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Eagles News: Halapoulivaati Vaitai is playing well at left tackle (with help from Jason Peters)

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/23/17.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Halapoulivaati Vaitai thriving for Eagles in place of injured Jason Peters - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Pro-rating the two halves of the Redskins game, which Peters and Vaitai split, here are the Eagles' averages with each of them on the field: With Peters: 28 points per game, 382 yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry, 131 rushing yards per game, 2.9 sacks per game. With Vaitai: 35 points per game, 367 yards per game, 5.0 yards per carry, 170 rushing yards per game, 1.4 sacks per game. Obviously, there are a million factors that go into those figures, but the bottom line is the offense has been motoring along just fine with Vaitai protecting Carson Wentz's blind side. "Like they say, 'the next man up,'" Vaitai said. "It’s sad to see what happened to J.P. Just one of those deals where you have to be ready filling in that role. The good thing is J.P. is still by my side. He texts me every now and then. He texts me before the game, he calls me after, tells me what I need to work on. J.P. always says, 'just calm down, get to your spot and you’ll be OK.' It’s just really, really good and makes me feel like he’s right there next to me."

Eagles film breakdown: Big improvement for 'Big V,' Halapoulivaati Vaitai - Inquirer
Since the 49ers game, the Eagles have had offensive game plans that account for Vaitai. Per coordinator Frank Reich, they’ve taken a three-pronged approach. 1. The Eagles have remained balanced; 2. They’ve had a fair number of quick, timing throws; and 3. They’ve given Vaitai (No. 72) help in pass protection with chip blocking.

We’re all thankful for the Philadelphia Eagles this Thanksgiving - BGN
Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!

Brandon Brooks: We asked coaches at halftime to let us run Cowboys into the ground - PhillyVoice
It started with Stout [Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland]. Once we came off the field for the first couple of series, we were like, “Stout, you know, we can definitely run the ball on these guys straight downhill.” He relayed that on. Stout does a good job of listening to what we’re saying and taking that feedback off the field and relaying it up. That got up to Doug at halftime. He came in and said, “I hear you guys as far as running the ball downhill. Coming out in the second half, we’re going to listen to you guys and we’re going to make it happen.”

A Tale of Two Teams - Iggles Blitz
The 2017 team has scored at least 20 points in every game. . The 2004 team won games 15-10 and 19-9. They only put up 3 points in the loss to the Steelers. The other key difference is the TO factor. He came to the Eagles and brought talent, attitude and swagger. His presence changed the entire personality of the team. That was a good thing in the short run, but proved to be unsustainable because he was emotionally fragile and highly volatile. The Eagles also went from being Donovan McNabb’s team to McNabb and TO’s team. Carson Wentz is the leader of the 2017 Eagles. Offseason additions like Jeffery, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Tim Jernigan, Torrey Smith, Patrick Robinson and Ronald Darby embrace him rather than splitting the locker room. This is a united team with great chemistry. This team just feels better. I expect this bunch to continue playing at a high level.

NFL MVP poll: Why it's Carson Wentz's award to lose - ESPN
The case for Wentz: He's the quarterback of the team with the best record and he leads the league in touchdown passes. That guy is always going to be a candidate, which is why Wentz received eight of the 12 first-place votes and four second-place votes. There's not much to not like. He's making good decisions, not turning the ball over, can help with his legs when the play's not there downfield ... you get the point. Coach Doug Pederson is nimbly altering the offense to fit its circumstances from week to week -- sometimes quarter to quarter -- and Wentz is in total command of it all.

NFL QB Rankings by PFF grade after Week 11 - PFF
6) After a few big throws on the first couple drives of the game on vertical shots down the sideline and up the seam, Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense lacked the type of rhythm we are used to seeing from them for a good stretch of the game, only to find it again as the game wore on in the second half. Wentz made two key tight-window throws in the red zone in the second half, one of them moving off the spot to find Torrey Smith on an in breaker for a touchdown, the other to Nelson Agholor on an absolute pinpoint throw just past the underneath coverage and in between both safeties for another score. Wentz continues to accel with the majority of his game, but has been particularly crisp on intermediate digs, crossers and seam routes in between numbers at the 10-19 yard range, where he has completed 71 percent of his passes with five touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 144.1 in that area on the season.

For Philadelphia Eagles, tackles with different personalities thrive in Peters' absence - PennLive
Eagles teammates have a difficult time describing Lane Johnson's personality in succinct fashion. The 27-year-old offensive tackle wore a long, blonde wig during training camp to lighten the mood. He wrote a story on The Players Tribune this summer guaranteeing a season-opening win over Washington, and he relayed a story last week about how he told his Cowboy fan grandma to shut her mouth if she wanted "to live to see 75." "Lane is Lane," second-year offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai said with a slight grin.

All-22: How the Eagles trapped Cowboys DT David Irving all game long - The Athletic
A few weeks ago, the Eagles' offensive game plan against the Denver Broncos centered around keeping Von Miller off balance. Doug Pederson knew Miller could single-handedly wreck a game, so the Eagles used different tactics to neutralize him. They read him, they ran screens at him, and they chipped him in pass protection. The strategy was successful as the Eagles rolled to a 51-23 victory. On Sunday against the Cowboys, the defender the Eagles targeted was David Irving. Irving is a gap-penetrating defensive tackle who can be extremely disruptive. He's second on the team with eight tackles for loss, even though he's played in only six games. To neutralize Irving, the Eagles called on one of their staple runs: trap.

Big Question: Should The Eagles Give RB Jay Ajayi A Bigger Workload? -
With the running back rotation, I truly believe it will be a game-by-game thing. Depending on the situation, you’ll see amounts of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and hey, we even saw Kenjon Barner come up with two big plays on the opening drive against the Cowboys. Pederson, Frank Reich, and Duce Staley have a clear idea of how to best use these running backs as the team prepares for a tough run down the stretch. If the Eagles are going to make a playoff run, they’ll need each running back on the roster to play a key role.

Derek Barnett has made the Eagles look brilliant - FanRag
Barnett now has 4.5 sacks, tied for second on the team with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and just 1.5 behind leader Brandon Graham. Meanwhile, some of the rookies the Eagles passed on haven’t matched his success. Allen, Cook and Foster each had medical concerns coming out of college. Allen has played just five games this year and has one sack. Cook had amassed more than 400 yards in his first four games before his season ended prematurely with an ACL injury. Foster, the 31st pick by the 49ers, has also been limited to four games by injuries. Charles Harris, a pass rusher who went eight picks after Barnett to the Dolphins, has just one sack in 10 games – the same number as Cowboy defensive end Taco Charlton, who went 28th.

Sacks coming for Eagles' Barnett, but strong play already there - DelawareOnline
The easy narrative is that Derek Barnett has turned around his rookie season because all of his 4.5 sacks have come in the last five games. But that's not how the Eagles see it. "I’m not going to feed into the narrative that he has transformed his game, and that’s why his sacks are coming," fellow defensive end Chris Long said. "He’s just good." Then Long added: "I think he’s rushed [the quarterback] well all year. He has had plenty of rushes that didn’t end up as sacks that are better than the ones he’s getting sacks on now. That’s the whole nature of being a pass rusher... I’m glad that he’s getting the recognition, but he’s been playing well all year."

Starting an NFL franchise? Plug in Wentz as your QB - Talk of Fame
In our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll, we asked that question – which young quarterback would you build an NFL team around? Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles won in a landslide with 76.5 percent of the vote. DeShaun Watson of the Houston Texans was next with 8 percent, followed by Goff at 7.7 percent and Dak Prescott at 4.7 percent. Winston and Mariota, the top two picks in the 2015 draft, each received less than two percent support. The three Talk of Fame Network hosts – Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge – agreed with the poll result. All cast their ballots for Wentz. “It’s hard to argue against Wentz,” Borges said. “None of the defenses that have faced him would argue against him, and me, neither.”

What I'm thankful for: the end of the Bears' John Fox era - Windy City Gridiron
There's but one blessing to count for the hapless Bears this year and that's six games left of Fox as head coach.

Why Cowboys WR Cole Beasley sat on the bench in a trance long after Eagles game ended - SportsDay
Cole Beasley will be my lasting image from the Sunday Night Football drubbing by the Eagles. It's not from the game. It's several minutes after the game concluded. Beasley was the last player off the field/sideline. While a few straggling teammates were at midfield jersey-swapping with Eagles players, Beasley still had not moved yet. He was sitting on the bench, his jersey/pads on the ground in front of his feet, and Beasley looking straight ahead...forlorn. Frustrated and disappointed, he sat there at least four or five minutes as sideline crew was clearing trash/headsets/Gatorade buckets from the area around him.

Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks on athletes are falling into a predictable, sinister pattern - SB Nation
The attacks on LaVar Ball and Marshawn Lynch show what the president is trying to do.


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