Eagles

With backs against wall, Eagles' D delivers in crunch time

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With backs against wall, Eagles' D delivers in crunch time

LOS ANGELES — As Carson Wentz was in the blue pop-up tent on the sideline and then as he walked slowly around the corner of the stadium and into the tunnel, the Eagles' defense was busy collapsing. 
 
While Nick Foles began to warm up on the sideline, the Rams went on a seven-play, 70-yard drive that took 3:22 and was capped by a one-yard score from Todd Gurley to take a lead. 
 
Game over, right? 
 
After all, the Eagles were without their MVP and their defense just couldn't seem to stop the Rams. 
 
Then the defense tightened up. 
 
And it helped the Eagles escape the LA Coliseum with a 43-25 win. 
 
"We found a way to get stops when we needed to," Rodney McLeod said. "We’re a resilient group and when our backs we’re against the wall, we had to show up, and that’s what we did tonight."
 
The big play was obviously the Chris Long strip sack. Until that play, it just felt like the Rams were going to keep driving down the field at will. They had already scored on their first two drives of the half and scored a third touchdown on a punt block and return. 
 
So at that point in the game, the strip sack from Long and the recovery from McLeod were enormous (see story)
 
That turnover was impressive, but so was the next Rams' possession. After the Eagles took a 37-35 lead on a Jake Elliott field goal, the Rams got the ball at their own 25-yard line. The Eagles forced a 3-and-out and the Rams didn't get the ball back until there was one second left. 
 
The last three times the Rams touched the ball, they had two fumbles and a 3-and-out. 
 
“We were giving them a lot," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "We were giving them too much. We knew at some point we had to stop them. We got to stuff the run on first down, and then they got to run their normal offense. I think guys just knew. We settled down and did what we had to do, but giving credit to that team, that’s a really good team."
 
Until the last few drives of the game, the Rams were gashing the Birds. Todd Gurley had 135 total yards, Cooper Kupp had 118 receiving yards, and Jared Goff while wasn't dazzling, he was very efficient. 
 
Gurley sure looked like the best back the Eagles have faced all season. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry and had two touchdowns on Sunday. 
 
"Top back, Pro Bowl back," Nigel Bradham said of Gurley. "Definitely going to go down as one of the greatest backs in this game. Definitely probably see him in a gold jacket." 
 
But Gurley had 117 of his 135 total yards through three quarters. The Eagles were able to limit him in the fourth. 
 
Really, that was a theme. The Eagles' defense stepped up in crunch time. The Rams had 10 offensive plays in the fourth quarter for a total of 12 net yards. That came after the Rams had 128 yards on 10 plays in the third. 
 
The Rams averaged 12.8 yards per play in the third quarter and 1.2 yards per play in the fourth. 
 
Several Eagles defensive players credited Jim Schwartz with finding ways to adjust and stop the Rams and Gurley. 
 
"We just locked in as a group," McLeod said. "We made adjustments. Jim made some good adjustments. That's what you do when you're a good coach. That's a good team over there, great offensive coordinator. It was a chess game. We kind of mixed some things up and things worked in our favor. We got off the field when it counted."

Eagles careful to maintain team culture through NFL draft

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Eagles careful to maintain team culture through NFL draft

Measuring their speed, strength and verticle jump, that’s the easy part.

The far more difficult aspect for NFL teams preparing for the draft or free agency is finding guys who can fit into what they want to do on the field, but who can also fit into a team’s culture.

And for an Eagles team coming off a Super Bowl championship, it’s one of the big challenges of the offseason.

The Eagles have built a powerful chemistry and culture over the past two years that was pivotal in their drive to the franchise's first championship in 57 years.

It was a remarkably close team, a remarkably unselfish team. And now the Eagles are in the process of trying to add talent without ruining that unique chemistry.

Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said Thursday the Eagles’ scouting department spends a tremendous amount of time and resources not just evaluating players’ physical attributes but trying to determine whether they’re good fits for what the Eagles have built.

“I think that’s one of the conversations that we probably have the most,” Roseman said. “Background’s really important. We’ve had some guys who’ve come here, who’ve maybe had a (bad) reputation and fit really well, and there’s also the flip side of that.

“So you try to balance all of those and really rely on coach (Doug) Pederson and his leadership council and the ownership he gives them.”

Roseman revealed that he, vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and Pederson actually involve players already on the roster in the decision-making process.

“We talk to our players about a lot of things, and we talk to them about guys that we’re going to potentially bring in,” Roseman said. “We try to pick their brain.”

It’s not a perfect process. Every team has been burned by a Darryl Worley. But the Eagles clearly are doing a better job than most teams getting 53 unique individuals to mesh together.

“I accept responsibility for the mistakes we made, that’s on me,” Roseman said.

“But we try to get a lot of information and then also talk to our players so a lot of these moves that we’ve made the last two years … and that’s probably not the norm in the National Football League, but that’s really from the leadership of coach Pederson and what he wants us to do.”

Roseman mentioned something called the “Co-habitation Matrix,” devised by Douglas and Eagles director of football administration Jake Rosenberg — "and Keanu Reeves," Roseman joked. That’s basically a way to connect anybody in any role within the organization that has had any previous experience at a previous spot with potential new additions.

It’s all a part of minimizing the risk of shattering the franchise’s powerful culture.

“That’s something that we work so hard to build and it could be the hardest thing to build and it could be the easiest thing to lose and that’s something that we have been working hard on, is just pinpointing the guys that can come in and just add to our culture,” Douglas said Thursday.

“Chemistry really isn’t a thing you can quantify. It’s not an objective thing, but you know when you’ve got it and obviously for us to do what we did last year we had it. So now it’s us trying to keep adding to it.”

Eagles-Jaguars London game time and date set

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Eagles-Jaguars London game time and date set

Now, everything is official.

After finding out in January the Eagles are headed to London, the NFL on Thursday morning confirmed the time and dates for its three regular-season games overseas this season.

The Eagles will square off at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 28. Kick off is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.

It will be the Eagles' first London game. Jacksonville has been playing in London in each of the past five seasons.

The other two games are the Titans and Chargers, played on Oct. 12, and the Seahawks and Raiders, set for Oct. 14. 

The NFL will announce its 2018 schedule Thursday night at 8 p.m.