Eagles

Role talk, Giants' mess, quotables and more

Role talk, Giants' mess, quotables and more

Marcus Johnson felt like he had carved out a nice little role with the Eagles this season. The second-year receiver wasn't playing a ton but had averaged nearly 12 snaps per game as the team's fifth wide receiver. 

Until three weeks ago. 

That's when Johnson was inactive against the Bears. That was just the start. Without much warning, Johnson has gone from being a contributor to being inactive in the last three games, replaced by rookie draft pick Shelton Gibson.

"I was [surprised]," Johnson said Friday. "It's part of it. It's part of how it goes. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job. Being undrafted, you have to stand out. You can't just fit in."

Johnson caught just two passes in nine games, but he seemed to find a role as the team's receiver when the Eagles use 13 personnel (three tight ends). Johnson thinks the switch was more about special teams instead of offense. Because while Gibson has barely played on offense since becoming an active player, he has averaged eight special teams snaps per game, while Johnson averaged just 6.5. Even that seems like a little bit of a stretch. 

The Eagles haven't really offered a definitive reason for the switch. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich, the week after the first time Gibson was active over Johnson, said it was about "spreading the love a little bit."  

"It's frustrating as a competitor," Johnson said. "You want to be out there. I want to be out there. I want to be productive. I want to help this team, whether that's special teams, offense or whatever it may be. And when you're not out there, you're watching and it's definitely frustrating." 

Johnson, 23, has taken this news in stride for the last month. He's been trying to continue to work hard in practice; he doesn't want coaches to see any type of dropoff because he knows he'd be in trouble then. 

"Tough situation, but I feel like I handled it well," he said. "I just have to be ready when I get back out there." 

A Giant mess
The last time the Eagles and Giants met was in Week 3 and the Eagles handed the Giants their third straight loss to start the season. But it was just a three-point loss, so plenty of folks in North Jersey probably thought things could only get better from there. 

Those people were wrong. 

The Giants ended up losing their first five games, have won just two all year and have seen their head coach and longtime general manager get the boot midseason. 

"It's been a rough one," interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said on a conference call with Philly reporters earlier this week. "You just never know when these things are going to happen, not only in the NFL but in life. Sometimes it gets tough to get back on course. 

"You can make all the right decisions and I'm going to say this like I've been saying up here all week: I think Ben McAdoo is a terrific head coach. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him, I'm indebted to him for having kept me here two years ago.

"We're all tired of this. I'm tired of the failure as well. I don't forget that. Now, I've had to step in to do this job; I'll do it with honor. I respect this organization and love the New York Giants and we're going to just move on and hopefully unite, and try to find a way to win some games has been the motto." 

The late Bum Phillips once found a pretty succinct way to sum up the coaching professions: "There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." 

Yup. Pretty much. 

Pretty much every NFL coach either has been — or will be — fired. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is no different. He was a part of that 2012 coaching staff under Andy Reid that was fired. While the Eagles let that staff finish out the year, pretty much everyone saw the writing on the wall. Pederson joined Reid in Kansas City the next season. 

"It's not what you wish on anybody," Pederson said. "As a coach, you're looking for where am I going to be next spring? As players, it's very uneasy and unsettling a little bit. The one thing I know about Spags is he's going to continue to rally. He's going to continue to coach his tail off. He'll have those guys ready to play." 

Take a seat 
The Eagles didn't have Joe Walker (neck) for last week's game in Los Angeles, but it didn't really matter. The Rams used three-wideout sets all game, so the Eagles were in their nickel defense all game. That meant the MIKE linebacker in the base defense — normally Walker, but Najee Goode last week — didn't see the field. 

Expect that to continue this weekend. The Giants' offense normally revolves around 11 personnel, which means they have three wideouts on the field. That forces you to use either nickel or dime defenses to combat it. The Giants haven't used 11 personnel as much this year because of injuries at the receiver position, but they still prefer to use it. 

That should make for a lighter workload for Walker as he returns from injury this week. 

Quote of the Week I: "What happened is, I'm an idiot." — Jason Kelce on his temper tantrum after getting cleated during Thursday's practice (see story)

Quote of the Week II: "I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team." — Nick Foles 

Quote of the Week III: "All due respect to our trainers, they are not a challenge to cover, and he's only been working with those guys." — Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones' return to practice (see story)

Random media guide note: Donnie Jones' first job was working at the Chicken Shack at Blue Bayou, a water park in Baton Rouge. 

Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

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@cj_wentz on Twitter

Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

Look good, feel good, play well, right?

That’s at least maybe how Carson Wentz is feeling right now. He’s set to make his return to the field tomorrow against the Colts and he’s got a sick pair of custom designed-shoes for pregame.

The shoes feature his foundation, AO1 and food truck charity, Thy Kingdom Crumb, Wentz’s classic No. 11 and several mantras Wentz lives by.

Check out the video Wentz shared on his social media today below.

The kicks look good and we can’t wait to see how good Wentz looks playing in the Linc Sunday. 

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

Something to watch with Carson Wentz in Year 3, the Eagles' recent domination at the Linc, one bad play doesn't define Jalen Mills and much more in Roob's 10 random Eagles observations. 

1. The Eagles’ defense needs to bounce back from that loss Sunday with a vintage Jim Schwartz performance, and I think they will. At the Linc? The Eagles have allowed just 48 points in their last six games and only 11.7 per game since the start of last year, lowest in the league. Andrew Luck looks healthy and efficient again and should thrive in Frank Reich’s system. T.Y. Hilton hasn’t hit a big one yet but might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL over the last six years. The Colts can come in here and win if the Eagles aren’t careful. The defense needs to really take command and pressure Luck, stuff the run, force a couple turnovers and take some pressure off an offense that has a new quarterback, a shaky lineup of receivers and a banged-up running back corps. I’d really like to see something like a 13 on the scoreboard under “Colts” by 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

2. Nick Foles impresses me every time he speaks.

3. The biggest misconception about Clyde Simmons is that his production was simply the product of Reggie White getting doubled. Simmons was a flat-out beast in his own right. Simmons had some very good seasons after he left the Eagles, adding 45 sacks post-Eagles to the 76 he had here. When he retired after the 2000 season, he had the 10th-most sacks in NFL history. But he was also an absolute monster against the run. During his seven years as a starter here, the Eagles allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, and Simmons was a big reason why. So few defensive ends are this skilled at rushing the passer but also so stout against the run. The Eagles happen to have two of them at once. It’ll be great to see Simmons and Seth Joyner go into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame Sunday. They came in together in 1986, and 32 years later, they’ll finally take their rightful place together among the best in franchise history.

4. Something to watch these next 14 weeks: Carson Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 21st out of 25 QBs who threw 400 passes. After the season, Wentz identified accuracy as his biggest area he needed to improve. The NFL average is 62.1 percent, and Wentz was at 62.4 as a rookie. Obviously, he needs help from his receivers, but I’d be surprised if Wentz isn’t in the 63-64 percent range this year.

5. The disdain for Jordan Matthews that I’ve been reading and hearing the last few days is truly baffling. Matthew's biggest crime is that he isn’t a superstar. He’s a decent receiver when healthy, a good person and a natural leader. Maybe if he was one of those prima donna WRs who demands the ball, gets himself suspended for drug violations, quits on his team and screams at his coaches people would like him more. I don’t know if he’ll help the Eagles’ depleted wide receiver position right now, but I do know he made the most sense out of all the available wideouts.

6. Trivia question: Who’s the last Eagle with six or more interceptions in a season? The answer is below.

7. Not sure how it’s possible to watch how Jalen Mills played last year as a 23-year-old second-year pro starting for a Super Bowl team with the No. 4 defense in the NFL and then give up on him because of one play against one of the most dangerous deep threats in NFL history that wasn’t even totally his fault. Mills is a good cornerback. One play doesn’t define him, just like it doesn’t define Malcolm Jenkins, who abandoned his assignment in the middle of the field. Mills is fine.

8. In his first 46 games, Nelson Agholor caught eight or more passes once. In his last three games, he’s caught eight or more passes three times.

9. The Linc is exactly half as old as the Vet was when it was demolished.

10. The Eagles are 16-3 at home under Doug Pederson, and of those 19 games there’s only one that the Eagles weren’t in until the final minutes, and that was the 27-13 loss to the Packers in 2016. But even that was a four-point game in the fourth quarter. They’re in every game at the Linc and they win most of them. You can talk about the Packers or Chiefs, but I don’t think there’s a team with as strong a home-field advantage as the Eagles.

Trivia Answer: Brandon Boykin had six interceptions in 2013. He had only two more the rest of his career as he battled injuries.      

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