Will Beatty, healthy and well rested, believes he can help Eagles' offensive line

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Will Beatty, healthy and well rested, believes he can help Eagles' offensive line

Will Beatty is back in the NFL after signing with the Eagles on Tuesday, and he brought his crazy facemask with him.

Beatty started 63 games during the previous eight seasons with the New York Giants, primarily at left tackle. Yet the former second-round draft pick may be better known for his unusual headgear — a helmet equipped with a visor and five-bar facemask.

By no means is Beatty’s facemask intended to be a fashion statement. More like a token of the struggles to continue his career.

“It looks cool, but I would rather not have went through what I had to go through to get it,” Beatty said Wednesday after practicing with the Eagles for the first time.

Beatty began wearing the mask following season-ending surgery to repair a detached retina in 2011 — a freak injury. He returned, healthy, and over the course of the next three years, the helmet became a cute sidebar for television broadcasts while Beatty quietly played a solid tackle.

Then another freak injury struck. Beatty never saw the field in 2015, hurting his shoulder while lifting weights during the offseason. Two surgeries later, he was released by the Giants, eventually rejoining the team as a backup in time for the ’16 campaign.

Beatty has lined up for all of seven snaps over the past two and a half seasons, including exhibition games. He’s expected to serve as a backup for the Eagles as well, and at 32 years old, who knows if he’ll have many opportunities to play again.

Despite all of the trials and tribulations, Beatty never considered retirement, and his passion certainly never waned.

“I can’t say I would be here if it wasn’t for the things that happened to me, all the adversity,” Beatty said. “I’m playing this game because I love playing this game. I got out there on the field today, and literally everything that happened the past few months, it all washed away.”

As the weeks went by, Beatty admits he wasn’t sure another chance would come his way. But he kept preparing as if it would. When the Eagles called, he was in Arizona, working out at a gym owned by former Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis.

Beatty wasted no time. He was on a plane hours later, then under contract all within the same day.

“It’s a blessing to be back here, being out here with the players,” Beatty said. “Out there on the field, I feel like I’m at home, so it’s just good to be here. Whatever I can do to help out the team, I’m more than willing.”

The question now becomes what can Beatty do to aid the Eagles? Obviously, the offensive line can use the depth after left tackle Jason Peters went down for the year, but is Beatty still that player?

During that healthy three-year stretch with the Giants, Beatty was arguably one of the top tackles in the league. He finished among the top-20 highest-graded tackles twice, according to Pro Football Focus, including a tie for eighth in 2012.

“I’ve been around the league for awhile,” Beatty said. “I still feel young. I still feel like there’s a lot that I can contribute. I had years going up against great defenses.”

But Beatty hasn’t played in years, not even exhibition games. There’s no way to get a sense of how he will perform at this stage, after injuries and age have taken their toll.

It seems Beatty is relying on experience and sheer desire as his greatest assets.

“Football, the game I love, it hasn’t changed,” Beatty said. “It’s still the same. I’m not coming here thinking I’m going to be Superman and do something different. I’m just being me, having fun, trying to make myself better and my teammates as well.”

For his part, Beatty believes the time off could even be beneficial.

“(The Eagles) are coming off a bye week. I’m coming off a very long bye week,” Beatty said. “I’m extremely fresh right now, and I’m using that to my advantage.”

It’s going to be interesting if he’s pressed into action. Listed at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, Beatty says he weighed in around 300 and didn’t know if the Eagles will want him to bulk up. He also needs to learn the playbook before he can do anything.

As far as resilience is concerned, Beatty appears to have no shortage of it. The facemask that everybody will be talking about the moment he gets into a game is a testament to that.

Beatty is determined to stay in the NFL, and based on that alone, it’s difficult to imagine he’ll fail the Eagles. Now that he finally made it, that’s the only thing that matters.

“Everything that’s in the past means nothing,” Beatty said. “New team, same person, so all I have to do is be myself and make sure that I’m giving this team everything I have each day.”

Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

Carson Wentz's injury is obviously a blow to the Eagles, but the oddsmakers out in Vegas still like them ... just not as much as the Vikings.

The Birds, who began last week as 6/1 favorites in the NFC, now sit at 9/1 according to Bovada after the costly division-clinching win over the Rams in LA on Sunday that cost Wentz his season with a torn left ACL.

While not a huge hit, the dip in odds still dropped the Eagles from the favorites perch in the NFC. Now Minnesota is the conference favorite at 8/1. The Vikings, who lost to Carolina on Sunday, were 17/2 at the beginning of last week.

So, if we read into the odds, the Wentz injury, according to oddsmakers, helps the Vikings more than it hurts the Eagles. Super Bowl 52, of course, will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings.

The Rams (12/1 to 16/1) and Saints (10/1 to 14/1) also saw drops this week after losses. The Packers saw the biggest jump in the NFC, going from 33-1 to 18-1 after an OT win and Cleveland and with Aaron Rodgers return on the horizon.

Heading into next week's game at the Giants, the Eagles sit as the top seed in the NFC with the Vikings, Rams and Saints following in order.

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Doug Pederson took to the lectern at the NovaCare Complex early Monday afternoon to deliver the horrible, yet inevitable, news the entire city hoped would never come. 

Carson Wentz did indeed tear his left ACL. 

His magical 2017 season is over. 

From the time Wentz walked off the field with a knee injury late in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon, some fans immediately gave into the gloom, while others tried to hold out hope. 

In the end, everyone is disappointed. 

"I hate it for Carson Wentz," Pederson said. "I hate it for the season that he's been having. But at the same time, it's been the next-man-up mentality and that's how we approach it." 

Pederson claimed he believes his team can overcome this monumental loss. He believes in Nick Foles, who will now take over as the team's starting quarterback. 

But for a team that has already suffered huge losses this season, this one hurts the most. Wentz had been playing at an MVP level in his second NFL season and just broke the Eagles' record for touchdown passes in a season. 

That record 33rd touchdown pass came four plays after Wentz tore his left ACL on a play where he dove into the end zone for a touchdown that was called back. Wentz finished the drive even with the significant injury and his toughness left his teammates in awe (see story).

Pederson said that while watching the film of that diving play, it appeared Wentz actually suffered the torn ACL before the dive — it looked like a non-contact injury. 

The FOX game broadcast shows how limited Wentz's mobility was for those next four plays. After he threw the touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, Wentz didn't even celebrate with his teammates as he typically would; he simply walked off the field. 

Pederson found out the bad news on Monday morning but said a surgery date was not yet discussed, although players often have to wait for swelling to subside before going under the knife. Pederson said the report he was given said there was damage only to the ACL, no other ligaments. 

The head coach declined to give any type of timetable for Wentz's return. But if Wentz heals at the normal rate of an NFL athlete, there's a good chance he'll miss some time during spring workouts next offseason and possibly even training camp. 

Foles will become the Eagles' starting quarterback, while third-stringer Nate Sudfeld will be promoted to backup. Pederson expects Wentz — who greeted his teammates in the locker room after Sunday's win — will still be around the team as much as he can. 

"A lot like Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters and these guys," Pederson said. "He can be around and be in the meeting room. He can watch the tape. Even as much as being there on game day and being another set of eyes for the quarterbacks and Nick. And having his input, having him around the guys too would be a big boost. And obviously, an opportunity for him now to put the coaching hat on and to help Nick."