Eagles

Next 3 Eagles opponents should ease Nick Foles' transition

Next 3 Eagles opponents should ease Nick Foles' transition

Nick Foles has stepped into a pretty good situation. The team he is now the starting quarterback for owns the best record in its conference and is tied for the best record in the NFL. The Eagles have already clinched their division and could have a bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs wrapped up by Sunday night. His offense is scoring the most points per game in the league. The Eagles rank second in rushing and 11th in passing. His defense is allowing the fifth fewest points per contest.

Beyond that, the first opponent he’ll face is the cover-your-eyes-bad, 2-11 New York Giants. Following that are the disappointing, 6-7 Raiders and the 7-6 Cowboys, who could very well be eliminated from the playoff race by the season finale on Dec. 31. Dig a little deeper into the teams that Foles will face and you’ll find three clubs that could aid greatly in Foles' getting some serious confidence under his belt before a postseason run.    

Giants (2-11)
New York is a four-alarm dumpster fire. The Giants have already canned their head coach and general manager. They’re 0-4 in the NFC East and 0-9 in the NFC. You may have heard, Eli Manning was benched, then he wasn’t. Defensively, they are dead last in the league in yards per game, second to last in rushing and passing yards, and 27th in points allowed. This team doesn’t just have tee-times made, they’re on the 17th hole. Yes, the Eagles needed a Jake Elliott 61-yard field goal to beat them at home in Week 3 but that was forever ago for both teams. This is an ideal launching spot for Nicky Six 2.0.

Raiders (6-7)
Oakland went 12-4 and made the postseason last year. This year’s version has been a major disappointment. The Raiders rank 20th or below defensively in points allowed, total defense and passing yards per game. The only reason they still presently cling to any playoff hope is that the Chiefs have won just two of their last eight games and the Chargers started the season 0-4 only to dig out and sit at 7-6. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio called out his club for its lack of urgency in a loss to K.C. on Sunday. Oakland trailed 26-0 in a game with everything on the line. The silver and black are on the mat and don’t appear really interested in getting up. Yet another great spot for Foles and the Eagles to tune up for the playoff run.

Cowboys (7-6)
There are four teams ahead of the Cowboys for the final wild-card spot in the NFC. They need some divine intervention type of miracles to get back to the playoffs this year. Ezekiel Elliott has one more game to serve from his suspension so he would be back for the Eagles … if it matters. The heavy odds are it won’t. The more realistic question is, how will Doug Pederson and the Eagles approach this one if the Birds have everything sewed up and a bye the next week? Will he sit Foles and the bulk of the starters? Will he take a preseason game No. 3 approach and give him a half? A cameo for a series perhaps? Andy Reid would sit his guys in these spots in years past but Pederson may want to get Foles some additional work since he became the starter so late in the season.

Any way you slice the three games, they give Foles an opportunity to get reacclimated to being an NFL starter and getting some game-time chemistry down with the ones against some not-so-great teams. 

Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

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Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

A year ago at this time, Nick Foles was preparing for a season on the bench as he just tried to stick around the NFL after falling back in love with the game.

He has a little higher profile now.

While Foles is preparing to possibly head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz, he is now the reigning Super Bowl MVP and added another trophy to his case on Wednesday night, when he was given the Best Championship Performance award at the ESPYS.

During his acceptance speech, Foles thanked a bunch of folks, used the word “y’all” more than enough times to remind everyone he’s from Texas and spoke candidly about the incredibly unique path his career has taken.

Here is Foles accepting the award from comedian (and Jim Schwartz’s former college teammate … seriously) Jim Gaffigan.

No, an ESPY is no Super Bowl MVP, but it’s a pretty nice honor and Foles is certainly deserving after leading the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl. Just a reminder, Foles completed 65 percent of his passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl LII.

Here’s his full speech from Wednesday night at the ESPYS:

I’m honored to be in front of all y’all. I never planned a speech. I quite frankly never expected to win this award or to even be in this moment. I just want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ability to play the game I love. You know, thank my wife Tori, she’s gone through her own battles the last five years. You’ve always been an inspiration. A lot of my family is here, so thank y’all for always supporting me.

It’s been a crazy career. If any of y’all know my career path, it doesn’t make sense. But you know, I’m here right now. My teammates, coaches, you know what, we faced so much adversity this year, we have an amazing team. It’s so much fun to go to work in that locker room every single day. I couldn’t have done it without y’all. We see what happened. We won the first Super Bowl in Philadelphia history, so we’ve got a special group of guys.

And then to the Philadelphia fans. Y’all get a (bad) rap everywhere, but the passion, y’all bring it every single day. So thank y’all. And finally, there’s a lot of kids watching this and it’s kind of been the theme. There are going to be people who doubt you. Don’t listen to them. What matters is what’s in here (taps on chest) and the people who love you and support you. Go out there every day and be bold. Thank you.

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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.

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