Eagles

Jordan Matthews says back injury has been affecting Carson Wentz

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Jordan Matthews says back injury has been affecting Carson Wentz

While Carson Wentz’s back injury has taken center stage this week as he’s missed practice and his season could reportedly be over, it’s not a new problem. 

And one of his best friends on the Eagles thinks it had been affecting Wentz for at least some time this season. Wearing a red, white and blue AO1 shirt on Thursday afternoon, Jordan Matthews wouldn’t speculate how long Wentz’s back injury has bothered him, but said he knew it was. 

“He’s one of the toughest dudes I know, but of course it’s going to affect him,” Matthews said. 

A recent CT scan revealed a fracture in Wentz’s back, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark confirmed Thursday. But Wentz’s back issue dates back to at least October. 

Wentz first appeared on the injury report on Oct. 17. He was limited in practice for consecutive Wednesdays before the Panthers and Jaguars games heading into the bye week. 

He has played every snap in all seven games since first appearing on the injury report. But Matthews said, as one of his best friends on the team, he knew the injury was affecting the franchise quarterback. 

Of course, you gotta be somewhat affected. I think you can just look at the quarterback position, you’re going through reads. You have to be able to twist, you have to be able to turn. Carson is probably the best quarterback also throwing off the run, so that affects your running too. He’s wearing a knee brace. This guy is playing through a lot. Do I think it affected him? Of course. Do I know exactly how? I’m not going to speculate on that. What I’m definitely saying is what, he still (has) 20 touchdowns, less than 10 interceptions? That’s still high level production with an injury.

Let’s take a look at Wentz’s production this season: 

Here’s a look at his first four games before appearing on the injury report: 68 percent completion percentage, 1,192 yards (292 per game), 8 touchdowns, 1 interceptions, 104.7 passer rating

And his seven games since hitting the injury report: 70 percent completion percentage, 1,882 yards (269 per game), 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 100.5 rating. 

It’s a small sample size, but there was at least a very slight drop-off in his level of play, though it’s hard to see it. And it’s going to be hard to know just how exactly the injury affected Wentz until he gets to talk for himself. Zach Ertz said on Wednesday that Wentz wants to speak to reporters. But until he does, we have to take Matthews’ word for it. 

Wentz was at practice on Thursday, even though he didn’t participate. He was engaging with teammates and made sure to stay with the quarterbacks during drills. 

“Carson, he’s going to handle this like a champ,” Matthews said. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s the best young quarterback in the league, I think hands down. He was even playing at a high level with what he was dealing with. I don’t know if you know, going through reads, it helps to have a healthy back. He was still going out there and producing at a high level with the injury. 

“I think obviously with this situation right now, sitting now, I don’t think it’s affecting his confidence at all. He knows who he is. He knows what he brings to the table and he knows what he means to this team. It just sucks that he can’t play right now, but he’s still out there communicating, we’re talking on the sideline and in between periods. He’s still the same guy, great teammate.”

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NFL Week 15 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 15 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are my games to watch for in Week 15 of the NFL season:

Bears at Packers — Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
The Bears are growling again. They have three straight wins and are playing like a playoff team. The only problem is their many stumbles along the way have them at just 7-6, and currently the No. 8 seed in the NFC playoff pitcure. They travel to Green Bay with revenge on their minds, still remembering the season-opening loss to the Packers. That the Packers are 10-3 — currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC — is amazing in itself. Defensively, they stop either the run or the pass but never both in a game. Offensively, they don’t score a lot of points and rarely win impressively, but the bottom line is more times than not they have found a way to win. First-year head coach Matt LeFleur has his squad believing in his system. The Pack will rack up their 11th W at Lambeau.

Texans at Titans — Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS

One team is exciting by land, the other by air. Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins gives defenses fits weekly. Tennessee RB Derrick Henry is a battering ram. These two are currently tied for the lead in the AFC South but after getting blasted by Denver last week, Houston is still in control based on best win percentage in division games. The Titans are currently the No. 7 seed. Since QB Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota after Week 6, the Titans have won six of their last seven and four in a row. Houston has the capability of rising up for big games with wins over the Patriots and Chiefs, but the Titans are hot, and I’m going with the hot team at home. Side note: They'll meet again Week 17.

Vikings at Chargers — Sunday, 4:05 p.m. on CBS

The only thing the Chargers have left to play for is pride and the Vikings are jockeying for better seeding and a possible division title. Under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have not fared well when traveling west, sporting a 1-6 record in road games played in the Mountain or Pacific time zones. Two of the Chargers' five wins have come against the NFC North. The Vikings' defense is starting to jell again and they’ll need cohesiveness on D because Philip RIvers' offense can light it up at any given moment. The Vikings know what’s at stake — it wont be easy, but they’ll find a way to get the job done.

Rams at Cowboys — Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Don’t look now, but the Rams are starting to play like the team that represented the NFC in last season’s Super Bowl. They’ve won three in a row with the offense functioning like a well-oiled machine and the defense making plays. As for Dallas, fans are calling for heads to roll, starting with head coach Jason Garrett. They’ve lost three straight and haven’t beaten a quality opponent all season. With that said, they somehow still control the NFC East. They have the the talent all over the field, yet don’t have the wins to show for it. What should have been a promising season will be a disaster if they don’t find a way to rebound and make the playoffs. Sorry, Dallas, until you prove otherwise, you’re just not ram tough enough to win this one.

Bills at Steelers — Sunday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Just when it looked like Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would have to endure his first losing season in Pittsburgh, his squad has risen from the ashes. A team that was 1-4 at one point is now 8-5, riding a three-game winning streak, and currently the sixth seed in the AFC. What’s even more impressive is that Tomlin is using his third QB of the season. Rookie free agent Devlin “Duck” Hodges has been on the winning side on all three of his starts. The defense has tightened the loose gaps and is playing 'Burgh ball. The Bills have been writing an incredible story of their own. They are currently the fifth seed and just one game behind New England in the AFC East. Buffalo is striving for its first 10-win season since 1999. It will also be Buffalo’s first Sunday night appearance in 12 years. Two good defenses in this one. Two teams hoping to move one step closer to solidifying a playoff spot. This one has the makings of a brass knuckles brawl with the Steelers delivering the final knockout blow.

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Here comes wide receiver Robert Davis … to save the day?

Here comes wide receiver Robert Davis … to save the day?

He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong. 

Can he play? Who knows? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday. 

Meet Robert Davis. He’s the 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver who once ran a 4.44 at the combine and tested through the roof. He’s also the receiver whom the Eagles called up from their practice squad earlier this week after even more injuries at the position. 

It’s probably unfair to expect a 24-year-old receiver with four career games and one career catch under his belt to suddenly cure all the Eagles’ ails at wide receiver. But here we are.  

I tweeted that video on Thursday and most of the responses were hilarious. Some were tongue-in-cheek, like suggesting that since he caught a ball the Eagles should sign him a long-term deal. But some were genuine — in that, hey, here’s a guy with an impressive frame and possibly some untapped potential. Heck, it’s gotten so bad at receiver, he’ll surely help, right? 

Last week’s 23-17 win over the Giants should be remembered as the practice squad game because three guys — Boston Scott, Josh Perkins and Greg Ward Jr. — all played a big part of the victory and all three were on the practice squad less than two months earlier. 

So … on one hand, Davis uses that as encouragement. Hey, if they can do it, so can I. 

On the other hand, maybe there are now some unfair and unrealistic expectations on just how big of an impact Davis will be able to have in his first game with the Eagles. 

“We’re all competitors,” Davis said. “That’s why we’re in the NFL. Seeing [Ward] go out there and have success, I want to go out there and have success, too.”

The Redskins saw that potential in Davis when they drafted him in the sixth round out of Georgia State back in 2017. It’s pretty easy to see why they used a pick on him. 

Despite his athleticism, Davis split time between the 53-man roster and the practice squad as a rookie and then broke his leg in 2018. Davis came back in 2019 but didn’t play much and eventually got cut. He’s been with the Eagles since he signed to the practice squad on Oct. 7. 

This weekend, Davis will play his first game as an Eagle and it’ll come against his former team in Washington. He’s as excited about that as Eagles fans are about seeing him play. 

And if you want to get even more over-hyped about Davis, here’s what his former Redskins and current Eagles teammate Nate Sudfeld said about him last month: 

He’s a freak of nature. He’s got muscles on top of muscles. Definitely looks the part of a big, freak wide receiver, and he plays big. He’s got speed, really good at running routes, he’s smart. He’s got a bright future, definitely.

Maybe Davis will just have a short stay on the Eagles’ active roster. Maybe he won’t even be able to make an impact. But, for now, it’s fun for fans to dream about finding another diamond in in the practice squad. 

After his call-up, Davis took over a real locker stall at the NovaCare Complex, moving up from the pop-up variety. While he’s listed as Robert on the roster, his nameplate said Rob. 

What does he prefer? 

“My mom named me Robert,” he said. “I go by Rob for my homeboys.”

You can decide what to call him after watching Sunday’s game.  

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