Eagles

With playoff experience, Jake Elliott going home to start this run

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With playoff experience, Jake Elliott going home to start this run

Jake Elliott made two 40-plus yard field goals in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl just 11 months ago, so a wild-card game in front of a couple dozens of family members probably isn’t going to get the best of him. 

In a game that might be very close, the second-year kicker could be the Eagles’ difference-maker. 

Elliott, who is a native of Western Springs, Illinois, (about 20 minutes from the city) will return home this weekend to face the Chicago Bears in a wild-card game. It won’t be his first trip to Soldier Field, but it will be his first time playing there. 

“It’s exciting,” Elliott said. “It’s exciting to go back home. Obviously, I’ll have a lot of family there at the game. I haven’t played a game back there since high school, so it will be cool to go back. Other than that, it’s just another game.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the count was at 21 tickets going to family and friends for Sunday’s game. It’s not exactly easy to know how to cut it off. There will probably be even more folks in the crowd rooting specifically for Elliott, who claims his entire family has converted from Bears fans to Eagles fans once he showed up in Philadelphia. 

Elliott on Thursday admitted kicking in the playoffs last season was a little different than the regular season but stopped short of saying he was nervous. 

But having made all seven of his field goal attempts in last year’s playoffs, including his three field goals in the Super Bowl, has to give him some confidence. Including going 2 for 3 on extra points, Elliott accounted for 11 points in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles won by eight. 

“I think it helps being in those situations before,” Elliott said. “I’m just going to approach it like any other game, regular season game, preseason game. I’m gonna go out there and make my kicks.” 

Everyone says they’re just going to treat the playoffs as any other game, but Elliott really means it. If you were to hook him up to a heart-rate monitor during games, I doubt you’d see much of a jump. He has this even-keel demeanor that has served him well as a kicker. 

Never too high, never too low. It can be boring, but it’s exactly what he wants. 

Punter and holder Cameron Johnston chuckled when asked if he’s ever seen Elliott break his normal even-keel demeanor. 

“No, he’s the exact same every game,” Johnston said. “I think he did that the whole time he was at Memphis. He’s got his whole routine, he’s pretty set.”

This season, after a rough start, Elliott ended up making 26 of 31 field goal attempts. There should be no surprise about that, because Mr. Even Keel also went 26 for 31 last season as a rookie.

This could end up being a close game. If it is, the Eagles seem to have a pretty clear advantage at the kicker spot with Elliott. The Bears’ kicker is former Eagle Cody Parker, who has struggled this season. 

Thanks to a weird period where all he could seemingly do was hit the uprights, Parkey — who is still the most accurate kicker in Eagles history — made just 23 of 30 field goal attempts (76.7 percent) this season. 

One guy has made two clutch kicks in the fourth quarter in the Super Bowl. The other hasn’t ever been in the playoffs. 

“Yeah, [that experience is] always going to help,” Johnston said. “It’s not going to hurt. He’s a great kicker and he prepares the same every week for every game.”

It just so happens that this game is a playoff contest in his own backyard. Don’t expect Elliott to flinch.

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Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Lane Johnson is a Pro Bowler after all.

Johnson, snubbed in the original Pro Bowl announcement, has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as an alternate, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio.

This is Johnson’s third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. There was no word on which offensive lineman dropped out of the game.

It was a little surprising that Johnson didn't make the team initially. He's considered one of the NFL's most dominating right tackles and was a first-team all-pro in 2017.

He didn't seem thrilled when the original team was announced a month ago:

Johnson missed the last three games of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Seahawks with a high ankle sprain, and it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando.

But for the purposes of bonuses and status, he’s now officially a three-time Pro Bowler.

Johnson becomes the seventh offensive lineman in Eagles history selected to three or more Pro Bowls.

Jason Peters was picked to seven between the 2009 and 2016 seasons. Tra Thomas, Bob Brown, Bucko Kilroy, Jason Kelce, Jim Ringo and Brandon Brooks have all been picked to three.

The 29-year-old Johnson becomes the Eagles’ sixth Pro Bowler, joining Brooks, Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz and Rick Lovato.

Johnson, the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, recently signed a contract extension that runs through 2025.

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Jim Caldwell out as Dolphins QBs coach, possible OC candidate for Eagles

Jim Caldwell out as Dolphins QBs coach, possible OC candidate for Eagles

On Monday night, the Dolphins announced their 2020 coaching staff and there was a notable omission.

No Jim Caldwell.

So now the 65-year-old former head coach, OC and quarterbacks coach has plenty of free time if the Eagles want to interview him for their offensive coordinator opening (if they haven’t already).

According to ESPN, Caldwell is interested in coaching after missing the 2019 season for health reasons.

Shortly after the Eagles fired Mike Groh earlier this month, ESPN’s Tim McManus mentioned Caldwell and Kevin O’Connell as candidates. O’Connell has since joined the Los Angeles Rams as their offensive coordinator, a position that is somewhat like the one in Philly because the head coach is the primary play-caller.

Earlier on Monday, we learned that USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who interviewed with the Eagles, is expected to return to Southern California for next season. So cross him off the list.

Caldwell is an intriguing name because of his history with quarterbacks. It would make sense for the next offensive coordinator to be someone who could have a positive influence on Carson Wentz as he enters what should be the prime of his career.

While candidates like Harrell and Chiefs offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are fast-risers in the coaching world, Caldwell has been coaching longer they’ve been alive. He has an impressive resume.

Caldwell has been an NFL head coach twice (Colts and Lions) and was the quarterbacks coach with the Colts from 2002-08. Peyton Manning went to nine straight Pro Bowls with Caldwell coaching him.

The Eagles are taking their time choosing a coach but their brass is in Mobile, Alabama, this week for the Senior Bowl and that can often be an opportunity to meet with several coaches within a few days. It would make plenty of sense if Caldwell is on their list; and now his schedule should be wide open.

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