Category Archives: Eagles

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Reluctant preview of Eagles at Rams

Category : Eagles

It’s too much to EXPECT the Eagles in this topsy-turvy season to go out to Los Angeles and beat the Rams (11-2) in a Sunday Night Football matchup. Vegas has us as 9-point underdogs. But if the Birds were ever going to make a statement in this waning portion of the year that they still belong among the better teams in the NFC, this is their last best chance to prove it.
By now we all know the fault-lines and warts that have discouraged belief in the 2018 Eagles. It’s too late to buy a vowel in order to help solve the puzzle. We also can’t buy back a second shot at claiming some of those close games we lost by a hair. We are (at 6-7) what our record says we are.
So I’m not selling HOPE here. HOPE is a bad word around these parts. Just ask our esteemed Gatekeeper GK Brizer, who by the way is undergoing another series of surgeries this holiday season and we wish him the best. Real football players and coaches don’t hope, they look to find a way to break on through to the other side. They (like Brizer) go into every contest thinking this is the day we turn things around. They swear it’s not too late.
If you believe in recent trends, you can take courage from the fact that the Rams are coming off a stinker of a game against the Bears. Jared Goff played his worst game of the year, at times resembling a high school quarterback overwhelmed by what the Bears defense was slinging at him. Goff struggled immensely, throwing for just 180 yards and four interceptions. Running back Todd Gurley was virtually a non-factor, totaling just 28 rushing yards on 11 carries.
The Rams’ high-powered offense was halted in a 15-6 loss to the Bears. The Rams’ six points were their lowest single-game total of the season. Over their past few games, the Rams have not exactly been lighting up the scoreboard on offense.
Take what you want from that snapshot trend analysis. It doesn’t make the Eagles’ challenge any easier, as I’m sure the Rams will be changing up some things on offense this Sunday night. You can’t really copy the Bears’ game plan on defense, either. We’re a vastly different style of team, with our secondary down to the bare wire.
But it does prove the Rams’ offense is fallible.
Goff still ranks fourth in the NFL with 3,934 passing yards this season. He is also undefeated at home, going 6-0 with a 70.1 completion percentage. Goff has only faced the Eagles once, which came in the Rams’ loss last December where he had two touchdown passes. With talented receivers like Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods – both over 1,000 yards receiving – in addition to Gurley, it’s no wonder that the Rams rank third in the NFL in total yards (5,493) and in points per game (32.7).
Rams’ rusher Todd Gurley still leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns (15 rushing, four receiving) and ranks second with 1,203 rush yards this season. In his only career game against the Eagles, Gurley recorded 135 scrimmage yards (96 rushing, 39 receiving) and two touchdowns.
The Eagles’ best chance of upsetting the Rams is to get sustained drives early and often, chewing up clock, keeping Goff and Gurley on the sidelines, and keeping their own defense off the field as much as possible.
Easier said than done, of course. The Eagles were 1-for-9 on third-down opportunities against the Cowboys last week and it contributed to a lopsided time of possession and the offense running just 17 first-half plays.
The Rams’ playmakers up front are a major threat to the Eagles’ sustaining anything on offense. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate as he leads the league with 16.5 sacks that have resulted in 154.5 lost yards. The next highest in those two categories are 13.5 sacks (Denver’s Von Miller) and 95 yards (Kansas City’s Chris Jones). Donald also has four forced fumbles.
Nine-year veteran nose tackle Ndamukong Suh adds 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two pass deflections.
You look at that front and you need to find a way to sustain. Maybe this is the week the Birds go up-tempo on offense? We haven’t seen a lot of that since Week 3 against the Colts.
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Brisuksegg Fantasy Football League Championship update…
~BROZ did it! — not only back-to-back, but the first 3-time champion in the history of the BSE. Congrats also to DUTCH RUBB who gave ~BROZ a helluva run but came up inches short.
So it is written:  2018 – ~BROZ,  2017 – ~BROZ,  2016 – ATV,  2015 – ~BROZ,  2014 – DUTCH RUBB,  2013 – JERKY,  2012 – ATV.
Here’s how ~BROZ did it:

#3 The Amish Mafia
84

#1 Bri’s Fantasy Boys
116

 

The Amish Mafia Box Score (DUTCH RUBB)

STARTERS

SLOT
PLAYER, TEAM POS
OPP
STATUS ET
PTS

QB
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB  Q

@Oak

L 21-24
26

RB
Todd Gurley II, LAR RB

@Chi

L 6-15
5

WR
Davante Adams, GB WR

Atl

W 34-20
14

TE
David Njoku, Cle TE

Car

W 26-20
3

FLEX
James White, NE RB

@Mia

L 33-34
2

FLEX
Courtland Sutton, Den WR  Q

@SF

L 14-20
1

D/ST
Broncos D/ST D/ST

@SF

L 14-20
24

K
Greg Zuerlein, LAR K

@Chi

L 6-15
9

Total: 84

Bri’s Fantasy Boys Box Score (~BROZ)

STARTERS

SLOT
PLAYER, TEAM POS
OPP
STATUS ET
PTS

QB
Philip Rivers, LAC QB

Cin

W 26-21
17

RB
Saquon Barkley, NYG RB

@Wsh

W 40-16
31

WR
Keenan Allen, LAC WR

Cin

W 26-21
13

TE
Zach Ertz, Phi TE

@Dal

L 23-29
3

FLEX
Robert Woods, LAR WR

@Chi

L 6-15
6

FLEX
Jaylen Samuels, Pit RB

@Oak

L 21-24
8

D/ST
Chargers D/ST D/ST

Cin

W 26-21
31

K
Sebastian Janikowski, Sea K

Min

W 21-7
7

Total: 116


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God save the Queen…and the QB…and the Eagles!

Category : Eagles

Have you adjusted your sleep pattern yet, fellow Eagles fan? I’m doing the “go to bed an hour earlier each night” thing before the Birds and Jags kick off at Wembley on Sunday morning—er, afternoon London time, of course. Problem is going to bed doesn’t necessarily equate to falling asleep. An extra shot of gin at bedtime helps a little, also reading a book in dim light seems to facilitate sleepy time—but awaking earlier each morning now leaves me feeling a little twitchy the rest of the day. I wonder if the players are experiencing something similar to my coping routine?—all except for the gin chaser at night, of course…(as Kent Phil would say, “ahem!”)…
The game itself will be without these injured players: for the Eagles, slot CB Sidney Jones (hamstring), RB Darren Sproles (hamstring), S Corey Graham (hamstring), and LB/ST Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee).
Questionable is DT Haloti Ngata (calf).
For the Jaguars, these players are out: RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring), CB A.J. Bouye (calf), CB Tyler Patmon (neck), and TE James O’Shaughnessy (hip).
Questionable to Doubtful is CB D.J. Hayden (toe).
What the injury report really means to the Eagles is we will see some new faces on the field, especially in the defensive secondary and on special teams. CB Dexter McDougle was on the street two weeks ago; now he may be getting his second straight start with the Eagles in Sidney Jones’ spot. CB Chandon Sullivan (UDFA rookie) has been called up from the practice squad and will be activated for Sunday’s game. HC Doug Pederson said “Chandon Sullivan has done everything right, and put himself in position to help us. … We’ll see how much time he gets.”
The Eagles practiced Friday on a windy sunny morning at the London Irish Rugby Football Club’s Hazelwood training grounds near lovely Sunbury-on-Thames.
Spies report that the Birds were walking through a lot of running plays. Hmmm…The Eagles are coming off one of their poorest rushing performances of the season. They were held to 2.4 yards per carry by a Panthers defense that had been allowing 4.6. Wendell Smallwood had a couple of nice third-quarter runs, including an 8-yard gain on a third-and-6 on the Eagles’ final scoring drive. But that was pretty much it. He gained 14 yards on his other seven carries, and Corey Clement managed just 6 yards on eight carries. As Paul Domowitch of the Inquirer notes in his scouting report,  “Smallwood is a decent runner, but has limited vision and change-of-direction ability.”
Our spies also saw the Eagles offense working on situational formations, most notably 3rd and medium-long scenarios. Last Sunday Carson Wentz completed just 2 of 7 passes on third down.
Guess who will be covering Alshon Jeffrey, currently our best clutch receiver? Yep, it’s big-mouth All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey, who is likely to shadow Jeffrey all day. Ramsey only shuts up when he gets beat. I yearn for a big old cup of “CHUT UP” to be delivered by Kent Phil personally to Ramsey when the dust clears at Wembley.
If in fact Jeffrey is tire-tracked into a neutral factor on offense, here’s your key to the game—someone, anyone besides TE Zach Ertz has got to step up with some dynamite route-running and give Wentz some kind of viable alternative target to throw to once in a while. The season-long disappearance of our #2 and #3 wideouts in the downfield passing game has become alarming.
On defense, our thin line will be tested by the Jaguars’ reliance upon their run game. QB Blake Bortles is a better runner than he is passer. RB Carlos Hyde, acquired last week from the Browns, will make his Jags debut Sunday. The 6-foot, 229-pound Hyde is a downhill runner with explosive power.
A key matchup to watch is Eagles DT Fletcher Cox vs. Jaguars C Brandon Linder and RG A.J. Cann. Linder and Cann are solid blockers with 102 combined starts. But Cox has been a disruptive force inside all season. We are gonna need all the disruption we can get on defense to offset the loss of depth in the DL rotation right now.
Just in case you’re wondering, Philly’s beat writers are calling it like this:
Les Bowen— Eagles 17, Jags 16
Paul “DOMO” — Jags 17, Eagles 13
Jeff McLane— Eagles 24, Jags 20
Zach Berman— Eagles 19, Jags 17


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Jags know how to spoil a trip to London…

Category : Eagles

On the surface of things it would appear to be ideal timing for the Eagles to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are mired in a 3-game losing streak during which their offense has basically disappeared.
The Jags have got their best tackles and tight ends hurt. They have lost their best running backs (Leonard Fournette and Corey Grant) to injury (hamstring and Lisfranc, respectively). Blake Bortles has looked lost at times and has been making some weird in-play decisions at QB. No doubt that HC Doug Marrone will dumb down his offense against the Eagles, getting the ball out of Bortles’ hand as quickly as possible, and push, push, push the ground game and swing-pass game. Marrone believes if he can grind it out, keep the scoring low, and win time-of-possession and field-position contests, he’s going to beat the Eagles in London.
Marrone won’t come out and say it, either, but he’s banking on the “home field advantage” the Jaguars feel they have by virtue of their traditional experience with doing the London thing.
“Having gone through it a few times, you kind of understand what’s going on,” Jags right guard A.J. Cann said. “It’s not really new to you. I would agree [that it’s an advantage], but we still have to adjust to the sleep schedule and the time [difference]. But I would say, yeah, we get to understand how it works [and that helps].”
They’ve got their overseas travel mechanics down. This will be the sixth consecutive year the Jaguars have played a home game in London and the fourth year in a row in which they’ll leave Jacksonville on Thursday evening. The Jaguars arrive in London on Friday morning, make a brief stop at their hotel, and then head to their designated practice field to have their normal Friday light workout/walk-through.
They settled on that schedule in 2015 after spending a week in the United Kingdom in 2013 and 2014. They’ve not lost since, beating Buffalo, Indianapolis and Baltimore. All three teams were making their first trip overseas to play — as is Sunday’s opponent, the Eagles.
“Being a guy that’s been to London twice, I think it’s just more so about your just finding your sleep pattern, because they’re five hours ahead of us,” said defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who will be making his third trip. “Once you find that sleep pattern you should be fine, because your body should get adjusted and ready for game day.”
Having London native Jay Ajayi along for the trip could help mitigate the unknown factors for the Eagles. Although Ajayi’s season as a player is over (knee), he can show his teammates the ropes needed to adapt to time zone change, what to expect in terms of long bus trips to the stadium, and all the other things that threw the Ravens for a loop last year when they got pounded by the Jags, 44-7, on their very first London experience.
But I digress. The biggest obstacle facing the Eagles in London is the #2 overall-rated defense of the Jaguars.
This is an angry group of young men in the Jags’ defense meeting room. They are so pissed off at their own offense (and at coach Marrone for continuing to trot out Blake Bortles at QB) that there are altercations spilling out into the clubhouse locker room.
I am more than concerned that the Jacksonville defense wants to take their current frustration out on us.
Their defensive motivation is to prove they can neutralize our offense and thereby render their own offense harmless to the cause—being the second-class citizen, if you will, compared to the Jacksonville defense.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson on Wednesday spoke of the difference in the Jaguars’ defense this season compared to last season. While the unit ranks No. 2 in the NFL in yards allowed and No. 1 in passing defense, the defense also allowed 23 points to Kansas City, 40 to Dallas and 20 to Houston. While many of those points – including 10 against Houston – came after the offense committed turnovers deep in Jaguars territory, Gipson said the Jaguars still need to “crack the Da Vinci code, get out of this sunken place and start playing our type of football. Over the last three weeks, specifically the last two, it’s just been downright bad football played on our end. We talk this talk … going out there and playing weak and laying eggs is unacceptable.” Gipson was asked about the Jaguars having played with a “chip” on their shoulders last season. “That chip is what drove us and fed us last year,” Gipson said. “Guys aren’t playing with the same chip and it’s not specifically singling out anybody. It’s just collectively we’re not playing with that type of urgency, that type of aggression – and it’s starting to show. You can tell teams are comfortable now against this defense whereas last year teams weren’t comfortable. Teams are testing us, and great teams respond to that.”
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson on dealing with frustration after a three-game losing streak: “You have to go out and there and do your job. That’s all you have do to. We understand what it takes. We understand what it means to be angry and channel that energy in the right way. It’s not at anybody or anything. It’s about the way you go about your work next week and in the game.”
Look out, Eagles fans— this defensive group from Jacksonville is fired up.
One of the Jaguars’ biggest beefs on defense is Bortles and his offense keep putting the D in deep field position holes with turnovers. The Jaguars have committed 17 turnovers while the defense has forced just five turnovers.
Bortles and his O group have not given their defense much margin of error lately, either. The Jaguars were outscored 57-0 in the first halves of the last three games.
On a similar note, Carson Wentz and the Eagles O have been struggling a bit on 3rd down plays and on scoring opportunities in the red zone. Could this end up a perfect storm of frustration for both teams in London?
There’s a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball for Jacksonville. This will not be an easy challenge for the Eagles offense. Ultimately it must be the Eagles offense which rises to the Jaguars’ defensive challenge—because any offense the Jaguars get is reluctant and unlikely—like house money.
Check out the highly drafted talent on the current Jaguars defensive depth chart:

Position
First
Second
Third
Fourth
Other

DE
Yannick Ngakoue
Dante Fowler Jr. 
Lerentee McCray

NT
Marcell Dareus Abry Jones
Eli Ankou

DT
Malik Jackson
Taven Bryan

DE
Calais Campbell
Taven Bryan
Dawuane Smoot

WLB
Telvin Smith Sr.
Blair Brown

MLB
Myles Jack
Donald Payne

SLB
Leon Jacobs
Lerentee McCray

LCB
Jalen Ramsey
D.J. Hayden
Tre Herndon

FS
Tashaun Gipson Sr.
Jarrod Wilson
Cody Davis

SS
Barry Church
Ronnie Harrison

RCB
A.J. Bouye
Tyler Patmon
Quenton Meeks

Man, that defense is loaded. This game is going to be anything but a European vacation for the Eagles offense.


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Keeping score on Eagles

Category : Eagles

~BROZ of Drafttek and Bored fame axed me a question last night— what is the worst regular season W-L record ever posted by a defending Super Bowl champion in a non-strike season?
I’m not sure what his intent was— maybe to calm me down from overreacting to our current 3-4 record?
To answer his question, I THINK (I’m not sure) it’s when Denver finished last in the AFC West division with a 6-10 record after winning Super Bowl 33. Even Google doesn’t have a clear-cut category for that type of question. Maybe that’s because every SB-winning fan base thinks they’re on the verge of a dynasty? They can’t handle the truth…
I guess 6-10 is not out of the question for the Eagles in 2018, and if injuries keep piling up like the rotator cuff surgical issue for DE Derek Barnett which has just knocked him out for the season, it’s highly possible we could find ourselves struggling to finish 8-8 or worse.
Frankly for me it would seem to mostly come down to our ability to hold it together for our remaining 5 divisional games against the Cowboys, Redskins and Giants. If (and that’s a big “IF”) we could sweep those five games, we will have an excellent chance to repeat as NFC East division champs. That’s an automatic ticket to the post-season, where anyone can get hot and erase all the doubts of a rough early start.
Problem is there may be more collateral damage injury-wise just to get to that point. I don’t know how many more key players we can afford to lose before 6-10 becomes a realistic end game.
Coming back from London at 4-4 before the Bye would be a most appreciated blessing. But first we have to beat the Jacksonville/London Jaguars who are likewise seeking a similar outcome for themselves.
What is the current score on the Eagles compared to the productivity numbers of the rest of the league?

Team Ranking
Overall
Rushing
Passing

Offense
19th
102.9 (21st)
260.0 (15th)

Defense
14th
85.7 (2nd)
269.7 (24th)

As you can see, we are not horrible—but we are not outstanding in an overall sense, either. Our defensive rushing number looks good, but it is skewed because opponents like to pass against us a lot more than usual, and go away from the run, as we have given up more than our fair share of big chunk plays in the air.
If you’re scoring by the numbers, we are currently a middle-of-the-pack team…slightly below average on offense, slightly above average on defense. In other words, we have played to a “MEH” standard so far, and our 3-4 record reflects that.
Finishing close games with a definitive offensive or defensive burst has eluded us so far in 2018. Last season that kind of finish became expected, almost automatic. It was a magical, intoxicating season in that regard. Maybe it’s asking too much to repeat that kind of magic. Maybe last season was a once-in-a-generation kind of epiphany where everything seems to come together at the right time all the time?
Who knows?
What we do know is we are about to find out just how effective the coaching staff is at motivating a team to climb from the doldrums of “MEH” into the stratosphere of “YEAH YEAH YEAH!”…
Doug Pederson: “It’s a great week to regroup, refocus, and try to get to 4-4 with a break and get some guys back healthy and we’ll see what happens the last eight weeks.”
Yes, we will see…and for me, no regrets. It’s an exciting challenge for me as a life-long fan of the franchise. Like Tina Turner once said, “we never never EVER do anything nice and easy.”
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Brisuksegg Fantasy Football League update:
It’s been the Benny and Dutch show so far this season as both the Bad Jews Bears and the Amish Mafia currently sit at 6-1 atop the Eastern Division.

EAST

TEAM
W
L
T
PCT
GB

The Amish Mafia
6
1
0
.857

BAD JEWS BEARS
6
1
0
.857

Bri’s Fantasy Boys
3
3
1
.500
2.5

Monkey Nuts
2
5
0
.286
4

Bri Suks More Than Just Eggs
1
5
1
.214
4.5

WEST

TEAM
W
L
T
PCT
GB

NFC East Mr. Jinks
4
3
0
.571

The Bri Slapper
4
3
0
.571

Chocolate Bri
3
4
0
.429
1

PRIME BEEF
3
4
0
.429
1

Squid’s Sleeves
2
5
0
.286
2

 

The Bri Slapper (Nads)
(4-3)Jared Nixon

98

The Amish Mafia (TAM)
(6-1)Jeffrey Dotterer

138

Quick Box Score | Full Box Score | Scoring Breakdown

Nads

Line:
Top Scorer:

+15.7
Jaguars D/ST 27

TAM

Line:
Top Scorer:

-15.7
M. Ryan 28

 

PRIME BEEF (TBON)
(3-4)T BONE

64

BAD JEWS BEARS (BJB)
(6-1)Ben Gold

121

Quick Box Score | Full Box Score | Scoring Breakdown

TBON

Line:
Top Scorer:

+19.9
K. Cousins 24

BJB

Line:
Top Scorer:

-19.9
K. Hunt 31

 

Chocolate Bri (HOP)
(3-4)J Hop

188

Bri Suks More Than Just Eggs (HO)
(1-5-1)Rodney Vander Veer

73

Quick Box Score | Full Box Score | Scoring Breakdown

HOP

Line:
Top Scorer:

-25.6
Colts D/ST 54

HO

Line:
Top Scorer:

+25.6
Patriots D/ST 23

 

NFC East Mr. Jinks (ATV)
(4-3)Chris R

99

Bri’s Fantasy Boys (Broz)
(3-3-1)Brozer Eight

115

Quick Box Score | Full Box Score | Scoring Breakdown

ATV

Line:
Top Scorer:

-4.6
Cowboys D/ST 27

Broz

Line:
Top Scorer:

+4.6
P. Rivers 36

 

Squid’s Sleeves (DP)
(2-5)The Don Pardo

111

Monkey Nuts (SPIF)
(2-5)Spiffo

113

Quick Box Score | Full Box Score | Scoring Breakdown

DP

Line:
Top Scorer:

-.5
C. Newton 31

SPIF

Line:
Top Scorer:

+.5
Texans D/ST 52


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London calling…Doug must answer…

Category : Eagles

I expect the “Clash” version of the 2018 Eagles to show up at Wembley, and not the “phony Beatlemania” version we’ve seen so far this season.
All right, I’m being a little harsh with that, because the Eagles really are hurting physically moreso than we like to admit. The injuries piled up early on this team, and we are just beginning to dig out of that Red Cross canvas tarp.
Heading into this cross-Atlantic match with the Jax Jaguars, who are also mired at 3-4 in their respective division like we are, we find our head coach suddenly in the cross-hairs of criticism—as if his Super Bowl winning campaign never really culminated less than just 8 months ago.
Doug Pederson is pushing back on questions about his decision-making during a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, while expressing confidence that his team has what it takes to turn the season around.
Pederson called it “crazy” that he was being asked about whether he should have dialed up more running plays in the fourth quarter after going up 17-0, or if the defense should have blitzed more to try to halt a Carolina offense that caught fire down the stretch.
I don’t like these media/fan confrontations with our coach. First, it puts Doug into a defensive stance just based on the accusatory tone of the questions. “Should” you have called more running plays or blitzed more? What the heck kind of questions are those? It’s assuming that you already know the answers to the questions before you ask them.
“Well, we all know what you SHOULD have done….”
No, the reality of NFL football is more about “could” than “should”…
Doug doesn’t like being second-guessed by amateurs.
“Now you’re getting into game plan stuff, you’re getting into scheme, and you guys aren’t in there watching the tape like we are for 18 hours a day and putting the game plans together,” he said. “It’s easy to sit in a press box and say, ‘Hey, they should run the ball.’ Come down and stand on the sidelines with me and make decisions. … Until you’re down there with me on the sideline making in-game decisions, then, I guess you can ask all you want.”
“Let me ask you to block 700-pound men sometime. It’s not because of lack of effort, it’s not because of scheme. They get paid over there … Carolina, to make plays on us. And when it breaks down, it breaks down,” Pederson said.
“It’s not that I lose confidence in the run game, it’s not that at all. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the run game. I’ve got a lot of confidence in that O-Line room. Those guys are good, really good, and they’re talented, and the backs are talented. It’s still an aggressive mentality when I run and it’s still an aggressive mentality when I throw. We’re always going to maintain that aggressiveness. And I have no lack of confidence whatsoever in our run game.”
The Super Bowl champs are 3-4 entering Sunday’s London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the struggles over the first portion of the season, Pederson remains optimistic about his group. “Listen, I’ve got so much confidence in this football team, you don’t understand. We’re losing games by just a couple of plays,” he said.
“I’ve got so much confidence in this football team and this coaching staff that we’re going to get this fixed.”
I take him at his word. Doug’s the most transparent head coach we’ve had here since Dick Vermeil.
He is apparently wearing his emotions on his sleeve, too. I’m not so sure that’s the best survival tactic for a head coach who’s going through a tough streak of close losses to opportunistic opponents, but that is Doug and he’s not going to phony it up with Andy Reid-isms, such as “we’ve got to do a better job of putting our players in better position….etc.”
Doug basically says he’s put his available personnel in the best position that they can possibly be in, and so far that’s not a winning formula in close games. By Doug’s implication, that’s more on execution of design by the players, not on the coaching element.
Doug is the “Clash” calling out “phony Beatlemania”.
I don’t normally defend bad coaching decisions. I mean, you can go out of your way to “understand” an off-the-wall move, like when Pat Shurmur went for the 2-point conversion in Atlanta last night with his Giants trailing by 8 with 6 minutes to go.
But Doug doesn’t really do “off-the-wall” stuff. He may call seemingly “exotic” plays at times, but when you break them down, they’re actually quite simple attempts to exploit an overloaded defense.
That being the case, Doug gets a chance to make his  “Shut Up” statement this coming Sunday morning in London.
According to NBC Sports columnist Dave Zangaro, the Jaguars are an even bigger mess than the Eagles right now.
Jacksonville is going back to Blake Bortles, head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement released by the team. He’ll start Sunday against the Eagles in London.
“The Jags benched Bortles during their loss to the Texans on Sunday after he fumbled away the ball twice. They went with Cody Kessler for the rest of the game, but now are going back to their former first-round pick, who has had a rather disappointing career.
“Bortles received a three-year extension this offseason but has struggled so far in 2018. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this season and has a passer rating just over 80. He’s not the worst quarterback in the league, but he’s hardly someone the Jaguars can expect to win a game for them.”
The deal with the Jaguars is their offense has been so impotent lately that it exiles their superlative defense to spending too many minutes on the field— until it inevitably wears down.
Newly acquired RB Carlos Hyde (formerly Cleveland Browns) says his running style makes him a perfect fit for what the Jaguars want to do on offense. However, he said he wasn’t aware of the team’s massive offensive struggles until he was on the sideline of last Sunday’s loss to Houston. “That’s new to me. I had no clue. I was prepping for Tampa Bay before i was traded,” Hyde said. “Once I got here [in Jacksonville], from the game I saw on Sunday, offensively we couldn’t really move the ball and that was hurting our defense. Those three-and-outs, that puts a lot of pressure on the defense right there, and turning the ball over. Definitely if we can get to move the ball in the right direction, convert those third downs, keep the drives alive, give the defense a break, it will be helpful.”
Thus, time’s yours, Doug Pederson. You’re the Clash, not the Beatles. Back up your protest lyrics with a new beat. The only critics you should be concerned with right now are the Jaguars.


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Eagles ain't no Fortunate One

Category : Eagles

CB Sidney Jones is out for probably the next few weeks with a hamstring, and LT Jason Peters (who was battling a quad injury) is now questionable for next weekend with a biceps strain. Add to that the banged-up ankle of RT Lane Johnson, who may not be “week-to-week” but is definitely “play-to-play” with that thing.
With their Week 9 BYE still a solid two weeks away, somehow the Eagles are going to have to fight through collective injuries to take on the extremely physical Carolina Panthers on October 21, then make the long trip to London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars the following Sunday.
No rest for the weary!
Of course we’ve already lost RB Jay Ajayi (ACL), too bad the Englishman won’t get to show off to his “home crowd” at Wembley; and RB/PR Darren Sproles is still unavailable due to a hamstring. WR Mike Wallace and his 4.33 are ancient history now (fractured fibula) although technically he could return in January. WR Mack Hollins is still on Injured Reserve with a groin injury. At least RB Corey Clement is back and seemingly effective again after rehabbing a quad strain.
The point of this little ditty is you gotta forge on through adversity if you wanna rock’n’roll in this league. The Eagles are getting their fair share of adversity so far this season. Besides the injury bug, they lost some guys to free agency who would look real good in midnight green right about now, specifically Trey Burton and LeGarrette Blount.
It’s fitting and somewhat symbolic that the real leaders of this team on offense right now are both coming back from surgeries—namely Carson Wentz (knee) and Alshon Jeffery (rotator cuff).
Jeffery in particular has inspired me as a fan, and certainly he has jacked up his teammates with his sudden explosions on offense.
Jeffery evokes the feeling, tight end Zach Ertz says, “That no matter what, we’re going to go out there and make plays. He kind of has that demeanor about him.”
Tim McManus of ESPN: “He’s not the obvious candidate to be an emotional spark. He is quiet and soft-spoken much of the time. But there’s a certain swagger that has proved infectious during his year-plus in Philadelphia, and he’s got a defiant way about him that comes through in his messaging.”
“I always just tell [my teammates], ‘Ain’t nobody f—ing with us.’ That’s what I always say,” Jeffery said.
Jeffery (age 28, 6-3, 220, 4.48, 2nd round out of South Carolina)  is averaging seven catches, 73 yards and a touchdown in three games. On Thursday against the Giants, he was targeted 12 times by Wentz and came up with eight catches for 74 yards and two TDs.
“I think I’m still a little rusty. I didn’t have an offseason or training camp,” Jeffery said. “It can only improve and get better.”
The thing that strikes me about Jeffery’s game is the sheer willpower that drives his performance. He’s not the fastest or most graceful athlete on the field. He’s all arms and legs akimbo at times, but he goes out and he goes up and he fights and digs for that football, usually with someone draped all over him. When I squint my eyes I see a slightly smaller version of Harold Carmichael.
That’s inspirational to me as a fan because his game is not about perfection of form. He’s self-taught. He ain’t no Senator’s son.
It’s the embodiment of a special kind of grit, the kind of grit this team will need to get through the next two weeks with at least one win.


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Glad for Eagles' 34-13 win, sad it came against a disturbingly bad Giants team…

Category : Eagles

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take any W the Eagles can get—but in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if you can take anything of substance going forward for the Birds based upon the horrific performance of the New York Giants as a team.
The Giants played an awful all-around game. We didn’t dominate them so much as the Giants beat themselves. At times it looked like the G-Men were resigned to defeat. Effort on their side was sketchy. HC Pat Shurmur has clearly lost his locker room. Eli Manning was hung out to dry by his crappy offensive line. Beckham threw a dozen more tantrums. The Giants defense was just guessing out there and had no clue.
As much as I love the Eagles and am happy for their win, the most exciting thing I saw Thursday night was a beautiful football player named Saquon Barkley. The kid from Penn State is the real deal. Barkley unfortunately for him right now is stuck with an absolute mess of a football team.
But this is the kind of team the Eagles had to beat. No excuses.
Carson Wentz threw a season-high three touchdown passes and the Eagles got an early lift from their defense and special teams in beating the struggling Giants 34-13 on Thursday night, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since the 2016 season.
“I’m really proud of the way we played in all three phases,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We have a very resilient group.”
Wentz coupled touchdowns passes of 13 yards and 1 yard to Alshon Jeffery around a 10-yarder to tight end Zach Ertz to help the Eagles (3-3) build a 31-6 lead. They beat the Giants (1-5) for the fourth straight time and seventh in eight games.
Corey Clement scored on a 1-yard run and Jake Elliott added field goals of 33 and 30 yards for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Rookie halfback Saquon Barkley scored on a 50-yard run and rushed for 130 yards in one of the few bright spots for the Giants’ offense, which was booed repeatedly in losing at home for the third time. Barkley ended up with 229 yards of total offense. Aldrick Rosas had field goals of 33 and 21 yards.
Eli Manning was under pressure all night from the Eagles. They sacked him four times and hit him 13 other times. He finished 24 of 43 for 281 yards.
“We want to get after the passer every week,” Pederson said. “These games are battles. It all comes down to which team gets after the passer. We hit Eli and put him on the ground. That was big.”
It started on the opening series. Kamu Gugier-Hill intercepted Manning’s pass that was tipped by fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks and he returned it to Giants 16. Three plays later, Wentz (26 of 36 for 278 yards and no interceptions) was forced out of the pocket and found Jeffery after getting all day to throw.
A 46-yard run by Barkley set up Rosas’ 33-yarder to cut the gap to 7-3, but the Eagles took control later in the quarter after DeAndre Carter returned a punt 23 yards to the New York 44. Passes of 17 to Jeffery and 14 to Clement set up Clement’s touchdown run.
A spectacular tackle-breaking run by Barkley on a 55-yard screen pass helped cut the lead to 14-6 in the second quarter but Wentz hit a wide-open Nelson Agholer on a third and 3 and connected with Ertz for a 21-6 lead on the next play.
Elliott made it 24-6 just before halftime and Philadelphia put the game out of reach with a 75-yard drive that ended with a short Jeffery TD catch.
“We didn’t do anything well enough to win tonight,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “Credit Philadelphia. Good football team.”
The only thing meaningful after that was Barkley’s touchdown run, a thing of beauty, I must say. I wish we had him! Barkley has gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first six career games. He is one off the NFL rookie record set by Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt.
INJURIES: Eagles LT Jason Peters left with a biceps injury. Backup cornerback Sidney Jones left in the first half with a hamstring injury. The Giants had LB Ray Ray Amstrong (concussion), WR Cody Latimer (hamstring) and CB Antonio Hamilton (illness) leave the game.
UP NEXT: Eagles: Host Carolina on Oct. 21.

Matchup

1st Downs
23
17

Passing 1st downs
15
11

Rushing 1st downs
5
5

1st downs from penalties
3
1

3rd down efficiency
9-16
4-14

4th down efficiency
0-0
0-1

Total Plays
68
64

Total Yards
379
401

Total Drives
12
13

Yards per Play
5.6
6.3

Passing
271
254

Comp-Att
26-36
24-43

Yards per pass
7.3
5.4

Interceptions thrown
0
1

Sacks-Yards Lost
1-7
4-27

Rushing
108
147

Rushing Attempts
31
17

Yards per rush
3.5
8.6

Red Zone (Made-Att)
4-6
0-3

Penalties
4-25
5-61

Turnovers
0
1

Fumbles lost
0
0

Interceptions thrown
0
1

Defensive / Special Teams TDs
0
0

Possession
32:30
27:30

Game Leaders

Passing Yards

PHI
C. Wentz26-36, 278 YDS, 3 TD

NYG
E. Manning24-43, 281 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing Yards

PHI
W. Smallwood18 CAR, 51 YDS

NYG
S. Barkley13 CAR, 130 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving Yards

PHI
N. Agholor3 REC, 91 YDS

NYG

S. Barkley9 REC, 99 YDS
 

Full Box Score

Philadelphia Rushing

CAR
YDS
AVG
TD
LONG

Wendell Smallwood
18
51
2.8
0
8

Corey Clement
11
43
3.9
1
14

Carson Wentz
2
14
7.0
0
9

TEAM
31
108
3.5
1
14

Philadelphia Receiving

REC
YDS
AVG
TD
LONG
TGTS

Nelson Agholor
3
91
30.3
0
58
5

Alshon Jeffery
8
74
9.3
2
17
12

Zach Ertz
7
43
6.1
1
15
9

Jordan Matthews
2
26
13.0
0
16
3

Corey Clement
3
26
8.7
0
20
3

DeAndre Carter
1
11
11.0
0
11
1

Dallas Goedert
1
7
7.0
0
7
1

Wendell Smallwood
1
0
0.0
0
0
2

TEAM
26
278
10.7
3
58
36

Philadelphia Defense

tackles
misc

TOT
SOLO
SACKS
TFL
PD
QB HTS
TD

Jalen Mills
10
8
0
0
2
0
0

Jordan Hicks
10
5
0
0
1
0
0

Nigel Bradham
6
6
1
1
1
1
0

Malcolm Jenkins
6
5
0
0
0
0
0

Michael Bennett
6
4
1
1
0
3
0

Fletcher Cox
6
3
1
1
0
3
0

Avonte Maddox
6
3
0
0
0
0
0

Ronald Darby
2
2
0
0
4
0
0

Treyvon Hester
2
2
0
0
0
1
0

Brandon Graham
2
1
0
0
0
0
0

Derek Barnett
2
1
0
0
0
3
0

Dallas Goedert
2
1
0
0
0
0
0

Destiny Vaeao
1
1
1
1
0
1
0

Josh Perkins
1
1
0
0
0
0
0

Kamu Grugier-Hill
1
1
0
0
1
0
0

Josh Adams
1
1
0
0
0
0
0

Tre Sullivan
1
1
0
0
0
0
0

Chris Long
1
0
0
0
0
1
0

Corey Clement
1
0
0
0
0
0
0

Sidney Jones
1
0
0
0
0
0
0

TEAM
68
46
4
4
9
13
0


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Giants-Eagles preview: Which NFC East team will come out on top?

Category : Eagles , Giants , NFL

The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles haven’t started out their 2018-19 campaign as they had hoped. In fact, their performance has been extremely disappointing thus far.
Philadelphia has lost three of its last four games, and must now travel for a road game on a short week — to play on Thursday night. And, in a sense, it’s kind of a must-win spot, so the pressure is on. If the team should win and get to .500, with a big divisional victory in its pocket, it’ll be back on track. But a loss would drop them to last place in the NFC East, and playoff hopes would take a big hit.
To their credit, the Eagles boast the second-ranked run defense in the league, and they have the stout defensive front to make Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s job difficult. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is great at rotating linemen in and out, and he utilizes their depth in that area to mask the weaknesses in the secondary.
The Eagles do come into the game extremely undermanned, as the injuries have piled up for them, which sometimes happens to a team that had a long season/last played in February. Both starting tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters could be out, as they’re listed as questionable, which would be a big hit, as the Eagles have struggled with protection this year as is. And on the other side of the ball, Giants star pass-rusher Olivier Vernon appears on track to make his season debut. Running back Darren Sproles is also questionable, which could make Corey Clement the featured back, a job he’s not really suited for. The Eagles are also thin in the secondary, with cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham listed as questionable. The Giants are pretty healthy, and tight end Evan Engram could possibly return to the field as well, which could give the passing game a huge boost.
This is a tough game to predict — and you can get some advice on it from this betting intelligence site — given how many injuries the Eagles have to star players. The Giants have had success running the football in the past few weeks, but the Eagles stop the run better than any other team. If they can do that and generate pressure on Eli Manning, they’ll be able to get stops, and possibly a turnover or two. For the Eagles, it’ll come down to protecting Carson Wentz, and making sure the team’s playmakers don’t commit costly mistakes to kill drives — which helped the Vikings emerge victorious on Sunday. The Eagles defense should set the tone, though, and figures to get a big stop late to help the team hold on, and Philly will right the ship — with extended time to rest up for its next game, which it desperately needs, given all the injuries the team is dealing with.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Giants 20


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Eagles vs. Giants on Thursday night

Category : Eagles

At the start of the season the “pundits” were calling us the sure-fire winner of the NFC East and the team to beat in the eventual NFC playoffs; now, they’re calling us the “troubled Eagles” after a rough 2-3 start, and there is no consensus as to how we will fare against the “troubled Giants” on Thursday night.
At least the Eagles players are aware how critical to their season this game in the Meadowlands really has become.
“Throw out the records, because it’s a division game,” middle linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We know the Giants [1-4] are an extremely talented team offensively and they’re playing hard. They’re close to turning things around there. You see it when you watch the tape. I know how competitive the NFC East is. I know how tough it is to win games against that team.”
“We just need a win, man,” DT Fletcher Cox said on Tuesday. “That’s all it is. That’s our focus. We’re not happy to be here 2-3, but it is what it is. We just have to find a way to win.”
The New York Football Giants are out to salvage their fading divisional chance to become relevant again. They’re coming off a bitter loss in which Graham Gano’s 63-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Panthers over the Giants 33-31.
Tom Bowles at Athlon Sports and Life provides us with his personal keys to the upcoming game:
1. Can the Eagles play mistake-free football on offense?
The drama surrounding the Eagles revolves around doing the little things all wrong. They’re ranked 29th in the NFL with 395 penalty yards. Their turnover margin is a dismal minus-four, ahead of only Jacksonville and San Francisco. Their red zone scoring percentage is just 38.5 percent in the three games since Carson Wentz returned, ahead of only four other teams. In short, this team can’t get out of its own way. “I’m concerned,” said Eagles tight end Zach Ertz after Sunday’s contest. “It’s not where we thought we would be.”
2. Can Eli Manning re-assume control of the Giants’ offense?
“So much has been written about Manning’s decline at age 37. People have blamed a poor offensive line as a main reason he’s struggled to get on track.
“But despite the addition of star first-round pick Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury, Manning’s numbers are only marginally better year-to-year. Here’s a quick comparison of his last two seasons through five games.
2017: 1,338 yards, 67.8 completion rate, 8 TDs, 5 INTs, 13 sacks
2018: 1,381 yards, 71.7 completion rate, 6 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 fumbles, 16 sacks
“It’s not like Manning has become a Pro Bowler again with more weapons in the arsenal. Instead, the best play from under center last Sunday came from Beckham, throwing what became a breathless 57-yard TD to Barkley.
“The problem with Manning these days is he has a number of young dynamic offensive talents around him but his explosive playmaking ability has declined. That’s a dangerous recipe for chemistry in this locker room, especially considering Beckham’s aggressive personality. A game-changing performance is necessary to quiet some critics and remind them Manning still controls the office, not the people he gives the ball to. Being just a game manager won’t be enough.”
3. A battle of two bad offensive lines
The Eagles’ offensive line, just five games removed from a Super Bowl, enters the Giants game in tough shape. Tackle Lane Johnson has gone from first-team All-Pro to also-ran, allowing pressure that led to a Wentz sack and fumble-six last week. Nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters is once again playing through injuries that have him showing his age at 36. The starting lineup has been shuffled with Isaac Seumalo inserted in place of Stefen Wisniewski at left guard. Through five games, they’ve allowed 17 sacks, fourth worst in the NFC. This unit allowed just 33 all of last season.
“But the Giants, of course, are in the same boat. Manning has been sacked 16 times although the line has played better since 2015 first-round pick Ereck Flowers was finally benched. The speed of Barkley makes his blockers look a little better than they actually are.
“But both sets of linemen are vulnerable, setting up opportunities for an Eagles defense ranked second against the run. For all the playmakers they have on defense, the defending Super Bowl champions have just two fumble recoveries in five games. Cox, Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett and that whole defensive unit must put pressure on Manning and stuff Barkley, who for all his flair has less than 50 rushing yards in two straight games. They’re due for a few takeaways.
“The same goes for the Giants on Wentz. The Giants have just six sacks through five games and one fumble recovery of their own. That’s not going to cut it, especially in a division known for physical play. The team that gets to the quarterback quickest and most consistently Thursday night has the best chance to win.”
There is also the “drama factor”, says Bowles…
Everything about this Eagles team has felt off, in particular Doug Pederson’s coaching decisions. The head coach has come under fire for everything from play-calling to clock management to even dissing his kicker’s range.
But the Giants have their own drama, Odell Beckham Jr. spending last week whining publicly about his role on offense. To be fair, the wide receiver addressed his team on Sunday and responded with a game ball-type performance: 131 receiving yards, a touchdown catch and that spectacular 57-yard TD throw to Saquon Barkley. But the chemistry within this team still seems off.
Tom Bowles finally calls it 23-20 Eagles, citing the higher leadership factor of Wentz over the leadership factor of Eli as the difference. But I will be a little nervous anyway if the game ends up being that close. Anything can happen when you least expect it between two struggling teams in the same division.
Tom Bowles is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @NASCARBowles.


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