Good luck trying to pick apart this Eagles team

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Good luck trying to pick apart this Eagles team

Eleven penalties, three fumbles lost versus the Bears. There it is. If you were searching for some kind of blemish, some minutia, some needle in the haystack of dominance that has been the Eagles' last nine games, you got it. Good luck digging any deeper for any warts. 

And by the way, if you are in any way focused on that after what's gone down this season, you have serious issues. You should turn in your fan card and take up a hobby on Sundays.

The 2017 Eagles define balance. Doesn't matter if it's home or away, division or conference foe, AFC or NFC. You know week in and week out the offense and the defense will show up and they will show up in a big way. They have won their last five games by 30-plus points. They allowed one defensive touchdown in November. Carson Wentz has thrown at least three touchdown passes in five straight. The defense has had multiple interceptions in four consecutive games.

The Bears had six rushing yards Sunday. Their running backs ran 10 times for minus-six yards. This is a team that entered the game ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing. They had zero first downs in the first half. Conversely, the Eagles have rushed for 100-plus yards in their last 10 games. Whether it's through the air or on the ground, defending the run or shutting down the pass, its advantage-Eagles any way you slice it.

Want to take a trip into the red zone? Wentz is 31 for 48 for 242 yards with 20 touchdowns, zero interceptions and zero sacks taken.

With the exception of Tom Brady's 251 yards passing, Wentz's red-zone numbers are as good or better than anyone's in the NFL. 

The Eagles' defense is third in red-zone scoring. The Birds rank third in takeaways with 22. They are 22nd in giveaways. They are a plus-nine on the season, which is second-best in the league.

Which brings up the coaching — this team is better prepared than the opponent every week. They don't just beat teams, they throttle them. We've been waiting for the letdown game all season. Hasn't happened. The only knock, if you can call it that, is they've beaten one team with a winning record thus far. And we will certainly find out a lot more the next two weeks with the Eagles traveling to face the 7-4 Seahawks and 8-3 Rams. 

But teams with this kind of balance can beat you in a multitude of ways. And they can overcome adversity when something is taken away or goes awry. Doug Pederson has done a phenomenal job thus far. He may lose as many as two assistants off of his staff at year's end and that's a good thing. No one is mining the fields of the Browns' or Bears' staffs. 

The other thing about Pederson is he gets it. Much has been made of the Eagles' celebrations but Pederson has allowed the players to be themselves and have fun. Far removed from the Chip Kelly drill sergeant routine.     

The quarterback is having an MVP year and a season for the ages and he's only getting better. Alshon Jeffery, after a bit of a slow start, is coming on strong, with five touchdowns in his last four games. Ronald Darby hasn't skipped a beat since rejoining the team. Brandon Graham is having a career year. Good luck finding a more dominant duo than Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan, or Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks for that matter.

Coaching, talent, depth and focus — all hallmarks of sustainable winning, all attributes the Eagles continue to deliver each week. Oh, and did I mention balance?

Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

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Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

We're deep into free agency, the draft is rapidly approaching and the 2017 Super Bowl champion Eagles are being reshaped into a new team.

Which means it's a perfect time for a Roob's 10 Observations.

1. As the Eagles move on from LeGarrette Blount and reshape the running back position, it’s intriguing to ponder just how good Corey Clement can be. From what I saw last year? I think the kid can be a stud. His touches were limited until late in the season, but how many rookies have had 300 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards and averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry and 13 yards per catch? Would you believe three in the last 40 years? A guy named Jesse Clark with the Packers in 1983, a guy named Adrian Peterson with the Vikings in 2007 and a guy named Corey Clement. It’s tough to project, but he can run, he can block, he can catch, he’s got a real flair for making big plays and a terrific knack in the red zone. Can’t wait to see him in an expanded role.

2. As for Blount, you can’t understate his value to the Eagles last year, both as a running back and a leader. For a guy with his resume to come into that locker room and not once complain about his workload – even when he had no carries against the Chiefs – was remarkable. His selfless attitude really resonated with the young guys in the locker room. And I know a lot of fans were upset to see him go, but as incredible as his Super Bowl performance was, you can’t forget that in the seven games leading up to the Super Bowl he averaged 2.9 yards per carry. And he’s 31 years old. If the reported numbers are correct, Blount’s $4.5 million 2018 salary makes him the 12th-highest-paid running back in the league. Good for him. I wish him well. He was a huge part of that 2017 team. But it made no sense for the Eagles to bring him back.

3. It’s amazing how much money teams keep throwing at Sam Bradford. He’s got 34 wins in eight seasons, he’s never had a winning record, he’s never made a postseason, and on the rare occasions when he’s been healthy, he’s won only 43 percent of his starts. Oh, and he’s missed 42 games since 2013. “He’s our guy!”

4. Speaks volumes that both Blount and Torrey Smith singled out Duce Staley in their tweets or Instagram posts saying goodbye to Philly after joining new teams. Staley wasn’t even Smith’s position coach, and he still singled him out. Blount wrote: “To my main man Coach Duce Staley – You have impacted my life on and off the field and pushed me to be the best version of me I can be and for that I thank you!” Staley is such a natural leader and such a big part of what the Eagles accomplished in 2017. He’s going to be a head coach one day.

5. The Eagles lost Vinny Curry, but they have Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long. They lost Trey Burton and Brent Celek, but they have Zach Ertz. They lost Smith, but they have Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins. They lost Blount, but they have Jay Ajayi and Clement. They lost Patrick Robinson, but they have Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby and Daryl Worley. They’ve lost a lot, but they’re still stocked at every position where they lost someone. Pretty darn good roster planning.

6. I feel like in the wake of Nick Foles’ brilliant postseason, people are forgetting exactly how good Carson Wentz was before he got hurt. So here’s a list of every quarterback in NFL history with 33 or more touchdown passes and seven or fewer interceptions in a season before his 30th birthday: Carson Wentz.

7. I wonder how much Haloti Ngata has left. He’s 34, he’s coming off a torn biceps, and he’s five years removed from his last Pro Bowl. Beau Allen was quietly a solid backup defensive tackle and played a big role in that D-line rotation the second half of the season after Tim Jernigan hurt his ankle. I don’t mind the signing. Ngata comes cheap and there’s really nothing to lose. But it’s been a while since he’s been a dominant player, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in.

8. If you’ve never been to Canton, Ohio, plan your trip now. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a great place to visit any time. But the weekend of Brian Dawkins’ induction is going to be unforgettable. Dawk’s speech is going to be epic.

9. The Philly Special may be the greatest play in Eagles history, but where does the fourth-quarter fourth-down conversion rank? The Eagles trailed with 5½ minutes left and faced a 4th-and-1 inside midfield when Foles converted a short completion to Ertz. If they don’t convert, they lose. That’s gotta be a top-10 all-time play. Maybe top-five.

10. Tight ends with more catches than Ertz in their first five NFL seasons: Kellen Winslow Sr., Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates.

Torrey Smith says Carson Wentz is going to get PAID

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Torrey Smith says Carson Wentz is going to get PAID

We all know just how good Carson Wentz is. Heck, the entire NFL knows just how good Wentz is after the Eagles' QB put together a remarkable season with 3,296 passing yards and 33 TD tosses … in just 13 games.

But we and the entire league also know what that means: Wentz is going to get a lot more zeros added to his paycheck soon.

Wideout Torrey Smith, recently traded by the Eagles to the Panthers, knows full well what Wentz's worth is and isn't shy to talk about it, as he did at his charity basketball event in Maryland Saturday evening.

"When Carson's time comes, they're going to need a Brinks truck the size of this arena," Smith, who caught 33 balls for 692 yards and two TDs from Wentz last season, told ESPN's Jamison Hensley while noting the Eagles are taking full advantage of Wentz's discounted rookie deal right now.

Wentz is in the middle of a four-year, $26.6 million deal signed after he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2016. The deal expires after the 2019 season, but obviously, Howie Roseman and crew know this all is looming. And they also know recent QB contract numbers have continued to skyrocket.

San Francisco recently made Jimmy Garoppolo, he of seven career starts but also of five straight wins to end last season after his trade from New England, the richest QB in league history with a five-year, $137.5 million deal. Detroit gave Matthew Stafford a five-year, $135 million deal prior to last season, a few months after Oakland gave Derek Carr a five-year, $125 million extension. Those three are the top-paid QBs in the league.

Long story short: With the way Wentz has performed with 7,049 passing yards and 49 TDs in 29 career starts, he's going to get paid.

And Roseman's acts of salary cap magic are going to have to continue because Wentz is going to get paid sooner than later, and the whole league knows it.