Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles face Packers in Lambeau

5 matchups to watch as Eagles face Packers in Lambeau

The Eagles didn’t even watch their tape from the loss to the Lions on Sunday. They needed this short week to prepare for the Packers.

As the Eagles limp into Lambeau with a 1-2 record, the Packers (3-0) are waiting for them.

The Eagles have lost their last two games to the Packers and are 1-4 in their last five against them. Their last win was actually in Green Bay on Nov. 10, 2013.

Here are five matchups to watch in Thursday’s game:

Lane Johnson vs. Preston Smith

This is a weekly theme, but Johnson normally has the other team’s best pass rusher. In this case, he’ll see Smith, who is third in the NFL with 4 1/2 sacks. Smith has twice had eight-sack seasons and now he’s on pace for his first double digit sack season and he’s doing it with a new team. The Eagles have seen plenty of Smith before from his four years in Washington, but it looks like he’s playing at an even higher level right now. He has more than double the Eagles’ team total in sacks through three games. Heck, he had a three-sack game against Denver last week; that game alone topples the Eagles’ total through three games.

Eagles WRs vs. Packers improved secondary

Alshon Jeffery will play, but this is a much-improved Packers secondary. The starting four of Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Adrian Amos and rookie Darnell Savage is off to a tremendous start. The Packers have given up 592 passing yards this season, good for fifth-fewest in the NFL. The Vikings’ offense, with Adam Thielen and Stefan Diggs, failed to get over 200 yards passing and that was after they trailed 14-0 after one quarter. At least the Eagles will have a chance with Alshon in the lineup.

Packers’ OL vs. Eagles’ DL

The Packers boast one of the better tackle duos in the league and it starts with their left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was an All-Pro last season. Bryan Bulaga has a shoulder injury, but should play on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ edge rushers don’t have a sack between them this season and really struggled to get pressure against the Lions. They need more from Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham.

Bakhtiari and Bulaga have faced a murderers row in the last three games: Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Against those six pass rushers, the Packers gave up just three sacks. Facing Graham and Barnett might feel like a walk in the park for them.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Fletcher Cox against the middle of the Packers’ offensive line that has some new faces. Their starting left guard is second-round pick Elgton Jenkins and their starting right guard is free agent pickup Billy Turner.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Eagles’ corners

Davante Adams is the Packers’ best receiver but Valdes-Scantling is their speed threat. He’s averaging just over 13 yards per reception, but has the ability to stretch the field and make big plays. Big plays have killed the Eagles in recent years. Valdes-Scantling is coming off a six-catch, 99-yard performance in Week 3. Since the start of the 2018 season, Valdes-Scantling leads the Packers with six catches of 40-plus yards.

A fifth-round pick last season, Valdes-Scantling ran a 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine, good for second-fastest among all receivers tested. And after last week’s game, Aaron Rodgers said the young receiver is playing to his timed speed.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Eagles’ defense  

Guess who leads the league in time to throw? Yup, on average, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Aaron Rodgers has taken 3.06 seconds to throw the football. Some of that is protection, some of that is Rodgers’ ability to buy time. Either way, this means the Eagles’ cornerbacks will have to cover for long periods of time. So this could be a big test for Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones. But the secondary works in conjunction with the pass rush, so pressure would help out the back end a ton.

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1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

Inflated Super Bowl ticket prices, your favorite Eagle who wore No. 21, an Eagles draft trend and much more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Points!

1. Maybe he’ll be another Byron Maxwell, another Nnamdi, another DRC. I have a good feeling about Darius Slay, though. I think the Eagles may have nailed this one. The price in draft picks wasn’t too high, and his contract is big but it’s also smart and along the lines of what top corners are getting and has an out after three years. Maybe he’ll be another cornerback bust. There’ve been enough of those. But with his personality and his confidence and his playmaking ability, he reminds me of Asante Samuel, who was the last elite corner the Eagles have had. I remember the day the Eagles drafted Tra Thomas in 1998, he shouted into the phone during a conference call, “I’m not going to be another Eagles first-round bust!” Slay all but guaranteed the same thing. I could be wrong, but I think this time they got it right.

2. Doing some research this week I found a preview story on Super Bowl XV between the Eagles and Raiders from Jan. 25, 1981, by a legendary sports writer and cartoonist Murray Olderman that included this line: “Defense makes all coaches salivate but doesn’t do much to excite the guy paying that inflated $40 ticket (up from $10 last year).” Imaging having to pay an inflated $40 for a Super Bowl ticket! Outrageous.

3. Zero interest in Brandin Cooks. 

4. The last Eagles quarterback to throw the first pass of the regular season and the last pass of the postseason was Michael Vick in 2010. The last Eagles quarterback to start and finish 16 regular-season games and finish a playoff game was Donovan McNabb in 2003. Only 17 years ago.

5. It’s just weird to me that Halapoulivaati Vaitai gets a five-year, $45 million contract just a few hours into free agency, and here we are three weeks later and Jason Peters is still unsigned. I get that Big V is younger, but he’s started four games over the last two years and as we’ve all seen, he isn’t the world’s most consistent lineman. J.P. has been banged up, and he’s 38, but he has started 32 of 35 game the last two years. And let’s be honest: Even at 38 he’s way better than Big V. I wrote the other day about some of the reasons Peters is still on the street. But I’m still surprised. It might not be till after the draft till he finds a home, but I still feel like he’ll be playing somewhere next season.

6. The Eagles have drafted nine Pro Bowlers in the first round since 1990, and six of them were linemen — Fletcher Cox and Corey Simon on defense, and Lane Johnson, Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry and Shawn Andrews on offense. The exceptions are Lito Sheppard, Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz.  

7. I’m fine with the Eagles not landing a receiver in free agency. But, man, they better land the right guy in the first round of the draft. And the second or third round. They simply can't afford to mess this up.

8. The first-round running back trend really tells you a lot about the way the NFL game is changing. As more and more running backs fail to be productive over a number of years and limp out of the game at a young age, first-round running backs have become more and more rare. Only 16 were drafted in the first round this past decade, less than a third of the number taken in the first round during the 1980s and half as many as the previous decade. In the last seven drafts, only nine of 223 first-round picks were running backs.  


2010-2019: 16

2000-2009: 32

1990-1999: 34

1980-1989: 50

9. Interesting to compare Dallas Goedert’s first two seasons in the NFL with Zach Ertz’s:

Ertz: 94-for-1,171, 7 TDs

Goedert: 91-for-941, 9 TDs

10. On our last Eagle Eye podcast, Dave Zangaro and I were talking about Ronald Darby, and Dave asked what player I think of when I see jersey No. 21. I immediately answered … Joselio Hanson. But in all seriousness, it’s Eric Allen. My theory is that we associated jersey numbers with the first player that stuck out to us when we first started watching the Eagles. I think of 55 as Mike Reichenbach, not Brandon Graham. I think of 96 as Clyde and not Derek Barnett. And I even see No. 20 and think of Andre Waters and not Dawk. If there’s nobody significant that wore that number in the 1980s, it’s different. No. 36 is definitely Brian Westbrook (and not Robert Drummond, Stanley Pritchett or Michael Zordich). And No. 27 will always be Malcolm Jenkins (and not Siran Stacy, Eric Zomalt or Norman LeJeune. But for all the numbers that were worn by key guys the last few years of the Buddy Era, that’s where my brain goes. I can’t help it.

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Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey died on Saturday of complications from the coronavirus. Dempsey was 73.

Dempsey contracted the coronavirus in March at the Lambeth House, a retirement home in New Orleans, and is one of at least 15 residents to die from the virus, according to The Times-Picayune.

Dempsey was an Eagle from 1971-1974, but also played for the Saints, Rams, Oilers and Bills.

Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey was known for his small flat kicking shoe. That shoe now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

The year before he joined the Eagles, Dempsey gained fame by kicking a 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a last-second 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in 1970. It broke the previous NFL record for longest field goal by 7 yards.

That was the NFL record for 43 years until Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. Others had tied the record but it took over four decades to beat it.

In his four seasons with the Eagles, for whom he played the longest, Dempsey kicked in 47 games and made 66 of 108 field goals (61.1%). He also made 84 of 90 point-after attempts. Dempsey is 18th on the Eagles’ list of all-time scorers with 282 points.

Dempsey retired to New Orleans where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 1969. He had been battling dementia since 2012. 

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More on the Eagles