Eagles more comfortable playing in Seattle this time around

USA Today Images

Eagles more comfortable playing in Seattle this time around

Brandon Brooks thought of a good way to describe what it's like to play in a loud atmosphere and still hear the quarterback. 

Ever been in a large crowd, but can still hear your mom? 

"You know what it is," Brooks said. "You can hear her voice. It's the same way with Carson. So as loud as it is, you're trained to listen to him. Unless it's like an airhorn in your ear, you're gonna hear his voice out of everything or at least hear bits and pieces of it. It's loud, don't get me wrong. But when you're playing you can tune that out a little bit and at least hear Carson and communicate back and forth." 

The Eagles are about to go into a pretty big crowd on Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks. While some of the prestige of CenturyLink Field has been lost in recent weeks, it's still a really tough place to play. 

The Eagles found that out last season, when they lost there, 26-15, to kick off a five-game losing skid. 

But this Eagles team is obviously much better than the team that lost in Seattle a year ago. While the Seahawks don't seem like the same dominant team again this season, the Eagles are the best team in the NFC. And having played in Seattle last year ought to help. 

"It's a huge help," Wentz said. "We went into there last year, heard all about it, knew what to expect. It's definitely loud. It's quite the atmosphere. It's a fun place to play. I think most guys have been there now, so I think that will pay dividends in our week of prep, knowing how much we need to emphasize hand signals and communicating things non-verbally."

Frank Reich brought up an interesting point earlier this week. There's always a lot made about the crowd noise in Seattle, The 12th Man and all that. But "in another respect, loud is loud, and once you're using the silent count, you're using a silent count," Reich said. 

The Eagles have had plenty of practice with the silent count this season. While they won just one game on the road in 2016, they're already 4-1 on the road this year as they kick off a three-game road trip this weekend. They've played in Washington, Kansas City, L.A., Carolina and Dallas. 

They're at a place now where they're really comfortable with their silent count. Last season, Pederson said they can get so comfortable going silent that it actually becomes weird when they finally hear a live voice again. 

"We feel really good with it," Wentz said. "I personally always prefer to play at home and use the cadence, but you can always use the silent cadence as a weapon as well. We feel really confident with it. We've used it enough this year with that road stretch earlier in the year, where we feel good with it."

For the last two seasons, the trio of Brooks, Jason Kelce and Wentz have kept the silent count working. It's Brooks' job to tap Kelce on his left side to trigger the snap, though Eagles have plenty of silent procedure mechanisms to trigger the snap. The key is to switch them up. 

Going to the silent count can sometimes be more difficult on tackles, tight ends and receivers. They can't use listening as a crutch. Instead, they have to keep an eye on the ball. 

That can be a problem for players like Lane Johnson, who really relies on getting off the ball and getting into his stance quickly. While he's watching the ball, he has to also be aware of what the defender in front of him is doing. He can't let the defensive end slide away from him while he's busy paying attention to the football. 

"The thing is, you kind of have to see where the end is and sometimes they'll squeeze down, a blitz might be coming," Johnson said. "A lot of things are going on. That's the toughest thing."

When the Eagles are preparing for a road game like this, they begin using that silent count in practice early. It's something Brooks said he can't really work on individually; it is an emphasis during team periods of practice. The Eagles will likely practice inside on Friday to get some exposure to crowd noise. 

While CenturyLink Field has earned its reputation as a loud and tough place to play, the Seahawks have looked much more vulnerable at home lately. After winning their first four games at home this season, they have lost the last two in their own nest — to Washington on Nov. 5 and Atlanta on Nov. 20. 

If the Eagles beat them there, it will be the first time the Seahawks have lost three in a row at home since the 2008 season. 

Are they worried about teams no longer having that fear of playing there?  

"No, I don't care about that," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on a conference call earlier this week. "I don't think anybody is fearing anything. We're just playing football. We play at a good place and we gotta play well when we're here. If we do the right stuff and play well, then the results are what they are. I don't think it has anything to do with fear. And I don't care about that at all." 

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

USA Today Images

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

USA Today Images

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 to 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.