Without Carson Wentz, Eagles have different plan but same goal

Without Carson Wentz, Eagles have different plan but same goal

LOS ANGELES — Soon after the Eagles clinched the NFC East title Sunday night, Malcolm Jenkins was asked if the Eagles were still a potential Super Bowl team.

His answer: "Do we have a quarterback on the roster?" 

The goals haven't changed. The way the Eagles hope to accomplish those goals sure has.

The Eagles return to Philadelphia as NFC East champions after nine days on the West Coast, but they're also facing the strong likelihood of a stretch run and postseason without MVP candidate Carson Wentz, who suffered a left knee injury late in the third quarter of the Eagles' 43-35 win over the Rams at L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Wentz was scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday morning in Philadelphia, and although there is a chance for good news, the Eagles fear that Wentz has a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee.

Which means the Eagles' 2017 fate likely rests in the hands of Nick Foles, who has changed teams after each of the last three seasons.

"Everyone's really excited because we put in a lot of work this season," Foles said. "Lot of work, we've won a lot of games, it's been a great team effort and Carson has been a big piece of that puzzle. 

"Everyone's really excited about the win, but you have your starting quarterback go down, it's emotional. It's emotional for me. I work with him every day, we do everything together. 

"I'm excited we won but at the same time, I'm dealing emotionally with seeing him go down. You never want that."

No team has repeated in the NFC East since the Eagles in 2003 and 2004. The division title is the Eagles' first since 2013 — when Foles was their quarterback — and 10th since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Only one of the last 21 NFC East champs has won the Super Bowl — the Giants in 2011.

"Our plan is to win every game that we compete in," Jenkins said. "Obviously, your game-plan changes depending on your personnel so I'm sure there'll be some things we change just because Nick doesn't have some of the abilities that Carson has — talking about his mobility and all of that. 

"But at the end of the day, it doesn't change any of our goals. It sucks because Carson is your friend and he puts so much into the game and you hate to see him go down. It sucks for him, but as a team we still have all our goals in front of us."

This team has already overcome a ton of adversity, finding its way to 11-2, an NFC East title and control of its destiny for the No. 1 seed in the NFC after losing Jason Peters, Darren Sproles and Jordan Hicks to season-ending injuries.

"I'm proud of the guys," head coach Doug Pederson said. "But you know, we get back to Philly and we still have three games left and we still have an opportunity. Everything is still right in front of us for us to take and we've just got to make sure we take care of business.

"We're one step closer to where we want to be. We set goals before the season starts. Obviously, NFC East, we checked the box, put it behind us, and we move on. It's the New York Giants next week."

The Eagles' players and coaches were all wearing NFC East champion baseball caps in the L.A. Coliseum locker room Sunday night. The division title has been inevitable for several weeks. Despite losing Wentz, this team still has bigger goals.

"It feels great," veteran Chris Long said. "This hat is awesome to put on. It reflects a lot of hard work. 

"But it's not the end-all, be-all for us. We've got big things on our minds, but what it is is sequentially, we're able to check these boxes off and we'll move on to the next one."

Foles was on the field when the Eagles clinched the 2013 NFC East title and after stints with the Rams and Chiefs, he found himself on the field again four years later when the Eagles clinched their next division title.

"It means a lot to this team, it means a lot to me," Foles said. "I'm excited, we're NFC East champs.

"But it's emotional. A guy you work with every day, you think the world of, I think he's the MVP, it's not easy. But I know this team will step up and rally no matter what."

Vinny Curry reportedly heading to the Buccaneers

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Vinny Curry reportedly heading to the Buccaneers

One day after being released from the Eagles, Vinny Curry has reportedly already found a new home.

The defensive end is heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year deal worth up to $27 million, with an $11.5 million injury guarantee, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine.

After signing him to a five-year, $47.25 million extension in 2016, the Eagles moved on from Curry and his scheduled $11 million cap hit on Friday. The transaction saved the Eagles $5 million in cap space, with $6 million in dead money.

While Curry had the best season of his career in 2017, his production still didn't match his high cap number and he became more expendable after the Eagles acquired Pro Bowler Michael Bennett from the Seahawks.

Curry will join former Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen in Tampa Bay. Allen signed a three-year with the Buccaneers earlier in the week. 

As Bradham re-signs, he lauds former teammate

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As Bradham re-signs, he lauds former teammate

After getting the opportunity to stay with the Super Bowl champions, Nigel Bradham spoke at length and quite passionately about someone who didn’t get the same opportunity.
Brent Celek.
Bradham, the veteran linebacker, spent the last two years with Celek, who the Eagles released earlier this week after 11 seasons.
“That’s obviously devastating, man,” Bradham said. “Taking about a guy who was here his whole career and the way he came every day and his character every day.
“He really … me and a lot of guys on our team what it takes to win a Super Bowl, and he let us know it doesn’t come easy, it takes work, and he came in and worked every day. Like no other.”
Celek was due to earn $5 million in 2018 but is counting only $1 million in dead money against the 2018 cap, so the Eagles gained $4 million under the cap by releasing him.
That cap space certainly helped them find room to re-sign Bradham, who enjoyed a career-best season in 2017 for the Super Bowl champs.
But Bradham was effusive in his praise for the veteran tight end, who has played the fourth-most games in Eagles history.
“You would never know he was (11) years in because of the way he worked,” Bradham said. “So when you lose a guy like that it obviously takes a toll on your team.
“You hate to lose guys like that that meant so much and impacted this team so much. His leadership was on another level. He went over and beyond the things he could have done as a leader. Obviously, wish he could be here still.”