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Eagles avoid Curse of Billy Penn after workers place figurine atop new tower

ap-william-penn-statue.jpg
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Eagles avoid Curse of Billy Penn after workers place figurine atop new tower

The Eagles’ 10-1 start has everyone in the city hoping for a trip to Minnesota for Super Bowl LII.

With the team rolling right now, the only thing that could stop the Birds is ... a hex? Well, not if some local workers have anything to do with it.

According to Philly.com’s Bob Fernandez, ironworkers at the latest Comcast tower — which will be the new tallest building in the city — placed a small William Penn statue on the highest steal beam.

“They did not want to take the chance and wait for the jinx,” Mike Delaney, executive vice president at LF Driscoll, the construction manager for the new Comcast tower, said of the crews' insistence to move up construction to put Penn in place.  

The jinx Delaney was referring to is the "Curse of Billy Penn." After sitting as the overseer of Philly atop City Hall for decades, Penn's statue was replaced as the skyline's highest mark by skyscraper One Liberty Place in 1987. The building was nearly 400 feet higher than the peak of Penn's statue, which apparently broke a silent agreement of how no building should be above the city's founder.

Those were bleak times for Philadelphia sports, with no championships in sight between the four major sports teams. Fans connected the fact that the statue no longer reigned over the city and the curse was born.

Jump ahead two championship-free decades to when the Comcast Center was finished in 2007, and a couple of workers on the building decided to place a small Penn figurine on the top. The following year, the Phillies took down the Rays in the World Series and finally brought a title back to town.

Now with the Eagles possibly in position to capture that ever-elusive first Super Bowl, the crews at the new Comcast building didn't want to leave anything to chance.

Carson Wentz married Madison Oberg over the weekend in Philly suburb

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@cjwentz

Carson Wentz married Madison Oberg over the weekend in Philly suburb

Carson Wentz is a married man.

The Eagles' quarterback and his bride, Madison Oberg, kept things on the DL and got married in Bucks County over the weekend.

Wentz shared photos of their engagement back in February and again posted a couple of select shots from their wedding to his Twitter on Monday.

"Such a blessing to finally get to marry my best friend! It was an incredible day and God has his fingerprints all over our story! I’m a lucky man with one amazing wife #WentzUponATime," Wentz tweeted.

The ceremony over the weekend reportedly took place at The Lake House Inn and was visible to a boater named Christy Stack, who snapped a couple of photos and shared them to Facebook.

"We could hear the whole ceremony! And then after 'you may kiss the bride' a guy on a kayak did the Eagles chant ," Stack wrote on Facebook.

Congrats to Wentz and his new wife. The guy just keeps collecting rings in 2018.

Here's a look at the setting as shared by the caterer:

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at defensive back?

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at defensive back?

Arguably the Eagles’ biggest offseason departure, Patrick Robinson jumped to the Saints in free agency, leaving a massive void at nickel cornerback. On the bright side, the secondary could receive a boost from Jones after the 22-year-old corner essentially redshirted his rookie season because of injury.

Is the influx of young, unproven talent in 2018 enough to make up for the loss of a veteran starter who was playing at a high level last season? The Eagles will soon find out.

Better

More talent at cornerback

Apart from Robinson’s exit, there’s reason to be bullish about this group of corners.

Naturally, Jones stands out. The Eagles wound up with a potential steal in the 2017 draft after Jones, a potential top-ten pick overall, fell to the second round with a ruptured Achilles. He spent all last season rehabbing the injury, only appearing in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Cowboys, and finally expects to be healthy and ready to contribute full-time in year two.

Jones isn’t the only cause for optimism. Fellow class of ’17 member, Rasul Douglas, has a full season under his belt and should continue improving. The Eagles also spent a fourth-round choice on Avonte Maddox, a potential plug-and-play option in the slot. Even returning starter Ronald Darby stands to benefit from offseason program and with last year’s dislocated ankle behind him.

Worse

Nickel cornerback

No matter who takes over in this spot, there’s likely to be some drop-off. Not only was Robinson a savvy vet with previous success in that role, which isn’t currently the case for any of the candidates. He also posted a opponents’ passer rating among 61.8 opponents passer rating in coverage in the slot, third-lowest among qualifying corners.

The Eagles will enter camp with a competition to take over in the slot, with Jones, Maddox, Darby, Jalen Mills and even De’Vante Bausby all getting looks. Surely somebody from that collection of players will do okay. Just don’t expect the level of dominance Robinson brought to the job.

The same

Safety duo

With all the changes at corner, it should be reassuring to know Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod return, lending stability on the back end. Jenkins is coming off his second trip to the Pro Bowl in three seasons, while McLeod remains quietly solid as the unit’s centerfielder.

Corey Graham is still a free agent as of this writing, but it’s highly probable he or another vet will sign with the Eagles at some point to fill the third safety job. Whenever that comes to pass, the position will look roughly the same as it did a season ago.

The unknown

Sidney Jones

While the buzz surrounding Jones is certainly understandable, the harsh reality is he’s essentially a rookie coming off a major injury. Top-ten talents miss, too, even when they show up to the NFL with both of their Achilles tendons fully intact.

One positive is Jones didn’t look like he was in over his head in very limited action for the Eagles last season. At 6-foot-0, 181 pounds, and with 4.4 speed – if healthy – he certainly has the tools to play at this level. Then again, Jones already missed a bunch of practices during OTAs, calling his durability into some question.

Until Jones gets on the field and proves it, he’s a first-year player recovering from a serious injury. Everything else is merely a projection.

Better or worse?

This is a close call. The Eagles appear to have more overall talent with the additions of Jones and Maddox, and continued development of others in the system. In theory, more talent usually makes for a better unit. Then again, it’s unclear whether any of those players can perform at a high level in the slot, where Robinson was one of the stingiest defenders in the league last year. Without a clear-cut solution there, it’s difficult to escape the feeling the Eagles got a little WORSE despite being deeper.