Eagles

Alshon Jeffery flies right through Broncos' hyped secondary

Alshon Jeffery flies right through Broncos' hyped secondary

Wide receivers aren’t supposed to stray into the “No Fly Zone,” but apparently Alshon Jeffery and the Eagles didn’t get that memo.

The Denver Broncos' secondary is usually akin to the Bermuda Triangle for receivers. They tend to disappear against the likes of Pro Bowl cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib.

Not Jeffery, who enjoyed one his most productive games yet as a member of the Eagles on Sunday. Afterward, he didn’t sound surprised by the outcome of venturing into a restricted area, either.

“We’re in the NFL,” Jeffery said postgame. “Everyone is a pro, and I’ll show them a Pro Bowl wide receiver, too.

“It doesn’t matter who’s out there. It’s football. You’re going to get beat and make plays."

Jeffery finished with six receptions for 84 yards and a season-high two touchdowns. It’s the most yards and touchdowns by a wide receiver against the Denver defense in 2017.

Jeffery’s 32-yard touchdown is also the fourth-longest scoring play by a receiver against the Broncos this season, and it was a beauty. Carson Wentz faked the handoff to running back Jay Ajayi, and while Talib was peeking in the backfield, Jeffery took off.

The play was actually a run-pass option, and Wentz wound up making a perfect read and throw.

“That’s something that we practiced all week,” Jeffery said. “As (Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby) would say, ‘We practiced it to hell.’

“It was working in practice. They did a great job of scheming and game-planning, and Carson with a great read. We practiced it – if he pulls it, just take off and run, and that’s how it worked out.”

The Eagles dialed it up for one of the most dangerous ball hawks in NFL history. Talib ranks fourth all-time with 10 interception returns for touchdowns.

Talib is thinking six on every snap, so in a sense, he guessed right this time.

“It was just a zone-read play with that little tag to Alshon there,” Wentz said. “We knew Talib is an aggressive corner, so with that action I just knew I had to get enough time to let Alshon win, and he did the rest.”

The touchdown was just the latest evidence of the growing rapport between quarterback and star receiver. As Eagles coach Doug Pederson revealed, it was a play the duo had been working on since May.

“It's a Day-1-training-camp, Day-1-OTA play,” Pederson said. “It's just a one-step hitch-and-go, and we got (Talib) to bite on the play. Did a great job throwing the ball on the run and Alshon getting in the end zone.

“It's actually in our tempo package and we pulled it out this week. Just kind of dusted it off and worked on it all week and executed it to the perfection.”

Jeffery now has at least one touchdown in consecutive games, along with 146 yards receiving over the last two. He has quietly amassed 34 receptions for 500 yards and five touchdowns in nine contests – not quite a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown pace, but closing in on such milestones.

Concerns over Jeffery’s chemistry with Wentz are beginning to fade, if the pair left any doubt at all against the Broncos.

“I think it’s always been there,” Jeffery said. “We’re on the same page in practice, working each and every day. Just work on it all the time in practice, then in a game, it’ll be easy.

“It surprised you guys, not us.”

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out the me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.