Eagles

Trying to hold Eagles together, Doug Pederson taking lessons from 2015 Chiefs

Trying to hold Eagles together, Doug Pederson taking lessons from 2015 Chiefs

Doug Pederson thinks the Eagles will rebound from adversity because he has seen one of his teams do it before. 

After back-to-back blowout losses, the Eagles are now 3-4 with nine games left to play, but Pederson has seen an even worse situation get turned around. 

Back in 2015, when he was the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, the Chiefs began the season with a 1-5 record, but then won 10 straight games to make the playoffs. Pederson brought up the comparison on his own Monday. 

I see a lot of the same similarities kind of where we are. We're only 3-4, and we're still a game out of first place in our division here with a lot of football left.

“Obviously, a sense of urgency has to pick up from the standpoint of each week becomes a little more important. But we have the guys in the locker room, I have the coaches on this staff to get it done, and that's what we're going to do.

Basically, Pederson’s message on Monday is that the season isn’t over and he’s right; the Eagles are still just one game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. It’s just not going to be easy. With the current playoff system (since 1990), there have been 192 teams to start the season with a 3-4 record; 34 of them (17.7 percent) have made the playoffs.

If the Eagles lose to Buffalo, their odds to make the playoffs obviously drop. Just 8.8 percent of teams starting with a 3-5 record have made it to the postseason since 1990. 

Pederson referenced that 2015 Chiefs team, but are there really similarities? 

“I think, No. 1, it starts with me,” he said. “My messaging to the team. And then the leaders of the football team. I think about back then, the guys that we had in that locker room and keeping it together, and that's the type of men we have here in this locker room; they are not going to let one game define the season or a couple games define our season. 

“They are going to get better, learn from it. And that's what we did back then and so we are going to carry that over to this year.”

Take a look at the the starts for the 2015 Chiefs and the 2019 Eagles: 

After the Chiefs lost to Minnesota in Week 6 of 2015, they won their next two games before their bye week. The Eagles have two more games until their bye week in 2019, so maybe this is an appropriate time for the comparison. 

I found an interesting column from Terez A. Paylor, then of the the Kansas City Star, from Jan. 8, 2016, listing the 10 things that led to the Chiefs’ 10-game winning streak and a playoff berth. One of them was that the Chiefs had a much easier schedule down the stretch: Their opponents had a winning percentage of .604 in the first six, compared to .419 in the last 10. The Eagles aren’t getting that type of drop-off. In fact, they’re about to face a tougher schedule: .436 to .483.  

So not all of the reasons apply to the Eagles — these are different teams — but a few of them from the column definitely caught my attention: 

1. The offensive line’s improvement 

The Eagles could definitely benefit from their offensive line play improving. The Chiefs were in a much worse position with their O-line in 2015, being forced to play seven different combinations. The Eagles, meanwhile, were expected to have one of the best offensive lines in the league and they haven’t. Sure, Andre Dillard is playing left tackle now, but that unit should be better and could turn things around. 

2. Quarterback Alex Smith’s running ability 

Basically, Smith started making plays with his legs and bought himself more time. We’ve seen Wentz do that in 2019, but he has the ability to take over games and he needs to do it now. 

4. Finding an offensive identity 

The Chiefs lost their identity when Jamaal Charles went down in Week 5 but the Chiefs stuck with the run, using Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. The Eagles don’t really have an identity on offense right now either, but for different reasons. Finding it could go a long way. This is on Pederson. 

7. The rebirth of Pro Bowlers 

In 2015, several key defensive players for the Chiefs started playing like it during their run. Guys like Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry all played much better down the stretch. The Eagles need Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins and their other top defensive players to pick up the slack. 

8. Andy Reid’s steady hand 

Read this excerpt from Paylor: 

“When the Chiefs were 1-5, Reid was asked a variety of questions about his process. Would he consider handing over the offensive play calling? Would he consider making staff changes? Would he make any other drastic changes? 

“The answer each time? Nope. Reid took responsibility for all his team’s failures, but expressed confidence in his staff and players’ ability to turn it around. Multiple players have said that Reid’s steadiness during this time of unease — even with chairman Clark Hunt’s vote of confidence in November — instilled a sense of belief in their abilities.” 

That sounds exactly like what Pederson is trying to do now. 

9. A good locker room 

In 2015, Reid leaned on his locker room and the family culture he created in Kansas City. 

Pederson on Monday mentioned he needs his leaders to step up and help keep the football team together. He has mentioned several times how much he leans on his players committee. There’s a reason the Eagles worry about culture so much. 

Maybe these lessons from the Chiefs will help the Eagles or maybe they won’t. We’ll find out soon enough if the Eagles are able to turn things around like the Chiefs did in 2015 or if the season will end up being a complete disaster. 

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Eagles announce several new jersey numbers for 2020 season 

Eagles announce several new jersey numbers for 2020 season 

We have a long way to go before the start of the 2020 season but we have some jersey number updates from the Eagles. 

Most of these new numbers are for new players, but Jalen Mills is also switching out of the number he’s worn for the first four years of his career. 

Here they are in numerical order: 

Jalen Mills: 21

Mills spent the first four years of his career in No. 31. But his rookie contract is over and he’s returning as a safety in 2020. So new position, new number. 

“It’s just recreating myself,” Mills said this week. “Recreating that Green Goblin, that monster. It’s a new position, it’s a new feel, and it’s going to be new energy.”

Mills said he admires guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who each changed their jersey numbers throughout their NBA careers. 

The No. 21 became available after Ronald Darby left in free agency to head to Washington. Darby wore 41 back in 2017 when he arrived in a training camp trade; Patrick Robinson had the 21 on his one-year deal.

Complete Eagles history at 21: James Zyntell, Les Maynard, Paul Cuba, John Kusko, Herschel Stockton, Allison White, Chuck Cherundolo, William Boedeker, Al Pollard, Jim Carr, Joe Scarpati, Ray Jones, Jackie Allen, Wes Chesson, Al Clark, John Sciarra, Evan Cooper, Eric Allen, Bobby Taylor, Matt Ware, William James, Joselio Hanson, David Sims, Roc Carmichael, Jerome Couplin, Leodis McKelvin, Patrick Robinson, Ronald Darby

Darius Slay: 24 

In Detroit, Slay wore No. 30 during his rookie season back in 2013 but had the No. 23 in the next six years. But in Philly, Rodney McLeod has 23, so Slay is happily changing to 24 to honor the late Kobe Bryant.

“I’m going Kobe mode,” Slay said. “Black mamba. Rest in peace to the  One of my favorite players. I will look good in 24.”

Last season, Jordan Howard wore the No. 24 during his one-year stint with the Eagles. 

Complete Eagles history at 24: Howard Auer, Joe Carpe, Dick Lachman, Jack Knapper, Herman Bassman, Joe Pilconis, Rabbit Keen, Bill Schneller, Dom Moselle, George Taliaferro, Don Schaefer, Nate Ramsey, Artimus Parker, Henry Monroe, Zac Henderson, Ray Ellis, Russell Gary, Reggie Brown, Alan Reid, Alan Dial, Corey Barlow, Tim McTyer, Darnell Autry, Rod Smart, Blaine Bishop, Sheldon Brown, Joique Bell, Brandon Hughes, Nnadmi Asomugha, Bradley Fletcher, Ryan Mathews, Corey Graham, Jordan Howard

Will Parks: 28 

During the first four years of his NFL career, Parks wore No. 34 in Denver as a sixth-round pick. But that number is owned by Cre’Von LeBlanc in Philly. 

So Parks will hop into the No. 28 that was vacant for most of last year until Jay Ajayi was signed during the season. 

Complete Eagles history at 28: Dick Thornton, Guy Turnbow, Algy Clark, Joe Pilconis, Max Padlow, J. “Stumpy” Thomason, Harry Klopenburg, Ray Keeling, Bob Jackson, Paul Dudley, Jim Gray, Bill Bradley, Lou Rash, Greg Harding, Don Griffin, Mel Gray, Clarence Love, Amp Lee, Correll Buckhalter, Ramzee Robinson, Marlin Jackson, Dion Lewis, Earl Wolff, Wendell Smallwood, Jay Ajayi

Nickell Robey-Coleman: 31

As an undrafted player, Robey-Coleman came into the league and wore No. 37 for his first three seasons in Buffalo before he got a big-time improvement and took over 21 in 2015. For the last three seasons, he wore 23 with the Rams but that’s taken by McLeod here. 

So he’ll be in the 31 that Mills wore for the last four years. 

Complete Eagles history at 31: Joe Carter, Tom Graham, Irv Kupcinet, William Brian, Bob Masters, Emmett Mortell, Jerry Ginney, Phil Ragazzo, Jim Castiglia, Ted Williams, Art Macioszczyk, Dan Sandifer, Ebert Van Buren, Ron Goodwin, Tom Bailey, Wilbert Montgomery, Troy West, Tyrone Jones, Brian O’Neal, Derrick Witherspoon, Al Harris, Daryon Brutley, Dexter Wynn, Ellis Hobbs, Curtis Marsh, Shaun Prater, Byron Maxwell, Jalen Mills

Trevor Williams: 41

You might have forgotten the Eagles signed Williams back in January, but the cornerback and Penn State product has 39 NFL games and 27 starts to his name with the Chargers and Cardinals. 

He has previously worn 42, 24 and 22. 

Complete Eagles history at 41: Ted Schmitt, Foster Watkins, Buist Warren, Gil Steinke, Frank Ziegler, Jerry Norton, Bob Freeman, Howard Cassady, Harry Wilson, Richard Harvey, Randy Logan, Earnest Jackson, Keith Byars, Alvin Ross, Fred McCrary, Johnny Thomas, William Hampton, Thomas Tapeh, Stephen Spach, Tanard Davis, Antoine Harris, Jarrad Page, Emil Igwenagu, Randall Evans, Ronald Darby, De’Vante Bausby

Jatavis Brown: 53

Everyone pretty much understood that Nigel Bradham wasn’t going to return to the Eagles in 2020 but now they went ahead and gave his number away. Bradham wore 53 for the last four seasons in Philly. 

During his first four NFL seasons with the Chargers, Brown was No. 57 but that’s occupied in Philly by second-year linebacker T.J. Edwards. 

Complete Eagles history at 53: Walt Masters, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ken Farragut, Bob Pellegrini, John Simerson, Bob Butler, Harold Wells, Fred Whittingham, Dick Absher, Dennis Franks, Fred Smalls, Jody Schulz, Dwayne Jiles, Maurice Henry, Ivan Caesar, John Roper, Bill Romanowski, N.D. Kalu, Hugh Douglas, Mark Simoneau, Moise Fokou, Ryan Rau, Najee Goode, Nigel Bradham

Javon Hargrave: 93

Not long after news broke that Tim Jernigan was heading to Houston, Hargrave got his jersey number. 

A switch was necessary for Hargrave, who wore 79 during his first four seasons in the NFL with the Steelers. The Eagles already have a No. 79 who is pretty good in right guard Brandon Brooks. And Hargrave wore 97 in college but that number in Philly is owned by Malik Jackson. 

Complete Eagles history at 93: Tom Strauthers, John Dumbauld, Ray Phillips, David Bailey, Greg Townsend, Daniel Stubbs, Darion Conner, Pernell Davis, Levon Kirkland, Marco Coleman, Jevon Kearse, Trevor Laws, Jason Babin, Brandon Bair, Tim Jernigan

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NFL Draft Betting: Take this under on running back D'Andre Swift

NFL Draft Betting: Take this under on running back D'Andre Swift

With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, now is the time to start scouting your first round bets - if you haven't already.

NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg has identified one over/under he likes quite a bit: local product and Georgia running back D'Andre Swift's draft slot at 31.5.

Feinberg said he likes the under on Swift going before the 31st overall pick this year.

"There is a separate bet you can make, will there be a running back taken in round one of the NFL draft, where the yes is minus-300," Feinberg explained.

In this year's draft, Swift is largely considered the best running back prospect available, so Feinberg sees the likelihood of Swift earning a first-round nod as fairly high.

Plus, history is on Swift's side. 

Despite the supposed league-wide devaluation of the running back position, at least one running back has been selected in the first round in each of the last five NFL drafts, with three in 2018, and two in both 2017 and 2015.

While NFL general managers aren't eager to spend big money on running backs, but when they can be had on rookie contracts and with fresh legs, they feel like good investments.

And Swift seems to be a good first-round investment.

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