Eagles

Gunn's Bullet Points: Perfect chance to get Vinny Curry more involved

Gunn's Bullet Points: Perfect chance to get Vinny Curry more involved

The Eagles suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday in Detroit, but this week have their first divisional game against Washington. Derrick Gunn has some bullet points for the NFC East showdown in Landover, Maryland.

• Blitz Carson Wentz and he will make you pay. Through four games, the rookie QB is 30 of 36 against extra pressure for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
 
• Doug Pederson has a lot of faith in starting rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Big V makes his NFL debut Sunday, and he should be seeing a lot of Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan has 50 career sacks in five-plus seasons, including 2½ this year.

• Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins sure does love playing against the Eagles. In his last three outings against the Birds, he's passed for 427 yards, 290 yards and 365 yards, respectively. Those numbers include eight touchdown passes to just two interceptions.

• The $75 million cornerback Josh Norman is expected to wear a protective cast on his injured right wrist. It will be interesting to see if he follows Jordan Matthews wherever the Eagles' wideout roams or if he stays on one side of the field. If he shadows Matthews, which one of the other Eagles' receivers will rise to the occasion and make big plays?
 
• Pederson says he hopes to get running backs Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood more touches Sunday than he did last week against the Lions, which was zero. Barner is averaging 6.1 yards per carry, while Smallwood, a rookie, is at 4.8.
 
• Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis has been solid through four games. He's hit 10 of 11 field goals, including a pair from 50 and 50 yards out, respectively.
 
• The Redskins are a pass-first team, with 193 passes to 105 rushing attempts through five games. It could be the perfect scenario for Vinny Curry to shine, but Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has to give Curry more than the 16 snaps he had in Detroit.

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

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USA Today Images

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

The Eagles have brought back a former special teams ace for the stretch run. 

Special teamer Bryan Braman on Tuesday signed with the Eagles to rejoin Dave Fipp's special teams group.

Braman, 30, had been with the Eagles from 2014-16, when he was a major contributor for Fipp's top-end special teams unit. He can help fill the void left by the season-ending injury to Chris Maragos earlier in the season. 

During his three seasons with the Eagles, Braman led all Eagles with 1,214 special teams snaps. He played more special teams snaps than any other Eagle in each of the last two seasons. He played in all 48 games over those three seasons, but was mainly a special teams player. 

After officially placing quarterback Carson Wentz (ACL) on Injured Reserve Tuesday, the Eagles had one available roster spot. It looks like it will be filled by Braman. 

Braman was not resigned by the Eagles this past offseason. He spent some time in New Orleans but was placed on their IR and was then released. He hasn't been with a team since early September. 

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Carson Wentz is out, Nick Foles is in. 

And the Eagles claim their offense isn't going to change. 

On it's face, that seems somewhat absurd. After all, Wentz is more than an average quarterback. He's the face of the Eagles' franchise and was an MVP candidate through 13 weeks. Foles was once a Pro Bowler, but there's a reason he wasn't a starter entering this season. 

So how will the offense look different? 

"I don't expect it will look different at all," Foles said adamantly.  

Why is that? 

"Because it's our offense," Foles answered. "This is the Eagles' offense. This is the one that is the DNA of this team. And we're going to do what we do. We have so many tremendous players on offense that can do a lot of different things. We just have to go out there and execute and have a great week of work and just keep moving." 

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich finally admitted that there will be "very minor tweaks" to the Eagles' weekly game plans with Foles in at quarterback. But he made the same point as Foles, that the system is built around the QB, but also around the other talent on offense. 

There is, however, one pretty significant difference between Wentz and Foles. 

"Now, Carson has some unique physical traits that he does exceptionally well, but it's nothing that Nick can't handle," Reich said. "We're full steam ahead."

The Eagles run plenty of run-pass option plays, but head coach Doug Pederson pointed out on Monday that the Eagles very rarely use their quarterback to run the ball in those situations. And as far as RPOs go, Foles has used them plenty before. 

Another part of the offense that has been tailored to Wentz is the autonomy the quarterback has at the line of scrimmage. Wentz has been able to make calls and checks pre-snap based on what the defense shows. It seems like Foles will have that same ability, which is something he's excited about. 

"Understand this, he's a veteran player who has played and won a lot of games, not only here, but other places that he's been," Pederson said. "Nick's a highly intelligent football player."

Pederson said he and Foles will talk weekly to make sure his quarterback is comfortable with the plays that go into the game plan. So, theoretically, things could be different. But based on what the offensive leaders of the team have said, don't expect wholesale changes. 

Now, what might change about the offense isn't necessarily by design. Because of Wentz's unique physical gifts and escapability, he's able to make incredible plays. The escape in Washington, the throw to Corey Clement in the end zone, the deep flick down the sideline in Seattle, those are plays only a handful of guys in the world can make. It would be unfair to expect Foles to make them. 

But as far as game-planning goes, the Eagles are going to do what they've done. 

"I feel comfortable in this offense," Foles said. "I love this offense. We're going to run this offense. Nothing's going to change."

Foles dealt with elbow soreness during the summer, but says his elbow now feels "amazing" and is not an issue. That's good news for the Eagles, because at least Foles has plenty of starting experience. His backup, Nate Sudfeld, has never even been active for an NFL game. 

The Eagles' hopes in 2017 rest on the shoulders of Foles. 

"I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip," Foles said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team. There's no other place I'd rather be. That's why I came back here. ... I'm ready to step up and help this team win."