Eagles

Eagles taking full advantage of new TD celebration rules

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Eagles taking full advantage of new TD celebration rules

The Eagles routed the 49ers on Sunday but the game was not without controversy. Zach Ertz had to answer for throwing at Alshon Jeffery, and whether the beanball was intentional.

"I was trying to dust him off," Ertz said. "From my perspective, it kind of looked like he was crowding the plate, so I wanted to brush him back a little bit. Unfortunately, I slipped and it just hit him."

Ertz and Jeffery were the latest players involved in the Eagles' elaborate baseball-themed touchdown celebrations. Only this time, Jeffery's 53-yard home-run touchdown wasn't followed by an imaginary home run in the end zone.

Instead, Ertz plunked Jeffery, and the wide receiver did not take kindly to the hit by pitch. Jeffery charged the mound, and Ertz ran away — all part of the choreographed madness after the Eagles took a 20-point third-quarter lead.

"He's a big and intimidating guy, so I just wanted to get out of there," Ertz said. "Hopefully, all of my teammates would stand up for me, but unfortunately, they didn't. They were on his side."

Nobody bothered to hold Jeffery back as he rushed the pitcher, but that's OK. He planned the whole thing.

"I'll take credit," Jeffery said of the unique take on baseball celebrations.

The NFL changed the rules in the offseason to allow for group celebrations, and the Eagles are one of the teams taking full advantage and having a blast with it. In other words, you can count on the offense to keep coming up with new ways to celebrate together as a team, regardless of who crosses the goal line.

"No matter who scores, we're going to keep having fun," Jeffery said.

"We're just trying to get the timing — who's going to do this, who's going to do that. Whoever scores the touchdown has to be the main character, but other than that, we're just trying to figure out who's going to do the rest of the stuff."

It's a great sign because it means the Eagles are crossing the goal line with enough frequency to not only coordinate celebrations but also keep coming up with new acts.

The celebrations serve as a commentary on this team as well. This group continues to bond and have fun together, and that's never more apparent than when they get six.

"It's a blast right now," Ertz said. "We're having a lot of fun. We're playing extremely loose. We have a lot of confidence each and every week when we go out there. It's a fun group.

"We have a lot of unselfish guys that all they care about is winning, so it's a really fun environment right now."

The Eagles improved their record to 7-1, which remains the best mark in the NFL. With home-field advantage and a bye in the postseason on the table, and Super Bowl conversation all around town, the team would have every excuse to stiffen up and start getting tight.

But it doesn't look or sound like that's going to happen, and the celebrations are just one reason why.

"We're just living in the moment, staying in the moment," Jeffery said. "Just keep going."

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Carson Wentz's remarkable consistency, expectations of Nate Gerry, questions at wideout, a Zach Ertz stat you absolutely won't believe and the rarity of Eagles Hall of Fame teammates.

Roob's 10 random Eagles observations don't get much more random than this!

1. Can we take a moment to talk about how insanely consistent Wentz was before he got hurt? Wentz’s lowest passer rating last year was an 83.0 in the loss to the Chiefs. He threw for 333 yards with two TDs and one INT and that was his worst game of the year. Wentz is one of just four quarterbacks in NFL history to open a season with a rating of 83 or higher in every game through the first 13 games of a season. Which of course is when his season ended. Including the last week of 2016, Wentz goes into 2018 on a streak of 14 straight games with a rating of 83 or higher. That’s seventh longest in NFL history, and the longest active streak. Wentz’s 21 career games with a passer rating of 83 or higher are tied for third most in NFL history by any QB after two seasons, behind only Dan Marino (23) and Russell Wilson (23). And he missed the last three games of the season. What a talent.

2. I’m curious to see Gerry this summer. With Mychal Kendricks off to the Browns and Paul Worrilow out for the season, there are roster spots to be won and playing time to be earned behind Nigel Bradham (out for the opener) and injury-plagued Jordan Hicks. After starting his rookie season on the practice squad, Gerry got an October promotion onto the 53 and got into 10 games and all three playoff games, almost all of it on special teams. He looked bigger and stronger in spring practices as he continues to transition from safety to linebacker. With a good summer, he can definitely find himself in the mix.

3. Ertz had nine third-down catches for first down in the 2017 playoffs. Jason Witten had eight playoff third-down catches for first down in his 15-year career.

4. And Ertz’s nine third-down catches in last year's postseason are the most by any tight end in a single postseason — and second most by any player — in the last 30 years.

5. The Eagles converted 61 percent of their third downs during the 2017 postseason, which is insane. That’s the fourth highest in NFL history by any team in a single postseason (among teams playing at least two playoff games). The Broncos converted 75 percent in 1997, the Rams 63 percent in 2004 and the Colts 62 percent in 1995.  

6. You thought Vaughn Hebron was fast? His daughter, Sanaa, won the AAU national title for the 400-meter dash this weekend in 55.31. That would have placed her fourth in the Big East championships this year. She’s 13 years old. Vaughn’s sons, competing in the 17-18 age group, are no slouches, either. Savion ran 10.78 and 21.68 for the 100 and 200, and Savaughn ran a 2:00 split on the Trenton Track club’s 3,200-meter relay team. So Vaughn right now is at best the fourth-fastest person in his own family. But he does have a couple Super Bowl rings.

7. So many questions at wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Will Mike Wallace slow down at 32? Can Mack Hollins make a big jump in Year 2? Will Shelton Gibson show enough in camp to work his way into the roster mix? Can Markus Wheaton regain the form that made him so dangerous with the Steelers in 2014 and 2015? Can speedy Bryce Treggs make any sort of impact in his third year? Potentially, an exceptional group.

8. Nick Foles is the third-youngest active quarterback in the NFL with at least three career playoff wins. Foles turns exactly 29 years, six months on Thursday. Cam Newton (29, 68 days) and Andrew Luck (who turns 29 in September) also have three postseason wins.

9. Interesting that during 2004 and part of 2005 the Eagles had two future Hall of Famers, Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens. What was the last Eagles team before 2004 with two Hall of Famers? It was actually 1997, when Dawkins and Richard Dent were briefly teammates. Before that, it was 1987 through 1989, with Reggie White and Cris Carter. Before that, you have to go back to 1968, with Bob Brown and Mike Ditka. So the 14 games that Dawkins and Dent played together during an otherwise forgotten 1997 season are the only Eagles games in the last 50 years where two future Hall of Famers played alongside each other on the same side of the ball.

10. Dawkins didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fourth season and didn’t make All-Pro until his sixth. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding that “so-and-so can't play” two weeks into his rookie training camp.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye: How players handle last days before training camp

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Eagle Eye: How players handle last days before training camp

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss what players are doing the final days leading up to the beginning of training camp. Following the Josh Hader social media controversy, how would something like that play out in an NFL locker room? MLB All-Star Game had players mic'd up. Which Eagles would you want to hear from live during a game?

1:00 - Guys are excited for training camp.
3:00 - What are players doing the last days leading up to training camp?
7:00 - Josh Hader's controversial past tweets.
14:00 - How would that play in a NFL locker room?
19:00 - Barrett doesn't like burgers with cheese.
21:30 - If you could hear NFL players mic'd up during a game, which Eagles would you want to hear from?

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