Eagles

Eagles film review: How Eagles pulled off their longest touchdown of the season

Eagles film review: How Eagles pulled off their longest touchdown of the season

The Eagles were clinging to a three-point lead in Buffalo when they ripped off their longest play of the season early in the third quarter. 

On their second play of the second half, Miles Sanders went 65 yards up the gut of Buffalo’s defense to extend the Eagles’ lead to 10 points in their eventual 31-13 win. The Eagles were in 21 personnel for the run, as Jordan Howard provided the lead block. 

Where did the play come from? 

“Jeff Stoutland,” head coach Doug Pederson answered, giving credit to his offensive line coach and run game coordinator. 

“It's actually a play that we have in our game plan, or I should say, we have in our run game plan. We've worked on it since OTAs.” 

The Eagles had used this look earlier in the year, but with a tight end in the backfield instead of another running back. They worked on their 21 personnel this week in practice and it paid off. Earlier in the game, the Eagles actually ran this play but threw a pass to Alshon Jeffery; we’ll show that later, but first, let’s take a closer look at the touchdown. 

On the line, the Eagles have a hat for hat with their guards and tackles and it’ll be on Jason Kelce to get the linebacker (49) in the second level. The key block, though, will come from Howard as a lead blocker on 58. 

At the mesh point, you can see this play developing. The line does a great job opening the hole and Howard is going to make the block of the game to clear the linebacker out of it. Meanwhile, No. 23 (Micah Hyde) has to respect the possibility of Carson Wentz keeping the ball. He can’t break toward Sanders. 

This is just perfect execution from Howard, blocking an undersized linebacker. Howard is actually listed as one pound heavier than the ‘backer, so it’s a fair fight and Howard puts a textbook block on him. 

“Yeah, that was sweet,” Wentz said. 

And give credit to Sanders too. He follows the block and then bursts through the hole. A slower back would probably get a nice gain, but wouldn’t take it to the house. On this play, Sanders reached 20.9 mph, according to NFL NextGen Stats. 

This wrinkle in the offense partially came about, Pederson explained, because of Sanders’ success in the passing game. 

“I liked having the two [running backs] because right now teams are focusing on 26 when he's in the game as a receiver,” Pederson said, “and this is a great way to get both our guys in the game and do a little bit of both.”

The Eagles actually ran this play earlier in the game with an adjustment. In the first quarter, they used this alignment and Wentz threw an incompletion to Alshon Jeffery. 

The execution here wasn’t great, but the Eagles used this formation to get themselves a 1-on-1 with Jeffery on a smaller corner on that side of the field. The Eagles knew the Bills would have to respect the run. 

Adding more 21 personnel to the offense is certainly an interesting wrinkle to this offense, but it makes sense. Howard and Sanders are very complementary players and this personnel grouping can work. Don’t expect that to become the Eagles’ base offense, but it certainly makes them more versatile. And on Sunday, it got them their biggest play of the year. 

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

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USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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