Eagles

Orlando Scandrick could be more than the answer to a trivia question for Eagles

Orlando Scandrick could be more than the answer to a trivia question for Eagles

When Orlando Scandrick got his hands on Jets quarterback Luke Falk for his second sack of the game Sunday, he had already accomplished something no Eagles cornerback had since Bobby Taylor in 1997.

But when Scandrick also ripped the ball out and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, his performance became more than the answer to a trivia question.

It was a display of veteran savvy.

“For him to take the ball away, that turns a good play into a game-changing play,” Malcolm Jenkins said.

Scandrick’s touchdown didn’t change much on Sunday — only the margin of victory, as the Eagles were already coasting to an easy 31-6 win over the Jets (see Roob's observations). However, it was the type of heads-up football play the team’s relatively young corners hadn’t made many of through the first four weeks of the season, and the type that can absolutely swing an outcome.

And to think, 10 days earlier, Scandrick was sitting at home.

“Right off the street, right into the end zone,” Andrew Sendejo said as reporters swarmed Scandrick’s locker postgame.

Scandrick signed with the Eagles during training camp, was released at the end of August, then re-signed after injuries depleted the team’s depth at cornerback. But now, it’s easy to make the case he should’ve been here the entire time.

The Eagles rolled into the season with Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox as their four corners — a group with 13 seasons of NFL experience between them.

This is now Scandrick’s 12th year in the league, and in one game, he already has nearly as many turnovers (1) as the entire unit (2).

“He’s a smart guy,” Doug Pederson said. “He times blitzes. Sometimes these guys can kind of slither their way through and get under blocks, and they’re quick enough to bend and edge the corner.

“This is who he is and he’s a great addition. Glad we were able to get him back.”

Scandrick’s career is clearly winding down. He was released by the Cowboys after 10 seasons in 2017, then after a brief stint in Washington, he wound up playing 2018 with the Chiefs. The 32-year-old was unsigned until the Eagles called in late July, and again until they called back.

Still, there’s something to be said for an experienced player who understands his role.

“It gives us a lot of security to be able to go in, communicate, have another veteran out there, and obviously he’s making plays, too,” Jenkins said. “The more comfortable he gets, the more settled we’ll get as a defense.”

Sounds like somebody the guys in the huddle would like to see stick around.

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks transpire at corner. Darby, Jones and Maddox are all expected back in the near future, plus Jalen Mills is eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list after Week 6, while Cre’Von LeBlanc can come off of IR after Week 8.

But for all of their talent, Scandrick had a bigger impact on one game than any Eagles cornerback has had in what felt like a long time. If he plays well again in Minnesota next week and beyond, the front office and coaching staff will have difficult decisions to make.

For now, Scandrick says he’s “so happy to be back” — but the next time you hear from him, he’ll be focusing on the Eagles’ next opponent, like the veteran he is.

“I get 24 hours to enjoy it,” Scandrick said. “I’ll be back in on Tuesday at 8 o’clock. I’ll watch the film, I’ll put it behind me and then I’ll look forward to the Minnesota Vikings and do whatever I’ve gotta do to help this team win a game.”

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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

5:14 p.m.: It’s coming down really hard. The tarp is down and will be there for at least another hour. 

4:06 p.m.: I have arrived to Lincoln Financial Field and it’s raining pretty hard. Not many tailgaters in the lots and I can’t blame them. It’s pouring and a Monday afternoon. 

At least it’s relatively warm today, though. 

The forecast has called for rain all week, so it’s not like this is a surprise. In fact, Doug Pederson was even asked on Saturday about how weather affects his play calling. 

“With play calls, it’s really determined on really when we get to the game and see how much it's raining or the wind, all that,” he said. “You really just go in the whole week and prepare as normal.

“I think for me, if I'm preparing the team I do want them to understand that there could be some weather coming in here, so obviously cleats, the grass, all of that. I want them to understand that we can make those adjustments now and prepare for that now. But as far as the play calls, you really don't know until you see exactly in-game how bad it's raining or the wind at that time.”

In the past, Carson Wentz has thrown wet footballs during the week before games where rain is expected. He said it helps. 

3:50 p.m.: The Eagles will be in black uniforms tonight and a bunch of them will have personalized cleats for the NFL’s “My cause, my cleats” campaign. 

Here’s a look at all of them: 

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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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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