Eagles

At least Eagles’ defense is playing well enough to win right now

At least Eagles’ defense is playing well enough to win right now

The Eagles say they don’t point fingers and they shouldn’t. 

Team unity and all that. 

“We’re a team,” Doug Pederson said after Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. “And when we win, we win as a team. When we lose, we lose as a team. Today, we lost as a team.”

The Eagles don’t point fingers. So I’ll do it for them. 

In back-to-back weeks the Eagles’ defense has given up 17 points to offenses led by future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The Eagles’ defense has done more than enough for the Eagles to win these two games. 

The offense has failed them. 

Maybe that’s to be expected. On Sunday, after Brandon Brooks left the game, the Eagles were without five or six starters on that side of the ball. But that unit’s inability to make even the simplest plays and its inability to hold onto the football voids the built-in excuse. It wasn’t all Carson Wentz. It wasn’t all Doug Pederson. It wasn’t all the receivers. But that whole unit has been a mess recently. 

The Eagles held Tom Brady without a touchdown pass and lost 17-10. 

The Eagles held Russell Wilson to 215 total yards and lost 17-9. 

Wilson said the Eagles’ defense was one of the best the Seahawks played all year and they still won easily. That shouldn’t happen. 

Since Week 8, the Eagles’ defense has given up an average of 15.25 points per game. Just the Ravens have given up fewer points per game in that span. 

This isn’t the way the Eagles expected things to go. They thought they were going to have a high-flying offense and the defense would just need to be OK. But it turns out, it’s the other way around. 

The defense has gotten healthier. Fletcher Cox is back to his dominating self, Tim Jernigan returned, Nigel Bradham is back, the secondary has been stabilized by the returns of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby. This defense is pretty good right now. The offense isn’t. 

Things got so bad on Sunday that when Rodney McLeod picked off a pass in the third quarter, he tried everything to score, including a pitch to Avonte Maddox, because the offense stinks so bad. 

OK, he was a little more diplomatic about it. 

“Just trying to make a play man, and flip the field position or get into the end zone,” McLeod said. “At that point in the game, how the game is going, they’re making plays on defense, we’re making plays. So anytime we can get our hands on the ball, the mentality is to try to score.”

But you were probably thinking the same thing, right? 

Once McLeod picked off that ball, you were probably thinking, “He better score because the offense sure isn’t going to.” And you were right! The Eagles punted a few plays later. 

At this point, though, the Eagles are actually lucky when they punt. Because they also turned the ball over five times on Sunday, sometimes putting their own defense in a horrible spot. Malcolm Jenkins’ message for Wentz and the offense was pretty clear on Sunday: Don’t force anything, we got you. 

Jenkins said the Eagles have to be comfortable winning games that are 12-9 or 9-6. 

On Monday, Pederson noted that eventually the offense needs to be able to put up 30-plus points, especially if this team really wants to make a playoff push. 

But, for now, Pederson didn’t disagree with Jenkins’ assessment. 

“I think right now where we are, that's a realistic approach,” he said. “That doesn't mean you go into conservative mode and it's three yards and a cloud of dust, but I do think that our offense, we talk all the time [about how] we want to finish every drive with a possible kick, whether that's a punt or a field goal, or an extra point. Those are the things that we talk about. But right now, and the way our defense has been playing, I think you have to play to that strength.”

The Eagles are right to avoid pointing fingers. They have to avoid a divisive situation. It’ll be up to their leaders to make sure it doesn’t happen. 

“There won’t be any of that,” said Jason Peters, still the intimidating Bodyguard. “Not in our locker room. Not while I am here. We’ll keep all the guys together, rally around each other and just go forward.”

But the fact is that the Eagles’ defense is playing well enough for the Eagles to go on a run. The offense just needs to stop letting the team down. 

I’m pointing the finger at them. Just please don’t tell Peters. 

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Eagles might play a road game in Mexico City in 2020 NFL season

Eagles might play a road game in Mexico City in 2020 NFL season

The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday that one of their home games in 2020 will take place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which means the Eagles might play in Mexico City in 2020.

Fun! (Probably.)

Just two years after playing the Jaguars in London, the Eagles are one of six possible opponents for the Cardinals' game in Mexico. ESPN's Josh Weinfuss is reporting Friday that the Lions and Dolphins will not be the opponent:

This will mark the fifth straight season that the NFL has a game scheduled for Estadio Azteca, and the 13th time a game has been scheduled at Estadio Azteca all-time.

The Eagles actually have a super interesting, and kind of wacky, history with Mexico City games. 

They were scheduled to face the Detroit Lions in an exhibition on Aug. 11, 1968, which would've marked the first football game ever played in Mexico City, but the game was cancelled - without much explanation, according to the Associated Press. Half the stadium's tickets were going for about 40 cents at the time, according to the AP.

Ten years later, the Eagles actually ended up participating in the first NFL game held in Mexico City after all, a 14-7 exhibition loss to the Saints. According to Ron Jaworski, the locker rooms were tiny and the goal posts were crooked, which sounds fun.

All-time, the Eagles are 2-3 in international games, a record that probably doesn't mean much because they've played outside of the country once since 1993 - and that was a win.

Vamos Eagles.

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How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

The 2020 wide receiver draft picture got a lot more interesting Thursday night.

Alabama’s Henry Ruggs did his thing and ran 4.28 when the receivers ran their 40's at the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. He didn't break John Ross's record of 4.22, but he certainly did nothing to hurt his draft status. 

Neither did his college teammate, Jerry Jeudy, or Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. They remain the consensus top three receivers in the draft, and the Eagles, who have the 21st pick in the first round, would likely have to trade up to draft any of them.

But a few receivers helped themselves with their performances in Indy and a few may have hurt their stock as well, and it all could definitely affect the receiver-starved Eagles’ strategy in April.

HELPED THEMSELVES

JUSTIN JEFFERSON, LSU: Joe Burrow’s favorite target ran much faster than expected with a 4.43. We already know he’s productive - he caught a ridiculous 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns - and he backed that up with a faster 40 time than Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. How much that helps him remains to be seen, but he definitely helped himself.

CHASE CLAYPOOL, NOTRE DAME: There’s been talk about the 6-4, 240-pound Claypool moving to tight end, but then he went out and ran 4.42, which according to the Next Gen Stats twitter feed makes him the first receiver over 230 pounds to run sub-4.45 since Calvin Johnson in 2007. He also caught the ball well and performed well in the other drills. 

DENZEL MIMS, BAYLOR: Mims opened a lot of eyes with a 4.38 Thursday night to cap an overall excellent performance. Only Ruggs and Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins ran faster. Mims was generally considered a second-round talent before the Combine but running 4.38 at 6-3, 210 pounds could push him into the first round. 

HURT THEMSELVES

JALEN REAGOR, TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Reagor, whose father Montae played for the Eagles in 2007, said he planned to run faster than Ruggs: “That’s my plan. He runs after me. I’m going to set the bar for him.”  He also said he expected to run “high 4.2, low 4.3.”  Then he ran 4.47, a full fifth of a second slower than Ruggs. He followed that with a 4.50. How much that hurts him remains to be seen, but it wasn’t what anybody was expecting. 

TEE HIGGINS, CLEMSON: Higgins told reporters at the Combine that he was planning to prove a lot of people wrong with his 40:  “My goal is to hit a 4.4. A lot of guys think I’m gonna run a 4.5 or 4.6, but I’m excited to change people’s minds.” Then without explanation he didn’t run or participate in any drills Thursday night. Not good. 

LAVISKA SHENAULT JR., COLORADO: After a slower-than-expected 4.58 on his first try, Shenault skipped his second 40 and didn’t participate in the other drills, presumably because of the core muscle injury that cost him a couple games during the season. Shenault was considered a late first-round or early second-rounder. He’ll have a chance to bounce back at his pro day, but he didn’t help himself Thursday.

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