Eagles

Eagles-Bears: Roob's 10 observations

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Eagles-Bears: Roob's 10 observations

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They are so methodical, so thorough, so dominating right now it's almost like we're all dreaming, isn't it?

With their latest blowout win — 31-3 over the Bears Sunday at the Linc — the Eagles became only the fourth NFL team in the last 64 years to win four straight games by 23 or more points (see breakdown).

They gave up six rushing yards to the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing offense. That's the fewest rushing yards they've allowed in the last 71 years.

Their 24-year-old quarterback now has 28 touchdowns and five interceptions (see report card). Since Week 5, that's 22 TDs and three INTs. 

They're 10-1 with a nine-game winning streak, the last five by double digits.

They're annihilating people.

So let's go to Roob's 10 Observations and take a look at yet another blowout Eagles win!

1. What we're seeing right now is just flat-out scary. Honestly, I don't know how anybody is going to beat this team. I know the Patriots, Vikings and Saints are all really good, and there are some other capable teams out there, but the Eagles are just destroying teams right now, and I just don't see a weakness when I watch them. How do you beat a team that can score at will and isn't allowing its opponents to even breathe on offense? The Eagles have taken this thing to another level, winning these last four by an average of 27 points and allowing just three offensive touchdowns along the way. It's just such a pleasure watching football played like this. Aggressive. Unselfish. Physical. Disciplined. There's something special going on here, and, man, is it fun to watch.

2. What we're seeing from Carson Wentz right now is just off the charts. With all due respect to Donovan McNabb, he's playing at an unprecedented level in Eagles history. These last seven games, Wentz has 22 touchdown passes and three interceptions. That's in less than half a season. This is a 24-year-old kid. He's playing virtually perfect football every Sunday, and the stats, records and numbers are piling up faster than we can keep track of. But all he cares about winning, and the effect he's had on this team is remarkable. To see veteran guys like LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Alshon Jeffery, guys who've been stars with other teams, come here and just follow Wentz's lead is eye-opening. He commands that locker room and leads so naturally and effortlessly. The Eagles are playing with a lot of passion and joy right now, and it all starts with No. 11. He's just on another level right now.

3. One significant development over the last few weeks has been a gradually improving chemistry between Wentz and Jeffery. The last few weeks, Jeffery has really started to look like a No. 1 receiver. He's not putting up huge numbers, but he's distanced himself from the other wideouts as far as targets, production and just being that guy Wentz is looking for at big moments more than any of the other wide receivers. Also great to see Zach Ertz rebound with a huge game — 10 catches for 103 yards and his seventh touchdown. He's been a beast this year.

4. I was curious to see this matchup between the Bears' fifth-ranked rushing attack — averaging 132 yards per game entering Sunday — and an Eagles run defense that went into the game No. 1 in the NFL, allowing 71 yards per game. And wow. The Bears were under zero yards until a late 11-yard scramble by Mitch Trubisky. But even with that, they finished with 14 carries for six yards. That's the fewest rushing yards the Eagles have allowed in a game since 1946. You just can't run on this team. And then you have to chuck it, and that plays right into the hands of their pass rush and secondary. Six rushing yards? It's nuts.

5. Gotta give some props to Brandon Graham, who recorded his career-high seventh sack. Graham, now in his eighth year with the Eagles, has been through so much here but injects this defense with so much energy and life and passion. He came into the league as an under-sized pass-rushing specialist, but he's now really become a two-way player, the Eagles' best pass rusher on the outside and a willing and effective run stopper, too.

6. Doug Pederson has handled everything beautifully this year, but his handling of a potentially difficult running back situation has been brilliant. He has such an innate feel for what situations and plays are best suited to the different backs, and he's managed to keep them all happy and thinking team-first. Blount led the NFL in touchdowns last year. Ajayi was a Pro Bowler. But they've suppressed their egos, and whether those guys are getting the carries or Corey Clement or even Kenjon Barner, they're all supportive of each other and they're all genuinely happy for each other. I think it all starts with Blount. There were some questions about the guy when he got here, but he's been nothing but a team player here, and the other backs, the younger guys, just follow along. And Blount is running the ball great, too. 

7. The Eagles' defense allowed one touchdown in November. 

8. We don't spend much time talking about position coaches, but the improvement we've seen in every position group since last year, and ever since, the start of this year speaks volumes about the hands-on work being done at practice and in meetings by guys like Duce Staley, Mike Groh, Cory Undlin, Chris Wilson, John DeFilippo, Ken Flajole and the others. One of the underrated keys to the Eagles' initial success under Andy Reid from 2000-2004 was Big Red's first staff — position coaches like Ron Rivera, John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier, all of whom became NFL head coaches. This is the same sort of staff. Very hands-on, extremely engaged, tremendously respected in the locker room. And in a few years, several of these guys will be NFL head coaches as well. 

9. These next two games are going to be fascinating. The Seahawks have always been unbeatable at home, but they're not quite the same team anymore. And the Rams have been one of the NFL's hottest teams all year. But I think the Eagles win both games on this West Coast trip and get back to Philly 12-1 with only the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys standing between them and a 15-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Beat the Seahawks and Rams, and the road to the Super Bowl will go right through the Linc.

10. Finally, I have to give a shout out to Brent Celek. He didn't catch a pass Sunday, but he did something much more meaningful. By playing in his 170th career game, Celek gained the distinction of playing in more games than anybody in franchise history who's never worn another uniform. Coming into the game, Celek was tied with Chuck Bednarik at 169. Celek, the only guy on the team who's played in a postseason win in an Eagles uniform, has represented that uniform and this franchise with so much class over the past 11 years. If anybody deserves to spend his entire career in Philadelphia, it's Celek. 

Quite a Christmas present coming for Jordan Hicks

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Quite a Christmas present coming for Jordan Hicks

It won't be a surprise, but Jordan Hicks is going to get a pretty great Christmas present this year. 

He won't find it under his tree either. 

Hicks, who has been recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and surgery, will hit another big milestone in his recovery on Dec. 25. That's the day the walking boot comes off of his right foot. 

"Real good present, right?" Hicks said. 

Hicks, 25, tore his right Achilles on the second play from scrimmage against Washington on Oct. 23. Having already torn his left Achilles in college, Hicks knew immediately that his season was over and a long recovery was ahead of him. 

But Hicks has no doubt he'll return to being the same player he was before. He thinks he'll be even better. 

"Oh there's no question about that," Hicks said on Friday, speaking to a group of reporters in the Eagles' locker room for the first time since the injury. "There's no question about that. I'll be fine. I did my left Achilles in college and came back better. I know more, the advancements are better. There's no doubt in my mind I'll be a better player when I come back."

Hicks said the normal recovery time from an Achilles rupture is six to nine months. The six-month mark will be April. He expects to be back for training camp and be completely ready for next season. 

Before suffering this Achilles tear, Hicks had been dealing with an ankle injury on his left leg. Hicks, who has been labeled as an injury-prone player since college, was very proud of playing all 16 games in 2016. So when that ankle injury popped up earlier this season, he tried to play through it. That ankle injury led to a calf injury in his right leg and then the Achilles popped. Hicks thinks overcompensating for the initial injury led to a more serious one. 

"I think a couple weeks could have helped me, but it's always easy to look back," Hicks said. "Hindsight is 20/20. I wouldn't change anything just because it's my personality. It's who I am. All I want to do is be there for my teammates. Every time I step out there, the biggest goal for me is to have my teammates know that I'm their leader and I can be accountable. For me to sit here and say I shouldn't have been out there those weeks, it's hard for me to say that because all I want to do is be out there."

Hicks lasted just a couple plays in that Washington game before his Achilles popped, which put him right back on that road to recovery. And initially, it wasn't easy. Jason Peters joined him in the locker room a quarter later with his own season-ending injury and tried to raise his spirits, but that didn't change the fact that Hicks' season was over.

And for the second time in his three-year career, he knew he would end the season on injured reserve. 

"The grief set in," he said. "For the first week or so, it was tough, but man, there's no time for that. There's no time to sit here and sulk. There's no time to think about what could have been. ... All I'm focusing on is making sure I'm better and ready next year for my guys. That's all it is. For me, it's about accountability."

While Hicks made a rare appearance in the Eagles' locker room during media time on Friday, he's been around the building plenty. He and the Eagles' other injured players have remained involved despite their injuries. In fact, every week, Hicks studies opponent film to see how they handle blitzes. And every Friday, he gets in front of the defense to present it. 

After the injury, Jim Schwartz came to him and asked him to do this. 

"It's easy to isolate yourself in situations like this," Hicks said. "For him to come up to me and ask me to do that was big. I try to keep guys' spirits up and share my perspective." 

For the last month and a half, Hicks has been around the team but has been forced to watch games on TV, which he said is really tough. He hopes that's about to end. He'll be in North Jersey this weekend for the Giants game and hopes he'll be back on the sideline. 

"It's tough," Hicks said. "It's never easy to go through something like this. It tests your patience, this tests your character. You learn a lot through these times because it is so difficult. You have to really grind through some hard times. Put your head down and I think your character is really shown through this."

Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

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Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

The Eagles will have a new quarterback this weekend, but they might not be able to protect him as well as they hope. 

Starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski will officially be listed as questionable for Sunday's game because of an ankle injury. 

Wiz had to leave the Rams game in the first half and did not return. He missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. 

"We'll see where he's at today," head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday. 

After Wisniewski came out of the Rams game, he was replaced by Chance Warmack, who was then replaced by Isaac Seumalo. 

It sounds like Warmack will have the first chance to play this weekend if Wisniewski can't go. 

"We've worked Chance at that position this week," Pederson said. "Isaac has obviously gotten some reps really at all the positions but that would be the most logical."

Seumalo actually began the season as the team's starting left guard after he won the position in the offseason. From there, Warmack got the first crack at replacing him when he was benched, but Warmack couldn't keep the job, eventually giving way to a rotation before Wisniewski simply took over. The line has been much better since Wiz took over the starting job in Week 3. 

Alshon Jeffery and Steven Means, who both missed Thursday's practice with illnesses, will be back on the practice field on Friday. Both should be fine for this weekend's game. 

The Eagles will practice outside in 28-degree weather on Friday as they prepare for Sunday's outdoor game at MetLife Stadium. 

No word on the condition of the recycling can Jason Kelce kicked inside the bubble after getting cleated on Thursday. At least the outdoor practice will give it another day of rest.