December 19, 2017
The Eagles defense was not very good in Sunday's win over the Giants, allowing 29 points and over 500 yards of offense to a team that had been averaging 15.3 points and fewer than 300 yards per game this season. And it didn't go unnoticed. Not by fans. Not by the media. And not by the coaches.
But, as it turns out, the harshest criticism may have come from the Eagles very own defensive leader.
Here's a look at what they're saying about the Eagles.
We've already covered the questionable play of the Eagles defense over the past few weeks – it's was my big takeaway from Sunday's game – but safety Malcolm Jenkins may have summed it up best with far fewer words (just two) than I needed.
If you remember, cornerback Patrick Robinson, who later left with a concussion, was caught on FOX camera's going off on the sideline early in the game.
I hope they're all this pissed pic.twitter.com/9SZUujK5GW— Nick Piccone (@nickpiccone) December 17, 2017
Jenkins, who is the leader of the defense and was right next to Robinson when it happened, had the following to say about the incident:
"I think everybody was frustrated," Jenkins said to The Athletic. "We were playing (like) horse s--- at that point in time, to be honest. Especially in the secondary. And so there’s a lot of frustration. And I think that makes it worse when guys lose their cool.
"So we had to reel it back in, settle everybody down. And once we did that, got back to playing our technique, playing our scheme and putting ourselves in great position, we had success. I think moving forward, we’ve got to make sure we don’t have any of that." [theathletic.com]
Despite the lackluster play on the defensive side of the ball, there are plenty of reasons to believe the Eagles can still make a deep playoff run, one that hopefully doesn't end until February 4 in Minnesota.
Several of those reasons have to do with the Eagles themselves, but one of the most compelling deals with what stands between the Birds and their ultimate goal.
There's a logjam of contenders atop the NFC alongside the Eagles, with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings all surging. But Philly can rest assured knowing it has toppled two of those four teams on the road this season.
In fact, the Eagles beat one without Wentz down the stretch, as Foles came in cold against the Rams and orchestrated a late win led by methodical drives and a fourth-quarter defensive display...
The only team in the league that appears to be unbeatable in the postseason for Philly are the New England Patriots, but the Eagles wouldn't have to face them until they reach the Super Bowl. [bleacherreport.com]
You might not agree with everything Marcus writes, but he makes a very compelling case for Doug Pederson to be the NFL's Coach of the Year:
The 50-member media panel will cast its votes for coach of the year in two weeks, which makes this the time to vet the candidates: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota; Sean McVay, L.A. Rams; Doug Marrone, Jacksonville; Pederson; and, as always, Bill Belichick.
Pederson should win.
It shouldn’t be close.
Pederson took a revamped, imperfect roster and created incredible synergy. He developed Carson Wentz into an MVP candidate. He saved former first-round receiver Nelson Agholor. He spread the ball. Most important, Pederson prepared his backup players so well that when the stars got hurt, the team still won. [philly.com]
As always, Fran Duffy over at PE.com has a great film breakdown of the game. This one focuses specifically on Foles' four touchdowns.
And while the defense may be collapsing, Duffy is quick to point out that Foles' play against the Giants is further proof that this team can continue to win without it's MVP-caliber starting quarterback.
The best part of the second touchdown is that it was a great example of how the Eagles' offensive train isn’t stopping now that Wentz had to get off. They’re calling the same kinds of plays and running the same kinds of concepts that worked when No. 11 was in the ballgame. The Eagles have excelled at getting one-on-one opportunities for Ertz all season long, and that’s exactly what happened here. Ertz ran a great route, undercutting the defender and getting him on his back to outmuscle him at the catch point for a touchdown. Again, the protection held up against a Cover 0 blitz from the Giants to allow Foles to deliver this football accurately and on time for a score. [philadelphiaeagles.com]
Shot 2 - #Eagles just doing what they've done all year long in the red zone, creating space for Zach Ertz to work and win a 1-on-1 matchup. Vs #Giants Cover 0 look he runs a great corner post, using his body to win at the catch point. Great timing from Foles vs pressure as well pic.twitter.com/t3pTS76cG4— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 18, 2017
Five of the six players were on defense, including three safeties, but perhaps the most interesting name was running back Ka'Deem Carey...
The Eagles already have five running backs on their roster, so I doubt they’ll be looking to sign Carey to the roster or even the practice squad. It won’t be surprising, however, to see Philadelphia ink Carey to a futures/reserve contract after the season is over. He’s worth a look on the offseason 90-man roster. Keep in mind LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles are both set to be free agents after this season. [bleedinggreennation.com]
When the Eagles schedule first came out, Monday's Christmas night game against the Raiders was looking to be one of the tougher games down the stretch. The Raiders, considered by many at that time to be a contender, haven't quite lived up to expectations, while the Eagles have far exceeded them.
And even without Wentz, Vegas likes the Birds chances of improving to 13-2 this week. After opening as a 7.5-point favorite, they're now favored by at least nine points across the board, and by as many as 10 in some places.
• Opening (OddsShark): -7.5 (-110)
• Bovada: -9 (-105)
• Intertops: -9 (-110)
• BetOnline: -9 (-110)
• TopBet: -9 (-110)
• SportsBetting: -9 (-110)
• GTBets: -9 (-110)
• MyBookie: -9 (-110)
• BetNow: -9 (-110)
• 5Dimes: -10 (+105)
• SportBet: -10 (+105)
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