Subject: Four in a Row! Five Takeaways from Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2
Subject: NFL Mock Draft 2018: ESPN Todd McShay 1.0 Edition
Quick look ahead to the offseason.
With the 2017 NFL season coming to an end, mock draft season is about to start heating up. For teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be headed to the 2018 NFL Playoffs, there’s still at least four games to be played. For now, though, it doesn’t hurt to take an early look ahead to the offseason.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released the 1.0 version of his 2018 NFL mock draft on Wednesday. Here’s who he has the Eagles taking with the last pick in the first round (Super Bowl champs, baby!) at No. 32 overall.
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama - The Eagles have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, though offensive tackle could be an issue if 35-year-old Jason Peters isn't the same coming back from his knee injury. Another versatile linebacker such as Evans, who has had a strong senior campaign, is a good pick to help bolster an elite defense.
Linebacker is definitely a position of need for the Eagles moving forward. Nigel Bradham is going to be a free agent after this season. Philadelphia could opt to keep Mychal Kendricks around, but it’s worth noting they’d save $4.4 million in cap space by either cutting or trading him. The injury-prone Jordan Hicks is very talented when healthy but he clearly has trouble staying on the field.
Evans is an explosive player who can do everything you need from an inside linebacker. Alabama also used the 6-3, 234 pound defender as an edge rusher at times and he was able to generate pressure in that role.
While Evans could be a nice addition, I’d be surprised if the Eagles took a linebacker in the first round. That doesn’t seem like a position this organization would necessarily value so highly. Philadelphia has stressed that they like to build through the trenches, and with Jason Peters turning 36 in January, offensive tackle is a huge need.
It’s fitting, then, that this week’s SB Nation mock draft had the Eagles taking a blocker.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State - After Jason Peters was lost for the season in October, it was apparent that the Eagles need better depth at offensive tackle. Rankin could assert himself at the Senior Bowl as a first-round pick.
Alright, enough about mocks.
Back to gearing up for the Eagles’ Super Bowl run.
Subject: Who Is the Real Nick Foles? And Does Anyone Know What an RPO Is?
Subject: Carson Wentz underwent successful surgery to repair torn ACL
The first step.
Mort notes that the surgery was performed by Dr. James Bradley, who is an orthopedic knee specialist based in Pittsburgh.
The exact timeline for Wentz’s full return to the field is unclear. Earlier this week, Dr. James Andrews cautioned that the safe recovery time for ACL injuries is nine to 12 months. If that’s the case, Wentz’s recovery could last into the 2018 season.
"I would tell you that six-to-nine months is not out of the question, so that would put him right in that wheelhouse for training camp.”
In the meantime, Nick Foles is the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the rest of this season.
Subject: The Score
Subject: Carson Wentz Had His ACL Surgery
Subject: The Bu$ine$$ of College Football
Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Zach Ertz returns to practice ahead of Giants game
Updated on the Eagles’ injury situation.
The good news is that Zach Ertz has been cleared to return to the field after suffering a concussion in Week 13. Ertz was a full participant in practice so he’s set to return on Sunday.
One player did not practice on Wednesday: starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski. Wis got hurt in the Eagles-Rams game. The team originally said he was probable to return to the game but he never did. The Eagles then turned to Chance Warmack for a little bit. He predictably struggled. Then the Eagles put Isaac Seumalo, who started the season at left guard, in for Warmack. He also struggled. If Wis can’t play, perhaps it’ll be Seumalo who gets the nod at left guard this week.
One was limited in practice: starting safety Rodney McLeod. He’s listed with a quadricep injury. It’s possible the Eagles are taking it easy on him since it’s still early in the week. McLeod hasn’t had the best year. It’s fair to wonder how much injuries have impacted him.
Along with Ertz, two other Eagles players were listed as full participants: defensive end Derek Barnett and linebacker Joe Walker. Barnett hasn’t missed any time this year. He should be good to go. As for Walker, we’ll see. He was a full participant all last week but he was ruled inactive for the game. The Eagles wouldn’t have needed him anyway since they didn’t play in their base defense at all. Maybe Walker will be ready to play this week.
It’s also worth noting that Eagles rookie cornerback Sidney Jones practiced for the first time in his career on Wednesday. He’s not on the 53-man roster, of course, so he’s not listed on the official injury report. The Eagles have a 21-day window from Jones’ first practice to decide whether to activate him to the roster or shut him down for the season. Maybe we’ll see Jones active in Week 17 when the Eagles potentially have nothing to play for? Just a guess.
Great first day back with the team today! It’s been a long journey! To all the supporters, thank you. I’m truly blessed #FlyEagelsFly— Sidney Jones IV (@SidneyJonesIV) December 13, 2017
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (WEDNESDAY)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OG Stefen Wisniewski (ankle)
S Rodney McLeod (quadricep)
TE Zach Ertz (concussion)
DE Derek Barnett (groin)
LB Joe Walker (neck)
NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT (WEDNESDAY)
The Giants have been bit HARD by the injury bug this year. Just look at this long list of players on injured reserve.
The Giants are depleted. Against the Eagles, they might be missing even more players.
Damon Harrison has been dealing with a number of nagging injuries recently. He was given a rest day.
Roger Lewis ranks third on the Giants in receptions and third in receiving yards this season. He didn’t practice on Wednesday.
Analysis: The Giants are bad and banged up.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
S Landon Collins (ankle)
DT Damon Harrison (not injury related)
WR Roger Lewis (ankle)
OG Justin Pugh (back)
CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring)
TE Rhett Ellison (finger)
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger)
WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring)
Subject: Chris Long Tells Rams Fans to Fill Their Stadium
Subject: Eagles fans! Come hang out with BGN Radio at Marks Jewelers on Thursday night
Or watch our live broadcast online!
Hey Philadelphia Eagles fans, you’re invited to join us at the Marks Jewelers “Men’s Night” event in Montgomeryville, PA on Thursday night! [975 Bethlehem Pike (309 Northbound Side) Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania 18936]
This Thursday at @MarksJewelersPA get her what she really wants at Marks Annual Men's Night Hosted by @RealGlenMacnow with a special #eagles podcast & facebook Live by @BGN_Radio @JohnBarchard @JamesSeltzer #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/7oLwfabQSM pic.twitter.com/cbcpL50inX— JOHN GENTILE (@JOHNGENTILEINPA) December 12, 2017
The holidays are rapidly approaching so it’s time to come on out to Marks Jewelers and buy something special for a special someone in your life.
The event will have food, bourbon tasting, saving certificates for people who show up early, free gifts with purchases, and much more. SportsRadio 94WIP host Glen Macnow will be there. And most importantly: so will BGN Radio!
And the good news is that if you don’t live nearby and can’t come see us in person, you’ll be able to watch our broadcast live on the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Eastern. I’ll embed the video at the top of this article once we go live on Thursday night.
For everything you need to know, check out this detailed flyer from Marks Jewelers. [Click here to enlarge.]
Hope to see you there!
On a separate note, don’t forget to get your tickets to We Were Right Before Christmas on Friday, December 22nd! It’s the Philadelphia sports holiday party you don’t want to miss.
first 150 people in the door get a $100 gift card to @LLPavorsky Jewelers.— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) December 13, 2017
Subject: Nick Foles must do 3 things for the Eagles to get to the Super Bowl
Nick Foles doesn’t have to be a superstar, but he has to do three things well if the Eagles are going to have postseason success.
Obviously, right? I mean, the talent gap between the two quarterbacks is clear, and no amount of reminiscing about 2013 is going to convince anyone that Foles will be anything other than the worst quarterback playing in the 2017 NFC playoffs.
But that doesn’t mean Foles can’t win the NFC. That doesn’t mean he can’t get the team to the Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean the season is lost.
It’s going to be tough, but Foles doesn’t have to be Wentz in order to pull this off. Wentz was the NFL MVP, and no back-up QB in football could match what Carson accomplished. And the Eagles are certainly going to be focusing on the running game over the next few weeks and hoping that a very good defense can take their game to another level over the next two months.
Nick Foles doesn’t have to put the team on his back in order for the Eagles to win a couple regular season games against sub-par opponents and then two home playoff games. But he does have to do three things well in order for him to hold up his end of the bargain.
Interceptions and fumbles are killers, perhaps the one aspect of football that most results in wins and losses. Generally speaking, when you lose the turnover battle, you lose the game.
Wentz did a terrific job avoiding turnovers this season, throwing only seven picks in 14 games. He also lost four fumbles, making 11 turnovers total. That’s damn good.
Sure, Foles had his incredible 27/2 TD/INT ratio back in ‘13, but that was long ago. In 2014, he threw 10 interceptions in eight games and tossed another 10 picks in 11 games for the St. Louis Rams in 2015.
If the Birds are going to keep their heads above water, Foles has to be smart and not hand the ball over to the defense.
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
The Eagles’ success on third down this season has been pretty incredible, converting 45.31% of their third downs into first downs this season, the third-best mark in the NFL (Atlanta & Minnesota were the only teams better). Wentz had an NFL-best 123.7 passer rating on third down, 81-for-124, good for a 65.3% completion percentage, with 14 TDs and 3 INTs.
More impressive, Wentz averaged 9.5 yards per attempt and 10.67 air yards per attempt on 3rd down, a striking difference from the rest of NFL QBs who routinely throw short of the sticks.
An effective running game can help Foles out by chewing up yardage on 1st and 2nd downs, leaving him with a lot of 3rd-and-shorts. And even if that happens, Foles isn’t going to put up Wentz-like numbers on 3rd down, it’s just not possible. But if he can keep the Birds in the top-10 in terms of 3rd down conversions, it would allow the Eagles to keep more drives alive and avoid having to settle for field goals.
RED ZONE TOUCHDOWNS
The other huge improvement made by Wentz this season was converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
As a team, the Eagles lead the NFL in red zone percentage (67.39%), way up from a 49.09% mark in 2016 that ranked 22nd. Wentz himself had a passer rating of 116.2 inside the red zone, completing 65.5% of his passes with 23 TDs and not a single interception inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (although he did fumble just shy of the goal line against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, his one and only turnover in the red zone).
Again, Foles can’t be expected to replicate Wentz’ numbers here. Nevertheless, one of the biggest keys to the offense’s success this year has been turning red zone opportunities into touchdowns and keeping the field goal unit on the sidelines. Two scoring drives that turn into touchdowns rather than field goals is a difference of eight points. That’s huge.
If Foles can maintain a red zone rate above 57%, that would be good enough to rank in the top 13 in the NFL this season, and would probably be good enough to help the Birds pile up enough points to win some playoff games.
The drop-off from Wentz to Foles is going to be striking. There’s no way around it. But if Foles can effectively manage these three key areas of the offense, he will have done his job.
And that’s all anyone can ask.
Subject: NFL Power Rankings Week 15 Roundup
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 - Don’t tell me the Eagles don’t deserve to be No. 1 because Carson Wentz is out for the season. Philly earned this spot by beating Los Angeles. Plus the Pats lost. How long the Eagles stay at the top moving forward with Nick Foles remains to be seen. For now, I’m giving it to the Birds. The Eagles can still very much clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoff picture. (LW: 3)
5 - It wasn’t the greatest week for the teams at the top of the power rankings. Three of the teams in the top five a week ago — the Patriots, Vikings, and Rams — all lost in Week 14. But the Eagles, despite locking up the NFC East on Sunday, may have suffered an even more devastating blow with the loss of Carson Wentz to an ACL tear. (LW: 4)
3 - Carson Wentz's season came to an abrupt end when he tore his left ACL in Sunday's win over the Rams, but what he accomplished this year was stellar. Wentz currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season (33). (LW: 2)
4 - There will be those who think the Eagles should move down further, with Nick Foles taking over at quarterback in the wake of Carson Wentz's season-ending injury. Those same folks should consider that Foles has enjoyed success -- darn-near historic success -- as a starter before. Teams have gone all the way with their backup before, too. Everyone knows about Tom Brady and the 2001 Patriots, but that's certainly not the only example. The '71 Cowboys started the season with Craig Morton ... and ended it with Roger Staubach and a Lombardi Trophy. The next year, the perfect Dolphins went most of the regular season with Earl Morrall at quarterback. He started in the Divisional Round, as well, but not the Super Bowl. In 1980, the Raiders turned to journeyman Jim Plunkett after starter Dan Pastorini got hurt. They won it all -- vanquishing Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday, as a matter of fact. Doug Williams became the Super Bowl XXII MVP in January of 1988, despite starting just two regular-season games during the '87 campaign. Then there were the 1990 Giants, who hoisted the hardware with Jeff Hostetler filling in for Phil Simms. How about Kurt Warner, who only got the opportunity to start on what would become "The Greatest Show on Turf" because Trent Green went down in the 1999 preseason? Not to mention Trent Dilfer, who won the Super Bowl the next year by riding the Ravens' defense. While the Eagles might no longer be favorites, they're far from out of it. This was a really long blurb. Free football. (LW: 2)
3 - I will keep them here, even with the news of Carson Wentz going down for the season. But can they win with Nick Foles? (LW: 4)
3 - One of the NFL’s big stories this offseason will be if Carson Wentz can make it back for the 2018 season opener. In comments to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Dr. James Andrews warned that players need 9-12 months to return from ACL surgery. And the Eagles won’t want to ruin Wentz by rushing him back, and everyone will cite Robert Griffin III rushing back from a torn ACL. It will be a tricky situation for the Eagles. (I had no idea where to rank the Eagles. You could have them No. 1 based on what they’ve done or move them way down because now you’re dealing with a team that doesn’t have its best player anymore. We’ll have to see what they look like with Nick Foles. Nobody knows for sure.) (LW: 2)
8 - It remains a very good team around the fill-in QB, Nick Foles. But you can’t believe on one hand that Carson Wentz was the NFL’s MVP and then believe on the other hand that his absence due to a torn ACL doesn’t threaten to undo the Eagles’ season. He was the MVP for a reason. (LW: 4)
6 - It was disappointing to see the Eagles get run on the way they did. The Rams had their way on the ground, and that's something we haven't seen all year. Yet, Philadelphia was able to pull out a win because Carson Wentz was once again phenomenal. It's a shame Wentz's fabulous season has come to an end. The Eagles aren't the same team without him. Even without Wentz, though, this is a team with a strong enough ground attack and a good enough defense to make a run in the postseason—provided the offense can get a few big pass plays from Nick Foles. I have a harder time believing the Eagles can win the Super Bowl without Wentz because he turns an average passing attack into a great one with his elite play. As I mentioned in the opening, though, this isn't a team I'd ever count out. (LW: 2)
4 - The Eagles' Super Bowl dreams were torn to shreds in much the same way Carson Wentz' ACL was on Sunday. All eyes now focus on Nick Foles and whether he can conjure up the same magic that drove the successful NFC East campaign of 2013. With the playoffs already a lock and an easy schedule (plus the Raiders) down the stretch, there is still hope in Philadelphia that Foles emerges as the new Jeff Hostetler and leads a victory parade down Broad St. (LW: 2)
3 - The Eagles showed their resolve after Carson Wentz went down, rallying around Nick Foles to knock off the Rams. It's not all gloom and doom for what still is the NFC's best team. (LW: 4)
3 - It’s up to Nick Foles and/or Nate Sudfeld to keep them in the top three. (LW: 4)
3 - I’m not saying it will happen again but Nick Foles did produce the third-highest quarterback rating in NFL history during his last stint as the Eagles’ starter, so maybe he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. In the two games Zach Ertz has missed this year, Trey Burton has caught seven-of-10 targets for 111 yards and three touchdowns including a 71-yard, two-touchdown gem against the Rams in Week 14. (LW: 2)
6 - Eagles won but lost Carson Wentz for the season. (LW: 4)
3 - As our colleague Sam Monson wrote earlier this week, the Eagles have positioned themselves better than most to deal with an injury to the quarterback position. Sunday provided a microcosm of how they can continue to win with Nick Foles behind center. A suffocating pass-rush of Chris Long (one sack, four hurries), Brandon Graham (six total pressures) and Fletcher Cox (five total pressures) forced a key turnover and put their depleted offense (without left tackle Jason Peters as well) in an advantageous spot to take the lead in a game where their starting quarterback left the field while trailing. With a relatively easy schedule upcoming, it will be important for the Eagles to secure home field and the best possible platform from which to move forward. (LW: 3)
2 - This week, the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams played the best and closest of the recent DVOA Bowl games. The Eagles pulled out a 43-35 win (that was really a 37-35 win plus a meaningless touchdown returning the Rams' fumble on an end-game "zillions of laterals" attempt). So the team that wins the DVOA Bowl should be No. 1 in DVOA now, right? Nope. (LW: 2)
1 - No explanation (LW: 2)
The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 8. The most common ranking is 3. The average ranking is 3.63, which is down from last week’s average of 3.0.
The Eagles likely would’ve been the unanimous No. 1 if it weren’t for the Carson Wentz injury. But here we are.
I understand dropping the Eagles a little bit because of the injury. Their Super Bowl chances are obviously worse with Wentz out. Writing them off entirely, though, is dramatic. Winning the No. 1 seed is very much in reach for this team. From there, the Eagles are 12-2 at home in the Doug Pederson era. They’ve also had Wentz for all of those games, yes, but you still have to feel like they at least have a fighting chance at home. Right?
In other words: EFF YOU, WE’RE WINNING ANYWAY!
Subject: 7 thoughts on the Eagles following Carson Wentz
Each week, the SB Nation NFL team sites explore a special theme. This week's theme is: “Who is the one player you can't afford to lose?”
Welp. I bet you can guess what prompted this week’s theme.
Carson Wentz’s season-ending injury had me so distraught that I just couldn’t even complete the usual “things we learned” post I do after every single Eagles game. Now that I’ve been able to gather myself, I’m going to give some thoughts on where this team stands after Wentz’s injury.
1 - Now’s not the time to give up hope
It was hard to know how to feel after the Eagles’ big win over the Rams. The Wentz news was just devastating. But advancing to 11-2 and winning the NFC East ... that’s certainly not nothing.
Now that I’ve had some time to vent, I’m feeling hopeful. So should you.
The impact of losing Wentz can’t be understated. He was the NFL MVP for a reason. The good news is this team still has a number of good things going for them. There’s still a lot of good talent and coaching on this team.
It very well might not be enough to win the Super Bowl, or even get there. But the season ain’t over til it’s over. And until then, we might as well hope for the best.
2 - Carson Wentz is our baby
In the words of Larry Poff: “Carson Wentz, baby, he’s our baby.”
I think Eagles fans already knew Wentz meant a lot to them. But his injury really puts things into perspective.
The news of the ACL tear was just so deflating. I’m willing to bet nearly the entire city would donate their ACL to him just so he could play out the season.
Wentz was our great hope. He was going to prove all his doubters wrong and not only win the NFL MVP, but the Super Bowl MVP as well. Or at least he had a real shot at that.
Wentz will get back there one day. He will. This guy is too special to fail. His talent. His work ethic. His leadership. His resolve. His faith. Everything he’s shown this season is the makings of a championship quarterback. Heck, he might even lead the Eagles to building a dynasty. He’s shown the capability of being that good.
The wait for his return will be long and arduous. But it’s impossible not believe him when he says he’ll be back better than ever.
Carson Wentz has thrown the most touchdown passes of any Eagles player in a single season with 33.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 10, 2017
He’s only in his second year.#MVP
3 - The Eagles becoming NFC East champions is only the first step
Now it’s all about securing that first-round bye. The Eagles only need to win two more games to get it. Beat the Giants this week and Raider on Christmas in Philadelphia and they’re set.
Alternatively, it’s possible the Eagles could win this week and the Vikings drop a game to the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers in Lambeau next Saturday. The Eagles could clinch the No. 1 seed before even playing against Oakland.
Getting home field advantage in the playoffs is obviously crucial at this point. The Eagles are 12-2 at the Linc in the Doug Pederson era. One loss came down to the wire against a divisional opponent (Washington) and the other came to Rodgers. Playing at the Linc will be a tough challenge for the Eagles’ enemies. All they would need is two wins in order to get to the Super Bowl. It sure won’t be easy, but don’t you think they at least have a fighting chance?
4 - It’s Nick Foles time once again
I refuse to give up hope in the Eagles this season. But Foles is probably really going to test me in that regard.
Readers of the site will know that I’ve never been the biggest Foles guy. Even after 27-2, I still wanted the Eagles to hedge their bet on him by drafting a quarterback in 2014.
My problem with Foles is that I don’t think he’s particularly great at anything. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s not downright terrible at everything. But he just doesn’t wow you in any way. He can make some “good” throws but he doesn’t do anything special the way Wentz can.
Foles also leaves way too many plays on the field. People always talk about he “left the field with the lead!” in the Eagles’ playoff game against the Saints. That’s literally true, but it also ignores context. From my view in the press box, I could see all the wide open receivers that Foles was missing. I specifically remember him rolling out to his right and having both Brent Celek and Jason Avant open in front of him. He opted for a short throw to Avant instead of a wide open Celek 20 yards down the field. Foles also took a really bad sack in that game to put the Eagles out of field goal range at one point. Sure enough, the Eagles lost by only two points.
But I digress. My point here is that these are some big reasons why I wasn’t sold on Foles as a franchise quarterback.
The good news is the possibility of the Eagles being duped into thinking Foles can be a franchise guy is gone. Wentz is the franchise. Foles is just coming in here to do his best in Wentz’s stead.
The Eagles can’t realistically expect another fluky 2013 performance out of Foles. But it’s not out of the question he gives them a chance to win as long as a lot of other things are going well around him. Just like they were in 2013. Which is a nice transition to my next point ...
6 - It’s time to see what Doug Pederson is really made of
Doug Pederson has already shown me enough to convince me that he’s the Coach of the Year. But he can really solidify his case depending on how this team performs down the stretch.
The talk this week has been that the Eagles’ offense isn’t going to change with Wentz out. Here’s hoping that’s not the case.
Philadelphia really needs to rely on the running game more often from here on out. It’s not realistic for Foles to never be throwing the ball, of course, but it’s time for Pederson to pound the rock. Control the clock. Limit the amount of times Foles has to throw. Set up play action so that when Foles DOES have to throw, life is easier on him.
In limited action, Jay Ajayi has been really great for the Eagles this year. He’s averaging 6.9 yards per carry! The Eagles seemed to get away from him too easily in the Rams game. If I’m Pederson, I’m riding with the Jay Train until defenses prove they can stop it.
7 - This Eagles defense needs to be much better
Credit to where it’s due: the Eagles’ defense made some real key plays at the end of the Rams game. Chris Long had the big strip-sack. Rodney McLeod recovered that ball and made a key third-down stop at one point. Brandon Graham stealing a laughable lateral attempt from Tavon Austin and running into the end zone was a nice way to seal the game.
But there was a series in that Eagles-Rams game that almost really did the team in. It was after the Eagles went up 21-7. Philly allowed a third down conversion to Cooper Kupp, which isn’t the end of the world. But then they just did an AWFUL job of tackling and allowed him to turn that conversion into a huge gain.
That simply cannot happen from here on out. Jim Schwartz really needs to earn his paycheck. This defensive line has to continue to make life very hard on quarterbacks. The run defense, which has been historically dominant for most of the year, needs to get back on track as well.
This Eagles defense can play better than what they’ve shown lately. If the Eagles are going to win a championship, they HAVE to play better. It’s time for this unit to really rally around Wentz’s injury.
The offense should be able to do enough to give the Eagles a reasonable chance, at least relative to expectations. It’s up to the defense to dominate and take the pressure off Foles and company.
Something I didn’t mention in this post (until now) is the long-term impact of Wentz’s injury. To be honest, I don’t really want to get into that right now. I want to focus on the remainder of this season. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about the other stuff in the offseason.
But I’ll briefly mention there are long-term ramifications to Wentz’s injury. Such as the fact that his recovery could potentially last into the 2018 season. Or that this year could be a wasted opportunity in the sense that the Eagles have something special going on and it might not be so easily replicated. The Eagles might losing coaching assistants, such as John DeFilippo. There’s a lot of things to consider.
For now, it’s all about moving forward with this season. Taking care of business against the Giants this week is the first step.
Subject: Eagles News: PFF says Philadelphia has the NFL
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/14/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Top 25 offensive linemen of the 2017 NFL season - PFF
Back in 2013, Jason Kelce was one of the best centers in the game, but after a slight dip following that, his play fell off a cliff last year. This season though, he has been back better than ever, at least as far as his run blocking goes. Kelce is actually one of the more one-dimensional players on this list as far as his play this season goes, because while he has been executing every block in the Eagles ground game, outdoing his opponents with quickness and execution, he has struggled relatively as a pass-protector, surrendering two sacks and 20 total pressures, compared to half that total for some other centers in the league.
EFF YOU, WE’RE WINNING ANYWAY! - BGN
LET’S DO THIS!
Morons are blaming Doug Pederson for Carson Wentz's injury - PhillyVoice
Something bad happened in the Philadelphia Eagles' win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. As such, a faction of moronic fans are legally obligated to find a way to blame Doug Pederson for the badness.
Clean It Up - Iggles Blitz
To win games down the stretch and in January, the Eagles are going to need to cut down on mistakes and make plays when they those chances come up. That game might have been very different if Bradham caught the ball in the Red Zone. That would have killed a scoring drive and deflated the Rams. That game might have been very different if Corey Clement blocked the correct rusher on the punt. The Eagles still had the lead at that moment. The fact the Eagles did make those clutch plays in the 4th quarter says a lot about this team. And Foles had a hand in some of those plays. There was real pressure in that game on Sunday. Foles handled it well. That is something that will translate well to the postseason.
News, Notes And A Focus On The Giants - PE.com
Will Stefen Wisniewski be able to go for the Eagles at left guard on Sunday? He’s battling an ankle injury that knocked him out of the game in Los Angeles. If he can’t go in New York, the Eagles will likely turn to second-year man Isaac Seumalo. The team has high hopes for Seumalo, who was the starting left guard at the start of the season. He’s a talented player who needs to play with confidence. It’s taking some time with Seumalo, but the ability is there.
Eagles' Sidney Jones makes practice debut after 'long journey' - Inquirer
Sidney Jones hasn’t played this season. He won’t play Sunday. And the rookie cornerback might not play a game until next season. But the sight of No. 22 participating in drills at the Eagles’ practice Wednesday was new to everyone who knew of Jones’ potential but has not seen him play in Philadelphia. “It’s been a long journey,” Jones said by his locker Wednesday in his first extended comments since the spring.
Nate Sudfeld has reasons to feel 'very confident' as Eagles' new backup QB - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Nate Sudfeld stood by his locker on Wednesday afternoon, early in his first week as the Eagles' backup quarterback, and claimed his game-day responsibilities won't change. He'll still be helping the starter to see coverages, go through plays and diagnose pressures. The only difference is he'll now wear a helmet and shoulder pads. Well, actually, there's one more difference. "I won't be dead tired when the game starts," Sudfeld said. During the first 14 weeks of the season, when Sudfeld was the Eagles' third-stringer, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo would put him through an intense 45-minute workout before each game. Sudfeld is grateful for those workouts, which helped him with throwing and footwork, but said DeFilippo "kills" him each week.
Banks: Jeff Hostetler on Nick Foles, the Eagles' Super Bowl hopes and echoes of the 1990 Giants - The Athletic
“It’s a tough thing to do this late in the season, to take over for a guy who’s been playing so well and try to pick it up right where he left off, at the toughest part of the year and into the playoffs,’’ said Hostetler by phone Tuesday. “I look back at it and that was a pressure-filled time, with kind of a David and Goliath situation, us against the world. But it was awesome to be a part of it.’’ Hostetler had just two career starts with the Giants before stepping into the lineup in Week 16 of 1990, but he had won each of those games (one each in 1988 and 1989) and had played well in a couple of brief appearances earlier that season. While deflating to lose Simms, New York did not panic when Hostetler took over.
Dak Prescott won’t change his playing style because of Carson Wentz’s injury - PFT
Dak Prescott felt for Carson Wentz after the Eagles quarterback tore his left ACL on Sunday. But the Cowboys quarterback insists Wentz’s injury won’t change his playing style. “No, I’m not going to put that in my mind,” Prescott said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I don’t think anybody is. That’s part of the game. That just comes with it. Us running quarterbacks, we know that we’re susceptible to that when we’re running.
NFL Panic Index 2017, Week 15: Browns’ quarterback curse is spreading - SB Nation
The Browns have somehow managed to spread the Cleveland curse to two quarterbacks they didn’t even draft — Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. They could have drafted Wentz at No. 2 in 2016 if they hadn’t traded the pick away to the Eagles. And the Browns could have recovered from passing on Wentz and finally locked up a franchise quarterback if they’d taken Watson in April. Instead, they traded the pick to the Texans.
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Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: And now, a real test
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*The win-streaky Flyers are back at it tonight, this time against the Buffalo Sabres, who are an exceptionally bad team. Here’s hoping the Flyers don’t play down. But ahead of tonight’s game, let’s look back at the last one, which was pretty dang delightful. [BSH]
*I think it is fun to sometimes look at game evaluation from the other side, and with the Leafs there’s no shortage of super high quality analysis, like this piece from Jason Bourne on why the Flyers were able to dominate Tuesday’s game. [The Athletic]
*Winning consistently means doing a lot of little things well, and the Flyers have done that over the course of this little streak. [Philly.com]
*The Flyers have been very, very not good at home this season. But this little homestand should give them a chance to turn things around. [NBC Sports Philly]
*The Flyers being at home means we get some cool photos from our resident photographer. [BSH]
*And finally, just in case you didn’t realize that hockey players are actually giant nerds... [Sports Illustrated]
Subject: Nick Foles is a Carson Wentz character
Another reason for Eagles fans to take a breath
It’s Sept. 21, 2014.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in a divisional dog fight, a 3-0 start perhaps slipping from their grasp at the hands of Kirk Cousins, still a relatively fresh topic in Washington. The Redskins appear to pick off a fourth-quarter pass and threaten to break a 27-27 tie, and as the would-be turnover unfolds, one defensive lineman takes it upon himself to throw his shoulder and 333-pound frame into the Eagles quarterback — the one left defenseless as he trots to halt Washington’s interception return.
The quarterback is left lying on the ground, rolling ever so slightly as he grimaces from the blindside shot. The scene erupts as Eagles rush to avenge the blow to their signal-caller — stalwart left tackle Jason Peters is thrown from the game after shoving the late-hit culprit, one Chris Baker, and so is Baker himself. Eight plays later, though, it is that quarterback, that maimed victim of an unforeseen attack, who rises above the rest, returning to the huddle and firing a dart of a touchdown pass to put the Eagles back in front.
It’s Oct. 12, 2014, and the roles are reversed.
Darren Sproles takes a hand-off for the Eagles as Philadelphia milks the clock up 27-0 on the rival New York Giants, but as he goes to the ground, an opposing defensive lineman goes to great — excessive, maybe — lengths to ensure the 5-foot-6 back is down, dragging Sproles backward as the runner’s leg is all but pinned beneath bodies. It certainly isn’t a blindside shot, but it endangers Sproles nonetheless.
The Eagles quarterback responsible for giving Sproles the ball is none too pleased, rushing to an official, infuriated by the recklessness — “This guy is a special dude right here,” he pleads to the ref, “(And) that pisses me off! That’s my teammate!”
The quarterback, defended by teammates and a defender of teammates, wins over his on-field comrades even if, deep down, he hasn’t won over his coaches, the Eagles front office or a city desperate for consistency in the pocket.
The quarterback is Nick Foles.
Now, in 2017, the same guy is not only back in Philadelphia but back in that precarious position — a man whose resume screams for blue-collar adoration yet cannot fully inspire in the starting job he holds. As Eagles fans rightfully mourn the loss of injured second-year standout Carson Wentz, this decade’s surest Philly franchise QB and the classiest of acts off the field, they should, however, note one thing: For as much as Foles is not Carson Wentz the athlete, he is most definitely a Carson Wentz character.
Rip his footwork. Point to his statistical regressions. Poke fun at his Pro Bowl MVP award. Quote his historic touchdown-to-interception ratio but only in jest.
One thing you cannot do when discussing Nick Foles, however, is accuse him of lacking character — and with that character, toughness.
At the forefront of the team, especially amid the wild success of 2017, Wentz embraced the role of “face of the franchise” like a pro, embodying model leadership with a deadly dose of on-field grit and off-field humility. All of it was accentuated by his ability to, you know, play really good football.
But it also mirrored the actions of — guess who? — Foles, a man who modeled on-field grit and off-field humility to a tee even before Wentz became a possibility at quarterback for the Eagles.
Never did Foles capture the hearts of Eagles Nation like Wentz (not even with that historic TD:INT ratio, you jokesters), but familiar No. 9 has long been just as heralded inside the Philly locker room.
Heck, take it all the way down to the faith that Wentz so fervently proclaims and models through his team-first attitude, and you’ll find that Nick Foles is actually the one who rekindled the flame of team Bible studies back during his original Eagles tenure, that his return to Philadelphia came only after a decision to prioritize his faith, and that he has never failed to project the team-first mentality from behind the podium.
Does character win you football games? Without talent, probably not.
But if you’re smart enough to know just how special Wentz is as an extender of plays and the future of the Eagles franchise, you’re also smart enough to know that Philadelphia didn’t clinch its first NFC East title and playoff appearance in four years only because No. 11 was elite. That being said, you don’t necessarily need Nick Foles to be Carson Wentz the athlete for the Eagles to capture home-field advantage and, dare we suggest, advance to the Super Bowl.
And along the way, it sure can’t hurt that he is a Carson Wentz — no, a Nick Foles — character.
Subject: Your Thursday Morning Roundup
Subject: Villanova Thrashed The Big 5, As Is Tradition
Subject: Crunching The Numbers: New York Giants
How will Nick Foles fare in his first start as an Eagle since November 2014?
Welcome to yet another edition of Crunching The Numbers, a weekly series in which I preview the Eagles’ upcoming game by comparing them against their opponent using a few select statistics. For more information on why I chose the statistics I analyze (along with a full archive of past posts), check out this hub.
Ah, the endless tragedy of Philadelphia sports. Probably the worst part of this whole “Our Lord and Savior Carson Wentz is lost for the season” catastrophe wasn’t that it was devastating, it’s that it wasn’t devastating. All season, no matter how much I tried to extinguish the flames of doubt in the recesses of my mind, I was still patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had embraced the Super Bowl aspirations of this season - the Eagles were overcoming adversity in a way I haven’t seen before - but it was more of the, “Let’s see what happens as we get there” variety. I knew I was watching a championship-caliber team dominate opponents, and I sparingly entertained visions of Carson hoisting that silver trophy amidst a flurry of confetti, but not once did I truly believe that a Super Bowl run was inevitable (even though I tried). These were the Philadelphia Eagles, after all. If we were going to make it to the big game, it wouldn’t be without a healthy dose of heartbreak, panic, and emotional torture.
And now here we are.
As for the rest of last week’s game, not that we really care at this point, most of what I said about offense was true. The big point was on ball control, and the Eagles held the football for almost forty minutes. This was indeed predicated on utilizing passes over the middle and a healthy dose of the run game. Defensively, I said the Eagles should force Goff to dink and dunk his way down the field. Unfortunately, they had trouble containing Todd Gurley, which set up play action passes deep for Goff. It’s hard to say how Goff would have handled the game if Gurley had been held in check.
One last point was how I said the Rams would be harder to score on, so the Eagles needed more possessions. This ended up being right on the money, as Philadelphia ran 85(!) plays to the Rams’ 45, but Los Angeles was actually more efficient when they had the ball, as I predicted they would be.
But enough on this bittersweet chapter in an otherwise incredible season. Let’s look at who Nick Foles will face in his first start of 2017:
As with other bad teams the Eagles have played this season, I won’t go too in-depth here. The Giants only have the advantage in one statistic - OY/PT - and while that has tended to be a bellwether statistic in terms of opponent difficulty, I simply can’t see a team as dysfunctional as the Giants overcoming just how awful they are in every other metric to pull out the win here. The Eagles are simply far and away a much more complete team, and it would take a colossal comedy of errors on their part to let a potential chance at clinching the #1 seed throughout the playoffs slip through their fingers.
Of course, there is one thing we need to consider here, and it’s the one thing we’ll all be focused on in this game: Nick Foles.
I’m not going to touch on a profile of Nick Foles too much - Ben Solak already did a marvelous job for us on that - other than to point out how we can toss the Eagles 11th-ranked YPA out the window. Foles can run this offense efficiently, but he’s not going to be anywhere near as surgical as Carson Wentz was. One of Wentz’ best qualities this season was his determination to throw to the sticks on third and fourth down, and in only a few series against the Rams we already saw Foles be content to dump it off to his safety valve in the flat.
That being said, I still think Foles can lead this team to the promised land. Or, rather, Doug Pederson can. He has an incredibly deep roster to work with, and to call his playcalling with Foles in the game anything less than “encouraging” is laughable. Foles - who began the season with mystery “elbow soreness” and hasn’t started a game for the Eagles in over three years - entered the game and Doug immediately dialed up 5 straight passes. It’s tempting to try and run the ball with your backup quarterback behind center, but that’s also the easiest way to destroy his probably already shaky confidence. But Doug declared boldly, “We can win this with you, Nick,” and let him start firing. That’s how you show faith in your players, and that’s how you build the resiliency that has been the cornerstone of this team all season.
You’ve been hearing all week that losing Wentz sucks, and I won’t tell you differently. But this season is not lost! The future sure seems murkier than it did before, but it’s still ours for the taking. As much as we wanted to see Carson play in January, if Foles and Doug do find a way to guide us to the Super Bowl, how can you not like their chances? If you overcome THAT much adversity to still make it to the big dance, whose to say it’s not your time? And honestly, as epic as a Wentz-Brady showdown in Minneapolis would have been, can you think of a more beautifully fitting way for Brady to lose his third Super Bowl than against backup quarterback Nicky Foles?
Of course, there is a long and bumpy road ahead before we can even be thinking abut Minneapolis. We say dreams are “fulfilled” rather than “granted” because you have to earn them. And given all of the shit that’s been thrown at us this season, from everywhere, nobody will question whether or not we fucking earned it if we make that dream a reality.
We’ve got our backs against the wall and an ace in the hole with Doug Pederson. As goofy and awkward as he can be, few coaches have been able to rally his teams past injuries like Doug has. I believe in Doug Pederson, because we have to believe in someone now, and if not him, then who?
Carson may have gone under the knife to end his season, but as long as Doug is still under the headset, the 2017 season is alive - scratching, kicking, clawing - but alive.