Eagles

Giants a pushover? Brandon Graham warns Eagles not so fast

Giants a pushover? Brandon Graham warns Eagles not so fast

Brandon Graham sees the film, just like everybody else sees the film. He sees the stats, just like everybody else sees the stats. He sees the standings, just like everyone else.
 
And he keeps reminding his teammates not to get caught up in any of it.
 
"As the leader, I'm trying to make sure everybody just has the mindset of, 'Let's just do what we do,'" Graham said. "If we prepare well, we'll play well.
 
"Don't worry about what the stats say. Don't worry about what they've done in the past. Just go out there and let's do us and we'll figure everything out Sunday as we play."
 
The Eagles face the Giants at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Linc in their home opener. The Eagles are 1-1 but looking for a 2-0 NFC East start.
 
The Giants are 0-2 and have one touchdown, 13 points and just 503 yards of offense after losses to the Cowboys and Lions.
 
The last team to score one touchdown in its first two games and reach the playoffs was the 2003 Eagles.
 
"We're trying to not focus on how they struggled because they're not going to struggle against us unless we make them," Graham said. "Unless we go out there and do what we do. And that's what we try to preach each week.
 
"Because you get excited sometimes when you see other teams doing what they do, but it doesn't ever work out the same way you know when you play a certain team. You think you're supposed to beat them because this team beat them and you beat that team? But it don't matter. On any given Sunday, and that's the truth."
 
The Giants are allowing a sack every 11.4 pass plays, fifth-worst in the NFL. The Eagles are recording a sack every 11.8 pass plays, third-best in the NFL.

They should feast on this O-line (see 5 matchups to watch).
 
The Eagles have won 13 of the last 17 meetings with the Giants. When the Eagles record two or more sacks, they're 7-1 vs. the Giants since 2009.
 
The Giants, last in the NFL in rushing this year, have just four rushing TDs against the Eagles in the last 14 meetings. 
 
The Giants have only four offensive touchdowns in five games at the Linc since 2012.
 
"We're going to try to beat them while they're down, but we know they're going to fight because it's us," Graham said. "That's why I love this game. Because it don't matter what we did last week, we've got another opportunity to make up for last week, get better at what we didn't get better at.
 
"I'm sure that's their mindset. We know they want to get back in the winning column and we just don't want it to start with us."
 
Graham has 2½ sacks so far, Fletcher Cox has two and Tim Jernigan 1½. Mychal Kendricks and Chris Long also have sacks for the Eagles.
 
On Sunday, Vinny Curry will draw struggling Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers.
 
But really, this entire Eagles defensive line has played well so far.
 
Last year, like this year, the Eagles started out fast up front. The defensive line had 12 sacks in the first four games then recorded just eight in the next eight games.
 
Graham said the key to maintaining that pressure this year will be forgetting who is getting the sacks and just concentrating on playing sound team ball.
 
"I think we kind of got away (from that)," he said. "We were stressing too much about the sacks instead of just working together.
 
"Right now we're just focusing on just working together. Working together as a group. And if we do that, the sacks are going to come if we are where we're supposed to be.
 
"I think it's just nice because everybody's not focused on me and Fletch. Everybody's focused on Vinny and Timmy Jernigan and Chris Long, DB (Derek Barnett). We have a bunch of guys who can come in and get the job done as well as the first group."
 
Graham and Cox will always be the focus of opposing offenses. But unlike last year, when they were really the only legit sack producers up front, they have help this year.
 
"They kind of still slide to me and Fletch, but when Timmy got his sack, they started sliding Timmy's way," Graham said. "Then when I got my sack because I had 1-on-1 with my guy. they started sliding my way.
 
"It's up to whoever gets the 1-on-1 to make the play. I try to take two so I can help one of my guys get a 1-on-1 and get freed up. Hopefully, it's Fletch because I know if he gets a 1-on-1 you know he's going to dominate every time.
 
"I feel the same way about everybody in this group. For me, I'm not really worried about if I get doubled or tripled, because I know somebody's open. I just hope they make the play."
 
The Eagles can go a long way toward knocking the Giants out of the NFC East race early with a win Sunday.
 
The Eagles are just 4-7 in their last 11 home openers.
 
"It's big," Graham said. "We're trying to go 2-0 in the NFC East and 2-1 overall.
 
"When you look back on seasons, you can't let games like this slip. When teams are down like this, they're going to give us their best shot, so we've got to be ready."

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.