Eagles

As he was being carted off, Jason Peters had a message for Vaitai

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As he was being carted off, Jason Peters had a message for Vaitai

As Jason Peters loaded himself and his bum right leg onto the cart early in the second half on Monday night, and as Eagles fans at the Linc began to chant his name, the injured future Hall of Famer had one thing on his mind. 

Peters wanted to give Big V some advice. 

"He told me, 'Just keep your composure and calm down,'" said second-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who took Peters' spot at left tackle after his knee injury. "Take two good kicks, don't over set, you'll be fine."

Vaitai said the advice helped. It calmed him down. 

"He believed in me so it gave me a confidence boost a little bit," Vaitai said. 

When the Eagles host the 49ers next week, Vaitai will be in the starting lineup. Peters tore his ACL and MCL and is out for the season. 

Even if Peters is somehow able to return later this season, it'll be up to Vaitai and Lane Johnson to hold down the tackle position in the meantime. 

Head coach Doug Pederson was noncommittal on a plan without Peters. It's possible Vaitai could stay at left tackle, but it seems likely Johnson would slide to left tackle to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. Either way, Vaitai will need to play well. 

"Don't know yet," Pederson said. "It's something we'll evaluate this week. As you guys know back in the spring, we talked about possibly having a plan that way, but we'll evaluate it this week and make a decision at least by Wednesday before we practice again."

Monday night was the second time this season Vaitai had to finish a game against Washington for Peters. The future Hall of Famer exited Week 1's contest early as well. 

Next week will likely be Vaitai's eighth career start. Just last week, Johnson was praising Vaitai and mentioned he didn't start to hit his stride until his ninth start during his rookie season. 

"We have confidence in him, man," right guard Brandon Brooks said. "He stepped in for Lane last year and got better. Honestly, it's probably a bigger deal for you guys than it is for us. He's rotated in at tackle. He's the next guy up." 

After Peters went down, the Eagles continued their drive and were able to march down the field with Vaitai at right tackle and score a touchdown. Johnson said it was "vital" to get a score there. 

"I mean, when a guy like Jason Peters goes down, I mean the crowd was chanting his name," Wentz said. "He is a legend around here. He is a future Hall of Famer. We love that guy. He means a lot to us.

"As we were going out, he was starting to tell Coach Stout (Jeff Stoutland), to tell Big V a certain thing against a certain guy. He didn't even care, he was just trying to coach and just help us out to find a way to win. And that's just the type of guy he is. So that will be a big loss for us. It was a big loss for us tonight but Big V stepped up." 

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.