Eagles

Why are so many Eagles fans jumping ship?

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Why are so many Eagles fans jumping ship?

I'm pretty sure people have lost their minds.

Not everybody. Maybe not even most people. But some of the stuff I've seen on Twitter and heard on sports radio and read in the comments section under our stories lately is so bizarre I genuinely can't believe what I'm seeing.

They have no chance. It's hopeless. There's no reason to even care anymore. It's over. Why even bother playing?

I've seen bandwagon fans abandon the Eagles in past years because they're losing.

I've never seen them bail out because they're winning.

Yes, the Eagles miss Carson Wentz. Yes, Nick Foles was horrible Monday night. Yes, they struggled to beat two teams with losing records the last two weeks.

Does that add up to a team with no hope of advancing in the playoffs? 

You've gotta be kidding me. Have some faith, darn it. This is getting out of control.

It's just sad to see so many Eagles fans jumping ship. Are the Eagles favorites to reach the Super Bowl? Probably not. But they didn't get to 13-2 by accident. They didn't get to 13-2 only because of Wentz. They got to 13-2 because of 53 guys playing smart, physical, disciplined, unselfish football. And an MVP QB didn't hurt.

Bottom line: A team that finds ways to win games when things aren't going perfectly is a team that should be admired. Not doubted.

Let's go back to Dec. 10 at L.A. Coliseum. Can you imagine how jarring, how devastating, it was for this football team to see its MVP candidate hobbling off the field, his season over? A few plays after Wentz threw his final pass, his final record-setting touchdown of the year, the Rams took a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

So the Eagles lost their quarterback, lost the lead, were on the road against an 11-win team, 3,000 miles from home, and how did they react? They scored three times in the final 10 minutes to get out of Southern California with a win.

A week later, the defense allowed over 500 yards and three touchdowns in the game's first 16 minutes. Then allowed just six points the rest of the game. And the Eagles got out of East Rutherford, New Jersey, with a win.

And last week. Foles was historically bad, and the Eagles trailed in the third quarter. But the defense allowed just three points over the game's final 42½ minutes and Foles hit four straight passes when he had to, and Jake Elliott banged a 48-yard field goal with 22 seconds left to win the thing.

See a common denominator?

Winning.

And last I checked, winning is a good thing.

We've spent so much time over the years talking about how various Eagles teams are talented but don't know how to win. Can't finish. Don't have what it takes at the end of games. Now we have a team that three weeks in a row, with its franchise quarterback on crutches, twice on the road, has faced some pretty serious adversity and has laughed in its face each time and won the football game.

This is exactly the type of team Eagles fans have been waiting for. Exactly the type of team fans have demanded for years.

A team with integrity. A team that never stops fighting, no matter the score, no matter the situation. A team that's unafraid of a challenge. That doesn't back down from the best teams in the league. That's proud to wear that Eagles jersey. That's unselfish down to the last guy on the practice squad.

And now they finally have it, all we hear is … "They have no chance." "The season's over." "There's nothing to play for." "No way they can advance."

No, not everybody. Not even most. But way too many fans have already given up on a team that's done nothing but win more football games than any team in the NFL and needs to win only twice at home — where they haven't lost in more than a year — to get to the Super Bowl.

I don't know. Maybe I'm dreaming. I get the Eagles may not even be favored to win in their own building in the postseason. I get the task is much harder with Wentz on the sideline. I get the odds are against them and they have to play better than they have the last two weeks.

But since when has stuff like that been a reason to stop believing?

We're talking about a defense that over the last two years, has allowed an NFL-best 14.5 points per game at home. We're talking about a quarterback who's won nine straight at the Linc and 16 of his last 20 starts as an Eagle.

I don't know how far the Eagles will go this postseason. But I do know that if you've already given up you're not a true fan. And you probably never were.

How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

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USA Today Images

How Eagles could shut down Vikings' receiving duo

When you think about the best wide receivers in the NFL today, names like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins come to mind and rightfully so, but the Minnesota Vikings have a pair of wideouts who have given opposing secondaries fits.

This season, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been the perfect complement to each other. Thielen finished the regular season with 91 receptions (eighth-best in the league), 1276 yards (fifth-best) and his 20 catches for 20 or more yards tied for fifth-best overall. As for Diggs, he finished with 64 receptions for 849 yards.

Together, Thielen and Diggs accounted for 54 percent of the Vikings' receiving yards this season. They also combined for 12 touchdowns. In the Vikes' miraculous playoff win over the New Orleans Saints, they accounted for 66 percent of the passing game. They have been the safety valves for Case Keenum all season long.

Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has the rare luxury of lining up either one of them on the inside or outside on any given play. Both are excellent route runners — whether it's doing deep or intermediate routes or crossing routes, and both are excellent blockers.

So how should Jim Schwartz defend against these two? Some believe help over the top on Thielen and playing single coverage on Diggs is the way to go. We may see that concept occasionally in the NFC Championship Game but I have a feeling Schwartz will come up with some variation we have not seen before. The Eagles are not going to completely shut these two down, but their damage can be minimized. Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and the other DBs will put in a full day’s work shadowing these two.

Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

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Howie Roseman honored for his tremendous offseason

As the Eagles practiced on Thursday afternoon, just a few days before hosting the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stood next to owner Jeff Lurie and watched the team he created. 

Of the 53 members on the Eagles' roster heading into this championship game, 25 weren't on the active roster last season. Roseman had a very busy offseason, molding the Eagles into a Super Bowl contender. 

For his efforts, the 42-year-old Roseman, who began with the Eagles as an intern in 2000, has been named the NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. 

Roseman helped turn over a roster that went 7-9 last season into a team that went 13-3, earning the first-overall seed in the NFC. He built the team with enough depth to survive major injuries to Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis. 

Never afraid to make a trade, Roseman came back from his time away from football operations more aggressive than ever. He claims his year away from GM duties while Chip Kelly took over was both humbling and eye-opening. 

For this season, Roseman traded 25 spots in the third round to bring in veteran defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, traded away Jordan Matthews and a pick to bring in cornerback Ronald Darby and pulled the trigger on a midseason move to bring in Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi. 

In free agency, he signed Alshon Jeffery, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Nick Foles, Patrick Robinson and Chance Warmack. He brought in several of those players on one-year prove-it deals, and for the most part, the team has gotten more than their money's worth out of them. 

He also helped hire VP of player personnel Joe Douglas to revamp the scouting department. That hire of a top personnel man was one of the conditions when Lurie reinstated Roseman to power following Kelly's dismissal. 

Roseman and Douglas spearheaded drafting a class that included Derek Barnett in the first round, an injured Sidney Jones in the second and some other contributors in the next five rounds. 

Aside from just bringing players in, Roseman has been able to manipulate the salary cap better than anyone in the league. It's been a strength of his since his arrival in Philly, so that should be no surprise. 

You could actually argue that Roseman's 2016 was more impressive. That's when he laid the groundwork for this playoff season by moving up and drafting Carson Wentz. But 2017 is when it all came together.