Eagles

2 key defensive linemen good to go for Sunday Night Football

2 key defensive linemen good to go for Sunday Night Football

Fletcher Cox (toe) and Derek Barnett (shoulder) were both full participants in Friday’s practice and will play on Sunday Night Football against the Falcons in Atlanta. 

Both players were limited earlier in the week, but were never in real danger of missing this game. 

Meanwhile, here’s the Eagles’ injury report going into Week 2: 

Out: LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee), OT Jordan Mailata (back)

Doubtful: QB Nate Sudfeld (left wrist) 

This week, we saw Grugier-Hill and Mailata work out on side fields. Mailata was doing sprints one day and Grugier-Hill even came out with a helmet. While Mailata is strictly a depth player, the return of Grugier-Hill would certainly help this defense. He’s getting over an MCL sprain he suffered during training camp and is on schedule to return to practice soon. 

Sudfeld returned to practice in a limited fashion this week, but his fractured left wrist hasn’t yet completely healed. He still has a small wrap on the wrist and noticeably doesn’t catch footballs with that hand when they’re thrown to him. 

When Sudfeld is fully healthy, the Eagles will have a decision to make about their backup quarterback spot. They will likely keep just two active on game days, so the decision will be between Sudfeld and Josh McCown for the backup job behind Carson Wentz. 

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to that point,” head coach Doug Pederson said Friday. 

The Eagles are relatively healthy heading into Week 2, but did lose Malik Jackson (Lisfranc) for the season in the season opener. 

Overcoming significant injuries is nothing new for the Eagles. 

“Yeah, I think that because we've had that the last couple of seasons, we don't blink,” Pederson said. “The next guy or the next man up or the next guy in has always been the mentality. I feel like one of our strengths as a staff is coaching our second- and third-string type players and getting them prepared. This is no different.”

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Do Tom Brady and Patriots have a Philly Special of their own planned this time around?

Do Tom Brady and Patriots have a Philly Special of their own planned this time around?

Tom Brady was asked this week how long it took him to get over the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
 
“You’re saying I’m over it? Come on now,” Brady said. “That’s a lot of mental scar tissue from that year.”
 
Brady will face the Eagles Sunday for the first time since Super Bowl LII, when the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Minneapolis.
 
Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six. He’s won three of his last four. But on Feb. 4, 2018, the Eagles toppled Brady and Bill Belichick, setting off the greatest celebration in Philadelphia history.
 
“That was a tough game,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI in Boston. “But you learn from that year, and we came back stronger the next year and won the Super Bowl. I think everything is a matter of perspective. When you play in that game and you play great teams you’re not going to win them all. This is not the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals. It’s all about tough competition against the best teams. They deserved it that year and now a couple years later we get a chance to play the organization again."
 
Brady was asked about the Philly Special, which gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead before halftime and has become not only the most iconic play in Philadelphia sports history but also one of the two or three most iconic plays in Super Bowl history.
 
“Tough play to stop,” Brady said. “They executed it well. Trick plays, when they run it as well as they did, they always seem to work and they give you a lot of momentum. They’re still talking about that play. That play will go down in history, just like a lot of those big plays in the Super Bowl have. So, good for them.”
 
The Patriots, of course, tried a trick play earlier in the second quarter, but Brady dropped a pass from Danny Amendola that would have given the Patriots a first down deep in Eagles territory.
 
Would the Patriots consider running the Philly Special Sunday against the Eagles at the Linc?
 
Don’t put it past them.
 
Mohamed Sanu has thrown four career touchdown passes, Julian Edelman is 3-for-3 passing in his career for 75 yards and Jakobi Meyers started his career at North Carolina State as a quarterback.
 
“There’s some good passers on our team,” Brady said. “We’ve got a lot of ex-quarterbacks. … They’ve all got good arms. These guys can throw the ball. You never know what we’ve got up our sleeve. Might have to go into our bag of trick plays and see what we come up with.”
 
The Eagles didn’t exactly shut Brady down that night 21 months ago at U.S. Bank Stadium. He threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns. 
 
In his career, Brady is 4-2 against the Eagles with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions, both in the 2015 game in Foxboro that the Eagles won three weeks before Chip Kelly was fired. Malcolm Jenkins got Brady for a 99-yard pick-six in that game, and Byron Maxwell had the Eagles’ other INT.
 
In two games at the Linc, wins in 2003 and 2011, Brady has six TD passes and no INTs.
 
Here’s a look at the highest passer ratings in Lincoln Financial Field history with a minimum of 50 attempts:
 
118.3 … Tom Brady
112.1 … Kirk Cousins
103.5 … Aaron Rodgers
100.0 … Carson Wentz
96.5 … Matt Schaub
96.4 … Cam Newton
96.0 … Jon Kitna
92.2 … Donovan McNabb
92.1 … Tony Romo
91.4 … Carson Palmer
 
The Patriots easily won both of Brady’s games at the Linc  — 31-10 in 2003 and 38-20 in 2011 (despite 400 passing yards from Vince Young).
 
The last time the Eagles beat the Patriots in Philadelphia was 1999. The Patriots’ head coach was Pete Carroll, their quarterback was Drew Bledsoe and the Eagles’ quarterback was Koy Detmer. His backup was Doug Pederson.
 
“Really tough environment,” Brady said of the Linc. “Should be a great Sunday afternoon for football. They’ve definitely got great loud fans. It’s a tough place to play. There’s a lot of loud places. Baltimore was loud, Buffalo’s loud. It gets to the point where you basically can’t hear.”
 
Brady has a 215-61 career record and an NFL-record 531 career touchdowns. 

He’s the greatest of all time, but he’s also dealing with a personal two-game losing streak against the Eagles, and the Eagles and their fans are going to do everything within their power Sunday to get that streak to three in a row.

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A Q&A with the Eagles' wide receivers coach Carson Walch

A Q&A with the Eagles' wide receivers coach Carson Walch

Every few weeks, as per NFL media rules, the Eagles’ position coaches are made available to the beat writers who cover the team, and Tuesday was our first chance to talk to receivers coach Carson Walch since the Eagles’ position-wide slump began.
 
The Eagles wide receivers, picked universally as one of the top wideout groups in the NFL coming into the season, have been a disaster since DeSean Jackson first suffered an abdominal injury early in the Week 2 loss to the Falcons.
 
The entire group has regressed to the point where none of the receivers has more than 353 yards through nine games, no wide receiver has caught a TD pass longer than six yards in the last six games, the entire group is averaging 72 yards combined over the last six weeks and two of the team’s top four wideouts don't have a reception since September.
 
So without editorial comment, here’s excerpts of our conversation Monday with Walch, the Eagles’ fifth receivers coach in the last five years:

How's Alshon playing?

“He’s playing good football. I think at any point in the season if you say someone’s going to be perfect game in and game out, you’re not going to get that. But he’s prepared every single week. He battles through the weekly injuries like any NFL player does, gets his body right every single week, but mentally he’s in a good spot and we have all the confidence in the world in Alshon, I think everyone can say that about the guy.”

Why has the group failed to perform at a high level?

“I don’t look at statistics, all we talk about is winning football games. That’s A-1 for us, how do we find ways to win football games, and we’ve done that the last two weeks against very good defenses, but at no point will I say in front of anyone that our group is satisfied with where we’re at. Every day we come in with a plan how we’re going to get better, our guys own it, I own it as a coach, and our goal is to win one game this week.”

Have the receivers met your expectations?

“Certain games they have, yeah, certain games we haven’t as a group. Our goal each week is to go out and play a great football game. We know it’s not going to be perfect. It’s football, it’s the NFL, there’s great coaches on each side of the ball, but each week we do have a standard and there’s been certain weeks we haven’t met that standard and we’ve got to get that right.

How much do you miss DeSean?

“We’re not going to go in the tank because one guy can’t play for the weeks to come. I think it’s a challenge for a lot of guys in the room: ‘Hey, it might be my time now to step in and do the job.’ … Does it hurt to lose DeSean Jackson? Absolutely. I think we can all answer that question. He’s a prolific player in our building, he’s a prolific player in the NFL, and he’s done it for a really long time, so of course it’s going to hurt.”

How do you hit deep balls without him?

“I think it’s just a work in progress. I truly believe that. We have hit some deep balls down the field. Have we hit every one? No. Have we hit all the ones we wanted to hit? No. But all we can do is continue to go back to the drawing board each week, continue to rep and get more throws with our guys with the quarterback, and we’ll get it done. It’s DeSean’s forte, we all know that. He’s got more than anyone else in the history of the league. It’s hard to replace that.” 

Why hasn't 2nd-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made an impact?

“J.J.’s ready. He’s cross-trained now. He knows the X position, he knows the Z position and if it came down to it he could probably play the F position. He’s in a good place right now. He’s positive, he feels good about where he’s at in the offense, so yes, I do anticipate him getting some snaps as we go.”

Why hasn't Mack Hollins caught a pass since Week 4?

“I don’t think there’s a direct reason. I know production is a word that’s getting thrown around a lot. Production as a player to me isn’t just how many catches you have in a given week. Each guy on our team has a role and right now Mack Hollins has done a very good job at his role, and a lot of it is blocking, but he’s running all the routes we’re asking him to run, he’s getting to his depth and when the ball comes to Mack he’ll make a play for us.

How's Nelson Agholor playing?

“He’s doing very well. He works harder than everybody in the room. He’s a great young man, he’s prepared every single week, and he made two great catches last week (3-for-21). Off-target catches. Went down and made a great play on both of them and we’re excited about the rest of the season.”

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