Eagles

Haason Reddick expects a family affair in return to the Linc

Haason Reddick expects a family affair in return to the Linc

Haason Reddick doesn't know exactly how many family members and friends he'll have at the Linc on Sunday afternoon. 

All he knows is there will be a lot. 

"I got a whole city coming out," he said on a conference call with Philly reporters Wednesday. 

Sunday will be a homecoming for the Cardinals' rookie linebacker. Reddick is from Camden, New Jersey, and played high school ball at Haddon Heights HS before crossing the river to walk on at Temple, where he eventually became a star.

Reddick became the 13th overall pick this past spring and has been starting for the Cardinals as a rookie. While Lincoln Financial Field was his home as a Temple Owl, Sunday's Eagles-Cardinals game will be the first time a lot of his family and friends get to see him in the NFL. 

And they'll get to do it about 15 minutes from where Reddick grew up. 

Reddick said he got about 20 tickets and his dad got some more and there are others who bought their own tickets to see him play against the hometown team on Sunday. He wasn't sure how many will be there. 

"I'm expecting a lot, man," he said laughing. "I'm expecting a lot." 

The last time Reddick played at the Linc, he had a ton of support from family and friends too. On Nov. 26 of last year, Temple hosted ECU at the Linc on senior night. The Owls owned the Pirates, 37-10, in front of a crowd of over 28,000. 

After that game, Reddick had just two more in a cherry and white uniform before his great college career came to an end. From that point on, the draft prep began. So too did his ascent to the top of his class. Once thought to be a possible mid-round pick, Reddick sky-rocketed to become the first linebacker off the board. 

In fact, he was selected as a linebacker after playing defensive end in college. He started that transition at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. and was immediately impressive. 

To start his career with the Cardinals, Reddick has been an inside linebacker, but with an injury to Markus Golden, it's very likely he'll see more time as a pass-rushing outside 'backer from here on. Reddick admitted being a pass rusher is a little more natural to him. 

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said there was something "special" about Reddick that allowed him to start at ILB as a rookie. 

"First of all, we knew he was tough," Arians said to Philly media on Wednesday. "He came up the right way. Great mom and pop. Nothing handed to him, had to work for everything. He's brought that work ethic with him. Temple kids are very, very proud."

Reddick was drafted one spot before the Eagles selected Derek Barnett from Tennessee. Reddick said the Eagles showed some interest in him but it's hard to tell what's really going on around draft time. 

While he wasn't drafted by the Eagles, the draft was in Philly, so when his name was called, the crowd went nuts. That's part of the reason he expects a warm welcome from Philly fans on Sunday at the Linc. 

"I believe so," Reddick said. "You never really know what the Philly crowd ... the Philly crowd has always been a wild crowd, I like to say. Growing up, going to a couple of Philadelphia Eagles games, I would alway see how the crowd would react. But I'm from Philly. Philly will always be home. I will always have love for Philly."

It's pure coincidence but Reddick, who is from the Philadelphia area, was drafted in Philly and now gets to come back as a rookie to play in front of his family and friends. He called it "a beautiful thing."

Another thing of beauty is going to be consumed by him and his teammates this weekend. When asked if there's some type of food item he misses when he's away from home, Reddick didn't hesitate. 

"Oh, definitely. You know that," he said. "I got to get a cheesesteak, man. I've been telling the guys here about how good the cheesesteaks are. When I come home, I'm going to make it my business to make sure me and the guys get some cheesesteaks."

He didn't call it a "Philly cheesesteak." That's because he's from here and he knows there's no other kind. 

If nothing else, that's a reason to cheer on Sunday.

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.