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September 11, 2017

What they're saying about the Eagles' opener: Wentz does his best Rodgers/McNabb imitation, more

For the second time in Carson Wentz's professional career – and in Doug Pederson's as a head coach, for that matter – the Eagles started their season off with a win, this time a 30-17 victory over a division rival, the Washington Redskins.

The highlight of the day, at least on the offensive side of the ball, came on a third down in the first quarter, when Wentz connected with Nelson Agholor on a 58-yard touchdown pass that required quite a bit of improvisation.

And that's where we'll start today's edition of What They're Saying... 

Scramblin’ Man

Turron Davenport | TheEaglesWire

Terrible Allman Brothers headline aside, this play from Wentz was ridiculous.

And it wasn’t simply good luck.

The quarterback scramble drill is something the Eagles worked on over the summer. Knowing how Wentz is able to extend plays, it was an area they felt they could take advantage of.

Agholor made an instinctive play when he saw Wentz break free. He turned up the field, and Wentz saw him before launching a pass on the run.

“Carson kept the play alive, and we worked the scramble drill. We prepared for that scenario and that situation so it was cool,” Agholor said after the game. “You keep your eyes on the quarterback and try to get away from defenders. He’s a magician. He is going to juke as many people as he needs to and find his receiver.”  []

Some likened Wentz’s play to that of Aaron Rodgers…

… but I prefer this comparison to a former Eagles quarterback:

Apparently, I’m not alone…

Norman impressed by Wentz

Eliot Shorr-Parks |

No matter what comparison you prefer – some on Twitter even likened it to the David Tyree play while others thought of Randall Cunningham – it was enough to impress Washington cornerback Josh Norman.

"He made plays. You saw it. He made plays," Norman said. "He came back off of one interception he threw and he came out there, it didn't seem like it phased him. He made plays. He eluded our guys when we got to him and got their hands on him. He extended the drives."  []

Replacing Ronald Darby

Aaron Kasinitz | PennLive

It wasn’t all good for the Eagles, as they’ll be without starting cornerback Ronald Darby for what’s likely going to be two months – and could be for the entire season depending on the results of his MRI – after the former Bill dislocated his ankle in Sunday’s win.

The team might now need to rely on contributions from third-round rookie Rasul Douglas, a lanky cornerback out of West Virginia who was inactive for Sunday's opener, presumably because the Birds feel he needs more seasoning to reach his potential.

Patrick Robinson, meanwhile, said in the locker room he expects to play more outside cornerback in practice and start there if Darby remains out. And Watkins figures he'll begin channeling more of his energy toward playing cornerback, rather than a hybrid of safety and corner.  []

Hopefully it doesn’t force the Birds to rush back their second-round pick form this April’s draft… 

Word from the capital

Thomas Boswell | The Washington Post

Let’s check in on how they’re doing in D.C. – spoiler alert: they’re not too happy about the whole Doug-Pederson-Gatorade-bath thing, but it’s much worse than just that. They seem about ready to give up on the season.

In the past 25 seasons, this franchise has repeatedly advertised itself as improved, headed in the right direction or on the brink of fine deeds. That is the Redskins’ firm position again this year, too.

Two 1,000-yard receivers gone? Don’t worry, we’ve adequately replaced them. Is our quarterback eager to leave town after this year? No problem, we love Cousins; it’ll all work out. That offseason unpleasantness between ex-general manager Scot McCloughan (fired) and team President Bruce Allen — pay no attention to that. Water under the bridge.

And yet the happy talk dished out by owner Daniel Snyder’s team is never true. In the past quarter century, only one team in the NFL has failed to win more than 10 games in a year: Washington. After Sunday at FedEx, the under looks safe again.  []

Excessive celebration?

Scott Allen |

A few Eagles players celebrated their 30-17 win over the Redskins on Sunday as if they had just won the Super Bowl, which, as every Redskins, Giants and Cowboys fan could tell you, is something Philadelphia has never done. As the final seconds ticked off the clock at FedEx Field in Landover, Fox’s cameras showed Eagles Coach Doug Pederson receiving a Gatorade bath on the sideline.

Now Gatorade baths aren’t limited to Super Bowl, or even playoff, wins these days, but you generally don’t see them in Week 1. There are common exceptions, such as when a coach wins his NFL debut, the victory comes in dramatic fashion or a team wins as a major underdog. But this is Pederson’s second season as head coach, Philadelphia led for much of the game and secured the win on an apparently botched call and the Eagles were favored by a point at most sportsbooks.  []

Why Pederson took a Gatorade bath

Brandon Gowton | Bleeding Green Nation

“I think it’s just something that, we’ve been talking about all week about kind of getting the monkey of our back with that one there against the Redskins. And particularly on the road. We haven’t done so well [against them], particularly last year. Just all week we kept talking about it and talking about it. It was just the old set up on the sideline and I got the bath. So, appreciative of it, but, yeah.”

Pederson’s not wrong; Washington has been a big, annoying problem for them for too long now. The Eagles hadn’t defeated Washington since September 2014. That is, until today.  []

That may be what Pederson thinks, but I think Zach Ertz is actually much closer to the truth:


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