Eagles

The reason Corey Clement still respects Ezekiel Elliott

The reason Corey Clement still respects Ezekiel Elliott

In this week's "Gunn-on-One," which you can see Sunday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Eagles Pregame Live, Derrick Gunn talks with rookie running back Corey Clement.

Clement, undrafted from Wisconsin, leads the Eagles' backfield with six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving), and has averaged 4.4 yards per carry. He discussed the keys to his success as a rookie. 

Gunn: You have carved out a nice little niche for yourself in this backfield. How is it that you seem to have this knack for finding the end zone?

Clement: I think it just goes into the preparation that I've had coming into this organization, especially with the help of (running backs coach) Duce Staley. He's helped me, and my knack for finding the end zone became that much more clear. And as for being in the red zone, I definitely depend on the O-line to do what they normally do, and that's handle the trenches, and I got to make them look right by making their key reads. It's just all about the correct timing, study habits, and just having a good feel for the game.

Gunn: You have a lot of depth in that backfield, including a couple of Pro Bowl caliber-type guys. How have you been able to maintain the rotation and not let egos get in the way?

Clement: I think it's where it starts in the room. Tuesdays when we come in, we all just collectively have an open forum. Whoever has anything to get off their chest, how we feel about the game we just played just to make sure everybody is on the same page as far as the game plan, how to help the next running back out. I think everybody is always pulling for one another, and I think that's where comradery and passion for the game always seems to accumulate as one.

Gunn: You're gonna see a guy on the other side of the field named Ezekiel Elliott. Tell me what you like about his running style because I know you got to see him a few times in college, having played against him.

Clement: I love the way Zeke approaches each game. He's definitely a guy you always have to stop and at times he's still putting up 200-yard performances, just with what he did last year. I played against him in college. He did some damage to us in the Big Ten championship. That's hats off to him. He's a guy who's always about his team and wants nothing but the best for them. But at the same time, I always try to outdo him with the carries and touches I do get. I got to make them happen.

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

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USA Today Images

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

When Doug Pederson said back in July that the 2017 Eagles "probably have more talent" than the Super Bowl Packers teams of the 1990s that Pederson played on, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

Millions of eyebrows maybe.
 
The Eagles? Who hadn't won a playoff game since 2008 and were coming off a 7-9 record in Pederson's first season?
 
More talented than a team that went to the playoffs virtually every year from the early 1990s through the mid-2000s behind Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Reggie White and reached back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997, winning one?
 
"I look back on my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs, those Super Bowl runs there," Pederson said on July 17.
 
"And do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?"
 
Seriously, Doug?
 
Six months later, Pederson's comments — which seemed so ridiculous at the time — don't seem so ridiculous, do they?
 
Because here are those 2017 Eagles, sitting 13-3 with a playoff win over the Falcons in the books and a berth Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings despite a rash of injuries to some of their best players.
 
The Eagles haven't lost a game with postseason implications since Carson Wentz was lost for the season, and they're one home win from reaching their third Super Bowl.
 
Pederson, who had two stints backing up Brett Favre with the Packers — from 1996 through 1998 and 2001 through 2004 — was reminded of his comments Friday before practice.
 
"I don't have a crystal ball, obviously, and it's hard to predict," he said. "You'd love to sit here and go, 'Yeah, in the summer, (I thought we were) going to be 13-3 and win the NFC East.' You'd love to be in that situation, or 16-0, or whatever it might be.
 
"I did have a feeling back then when I made that statement that we could be, we had the potential to be a good football team because of the way we've practiced and the talent that we brought to the roster and the progression of Carson in his second year.
 
"And then defensively, the front, the way they performed, and the back end, I saw a lot of the same similarities. So you just have that gut feeling when I made that statement."
 
Back in July, when Pederson made those comments comparing the Eagles to the Packers, he tempered them by saying talent isn't always enough. It takes much more for a team to have success.
 
"I (said) it takes great coaching, teaching, mentoring to also have our guys prepared each week to be in this position," Pederson said. "So all of that has kind of culminated. I think you look back on it and you go, 'Wow, maybe it was a true type of thing.'
 
"But we just keep doing our jobs, keep doing what we've been coached to do. Players play what they can do and what's in their control, and we're here today."

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

Veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) is the only Eagles player listed as questionable for this week's game. Everyone else on the 53-man roster is expected to be available. 

Ellerbe, 32, missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday. 

The Eagles' starting MIKE linebacker was also listed as questionable last week and was able to play, so expect him to be good to go. After all, this is the NFC Championship Game. There's no resting for anything else. 

In Minnesota, wide receiver Adam Thielen (lower back) and safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) are both listed as questionable. 

Thielen, the Vikings' top receiver, missed Wednesday's practice and was limited on Thursday and Friday. Just like Ellerbe, there's no saving him for next week. 

Sendejo was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, was a full participant on Friday, but is still technically in the NFL's concussion protocol. He'll need to clear that before he's able to play, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he's optimistic Sendejo will be able to play. 

Meanwhile, third defensive tackle, Shamar Stephen (knee/ankle), missed practice all week and has been ruled out. While Stephen isn't a starter, he played just under 40 percent of the Vikings' snaps this season, so missing him is still a loss.

After practicing indoors on Wednesday and Thursday, the Eagles loaded up on buses and spent their Friday practice outside at Lincoln Financial Field. Head coach Doug Pederson likes to get his guys outside for at least one day per week. 

The Eagles will have a walkthrough on Saturday before they'll be back at the Linc for Sunday's 6:40 p.m. kickoff in the NFC Championship Game.