Eagles not acting like a 7-1 team

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Eagles not acting like a 7-1 team

They're the best team in football. Just good luck trying to get any of them to say it.

The Eagles are flying along at 7-1 after their 33-10 win over the 49ers Sunday, but all these guys seem to want to talk about is who's next on the schedule, when's the next practice, who wants to go lift?

You want to talk Super Bowl? Winning streaks? Playoff seeding? Forget it. This team is so focused all they really care about right now is Wednesday's practice.

"This team has a really good way of living in the moment," said veteran defensive end Chris Long, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots last year.

"I think we've got a lot of guys that maybe haven't been on a team that's been this good before, so it's pure. You're just excited to come to work every day, you're excited for every game, and you have a chance to win another one every week, and that's what keeps these games big games.

"We have a lot of guys who haven't won and have been trusting the process and it's kind of culminating in us having an opportunity to build our lead in the division every week and distance ourselves a little bit. So I think everybody's just really excited. It's not like we're spoiled by playing in big games. I'm sure this is the first year a lot of guys have been 7-1."

The Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 7-1, the seventh time in franchise history they've been 7-1 (also 1949, 1960, 1961, 1980, 1981 and 2004). Their six-game winning streak is the eighth-longest in franchise history. 

They have a 2½-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys and a one-game lead over the Vikings — the Vikings??? — for top seeding in the NFC. The Rams, Seahawks and Saints are all 5-2.

The Eagles must be feeling pretty good about themselves right now, right?

"We're 1-0 and that's the motto," rookie running back Corey Clement said. "We're 1-0, not 7-1. When you think about it, if you start talking about being 7-1, guys are going to think that we made it and the season is solidified.

"You've seen so many great teams fall short because they think they arrived when they got to 7-1. We've got to stay grounded and stay humble and keep doing the things that got us here."

The Eagles have found different ways to win all year and that was the case again Sunday.

They had four sacks, two interceptions, blocked a field goal, had a 50-yard field goal and made enough big plays in all three phases to offset an uncharacteristically mediocre game from Carson Wentz.

"Last year, a lot of the games we lost came down to six points or less and we fell short," Rodney McLeod said. "This year, when we feel the momentum shifting in a game, when we feel a team getting that momentum, this year, we're responding.

"The defense comes up with a turnover or a big stop or somebody makes an explosive play. It's just a team effort."

This is as focused a group as you'll see. As unselfish a group as you'll see. As close a group as you'll see.

"You can get easily sidetracked by the media or other outside noise," Clement said. "We know the true potential we have with this team and we would hate to see this team or any of us fall to another level because we let distractions affect us. …

"The first day I came in and tried to compete with everybody, it wasn't easy, and when it's not easy, that's when you know you have something special. We're just grinding every day, working hard every day. We're having fun but we know what Coach (Doug) Pederson expects and we have a certain standard and we want to play beyond the standard we set in our previous game."

This all comes from Pederson. He preaches a one-day-at-a-time philosophy, but a lot of coaches do that. 

His message really seems to be getting through.

"It's a great locker room," Pederson said. "We have great leaders on this football team. They know how to keep the guys focused. We talked about it all week. We were coming off that emotional Monday night game, to really a relatively short week, physically a short week a little bit. 

"And then to come out and play and stay in there for four quarters and not overlook this team is a tremendous effort by the players in that locker room.

"That's the one thing I've really appreciated about our guys is they just kind of (take it) one week at a time, one game at a time, and they did it again (Sunday)."

The Eagles are back home Sunday to face the Broncos, who are 3-3 going into a game Monday night against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Then comes the bye week and then a four-game stretch against the Cowboys in Dallas, the Bears at home and the Seahawks and Rams on the road. The combined record of those four teams is 17-12.

"We just know what the ultimate goal is," McLeod said. "The ultimate goal isn't to be 7-1, the goal is to win this division like we set out to do and from there ultimately win a championship.

"That's why you play this game. That's why we're all here. That's why we've been sweating and putting in all the effort every day."

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.