Eagles

Gunn's bullet points: Carson Wentz, Eagles defense and more

Gunn's bullet points: Carson Wentz, Eagles defense and more

Here are some bullet points from the Eagles' season-opening win over the Browns on Sunday:

• Who says a rookie quarterback needs extended practice time to be effective in his first game? Carson Wentz couldn't have written a much better script for his NFL debut. On his first drive, he took the offense 75 yards for a score. Wentz was 4 for 5 on that initial drive, and capped it off with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews. His overall numbers for the day were 22 of 37, 278 yards, two touchdowns ... not bad at all. As a matter of fact, I'd say it was impressive.

• Ryan Mathews was the workhorse I expected him to be. He had 22 of the team's 34 carries for 77 yards and one touchdown.

• Loved the way the Eagles utilized all of their backs in the ground game. Mathews, Kenjon Barner and Darren Sproles combined for 131 yards on 31 carries.

• Thirteen of Wentz's 22 completions went to Matthews (7 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD) and Zach Ertz (6 for 58). 

• Eagles defense was solid. It forced three straight three-and-outs to start the game, didn't allow Cleveland a first down in the opening quarter. Cleveland was just 2 for 10 on third downs. Rodney McLeod had his first INT as an Eagle, and while the Birds' D couldn't get to Robert Griffin III in the first half, it finally tracked him down in the latter half and recorded three QB sacks.

• Have to give props to Doug Pederson and Frank Reich for building the perfect offensive blueprint to help Wentz get comfortable and be efficient.

How simply navigating locker room can be a difficult task for some Eagles

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Tom Finer | NBC Sports Philadelphia

How simply navigating locker room can be a difficult task for some Eagles

As soon as a towel-clad Jaylen Watkins walked out of the showers and into the Eagles' locker room Thursday afternoon, his shoulders slumped and he let out a near-silent sigh. 

He approached the horde of reporters near his locker stall before he locked eyes with one who was standing directly in his space. The two chuckled as they awkwardly sidestepped each other to swap positions. 

The media contingent that covers the Eagles is one of — if not the — biggest in the entire league. That's great news for fans, who have plenty of options. 

It's not great news for Watkins, who just wants to get changed. 

See, Watkins' locker is positioned just to the left of team leader Malcolm Jenkins'. Jenkins holds court with reporters a couple times per week, which can be a slight inconvenience for Watkins and Patrick Robinson, who also shares a wall with him.

And Watkins knows whenever there's a political story in the news, reporters are going to want to talk to his outspoken teammate. 

"I guess that's what comes being next to Malcolm," Watkins said. "You get good insight on stuff, but you also have to deal with the baggage that comes with him." 

NFL locker rooms are weird places and it's not because of the nakedness. After all, locker rooms are meant for changing. But trying to change while a group of media members slowly infringes upon your personal space makes it a little strange. 

But for three 45-minute windows each week, reporters fill the room. On any given Wednesday or Thursday during the week at the NovaCare Complex, there can be as many as 30 to 40 media members in attendance. It's just a part of the deal in Philadelphia.

For Shelton Gibson, this is all new. 

The rookie receiver said reporters weren't allowed in the West Virginia locker room. They met with players in a different space.

Being placed next to Torrey Smith has been a great thing for Gibson and the two have become close. But Smith is one of those guys who draws a crowd. 

"It's funny," Gibson said. "Last week I was looking at it. It's just like, you can't interrupt. You're not hoping that he'll hurry up or anything. It's just funny because it just be a big ass [crowd] around your locker." 

While Watkins normally stands behind the media scrum, waiting for his moment to pounce, Gibson has taken a different approach. While waiting for the crowd to disperse, he takes walks. He'll find a teammate in another part of the locker room to visit. Sometimes, though, he will hang around as Smith gets interviewed. He wants to see how the veteran handles it all and he always comes away impressed. 

In the middle of the locker room, on the right side, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are neighbors. Two of the best defensive players on the team, they are both pretty popular interview subjects.

So just about every week, one of them will walk out of the showers and see a seemingly impenetrable wall of camera and recorder-holders in their way. As veterans, though, they're beyond patiently waiting. 

"It's cool, man, because I just tell everybody to move out the way," said Graham, one of the more jovial players on the team. "That's all. That's my cue to have a little fun with the reporters." 

Watkins has dealt with this long before he was placed next to Jenkins. In fact, during his first training camp in 2014, he was in a popup stall in the middle of the floor. The locker on the wall nearest to him belonged to LeSean McCoy. It used to be annoying, especially when he didn't have a good day of practice, but there's not much he can do about it. 

After practices, the coaching staff will tell the players if that day is a media day. When Watkins knows it is, he hurries into the locker room as fast as he can and if he's lucky, he gets out before Jenkins gets in. 

But sometimes it backfires. Sometimes when Watkins goes to the cold tub and for treatment, he'll get back in the room at the same exact time Jenkins is about to start answering questions. 

And then the waiting begins. 

"So I just kind of stand by the side and let it happen," Watkins said with a shrug. "I'm used to it now."

5 statistical Eagles milestones within reach Monday night

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USA Today Images

5 statistical Eagles milestones within reach Monday night

Five statistical milestones within reach Monday night, when the Eagles host the Redskins at the Linc:

• Carson Wentz has thrown 13 touchdown passes this year and needs just three more to match his total from the entire 2016 season. He threw four against the Cardinals and three against the Panthers, and with three TDs Monday night against the Redskins, he would become the first Eagles quarterback in 64 years to throw three TD passes in three straight games. Bobby Thomason did it against the Steelers, Giants and Colts in 1953.

• Zach Ertz has 54 career catches against the Redskins. The only player to catch more passes against the Redskins in his first five NFL seasons was Cardinals split end Sonny Randle, who caught 56 from 1959 through 1963. So with three catches Monday night, Ertz will have more catches than anybody has ever had against the Redskins in his first five years in the league. 

• The Eagles have allowed 80 or fewer rushing yards in four straight games for the first time since 2010. If they hold the Redskins to 80 yards fewer — and the 'Skins had only 64 in the opener — it will be the first time the Eagles have held five straight opponents to 80 or fewer rushing yards since 1992, when they had a five-game streak. The last longer streak was in 1991, when they held seven straight to 80 or fewer rushing yards.

• The Eagles have scored 28 or more points in four straight games for the first time since 2004. If they score 28 Monday night, it will be their first five-game streak since one over the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The last longer streak was a six-gamer in 1953.

• LeGarrette Blount goes into Monday night with four straight games with 12 or more carries and a 4.5 or better yards-per-carry average. The only player in his 30s to put together five such games in a row is Fred Taylor of the Jaguars, who did it against the Jets, Texans, Eagles, Titans and Texans again in 2006.