Eagles

Eagles offense will feel just as much pressure as defense vs. Saints

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Eagles offense will feel just as much pressure as defense vs. Saints

Facing the high-flying Saints offense Sunday at the Superdome is going to be a pretty daunting task for the Eagles’ defense. 

It’s pretty daunting for the Eagles’ offense too. 

Because while Jim Schwartz’s unit will be tasked with trying to stop the NFL’s highest-scoring team, the Eagles’ offense will be tasked with trying to keep pace. And that won’t be easy. 

“Yeah, I think you think about that whenever you’re playing against a good offense,” center Jason Kelce said. “I think that in the back of your head, you know that you’ve got to execute offensively. At the end of the day, it doesn’t change up that much. Because, for us, we want to go out and execute as hard as you can regardless. It’s not like you’re going to try extra hard. I don’t think that usually corresponds well.”

Part of that is true. It’s basically what offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. The Eagles want to score every time they get the ball; that won’t change no matter who they’re playing.  

But the Eagles also know they’re averaging just 22.0 points this season and 22 points isn't going to cut it against a team that’s averaging 36.7 points this season, the highest mark in the NFL. 

Take a look at the scoring disparity: 

• The difference in average points per game between the Saints and Eagles is 14.7, which is more than two other NFL teams (Cardinals, Bills) are scoring per game this season. 

• The Eagles have gotten to 30 points once this season. The Saints have scored 40-plus in five games and have scored 30-plus in seven of nine. 

• Over the last two weeks, the Saints have scored 96 points — 70 of them came in the first halves of those games. The Eagles have scored 61 total points in their last three games. 

• Last week against the Bengals, the Saints scored 35 points in the first half. The most points the Eagles have scored in any game this season was 34. 

“Obviously, we realize as of late, they’ve gotten up on teams early,” Carson Wentz said. “We have a ton of confidence in our defense, but that’s a heck of an offense over there. We don’t try to look too much into that, because, at the end of the day, we have high expectations and standards on the offensive side of the ball. We realize we have some things that we need to clean up, especially in situational football, some of it being red zone and those sorts of things. We realize we might have to score, but again, we have a lot of confidence in our defense. And we’re excited. This is going to be a fun matchup.”

The only loss the Saints (8-1) have this season came in the opener when the Bucs were hot and beat them 48-40. One of the more troubling things is that in the only two games the Saints have been kept under 30, they won both. The Browns held them to 21 points in Week 2, but the Saints won 21-18. And the Ravens held them to 24 points in Week 7, but the Saints won 24-23. That’s clearly not the way they were built to win, but they’ve done it twice in nine games. 

Still, that has to be the objective for the Eagles. In both of those two games, the Browns and the Ravens had halftime leads of 6-3 and 10-7, respectively, before allowing the Saints to come back. If the Eagles want to have any chance to win this game, they can’t let the Saints run away early. 

If this ends up being a shootout, the Saints just have bigger guns.

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Eagles place Corey Clement, Josh Sweat injured reserve, add Boston Scott, Daeshon Hall to roster

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Eagles place Corey Clement, Josh Sweat injured reserve, add Boston Scott, Daeshon Hall to roster

The Eagles on Tuesday signed defensive end Daeshon Hall and running back Boston Scott to the 53-man roster and formerly placed defensive end Josh Sweat and running back Corey Clement on injured reserve. Both got hurt in the loss to the Cowboys Sunday. The team also signed CB Josh Hawkins to the practice squad

Hall, originally a third-round pick of the Panthers out of Texas A&M last year, played in only one game as a rookie with Carolina and got just nine snaps before going on IR with a knee injury. The Panthers released him before this season began, and he’s spent time since then on the 49ers’ and Texans’ practice squads.

Scott was the Saints’ sixth-round pick this year out of Louisiana Tech this year. He had been on the Saints’ practice squad since final cuts.

Clement hurt his knee in the loss to Dallas and Sweat injured his ankle.

Clement, a Super Bowl hero as an undrafted rookie last year with 100 receiving yards in the win over the Patriots, spent much of this season dealing with a nagging quad injury, but he had just started playing at a high level before getting hurt. 

He had 76 and 74 yards from scrimmage in the wins over the Giants and Redskins and finished with 68 carries for 259 yards and two rushing TDs plus 22 catches for 192 yards.

Sweat, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Florida State, didn’t play in the Eagles’ first four games this year but got some work after Derek Barnett suffered his season-ending shoulder injury against the Titans. Sweat got 68 reps on defense and 24 on special teams and had four tackles and two hurries.

Sweat is the sixth defensive player on injured reserve, joining Barnett, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Paul Worrilow. Clement joins Jay Ajayi, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins as offensive players on IR. 

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If you've given up on Carson Wentz, you're out of your freaking mind

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If you've given up on Carson Wentz, you're out of your freaking mind

When Carson Palmer told our Dave Zangaro over the summer that it really takes a quarterback two years to get himself physically and mentally right after reconstructive knee surgery, I kind of brushed it off.

God didn’t design your knee to split it open, pull everything apart, wrap stuff with pliers, wrench stuff down, screw a ligament into a bone and then sew it all back up. That wasn’t intended for the knee.

Carson Wentz will be different, I figured. He’s Carson Wentz. He’s Superman.

I figured he’d pick up right where he left off once he was healthy enough to play.

It hasn’t gone that way. Wentz may be Superman, but his knee is human. And we’re all seeing that.

It’s been a disappointing year for the Eagles and a disappointing year for Wentz.

And it’s tough to put your finger on exactly what’s happening with him, other than he just doesn’t look like himself.

His numbers are really good. He’s got the seventh-highest passer rating in the NFL. He’s on pace to join Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers as only the second QB in history with 25 or more TD passes and single-digit interceptions in consecutive seasons.

He's faced five top-10 defenses, and he’s got 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in those games.

So he’s not playing poorly by any means, although the Saints game was a disaster for everybody. 

But he just looks off. We all see it. Something isn’t right.

Decision making has been clunky. Comfort level in the pocket isn't there. At times, he holds the ball too long and at times, he misses open guys. 

And it has to be the knee. And the way I figure, it has to be temporary.

I’ve written a lot about Wentz the last couple weeks, but I needed to again because this needs to be said:

If you’ve given up on Carson Wentz you’re out of your freaking mind.

The way he played last year before he got hurt — flinging the ball up and down the field, using his legs as a springboard for playmaking, making huge plays at huge moments — didn’t just disappear.

Considering everything, he’s really performed at a high level this year. He shredded his knee a year ago yesterday. He didn’t have OTAs. He didn’t have a training camp. He didn’t have a preseason. 

And it’s important to note that he didn’t have any time off, either. While his teammates were celebrating a Super Bowl, Wentz was grinding for hours every day at the NovaCare Complex. He went right from the 2017 season to surgery to rehab to facing the Colts and I’m sure there’s some fatigue involved here, too.

In the Washington game two weeks ago, Wentz ran around and made more plays using this legs than he had all year, and I thought, “Whoa, he’s back.”

Then Sunday in Dallas, he again looked sluggish and slow-footed in the pocket, and you’re reminded that this is a non-linear process. 

All Wentz is going through is what anybody who’s ever torn up their knee has gone through, and that’s a slow, arduous process with highs and lows, ups and downs and lots of frustrating moments.

I’ve heard everything the last week. People are giving up on him. They want to trade him. Bench him. Draft a quarterback. Sign Nick Foles to a long-term deal. 

Suds. There’s always someone who wants Suds.

Twitter’s a funny place, isn’t it?

All Wentz needs is some time. It’s the one thing we never want to give anybody, but he needs it.

The guy we saw play 13 games at an MVP level last year hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s just still finding his way back. And Doug Pederson’s shaky play calling sure hasn’t helped.

And despite all this Wentz has a higher completion percentage than Pat Mahomes, a higher passer rating than Jared Goff, more passing yards than Russell Wilson.

Wentz is going to win a lot of football games for this team over the next decade. 

Giving up on him because he’s been inconsistent less than a year after ACL surgery is lunacy.

Looking at it honestly, I feel like Wentz hasn’t really fallen short. Maybe the only thing that was off was our expectations.

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