Fletcher Cox

Good or bad, Malcolm Jenkins knows Lincoln Financial Field will be loud Sunday

Good or bad, Malcolm Jenkins knows Lincoln Financial Field will be loud Sunday

Malcolm Jenkins knows it’s going to be loud at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. 

One way or the other. 

It’s going to be whatever we make it. We show up and lay an egg, it’ll be the loudest boos we’ve heard since I’ve been here. We show up and play some ball and I think it’ll be rocking.

He’s right. 

The Eagles are hosting the Cowboys for, all intents and purposes, a game that will decide the winner of the NFC East. Two bitter rivals in a do-or-die situation. Despite the fact that both teams have been disappointments this season, the Linc will be loud on Sunday and there’s still a ton on the line. 

The home fans will be ready for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff and will bring the juice early. What happens with the crowd after that will be up to the Eagles. 

It seems like this season they’ve been cheered and booed equally — and rightfully so. 

But if the Eagles can keep their fans in this game, it might make a difference. 

“I think that's probably the first thing, is crowd noise always makes it difficult for opposing offenses to communicate,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “They do a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage and things like that.

“But I think it's more than just that. It's more than the noise affecting the game. I do think that our players feed off of the energy of the crowd and in a big game like this, it will be a playoff atmosphere. Our guys know the stakes of this game and I'm sure our fans do, too. They'll know what time it is.”

This season, the Eagles have given up 125 points at home (17.9) and 203 on the road (29.0).

And since Schwartz became defensive coordinator in 2016, the Eagles are giving up an average of 16.8 points per game at home and 25.2 points on the road. 

It really does seem to matter. 

“We get to wake up at the hotel here and get to play at our home field at Lincoln Financial (Field),” Fletcher Cox said. “It’s an advantage for us. We know the fans will be really loud. We know what the game means for us. We know what this city deserves. We just gotta go out and play our best football.”

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Eagles' Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox extend Pro Bowl streaks

Eagles' Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox extend Pro Bowl streaks

Fletcher Cox and Zach Ertz, two of the best in the business for years at their positions, have extended their remarkable Pro Bowl streaks.

Cox, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2012, is headed to his fifth straight Pro Bowl and Ertz to his third straight.

They’re among five Eagles who learned Tuesday evening they’re headed to the Pro Bowl.

Offensive linemen Brandon Brooks and Jason Kelce both were named to their third Pro Bowl team and long snapper Rick Lovato is a first-time Pro Bowler.

Ertz has 84 catches for 888 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. Over the last six weeks, he has 47 receptions for 544 yards. He leads the NFL during that span with five TDs and ranks third in catches, behind Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey.

Although he’s off pace from his NFL-record 116 receptions last year, Ertz leads NFC tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns. League-wide, he’s second to Travis Kelce (86 catches) in receptions, third in yards and second in TDs.

Ertz has increased his career total to 521 catches, most in NFL history by a tight end in his first seven seasons and 13th-most all-time by a tight end.

His streak of five straight seasons with 70 catches is third-longest ever by a tight end behind Tony Gonzalez (11) and Jason Witten (7) and tied with Kelce.

He’s the only player in Eagles history to catch 70 passes for 700 yards in five straight seasons, and only Jordan Matthews and Irving Fryar (two apiece) have done it more than once.

Since 2013, his rookie year, Ertz has the 9th-most catches in the NFL and 16th-most yards. Among tight ends, only Kele (496) and Jimmy Graham (429) are within 100 of Ertz during that span.

Ertz is the fourth Eagles tight end picked to three Pro Bowls, following Charle Young (1973-75), Keith Jackson (1988-90) and Chad Lewis (2000-02).

Cox added to his spectaular career resume Tuesday evening when he became just the eighth player in franchise history to make five consecutive Pro Bowls.

Cox hasn’t had a typical Cox season. He was slowed early on after undergoing offseason foot surgery. His 3.5 sacks so far are well below the 8.0 he averaged in his first four Pro Bowl seasons.

But even at not quite 100 percent, Cox is a force of nature at defensive tackle. He has 43 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 30 quarterbacks hurries and two forced fumbles. He’s missed just three of a possible 132 career games.

Here’s a look at all the Eagles in franchise history who’ve been picked to at least five straight Pro Bowls:

7 … DE Reggie White* [1986-92]
6 … E Pete Pihos* [1950-55]
5 … LB Chuck Bednarik* [1950-54]
5 … QB Donovan McNabb [2000-04]
5 … WR Mike Quick [1983-87]
5 … CB Troy Vincent [1999-03]
5 … DT Fletcher Cox [2015-19]
* - Hall of Famer

Cox is 7th in franchise history with 48.0 sacks, most ever by a defensive tackle. Both Brandon Graham (50.0) and Cox are within range of fifth-place Greg Brown (50 ½) and fourth-place Hugh Douglas (74 ½).

Cox is the most-decorated defensive tackle in Eagles history. Floyd Peters made Pro Bowls in 1964, 1966 and 1967, and Charlie Johnson was picked to three straight Pro Bowls from 1979 through 1981 and was a two-time all-pro. Both played before sacks became an official stat.

Lovato, a Central Jersey native who attended Middletown South High School in Monmouth County, joined the Eagles in the middle of 2016 after brief stints with the Packers and Redskins, replacing Pro Bowler Jon Dorenbos.

The 70th annual AFC-NFC Pro Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 27 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

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Eagles mailbag: Who is the Eagles' 2019 MVP so far?

Eagles mailbag: Who is the Eagles' 2019 MVP so far?

Since the Eagles play on Monday night this week, we have an extra day to wait for their game against the Giants. 

So let’s take a dip into the mailbag. As always, thanks for all your great questions. 

We’ll get to some more tomorrow. 

This is a simple question, but it’s not a simple answer. Far from it. I spent way too much time thinking about this question, so I’ll walk you through some of my thought process. First, I came up with a list of players I deemed eligible: Carson Wentz, Rodney McLeod, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox. 

Wentz: I had to include the quarterback, but he isn’t playing as well as he needs to play. I still think he’s far from their biggest problem, but he’s not the MVP either. 

McLeod: You wouldn’t know he’s coming back from injury and he’s been solid. But he hasn’t really made many splash plays either. 

Howard: The Eagles were 5-4 with Howard and are 0-3 without him. That shows how important he has been to this team. But he’s about to miss his fourth straight game, so he’s eliminated. 

Sanders: An interesting choice. The rookie running back got off to a slow start but is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has been one of the most explosive playmakers on offense. 

Graham: There aren’t many players who are exceeding expectations this season, but Graham is one of them. He has 7 1/2 sacks to lead the team and has been consistently good, even before those sacks started piling up. 

Johnson: He missed one game with a concussion, but the right tackle has been as solid as they come this season. He was rewarded with a big contract and should be heading back to the Pro Bowl. 

Brooks: Like Graham, Brooks is one of the few players exceeding expectations. He missed most of one game after a return of his anxiety, but aside from that, he’s been their most reliable offensive lineman. And that’s after coming back from an Achilles tear. 

Ertz: Ertz has been the Eagles’ best offensive weapons again this season. He has 70 catches for 736 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for 93 catches for 981 yards. Another great season, but a drop from his numbers in 2018 and he’s made more mistakes this year. 

Cox: He’s still their best player and he has come on incredibly strong, but he got off to a slow start coming back from injury. He always has a strong case. 

My verdict: I’m going with Graham. On offense, my pick would have been Brooks, but I’m going with the best player on what has been the stronger unit. Graham got paid this offseason and has been very good and consistent. He has a shot at his first 10-sack season and is still as stout in the run game as ever. 

(Note: It’s not a good sign that it was this hard.) 

I don’t think so. Right or wrong, the Eagles are committed to Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills as their starting corners. Now, if one of them were to get hurt, they’d have a decision. Ultimately, I think Maddox is either a nickel corner or a safety. As unorthodox as it might be for a guy of his size (5-9, 184), I really liked him at safety last year. 

During the 2018 season, Jim Schwartz compared Maddox to Cortland Finnegan. But I have another comp for Maddox. When he was playing safety last year, I saw a little Bob Sanders. Not saying he’ll be that good, but a smaller safety with ball skills who can still hit. The Eagles will have a decision to make on McLeod this offseason. If he’s not back, I’d think about Maddox at FS. 

Tough question because they’ve lost these games in different ways. Since the offense barely showed up in two of those three games, I’ll go with the lack of offensive consistency. Even in the game when they scored 31, they couldn’t get points late. 

As much as they don’t look like contenders, it’s Doug Pederson’s job to try to win games. And this team still has a really legitimate shot to make it into the playoffs. And if they win the division, they get a first-round home playoff game. I know it’s unlikely this team goes on a run to the Super Bowl, but they have to at least try to get to the playoffs and see what happens. Remember, they were pretty darn close to advancing to the NFC Championship Game last year after starting that season with a 4-6 record. Gotta at least try. 

I have actually talked to people about this before. I really don’t think they could bring him back. They made their decision to go with Carson Wentz — and it wasn’t even like they thought about it. Bringing back Foles would put so much unnecessary pressure on Wentz, it wouldn’t be fair. From a football standpoint, it would make a ton of sense. But everything the Eagles do should be with Wentz in mind. I wouldn’t do it. 

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