Eagles

Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett struggles vs. All-Pro Trent Williams

Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett struggles vs. All-Pro Trent Williams

Our weekly rookie report got off to a modest start in Week 1 with only three rookies active in the Eagles' 30-17 win over the Redskins on Sunday (see breakdown).

First-round pick Derek Barnett, fourth-round wideout Mack Hollins and undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement were the only first-year players to dress at FedEx Field.

Here are a few highlights from their debuts:

1st quarter, 15:00, Eagles 0, Redskins, 0
If you had Clement as the first rookie to make an impact play, you nailed it. Caleb Sturgis drove the opening kick to the 1-yard line, forcing Bashaud Breeland to make a return. Clement stayed in his lane and when Breeland tried to break the return to the left, Clement was there to greet him. He made a sure tackle and forced the Redskins to start at their own 16.

Clement was also in on a special-teams tackle in the third quarter on an ill-advised return by Breeland at the Washington 19. Clement seems pretty comfortable out there on the Eagles' kickoff unit.

1st quarter, 14:12, 3rd-and-11 at WAS 15, Eagles 0, Redskins, 0
Barnett got into the action early on and got a tough assignment. Barnett was lined up on the right side against perennial All-Pro Trent Williams. It was an interesting personnel grouping by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. With Barnett on the right, Chris Long was in at left end with Brandon Graham kicked in at tackle and Fletcher Cox at the other inside spot. The matchup went how you'd expect. Barnett tried an outside rush and Williams just ate him up, giving Kirk Cousins time to hit Terrelle Pryor for a 12-yard gain and a first down.

1st quarter, 12:49, 3rd-and 11 at WAS 26, Eagles 0, Redskins, 0
Pretty much the same scenario as the previous one for Barnett in the same personnel grouping. This time Barnett gets chipped by tight end Jordan Reed who was lined up in the backfield. Again, Barnett doesn't sniff Cousins.

2nd quarter, 11:35, 1st-and-10 at WAS 36, Eagles 13, Redskins 0
Barnett records his first NFL tackle and it's one for a loss. The Redskins attempt to block Barnett on the backside of a run with tight end Vernon Davis. Barnett tosses Davis aside and brings down Robert Kelley for a short loss. Barnett is relentless in pursuit and won't give up on plays that aren't run to his side. And forget trying to block him with a tight end. It was a very Brandon Graham-esque play. How many times have we seen Graham come from the backside to blow up a running play?

3rd quarter, 6:59, 2nd-and-6 at WAS 40, Eagles 19, Redskins 14
On this play, the Redskins inexplicably have Reed blocking Barnett 1-on-1. Barnett wins with a bull rush but is then tackled by Reed as the pocket collapsed around Cousins. There definitely should have been a hold called on Reed. Instead, Cousins is able to escape the pocket and scramble for seven yards and a first down.

Analysis
Barnett is a rookie and looked like one. It was a tough assignment for him in his first NFL game. Williams is arguably the best left tackle in football, and he engulfed Barnett for the most part. But don't freak out Eagles fans. These matchups will only make the 21-year-old better. 

Hollins only played one offensive snap, but he wasn't a factor on the play. He did make a special-teams tackle in the fourth quarter on punt coverage.

The only reason Clement is active on game day is his ability to play special teams. I don't see him getting any offensive snaps anytime soon, but it's nice to see him contribute on kickoff coverage.

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

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Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

Washington head coach Jay Gruden has faced Carson Wentz just three times so far.

That's all he needed to think Wentz is special.  

"I think he's progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I've seen really," Gruden said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday. "His ability to make plays in the pocket, his ability to stay in the pocket in the face of a rush and still deliver balls accurately, his command of the offense. 

"I think he's already proven this short in his career that he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly, and he's going to be for a long time. And I don't know how he got to Philadelphia. And I'm very upset about that." 

Wentz is 1-2 against Washington in his first three games, but that first win came in this season's opener on the road. In that game, Wentz completed 66 percent of his passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one pick, for a passer rating of 96.8. 

And Wentz has gotten even better since then. He's now the favorite in Vegas to win the NFL MVP. 

When asked how daunting it might become to face Wentz twice per season for the foreseeable future, Gruden pointed out that it's similar to the Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Then he pointed out they still have to face Eli Manning twice per season. 

"Every week it seems like we're playing against an excellent quarterback and knowing that Wentz is going to be there for a long period of time just puts a few more gray hairs on my head," Gruden said. "But love the competition and it's our job to get after him and make him uncomfortable." 

While Wentz is clearly the Eagles' quarterback of the future, things are a little cloudier in Washington, where Kirk Cousins is in his second year of playing on a franchise tag. 

Gruden said the "intent" is to have Cousins for the long-term, but it's already been a long saga and there's still no deal in place. 

Cousins has had a crazy career path. He began as Robert Griffin III's backup after being taken three rounds later in the same draft in 2012. But he won the starting job and he's started every game for Washington the last three seasons. 

Thursday, on a conference call with Philly reporters, Cousins said he thought there was a good chance the Eagles were going to draft him in 2012. He felt that way after meeting with Howie Roseman and Andy Reid before the draft. But instead, the Eagles took Nick Foles 14 spots ahead of him. 

After watching the Eagles rotate quarterback since then, Cousins doesn't have any hard feelings. 

"I think the Eagles have ended up with the guy that they want," Cousins said. "I think they're really excited about Carson Wentz and for good reason. They're one of the best teams in the league on third down, and some of the plays he's making off-schedule are very special. I think they're very content and I'd like to think the Redskins are as well. Hopefully, it can make for a great rivalry that a lot of fans can get behind and get excited about, hopefully, for many years ahead."

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

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Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

Redskins running back Chris Thompson doesn't want to bring his family to the Linc Monday night because he's afraid of what Eagles fans will do.

Doug Pederson hopes Thompson changes his mind.

"Philly fans are some of the meanest fans I've ever experienced," Thompson told ESPN radio's Washington affiliate, ESPN 980, on Wednesday, according to a story in the Washington Post.

"I heard that's the one stadium you keep your family from going to. My family will be (up from Florida) this week, and they were like, 'I want to come to the Philly game.' I said, 'Absolutely not, you're going to have to wait until Dallas comes around. … I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away."

Pederson said he loves Eagles fans and the energy and passion they bring but also said he hopes Thompson or any opposing player feels comfortable bringing his family to the Linc.  

"I just know that playing at home is a great advantage for us," Pederson said before practice Thursday. "Our fans are great, they're energetic, I love playing at the Linc. 

"You know, I hope every family can watch their sons play. I think it's important that they're there and have a chance to watch their siblings play, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents.

"Right now in the league, every stadium is great for the home team and ours is no different. We're just excited now to finally be getting a stretch of games where we can play for the home fans."

Thompson, a fifth-year running back out of Florida State, has played at the Linc twice, in 2015 and 2016, both Redskins wins.

The Eagles, 5-1, host the 3-2 Redskins in a national TV game Monday night at the Linc. The Eagles are 8-2 at home under Pederson, including a 2-0 mark this year, although they're only 4-6 at home against the Redskins over the last 10 years.