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Eagles News: It’s time for Philadelphia’s defense to step up

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/7/18.

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Eagles’ defense must be better for team to have success - NBCSP
It’s time for this Eagles’ defense to be great. It’s time for this defense to carry the football team. When you look at the Eagles’ first month, the offense’s struggles are understandable, to a great extent. Every receiver other than Nelson Agholor and every running back other than Wendell Smallwood has been hurt. There was a quarterback change two weeks into the season. The offensive line is injured and struggling. There were two very significant coaching changes. Defense? No built-in excuses. The Eagles have been largely healthy on the defensive side of the ball, although they’ll miss Derek Barnett Sunday. They have everybody other than Patrick Robinson, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen back from last year’s Super Bowl unit. With a couple big-time additions. Same players, same scheme, same coaches.

Report: Dalvin Cook not expected to play in Eagles vs. Vikings game - BGN
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is NOT expected to play in Minnesota’s Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. “It would take an impressive turnaround for him to be on the field” is how RapSheet described the situation.

Vikings Talk - Iggles Blitz
Last week Avonte Maddox made his NFL debut at safety. He could see even more work there this week. That’s tough against anyone, but especially against one of the best WR duos in the league. The Eagles love Maddox so that’s the reason they’re willing to get him on the field in a new position. He’s got the skill set to play there. He’s also got the right mindset. Maddox is tough and ultra-competitive. Challenge him and it will bring out the best in him.

NFL evaluators make picks on Week 5’s best games - ESPN In$ider
Insiders pick: PHI (2 out of 3). This rematch of the NFC Championship Game arrives with neither team playing at a high level consistently and injuries affecting both. ”I think Minnesota is in some disarray,” an insider said. “They don’t have an offensive line that is very good. Some of the stuff they do on defense is good because they are talented, but when you play against Philly and an Andy Reid-type offense, they will have options. Philly is getting guys back with Alshon [Jeffery] playing. They have the tight ends.” Both teams could simply be finding their way. ”Minnesota has looked lackadaisical, which is the exact opposite of what we expect from a Mike Zimmer team,” an insider said. “His teams are usually the hardest, toughest -- they mug the s--- out of you. It is almost like, when are they going to turn the page and take off? I’ll lean Philly at home by less than a touchdown.”

Big Question: Can The Eagles Protect Carson Wentz? -
Fran Duffy: They absolutely can, but they have to clean some things up. First, the entire offense has to get into more third-and-manageable situations. Facing third-and-10 is not ideal, especially against this defense, and when the other team can pin its ears back and go, it makes it harder to protect. A couple of the sacks the last couple of weeks were just bad luck, with the defense making a great blitz call off play-action where Carson had no chance to avoid the rush. And then there were some busts in protection, which comes down to execution across the board. These are fixable issues that I have confidence in them being able to correct.

NFL Week 5: Las Vegas SuperContest expert picks and predictions - SportsLine
Using the Las Vegas SuperContest lines for Week 5, we can tell you White loves the Eagles (-3) at home against the Minnesota Vikings. ”The Eagles stomped the Vikings last year with their backup QB when the stakes couldn’t be any higher,” White said. “Now that Carson Wentz has a couple starts under his belt, I like their chances to do it again. The Vikings defense has been a shell of its former self, ranking 25th in DVOA and 29th in net yards per attempt. The Eagles also don’t have to respect a run offense that’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry and has the worst DVOA in the league. The Eagles D-line should feast against a Vikings O-line that’s had major issues to date, and that’s the difference in this matchup.”

The Gift of Chiefs Vs. Jaguars, Baker Vs. Ravens on Safety Appreciation Week, the Growing Regret of Passing on Josh Rosen - The MMQB
A month into the season, there are multiple teams in dire straits due to injuries and/or ineffectiveness at safety—Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Kansas City among them. Dallas has been in the same boat whenever Jeff Heath has been forced out of the lineup, and the early signs are bad for the Eagles after losing Rodney McLeod (if you can’t close out the Titans with a two-touchdown lead, there aren’t many teams you can close out).

Vikings short on defensive ends heading into Philadelphia - Daily Norseman
Going into their game in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings are dealing with a couple of injury issues. Some of those issues have left them short at a pretty important position, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Tashawn Bower (ankle) and Everson Griffen (personal issues) are both going to miss Sunday’s game for the Vikings, which means that they only have two defensive ends on the roster healthy enough to play on Sunday: Danielle Hunter and Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly has started the past two games in Griffen’s absence, and Hunter has had a strong start to the season. The rest of the defensive end depth chart, however, is on the shelf in some way. The Vikings had signed Jonathan Wynn to the practice squad earlier this week, but as of Saturday night had not made a move to place him on the main roster.

Eagles All-22: To blitz or not to blitz — a look at Jim Schwartz’s pressure packages - The Athletic
The Eagles’ front four has been one of the lone bright spots of the 2018 defense to date. However, no team can solely rely on front-four pressure and the Eagles’ defensive coaches and players have a lot of work to do to clean up the back end if they continue to utilize these blitz packages. It will be interesting to see the adjustments on Sunday. The Vikings will surely be a tough test with their outside threats at wide receiver. It’s worth noting, according to the ESPN Matchup show, Kirk Cousins was the No. 1 quarterback vs. the blitz in 2017.

32 NFL Observations, Week 4 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have targeted their tight ends in the passing game 68 times so far this year, which is the most ever recorded by a team in the first quarter of a season.

NFL Quarter-Season Power Rankings: The Rams Are Still the Best Team in Football - The Ringer
6. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2). I wrote about the Eagles’ early-season struggles earlier this week. The defending Super Bowl champions deserve to be this high in the rankings because they still boast one of the most absurdly talented rosters in football. But the cracks in the facade are there. Small steps back are keeping this team from returning to the wrecking-ball level it reached in 2017. The offense has stalled, although there have been signs of improvement with Carson Wentz back in place as the starter. The defense misses free safety Rodney McLeod, who was placed on IR with an ankle injury. Neither of Philly’s units is clicking right now, but it’s only the quarter mark. There’s still plenty of reason to have faith in these Eagles moving forward.

UCLA Bruins Lose Hard Fought Game to the Washington Huskies, 31-24 - Bruins Nation
Well, now we must make that 4-24 for Chip Kelly as the UCLA Bruins fall to 0-5 for the first time since 1943. 1943 people, I’m not even going to go into what the world was like in 1943, but I can tell you this, they played with leather helmets in 1943.

Uhh, what is going on with UCLA’s recruiting under Chip Kelly? - SB Nation
Perusing the national recruiting rankings this week, a major team jumped out to me: UCLA. The Bruins are 84th. The Bruins have eight commits, and no four- or five-stars. The only Power 5 teams rated below UCLA are Utah, Kansas State, and Kansas. That’s bad company as far as recruiting goes, especially because UCLA typically signs more four- and five-star players than those three programs combined. West Coast teams typically add more players to their classes later in the season than teams in the Midwest and East regions. For example, eight Pac-12 teams have fewer than 15 commitments as of this writing, while only one team in the SEC does. But by any measure, this is a bad start.


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