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Eagles News: Zach Ertz is off to a very hot start

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/29/17.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

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Eagles Mailbag: Can Zach Ertz lead all tight ends in receiving this season? - PhillyVoice
I was curious where Ertz ranked, league-wide, after reading this question, so I took a peek. Turns out he’s tied for fourth overall in the NFL in receptions, with 21, and 10th in yards, with 245. That’s good for first in the league among tight ends, who have generally gotten off to slow starts in 2017. Statistically so far this season, it’s Ertz and Gronk at the top, and then there's a big gap thereafter. Ertz is on pace for 112 catches and 1307 yards. While he still has his frustrating quirks, Ertz is one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL, and the Eagles' best weapon in the passing game right now.

Eagles Game Preview: The Chargers are a team without a home - BGN
The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #264). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Chargers game in Week 4, talk about how Los Angeles is struggling, analyze key matchups to watch, and much more.

Zach Ertz Off To An 'Elite TE' Start - PE.com
Start fast. Finish strong. The goal of tight end Zach Ertz from an individual perspective – and it’s very difficult to get him to think or talk or breathe about his individual goals – is to have a complete start-to-finish season for the Eagles ...

Fantasy Football Week 4: Christian McCaffrey Boasts Huge Value As a Receiver - SI.com
Only two tight ends have made their owners happy this year. One, of course, is Rob Gronkowski. The other is Zach Ertz. The Eagles tight end came into his own over the second half of last season, and has kept it rolling this year. He’s first among tight ends in targets (28), first in receptions (21), first in yards (245), second in routes run (111), and second in yards per route run (2.21). On top of that, the Eagles rarely ask him to pass block. Ertz has been on the field for 124 passing plays this season. He has had blocking responsibilities on 13 of those, or 10.5%. Only six tight ends in the league have a lower pass-blocking rate than Ertz. He’s not giving up too many of Carson Wentz’s dropbacks to protection responsibilities. At this point, it’s impossible to say that Ertz is anything worse than the No. 3 tight end in all fantasy formats.

Game Review – PHI 27, NYG 24 - Iggles Blitz
Give Pederson credit for going for the win on that final drive. He could have taken a knee or tried throwing a Hail Mary. Instead, the Eagles executed a play they had practiced on Friday. They expected it to take 5 to 6 seconds. It took 6, which was fine with :07 on the clock at the snap of the ball. That gave them a chance to hit a miracle FG. The coaches got the run game going in a variety of ways. They made a lineup change at LG. They mixed in multiples schemes and also used RPOs effectively. The coaches got LeGarrette Blount fired up and then fed him the ball. The defensive strategy was to play off and then tackle. With the exception of one huge pass play, the strategy worked pretty well. The Giants were forced to play small ball and put together long, methodical drives. The Eagles kept them out of the end zone until the 4th quarter.

QB sneaks: Is Wentz the next Brady? - The Athletic
While a different fourth-down play from the Eagles’ win over the New York Giants last Sunday is still the talk of the town, perhaps the more relevant plays were the Eagles’ two successful fourth-down conversions, both of which were picked up on Carson Wentz quarterback sneaks. Theoretically, these should not be difficult first downs to pick up. That the Eagles relied twice on Wentz to pick up those short-yardage conversions, though, was more interesting, considering that Wentz attempted only two quarterback sneaks all of last season. All four of Wentz’s career quarterback sneaks have been converted into first downs.

Carson Wentz showing 'rare' command early in Eagles career - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood found plenty of daylight against the New York Giants Sunday, piling up several meaty runs to finish with 71 yards on just 12 carries. He said this week that the holes he got to run through were some of the biggest he's seen since being drafted by the Eagles last year, and revealed that most of those gashers were plays that quarterback Carson Wentz checked into. "He picked the plays out. He saw a favorable box or he saw a scheme that would work for us -- some of the schemes we haven't done in a while -- and he checked to them. And they looked pretty good," Smallwood said.

Think Again About Fourth Downs - McNabbOrKolb
When Doug Pederson hears base rate data and associated variables over his headset, the Eagles organization is harnessing anchoring bias, and turning it from a bug into a feature. Moreover, the augmented expert approach is consistent with that of the more sophisticated analysts in the fields of finance, academia, chess, and government. It’s nice to root for a team that pays attention to the world outside sports, rather than snickering at it dismissively.

Mychal Kendricks (once again) can't hide frustration - Inquirer
He doesn’t expect to play more, however. “I don’t know. Who knows, man?” Kendricks said. “All I can do is do what I do.” Kendricks asked to be traded after last season. The Eagles dangled him on the market and were looking for a fifth-round draft pick around the start of free agency. Ultimately, they kept him, even though he has a $6.6 million salary-cap number. Hicks’ injury, and the unlikelihood that he and Bradham will play all 16 games again, suggests the team made the right decision. But Kendricks, who has had his own issues with injuries over his career, may have to continue to bide his time. “I don’t know even know what a third year [in one scheme] feels like because I … split reps with Kiko Alonso” in 2015, Kendricks said. “… I just want to know what it would be like to play a third year, like a full third year, in a defense.”

Is Eagles coach Doug Pederson being treated fairly? - BCCC
Most telling is that the 2-1 Eagles have won both of their NFC East games by defeating Washington on the road and New York at home. That could eventually determine who wins the division if it comes down to a tiebreaker. Even if Pederson occasionally leaves you scratching your head, the bottom line is what matters the most.

Improvements have Eagles center Jason Kelce back at Pro Bowl level - CSN Philly
Jason Kelce struggled so badly the first half of last year that he admitted his days in Philadelphia could be numbered. “I think that I quite frankly need to do a better job,” the veteran center said on Nov. 9. “I love playing in this city, I love playing in this organization, and if I’m going to keep doing that, I have to do a better job.” Here we are 11 months later and Jason Kelce is still here and definitely doing a better job. Kelce, who became a popular whipping boy of many fans over the past year, is back to his Pro Bowl level at center. The Eagles stuck with him, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland worked with him, Kelce vowed to improve, and here we are three weeks into the 2017 season and we're all seeing a different guy.

NFL QB Overview from Week 3 - PFF
Carson Wentz ranks 14th overall.

Players, team owners discussed anthem with Roger Goodell in NY Tuesday night - PFT
Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas said on Thursday that he was one of the players at the meeting along with Eagles defensive end Chris Long, Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater, Patriots safety Devin McCourty, Browns cornerback Jason McCourty and Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey. Giants co-owner John Mara, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Steelers owner Art Rooney II, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan were there as was NFL exec Troy Vincent for a discussion about how the league, teams and players will approach the playing of the anthem in the weeks to come.

Darren Sproles has been a human highlight reel his entire career - Yahoo! Sports
As things stand right now, Sproles – a three-time Pro Bowl selection – is only 539 all-purpose yards away from reaching No. 5 on the all-time all-purpose yards leaderboard. Doing so would surpass Steve Smith, Jr., Marshall Faulk and Tim Brown. With the 34-year-old’s football future now in jeopardy, we decided to take a look at the top five plays of his brilliant career with the Eagles, Saints and Chargers.

Melvin Ingram Named AFC Defensive Player of the Month - Bolts From The Blue
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. He has 5.5 sacks on the season which is good for second in the NFL and first in the AFC. Perhaps more impressive than that sack number is when and how he has amassed the total. Ingram’s sacks have consistently come on 3rd downs and in high leverage points of the game. He has personally kept the Chargers in games on multiple occasions this year.

Pretty Good, episode 13: Randall Cunningham Seizes the Means of Production - SB Nation
In 1987, Eagles coach Buddy Ryan and quarterback Randall Cunningham ran the most unsportsmanlike play in NFL history. The Cowboys totally deserved it.

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