Eagles

Eagles rave about linebacker T.J. Edwards as rookie prepares for bigger role

Eagles rave about linebacker T.J. Edwards as rookie prepares for bigger role

I spent this past summer reporting and writing my “Surviving Camp” series, which follows one Eagle through training camp. This year’s subject was undrafted rookie linebacker T.J. Edwards. 

The big question was always: Will he make the team? 

Turns out I wasted my time. I should have just asked Kamu Grugier-Hill. He apparently knew the answer the whole time. 

“T.J. is a smart player. He came in and immediately we all knew he was going to be special. You can just see with his instincts that he was going to fit in and he was going to make it,” Grugier-Hill said. 

“We knew before training camp that he was going to make the team already. He was an undrafted guy and for guys like that, it’s a battle to make the team. But we could tell right away.”

Not only did the Eagles like Edwards enough to keep him around at final cuts, but they’re now ready to give him a role on defense. The Eagles cut Zach Brown on Monday and since Nigel Bradham is dealing with an ankle injury, Edwards could get a chance to play meaningful snaps this weekend. 

Against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys in a battle for first place in the NFC East. 

Gerry said Edwards is “definitely ready” for the task. And Edwards agreed. 

“I’m definitely ready,” Edwards said. “I don’t know what that situation looks like. I’m gonna kind of leave that up to the coaches on what they want to do. Definitely ready to go in whatever spot they need me to.”

While Edwards has learned the SAM and WILL positions in the Eagles defense, he’s probably most at home in the middle. Edwards feels most comfortable at the MIKE position, where he’s played the most at every level. 

If Bradham can’t play on Sunday, there’s a good chance we could be looking at a starting linebacker unit with Grugier-Hill and Gerry at the outside ‘backer spots and Edwards in the middle of the defense. 

Of course, when defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz met with reporters earlier in the week, he wasn’t eager about divulging his defensive game plan, but admitted the release of Brown “maybe” meant an increased role for Edwards. 

“All that kid has done when we put him in the game is make the plays that have come to him,” Schwartz said. “He has been physical, he has been a sure tackler, and he has been assignment sound. Those are all three good things to be said about a linebacker.” 

Edwards said he’s now “light years” ahead of where he was in camp and is ready to take on the responsibility of his possible new role. 

What makes a good MIKE ‘backer? 

“I think communication and confidence, really,” Edwards said. “Making sure everyone is on the same page. It’s your job to connect the front end and the back end, so communication from that standpoint is the biggest thing.”

Against the Vikings, Edwards played 10 defensive snaps toward the end of the game. He played two in the previous week against the Jets. While that’s not a ton of playing time, he said those reps gave him some confidence going forward. And Grugier-Hill said, in those snaps, Edwards “was making stuff happen.” 

It seems like he’ll get even more chances to do that this weekend. 



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The internet is roasting the NFC East and it's amazing

The internet is roasting the NFC East and it's amazing

Does a single soul in the NFC East want to win the division? 

Anyone? Anyone? 

After the Eagles (5-7) lost in stunningly horrific fashion to the Dolphins last week, the Cowboys (6-7) hit ‘em with an old “hold my beer” and got trumped by the Bears, 31-24. It seems like both teams are now in a race to avoid first place.

And the internet is collectively losing its mind. 

No one has room to talk, but that doesn’t mean Eagles players won’t talk trash. Lane Johnson took to Twitter, despite the fact that his team most recently lost to the worst team in the league. He took a sly hit at his division rivals with a simple, but clear tweet timed at the same moment the Cowboys began aggressively losing.

Not a great look in my opinion, considering the sorry state of the Birds, but everyone else is pretty much off their rocker too with the state of the NFC East. 

Even former Cowboys. 

I mean, really, does anyone want to win this division? 

Has it really gotten to this? 

Well, there it is, the sad state of the dumpster fire that is the NFC East.

Is this something Eagles and Cowboys fans can finally commiserate over? (Probably not, Dallas still sucks.) 

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2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

The Eagles have won one game since the first week of November, and they’ve lost exactly half a game to the first-place Cowboys in the NFC East standings.

The Cowboys lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to the Bears, 31-24, in Chicago.

This definitely helps the Eagles although not quite as much as you might think.

Here's why:

The Cowboys fell to 6-7 after a 3-0 start. The Eagles are 5-7 with a game Monday night against the 2-10 Giants at the Linc.

But even with Dallas losing Thursday night, the Eagles still have to beat the Cowboys head-to-head and win their three other games to guarantee that they win the NFC East.

That’s because the Cowboys can still lose to the Eagles and finish 8-8 overall and 5-1 in the NFC East if they beat the Rams next Sunday and the Redskins on the final day of the season.

But even with a win over the Cowboys, a loss in any of their other games — to the Giants home and away or the Redskins — would leave the Eagles 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the division.

The Eagles easily win the common opponents tiebreaker with the Cowboys, but that doesn't come into play unless the teams are tied overall, head-to-head and in division record.

But the Cowboys' latest loss does help the Eagles in that if the Cowboys lose to either the Rams a week from Sunday or the Redskins on Dec. 29, the Eagles could afford to lose one of their remaining games and still win the division at 8-8 if they beat the Cowboys head-to-head, since in that scenario the Cowboys would finish 7-9.

The website fivethirtyeight.com, which provides percentages for teams to reach the playoffs based on changeable variables, had the Eagles with a 34 percent chance of winning the NFC East before the Cowboys-Bears game. That would have gone down to 26 percent if the Cowboys won. Instead it increased to 41 percent. 

If the Eagles beat the Giants Monday night, their chances increase to 47 percent. 

It's been so long since either of these teams won a game it seems silly to even talk about the playoff picture. 

But somebody has to win the NFC East. 

We think?

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