Eagles

Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

The Eagles didn't look like the best team in the NFL. Not even close.

For most of the first half on Monday Night Football, the Eagles were a mess. They were committing penalties, giving up big plays and floundering on offense.

Then things changed.

Then Carson Wentz started to look like an MVP. And then the Eagles started to look like the team fans in Philadelphia have become used to seeing over the first half of the season.

They started to look like the best team in the NFL again.

The Eagles recovered from their early missteps to beat Washington 34-24 at the Linc on Monday night to remain in control of the division and the conference (see 10 observations).

With the win, the Eagles are 6-1 and are all alone with the best record in the NFL. They also gained more ground, sweeping the season series with Washington, which fell to 3-3.

While the Eagles picked up a big win, they did suffer a couple losses. Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Hicks (ankle) both left the game and did not return. The Eagles have lost important players before but these will be hard to overcome. 

Wentz was dynamic on Monday Night Football. In a second straight nationally televised game, Wentz dazzled and showed why his name is at the forefront of the NFL MVP discussion.

Wentz completed 17 of 25 passes for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His four touchdowns went to four different receivers. Wentz finished the game with a passer rating of 126.3. It's the third game in a row he's had a passer rating over 100 and it's just the sixth such game of his career.

Turning point
The Eagles looked awful early in the game, but then they broke out of a funk when Wentz hit Mack Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb. That changed the game and brought some life back into the Linc.

Key stat
Before the Arizona game, Wentz had never had a three-touchdown game. He has three in a row now and 11 in three games.

Wentz has more touchdown passes in the last three games (11) than 19 teams have all season.

Offensive stud
Wentz is the real deal. After a bad start, he made some spectacular plays and carried the team. He's a legitimate MVP candidate.

Offensive dud
Torrey Smith didn't have much of an impact. He didn't have a catch and was targeted just once.

Defensive stud
Malcolm Jenkins played a great game on Monday night. He was everywhere. He stopped Jordan Reed on a key third down before Wentz hit Hollins on the deep touchdown pass.

Defensive dud
We'll give this to Najee Goode but that's probably unfair. It looked like Chris Thompson was his responsibility on the touchdown. Hard duty, as Jim Schwartz would say.

Key plays
• Corey Graham picked off a Kirk Cousins pass to give the Eagles great field position and Jake Elliott drilled a 42-yarder to add three more points.

• On 3rd-and-8, Wentz somehow pulled off a magic trick and escaped a sure sack. He was able to escape and scramble for 17 yards. He capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. It was Wentz's fourth TD pass of the game and it put the Eagles up 31-17.

• Cousins hit Reed on a short touchdown pass to cut into the Eagles' lead. It made the score 24-17.

• Wentz threw a ridiculous pass while getting hit by two guys and hit Corey Clement in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown. Clement tapped both feet in to put the Eagles up 24-10.

• After a Washington three-and-out, Wentz and the Eagles got the ball with 1:52 left in the half and drove down to score another touchdown. The big play on the drive was a 46-yarder to Zach Ertz, who then caught a four-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 17-10.

• Wentz hit Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb in the second quarter to tie the game at 10-10. It was Wentz's fourth 50-yard pass of the season. He had just three all last season.

• Cousins found Thompson for a seven-yard touchdown to put Washington up 10-3. Thompson was wide open in the flat and the Eagles were missing Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks.

• Elliott drilled a 50-yarder to start the second-quarter scoring. It was his 11th straight make.

• Derek Barnett picked up his first solo sack to end a Washington drive in the first quarter. It came at a good time.

• After Washington kicked a field goal on their opening drive, the Eagles' first offensive drive was a disaster. They had four penalties and gained just five yards. It ended when Wentz threw a deep interception that was basically an interception.

Injuries
Ronald Darby (ankle) might return next week but was inactive against Washington. So was Mychal Kendricks (hamstring), who popped up on the Eagles' injury report during the week.

The Eagles lost Hicks (ankle) on the second play of the game and Peters (knee) on the first drive of the second half (see story).

Up next
The Eagles have two more home games before their bye week. Next Sunday, they'll face the winless 49ers and then face the Broncos before their week off.

Analyzing jersey numbers for Eagles’ 12-man UDFA class

Analyzing jersey numbers for Eagles’ 12-man UDFA class

The Eagles began the offseason with 13 undrafted free agents but are down to 12 after they cut QB-turned-WR Khalil Tate last month. 

Instead of cutting more UDFAs, the Eagles instead trimmed their roster down by cutting players who they’ve already gotten a chance to evaluate. They kept 12 of their 13 UDFAs and now those guys have jersey numbers. 

Those jersey numbers were revealed this weekend (h/t Bleeding Green Nation): 

3: Manasseh Bailey, WR, Morgan State 

Not a great sign for Bailey to get a number he won’t even be able to keep if he makes the team. Bailey (5-11, 195) is obviously a long shot to make the team. The numbers at receiver show that but so does his contract. Bailey got a $7,500 signing bonus and $32,500 guaranteed, one of the lowest paid of the UDFA class. 

A history at No. 3 in the regular season: Roger Kirkman, Jack Concannon, Mark Moseley, Eddie Murray, Todd France, Reggie Hodges, Nick Murphy, Mike Kafka, Mark Sanchez

33: Grayland Arnold, DB, Baylor 

The Eagles clearly like Arnold quite a bit. He’s typically the first player the team talks about when mentioning this undrafted class and the money looks good too. He got a $15,000 signing bonus and $90,000 guaranteed. Just three other players got more guaranteed. While No. 33 hasn’t yielded great results in recent seasons, it’s a solid number for a defensive back. 

A history lesson at No. 33 in the regular season: 3 Guy Turnbow, Ray Spillers, Bob Masters, Taldon Manton, Jack Banta, Steve Sader, Russ Craft, Roy Barni, Willie Berzinski, Bill Barnes, Merrill Douglas, Don Jonas, Ollie Matson, Ron Blye, Steve Preece, Randy Jackson, Ronald “Po” James, Louie Giammona, Mike Waters, William Frizzell, Kevin Bouie, Tim Watson, Aaron Hayden, Eric Bieniemy, Thomas Hamner, Terrence Carroll, Clinton Hart, Donald Strickland, Jack Ikegwuonu, Jerome Harrison, Jordan Poyer, Chris Prosinski, Ron Brooks, Dexter McDougle, Josh Adams

38: Mike Warren, RB, Cincinnati 

OK, it’s not a great number but the Eagles didn’t have many options either. The only numbers in the 20s available are 25 and 27. The Eagles haven’t given away 25 since LeSean McCoy left and 27 was Malcolm Jenkins’ number, so the team might wait to give that away too. And 38 was the only number in the 30s available. The Eagles gave Arnold 33 but he has to share that with running back Elijah Holyfield. So maybe it’s a good thing for Warren to not have a defensive player wearing his number. 

A history lesson at No. 38 in the regular season: Bill Fiedler, Jake Schuehle, John Huzvar, Rob Goode, Sam Baker, Tony Baker, George Amundson, Bill Olds, Larry Barnes, Steve Atkins, Mickey Fitzgerald, Jairo Penaranda, Russell Gary, Rich Miano, Dexter McNabb, Charles Dimry, Cecil Martin, Jorrick Calvin, Keelan Johnson, E.J. Biggers, Aaron Grymes, Kenjon Barner, Orlando Scandrick

41: Prince Smith, DB, Southern Illinois 

Smith doesn’t have great odds of making the team. He got $34,000 guaranteed and a signing bonus of $9,000. And the No. 41 isn’t great. But this was the number Ronald Darby wore during the Super Bowl season. After 2017, Darby switched to 21 when Patrick Robinson went to New Orleans. 

A history lesson at No. 41 in the regular season: Ted Schmitt, Foster Watkins, Buist Warren, Gil Steinke, Frank Ziegler, Jerry Norton, Bob Freeman, Howard Cassady, Harry Wilson, Richard Harvey, Randy Logan, Earnest Jackson, Keith Byars, Alvin Ross, Fred McCrary, Johnny Thomas, William Hampton, Thomas Tapeh, Stephen Spach, Tanard Davis, Antoine Harris, Jarrad Page, Emil Igwenagu, Randall Evans, Ronald Darby, De’Vante Bausby

46: Michael Jacquet, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette 
46: Adrian Killins Jr., RB, UCF 

The Eagles gave away 46 to an offensive and a defensive rookie — never a good sign. And let’s be honest: 46 isn’t a number that Jacquet or Killins is probably happy to have. Jacquet’s salary is notable, though. He got $90,000 guaranteed and a signing bonus of $15,000. And Duce Staley the other day raved about Killins’ tape. Killins is small (5-8, 177) but he’s an electric and speedy player. 

A history lesson at No. 46 in the regular season: Don Miller, Ted Wegert, Brad Myers, Glen Amerson, Lee Bouggess, Herman Edwards, Chris Gerhard, Izel Jenkins, Markus Thomas, Fredric Ford, Quintin Mikell, Jon Dorenbos

48: Elijah Riley, DB, Army 

Riley got $50,000 guaranteed with a signing bonus of $7,500 and is another long shot to make the roster. This number will probably always be associated with Wes Hopkins in Philly. Hopkins wore 48 his entire career from 1983-1993. 

A history lesson at No. 48 in the regular season: Eberle Schultz, Ben Scotti, Jay Johnson, Greg Oliver, Martin Mitchell, Wes Hopkins, Steve Hendrickson, Andre President, Jon Ritchie, Josh Hawkins

59: Dante Olson, LB, Montana 

I think No. 59 is a really solid linebacker number and it’s been worn by some pretty good players for the Eagles, including Seth Joyner. This is a good pull from an undrafted linebacker who didn’t even get a signing bonus and got just $10,000 of guaranteed money on his contract. But given the Eagles’ situation at linebacker, he probably comes into camp thinking he has a shot. 

A history lesson at No. 59 in the regular season: Joseph Wendlick, Mike Evans, Tom Ehlers, Al Chesley, Joel Williams, Seth Joyner, Carlos Bradley, Mike Mamula, Derrick Burgess, Mike Labinjo, Dedrick Roper, Nick Cole, Brian Rolle, DeMeco Ryans, Joe Walker, B.J. Bello

61: Julian Good-Jones, G, Iowa State 
61: Raquan Williams, DT, Michigan State
 

I will say that this is a much better number for Good-Jones than it is for Williams. Sixty-one is much more of an OL number than a DL number. But I also think there’s a better shot Williams sticks around. Check out the money: 

Good-Jones: $32,000 guaranteed, $7,500 signing bonus
Williams: $100,000 guaranteed, $15,000 signing bonus

A history lesson at No. 61 in the regular season: Tony Cemore, Joseph Frank, Gordon Paschka, Duke Maronic, John Michels, Tom Louderback, Howard Keys, Arunas Vasys, Tony Guillory, Bill Dunstan, Mark Slater, Ben Tamburello, Matt Long, Eric Floyd, Theo Adams, Steve Everitt, Giradie Mercer, Adrien Clarke, Mike Gibson, Julian Vandervelde, Stefen Wisniewski

74: Luke Juriga, C, Western Michigan 

It’s interesting because I think 61 is a better center number than 74, but 74 is still a solid OL number and it just became vacant when the Eagles cut Daeshon Hall a couple weeks ago. Juriga had the biggest guarantee and signing bonus of the entire UDFA class. Who knows, maybe he’s the center of the future. 

A history lesson at No. 74 in the regular season: Walter Barnes, Frank Wydo, Len Szafaryn, Jerry DeLucca, Riley Gunnels, Frank Molden, Steve Smith, John Niland, Donnie Green, Leonard Mitchell, Mike Pitts, Tim Mooney, Gerald Nichols, Bernard Williams, Edward Jasper, Doug Brzezinski, Jeremy Bridges, Winston Justice, Nate Menkin, T.Y. McGill, Daeshon Hall

85: Noah Togiai, TE, Oregon State 

The only numbers in the 80s that were available were 85, 87 and 89. If the Eagles are still hesitant to give out Celek’s old No. 87, then 85 is a much better option than 89. And 85 just became available recently when Alex Ellis was cut. Togiai has a real shot to make the roster; he’ll battle with Josh Perkins in training camp. 

A history lesson at No. 85 in the regular season: John Shonk, Tony Bova, Charles Gauer, Bob Friedlund, Jay MacDowell, Billy Hix, Bob Schnelker, Ralph Smith, Gary Ballman, Marlin McKeever, Charles Smith, Mel Hoover, Ron Johnson, Jesse Bendross, Mickey Shuler, Jeff Sydner, Art Monk, Mark Ingram, Antwuan Wyatt, Chris Fontenot, Na Brown, Freddie Milons, Sean Morey, Darnerien McCants, James Casey, Alex Ellis

As a reminder, here are the jersey numbers for the 10-man draft class: 

2: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma 
18: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
42: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
52: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado 
54: Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple 
56: Casey Toohill, DE, Stanford 
63: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
72: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
80: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Mississippi 
82: John Hightower, WR, Boise State 

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Why one NFL analyst believes the Eagles are a 'perfect spot' for Antonio Brown

Why one NFL analyst believes the Eagles are a 'perfect spot' for Antonio Brown

This has been a strange year, and sometimes strange things beget strange things.

The Eagles signing walking locker room distraction Antonio Brown? Yep, that would be strange.

But at least one NFL analyst believes Brown and the Birds would be an ideal pairing.

Mike Florio put that opinion forward Monday morning on ProFootballTalk, as he and Chris Simms each chose three teams they think are "most likely" to sign the embattled wideout. Here's the list they came up with:

Seahawks, Packers, Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, and Saints.

The Eagles were listed fourth in the duo's discussion. Here's why Florio thinks Brown landing in Philly is a good idea:

I will go with the Eagles next. They need that threat, they need that presence. And especially with the stuff that went down with DeSean Jackson several weeks ago - even though that has died down, from a health standpoint you don't know what you're getting from Jackson. He had a great Week 1 game last year, and then he was nothing the rest of the season. He's older, older than Antonio Brown by a year or two. And you look at the lack of weapons around Carson Wentz, and you think back to what Wentz was able to do with a revolving door of slappys last year. 

I think the Eagles would be a perfect spot, and I think that's an organization that could find a way to - you remember the emotional intelligence buzzword from Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the team, when they hired Doug Pederson to be the coach. I feel like Pederson could find a way to press the buttons, and hold it together, and get the most out of Antonio Brown. It would really make that offense better.

I understand what Florio is saying here. Pederson has indeed shown an ability to hold a locker room together in the face of adversity - the Josina Anderson-Carson Wentz leaks, for example. And the Eagles, when they signed Michael Vick in 2009, showed a willingness to give second chances.

But I don't see this one happening.

For one, Brown was suspended last week by the NFL for the first eight games of the 2020 season. Brown was suspended for multiple violations of the league's personal-conduct policy, and he still has an ongoing league investigation into a lawsuit filed by his former trainer, in which she alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Brown.

Which means the information learned about Brown, and his ultimate punishment from the league, could both get even worse. That simply doesn't sound like a situation the Eagles want to get involved in, no matter how dire their wide receiver situation becomes.

Not to mention that Howie Roseman made a point to try and make the Eagles younger this offseason, and Brown, 32, simply doesn't fit that approach.

Would Brown make the Eagles better if - not when - he eventually played in a regular season game? Yeah. We don't know what kind of football shape he'd be in after extended time off, but Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his only 2019 appearance, and he was one of the two or three best receivers in the league from 2013 to 2018. Brown can obviously still play, even if he might never return to his absolute peak form.

Still, I'd be absolutely shocked if that upside outweighed the almost innumerable risks that come with adding a player like Brown.

Brown has said he is looking forward to "new beginnings" after his suspension, and that may be true. I just don't think he'll find that beginning in Philadelphia.

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