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Things You Need To Know About The Eagles At The Midway Point

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This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

A full half of the regular season remains and the question is: Are the Eagles finally trending up after the big win at Dallas? Some thoughts on this 4-4 team with Miami coming to town.

  • My over/under for screen passes and variations thereof for Sunday by the Dolphins is 7. I think Miami is going to challenge the Eagles cornerbacks, particularly Byron Maxwell, to make tackles in the open field. Miami does everything it can to get the ball in the hands of wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

  • The unsung hero on this team is punter Donnie Jones, who is on pace to set franchise marks in gross punting average (47.8 yards) and net punting average (42.8 yards). He’s having a remarkable season and the punt coverage has been outstanding.

  • So, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews have combined to gain 799 rushing yards, 307 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in half a season. That’s pretty darn good production, especially considering the start to this season. Anybody worried about how the carries are being divided now? The key is to generate first downs, move the chains and give both ample touches.

  • Keep this in mind: While the Eagles don’t have a second-round draft pick next spring – sent to St. Louis in the Sam Bradford trade – they do have Detroit’s third-round pick. The Eagles dealt a fourth-round pick in 2015 to Detroit for the Lions’ third-round pick in 2016. And right now, that pick is right at the top of the third round. Root for the Lions to keep losing.

  • I’m thinking long term here, and just wondering: Walter Thurmond and Malcolm Jenkins have played very well at safety this season. Thurmond is on a one-year contract (as is cornerback Nolan Carroll), so Thurmond’s future here is not clear. Where does Eric Rowe fit into the picture? I see him as a safety in the future here.

  • The defense has to shore up its run game and it has to get off the field more efficiently, but there have been plenty of bright spots through eight games: The Eagles are second in the NFL with 20 takeaways, first in fewest in touchdowns of 20-plus yards allowed (2), 2nd in YAC (4.8 yards per reception) and 5th in opponent three-and-out drive percentage (24.8 percent).

  • How has your evaluation of quarterback Sam Bradford changed from early in September until now? He’s improved each week. He’s more mobile. The accuracy is better. He’s clearly got more confidence and awareness in the pocket. Bradford, and the offense, needs to start faster, but the talent is evident.

  • Hard to believe that Miami is so porous against the run, allowing 266 yards on the ground last week against Buffalo. I thought Miami would have one of the best front sevens in the game this season after signing Ndamukong Suh in free agency. Suh has 22 tackles and 3 quarterback sacks this season.

  • A major guess that Chip Kelly won’t open Sunday’s game with a Bradford-to-Murray flare pass. I’m guessing the offense will try to take a more aggressive approach on Sunday. The Eagles sure need to do something to get rolling from the start of the game.

  • Wide receiver Jordan Matthews throws the football into the stands after scoring the winning touchdown against Dallas and gets fined by the NFL for more than $5,700. Fair? Absurd? The NFL deems throwing a football into the stands a potential hazard, so the players understand that it’s a no-no. My guess is that Matthews will never do it again.