with such frequency that teams rarely have the time to expose Philadelphia's below-average group of cornerbacks. The Eagles don't have many weaknesses, and they have to be considered the favorites in the NFC after nine weeks. (LW: 1)
1 - Today's first history lesson - the previous four times Philly started a season 8-1, they advanced to the NFL title game / Super Bowl. (LW: 1)
1 - The Eagles absolutely eviscerated the Broncos Sunday, with Carson Wentz continuing his MVP-calibur season putting up 4 touchdowns in 3 quarters. The focus now becomes getting healthy during the bye in preparation for Dallas on SNF in two weeks. (LW: 1)
1 - Carson Wentz has passed every test from opposing defenses, and now he's getting extra help from his own defense. The Eagles are no longer a surprise team, transitioned into a real threat and, maybe, the favorite to win it all. (LW: 1)
1 - Scoring 51 against the defense that won Super Bowl 50 may be the clearest sign yet that this team is headed for Super Bowl LI. (LW: 1)
1 - After going his first seven games without a touchdown, Jay Ajayi finally found the end zone in his Eagles debut Sunday versus Denver. Undrafted rookie Corey Clement also had a big Week 9, lighting up the Broncos for 66 yards (51 rushing, 15 receiving) and three touchdowns. Sunday marked Alshon Jeffery’s first multi-touchdown game since Week 13 of 2014. Translation: it’s finally sunny in Philadelphia. (LW: 1)
2 - The Eagles continue to fly high, with a defense that rushes the passer better than any other team in the league. With Fletcher Cox (88.3) and Timmy Jernigan (86.2) up the middle and Brandon Graham (92.1) and Vinny Curry (84.2) on the edge, opposing offenses (which comprise the 22nd-toughest remaining schedule in the league) are going to have a tough time keeping up with the second-highest scoring offense in the league. With Ronald Darby returning to the lineup soon to team with PFF mid-season All Pro Patrick Robinson (91.2), the sky’s the limit for this Eagles team moving forward. (LW: 3)
1 - No explanation (LW: 1)
3 - No explanation (LW: 3)
4 - No explanation (LW: 3)
The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 4. The most common ranking is 1. The average ranking is 1.35, which is up slightly from last week’s average of 1.41.
All of the subjective power rankings have the Eagles at No. 1. The Washington Post realized they were wrong about having the Eagles at No. 2 last week.
Speaking of metrics, did you catch this note from ESPN?
Philadelphia is the FPI favorite to win the Super Bowl (20.8 percent chance)
Nearly a 21% chance to win the Super Bowl. Damn!
The Eagles obviously have off this week since it’s their bye. They’ll likely hold on to their top status.
Subject: Giants players reached out to an ESPN reporter to anonymously rip Ben McAdoo
The Giants are a disaster.
The latest news to emerge involves Giants players going to an ESPN reporter — unsolicited — to rip their head coach. Here’s what Josina Anderson had to say.
There was a Giants players, who wishes to remain anonymous, who reached out to me and said this unsolicited at the time, this being last week. Saying:
‘McAdoo has lost this team. He’s got us going 80% on Saturdays before we get on a plane to to play a game. It’s wild. Changed our off day. He’s dishing out fines like crazy. Suspended two of our stars when we need them the most. Throws us under the bus all the time. He’s run us into the ground and people wonder why we’ve been getting got.’
And I also heard from another Giants player, unsolicited, that:
‘Guys are giving up on the season and nothing’s being done. Guys just don’t care anymore.’
A lot of that sounds very Chip Kelly-ish. I think it’s safe to say McAdoo lacks “emotional intelligence.”
The Giants — who were coming off their bye — got the crap beat of them in their own stadium on Sunday when they lost to the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 51 to 17. They fell to 1-7 on the season with the loss.
Now the G-Men are set to travel out west to play the winless San Francisco 49ers. It’d be incredibly embarrassing if New York lost to a team that’s started out 0-9 this year.
The bad news for the Giants is that a win would only hurt their draft positioning. The Giants have already reportedly begun to start “looking closely” at quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.
After going 11-5 in 2016, the 2017 season has been an awful one for the Giants. It’s really hard to see how McAdoo keeps his job after this season. Heck, he might even get canned during the year at this rate.
Subject: Eagles work out three free agent long snappers
What’s something all three of these players share in common? Well, you probably already know since you read the headline, but the answer is they’re all long snappers.
The Eagles didn’t sign any of these players (yet), so Rick Lovato’s job is safe for now. But these workouts do raise an eyebrow.
Lovato beat out the great Jon Dorenbos, the Eagles’ longest tenured player at the time, to become Philly’s new long snapper this season. He hasn’t made any major notable mistakes, but I do recall a high snap in the Eagles-Panthers game. Maybe he’s had a part in some of the extra points that Jake Elliott has been missing lately (three in the last two games).
Perhaps the Eagles are just trying to light a fire under Lovato. Or maybe they’re seriously considering changing long snappers. We’ll see.
In the meantime, get to know a little more about each player. Note that none of them have regular season experience.
Jimmy Landes: 25 years old. Sixth round pick out of Baylor in the 2016 NFL Draft. Missed rookie season due to shoulder injury. Waived by the Detroit Lions in June 2017 and has been out of the league since.
Subject: A Radio Shithead Mocked Roy Halladay
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas approval polls: November 2017
Make sure to vote in the poll!
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles’ bye week is here, it’s time for our monthly approval polls. We’ll kick this series off with two of the team’s biggest decision makers: Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas.
The last time we checked in on Roseman’s approval was back in October when the Eagles were 3-1. He finished with an 88% approval rating in that poll.
Now that the Eagles are 8-1, I expect Roseman’s approval to be much higher. I mean, at this point, even the biggest skeptics have to admit he’s done a great job.
Roseman’s biggest, most important move was acquiring Carson Wentz. That trade was either going to make or break his career. With Wentz looking like an MVP favorite in his second year, I’d say Roseman nailed that one.
A lot of the Eagles’ personnel moves from this offseason have worked out nicely. Alshon Jeffery isn’t producing elite numbers but he’s been an important addition for this team. LeGarrette Blount was a good pickup. Derek Barnett is starting to heat up. Corey Clement has been a gem as an undrafted free agent. The Tim Jernigan trade is looking great.
Speaking of Jernigan, one of the Eagles’ biggest focus areas was strengthening the team in the trenches. That’s exactly what they did and it has paid off. Philly’s offensive line is playing a part in Wentz’s MVP campaign. The Eagles’ run defense is historically good at stopping the ball and they’ve also generated the highest pressure percentage in the league.
Roseman also deserves credit for the Eagles’ recent trade for Jay Ajayi. Philly only needed to surrender a fourth-round pick in order to get a much-needed lead back type. Ajayi gives an already-explosive Eagles offense even more fire power. It’s great to see Roseman be aggressive and try to strengthen Philly’s Super Bowl push.
The Eagles could finish the season with the MVP and the Coach of the Year. Roseman is responsible for bringing both Wentz and Doug Pederson to Philly, so why shouldn’t he be Executive of the Year?
Do you approve of the job Howie Roseman is doing as executive vice president of football operations of the Philadelphia Eagles? Vote now in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments. If you can’t view the poll, CLICK HERE.
Do you approve of the job Joe Douglas is doing as vice president of player personnel of the Philadelphia Eagles? Vote now in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments. If you can’t view the poll, CLICK HERE.
Subject: Eagles News: Dutch Destroyer bracelet sales raise $200,000 to fight cancer
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/9/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Sales of 'Dutch Destroyer' bracelets helping in childhood cancer fight - ESPN
As of Wednesday morning, the family had sold over 31,000 bracelets, Rebecca said, and raised $192,000. The money will go mainly to families and organizations fighting childhood cancers. "We have gotten so much support and love from all over the world. Not just in bracelet sales, but in people sending encouragement and support and telling us how their story touched their lives in different ways," said Rebecca, who has received orders from people in Switzerland, England and Canada, to name a few. "It's been just wonderful.
Eagles fans! Come hang out with BGN Radio during the bye week - BGN
Free pizza, free beer, and more! Sign up now because there are fewer than 20 spots left.
Eagles want to punish running quarterbacks, with gifs and stuff - PhillyVoice
It's not a secret in the NFL that when defenses get chances to lay big hits on opposing quarterbacks, they are going to take them, and try to make them hurt. The Eagles do not hide their intent to punish quarterbacks who try to run against them.
NFL Playoff contenders - strengths and weaknesses - PFF
Weakness: It’s not easy to find too many glaring concerns on this Eagles roster. Jason Peters going down at left tackle is an issue, with Halapoulivaati Vaitai already surrendering three more sacks than Peters had before he went down, but the biggest concern may be in coverage on defense, where the play of Patrick Robinson – currently PFF’s fourth-ranked cornerback – feels unsustainable. The good news is potential reinforcements on the horizon with Ronald Darby to offset any drop in play.
NFL Midseason Report: Ten Biggest Stories of the 2017 Season So Far - The MMQB
The Eagles look like the best team in football, and they employ the best athlete from North Dakota since Roger Maris. Carson Wentz is really good because he treats football like it’s football, not like it’s a seminal event in his life AND OH MY GOD TENS OF MILLIONS ARE WATCHING! And because he’s really instinctive and has a great deep arm. But the Eagles are 8-1 heading into their bye just as much because Jim Schwartz’s defense is so formidable and Fletcher Cox is one of the best massive athletes since Andre the Giant. But this will not be easy, this run to Minneapolis. Eagle slate in the last seven weeks: at Dallas, Chicago, at Seattle, at the Rams, at the Giants, Oakland, Dallas.
Sounds like Jake Elliott secured the kicking job - Inquirer
Caleb Sturgis is eligible to come off injured reserve, but it doesn’t sound like the Eagles are going to make a change. Jake Elliott is having a historic season and it appears to have won him the job if he continues kicking as he has. “I would say right now there’s no reason to make a change,” special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “But at the end of the day, Jake’s still got to improve, too. We’ve got to improve as a group in our operation. But right now, I’m definitely not looking to make a change. But at the end of the day, it’s a performance-based business. We all know that.” Elliott set the franchise record for field goals of 50-plus yards in a season. He has connected on 17 of 20 field goals, although he missed three extra points in the last two games. The misses haven’t necessarily been his fault. Coach Doug Pederson said Monday the Eagles haven’t made any decisions about Sturgis.
5 biggest roadblocks between Eagles and Super Bowl LII - NBC Sports Philadelphia
The hottest team in the league right now after the Eagles probably isn't who anybody would've expected, either, but the Saints are legit. They finally aren't asking the world of quarterback Drew Brees, who can sling the football as well as anybody and has actually won a championship. The sudden emergence of a decent defense in New Orleans changes everything. After an 0-2 start, the Saints have won six in a row, with opponents averaging 15.0 points per game during that span. Good luck beating Brees that way. Obviously, the Eagles might have more success, but we wouldn't be able to find out if and until they meet in the playoffs. By then, it could be the NFC Championship, and the Saints would be both the only remaining threat and the greatest unknown standing in the path to the Super Bowl.
Eagles pass rushers measure up against the elite - FanRag
Rookie edge rusher Derek Barnett, picked 14th, has 18.5 disruptive plays on 261 snaps, the fewest snaps among the top six Eagle linemen. His 10 QB hits are tied with Curry for second-most on the team and is hitting QBs once every 26.1 snaps, second on the team only to Fletcher Cox (27.6) and far better than Houston (38.2), Bosa (44.5), Ingram (30.6), Jones (36.7), Mack (42.5) and Bennett (28.2). Barnett’s QB hit percentage is tied with Griffen, who has 37 total disruptive plays, and isn’t far behind Miller (24).
How the Eagles are spending their bye week - The Athletic
Rasul Douglas: “Going home.” Douglas is from East Orange, NJ. Asked why he’s not going somewhere exotic, Douglas said, “I ain’t got no money for that. That don’t sound like me.”
Thank you, Sam Bradford - Daily Norseman
I am sad because he turns 30 today and already has had two ACL injuries and whatever his knee issues are currently, those will weigh heavy on any future teams who will look at him. I am bummed that Bradford couldn’t stay healthy, especially after that first game. While we all can be happy that Bridgewater is back after an unreal knee injury, let’s not forget that there is another person at the end of this story whose knee injury is just beginning.
Houston Texans Release Matt McGloin, Sign Josh Johnson - Battle Red Blog
The Texans have once again made moves to their quarterback depth chart. Matt McGloin, the 2013 Texans slayer, was released after being on the team for less than one week. The team also signed another quarterback to replace McGloin. They went with Josh Johnson, who is a professional football player in only the literal sense of the word.
Eagles tackle Lane Johnson gave a clinic on how to block Von Miller - SB Nation
The best part of having a platform after playing is being able to teach about offensive line play. It’s a position that’s vastly misunderstood, and with the rise of social media, it’s gotten more of a spotlight. So when I see a play like the one below, I love making a video and writing about it. Here, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson flips Von Miller into tomorrow. While the finish is outstanding (aided by the spin), this is a good chance to explain the why of the block.
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Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: The boys are back in town* (*in action)
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Grab your umbrellas folks, because Danick Martel and Wade Allison are making it rain goals all across the land [BSH]
*Morgan Frost is off to a strong start in the OHL, which caused the most handsome and funniest member of Broad Street Hockey to take a look at how he accumulated those points. [BSH]
*Elliotte Friedman had a lot of good stuff on the Duchene trade, David Booth, and the Golden Knights in this week’s 31 Thoughts. [Sportsnet]
*Sean Couturier talked with Adam Kimelman about his strong offensive start to the 2017-2018 campaign. [NHL]
*The Toronto Maple Leafs held a moment of silence last night in honor of former Blue Jay and Philadelphia Phillie Roy Halladay. [Sportsnet]
*I want Rich Kotite next, Claude. [Philly.com]
*Charlie took an extensive look at how the Orange and Black are performing in all three zones up to this point in the season. [The Athletic]
*Staying with The Athletic, Pierre LeBrun had an interview with current Flyers’ consultant Dean Lombardi, who talked about his time with the Kings, his role with Philly, and Mike Richards. [The Athletic]
*ICYMI: The BSH Radio gang decided to mention that Ivan Provorov (current Philadelphia Flyer) is, perhaps, pretty alright at the game of ice hockey. [BSH]
*Last but not least: do you miss watching Pierre-Edouard Bellemare play in person? THEN JOIN US AND THE PHANS OF PHILLY ON OUR TRIP TO VEGAS!! [BSH]
Subject: Doug Pederson is establishing himself as a good coach
It’s not just the players having a great year
Doug Pederson talks a lot about doors. When he gathers his players around him for his post-game victory speech, he reminds them that their goal was to walk through the doors to the locker room with an additional win. Having done so eight out of nine times this season, it’s hard to criticize his methods, or anything else he’s doing.
While Pederson talks to his players about home renovation projects, perhaps we should talk about Pederson in terms of landscaping, as he’s establishing himself in the league’s biggest coaching tree, and might be planting his own soon.
Andy Reid, himself a branch from Mike Holmgren’s coaching tree, who came from Bill Walsh’s, who came from Paul Brown’s, has cultivated an impressive coaching legacy. Eight coaches who came up through Reid have been or currently are head coaches. Together they have a Super Bowl win and loss, and five additional conference championship appearances. Four of his protegees are currently head coaches, three have winning records. None are having a better season than Pederson, including Reid.
It’s not just that Pederson has the best record in the league, it’s how he’s achieved it. Just about every button Pederson has pushed this season has been the right one, and he’s been consistent with it.
Through 25 games, Doug Pederson has what seems to be a pretty clear, if traditional, game plan: control the game through clock management. In 2016, with his offense 20th and defense 19th on 3rd downs, the Eagles were still 1st in time of possession. This year, the offense is 2nd and the defense is 3rd on 3rd downs, and the Eagles are 2nd in time of possession.
But time of possession doesn’t win games. It’s how you control the clock that does.
One of Pederson’s biggest strengths this year has been game planning. Every team scripts their early play calls, but no team has done it better this season than the Eagles, who average a league high 7.1 points per game in the 1st quarter, scoring four touchdowns and a field goal on their opening possession, and a touchdown and four field goals on their second possession.
As good as the early stages of games have been, making the Eagles 4th in scoring in the first half, the second half has been even better: the Eagles are 1st in second half scoring. They’re getting out to early leads and they’re putting teams away. That’s more than just a good game plan, it’s good in-game adjustments as well. Carson Wentz’s efficiency actually drops in the second half; in 150 first half attempts, Wentz has a passer rating of 108.4 in the first half (a rate that would be 2nd best in the league over the whole season), in 141 second half attempts, a rating of 99.4 (equivalent to 8th best). But everything else improves.
Wentz has taken 18 first half sacks, but just 5 in the second half. LeGarrette Blount’s efficiency skyrockets in the second half, from 3.9 yards per carry to 5.2. Cory Clement’s smaller workload has an even bigger split of 1.7/4.9, and that can’t be explained away by red zone usage: he has two first half red zone attempts to four in the second half. Wendell Smallwood’s decrease from 4.0 yards per carry to 3.8 in the second half may be a contributing factor to him being the odd man out in the Jay Ajayi trade, and to the trade itself. Pederson and his staff are consistently making the right adjustments.
Cleaning up issues is a recurring theme for Pederson. Every coach has their flaws, but Pederson seems to be fixing his fairly quickly. Last year the the team was pretty much devoid of in-house options to turn to, and it being a rebuilding season there was every reason to stick with young players through their struggles. But this year expectations were raised to start the season, and they’ve only increased as the season progressed. Pederson has made adjustments that meet them. Isaac Seumalo struggled at the beginning of the season and was quickly benched. The rotation that followed him end after a few games. The over reliance on screen passes to start the season is gone. Pederson has balanced allowing Torrey Smith to play through his struggles and not letting it handcuff the team, Smith played at least 71% of snaps in the first four games, he’s played a high of 63% of snaps in the next five. Wendell Smallwood’s playing time steadily decreased in his last five games while Corey Clement’s steadily increased in his last four. And Pederson, after being extremely aggressive on fourth down last season and stating a desire to do so again this season (along with going for two in unconventional spots), has wisely kept his aggression in check. In 2016 it was a difference maker, this season he hasn’t needed it yet.
One area that Pederson hasn’t had to adjust much is his team’s mentality. The Eagles have started strong, on both sides of the ball, in part because they have come out sharp week in and week out. The defense is giving up 1.3 points per game in the first quarter, with 2 turnovers and 5 three and outs on opponent’s first two drives to just 0 touchdowns and 4 field goals given up. The one game the Eagles offense came out flat, Monday night against the Redskins, the offense got itself together and had back to back 80 yard touchdown drives before halftime. Talking about doors works.
Then there’s Carson Wentz. His ascent to an MVP candidate is part Wentz’s natural talent, the increase in talent around him, and Pederson and his staff’s coaching. Everyone is going to feast off of it, some sooner than later.
In January the Eagles denied quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo from interviewing with the Jets to be their offensive coordinator. The need to keep DeFilippo on staff to continue Wentz’s progression was obvious, but they can’t stand in the way of him progressing his career forever. Teams will come calling for the coach who works most closely with Carson Wentz this offseason. They’ll probably come for others as well. Jim Schwartz will at least be a top head coach candidate in the media if not in real life. Frank Reich is a darkhorse candidate. Cory Undlin’s resume working with young defensive backs has grown this season, he’s one to watch when teams go shopping for defensive coordinators. Mike Groh, already an established WR coach, is only bolstering his reputation with the career turnaround of Nelson Agholor. With 12 years of college experience, a college offensive coordinator job may be on offer for him, if not one in the NFL. Any team looking for a head coach would be smart to interview Dave Fipp.
Not all these guys will will leave, and depending on how long the Eagles season goes, it might not be this year, as teams are reluctant to hire coaches who are still coaching in the playoffs, though the Falcons waiting on Dan Quinn might break that ice. And while none of them are “truly” descendant from Pederson the way that Reid’s acolytes are, Pederson is playing a role in them moving up in the football world.
Doug Pederson has built a pretty good frame for those doors.
Subject: Your Thursday Morning Roundup
Subject: Game-by-game look at how the Eagles made it to 8-1
Updating our weekly notebook
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.
Week Eight: Eagles 33, 49ers 10: It was an off day in the rain for Carson Wentz (18-32, 211 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), who gave the 49ers an easy third-quarter pick and felt pressure behind a Jason Peters-less line, but the Eagles used two turnovers and four sacks from four different players (Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, Mychal Kendricks) to beat up on the rookie pairing of coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback C.J. Beathard. San Francisco kept Philadelphia to three points up to the two-minute warning in the first half, but a short TD throw from Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz came just 17 seconds before cornerback Jalen Mills picked off Beathard and weaved his way to a 37-yard score. A 51-yard Jake Elliott field goal put the Eagles up 20-0 early in the third, and a 53-yard connection between Wentz and receiver Alshon Jeffery on a jump-ball sideline pass countered the Niners’ only TD of the day, a shovel-pass catch-and-run by Matt Breida. A 12-yard fourth-quarter scoring run by LeGarrette Blount, tipped-pass INT by safety Rodney McLeod and late field-goal block by rookie Derek Barnett helped seal the win.
Week Nine: Eagles 51, Broncos 23: Even without an injured Zach Ertz, the Eagles out-schemed one of the NFL’s top-ranked defenses, racking up 419 yards and moving at will on another monster day for Carson Wentz (15-27, 199 yards, 4 TDs). Right tackle Lane Johnson kept Denver’s Von Miller at bay, and the Eagles owned the trenches to go up 31-9 by halftime. Leading the way behind the line, Jay Ajayi (77 yards) broke off a 49-yard TD run five days after arriving via trade, and No. 3 man Corey Clement went off for three scores — one on a screen pass and another on a perfect option pitch from Wentz. Wideout Alshon Jeffery (6 receptions, 84 yards, 2 TDs) also got behind the Broncos secondary with ease, and tight end Trey Burton corralled a 27-yard touch pass for Wentz’s third TD of the first half. Denver, meanwhile, mustered just two field goals and two garbage-time scores, including a strip-sack TD off Eagles backup Nick Foles, after going up 3-0 in the first. With picks from corner Patrick Robinson and safety Rodney McLeod, the Birds muzzled quarterback Brock Osweiler and held Denver to 35 rushing yards.
Subject: Doc Halladay Taught Me His Cutter and Then I Got Sober
Subject: Number Crunchers: The Philadelphia 76ers and Balanced Contributions
Subject: Flyers vs Hawks preview: Back to business
Flyers end season series with Hawks in Philadelphia
The Flyers return from a four day break after a 5-4 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche to face the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the second meeting in as many weeks for these two teams with the first game going to Chicago in a 2-0 shutout win. The Flyers aren’t the only ones coming off a small break though, as the Blackhawks got a three day rest after their 2-0 loss to Montreal on Sunday. Both teams sit at 7-6-2.
Flyers get healthier
If any team in the NHL needed that four day hiatus it was the Flyers; Shayne Gostisbehere had only just returned from injury to face the Avs and Radko Gudas was still out of the lineup. Now, Gudas returns and the only Flyers missing due to injury are Nolan Patrick and Andrew MacDonald. The number two overall pick is still listed as day-to-day but no news on when he will return.
PHI Point Leaders
- Sean 1Couturier-18 points (9G, 9A)
- Jakub Voracek- 18 points (3G, 15A)
- Claude Giroux- 17 points (8G, 9A)
CHI Point Leaders
- Patrick Kane- 14 points (5G, 9A)
- Jonathan Toews- 10 points (4G, 6A)
- Ryan Hartman- 10 points (4G, 6A)
If you recall my preview for the previous Flyers/Hawks game, you’ll see not a whole lot has changed in terms of point leaders.
Flyers metrics improve, Hawks do as well
Last time the Flyers held a slight edge over Chicago in team raw CF%, now that distinction belongs to the Hawks. Chicago leads Philadelphia 49.81 to 49.52 with the teams sitting 16th and 17th in the NHL in that category.
One of the most glaring differences in the Flyers team metrics vs the Hawks was their expected goal for percentage. Coming into last week’s matchup the Flyers led 51.33 to 46.95 for a +4.38. Now that gap has shrunk to a +3.18. Chicago has improved from a 46.95 to a 48.20, while the Flyers have only slightly improved to a 51.38
Is Corey Crawford human?
What has helped the Hawks all season has been stellar goaltending from Corey Crawford. The two time Stanley Cup winner is dominating the NHL this year with a league leading 1.77 GAA and a .945 save percentage. The Flyers more than likely could have beaten the Hawks last week, but Crawford stole the show as he’s been doing all year.
Meanwhile the Flyers have Michal Neuvirth projected to start tonight.
Neuvy comes into the game after a shaky performance against the Avs, but also as the one who pitched the shutout vs St. Louis. If the Flyers want a better shot at winning this game, they’ll need St. Louis Neuvy, not Colorado Neuvy.
The models say...
I’m starting to think Corsica thinks Anton Forsberg is starting tonight because oh boy the Flyers are favored tonight by a wide margin. The average of the current predictions up is 56.1% in favor of Philadelphia with the closest margin in the single predictions is 51.1-49.9. Previously, Chicago was favored and they followed suit, can the Flyers do the same tonight?
Subject: NFL Picks Week 10 2017: Predictions by Football Writers
Predicting the winners of this week's NFL games.
The Bleeding Green Nation writers picks are in for Week 10 of the 2017 regular season schedule! Each week we'll predict the winners of each and every NFL game. We'll tally the results along the way and see who comes out on top at the end of the season.
After Week 9, the collective BGN Community is still in sole possession of first place. There wasn’t a lot of change in the standings.
Feel free to post your own predictions or discuss the writer predictions in the comments. You can also vote for who you think will win the games. I’ll tally those results in a “BGN Community” column. Vote in the polls beneath the table. (Click here if you can’t see the polls.)
Let's get to this week's picks!
Vote for YOUR picks below. (Once again, click here if you can’t see the polls.)
Subject: Nike Is Trying to Stop the NBA
Subject: The Radio Host Who Insulted Roy Halladay Proves Himself To Be a Hypocrite
The 2017 NFL Draft marked the first time Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas worked together to make picks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's take a look at how these players have performed through the first nine games of the season.
Stats: 300 total snaps (261 defense + 39 special teams), 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 field goal block.
Barnett has only played 45.2% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps this season, which ranks seventh among Philly’s defensive linemen. He wasn’t noticeably making a big impact early in the season but the rookie has seemingly come on lately. Barnett is getting pressure and showing up in the run game. Barnett ranks 20th out of 64 defensive ends in pressure rate; he has 25 pressures in 191 pass rush snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Barnett actually ranks first overall in “run stop percentage” among all NFL 4-3 defensive ends.
Back when Barnett was selected at No. 14, 73% of voters here at BGN said they approved of the pick. I think that number would (or at least should) be higher today. Barnett’s been a nice addition as a rotational player in Philly’s defense. It’s important to remember that he’s still only 21 years old and pass rushers take time to develop in the NFL. He’ll eventually grow into a starting role.
Getting Barnett with the first round pick the Eagles received from the Sam Bradford trade is looking like a good swap for Philly.
Jones, who suffered a torn Achilles in March, is still on the reserve/non-football injury list.
There’s no official timetable for Jones’ return, but reports indicate it could happen in December. From the first time Jones returns to practice, the Eagles will have 21 days to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or keep him shut down for the season.
Philly’s current crop of cornerbacks are already playing well, so it’s not like the Eagles need to rush Jones back. It’s crazy to think I’m saying that now since corner was such a big concern for this team heading into the season.
The Eagles should figure to have some great competition at corner this offseason. Jones will have an opportunity to land a starting job but it won’t just be handed to him. Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Rasul Douglas should put up a good fight.
Stats: 355 total snaps (336 defensive + 19 special teams), 17 tackles, 9 passes defensed, 2 interceptions.
After struggling in the offseason, Douglas was kept inactive as a healthy scratch in Week 1. The West Virginia product was then forced into action following multiple cornerback injuries.
It’s safe to say Douglas has exceeded expectations. His lack of deep speed is a flaw, but he’s been able to avoid being burned consistently. According to Pro Football Focus, Douglas has a 74.4 passer rating when targeted this season. That ranks 22nd out of 73 corners.
One of Douglas’ biggest strengths, his ball skills, have also been on display (as you can see in his stats). Douglas could’ve added to his interception total last week against the Broncos if he didn’t drop a potential pick-six. Still, nice anticipation to be in position to make the play.
The Eagles have been using Douglas in rotation with Patrick Robinson, so it’s not like they totally trust the rookie to play full starter snaps every week just yet. Douglas matches up better with bigger receivers while speedier wideouts are more challenging for him.
Overall, Douglas is certainly showing some starter potential. At worst, he looks like a really nice backup to have on the outside.
Stats: 266 total snaps (118 offensive + 148 special teams), 10 targets, 9 receptions, 172 yards, 19.1 average, 1 touchdown, 2 special teams tackles
There’s a point in almost every game where I tweet #MackHollinsIsLiterallyUnstoppable ... because it’s true. Hollins has really made the most of his limited offensive opportunities this season. He’s been such an efficient target for Carson Wentz.
Back when Hollins was selected, some groaned about how Mike Mayock praised him for being a really good special teams player. That’s usually the kind of praise you’d hear for someone who isn’t actually good at their main position. But that’s not the case with Hollins. He’s been good on special teams AND at wide receiver.
Hollins has been eating into Torrey Smith’s playing time as the season has gone on. He could eventually become a starter on the outside in future seasons.
Easily Philly’s most disappointing draft pick from this class. Pumphrey really struggled to show promise this offseason. His slight frame (5-9, 170 pounds) just doesn’t project to NFL success.
Pumphrey was a healthy scratch in Week 1 as the team’s fifth string running back. He was then placed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury in practice. Maybe Pumphrey will take a step forward after having a full offseason in an NFL program. If he doesn’t, he could be cut next year. Pumphrey’s outlook is pretty disappointing for a player the Eagles traded up for early on Day 3.
Gibson has been a healthy scratch for the entire season and he’ll probably remain that way. He’s basically a glorified practice squad member.
Gibson really struggled with drops this summer. He would drop multiple passes every day in practice. By the end of the preseason, however, I thought Gibson showed some growth. Not enough to earn anybody’s full confidence, I’d argue, but enough to at least still be intrigued by him.
Gibson’s raw speed could make him an dangerous deep threat. He just needs polish in a lot of other areas of his game in order to get regular playing time in the future.
Stats: 52 special teams snaps, 1 special teams tackle
Gerry spent the first six weeks of the season on Philly’s practice squad before being promoted to the active roster. The safety-turned-linebacker hasn’t played on defense yet but he’s been getting some burn on special teams. Gerry’s a bit of a project so we’ll have a better idea of where he is in his development in the offseason. He’s a reserve linebacker/special teams guy for now.
Stats: 58 total snaps (50 defensive + 8 special teams), 1 assisted tackle
The Eagles had to rely on Qualls earlier in the season when Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao, Beau Allen, and Tim Jernigan were all dealing with various injury issues. He didn’t make much of an impact. The Eagles actually opted to keep Justin Hamilton, who’s on the practice squad now, over him at one point. I think they’d prefer to have Hamilton on the roster over Qualls in the short-term but they don’t want to expose Qualls to other teams.
Qualls did some nice things in the preseason. He could benefit from some more experience and an offseason in an NFL training program.
UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS
Stats: 284 snaps (119 offensive + 165 special teams), 48 attempts, 182 yards, 3.8 average, 3 touchdowns, 3 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 1 special teams tackle
Clement has been a very nice UDFA pickup by the Eagles. He’s not overly impressive in one area, but his combined contributions as a rusher, pass catcher, pass blocker, and special teams player make him a guy worth keeping around. Clement’s a solid No. 3 running back to have on the roster.
Stats: 17/20 on field goals, 24/27 on extra points
Elliott was signed off of the Bengals’ practice squad after Caleb Sturgis got hurt in Week 1. Elliott’s big moment was clearly his 61-yard game-winner over the Giants. Incredibly clutch. Elliott also hit a number of key field goals in the Eagles’ win over the Chargers. Elliott hasn’t been perfect. He’s missed some extra points lately, which is concerning. But he’s been a pretty good pickup overall. He already owns the franchise record for the most 50+ yard field goals in a single season.
PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
Eagles rookies on the practice squad include: tight end Billy Brown, safety Tre Sullivan, wide receiver Rashard Davis, wide receiver Greg Ward, and cornerback D.J. Killings. Brown and Sullivan could potentially earn depth jobs on the roster next year since the Eagles will have holes to fill at tight end and safety.
The Eagles added a lot of young talent to their roster this offseason. Barnett, Douglas, and Hollins have all shown starting potential to various extents. We’ll see what becomes of Jones depending on how things shake out with his recovery and the surplus of talent at corner. Gibson, Gerry, Clement, and Qualls have the chance to be backup players. Pumphrey is looking like the only real wasted pick at this point.
As always, lots of time for things to change down the road, but it’s looks like Roseman and Douglas did a nice job with this draft class so far.
Subject: Save the False Bravado on Zeke and Bask In The Cowboys