Eagles

Rob's Rants: Endless Ezekiel Elliott saga, crybaby James Harden

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USA Today Images

Rob's Rants: Endless Ezekiel Elliott saga, crybaby James Harden

Let's see, the Eagles hold the best record in the NFL at 7-1 and Howie Roseman is not standing pat in his search to upgrade the talent on the roster.

The Sixers just avenged a bad home loss last week to the Rockets, and Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid appear to be the one-two punch this town's been in search of for ages.

So there's much to be happy about on this Halloween in Philadelphia. But not every trick or treater's bag in the sporting world is filled with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey's Kisses. There's plenty of Raisinets and Almond Joys being handed out. With that, time for another edition of Rob's Rants.

In or out?
I am so sick of this of this "is he or isn't he" saga when it comes to Ezekiel Elliott's suspension. We lived this once with Tom Brady and that was enough. The difference this time through this lens is Elliott's status much more directly affects the Eagles and the conference they play in.

It seems every five minutes, he's suspended or unsuspended (see latest update). Short of holding a law degree, how can anyone keep up with this? I get he has a legal right to appeal but fans of the sport don't want to hear about preliminary injunctions or emergency appeals. It's a turn-off. They want to know if he's playing or not. The Eagles travel to Dallas out of the bye (Nov. 19) then host the Cowboys on Dec. 31 to close out the season. No one, not the Cowboys, the Eagles or Roger Goodell knows if he'll play in both, miss one, play this week vs. the Chiefs, or what. The entire situation is a joke. Until he's on the inactive list Sunday, I'll assume Elliott's playing the rest of the season.

No-show
How do you come off beating the NHL's highest-scoring team on the road in Toronto on Saturday, one that entered the game with a 7-3 record, only to lose to a previously winless Arizona team two days later? At home, no less. Inexcusable. The Flyers sleepwalked through the first two-plus periods and had to put on a mad charge just to tie it up in regulation, only to lose in overtime. The Coyotes ranked last in goals against and penalty kill and 25th in goals per game. The Flyers had three shots in the first period. None by a forward. This is not the Penguins we're talking about here.

Cry me a river
The NBA has its share of cry babies. Players who think they should get every call. Dwyane Wade comes to mind, as does DeMarcus Cousins. But they are all playing for second place when it comes to the waterworks — James Harden is the MVP when it comes to whining and complaining.

TV does not do his moaning justice. You need to see him in person, initiate contact every time and get most of the calls by the way. But when he doesn't, he cries like a hungry baby with a dirty diaper. It's relentless. Watching him up-close and personal last week against the Sixers was to watch petulance personified. He's a great player and I truly appreciate his "old man" game but his act is tired. It's no wonder he's not a good defender, he rarely gets back on defense because he's complaining to the ref on the other end.

Happy anniversary
We close this one out on a non-rant. It was nine years ago today on a beautiful, warm, perfect day in Philadelphia when the Phillies held their championship parade. The day was a culmination of an incredible season and chance for this city to celebrate a title in a major sport for the first time in 25 years. The coolest part for me was seeing generations of families rejoicing along the parade route and at the park. Seeing older people who didn't think they'd witness another championship. And little kids who thought this would be a rite of passage every year. Here's hoping the city can get another one soon.

Eagles' Jalen Mills returns home to Dallas to inspire on the field

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AP Images

Eagles' Jalen Mills returns home to Dallas to inspire on the field

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Perhaps no Eagles player enjoyed demolishing the Cowboys more than cornerback Jalen Mills.

You see, Mills, who starred in college at LSU, grew up in the Dallas area and got to play in front of his family and friends.

"It feels good, man," Mills said after the Eagles crushed the Cowboys, 37-9, at AT&T Stadium on Sunday Night Football (see Roob's observations).  

"And by me saying that, 9-1 feels good. Everything feels good. I think the biggest thing about it was we were doubted. Us being 8-1 and doubted, that just put a little more hunger in us, and you see what happens when you put a hungry team on the field."

Mills grew up in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, not the worst of neighborhoods, but certainly not the best. His first job was selling local newspapers when he was 14 years old. He was determined to make something of himself, and football was his way out. 

He would go on to become a four-year starter in college with the Tigers and thrived in the competitive football hotbed that is the SEC. 

Because of character issues coming out of college, Mills' draft position took a nosedive in the 2016 NFL draft. Projected as a first- or second-round pick, he slid all the way to the Eagles' seventh-round pick at No. 233. But he has used that slight as motivation to succeed. His hard work and determination paid off. In his rookie year with the Birds last season, he played 65 percent of the defensive snaps. This year, he heard the whispers from doubters about not being good enough to man one of the cornerback spots full time. 

So far he has silenced his critics. Mills has played 99 percent of the snaps this season and his made very few mistakes. Against his hometown Cowboys on Sunday evening, Mills was in on seven tackles. For the season, he is second on the team in passes defended (13), second in total tackles (63) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (three).

And as for the Cowboys fans in his family, Mills told me they switched to Eagles loyalists the moment he was drafted. Why? Because he is the only one of those close to him who made it out of Oak Cliff, and he uses that as a means to give hope to others where he came from. 

"It's motivation for me." Mills said. "I know, in my mind and my heart, whoever it is older, younger, it doesn't matter. They're always looking up to me, and I can't let them down. So each and every day, that's how I approach the day, knowing somebody is looking up to me whether it's my family or friends."

That's a big responsibility for a 23-year-old to carry, but considering where he came from to get to where he, Mills has broad enough shoulders to carry that load.

Eagles snap counts: Rasul Douglas odd man out of secondary against Cowboys

Eagles snap counts: Rasul Douglas odd man out of secondary against Cowboys

For the first time since he was inactive in Week 1, Rasul Douglas didn't play a single defensive snap Sunday night against the Cowboys. 

Despite playing well over the last couple months, as expected, Douglas was the odd man out after the return of Ronald Darby. The fewest snaps Douglas played in any of the last eight games was 18. He rode the bench for Sunday's 37-9 win at AT&T Stadium (see Roob's observations)

Darby was able to play all 63 snaps, likely thanks to working on conditioning all week (see story). Darby took his snaps at the right cornerback position, while Jalen Mills manned the left side and also played all 63. Patrick Robinson played 43 snaps (68 percent). 

When Robinson wasn't on the field, Joe Walker was the Eagles' MIKE in their base package. He played 20 snaps (32 percent). 

Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham also played all 63 defensive snaps for the Eagles' defense. 

Derek Barnett had a strong game with two sacks. He played 32 snaps, just two fewer than starter Vinny Curry. 

On offense, LeGarrette Blount led the running backs with 30 snaps, followed by Corey Clement (19), Jay Ajayi (13) and Kenjon Barner (2). Barner made the most of his snaps, grabbing a huge catch and running for a touchdown (see story)

Ajayi actually played fewer snaps this week than he did in his Eagles debut (17 against Denver). 

This was the first time since Week 2 that Carson Wentz and all of his linemen played every snap. On Sunday that meant 64. 

Offense
Brandon Brooks - 64 snaps (100 percent)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai - 64 (100)
Stefen Wisniewski - 64 (100)
Jason Kelce - 64 (100)
Brandon Brooks - 64 (100)
Lane Johnson - 64 (100)
Zach Ertz - 60 (94)
Alshon Jeffery - 47 (73)
Nelson Agholor - 47 (73)
Torrey Smith - 42 (66)
LeGarrette Blount - 30 (47)
Brent Celek - 23 (36)
Corey Clement - 19 (30)
Trey Burton - 13 (20)
Marcus Johnson - 13 (20)
Jay Ajayi - 13 (20)
Mack Hollins - 10 (16)
Kenjon Barner - 2 (3)
Isaac Seumalo - 1 (2)

Defense
Malcolm Jenkins - 63 snaps (100 percent)
Jalen Mills - 63 (100)
Ronald Darby - 63 (100)
Nigel Bradham - 63 (100)
Rodney McLeod - 60 (95)
Mychal Kendricks - 56 (89)
Fletcher Cox - 46 (73)
Brandon Graham - 44 (70)
Patrick Robinson - 43 (68)
Vinny Curry - 34 (54)
Derek Barnett - 32 (51) 
Chris Long - 31 (49)
Tim Jernigan - 30 (48)
Joe Walker - 20 (32)
Destiny Vaeao - 20 (32)
Beau Allen - 15 (24)
Corey Graham - 10 (16)