Eagles

5 unsung heroes from Eagles’ last quarter push to playoffs

5 unsung heroes from Eagles’ last quarter push to playoffs

The Eagles took care of business in the last quarter of their season, winning the last four games on their schedule to clinch the NFC East. 

Plenty of players have been very deserving of praise and have gotten it. Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Sidney Jones, Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward have all been praised. 

But here’s a list of five other players who have meant a lot to the team during the winning streak but have flown under the radar: 

Tim Jernigan 

Earlier this season, Jernigan missed six games with a foot injury but he’s been back now since the game before the bye week and he’s made a big difference. Jernigan is never going to be a big sack guy but he’s getting solid pressure and giving Fletcher Cox a decent player next to him. 

“Timmy has been really on the rise and has been playing some impactful ball for us over these last few weeks,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “And we're going to need it. We got a tough chance ahead of us, not only stopping the run game, but trying to affect the quarterback.”

Jernigan has dealt with injuries throughout his time with the Eagles, dating back to 2017. But we’re starting to get a reminder of what a healthy Jernigan can do. 

Josh Perkins 

While Scott and Ward have gotten most of the headlines, Perkins has really helped too. He’s a tight end who also plays receiver for the Eagles. Remember, he didn’t even make the roster out of training camp because the Eagles elected to keep Alex Ellis instead. 

But all of Perkins’ offensive snaps have come in the last four games. He has played 128 in four weeks and had nine catches for 87 yards and a huge touchdown against the Giants. He’s played well. 

Anthony Rush 

Early this season, the defensive tackle position was a mess, but it has shored up recently. The combo of Cox, Jernigan, Rush and Bruce Hector has been getting the job done. Rush is a rookie out of UAB. He was with the Eagles during the spring and didn’t come back to the Eagles until Oct. 21. Since then, he’s played 152 defensive snaps and has played fairly well. 

Nigel Bradham 

Bradham hasn’t had a great season. Earlier in the year, he missed some time with a high ankle sprain and maybe it took him some time to recover. But recently he’s played much better. Probably not enough to warrant exercising his option after the season, but he’s been pretty good recently. 

Bradham had 10 tackles against the Giants, 5 tackles and a TFL against Dallas, a touchdown against Washington and 4 tackles and a PD against the Giants the first time around. 

Isaac Seumalo 

Jason Kelce has played every offensive snap this season but Seumalo is right behind him. The Eagles’ starting left guard has played 1,181 of 1,183 snaps this season. Sure, he had a terrible game against the Falcons in Week 2 but he’s been mostly fine since then. Is he a Pro Bowler? No. But he’s been solid and in recent weeks, he’s been a big part of the screen game. That’s where we see his ability to get downfield and let his athleticism take over.

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Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce was the best center in the NFL over the last decade and no fraud all-decade team is going to change that.

The NFL on Monday announced its team of the decade, and it was good to see LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Fletcher Cox and Jason Peters named. All are deserving.

But the absence of Kelce is egregious. 

Not surprisingly, the same people who haven’t figured out that Eric Allen was one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game — the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters — are the same people who have decided that Kelce wasn’t one of the two best centers in the NFL from 2010 through 2019.

Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey were the centers named to the team of the decade, and guess what.

Kelce has made first-team all-pro more than both of them combined.

Kelce three times, Pouncey twice, Mack zip.

Pouncey deserves one of the two slots. He’s made eight Pro Bowls with the Steelers and played on six playoff teams and a Super Bowl loser. Hell of a career.

Mack? Ask any defensive tackle in the NFL if he’d rather face Kelce or Alex Mack. 

Mack’s been a really good player, and he does have more Pro Bowls than Kelce. But he was a 1st-round pick, and those guys tend to make Pro Bowls much earlier than 6th-round picks like Kelce. 

Kelce didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until his fourth season, and he was absurdly snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting in 2017 and 2018, when he was the best center in football, made first-team all-pro both times and didn’t get picked to the Pro Bowl team.

Kelce is the only active player in the NFL that’s had two all-pro seasons in which he didn’t make the Pro Bowl and one of only six in history.

It’s tough making up ground when you’re a 6th-round pick. You come into the league with no hype, and unless you see the guy play every Sunday you can’t imagine he’s really that good.

The rest of the country finally realized in 2017 what we already knew. Kelce guy is a beast. It took way too long. And judging by this NFL all-decade team people still haven’t figured out how good he is.

Kelce has added a dimension of athleticism to the center position that may be unprecedented. What he lacks in size and strength he makes up for in determination, intelligence and leverage. 

Kelce is one of six centers in NFL history to make first-team all-pro three straight years, the only one to do it in the last 20 years. All the others are Hall of Famers.

He’s also one of only seven centers in NFL history to be named all-pro three times AND to win a Super Bowl or NFL Championship. He’s the only one to do it in the last 35 years.

Kelce did make the Pro Football Writers Association all-decade team, so at least somebody got it right.

The thing that’s really disturbing is that Kelce is building a Hall of Fame resume, and the people that snubbed him for this honor could very well do the same when he’s in the Hall of Fame conversation. All-decade teams are one of the leading criteria Hall of Fame voters cite when justifying their picks.

All I know is Kelce is one of the smartest, toughest guys I’ve ever seen. He’s played through injuries that would have ended most guys’ seasons and some guys’ careers.

And he’s done it at a consistently high level since beating out Jamaal Jackson for the starting job in the summer of 2011.

Kelce probably doesn’t give a darn about all this. He’s never been one to take individual honors seriously. That’s not why he plays the game. 

He plays the game for moments like Feb. 4, 2018, and that’s something that none of the so-called experts can ever take away.

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NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

After a one-year flirtation with pass interference challenges didn't really solve anything, the NFL is expected to end the experiment.

Pass interference replay "almost certainly will not be extended", according to a report Monday from NFL.com's Judy Battista:

This isn't terribly surprising. The rule was put in place largely because Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints complained very loudly after an enormous missed call in the 2018-19 postseason.

That crucial uncalled pass interference, you might recall, was committed by new Eagles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman:

The 2019 regular season allowed coaches to challenge pass interference calls, either called or uncalled, but the results were a mixture of underwhelming and frustrating.

Eagles fans probably remember this very obvious Avonte Maddox pass interference that wasn't called, was challenged by Packers coach Matt LaFleur, and then still wasn't called:

That was insane.

"The cumulative effect of the misses, plus the replay spotlight on these misses, has really taken its toll," former NFL ref and current NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay told the New York Times last November.

The line for what constitutes pass interference was shown - as football watchers already knew - to be an indistinct and ever-moving line, and the ability to challenge the calls just created one more layer of aggrivation.

If the league does indeed remove the rule, it will be a victory. Fans, players, and coaches will still yell about missed pass interference calls - but at least they won't have to do it twice.

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