Eagles

Corey Clement's journey leads to career day against Broncos

Corey Clement's journey leads to career day against Broncos

While Eagles fans were ecstatic about the Birds bulldozing through the Broncos' No. 1 ranked defense for 197 rushing yards and the smashing debut of Jay Ajayi, rookie Corey Clement had a big day as well.

Of the Eagles running backs' 34 carries, Clement led the way with 12 touches (his most of this season) for 51 yards (4.2 average) and three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving).

Not a bad day at the office for someone who didn't have any carries the first two games of this season. Over the last two games he's now had 22 rushes for 105 yards. What he helped contribute in this game is a clear indication that Doug Pederson has total confidence in the first-year back.

"To be honest with you I just took advantage of every opportunity that came to me," Clement said. "As an undrafted rookie free agent you can't let any opportunity slide. At the same time I gotta thank the O-line, Coach Pederson, the wide receivers blocking up such a great game, and allowing me to get into the end zone."
     
Clement has become an integral part of arguably the deepest backfield in the league, and with the addition of Ajayi there's only so many touches to go around.

"We have a saying that iron sharpens iron," Clement said. "If you have great backs in the room everybody wants to compete, and guys are going to want to stay on the field. If you want reps you gotta keep putting up numbers, just making sure the production stays up. You either get better or get worse."
     
Nine games into the season, his production is on the rise. Not bad at all for a a guy who didn't get drafted, didn't know if he'd make the Eagles' roster nor stick in the NFL for that matter and a guy who's just trying to find his niche in a stable of more seasoned runners.

"I just gotta thank the Eagles organization for even giving me a chance to come in and be a part of camp to show what I could do," Clement said. "It wasn't easy, not at all. It was some ups and downs. At the same time I just kept my head to the sky, and just knew what I could do if given the opportunity. Being a rookie I just want to be a big part of this. I'm not a selfish player, and God doesn't give you more than you can handle."

Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

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Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

Carson Wentz doesn't care about accolades. 

He just better get used to them. 

The NFL announced Wednesday afternoon the Eagles' quarterback is leading all players in Pro Bowl fan voting. 

"I honestly didn't even know that," Wentz said to NBC Sports Philadelphia while sitting at his locker after Wednesday's practice. "I guess that's cool and all but you know how I am about that stuff. At the end of the day, we're 9-1 and that's what we like. You know me, I don't get caught up in that stuff."

Wentz has 273,367 votes, well ahead of the second-place player, Tom Brady (239,989). He has over 30,000 more votes than perhaps the best quarterback of all time. 

Fan voting is open until Dec. 14 and the Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 19.  

This season, Wentz has thrown for 2,430 yards and leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 25. He has just five interceptions. Wentz, in his second pro season, is a big reason why the Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1. 

If Wentz makes the Pro Bowl this season, it would be the first of his career. He admitted it would mean something to be named to the team. 

"I mean, obviously, that's recognition and that's something cool," he said. "But that's for down the road. We still have six games here to take care of business. We'll see what happens." 

In addition to Wentz, his favorite target Zach Ertz is closing in on his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ertz leads all NFC tight ends with 156,183 votes. In nine games this season, Ertz has 536 yards receiving and a career-high six touchdown catches. 

The Eagles are hoping neither of these two will be able to play in this year's Pro Bowl even if they make it. They're hoping both will be preparing for the Super Bowl that week. 

Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

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Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

Carson Wentz's declining production probably isn't a sign of trouble on the horizon for the Eagles. Quite the contrary, the quarterback's down numbers may be at least in part a reflection of the scheme and how well the team is playing.

With 2,430 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, Wentz might be the front-runner to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player at season's end. He's among the top two or three candidates, anyway. But the second-year player's once eye-popping statistics have notably dropped off in recent weeks, begging some question as to whether the magic is wearing off.

Over the Eagles' last three games, Wentz has completed 47 of 86 pass attempts (54.7 percent) for 192.7 yards per game (6.7 average) with eight touchdowns — far from MVP-caliber.

Perhaps the most concerning of those numbers is Wentz's completion percentage. At 59.7 percent for the season, he's fallen well below his mark of 62.4 as a rookie.

Wentz concedes he could be more accurate. The 24-year-old signal caller also believes some of the dropoff in his completion percentage is due to the offense pushing the ball vertically with more frequency in 2017.

That, and stats are meaningless as long as the Eagles are winning.

"That's definitely a number that I'd like to get higher again," Wentz said before Wednesday's practice. "I'm not crazy about stats. What really matters is wins and losses, but I'd like that to get higher.

“I do think it's a product of taking more chances down the field, taking more shots, being aggressive. I'm not going to get too hung up on that.”

There is certainly something to what Wentz is saying. While his completion rate is sub-optimal, his yards per attempt are over a yard higher compared to last season — 7.6 to 6.2. That's good for ninth in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks.

More incompletions or not, Wentz has still managed to play more efficient.

The Eagles are also 3-0 during Wentz's ongoing funk, so to speak, and he's only turned the football over once. He's obviously doing something right.

In fact, Wentz and the Eagles have been so successful in the last three games, that's actually had a negative impact on his individual numbers as well. The team jumped out to big second-half leads in contests against the 49ers, Broncos and Cowboys, reducing the need to put the ball in the air. Wentz even sat out portions of the fourth quarter twice.

Those types of game scripts will obviously put a damper on volume totals such as yards and touchdowns, and possibly Wentz's MVP chances along with them. From the team's vantage point, they're overwhelmingly positive.

With the Eagles chugging right along at 9-1, there doesn't seem much need to perform an autopsy on Wentz's season at this point. But if critics are searching for holes in the ship, the quarterback doesn't appear to be the place where this squad is going to spring a leak.