Eagles

Eagles Rookie Report: Corey Clement says don't forget about me

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Eagles Rookie Report: Corey Clement says don't forget about me

The Eagles bullied the Broncos on Sunday in a 51-23 win at the Linc (see breakdown).

Undrafted running back Corey Clement had his first multi-score game, first-round pick Derek Barnett continues to be disruptive and cornerback Rasul Douglas nearly recorded his third pick of the season.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights in this week's rookie report.

1st quarter, 10:49, 2nd-an- 17 at PHI 34 - Eagles 0, Broncos 0
Douglas could've kept the Broncos off the board and started the rout on the Broncos' first drive. Playing his usual off coverage, Douglas is lined up against the speedy Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders runs a 15-yard hitch. Douglas jumps the route and has nothing but green grass in front of him. Quarterback Brock Osweiler hits Douglas right in the hands but Douglas drops it. Should've been Douglas' third pick and most likely his first NFL score. Still a nice, aggressive play by Douglas.

1st quarter, 4:52, 3rd-and-13 at DEN 5 - Eagles 7, Broncos 3
Barnett just keeps getting better (see report card). On this play, he just blows by fellow rookie Garett Bolles with an outside speed rush and plants Osweiler into the ground. Osweiler has to dump it off to running back Jamaal Charles for a minimal gain because of the pressure created by Barnett and defensive end Chris Long.

1st quarter, 0:59, 3rd-and-10 at DEN 15 - Eagles 10, Broncos 3
Still early in the game, but this would've been a big stop for Denver. Clement sets up the screen perfectly, getting enough of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller to prevent him from blowing up the play but still showing early enough for Carson Wentz to hit him with the pass. Yet again, Clement shows off his balance and vision, allowing his linemen to get downfield. Most notable was right guard Brandon Brooks, whose block clears the way for Clement's 15-yard score.

1st quarter, 0:04, 2nd-and-1 at DEN 38 - Eagles 17, Broncos 3
One thing has been made abundantly clear by Barnett's play so far: he cannot be blocked by a tight end. Apparently, the Broncos didn't get that memo, as Virgil Green attempts to block Barnett on a run play. He's able to slow down running back Devontae Booker before he could even get going. Defensive tackle Beau Allen gets credit for the tackle for loss, but Barnett clearly makes the play.

3rd quarter, 14:55, 1st-and-10 at PHI 23 - Eagles 31, Broncos 9
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Clement makes a big play. With Wentz lined up in the shotgun and Clement to his left, Clement comes across Wentz's face and takes the carry off tackle to the right. Brooks and right tackle Lane Johnson blow their men off the line and create a nice crease for Clement. Clement shows off a nice burst for a 38-yard run. He lost 10 yards off the end of the run because of a hold by wide receiver Alshon Jeffery down the field.

3rd quarter, 7:32, 1st-and-goal at DEN 2 - Eagles 31, Broncos 9
This is an interesting wrinkle by head coach Doug Pederson. Wentz is lined up in the pistol formation with Clement deep behind him. They run the option to the right. Miller goes after Wentz, making it an easy decision for Wentz to pitch it to Clement, who has an easy run to the pylon.

Analysis
Remember when Clement was a long shot to make the team? Now the Glassboro, New Jersey, native has become a pretty big part of the Eagles' offense. He finished with 66 total yards and three TDs. Not bad for an undrafted rookie. I've lauded Clement's patience and vision in this space all season. His confidence and burst are starting to catch up (see Roob's observations).

Meanwhile, Barnett has become a huge part of the Eagles' D-line rotation. He continues to show why he was a first-round pick. You have to love the way Schwartz is using him. The 279-pound Vinny Curry gets in early, trying to beat tackles with strength, and he's followed by the 259-pound Barnett, who loves to use the speed rush. Bolles couldn't keep up with either Sunday.

Douglas was beaten for a big play during garbage time but was solid yet again. He continues to make aggressive plays on the ball like he did back in West Virginia. 

Wide receiver Mack Hollins finished with just one catch for eight yards.

Kicker Jake Elliott nailed his only field goal attempt, a 45-yarder. He did miss an extra point.

Film Review: Doug Pederson dials up a gutsy screen call vs. 'Boys

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Film Review: Doug Pederson dials up a gutsy screen call vs. 'Boys

The Eagles ended up scoring the final 30 points of Sunday's game in North Texas to crush the Cowboys 37-9. 

They didn't start off so hot though. 

In fact, the Eagles were down 9-7 at halftime, so when they got the ball back to start the second half, it was a pretty important drive. 

On first down, Jay Ajayi ran for 8 yards. On the next play, he went 1 yard. 

That set up a 3rd-and-1 and one of Doug Pederson's best and gutsiest play calls of the game. Out of an unusual look, the Eagles ran a screen play to Brent Celek that picked up 28 yards and helped them continue a scoring drive. 

"It was a great call," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "Great feel and call from coach. We're meeting the night before. He and I always meet on Saturday night, the night before (the game) for an hour, hour and a half, just going through the call sheet, talking about what he's going to call, why he's going to call it. And we're bouncing things back and forth. 

"That was one I knew he was going to call. He was just waiting for the opportunity to call that play. Had a good sense."

Let's take a closer look at the play: 

Here's a look just before the snap. The Eagles are using a "tackle over" formation. You'll notice Lane Johnson is lined up inside Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Celek (circled) is lined up as the right tackle. 

The Eagles didn't motion into this look. They came out in it, with all three tight ends to the right side of the line. Trey Burton is lined up like a fullback. When the Cowboys see this, they load up that side of the defensive line, prepared for a run on 3rd-and-short. 

Carson Wentz takes the snap and begins to roll right for the play fake. Celek (still circled in red) engages and holds his block for a couple seconds. "Celek did a great job of selling it and good execution," Reich said. 

With the play going right, the Cowboys' linebackers are going with it. 

Here's the other angle just after Celek releases his block. The Cowboys' corner on the defensive right is blitzing, but with Wentz rolling right, he won't have enough time to get to him. 

Marcus Johnson, who was the outside receiver on the offensive left is running a go route, which will drive the safety out of the play. That leaves a ton of space open on that side of the field. 

 

It takes a perfect throw from Wentz and it wasn't easy to get off. Because of the blitzing corner, he needs to throw off his back foot and will need to loft the ball over the defensive end, who never gained an inch on Vaitai. 

 

At the point of the catch, Celek would have already had the first down. He has the ball for a short gain but rumbles ahead into open space for a 28-yarder, his longest catch of the last two seasons.  

This was a play the Eagles practiced during the week, but Reich said it looked just OK. According to Reich, those types of plays usually look better live in games than they do in practice. 

It certainly worked. 

"You want to hear defensive players swear," Chris Collinsworth said on the NBC broadcast, "that play probably does it more than any other."

Rob's Rants: Plenty to be thankful for in Philly sports

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Rob's Rants: Plenty to be thankful for in Philly sports

With Thanksgiving upon us and the rest of the holiday season just around the corner, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to reverse course from Rob’s Rants and express what I’m thankful for in Philadelphia sports. Truth be told, with the football team having the best record in the NFL and the basketball team having two dynamic, budding superstars and playoffs in their sights for the first time in a long time, things are pretty good around these parts. So let’s show a little gratitude.

Eagles
Where to start? Before this season, the hope was a playoff appearance. After 10 games, a division title, a bye and home-field advantage in the NFC are all real possibilities. This team is complete, laser-focused, well-coached and talented. Further, they have a second-year quarterback in Carson Wentz whose skill is only matched by his work ethic and football IQ. This city has always loved a tough defense and that’s exactly what they have. They are physical from the deep, defensive line to the surprising cornerbacks. The Saints, Vikings, Rams and Panthers are right there on the Eagles’ tail, so nothing is a given, but I just don’t see this team collapsing. I love that they can beat you in a multitude of ways whether it’s Wentz’s arm, a punishing running attack, a ferocious pass rush, or out-scheming the opposition. We are in for an amazing ride with this group.

Sixers
Ben Simmons has 11 double-doubles in his first 16 games in the NBA. That‘s the most by any player in that span of time in his first season since Shaquille O’Neal in 1993. His ability to finish with both hands is remarkable. If you never watched him shoot a jump shot or a free throw, you would have no idea he is left-handed. His size, power, handle and ambidextrousness mask his inability or willingness to pull the trigger from the outside. And by the looks of his stats and what the eyeball tells you, he’s doing just fine. Mr. Meat Pie is averaging 21.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and two steals a night. Then there’s the big fella. Joel Embiid is a once-in-a-generation talent, who by his own admission is not even in basketball shape yet. His Tinseltown two-step where he throttled both L.A. teams out there may have been the highlight of this short season thus far. But Embiid shows on a nightly basis that if he stays healthy, he’s capable of leading this teams to multiple championships. The Wells Fargo Center is back to the A.I. days of being the place to be for a basketball game. It’s electric.

Flyers
The Flyers' season has been very up and down. But there are certainly things to be thankful for when it comes to the orange and black. The first line of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, centered by Sean Couturier has accounted for 69 points through 20 games. Whether it was Dave Hakstol or Ron Hextall’s call, the decision to move Giroux to the wing and insert Couturier as the top-line centerman was a stroke of genius. Ivan Provorov deserves a plate full of kudos himself for his machine-like play.

Phillies
The Phillies' youthful core of Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, J.P. Crawford and soon-to-be Scott Kingery has the makings of a nucleus to be proud of going forward. Aaron Nola showed himself capable as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. There’s much work to be done here but the club appears headed in the right direction.

College Hoops
Let’s give college hoops a little love as well. Villanova has dominated the headlines of late and rightfully so but there’s a possibility that at least three of the local teams will be dancing come April.
      
So pass the stuffing and enjoy the gravy, things are looking up in Philadelphia sports.