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The Linc: Should the Eagles bench Carson Wentz for his safety?

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles news and notes for 12/13

Ford: Why Eagles should bench Wentz vs. Ravens - Inquirer

If Allen Barbre's hamstring holds up this week, and if Brandon Brooks is available on Sunday - neither of which is a certainty - then the Eagles will have a reasonable facsimile of their offensive line available in Baltimore against the Ravens.

That's assuming it is reasonable to start a game with a second-string left guard and a third-string right tackle against a team that went into Monday night against New England with the top-ranked defense in the NFL. But, reasonable or not, that's the best-case scenario for the Eagles offensive line.

Should Barbre's hamstring not respond, and should Brooks not recover from what ails him, then the Eagles would put out a line something like: Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Guy They Haven't Signed Yet.

Coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles would work out available tackles this week, just in case, because the team has now gone through reserves Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Matt Tobin, and because original starter Lane Johnson won't be released from the league's timeout corner for another game. Pederson mentioned that tackle Dillon Gordon, an undrafted free agent who is really a converted tight end, was also on the roster, but that didn't seem to comfort him all that much.

So, that's the situation, and that's the wall that will protect the future of the franchise, the player upon whom the whole enterprise has been based from the moment Carson Wentz was taken with the second pick in the draft.

It wouldn't be a popular decision, and there are plenty of arguments against it, but there is no way Wentz should play Sunday against the Ravens. That's how bad this could be.

Eagles looking into ailment that’s cost Brandon Brooks two games - CSN Philly

It’s happened twice in the last three weeks now. Eagles starting right guard Brandon Brooks has been fine all week. He’s been fine at practice. He's been fine in meetings. He's been fine at the team hotel Saturday night.

Then at some point Sunday morning, the Eagles learn he’s sick and unavailable to play football that day.

Brooks, who the Eagles signed to a five-year, $40 million contract this offseason, has missed two of the last three games with mysterious ailments that haven’t manifested themselves until hours before kickoff and have left head coach Doug Pederson scrambling twice to reconfigure the team’s already depleted offensive line.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Pederson said.

Brooks missed the Packers game when he was hospitalized with what he said later was a violent stomach ailment. He missed games in 2014 and 2015 with the Texans with ulcers.

Brooks told CSNPhilly.com’s Dave Zangaro during Bengals week that the Packers ailment was unrelated to the ulcers.

Brooks started at his usual right guard spot last weekend against the Bengals and played the entire game seemingly without any issues.

But Pederson said he learned Sunday morning from trainer Chris Peruzzi that Brooks would again be unavailable.

“He was fine at the meetings (Saturday night),” he said. “Everything was good.”

Pederson said Monday he was unsure if this latest incident was related to the Packers ailment and said he he hasn’t learned exactly what’s going on with the 27-year-old Brooks.

Five reasons the Eagles lost to the Redskins - Daily News

The Eagles entered Sunday’s game ranked 13th in opponent rush average (4.1). But in the previous five games, only the Baltimore Ravens had given up fewer yards per carry than the Eagles (3.2).

The Redskins, who rushed for 230 yards against the Eagles in Week 6, had only 107 Sunday. But 47 of them came on two long scoring runs. It’s the first time this season the Eagles have given up more than one rushing touchdown in a game.

The first was a 22-yard touchdown run by rookie Robert Kelley in the second quarter that put the Redskins up, 7-6. The second was a 25-yard scoring run by Chris Thompson with 1:53 left in the game that put the Redskins in front for good.

Kelley’s TD came on a run up the middle that took advantage of the Eagles’ lack of defensive line depth. Right guard Brandon Scherff slanted across and took out backup tackle Destiny Vaeao. Tight end Vernon Davis easily stood up end Marcus Smith, which allowed Kelley to get to the second level.

If all the Eagles had been where they were supposed to be, Kelley should’ve been stopped after a 7- or 8-yard gain. But they weren’t.

Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks appeared to read the play wrong and was out of his gap, leaving a huge hole for Kelley, who then bounced outside around cornerback Nolan Carroll and raced into the end zone.

Safety Rodney McLeod didn’t lay a hand on him until he was at the 1-yard line.

Eagles-Washington Day After: The Missing Ingredient - Birds 24/7

“We just got to learn as a team to finish football games [and] have that killer instinct that a lot of the great teams in the NFL have,” Zach Ertz said. “We were close so many times in the red zone. We just got to score. When we’re able to turn those long drives into touchdowns, we’re going to be a really good offense.”

The Eagles turned the ball over twice in the red zone in their 27-22 loss to Washington, as Carson Wentz threw an interception in the end zone in their first trip and fumbled the ball away in their last trip. Philadelphia outperformed Washington in most categories — including total yards (383 vs. 334), time of possession (36:28 vs. 23:22) and penalties (54 penalty yards vs. 86) — but coming up short in turnover differential (-1) and red zone offense (10 points in four visits) cost them the game.

That’s why Doug Pederson’s postgame message was short and sweet: We’re close. But we need to learn how to finish.

While the Eagles’ offense failed to score from 14 yards out with 26 seconds remaining in the game, the defense surrendered an 8-play, 77-yard touchdown drive on the previous series. It was the third time this season the Eagles had a late lead, before their defense gave up a game-tying or game-winning scoring drive with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“This is the NFL, so it always comes down to a few plays. Good teams make those plays. We made some more of them today, but we have to make a couple more to finish these games off,” Connor Barwin said. “We have a ways to go here, and we have to find a way to finish games and continue to try to improve and eliminate mistakes.”

Learning to Win - Iggles Blitz

I was thinking about yesterday’s game and the team overall. It would have been so great to see Carson Wentz get the team into the end zone for the win. He’s had chances and hasn’t been able to take advantage of them. When is this team going to learn how to win?

That phrase stuck with me for a minute. Learn to win. How do you do that?

I started thinking about previous Eagles teams. Did they learn to win? When did that happen? How? What changed?

Then something hit me. A team really doesn’t learn to win. They learn to compete and to be in position to win. When you can do that and you have enough talented players, you start to win games. Think about how different that final drive might have been with Lane Johnson at RT and Darren Sproles at RB. I’m not adding free agents and draft picks. I’m simply giving the Eagles the projected players from September. Heck, that drive might have been different with simply having Allen Barbre at RT.

There are no guarantees that Wentz throws the winning TD, but he would have been in much better position to do that.

This team has only had 2 games where they weren’t close in the 4th quarter, Seattle and Cincy. In every other game, the Eagles had a chance to tie the game or take the lead. There is a talented core in place. Now let’s think about adding a key player or two. A really talented CB could have made a difference yesterday. A really talented WR could have made a difference in just about any game.