Early-season star now afterthought in Eagles' offense

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Early-season star now afterthought in Eagles' offense

LeGarrette Blount has gone from a centerpiece of the Eagles' offense to virtually an afterthought.

Don't expect him to complain about it.

"There’s not really any complaints coming from me, considering the fact that we’ve only lost two games," Blount said this week. "That’s big for me. Winning is first and foremost. As long as we’re doing that, everything’s going to fall into place."

But Blount's decline has been precipitous.

The first 11 games of the season, he averaged 13.4 carries per game, 60 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.

The last four games? Those numbers have dropped to 6.8 carries per game, 18 yards per game and 2.6 yards per attempt.

"You can’t really go into the game trying to predict how many carries you’re going to get," Blount said. "You’ve just got to know whenever you get in there you have to take advantage of every opportunity."

Blount, who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns last year, has just two this year, none since the 49ers game back in October.

This is the first time since 2014 he's gone four straight games with single-digit carries, and the first time in his career he's gone seven straight games without a touchdown.

“The game calls for certain runs and we’ve got a lot of backs," Blount said. "Some of the runs are designed for certain backs, and if those runs are working that back will play more or if he gets hot that back will play more."

Blount has a team-high 164 carries, but over the last month, Jay Ajayi has nearly twice as many (50 to 27) and about three times as many yards (214 to 71).

The first 11 weeks of the season, Blount got the ball on 19 percent of the Eagles' offensive snaps. The last four weeks, that number's dropped to 9 percent.

"We’ve got a lot of great backs," Blount said. "We have a Pro Bowler from last year (Ajayi). We have me, who played pretty good last year. We have Wendell (Smallwood), we have Corey (Clement), we have Kenjon (Barner), and we all play, and we all have certain things that one does well, better than the others, and sometimes the game just calls for a certain package or he might get hot or you just never know.

"As long as we’re winning the games, I don’t really care how many carries I’m getting. We put ourselves in a great position. I don’t want to waver it. Whatever it takes for us to continue to be successful. 

"Whether it’s me getting a lot of carries, whether it’s (Ajayi) getting a lot of carries, whether it’s Corey getting a lot of carries, we want to just keep winning the games."

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.

Chris Long hints at decision on whether to return to Eagles

Chris Long hints at decision on whether to return to Eagles

It seems like Chris Long is going to be back with the Eagles in 2018 — at least he’s leaning that way. 

The Eagles gave Long a significant raise for next season, increasing his base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million guaranteed, but Long was still reportedly thinking about walking away (see story)

After all, money probably isn’t going to be the only deciding factor for a guy who gave all of his salary away last season. 

But after less than a day of speculation, Long’s Waterboys charity had an event in St. Louis on Wednesday night and the veteran defensive end was asked about his future in the NFL. 

“For me, at my age, every year is important to make a decision and to take self-inventory,” Long said. “Is your body there, is your mind in it, do you have the passion? Because it takes a lot. For me, every year I’m one year at a time from here on out. For however long I play. Philly’s been awesome, like I said. They kind of adopted me like family, so that definitely factors into everything. The chance to repeat. 

“I’m still supposedly mulling it over, but I’m leaning on going back and playing. So yeah. I mean, I hadn’t even answered any questions about that, but there you go.”

Here’s the video, clipped by Bleeding Green Nation, to hear Long say it for himself: 

Long will turn 33 on March 28 and clearly has plenty going on outside of football, so it wouldn’t be shocking if the former first-round pick decided to walk away. But if he did, the Eagles would clearly miss him. 

During the 2017 season, Long picked up five sacks in a limited role and helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, a year after helping the Patriots win Super Bowl LI. If Long does indeed return to the Eagles this season, he has a chance to make it three in a row.