Get ready to learn a lot about these Eagles

Get ready to learn a lot about these Eagles

We'll learn a lot about this Eagles team over the next few weeks and into the playoffs. 

This week we've already learned a little. 

It would be pretty understandable if the Eagles didn't have a very good week at practice. After all, they're down an MVP now. The team has overcome injuries to several key players throughout the season, but this is decidedly different. This time it was Carson Wentz. 

"It's tough," head coach Doug Pederson said Friday. "It's tough when you lose your starter. But the guys have really responded well offensively around Nick (Foles). And he's jumped in and commanded the huddle." 

There were probably a few downtrodden faces moping about through the NovaCare Complex this week. Really, it would be strange if there weren't. It's a lot, overcoming the loss of a guy like Wentz. But the way the Birds have handled this week should be encouraging for fans who were ready to pack it in and cancel Christmas. 

The overall excitement and cheerful attitude have come from Pederson. He won't let his players be depressed. And then it comes from Foles; as a veteran, he's taken over with confidence, which rubs off. 

Still, it's a pretty natural response for other guys to feel the need to step up when a key contributor like Wentz goes down. That's a good thing. The thing the Eagles have to make sure doesn't happen is guys trying to do too much. Pederson admitted there's a little bit of a fine line. 

"At the end of the day, I don't want guys to go above and beyond what they've been doing to help us win games," Pederson said. "They don't have to do anything more than just their job and their responsibility in whatever their role is in the game plan. That goes for Nick. It's been a while since he's been out there playing and you don't want him to press. You want to let the game unfold in front of you. The guys around him, I think as a team there's going to be that sense of rally. Let's support him, but let's support everybody." 

Several members of the Eagles' defense said this week that they don't feel any extra pressure going forward without Wentz. Again, it would be understandable if they did. Wentz was such a dynamic player this season that he could make up for mistakes. This team probably lost some leash when it comes to playing mistake-free football. 

But the Eagles' defensive players can't try to fill in for Wentz. They have to just play their role. 

"It's about everybody trusting the guy next to him and doing your job, not trying to do anything out of the ordinary," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "Not trying to be a superhero. Just go out there and do your job."

Pederson is happy his team already clinched the NFC East, but a win this weekend would earn a first-round bye. If the Eagles win and the Vikings lose this weekend, they can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

As of Friday, Pederson said he hadn't thought about if he'd rest starters in the season finale if things are already wrapped up. 

"You just have to stay the course, stay consistent," Pederson said of his message to the team. "We know what's ahead of us, we know what's in front of us. We still control a lot."

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity


Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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