Eagles' starting O colder than the temperature

Eagles' starting O colder than the temperature


Frigid temperatures at the Linc on Sunday were in the teens. The wind chill dipped into single digits.

The Eagles' starting offense was colder.

Nick Foles didn't inspire much confidence as he and the starters put together a lackluster four drives in the first quarter as the Eagles eventually went on to lose the meaningless regular-season finale to the Cowboys by a score of 6-0 in an absolute snooze-fest (see Roob's observations).  

Before Sunday, the last time the Eagles were shut out was the last game of the 2009 season. The last time they were shut out at home was in 2005 against the Seahawks.

The good news is, the Eagles' defense played well for most of the afternoon and the entire team escaped without any real injuries.

The bad news is, confidence in Foles might be at an all-time low with a playoff game just two weeks away (see report card).

With the loss, the Eagles finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and failed to win the meaningless game that would have given them their first 14-win season in franchise history.

The Cowboys won and finished their season with a 9-7 record, which doesn't look terrible, but they missed the playoffs and had an extremely disappointing season a year after they were the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Sunday's game was the first scoreless game through three quarters in the NFL since December 2007.

The first half was brutal too. It was 0-0 after 30 minutes. The highlight of the first half was when punter Donnie Jones forgot to take off his warmup pants and had to do it in a hurry before booting a ball to the Dallas 4-yard line.

This was the first time an Eagles-Cowboys game had ever been scoreless at halftime, according to ESPN. It was the first scoreless half in Philadelphia since 1993.

It was the first scoreless game at halftime in the entire NFL since December 2011.

Turning point
The Cowboys put together a 99-yard touchdown drive after Jones pinned them at the centimeter mark. It put them up 6-0 after Dan Bailey's missed extra point. That's all they needed. 

Key stat
Foles was 4 for 11 for 39 yards and an interception. He had a passer rating of 9.3.

He became the first Eagles quarterback to have a passer rating under 10 with at least 10 passing attempts in a game since Donovan McNabb in 2007. He's the second player in the NFL to do it this season, joining Matt Cassel.

Offensive stud
No, he wasn't great, but Nate Sudfeld made a few good plays, including a 22-yard scramble. Sports talk radio will be fun in Philly for the next two weeks.

Offensive dud
Foles was pretty terrible in his four first-quarter drives. Maybe the offense could have put up points if Torrey Smith doesn't drop a pass on third down on the first drive, but it's hard to say. Foles didn't gain any confidence Sunday afternoon.

Defensive stud
Vinny Curry was forced to play a lot Sunday because Brandon Graham was out. He played really well. He was a force against the run, even after most of the other starters were out.

Defensive dud
Rasul Douglas didn't have a great game (see rookie report). He had a particularly bad series on the Cowboys' scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. He was beaten on a 20-yard slant for the touchdown.

Sidney Jones watch
Jones played some significant time in his NFL debut and had an up and down day. He showed he can play tight coverage at times. He did let Ezekiel Elliott get wide on him for a first-down run and later was beaten by Terrence Williams on a sluggo route, but the pass fell incomplete.

Jones left briefly in the third quarter after cramping and didn't return, although he was listed as probable to return.

Key plays
• Dak Prescott hit Brice Butler for a 20-yard touchdown pass to break the scoreless tie in the fourth quarter. Douglas was beaten on the play. That capped a 99-yard touchdown drive. It was the only score of the game.

• Sudfeld scrambled for 22 yards on third down in the third quarter, but the Eagles' offense stalled. Then Jones drilled a perfect punt that went out inside the Cowboys' 1-yard line.

• On Sudfeld's second drive, the Eagles started in Dallas territory, but Mack Hollins dropped a pass on first down. Then came a short run and a sack. That was the Eagles' best chance to score in the first half.

• Foles threw a terrible interception about 2/3s through the first quarter. He just underthrew the pass terribly.

• The Eagles stuffed Elliott on fourth down on the Cowboys' first drive.

• On a key third down in the first quarter, Smith dropped a pass on third down when he was wide open. The fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

Graham (ankle) sat out Sunday's game. He should be good to go for the playoffs. Same with Jalen Mills (ankle).

Up next
It's playoff time at the Linc in two weeks.

Eagle Eye: Bet your money Wentz starts vs Falcons

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Eagle Eye: Bet your money Wentz starts vs Falcons

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Carson Wentz participating in 11-on-11's. Why Barrett would put money on him starting the regular season opener. Brandon Graham is back at practice and Gunner got a chance to talk to him recently. Also, the Redskins sign Adrian Peterson and the guys think it's a great fit for the veteran running back.

1:00 - Gunner and Barrett's weekend update.
4:30 - Carson Wentz is back on 11-on-11's. Why it's a significant step.
9:30 - Brandon Graham is back practicing. Gunner had a chance to talk with him.
13:00 - Adrian Peterson signs with the Redskins.

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Carson Wentz feels good but big hurdle remains to start Week 1

Carson Wentz feels good but big hurdle remains to start Week 1

As Carson Wentz answered questions about how his practice went yesterday, the first day he was back in full-team 11-on-11 drills since late July, he couldn’t help but channel his inner Ice Cube. 

“I felt good,” Wentz said. “Knee was feeling good. It was a good day.” 

A good day indeed. 

As the Eagles’ franchise quarterback continues to rehab his torn ACL and LCL that he suffered back on Dec. 10, his goal has never changed. He wants to be ready to play in the Week 1 opener on Sept. 6, but it won’t ultimately be his call. He still says it’ll be “close.” 

It seems like Wentz is confident he’ll be ready to go, but the doctors need to clear him for contact. That remains the final hurdle before he can play in a game. 

“I feel good,” Wentz said. “Like I said, I think you guys see me out there. I have really no hesitation in the pocket when guys are around me. I feel really good but it’s going to come down to if they feel confident in contact and when that is. I can’t say yet.”

Wentz said he doesn’t know when the final test to be cleared for contact will come, but he is heavily involved with the doctors and trainers as they execute his rehab plan. They obviously need to listen to his input. 

After Wentz did full-team drills early in training camp, the Eagles backed off him for a few weeks. That was part of the plan, but was also likely impacted by the fear of unnecessary risk in an uncontrolled environment. 

That led to a frustrating few weeks.  

“I want to be out there every day,” Wentz said this morning. “I want to be a full participant in every single thing. But that wasn’t totally my call and you just have to be smart in those situations. It was tough, but yeah, getting out there in the full-team drills, I definitely enjoyed it.” 

Wentz said there’s nothing, in particular, he wants to see from himself over the next few weeks. Really, he just wants to get more reps with his teammates, specifically some new faces he’s throwing to. 

Doug Pederson on Sunday said Wentz and Nick Foles will split first-team reps 50-50 as the team starts to prepare both for the season opener on Sept. 6. 

Eventually, even if it doesn’t happen for Week 1, Wentz will be cleared for contact and will play in an NFL game. It won’t happen this preseason, but whenever it comes, Week 1, 2, whatever, he’s going to need to trust that knee. 

He doesn’t think there will be a mental hurdle to overcome. 

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I feel good out there. Obviously I haven’t been hit yet, but out there in the team drills, guys flying all around, all those things, I don’t feel like I have any mental hesitation. And I’m personally not worried about it.” 

Wentz has come a long way since Dec. 10 and the subsequent surgery. He called the rehab a “grueling process.” 

“Just from a rehab standpoint, when you’re in the building almost every day of the week, all offseason, you really don’t get any break,” Wentz said. “And then just the physical limitations early on and overcoming that step by step, it’s been a grueling process but I’m thankful for the progress that I have made.” 

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