In surprise twist, Chance Warmack key in Eagles' win

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In surprise twist, Chance Warmack key in Eagles' win

Most everybody expected the Eagles to beat the Giants on Sunday, but there was a surprise twist: They couldn't have done it without Chance Warmack.

Filling in at left guard for the injured Stefen Wisniewski, Warmack appeared to struggle early in the contest. The fifth-year veteran failed to reach some of his landmarks in the running game and lost his footing on a number of occasions. Pretty much the same issues that had prevented Warmack from winning the job or holding it down in the first place.

Only this time, Warmack seemed to get more comfortable as the game wore on, creating running lanes and holding his own in protection — and the Eagles' offensive line became a cohesive unit in the process.

"That's football," Warmack said following the Eagles' 34-29 win over the Giants at New York. "You get a feel, and sometimes it comes faster than others. After you get a feel for it, that's called reading the game.

"I felt like a little kid out there. It was good to play football and not think about anything, just go."

Signed as a free agent in March, and his contract subsequently extended in September, Warmack already had multiple opportunities to earn more playing time. Prior to Sunday, none of the chances had gone particularly well.

Warmack started Week 3 at left guard after Isaac Seumalo played himself out of the job, but he didn't perform at a high level and quickly found himself in a rotation with Wisniewski. The experiment ended after three weeks. Then with the injury to Wisniewski against the Rams, Warmack got another shot, only to wind up being benched for the second half for Seumalo.

The Eagles' reclamation project appeared to have hit a wall, but Warmack never gave up.

"Are you going to watch film and get better, or are you gonna to put your head down," Warmack said. "I don't care how bad I get beat, I'm gonna keep coming. That's my motto. Keep coming, keep fighting, keep playing. That's the game."

It may have helped Warmack was able to start and finish the entire game. It was the 26-year-old's eighth appearance of the season and his second start, but the first in which he played every snap (or even half).

Warmack refused to blame his previous poor play, though, on the quick hooks.

"I can't use that as an excuse," Warmack said. "Whatever happened in the game, I have to take that head-on, learn from that and get better. Whatever the situation is, accept that and keep moving."

The Eagles ran the football 27 times against the Giants for 108 yards — a solid 4.0 average. Nick Foles was sacked only once and hit a total of seven times, as the O-line was generally able to provide a clean pocket and keep the quarterback upright.

Obviously, all five guys up front deserve credit for the success of the offense. However, unlike the rest of the unit, Warmack didn't have nearly a full season's worth of games to prepare for the Giants.

"Great job," Eagles center Jason Kelce said. "(The Giants) have a big front, so this is a good game for him. He's a big guy, and it's going to be hard to overpower a guy like that.

"I was really happy for him. They give you a lot of different looks at times and they can make it challenging, and he listened, he was locked in and he did his job."

Foles called Warmack's performance, and the ability of the Eagles to overcome injuries all season, a "story."

"I've worked with him on scout team. I've seen him work every single day," Warmack said. "Going in there in this environment, (he) did an awesome job."

Everyone knew Warmack, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, has this in him, if not more. That's why the Eagles went out and signed him despite his four disappointing seasons with the Titans, reuniting him with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, his tutor at Alabama.

Sunday was a sign that Warmack is continuing to improve, and he'll be ready when his number is called again. If and when that time comes, this most recent outing could serve as a foundation of sorts moving forward.

"That's what it's all about," Warmack said. "Once you feel comfortable with what you're doing, just build off of that."

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.