Eagles

NFL testing new make-it, take-it rule in 2020 Pro Bowl

NFL testing new make-it, take-it rule in 2020 Pro Bowl

The NFL is testing a new rule in this year's Pro Bowl that might actually make the game worth watching.

The rule, announced Tuesday, is being presented as an alternative to onside kicks, and would help teams stage dramatic comebacks. It would be a supremely exciting addition to pro football, and would also make the game safer by limiting kickoffs. In other words, it'll probably never get the green light.

Here's a full breakdown of the test rule, per the NFL Operations website:

"Team A may elect to give Team B the ball at Team B’s 25-yard line, beginning a new series of downs with a first-and-10.

"Or, Team A may elect to take the ball at its own 25-yard line for a fourth-and-15 play.

"If Team A is successful in making a first down, Team A will maintain possession and a new series of downs will continue as normal.

"If Team A is unsuccessful in making a first down, the result will be a turnover on downs and Team B will take possession at the dead ball spot."

On top of eliminating kickoffs entirely, which is likely to become a permanent Pro Bowl staple, the rule would effectively let teams play make-it, take-it, if they can convert a long-shot gamble.

According to Brian Burke at Advanced Football Analytics, going for a 4th & 15 from your own 25-yard line is worth -2.5 expected points, which is not exactly a good-odds play. But, considering how aggressive coaches have been in recent years on fourth downs, including the Eagles' Doug Pederson, the mere option would probably lead to some interesting in-game choices.

The Broncos proposed a similar rule last offseason, though the Denver version of the rule would've allowed teams to attempt the 4th & 15 play from their own 35-yard line, rather than their own 25-yard line. The new rule makes the gamble even more intriguing, since the 25-yard line automatically places a team in field goal range.

The league's Competition Committee endorsed the Broncos' proposal last year, but owners voted it down, which is unfortunate. Hopefully, the fact that the league is testing the rule in a game, albeit the most meaningless game of the year, signals the idea isn't dead.

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Eagles might play a road game in Mexico City in 2020 NFL season

Eagles might play a road game in Mexico City in 2020 NFL season

The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday that one of their home games in 2020 will take place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which means the Eagles might play in Mexico City in 2020.

Fun! (Probably.)

Just two years after playing the Jaguars in London, the Eagles are one of six possible opponents for the Cardinals' game in Mexico. ESPN's Josh Weinfuss is reporting Friday that the Lions and Dolphins will not be the opponent:

This will mark the fifth straight season that the NFL has a game scheduled for Estadio Azteca, and the 13th time a game has been scheduled at Estadio Azteca all-time.

The Eagles actually have a super interesting, and kind of wacky, history with Mexico City games. 

They were scheduled to face the Detroit Lions in an exhibition on Aug. 11, 1968, which would've marked the first football game ever played in Mexico City, but the game was cancelled - without much explanation, according to the Associated Press. Half the stadium's tickets were going for about 40 cents at the time, according to the AP.

Ten years later, the Eagles actually ended up participating in the first NFL game held in Mexico City after all, a 14-7 exhibition loss to the Saints. According to Ron Jaworski, the locker rooms were tiny and the goal posts were crooked, which sounds fun.

All-time, the Eagles are 2-3 in international games, a record that probably doesn't mean much because they've played outside of the country once since 1993 - and that was a win.

Vamos Eagles.

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How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

The 2020 wide receiver draft picture got a lot more interesting Thursday night.

Alabama’s Henry Ruggs did his thing and ran 4.28 when the receivers ran their 40's at the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. He didn't break John Ross's record of 4.22, but he certainly did nothing to hurt his draft status. 

Neither did his college teammate, Jerry Jeudy, or Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. They remain the consensus top three receivers in the draft, and the Eagles, who have the 21st pick in the first round, would likely have to trade up to draft any of them.

But a few receivers helped themselves with their performances in Indy and a few may have hurt their stock as well, and it all could definitely affect the receiver-starved Eagles’ strategy in April.

HELPED THEMSELVES

JUSTIN JEFFERSON, LSU: Joe Burrow’s favorite target ran much faster than expected with a 4.43. We already know he’s productive - he caught a ridiculous 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns - and he backed that up with a faster 40 time than Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. How much that helps him remains to be seen, but he definitely helped himself.

CHASE CLAYPOOL, NOTRE DAME: There’s been talk about the 6-4, 240-pound Claypool moving to tight end, but then he went out and ran 4.42, which according to the Next Gen Stats twitter feed makes him the first receiver over 230 pounds to run sub-4.45 since Calvin Johnson in 2007. He also caught the ball well and performed well in the other drills. 

DENZEL MIMS, BAYLOR: Mims opened a lot of eyes with a 4.38 Thursday night to cap an overall excellent performance. Only Ruggs and Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins ran faster. Mims was generally considered a second-round talent before the Combine but running 4.38 at 6-3, 210 pounds could push him into the first round. 

HURT THEMSELVES

JALEN REAGOR, TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Reagor, whose father Montae played for the Eagles in 2007, said he planned to run faster than Ruggs: “That’s my plan. He runs after me. I’m going to set the bar for him.”  He also said he expected to run “high 4.2, low 4.3.”  Then he ran 4.47, a full fifth of a second slower than Ruggs. He followed that with a 4.50. How much that hurts him remains to be seen, but it wasn’t what anybody was expecting. 

TEE HIGGINS, CLEMSON: Higgins told reporters at the Combine that he was planning to prove a lot of people wrong with his 40:  “My goal is to hit a 4.4. A lot of guys think I’m gonna run a 4.5 or 4.6, but I’m excited to change people’s minds.” Then without explanation he didn’t run or participate in any drills Thursday night. Not good. 

LAVISKA SHENAULT JR., COLORADO: After a slower-than-expected 4.58 on his first try, Shenault skipped his second 40 and didn’t participate in the other drills, presumably because of the core muscle injury that cost him a couple games during the season. Shenault was considered a late first-round or early second-rounder. He’ll have a chance to bounce back at his pro day, but he didn’t help himself Thursday.

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