Eagles

Eagles-Colts NFL Week 3 predictions

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Eagles-Colts NFL Week 3 predictions

The Eagles (1-1) are hosting the Colts (1-1) at Lincoln Financial Field at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

This will be the return of Carson Wentz, who tore his ACL and LCL on Dec. 10 and has waited 9½ months to return. 

Everyone picked the Eagles last week. Everyone was wrong. 

Here are our (cough) expert predictions: 

Reuben Frank (1-1)
It’s been so long since Carson Wentz has lost a game at the Linc that last time it happened, one of his leading receivers was Jordan Matthews, who has since changed teams three times and is now back with the Eagles. That was 21 months ago and it was 27-22 to the Redskins. Since then, Wentz is 8-0 at home and 13-3 overall, and the Eagles have won 12 straight meaningful home games. Those streaks are not going to end this weekend. Wentz will come back and immediately be the Carson Wentz we’re used to seeing, and this Eagles defense will rebound from a shaky afternoon down in Tampa with a dominating performance against a Colts offense that certainly looks better under new head coach Frank Reich, but has yet to record an offensive play longer than 26 yards this year and has scored only 14 second-half points so far. I like the Eagles to bounce back from that loss in Tampa with a 27-14 win over the Colts Sunday at the Linc.

Eagles 27, Colts 14

Dave Zangaro (0-2)
I need a W. And I’m not about to pick against Carson Wentz and the Eagles at home. I know Wentz might be rusty. I know he has a depleted group of receivers and running backs. And I know the Colts look like an improving team. But the Eagles don’t lose at home. And they’re not going to lose to this team at home. 

It might take Wentz some time to get cooking, but he’s going to get it going in this game. He’s a game-changer. Oh, the defense is going to show up on Sunday too. 

Eagles 24, Colts 13

Derrick Gunn (1-1)
The franchise is back!!! It’s been a long time coming, but Carson Wentz has been given the green light to get back under center. But who is he throwing to? We know Nelson Agholor is one for sure. But how much can recently-signed Jordan Matthews add to the mix if he’s activated? Shelton Gibson and Kamar Aiken will have to be more productive. The running back situation is also iffy. Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) are out, so Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and recently-activated rookie Josh Adams will have to carry the load. The Eagles’ defense needs to redeem itself after a rough outing in Tampa. 

The Colts come in riding a stunning win at Washington. Andrew Luck has completed 71 percent of his passes but has no completion longer than 26 yards. Keep an eye on Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard. He had 18 tackles against the 'Skins and leads the league with 28.

It will be an interesting chess match between Frank Reich and Doug Pederson. Because Pederson is further along into his offense than Reich, I’m giving Doug the home-field advantage.

Eagles 24, Colts 17 

Ray Didinger (1-1)
Frank Reich is already making a difference with the Indianapolis Colts. With the former Eagles coach calling the shots, the Colts’ offense is more imaginative and the quicker tempo suits quarterback Andrew Luck, who is completing 71 percent of his pass attempts. More importantly, Luck is not getting hit as much, which means he may make it through this season in one piece. That hasn't happened in a very long time.

Reich and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz know each other very well so this will be a fascinating chess match. The Eagles’ defensive line, which did a good job pressuring Atlanta's Matt Ryan (four sacks, 13 hits), was a non-factor Sunday in Tampa Bay where Ryan Fitzpatrick was allowed to stand in the pocket and pick them apart. That has to change this week or Luck will pick up where Fitzpatrick left off.

Everyone is expecting Carson Wentz to perform miracles in his first game back but it is more likely he will need a little time to regain his rhythm, especially with so many skill position players on the shelf. It may be a struggle early but the Eagles just don't lose at home.

Eagles 28, Colts 17

Andrew Kulp (1-1)
Amid all this talk about Carson Wentz possibly being rusty in his return, or struggling because of all the injuries to the Eagles offense, I am reminded of his NFL debut. After missing most of the preseason and training camp, with few legitimate weapons around him, Wentz came out in his first game and threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in a win. I don't worry about him. He's ready to go, and he's the type of quarterback who elevates the talent around him.

I don't worry about the Eagles' defense at home, either. The Colts still don't have much of a ground attack, which means it should fall on Andrew Luck to move the football. While Luck is more than capable of winning games on his own (or he was at least), I suspect he'll be under quite a bit of duress missing his left tackle (Anthony Costanzo), and possibly his favorite target, too (T.Y. Hilton). Even if Wentz is a little rusty, the D should bail him out.

Eagles 26, Colts 10

Corey Seidman (0-2) 
For you bettors out there, this is a stay-away game for me. Need to first see what Carson Wentz looks like in game action. 

I do, however, expect the Eagles’ defense to roll in this game, forcing multiple turnovers and sacking Andrew Luck at least twice. The Colts have never been able to protect Luck. Indy has one of the league’s weakest ground attacks. 

T.Y. Hilton worries me because he provides everything DeSean Jackson does and a little more. The Eagles couldn’t contain D-Jax last Sunday. But it’ll take more than one deep ball to Hilton to beat this Birds team. 

Eagles 30, Colts 17

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Eagles sign linebacker Chris Worley to fill out roster

Eagles sign linebacker Chris Worley to fill out roster

The Eagles on Monday morning signed former Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley. 

With the move, the Eagles' roster is full again at 90 after they released veteran linebacker Paul Worrilow on Sunday afternoon. Worrilow was coming back from an ACL injury and was struggling to stay healthy. 

Worley, 23, won’t have much time to impress the coaching staff in Philly, but he’ll at least have a shot. 

After going undrafted in 2018, Worley spent his rookie season with the Bengals and played in two games. But Cincinnati released him late last month. From there, Worley signed with the Seahawks on Aug. 6, but lasted just four days before Seattle waived him. 

Coming to Philly, Worley joins a linebacker group that includes Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards and Asantay Brown. The top two are injured right now, so the Eagles needed a linebacker to take practice reps and to play in the final two preseason games. 

There is potentially a roster spot up for grabs too. Worley is coming in late, but with a strong couple weeks, he could get in the mix, although he might be fighting for some extra tape and maybe a practice squad spot. 

The Eagles are back at practice this afternoon as they host their first of two joint sessions with the Baltimore Ravens. They will play the Ravens on Thursday night at the Linc. 

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John Harbaugh's memories of Doug Pederson, 20 years later

John Harbaugh's memories of Doug Pederson, 20 years later

In the summer of 1999, Doug Pederson was the Eagles’ opening day quarterback and John Harbaugh was the Eagles’ unknown special teams coach, just two years removed from coaching special teams and defensive backs at the University of Indiana.

Twenty years later, they’re both Super Bowl champion head coaches, and today and Tuesday their teams will practice against each other at the NovaCare Complex.

Harbaugh, who spent 10 years with the Eagles before joining the Ravens after the 2007 season, loves telling the story of the 1999 opener, which was not only the first regular-season game Harbaugh and Pederson were together but also Andy Reid’s first game as an NFL head coach.

It was Cards-Eagles at the Vet, Sept. 12, 1999. (Also known as the Brian Finneran drop game ... but that's a different story.)

Harbaugh picks up the story as he told it to writers covering the Ravens Saturday at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Doug was the holder and Norm Johnson was the kicker and we worked on Bonzai field goal so many times in terms of running everybody out there when the clock’s running and kicking the field goal,” Harbaugh said. “And right before half it came up, and we’re screaming, ‘Bonzai, Bonzai,’ and I’m looking at the line and I see Doug and he’s back there and the line’s set up perfectly, and I’m like, ‘Yes, we got it, there’s plenty of time left.’ And then I noticed out of my left eye … there’s no kicker. And here comes Norm running off the bench putting his helmet on and he’s running out, and the ball was snapped, because Doug’s smart, and he kicked it right on the run.

And? 

Harbaugh pauses for effect …

“Wide left,” Harbaugh said sadly, and everybody laughed.

I ran to the locker room,” Harbaugh said. “Andy ran behind me. I out-ran him but he caught me in the locker room and asked what happened. That’s quite a memory. You never forget those things.

Harbaugh and Pederson were together only that one year, but Pederson made a lasting impact on Harbaugh, especially in how he mentored rookie Donovan McNabb.

Andy brought him in for a reason, and the reason was he’s sharp and he was a leader and he knew how Andy wanted to do things because he’d been in Green Bay with [Andy and] Mike Holmgren, knew the philosophy, and he was big that way,” he said. “He was really good for Donovan, he was a great mentor for Donovan and taught him a lot of football, I’m sure Donovan would say that.

After joint practices, the Eagles and Ravens then meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Linc in a game that will likely be much less competitive than the two-hour full-pad mid-afternoon sessions today and Tuesday.

The reason so many NFL coaches value joint practices more than preseason games is because they can control the situation.

You could play a preseason game and not get a single red-zone play. But in a joint practice, you can run as many red-zone snaps as you want in a very competitive atmosphere.

Sometimes you don't get all the situations in a game that you'd like to see your players in," Pederson said. "I can set practices up that way. I can set them up hard. I can set them up where we're in pads or going live, whatever it might be [so] we can really get a true evaluation of a player. The only real change from a game to a practice is in a game you don't get to do it over. At least in a practice setting, if we make a mistake, we can line up and do it again, and so we can correct that mistake right away. In preseason games we can't do that. We get a little bit better evaluation in practice in that case.

These things can always get chippy, but both coaches have spoken to their teams about avoiding fights the next couple days and focusing on getting work done. 

Yeah, you want to be physical,” Pederson said. “Obviously, you want to protect yourself, but at the same time we're here to get work in. That was my message to the team [Sunday] when they come in here: It's not about who's the bully. It's about getting work in, and getting quality work in. This is a good football team coming in here. This is the No. 1 ranked NFL defense a year ago. Offense is explosive and they have a great, elusive quarterback. This will be a good test for both sides of the ball for us and so we're excited about that. If you're worried about getting in a fight, then you're in the wrong business. We're here to get better and that's my message to the team.

Oh, one footnote about Harbaugh’s Bonzai field goal story.

Johnson actually made the kick.

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