Eagles clinch homefield, look far from No. 1 seed in process

Eagles clinch homefield, look far from No. 1 seed in process


Ever get a good Christmas present but the wrapping job was really bad?

That's kind of what happened at the Linc on Christmas night.

The Eagles beat the Raiders, 19-10, to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and homefield throughout the playoffs, but it wasn't pretty. It really wasn't pretty (see Roob's observations).

Nick Foles struggled and there was a ton of sloppy play. It still counts, but it's fair to question a lot about this team as the playoffs near. At least the defense really tightened up.

Late in the game, after a sloppy evening, Ronald Darby had a huge interception and the offense was finally able to do enough to get Jake Elliott into field goal range. The rookie hit a 48-yarder to win the game before the defense held one more time.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 13-2 and have a 13-win season for the second time in franchise history. The other one came in the 2004 Super Bowl season.

With the loss, the Raiders fell to 6-9 as their disappointing season continues. Oakland had high hopes coming into the year, but things haven't gone its way.

Foles threw an early touchdown pass, but the offense sputtered with him at quarterback Monday. The loss of Carson Wentz was really felt Monday and if this game was a glimpse into the future, you might want to hold off on buying those tickets to Minnesota.

Turning point
The Darby interception gave Foles and the offense a chance. They did enough to get Elliott in field goal range.

Key stat
The Eagles were 1 for 14 on third downs. That was an area where they excelled with Wentz, who found unique ways to make plays.

Offensive stud
Zach Ertz had a good game statistically but got most of his yards in the first half.

Offensive dud
Not a great game from Foles (see report card). Without Wentz, the offense just seemed limited Monday night.

Defensive stud
Chris Long seemed to have a good game. He had a strip sack and had good pressure a lot of the game.

Defensive dud
Jalen Mills was roasted on a double move (sluggo) in the first half. He was beaten on a double move last week too.

Key plays
• The Eagles scored on the last meaningless play of the game (although it meant something to plenty of gamblers) to make the final score 19-10.

• Darby picked off a pass with just under a minute left to give the Eagles the ball back near midfield. After Foles moved the Eagles into field goal range, Elliott drilled a 48-yard game-winner.

• It looked like the Raiders were nearing a score to give them a late lead, but Malcolm Jenkins ripped the ball from Jalen Richard's hands to give the ball back to Foles and the offense. That came after Foles threw an interception on a high pass to Ertz.

• Late in the third quarter, there were three turnovers in 38 seconds. First, Patrick Robinson picked a pass off, then Jay Ajayi fumbled, then Marshawn Lynch fumbled. At the end of all that, Elliott hit a 35-yarder to tie the game at 10-10.

• Richard broke off a 34-yard run on the first drive of the second half and Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 25-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 10-7 lead.

• After a drive to get down to the Raiders' 15-yard line with seconds left in the first half, kicker Elliott missed a 33-yard chip shot that would have given the Eagles a lead. Instead, the score was 7-7 after two quarters.

• Mills, who came into the game with an ankle injury, was roasted by Amari Cooper on a sluggo route that went for 63 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles have given up five 60-plus-yard passes this year. No team has given up more.

• Foles threw a terrible pass early in the second quarter that was nearly a pick-6. Safety Reggie Nelson jumped the route and had daylight in front of him but dropped the pass.

• The Eagles opened up the scoring on their second drive of the game. After running the ball down the Raiders' throats, Foles threw a screen pass to Ajayi that went 17 yards for the touchdown.

Injury update
Stefen Wisniewski (ankle) missed the game after being listed as questionable heading in. Chance Warmack started in his place.

Up next
The Eagles will finish out the regular season next weekend, on New Year's Eve, with a 1 p.m. kickoff at home against the Cowboys, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

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Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

The Eagles are scheduled to have a pretty boring Day 2 of the draft this year. Because after they pick at No. 32, they don’t have another selection until the 31st pick of the fourth round. 

That means 98 players will be taken between the Eagles’ first and second picks. And they’ll have to watch other teams pick that entire Friday (Rounds 2-3) without them … unless they make a move. 

“We’re not looking at it like we’re sitting out on Friday,” Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman said. “We’re going through our draft process looking at every scenario. When we get to Friday, we get to Friday.” 

Even if the Eagles don’t make a move, they’ll be plenty busy Saturday, the final day of the draft. They have two fourth-round picks and one pick in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. 

Eagles personnel head Joe Douglas showed up to his media availability with a stat ready to go to illustrate the importance of Day 3. 

“We’re excited that we have five picks on Saturday,” Douglas said. “When you look at the Super Bowl, there’s 22 starters that were third-round picks or lower. Of those 22, 18 of them were fourth-round picks or lower. So 18 starters in the Super Bowl this year were fourth-round picks or lower, including six of them that were undrafted free agents. We choose to keep the glass half full.” 

Douglas is right on all those stats — 22 of 44 starters in the Super Bowl were drafted in the third or lower and 18 of them would be considered Day 3 picks. Not bad. 

Here’s how the Super Bowl starters broke down by round: 1-10, 2-12, 3-4, 4-4, 5-3, 6-3, 7-2, UDFA-6. 

The Eagles accounted for seven of the 18 players who were drafted in the fourth round or later, so the Patriots were the ones who found even more value late in drafts. And of those seven, just three were original Eagles — Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jason Kelce and Jalen Mills. 

Of the six undrafted players who started in the Super Bowl, two were from the Eagles — LeGarrette Blount and Rodney McLeod. Neither was an original Eagle, but the Birds also relied heavily on running back Corey Clement, who was an undrafted rookie last season. 

With a dearth of high draft picks, it would make sense if the Eagles attack the undrafted market following the draft, but Douglas thinks it won’t be as easy as many might think. 

“You would think because we’re coming off a Super Bowl, we don’t have a second or third round pick that it would be a lot easier after the draft,” Douglas said. “But my experience coming off a Super Bowl, it’s sometimes harder to get guys to commit to your roster because agents and players have a perceived notion that it’s going to be that much tougher to make the team. I think that’s going to be a challenge. I think that’s going to be a challenge for us and we know it and we’re going to attack it.”

The Eagles in recent years have shown a willingness to pony up significant money to entice undrafted players to sign with them, and if Douglas is right, they might need to do it again to land some this year. 

Either way, the Eagles know how important Day 3 and beyond can be. So when they’re bored on Day 2, they don’t plan on losing focus. 

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

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Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile.