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Eagles News: Zach Ertz making a case as the NFL’s best tight end

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/18/18.

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Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

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Gronk? Kelce? Right now, NFL’s top tight end may be Zach Ertz - ESPN
The name on that jersey doesn’t get as much attention as others at the position: Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. But Ertz is making a case for why he deserves top billing. Through six weeks, he leads all tight ends in targets (66) and receiving yards (480) and is second in the NFL in receptions (48) behind only Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen. His 48 receptions are the most by a tight end through six games since 1999. He’s on pace for 128 catches, which would shatter Witten’s record of 110 for most catches in a single season by a tight end.

Dallas Goedert’s blocking facilitates Eagles ground game success - BGN
Still, he’s been fairly efficient. Per Pro Football Focus, his 1.22 yards per route run ranks 23rd out of 37 qualifying tight ends and comes in second for rookies. His 86.7% catch rate is encouraging as well, but again, this is not the promise fulfilling explosion that likely won’t happen until year two or three of his career. Where his real value has been the running game. After minimal usage in the first two games, Goedert quietly stole the show as a blocker against the Indianapolis Colts in their Week 3 win.

The Kist & Solak Show #29: Previewing Panthers O vs Eagles D - BGN Radio
Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak go over the new injury report and it’s impact and then commence with preview 2 of 2 by digging into the details of the Panthers offense against the Eagles defense. There’s a lot to love about the Panthers diverse running attack, but do deficiencies in the passing game drag them to an L? Come find out!

Eagles vs. Panthers: Five matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
I was curious about Groh’s comments, and it turns out that the Panthers’ defensive linemen with at least 100 snaps played this season -- a group that includes Mario Addison, Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, Wes Horton, Julius Peppers, Kyle Love, and Victor Butler -- averages 298 pounds per man. That is indeed a big group, however, they are not impervious to the run. On the season, they are allowing 4.6 yards per rush, which is 23rd in the league. The Eagles are depleted at running back, but they would love to get early points on the board and get the run game going.

Another Good Sign - Iggles Blitz
Jim Schwartz decided that OBJ wasn’t going to beat the Eagles. He dared Eli to make plays by forcing the ball to other receivers. That plan didn’t work great. The Eagles coverage was better than in other games. Also, the D-line got a lot of pressure. They played really well and made a difference. The Eagles aren’t piling up sacks, but they are affecting the QB.

Simply The Greatest: Brian Dawkins - PE.com
In my 15 seasons of covering the Philadelphia Eagles, I’ve been able to witness some of the greatest players ever to wear the uniform. Some of them are in the Eagles Hall of Fame, but only one is enshrined in Canton, Ohio – Brian Dawkins. Dawkins is my all-time favorite Eagle. And it’s not even close. I’m sure many of you reading this are nodding in agreement. Of course, there’s the production on the field. How many players can say that they had such an impact on the sport that they changed the way their position was utilized? Once the last line of defense, safety became a playmaker spot thanks to Dawkins. Just in his time with the Eagles, Dawkins had 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles, 21 sacks, 16 fumble recoveries, and four total touchdowns. How many players in NFL history have 30 interceptions and 20 sacks? Five. And Dawkins is one of them.

Here’s a scary thought: Carson Wentz keeps getting better - NBCSP
Here’s a scary thought for the rest of the NFL: Carson Wentz is getting better. Every single game. At least that’s what we’ve seen from him in the four games since he returned from that ACL surgery this season. He’s improved in every contest by almost every measurable metric. “I think he’s just getting more comfortable with the speed of the game, having missed so much time throughout the offseason and training camp,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “I think he’s settling in nicely and finding his rhythm.” Wentz would probably say the only stat he cares about is wins and the Eagles are just 2-2 in the four games he’s started this season. But if he keeps getting better like he has the last month, he’s going to give the Eagles a chance to win every game on the rest of the schedule.

2018 NFL Offensive Line Rankings: All 32 teams’ units after Week 6 - PFF
2) Stefen Wisniewski wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire with his play before being benched, but his 60.3 overall grade didn’t leave him much room to argue. Isaac Seumalo hasn’t been any better, though, as he’s struggled with more powerful defensive tackles. He’s already allowed more pressures (eight) than Wisniewski did before his benching (six).

Michael Bennett’s Texas court case pushed back again - PennLive
Once again, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett’s court date related to a charge of injuring the elderly has been pushed back yet again, Harris County, Texas, court records show. The “results” for Wednesday’s scheduled date in the court records read “reset upon defense request.” The next scheduled date is Nov. 28, court records show.

Week 7 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em - Rotoworld
START — Carson Wentz vs. Panthers: Since debuting in Week 3 against the Colts, Wentz has steadily gotten better, knocking the rust off from his ACL rehab and returning to his old form as a bit of a gunslinger who plays with some reckless abandon in order to create plays. Over the last three weeks, Wentz has averaged 312.3 yards through the air with seven touchdowns and multiple scores in all three starts. Wentz has registered back-to-back overall QB8 performances, so it’s safe to say he’s back in the every-week QB1 conversation. The Panthers have notoriously been strong against the pass, but they’ve been wholly unimpressive much of the season. Carolina is below average in both pass-defense DVOA (21st) and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (18th). Eli Manning had his best game of the season against the Panthers in Week 5, throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns. Andy Dalton had 352 yards and two scores in Week 3. And Matt Ryan totaled 290 yards with four touchdowns as the QB5 in Week 2. Wentz has just as much upside, if not more, than Ryan. Wentz faced this defense in Carolina last season and tossed three touchdowns. The 45.5-point total doesn’t leap off the page as a fantasy goldmine, but there’s enough here for Wentz.

Cam Newton unconcerned about down-field passing - PFT
Cam Newton‘s completion percentage stands at a career season-best 65.9, well above his career average of 58.9. He has nine touchdowns and four interceptions. But Newton averages only 6.8 yards per attempt, which ties for 27th among quarterbacks with at least 90 attempts. The Panthers quarterback has completed only 1 of 14 passes that traveled at least 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Devin Funchess made a leaping 23-yard touchdown last week for the one long completion.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson has tie to Panthers; his time in Charlotte wasn’t trivial - Charlotte Observer
Who immediately comes to mind when you think of Carolina Panthers quarterbacks during the team’s 24 seasons? Cam Newton is a given. Jake Delhomme nearly knocked off a budding dynasty in New England during Carolina’s Super Bowl season in 2003. Kerry Collins quickly became the team’s starter as a rookie in 1995. But the first quarterback on Carolina’s roster wasn’t Collins or Frank Reich. It was a guy with two Super Bowl rings who never played a down in a Panthers uniform. And he’ll coach against them this Sunday.

Panthers at Eagles offensive preview: The Panthers face their toughest road test in Philly - Cat Scratch Reader
Perfect third-down conversions and red zone game: If there were a game to get things clicking on third down and red zone efficiency this would be the one. Eagles currently have the third best 3rd down defense in the league. They also have the best red zone defense. Ball security has been an issue for the Panthers all season long on scoring drives. Head coach Ron Rivera needs to be more aggressive about scoring and leave the reserved play calling at home. Players also need to do better at handling the ball.

Suddenly Sam Darnold Is Making the Jets’ Fantasy Relevant - The Ringer
Don’t look now, but the 21-year-old passer has turned a corner in recent weeks, and his play could make guys like Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby Anderson factors in fantasy football.

Confidence? Giants fans don’t have any - Big Blue View
That’s only 9 percent of fans who voted in our weekly ‘FanPulse’ survey that have confidence in the direction of the team. It’s hard to blame the 91 percent majority. The Giants are mired in drama centering around Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and co-owner John Mara. They have lost three straight games. They currently own the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and we’re already setting the table. The Giants are 6-point underdogs to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. Our ‘FanPulse’ voters expect them to lose by 8 points.

Fanpulse: Confidence is an interesting thing - Hogs Haven
Still, after six weeks and five games, Redskins fans — despite the fact that the team has a winning record and sits all alone atop the NFC East — are feeling only a moderate level of confidence in the direction of the team, with a measured confidence level of just 57%.

FanPulse: Cowboys fans are feeling good after a big win over the Jaguars - Blogging The Boys
Perhaps Cowboys fans are just a little too scarred these days. That’s understandable. According to our poll here at BTB a majority of fans feel cautiously optimistic but want to see more from the team which could explain why things aren’t through the roof confidence-wise.

Any Given Sunday: Cowboys over Jaguars - Football Outsiders
Despite what we saw here, I think there’s a big enough track record to suggest that Dallas won’t actually change much of what they’re going to do on offense in future games. I think we just saw them operating at peak performance and hitting throws at the right times, and we saw the flashes that make us wonder why they won’t take better advantage of what they have. It was a good matchup for them, and a nice reminder of the explosiveness that a running game can have in the right situation.

Review: Jason Witten’s new ‘Monday Night Football’ career is a mess - SB Nation
Witten, on the other hand, has been dull and struggling with a Ricky Bobby “I don’t know what to do with my hands” problem. He was a great tight end for a long time and hopefully he’s remembered for that, because Witten is making us miss Gruden. The Raiders’ coach spent nine seasons in the ESPN booth, but now he’s in Oakland burning the Raiders down. Can everyone please have a do-over?

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