Why Eagles match up so well vs. mobile Russell Wilson

Why Eagles match up so well vs. mobile Russell Wilson

The Eagles' defense faces one of the most challenging offensive weapons in the NFL on Sunday — Russell Wilson has his hand in more than 80 percent of the Seahawks' offensive output. Whether it's leading the team in rushing with 401 yards, rushing for three TDs or throwing for 23, Wilson is more than a dual-threat QB. 

What makes Wilson so challenging to defend is his ability to evade pass rushes and look down the field. Wide receivers in this offense adjust to come back and make themselves available better than any WR unit in the NFL. Scramble drill has almost become a regular play-call with Wilson's offense.
Now, how do you defend Wilson's scramble drill?
The Eagles are best-suited to play against a mobile quarterback. Let me explain why. It is very seldom that teams in the NFL have two stud defensive tackles who can collapse the pocket. The Eagles have the ideal situation with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. Both linemen are explosive and very good pass rushers. They are one-gap players — their only responsibility is to occupy one gap. Both of these players go about this explosively and  aggressively. 

Defensive coordinator Jim Schartz encourages the D-line to get up the field and reestablish a new line of scrimmage, to push the opposition's offensive line back, which presses the pocket. With this push up the middle of the interior of the O-line, it presses the gap in which QBs have to react and step into throws.
The Eagles also have very good rush ends in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Chris Long. The defensive ends apply constant pressure on most QBs by running the arc. 

Running the arc is when the DEs get up the field on the outside and turn the corner toward the QB. Against mobile QBs like Dak Prescott, Cam Newton and Wilson, the DE has to approach the rush differently. Instead of running the arc, they must rush to the same level of the QB in the pocket and press toward the QB. This will box the QB in the pocket and allow the Eagles' interior rushers (D-line) to pressure the QB to the DEs. 

This will also keep Wilson at a disadvantage if he stays in the pocket because he is shorter than most QBs and may find it hard to see over his blockers. Keeping Wilson in the pocket and forcing him to be a pocket passer won't be the easiest task, but the Eagles are well-equipped to do it.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

AP Images

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.

Eagles give Chris Long a raise

USA Today Images

Eagles give Chris Long a raise

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, increasing his base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

The move was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia by a source familiar with the renegotiation who added several details.

Including a $500,000 roster bonus that was also in the previous version of the contract, Long will receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

The roster bonus the Eagles eliminated was scheduled to pay Long $46,875 for every game in 2018 that he was on the 46-man game-day roster.

According to the source, Long's 2018 cap figure increases from $2.35 million to $3.1 million. The $750,000 increase comes from the $1.5 million base salary increase combined with the elimination of $750,000 in "likely-to-be-earned" incentives.

That $3.1 million cap figure comes from the $2.5 million base salary plus the $500,000 roster bonus and $100,000 in pro-rated signing bonus money from his original $500,000 signing bonus.

The $500,000 roster bonus that carried over from his previous contract isn't technically guaranteed, but Long already received it on the third day of the league year (last week), so we'll call it guaranteed.

The new deal also includes $750,000 in playing-time, performance and team incentive bonuses that are considered "not likely to be earned" and which do not count against the Eagles' 2018 salary cap. 

Long's original deal, signed before last season, was a five-year contract, but the 2019 through 2021 seasons are already guaranteed to void.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.