Eagles

'Going dark' worked out well for Frank Reich

'Going dark' worked out well for Frank Reich

Frank Reich was not on the Colts' initial shortlist of head coaching candidates before they decided on and were burned by Josh McDaniels. 

Even if he was, he wouldn't have known. 

Because when Reich, introduced as the Colts' head coach on Tuesday, was still the Eagles' offensive coordinator, he was singularly focused on the playoffs. In fact, he wasn't prepared to even talk about another job while the Eagles were making their run to Super Bowl LII. 

Reich told his agent, Bob LaMonte, to hold his calls. 

"The stance that I took with my agent," Reich said, "the words were basically this: 'I'm going dark. I'm focused on the task at hand. And that's to help our team win playoff games and win the Super Bowl.' 

"And that meant no phone calls, no texts. Now, whether there was any activity or not, I was dark. I was focused on one thing. And after experiencing that and the importance of every detail in preparation for those games, I wouldn't change a thing."

That was a pretty big gamble for Reich. While John DeFilippo took a couple head coach interviews during the bye week, Reich didn't. That could have very well ruled him out from getting a top job and, really, it did until McDaniels backed out in Indy. 

Both Colts owner Jim Irsay and GM Chris Ballard said on Wednesday that they realized how big of a mistake it was to not include Reich on their original shortlist once they interviewed him for the job. 

"The more I think about it, the more I think how could you be so stupid and not see the clarity of it sooner?" Irsay said.

Even after McDaniels backed out of the Colts job, Reich said he never called his agent about Indy. He hoped the Colts would be interested but he wasn't going to chase them. If they didn't call, he was prepared to go back to work as the Eagles' offensive coordinator. Instead, he's one of 32 NFL head coaches. 

Reich's shining moment of his press conference came when he was asked if he loved or hated McDaniels for what happened. 

"The backup role has suited me well in my career," Reich returned, brilliantly. 

Of course, everything worked out great for Reich. His "dark" period didn't stop him from getting a job. In a weird way, it might have helped. And he was able to devote all of his energy to the Eagles' playoff run and he'll now get a Super Bowl ring out of it. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

Remember how overmatched Miles Sanders looked after gaining just 25 yards on 11 carries in the opener against the Redskins? Remember how lost he looked a week later when he was just 10-for-28 in Atlanta?

Three weeks into his rookie season, Sanders was averaging 3.1 yards per carry and ranked 28th out of 33 qualifying running backs.

Six from the bottom.

Since then?

Sanders has blossomed.

In the Eagles’ last nine games, Sanders is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, 7th-best in the league of 53 backs during that span.

Six from the top.

In a season with very few positives, Sanders’ development has been fun to watch.

What’s been the difference?

Sanders is just seeing things better, he’s running more decisively and he's moving the chains forward.

Nothing demonstrates that better than his percentage of carries that have gone for one or fewer yards.

In his first game, more than half his carries went for one or fewer yards (6 of 10). Through five games he was still at 35 percent, with 19 of 53 runs that went less than two yards.

In the last seven games, that number has dropped precipitously. Of his 62 carries since the Vikings game, only nine — nine of 62 — have been one or fewer yards. 

“I feel like I’ve been getting better and better each week,” the second-round pick from Penn State said. “Everybody’s been telling me that, but most importantly, I’ve been noticing it myself, just trying to get better and do it each week. I feel more confident just as far as reading where I’m supposed to be, getting my eyes in the right place and just playing ball out there.”

Sanders has 520 rushing yards and needs 118 to break LeSean McCoy’s franchise rookie rushing record of 637, set in 2009.

He has 879 scrimmage yards and needs 130 to break DeSean Jackson’s franchise rookie scrimmage yards record of 1,008, set in 2008.

Going into this weekend, he was second to Raiders 1st-round pick Josh Jacobs among rookies with 879 scrimmage yards and fourth in rushing (behind Jacobs, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary).

Is Doug Pederson using Sanders enough?

That’s a different question. 

Sanders is averaging 4.5 yards per carry overall but still has only the 30th-most carries in the league and the 25th-most touches among running backs. 

“I think you're seeing the patience in the running game,” Doug Pederson said. “His vision is better, it's improved from Week 1 to Week 13. The more he gets time, the more he gets snaps, the better he'll get.”

Sanders has taken care of the production. Now it’s up to Pederson to take care of getting him more snaps.

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Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

9:57 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! 

We have waited a long time for tonight, but the Eagles will host Eli Manning and the Giants tonight at the Linc. Here are five matchups to watch.

If you’re heading to the game, bring your rain gear. 

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