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Eagles News: The Cowboys are “back to being overrated”

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/4/17.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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The Dallas Cowboys Are Back To Their Old Selves — Overrated - FiveThirtyEight
The bad news doesn’t stop there for Dallas. The Cowboys face a tough road if they hope to win the division, because even though the Giants are floundering, the rest of the NFC East has played better than we predicted in the preseason. And based on FiveThirtyEight’s Week 5 NFL Elo ratings, Dallas has the toughest remaining schedule of any team in its division; the Cowboys’ opponents have an average Elo rating of 1525, while the teams New York is facing average 1514, Washington’s opponents average 1499, and the rest of Philadelphia’s schedule averages 1496. The Cowboys and Eagles’ next five games could further increase the gap between those two teams — the Eagles currently have a one-game lead. Dallas’ next five opponents have an average Elo of 1549, and the Cowboys will face three of those teams on the road. Compare that with Philadelphia’s next five games — in which the Eagles’ opponents average an Elo of 1490 and only one game will be on the road — and the Cowboys’ playoff hopes could be essentially done by Week 10.

Carson Wentz’s on pace numbers through the Eagles’ first 4 games are encouraging - BGN
Wentz threw 16 touchdowns in 2016 so this would be a nice little jump. The Eagles’ franchise record for passing touchdowns in a single season is 32 by Sonny Jurgensen in 1961. 24 touchdowns would rank tied with Randall Cunningham (1988) and Norm Van Brocklin (1960) for ninth most in a single season.

Eagles report cards through the first quarter of the season: Offense edition - PhillyVoice
In the first couple games, it looked a lot like Wentz was going to have to do it all on his own again, like he did his rookie season, until the rushing attack picked up in Weeks 3 and 4 against the Giants and Chargers. Wentz has done an excellent job protecting the football, as he has thrown just two interceptions on the season. He has also made several plays that other quarterbacks simply cannot make by evading pressure and either finding receivers down the field or scrambling for yardage on the ground. He has also progressed on the mental side of the game, as Doug Pederson has allowed Wentz more freedom to get the Eagles into the right call at the line of scrimmage.

Big Red - Iggles Blitz
Discussing Reid’s departure is an incredibly nuanced discussion and not for mid-season, but let’s focus on the key points. Bill Walsh believed coaches needed to move on after a decade with one team. He felt players started to tune out the messages and the coaches got stale. A change of scenery was needed for both sides. There are rare exceptions like Tom Landry, Don Shula and Bill Belichick. For most coaches, change was needed. Think about what Andy has done differently in KC. He went back to calling the plays, something he gave up years ago in Philly. Reid had a strong GM to run the personnel side of things so he could focus on coaching. He changed his playbook, on offense and defense. The 4-3 was out and the 3-4 was in. The offense embraced college ideas and became the most creative in the league.

Lawlor: What Do We Know About The Eagles? - PE.com
The Eagles are 3-1 and alone atop the NFC East, so obviously things are great from that perspective. Beyond the numbers, the Eagles are passing the eye test. The Eagles were also 3-1 a year ago. They had beaten a pair of bad teams in the Browns and Bears and then played a flawless game in a blowout win over the Steelers. The Eagles then had a bye week and returned from that to lose a very sloppy game at Detroit, blowing it with some critical fourth-quarter mistakes. The team is better this season. They are already 2-0 in the division. They went 2-4 last year, with both wins coming late in the season. The Eagles are 2-1 on the road, winning at Washington and on the West Coast. In 2016, the team was 1-7 on the road, with the only victory coming over the Bears, who finished 3-13. The Eagles' only loss thus far was a wild affair at Kansas City, which is currently undefeated and might be the best team in the league.

Eagles Film Review: Still without a sack, Derek Barnett showing his motor - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Through four games, Eagles rookie Derek Barnett probably hasn't shown up on the stat sheet the way many fans predicted or hoped. He hasn't made any mistakes either. "He's had very few missed assignments," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "I don't want to give gold stars for that because that's what expected of us. But I think that's also a good sign coming from a rookie that's getting significant playing time, specifically in some key situations." The numbers aren't there yet, though. The 14th overall pick doesn't yet have a sack; he has six quarterback hurries and one quarterback hit. He has just five tackles. But as always, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Schwartz said on Tuesday that Barnett has had an up and down first four games but played a better game against the Chargers. Barnett had an impact on Sunday in the Eagles' 26-24 win.

Eagles' Lane Johnson using past suspensions as motivation - ESPN
"Damion Square this week, he came in," Johnson said. "We were actually in the weight room so it was kind of a see-through, there was a tent set up, and he said. 'What's up 'Roid Boy?' So I was like, 'All right.' So whenever we got on the field, we settled it." Square used to play in Philadelphia and is a former teammate of Johnson's. "He was joking, having fun," Johnson said, "but it's still the kind of stuff that makes you mad a little bit." Johnson recalls Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones -- this week's adversary -- saying something to him after his first suspension when he was with the New England Patriots. Johnson hears chatter from time to time and uses it as motivation.

Upon further review: Wentz quietly impresses, Pederson breaks trend, Blount's big run - The Athletic
Yes, the Eagles’ running game was the star of the show Sunday afternoon, both because of impressive, varied ball-carrying by all three backs and because of the blocking they got from an offensive line that has played like one of the league’s best since the demotion of Isaac Seumalo in favor of the two-headed left-guard monster. But that pleasant surprise overshadowed a very impressive performance from the Eagles’ second-year quarterback. The biggest knock on Wentz’s 2017 season thus far has been his inability to connect on deep balls. He threw three beautiful mid-range deep passes Sunday, connecting with Zach Ertz for 38 yards and Nelson Agholor for 36 yards, while Torrey Smith dropped another. The passes to Ertz and Agholor were Wentz’s third- and fourth-longest completions of the season, behind only the opening-week, 58-yard touchdown to Agholor on a busted play and the end-of-half lucky deflection to Ertz against Kansas City, which went for 53 yards.

Carson Wentz doesn't have big numbers through four games, but he's avoiding the negative plays - Inquirer
The caution flag to wave is that it’s still early. At this point last season, Wentz had only one interception. The Eagles were also 3-1. But when the interceptions started coming more frequently, the wins came less frequently. Eleven of his 14 interceptions last season came in losses. In 20 career games, the Eagles are 3-8 when Wentz throws an interception. They’re 7-2 when he doesn’t throw an interception. No one can accuse Wentz of playing conservatively, either. He’s willing to throw down field and doesn’t always attempt high-percentage passes. His success comes when he demonstrates smart quarterbacking, finding the balance between being too aggressive and too careful.

Week 4 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
A big part of the playoff odds report simulation is each team's schedules going forward, and this week is the season debut for the second weekly table that includes past and future schedule ratings. In the preseason we projected the Patriots with the easiest schedule in the league, but the rise of Houston and Kansas City means it has actually been the toughest in the league so far. That gets a lot easier from here on out, with the Patriots' remaining opponents ranked 25th (although only five of those are home games). Other teams whose schedules get much easier after September include Washington, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Houston, and -- I told you everything was coming up aces for Andy Reid -- Kansas City.

Prescott, Goff and Wentz Swap Roles in Season 2 of 'As the Quarterbacks Turn' - B/R
Dak Prescott is pressing. The league has caught up with him. His accuracy is spotty. He’s not on the same page as his receivers. The rookie magic has worn off. Jared Goff is a Pro Bowl candidate, or maybe an MVP or Hall of Fame candidate. He has "arrived," whatever that means. He has proved the doubters wrong. His decision making is brilliant, his throws pinpoint. The Rams were geniuses for drafting him. Carson Wentz has made great strides since his rookie year. Or maybe he has gotten lucky. He cannot throw the deep ball, except when he can. He’s immobile, except when he scrambles like king-sized Russell Wilson. Last year, the Eagles should have waited and drafted Prescott. Now, they were fools for not aggressively trading all the way up last year to nab Goff.

NFL fans booing pre-anthem protests shows that this was never about patriotism - SB Nation
The Ravens players and staff must be perplexed at fans still booing them. Not only because they’re losing — which they did again on Sunday — but because they’ve tried to compromise in their protests, kneeling before the national anthem and then standing for it. Yet fans are still angry. There seems to be no way to win, beyond going back to the way things were before Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee. That’s the real issue with the booing fans here; they’re angry that things haven’t gone back to the way they used to be. That the players haven’t shut up and fallen in line. That an illusion has been shattered. There can’t be any compromise with the protests because the only acceptable solution for those who are angry about them is for all of this to be forgotten. It’s not the form of protest that’s antagonizing; it’s that Kaepernick dared to point out a deep flaw in the country.

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