Eagles

Eagles-Broncos: Roob's 10 Observations

Eagles-Broncos: Roob's 10 Observations

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How good is this team?

Super Bowl good. Believe it.

The Eagles are just rolling now after a 51-23 demolition of the Broncos, and they go into the bye week at 8-1 with a seven-game winning streak (see breakdown).

They're destroying teams. They've outscored their seven victims during this winning streak by an average of 33-19.

Just a shame we have to wait two weeks to see them play again.

Here we go with this Week's 10 Observations.

1. This is what a Super Bowl team looks like (see report card). Seriously, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the Eagles are just steamrolling through the NFL right now, and the level they're playing at is what you expect from a legit Super Bowl contender. Now, the opponents will get more difficult after the bye. That stretch against the Cowboys, Bears, Seahawks and Rams — all but the Bears on the road — will tell us a lot. But right now, the Eagles are just better than anybody else in the league. And they're making it look so easy. And they're doing it in all phases. This is a Broncos team that came to town with the No. 1 defense in the NFL and the Eagles just shredded it, scoring 31 points in a 20-minute stretch of the first half on their way to half a hundred and one. They're winning so routinely and so convincingly it's really astounding. And they're doing it despite a pretty significant rash of injuries to key guys. If they keep playing like this, I don't know how you beat them.

2. Carson Wentz. He's now beyond having one of the best seasons ever by an Eagles quarterback or a young quarterback. He's having an all-time season. He's at the point where when the Eagles go three-and-out or have an ugly series, you're just surprised. Wentz threw four more touchdowns Sunday without a turnover. He's now got 23 touchdowns and five interceptions through nine games, and that puts him on pace for 40 TDs and nine interceptions. The only QBs in NFL history to do that in a season are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. That's the level Wentz is playing at. That's where he's at in his career. That's who Wentz is. He's 24. He's started 25 games in his life. He was backing up Chase Daniel 15 months ago. And he's literally having one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Howie Roseman could have drafted 100 Danny Watkins and it wouldn't matter. Finding a way to get this kid into an Eagles uniform makes up for everything.

3. I absolutely love the way Doug Pederson has been calling games, and this one was a masterpiece of offensive balance. The Broncos had been unreal against the run, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry and 72 yards per game through seven games. And they hadn't allowed a rushing TD all year. But instead of just deciding to chuck it every snap, Pederson challenged his offensive line to dominate one of the NFL's best defensive fronts, and the OL did just that. It hammered the Broncos up front, and did it without Jason Peters and even without Lane Johnson for a spell. The Eagles ran 37 times for 197 yards and three TDs against a run defense allowing 73 yards per game and no TDs. Incredible.

4. And how about Jay Ajayi? The dude was a Dolphin on Monday, got traded Tuesday, arrived here Wednesday, practiced three times and went out and ran eight times for 77 yards against a team that had only allowed two guys to rush for more than 46 yards this year. What were the Dolphins thinking? Who knows? Who cares? They're idiots. All I know is the Eagles got another weapon on a team already loaded with them, and all it cost them was a fourth-round pick. #Howie.

5. OK, this defense. What a performance. What a season. Their level of consistency is remarkable. They're smart, fast, physical, athletic and tackle better than any Eagles team since Jim Johnson was here. So much fun to watch this group just make opposing offenses miserable. And it all starts with their insane ability against the run. The Broncos came in with the ninth-ranked running attack in the league at 123 yards per game and seventh at 4.4 yards per carry, and the Eagles just stuffed them early, then forced them to pass all the time by building that big second-quarter lead. The Broncos finished with 19 rushes for 35 yards, and that's seven straight teams that have failed to rush for 100 yards against the Eagles.

6. Being able to run the ball and stop the run is one heck of a formula to win a lot of football games, and the Eagles have now gone seven straight games rushing for over 100 yards and holding the opponent to fewer than 100 yards. That is tied for the fifth-longest such streak in NFL history.  

7. I continue to be dazzled by Corey Clement and just amazed that 253 players were taken in this year's draft and he wasn't one of them. Here's a kid who was productive at a major college, works his butt off, can run the ball (eight carries for 43 yards Sunday), catch the ball (15-yard TD), block and is also a quality locker room guy. Clement had three TDs Sunday and now has five in his first nine games (see Rookie Report). As an undrafted rookie! He just seems to help the offense every time he touches the ball. I'm not sure what NFL teams are looking for in a running back if it's not a kid like Clement.

8. Was great to see big contributions from both Brent Celek and Trey Burton in the absence of Zach Ertz, who was unable to play after experiencing hamstring tightness at practice Thursday. Celek and Burton combined for five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, and you can't ask for anything more from your second and third tight ends. Great depth at that position.

9. It's so impressive how prepared this team always is. Never looks past an opponent. Always ready to play. That's just so rare. And so hard to do. Even great teams have a letdown here and there, that one game where they're just looking ahead or not quite on their game. Such a credit to Pederson and his staff. Since those three ugly games last year — losses to the Seahawks, Packers and Bengals by a combined 43 points — the Eagles have played 13 games, gone 10-3 and their worst result was a seven-point loss at Kansas City to a Chiefs team that was unbeaten at the time. Just remarkable focus and maturity.

10. Two solid games in a row from Alshon Jeffery, who finally seems to be developing some chemistry with Wentz. Jeffery had two grabs for 62 yards with a 53-yard TD last week against the 49ers and followed up with six catches for 84 yards with two TDs Sunday against the Broncos. Not Pro Bowl numbers, but he's catching the ball when it comes his way, getting in the end zone and helping this offense shine. Good enough for me.

Phillies are to blame for Eagles' 3-game road trip in October

Phillies are to blame for Eagles' 3-game road trip in October

You know that three-game road trip the Eagles have in the middle of October? 

You can blame Bryce Harper, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King. 

Really. 

This is kind of wild. The NFL schedule makers really looked at the Phillies’ roster and decided they might be a team to go deep in the playoffs. It does seem possible, but we might be jumping the gun a little. Although, on our Eagle Eye podcast last night, Reuben Frank did say the Eagles wouldn’t be at home in October because the Phils would be in the World Series. (I thought he was joking.) 

But here’s the Eagles’ schedule. After a home game against the New York Jets on Oct. 6, the Eagles are on the road for three straight weeks, when the Phillies could theoretically be in the playoffs: 

Week 6 — at MIN on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
Week 7 — at DAL on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.
Week 8 — at BUF on Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.

For reference, the 2018 World Series wrapped up with a Game 5 on Oct. 28. The Eagles host the Bears at 1 p.m. on Nov. 3, so maybe we’ll have an NFL playoff rematch and Game 7 of the World Series in South Philadelphia later this year. Are we getting ahead of ourselves a bit? 

After the Eagles have these three road games, they are home for three straight too. Still, the three-game trip on the road isn’t ideal. At least there’s not a west coast trip in there somewhere. 

In September of this year, the Eagles host games on Sept. 8 (Washington) and Sept. 22 (Detroit). The NFL has the benefit of seeing the MLB regular season schedule before putting out theirs. So on Sept. 8, the Phillies are at the Mets and on Sept. 22, they’re in Cleveland. This is the way the NFL always handles these two teams. They make sure the Eagles are away when the Phillies are home. 

The last time the Eagles and Phillies played on the same day in South Philly was Oct. 2, 2011. That was also the last year the Phillies were in the playoffs. 

On that day, the times were staggered. The Eagles kicked off at 1 p.m. against the 49ers at the Linc and the Phillies’ first pitch against the Cardinals in the NLDS was at 8:37 p.m. (The Eagles lost 24-23 and the Phillies lost Game 2, 5-4.) 

There were 69,144 people at the Linc that day and 46,575 at Citizens Bank Park that evening. I’d guess a lot of folks pulled the sports complex double-header that day. It won’t be possible this year.

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More on the Eagles

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Clelin Ferrell

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Clelin Ferrell

Everybody wants explosive pass rushers today, and Clelin Ferrell is one of the best in this year’s draft. Ferrell overcame injuries early in his college career to become one of the best defensive players in the country on the best team in the country.

Ferrell’s sack total increased from 6 to 9 1/2 to 11 1/2 the last three years, fifth most in the country, and he had 50 1/2 tackles for loss, fourth-most during that span. Playing for a program that was 41-3 over the last three years means he was a star at the highest level.

Ferrell is a classic 4-3 pass rusher and at 6-4, 265 pounds can also help against the run. He’s got the best first step in the country, and there’s no reason he can’t step right in and create havoc against opposing quarterbacks from Day 1.

Current roster at DE: Derek Barnett is going into his third year, but other than that, this is an aging group of defensive ends. Vinny Curry is 30, Brandon Graham is 31, Chris Long – who may or may note retire – is 34. So even though the Eagles took Barnett with the 14th pick in 2017, they could certainly use another young pass rusher in the mix.

How he would fit: Jim Schwartz rotates his ends and all his defensive linemen, so Ferrell would have the opportunity to contribute immediately, especially if Long retires. Curry has just 11 1/2 sacks in his last 69 games, so who knows what he’ll be able to deliver in his return to Philly. Ferrell would get every chance to make an immediate impact.

Eagles history at DE in draft: The Eagles have taken five defensive ends in the first round since 1995, and although none have made a Pro Bowl, 2010 pick Graham has had a nice career and 2017 pick Barnett has shown promise. Only the Jets have taken more defensive  ends in the first round since 1995, and only the 49ers and Cowboys have also taken five.

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Other options at 25