Stayin’ Alive

Posted: December 17th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles shocked the world, upsetting the Rams 30-23. Everyone wanted it, but not many people thought it would happen.

There is a ton of credit to go around.

Nick Foles played well, going 24-31-270. He did throw one bad pick, but he made some big plays and got the ball downfield.

Alshon Jeffery had his best game of the year. He caught 8 passes for 160 yards. He moved the chains in some key situations.

Wendell Smallwood ran 10 times for 48 yards and 2 TDs. He ran hard and showed some burst.

The Eagles O-line was terrific. Stefen Wisniewski started at LG and kept Aaron Donald under control. The Eagles didn’t give up a sack. RBs had 28 carries for 106 yards.

Fletcher Cox was a beast. If you were new to football, you would think #91 was the dominant DL that everyone talked about and not Donald. Cox was overpowering and disruptive all night long.

Avonte Maddox came back from injury and started at outside CB. He had an INT in the first half and covered well all game long. The Rams threw his way a few times and had little success. Maddox brought some stability and some ability to a secondary that desperately needed both.

STs did its part. Cameron Johnston averaged 52 yards per punt and pinned the Rams inside the 20 with two of those kicks. Jake Elliott was 3 for 4 on FGs, only missing from 52. He hit all three of his extra points. The coverage units were outstanding. D.J. Alexander recovered a muffed punt.

Jim Schwartz had a terrific gameplan for his defense. The Eagles gave up some yards, but made the Rams earn every inch. Schwartz made the Rams play small-ball, not their preferred style of offense. I also thought the defense played with a lot of energy.

There is going to be a lot of talk about Foles and what a difference he made. The Eagles won this game because they won the line of scrimmage. Foles played a part in that, but let’s keep things in context. This really was a team win.

The Eagles are now 7-7. They sit at 7th in the playoff standings, behind the Vikings at 7-6-1. The Eagles remain alive. All they can do is keep winning and hope things work out.

For a night, it was once again fun to be an Eagles fan. The underdogs took down the 11-2 team and gave us all something to smile about.

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Game Preview – PHI at LAR

Posted: December 16th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Are you ready for an upset?

More importantly, are the Eagles ready to pull off an upset?

This is going to be an incredible challenge. Nick Foles leads a banged up offense and Malcolm Jenkins leads a very banged up defense. Here is a full list of the inactives for tonight.

The good news is that the Eagles get Avonte Maddox back. I hope he plays FS in this game. Corey Graham has really struggled in that role.

I wrote my full preview for PE.com.

The run game will be the key tonight.

The Eagles offense must stay on the field. And Josh Adams needs to have a big game.

I can see the Eagles offense playing well enough to win. There still are some good pieces in place and we know Foles can have a great game when he’s at his peak.

Can the defense do their part?

Fletcher Cox and the DL can make some plays, but I’m just not sure the back seven is going to be able to cover and shut down the run on a consistent basis. For the Eagles to win, some guys are going to have to step up and play better than we’ve seen. The defense also needs some takeaways.

The Eagles aren’t likely to win this game, but that’s the beauty of the NFL. Anything can happen in a 3-hour setting. The Eagles need their best performance of 2018 and the Rams need to be sloppy.

Let’s see what happens.

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A Game to Play

Posted: December 15th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Carson Wentz injury news has dominated all the talk about the Eagles in recent days. And that makes complete sense. Wentz is the star QB and heart and soul of the franchise. Beyond that, the story of his injury is a bit odd.

But there is a game to play.

Graham and the other players are saying the right things. They have to keep their heads and hopes up. As long as these guys are mathematically alive, they have to keep battling.

You and I can sit on the outside and say “Why bother?”. We haven’t invested months of effort, blood, sweat and tears in this season. The players have. They aren’t going to give up until it is truly over.

The Eagles are major underdogs in this game, as they should be. The Rams are better. They are healthier. They are playing at home.

But sometimes being the underdog can bring out the best in a team. You relax. The pressure is off. You’re loose and you just go let it rip.

I don’t have  a clue what to expect from this Eagles team. They’ve been so erratic this year that I have no idea what’s going to happen.

I would love to see them play one great game this season. We haven’t gotten that yet. Beating the Rams with Nick Foles and a bunch of other backups would qualify as the best game of the year.

I’m not delusional enough to get my hopes way up. I was told some valuable advice more than 30 years ago by my friend’s mom.

“Thomas (as she would call me at times), put out your hands. Hope in one and shit in the other. See which one gets full first.”

Those were the days when parenting wasn’t all warm and cuddly.

Back to the Eagles. Some people have this idea that Nick Foles is going to come in and play like he did last year in the postseason. That would be cool, but based on what we saw last summer and in the first two games, I’m not expecting anything like that.

It would be a great story. Foles took over for Wentz against the Rams a year ago. Foles was once traded to the Rams and started for them. For him to come out and lead the Eagles to a win over his former team in such a key spot would be Hollywood material. I just don’t think it is likely to happen.

It would certainly help if the Rams let their guard down. If they ease up a bit or play sloppy, the Eagles can take advantage of that. We’ll see.

*****

I didn’t write about Doug’s PC from Friday. Watch it for yourself.

Just an awkward situation all around.

No clue why the Eagles waited until today to rule Wentz out for Sunday’s game. Dumb.

*****

At this point, it might be easier to keep track of who hasn’t played for the Eagles.

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Fractured

Posted: December 14th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The weirdest Eagles season in recent memory got even weirder on Thursday.

Gulp.

This sounds really scary. Turns out that it may not be as terrible as it sounds.

Before you think Ross is nuts…a fracture can heal. And this doesn’t require surgery. A disk issue is much trickier to heal.

I didn’t realize this, but Wentz isn’t alone among QBs with this injury. Derek Carr and Tony Romo had this problem and missed little to no time.

I’m not being delusional. Wentz having a fractured vertebrae is serious news. That’s the heart and soul of your franchise and he’s got a back injury. If not treated properly, back injuries can linger and cause all kinds of problems.

This news also brings additional scrutiny on the Eagles medical staff. They were looking into Wentz’s back in October when he first started having problems. They never saw any fractures so he kept on playing. This time around, CT scans did show the break. Was it there the whole time? Did they miss it or did it just take time for the break to happen? These are important questions.

I couldn’t help but think of this scene from Top Secret!, the great 80’s comedy.

Such a good movie.

It feels like that could be Doug Pederson and the medical staff talking about a player.

“Coach, his leg isn’t healing. We are putting him on IR.”

“Okay. Just make sure you let me know his status for this week.”

To be fair, I think the vast majority of these injuries are purely bad luck. And boy have they come in droves this year. If you follow sports long enough, you see this happen every so often. Guys just go down, left and right.

The fact that multiple players have stayed out longer than expected isn’t a good look. Part of the problem there is the organization’s sudden love of ridiculously vague injury reports. I know you want to keep info from other teams, but instead of gaining a strategic advantage, you’re creating credibility issues with fans and the media. Quit with the silly games.

There are some legit questions for the medical staff. Jay Ajayi going back into a game with a torn ACL. Derek Barnett’s shoulder injury that apparently was worse than they thought. And now this. As individual moments, they aren’t huge. But taken as a whole, that’s either the worst luck ever or there is legit fault with identifying some serious injuries.

The Eagles are not a cheap franchise. Jeffrey Lurie tries to give his team every advantage he can. This medical staff is new this year and I’m sure the change was seen as an improvement. Obviously that has to be questioned. The organization must study this issue in the offseason and figure out if anything needs to be done.

Players certainly have to have some doubts about the team’s medical staff.

Always get a second opinion, right? Feels a bit different in this case.

Where the heck is Dr. House when the Eagles need him?

*****

There are some former players ripping the Eagles medical staff.

The problem is that Emmanuel Acho and Earl Wolff played under Chip Kelly and dealt with a different staff.

That doesn’t dismiss their claims, but they do go against different people.

*****

I wonder what exciting news Friday will bring.

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Back in Focus

Posted: December 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Just another quiet Wednesday in mid-December.

Until…

Wow. Wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t think Wentz had any back issues this year, but apparently I was wrong. He was limited in practice back in October due to some back problems. Obviously this has been an issue for a while.

We don’t know for a fact that Wentz will miss Sunday’s game, but it certainly sounds like that will happen. That would put Nick Foles in at QB

Some people on the fringe have asked to see Foles, with the offense struggling at times, especially early in games. Well, they’ll get to see Foles now and I’m guessing the results aren’t going to be spectacular. Foles struggled in the preseason and in the season opener. He was better against Tampa, but hardly lights out.

It is possible that seeing Foles at QB will bring out the best in the players around him. That was the case last year in the postseason, but the Eagles had been playing at a high level prior to that. This year, things have not gone so well. It would be interesting to see the players suddenly play at a higher level.

This will certainly be important for Foles. He can be a free agent at the end of the season and would like a chance to become a starter again. A strong showing from Foles would help his case. If he struggles, that could dry up some of the interest in him.

Will Wentz sit one week? Could the Eagles shut him down for the season?

I tend to think Wentz will push to get back on the field as soon as possible. There is an argument to just resting him to get ready for 2019, but that would be a hard sell to Wentz. He’s extremely competitive and I can’t imagine he’d be comfortable watching his teammates play while he sat to avoid injury.

This situation will once again bring up questions about the medical staff. Did they do anything wrong? Did they not do enough when the back began acting up in October?

The Eagles are in extreme desperation mode in regard to the 2018 season. They will turn to Foles in a game against the best or second best team in the NFC. This is an incredibly tough spot to put him in, but once again, Foles has a chance to be the hero.

How crazy would it be if Foles played for a week or two and got the team hot, only to have Wentz come back and take the Eagles on a postseason run? That will probably happen right after I’m named Governor of Candyland, Funyuns are officially declared a vegetable and Megan Fox and I are finally able to legally adopt Derek Landri. Talk about your dream scenarios…

Let’s see how this whole situation shakes out before we make any grand proclamations. Has Wentz’s back been bothering him for months and it has affected his play? Or this just flaring up now after settling down for the past six or so weeks? There’s a big difference.

And backs are tricky. I had some weird back issues in 6th grade. They went away and never came back. No treatment. Just vanished. Like my hair and my hopes for a bright future.

Does this mean Wentz is injury prone? Again, let’s see how things play out. Let’s get some details from Wentz and figure out if this comes and goes or has bothered him for months.

This has been such a bizarre, crappy year that I won’t personally be satisfied until we have some more injury news. Scurvy, perhaps? Is Mad Cow Disease out of the question? Which member of the secondary is going to miss a game due to Whooping Cough?

For now, why not enjoy your delusional dreams?

*****

Pederson can’t openly embrace Flip without making the current coaches feel awkward. We’ll see how things play out.

I would think Flip would get consideration in the offseason at the very least.

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