Eagles

With few options at RB, Eagles might have to get creative

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With few options at RB, Eagles might have to get creative

Maybe hold off on declaring the Eagles “winners” after the NFL’s initial free agent rush, unless you’re comfortable with the idea of Wendell Smallwood as the team’s lead ball carrier.

Running back was arguably the Eagles’ biggest need entering the offseason, yet so far the front office has come up empty-handed here. Worse still, there appear to be few great options remaining on the market, which means executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman may need to get creative.

You can understand why the Eagles might avoid a volatile, high-priced Le’Veon Bell type or somebody with Kareem Hunt’s baggage. More unclear is why the club wasn’t in on an established back like Mark Ingram or high-upside prospect Tevin Coleman, both at affordable prices.

Regardless, the top free-agent runners are spoken for, and the Eagles likely must look elsewhere to obtain a true feature back.

Is a trade on the horizon?

I wouldn’t be too quick to criticize the front office quite yet. The appearance the Eagles weren’t serious players for any of the big names on the market may be a sign Roseman has something — or somebody — else in mind.

For example, the Eagles have been linked to Bears running back Jordan Howard since before last season’s trade deadline. I’m not sure why another team is itching to get rid of a 24-year-old averaging 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns rushing in his first three seasons, but Howard would certainly fill the void here.

There are no official reports confirming the Eagles’ interest in Howard. However, if he is available, one can surmise Roseman has been on the phone.

Arizona’s David Johnson and Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette were also mentioned as potential Eagles targets in the past six months, though both backs are currently believed to be staying put.

Perhaps there is a deal out there that’s not yet been rumored or even imagined in the sports media landscape. Nothing seems impossible with Roseman at the helm.

Looking to the draft?

The Eagles are almost certainly going to take a running back at some point in April’s draft, and with three picks in the first two rounds, it could happen early. But while nobody would balk at the idea, that doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.

It’s always a leap to assume a rookie will immediately fill a feature role in an NFL offense, which is what the Eagles need. Furthermore, the cupboard is bare in the backfield, with only Smallwood, Corey Clement — who ended last season on injured reserve — Jamal Adams and Boston Scott under contract. One new body may not be enough.

So while this draft could contain the Eagles’ running back of the future, it shouldn’t be treated as a given, either.

Another year of running back by committee?

If Roseman doesn’t have a trade up his sleeve, it’s looking like the Eagles will be back to relying on a committee in 2019.

There are some borderline lead backs on the market, granted in short supply. Were the Eagles to pair the likes of Isaiah Crowell, C.J. Anderson or Spencer Ware with a promising rookie, such a tandem might not electrify the fan base, but it would create some semblance of stability at the position.

The Eagles could even re-sign Jay Ajayi, provided he’ll be healthy. Were it not for a torn ACL, Ajayi probably would’ve been one of the top runners on the market, even with a chronic knee issue.

Free agent T.J. Yeldon and Browns running back Duke Johnson have also been mentioned as possibilities, but more as potential replacements for Darren Sproles.

Any of these additions is a strong indication the Eagles will once again go without a feature back, an all-too-familiar situation for the offense since LeSean McCoy’s departure in 2015. If that turns out to be the case, it makes you wonder what Roseman was thinking when the top free agents all chose to sign elsewhere.

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Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

If you quickly thought “W” when you saw the Eagles were hosting Washington at the Linc to open up the 2019 regular season, you’re not the only one. 

The Eagles opened up as eight-point favorites on FanDuel. That’s pretty consistent with other sports books too. I’ve also seen them at 8 1/2. 

That eight-point spread is the biggest of Week 1 in the NFL, but that shouldn’t be too surprising. Maybe if Washington trades for Josh Rosen, that changes. Maybe if they draft a quarterback in the first round, that changes. But for now? That seems about right. 

Washington fell apart last year, but the Eagles beat them 28-13 in Week 13 and 24-0 in Week 17. In the last two seasons, the Eagles are 4-0 against the Skins and have beaten them by an average of 15 1/2 points per game. If that continues, they'll cover easily. 

Elsewhere in NFL Week 1, the Seahawks are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Bengals, the Cowboys are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Giants and the Saints are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Texans. Those three favorites are also at home. 

Taking a quick look at FanDuel’s futures odds, the Eagles are tied for the seventh-longest odds to win the Super Bowl at +1,600. That means if you bet $100, you’d win $1,600. 

Here are current Super Bowl odds: 

Patriots: +700
Chiefs: +800
Saints: +850
Rams: +900
Browns: +1400
Chargers: +1400
Bears: +1600
Colts: +1600
Eagles: +1600
Packers: +1800
Vikings: +2000
Steelers: +2000
Cowboys: +2300
Falcons: +2600
Texans: +2800
Seahawks: +2900
49ers: +3000
Jaguars: +3300
Ravens: +3400
Panthers: +5000
Titans: +5000
Raiders: +5500
Broncos: +6000
Giants: +6000
Jets: +6000
Buccaneers: +6000
Bills: +8000
Lions: +8000
Redskins: +8000
Bengals: +10000
Cardinals: +11000
Dolphins: +12000

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Phillies are to blame for Eagles' 3-game road trip in October

Phillies are to blame for Eagles' 3-game road trip in October

You know that three-game road trip the Eagles have in the middle of October? 

You can blame Bryce Harper, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King. 

Really. 

This is kind of wild. The NFL schedule makers really looked at the Phillies’ roster and decided they might be a team to go deep in the playoffs. It does seem possible, but we might be jumping the gun a little. Although, on our Eagle Eye podcast last night, Reuben Frank did say the Eagles wouldn’t be at home in October because the Phils would be in the World Series. (I thought he was joking.) 

But here’s the Eagles’ schedule. After a home game against the New York Jets on Oct. 6, the Eagles are on the road for three straight weeks, when the Phillies could theoretically be in the playoffs: 

Week 6 — at MIN on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
Week 7 — at DAL on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.
Week 8 — at BUF on Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.

For reference, the 2018 World Series wrapped up with a Game 5 on Oct. 28. The Eagles host the Bears at 1 p.m. on Nov. 3, so maybe we’ll have an NFL playoff rematch and Game 7 of the World Series in South Philadelphia later this year. Are we getting ahead of ourselves a bit? 

After the Eagles have these three road games, they are home for three straight too. Still, the three-game trip on the road isn’t ideal. At least there’s not a west coast trip in there somewhere. 

In September of this year, the Eagles host games on Sept. 8 (Washington) and Sept. 22 (Detroit). The NFL has the benefit of seeing the MLB regular season schedule before putting out theirs. So on Sept. 8, the Phillies are at the Mets and on Sept. 22, they’re in Cleveland. This is the way the NFL always handles these two teams. They make sure the Eagles are away when the Phillies are home. 

The last time the Eagles and Phillies played on the same day in South Philly was Oct. 2, 2011. That was also the last year the Phillies were in the playoffs. 

On that day, the times were staggered. The Eagles kicked off at 1 p.m. against the 49ers at the Linc and the Phillies’ first pitch against the Cardinals in the NLDS was at 8:37 p.m. (The Eagles lost 24-23 and the Phillies lost Game 2, 5-4.) 

There were 69,144 people at the Linc that day and 46,575 at Citizens Bank Park that evening. I’d guess a lot of folks pulled the sports complex double-header that day. It won’t be possible this year.

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