Malcolm Jenkins

Carroll: Russell Wilson's game vs. Eagles one of his best ever

Carroll: Russell Wilson's game vs. Eagles one of his best ever

SEATTLE — You can watch all the film in the world. Study every play Russell Wilson has ever run. Prepare like you've never prepared.
 
And still not be ready for what you're going to get.
 
The Eagles got vintage Russell Wilson Sunday night, and they had no answer.
 
"He's a human joystick, man," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
 
The human joystick ended the Eagles' nine-game winning streak Sunday at CenturyLink Field, giving nightmares to a secondary that over the last few months has been one of the best in football.
 
Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 227 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for another 31 yards in the Seahawks' 24-10 win, but the numbers don't come close to representing just how brilliant the sixth-year pro was.
 
"I thought that Russell was spectacular," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
 
"I just thought that the stuff that he was able to create, it doesn’t really show up in the stats as much, but it was just an amazing night of football. That was fun to watch and I loved it.
 
“Russell was phenomenal tonight. I thought that was Russell showing you everything that he’s all about. From start to finish, from the first play of the game on. He was on it. He created. His execution was excellent. We didn’t turn the football over. Working the clock. Beautiful tempo. Decisions, checks. The whole night and the big plays were just coming out everywhere. 
 
"I really think that he had one of the best games that I’ve seen him play.”

Wilson has won more games than any quarterback in NFL history through six years, and he showed why Sunday night.
 
Every time the Eagles thought they had him wrapped up or pinned down, he escaped and made a play.
 
He's so unorthodox, so inventive, you literally have no idea what's next.
 
"It's very frustrating as a defensive back and a defense in general when a guy like that can extend those plays," Rodney McLeod said.
 
"It's very special and very unique in what he does. We tried to duplicate it as much as we could (in practice), but he made a lot of plays for that offense tonight.
 
"Some things we could do better. The penalties cost us, they extended drives, (we could) do a little better in coverage. But I think for the most part a lot of plays that you see are just him running around and making a play and giving his guys an opportunity to go up and make plays."
 
Wilson became only the fourth quarterback since 1985 with a passer rating over 118 and 30 or more rushing yards against the Eagles. But it wasn't so much the rushing yards that killed the Eagles as much as his mobility and creativity on the move.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," Jalen Mills said. "He made some plays, but at the same time, there were opportunities there that we left out there. A lot was on us. It wasn't anything he did. We just have to execute."

The six previous weeks? The Eagles had 13 interceptions and allowed just six touchdowns.
 
After facing the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Brock Osweiler and C.J. Beathard, the Eagles' secondary finally got tested, and the result wasn't pretty.
 
"It’s tough," safety Corey Graham said. "Heck of a player. He does a lot with his legs. Buys time to make plays. He’s a ballplayer, man.
 
"He’s scrambling, he’s buying time, he’s making guys miss, he’s spinning. Guys had him in certain situations and he just found ways to make plays. When it’s all said and done, he just made more plays than we did."
 
The ultimate Russell Wilson play came on a crucial fourth-quarter 3rd-and-8 with the Seahawks on their own 42-yard-line and leading by just seven.
 
Wilson ran six yards, then lateraled to Mike Davis, who ran 17 more yards for a huge first down. Four plays later, Wilson's third TD pass of the game restored the Seahawks' 14-point lead.
 
It was a play nobody else can make.
 
"Our DBs, we're taught to stay in coverage until he crosses the line of scrimmage," Jenkins said. "He crosses it and then option-pitches it out. Those are things you can’t really prepare for, and those are plays that make him special and a dangerous quarterback."
 
Carroll has been on the sideline for every game Wilson has ever played and still marvels at what he sees.
 
"The awareness, point guard, the whole thing," Carroll said. "Everything you’ve ever done in sports leads you to the moment to make that decision and then to do it and execute it like that? Basketball, baseball, football, everything he’s ever done.  It was an amazing play."
 
Wilson has faced the Eagles three times now and is 3-0 with six TD passes, no interceptions and a 104.9 passer rating.
 
Only Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Matt Cassel, Milt Plum and Bart Starr have a higher rating against the Eagles.
 
"We had a good game plan against it, but sometimes its better in person than it is on film," Graham said. "He was amazing today. He was better than us."

5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Seahawks

5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Seahawks

After crushing their last four opponents by an average of 26.75 points per game, things are about to get a little tougher for the Eagles

As you might have heard, the Eagles (10-1) have beaten just one team with a winning record this season. They're about to play two back to back.

Before they play the Rams in L.A., they'll have to take on the Seahawks (7-4) in CenturyLink Field, where Seattle is traditionally really tough to beat. It's worth noting, however, that the Seahawks have lost their last two home games.

Seattle hasn't lost three straight home games since 2008.

But the Eagles have a real chance to make that happen this weekend. Here are five matchups to watch Sunday night: 

Russell Wilson vs. Eagles D 
The days of the Seahawks being a run-first team are long gone. This offense is extremely reliant on Wilson's ability to throw the football. And some of the things he's been able to do this season are amazing. 

Wilson has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in the first 11 games this season. But what makes Wilson so dangerous is his ability to run. And it's not just scrambling. Wilson can buy time and still deliver downfield. 

Jim Schwartz said Wilson is unique because he can escape the pocket vertically, where most passers can do it horizontally. 

"You have to stay alive on everything," Schwartz said. "Our D-linemen are going to have to do a great job staying on their feet and staying alive. You can never go to sleep because if he's scrambling one way, there's a good chance he's coming back to you. We have to stay alive in coverage as well as our rush, and he threatens the whole width of the field and the whole length of the field."

Wilson basically plays backyard football and is the Seahawks' entire offense. It'll take a group effort to stop him. 

Doug Baldwin vs. Eagles corners
We mentioned that the Seahawks are a pass-happy offense these days and Baldwin is their main receiver. He already has 58 catches for 698 yards and four touchdowns this season. 

Baldwin is a speedy receiver, but the good news for the Eagles is that his big plays have come from the left side of the field. He has four catches for 111 yards on 20-plus plays to the left side of the field, according to ProFootballFocus. That's important to note, because that's the side of the field where Ronald Darby lines up. Darby is the Eagles' fastest outside corner. 

Jimmy Graham vs. Malcolm Jenkins
Graham is starting to become that weapon we all remember him being. This season, he has 49 catches for 447 yards and eight touchdowns. Only one player in the NFL has more receiving touchdowns (DeAndre Hopkins has nine).

Graham has been really dangerous in the red zone. He has more red-zone targets (21), receptions (13) and touchdowns (eight) than any other player in the league. 

Maybe he's not the Graham we once saw in New Orleans, but this guy is pretty damn dangerous and it'll be up to Jenkins to slow him down. 

Carson Wentz vs. Earl Thomas
The Seahawks have lost Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, but they still have at least one great player in their secondary. Thomas is still playing at a ridiculously high level. 

While there are maybe a few occasions where Thomas is down in the box now that Chancellor is out, he's still a true free safety, centerfielder. 

"Anytime you have a safety like that, that has free rein to be all over the field, that's big," Wentz said. "That's big to just know where he's at, at all times. Pick up on some tendencies, which there aren't many because he does kind of fly around and he's got no real responsibility. It seems like the coach just tells him to make plays and fly around and he does a great job of that. You just have to be smart with using your eyes and knowing where he's at, at all times."

Halapoulivaati Vaitai vs. Michael Bennett 
Bennett leads the Seahawks with 7½ sacks this season and although he wasn't mentioned in the group of top pass rushers the Eagles will face this season, he has been very disruptive. 

The interesting thing about Bennett is that he's normally on the left side of the defensive line but will move to the right side, too. According to ProFootballFocus, he has 313 pass rush snaps from the left and just 60 from the right. He's also been much more productive on the defensive left. Of his 52 total pressures, 47 have come from the left. 

But facing the Eagles, that would mean going against Lane Johnson, who is playing at an All-Pro level. It'll be interesting to see what the Seahawks do, but it would make plenty of sense to see them flip Bennett to the defensive right to go against Vaitai instead. 

Johnson said he thinks he'll have Bennett over him plenty on Sunday, but knows the Seahawks like to move him around. 

"They'll bounce him around," Johnson said. "They pick a matchup they like and keep him there." 

Malcolm Jenkins will no longer raise his fist in protest

usa-malcolm-jenkins-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Malcolm Jenkins will no longer raise his fist in protest

Malcolm Jenkins plans to stop raising his fist during the national anthem starting this week, the Eagles' safety told reporters on Thursday. 

Jenkins, 29, has raised his fist during the anthem dating back to last season to protest racism and social injustice in the United States. 

Jenkins said he's encouraged by the NFL's recent steps to thwart social injustice. The league is reportedly close to pledging nearly $100 million to causes important to the coalition of players that Jenkins has been leading. Jenkins also cited the "resources" and "platform" the NFL has proposed to build when explaining his decision. 

Here is Jenkins' full reasoning: 

Two players — 49ers safety Eric Reid and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas — withdrew from the players' coalition on Wednesday, displeased with the direction leaders Jenkins and Anquan Boldin had taken it. Reid said Jenkins texted him to ask if they'd be comfortable ending demonstrations if the NFL donated money. Reid said that was "the last straw."

While Jenkins has done plenty off the field for causes important to him, the raising of his right fist during the national anthem is what has gained the most publicity. Jenkins viewed it as a way to use his platform to start a conversation, and in that regard, it worked. 

Before this season, Jenkins had to think about whether or not he wanted to continue his demonstration. He was worried that the demonstration would shift the focus to anthem protests instead of the actual issues. That might have happened as well. 

"A demonstration is one part of the grand scheme of things," Jenkins said in August.