Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: No big egos fueling NFL-best

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: No big egos fueling NFL-best

You've probably heard a lot about how balanced and unselfish the Eagles are this season. They're 9-1 and haven't had a receiver go over 100 yards in a game. 

In a way, it's what makes them such a dangerous team. 

Opposing defenses can take away Zach Ertz. Or they can take away Alshon Jeffery. Or they can take away Nelson Agholor. 

They just can't take away everyone. 

And Carson Wentz has been comfortable throwing to all of his receivers all season. That balance has been key for the Eagles, but if Wentz doesn't trust his teammates, it doesn't happen. 

"Trust is never just given right away. It's got to be earned," Wentz said this week. "I think we've earned that throughout OTAs. We talked a lot about it, but going to North Dakota this summer, getting that bond with some of those receivers, training camp and everything. I think we've really developed a lot of trust with each other, the whole offense, receivers and tight ends especially. The more games, the more guys get thrown in, I don't really think twice about who's in there. I just kind of know the progression, know the read and just trust those guys." 

Whoever gets open, gets the ball. 

Wentz doesn't care if it's Alshon or Marcus Johnson. That trust has helped the Eagles become one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. 

It also wouldn't work with selfish players who demanded the ball. The Eagles haven't had a problem with that all season. Even Jeffery, who is in a contract season, hasn't caused a problem. In fact, Wentz said he's the perfect example of a team-first guy. When a teammate scores, it's Jeffery who gets to the end zone to help orchestrate the celebration. 

"I think it's really cool for me to see how excited guys get when other guys score," Wentz said. "Maybe another guy was open on the play, but his buddy scored and we're all celebrating together. I think that's just a sign of a really close team and I think we are."

Answering the Qualls
During training camp, rookie Elijah Qualls missed a few weeks with an injury, but when he came back, he looked much better and made the 53-man roster. Upon his return, Qualls said his time away gave him a different perspective and helped him improve. 

He's hoping that will be the case now. 

Qualls hasn't been active since the Arizona game. That's five straight games without suiting up. But that's likely going to change this weekend. Beau Allen (knee) is officially listed as questionable but after missing practice all week, it seems unlikely he's going to play. That should mean Qualls will be up. 

"I'm still learning how to be a professional," Qualls said. "And being able to watch how the group handles each week, both physically and mentally, as far as preparing for each team and recovering for games and everything like that and progressing each week. Being able to see that and how they do that and how people go about it with different approaches, I'm just taking all that and implementing it myself in a way that when it's my time to start playing, I can be as efficient as possible. 

"There's definitely things you can take from every experience. I'm not looking at this one as a bad one."

The last time Qualls was active he played 14 snaps against the Cardinals. That was the last game of a four-game stretch where he's seen his only game action. 

"I'm always looking forward to playing," he said. "I'm just excited to go out there and contribute. Obviously, it's a special team we have, so to be able to say I helped contribute, it's awesome." 

Two-point stance
After Jake Elliott went down in Dallas, the Eagles were left without a kicker, which changed normal procedure. Most notably, they went for two-point conversions after all four of their second-half touchdowns and converted thrice. 

So instead of four extra points, the Eagles walked away with six points. And over Doug Pederson's tenure in Philly, the Eagles are 10 for 13 going for it on two; that's 20 points instead of 13. 

Given their success on two-point conversions, it might make some sense to buck conventional wisdom and start trying it more often. Pederson has thought about it. 

"Yeah, I have," he said earlier in the week. "Of course, you always go into a game with a few in your pocket." 

He even cited the numbers, saying if the team is around 95 percent on extra points, the two-point conversion rate needs to be around 48 percent to work. 

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said the team has around 15-20 two-point conversion plays. While defenses obviously differ, Reich said there are a handful of coverages teams will use in that part of the field. 

While the Eagles have had success, it might stand to reason that if they started going for two more often, opposing teams would have more film of what types of plays the Eagles prefer in those situations, which could hurt the percentage. 

Aside from that, looking at the overall numbers sometimes discounts the importance of a single game. For instance, if a team goes 10 for 15 on two-point conversions, it doesn't mean much if they lose a game when they go 0 for 2. 

Still, it's food for thought. 

"It's something we'll look at going forward," Pederson said. 

Quote of the Week I: 
"I texted him right after the game. I was like, 'look at you with the golden toe.'"

— Chris Maragos about Kamu Grugier-Hill, who was forced to kick off against the Cowboys.

Quote of the Week II: 
"I honestly didn't even know that. 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 on leading all players in Pro Bowl voting 

Quote of the Week III: 
"I don't know. We've got good tacklers."

— Jim Schwartz on why his defense has found success tackling 

Random media guide note: 
Alshon Jeffery's favorite movies are "Friday" and "The Notebook."

Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

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Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

Brian Dawkins has chosen longtime teammate and close friend Troy Vincent to introduce him this summer at Dawk's Hall of Fame induction.

Dawkins was selected in February for enshrinement in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.

"The presenter that will actually be on the stage will be Troy Vincent," Dawkins said in a video posted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.

"My teammate in Philadelphia. We came there the same year. Almost from Day 1 he kind of ... not kind of, he took me under his wing on becoming a professional. Not just a football player but a professional. The details. The details that he went through, the particulars of how he played the position of cornerback was the same way he lived his life (and ran) his businesses that he had off the field.

"He's a guy I can call anytime. Any time of night. And tell him 100 percent all what's going on with me, and I know he's not going to judge me, and it's not going to leave his lips (for) anybody else.

"And the most important thing for me, being a man of faith, is that I know he's going to pray with me. So all those things combined are the reasons why Troy was the perfect guy to introduce me to the Hall of Fame."

Vincent, a native of Trenton and graduate of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before signing an offer sheet with the Eagles before the 1996 season that the Dolphins didn't match.

The Eagles drafted Dawkins in the second round a month after signing Vincent, and the two spent eight years together in the secondary, reaching the playoffs five times and the NFC Championship Game three times.

During those eight seasons, Vincent reached Pro Bowls and Dawkins made the first three of his nine Pro Bowls.

Vincent retired after the 2006 season and Dawkins after the 2011 season.

Dawkins, Vincent and Eric Allen are the only Eagles defensive backs picked to five or more Pro Bowls.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

Dawkins' former Eagles teammate, Terrell Owens, will also be inducted. He hasn't yet announced who will present him.

Dawkins will be the 21st former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent the majority of his career with the Eagles.

Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

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Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

Offseason quarterback controversies are a rite of passage in the NFL. A time-honored tradition, really. 

We’ve certainly had our share in Philadelphia over the years. There were calls for Ron Jaworski to sit in favor of a young Randall Cunningham. Then cries for Jim McMahon to take Randall’s place. When Andy Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, that began a groundswell that he was the better choice than Donovan McNabb. Of course, most recently we had the Michael Vick/Nick Foles back and forth. To look back now, it seems silly these were even debates.

Most of the time, when you have these “controversies,” it generally means you have no quarterback on your roster. Not always. The 49ers in the late-80’s and early-90’s had Joe Montana and Steve Young, both Hall of Famers and all-time great quarterbacks. Both also won Super Bowls for San Francisco. But that is the exception. So is the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ situation.

I use the word “situation” and not “controversy.” Because there is no controversy. If Wentz is cleared by the Eagles’ medical staff, he starts Week 1. Period. What Foles did was incredible and will go down as one of the great — if not the greatest — stretch we have seen in Philadelphia sports history. He came up as big as you can. But Wentz he is not. That’s no disrespect to Foles. There are a handful of people on the planet who are in Wentz’s class.

Just a refresher course on what Wentz did in 13 games last season (his second in the NFL, by the way). He threw for 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 3,296 passing yards and had a 101.9 passer rating. The 33 TDs were the second-most in the NFL despite his missing the final three games. He also led his team to an 11-2 record before succumbing to that knee injury late into that Rams game that clinched the NFC East. He would have been the league MVP had he not gotten hurt.

There is a great luxury having Foles on this team. Wentz does not have to come back before he is able. If he’s not ready, you have the best backup in the league to start the season. But that’s the only scenario in which Foles plays Week 1. Simply put: Wentz is the better quarterback. And he has earned the right to start the opener if cleared. 

Some people read into Wentz's Instagram video of himself throwing earlier in the week as him somehow sending a message to Foles. I don’t buy it. I think Wentz’s message was to the fans and himself that I’ll be back, better than ever.

Wentz and Foles are both good teammates who put the team above themselves. Sure, Foles is a competitor and would likely prefer to start. But there won’t be any behind-the-scenes maneuvering to undercut Wentz. And Wentz is secure enough to be able to handle a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and all that goes along with that. Not to mention a coaching staff and organization that won’t allow outside noise to become a distraction.

Wentz over Foles. There’s no quarterback controversy.