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Eagles News: NFL evaluators rank Philadelphia as worst playoff team

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/1/19.

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Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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Ultimate NFL playoff team rankings: The best on offense, defense and overall - ESPN
12) What could be better for the Eagles than sneaking into the playoffs with Nick Foles behind center (ribs permitting) and a bunch of league insiders ranking them last in the field? Earning a first-round bye with Carson Wentz would be much better, obviously. But, like Pederson was saying, just get into the tournament. The Eagles have done that, and now they’ll face another team known for its offensive trickery. ”You thought Halloween was in October, but this is trick or f---ing treat between Pederson and [Matt] Nagy,” a veteran evaluator said. “It’s two teams with quarterbacks who at times play at backup levels. Which misdirection screen, throwback pass or throw to the quarterback is going to be the difference?” An evaluator thought the Eagles missed their 2017 offensive coordinator [Reich] and quarterbacks coach [John DeFilippo]. But the Eagles are 4-1 with Foles in the lineup this season. That includes a 30-23 road victory over the Rams and a 32-30 home victory over Houston in the past three weeks. ”Their running game is not what it was and the secondary is a little scary, but their defense is good and their front four can be dominant,” an evaluator said.

Winners and losers from Eagles vs. Redskins (and Bears vs. Vikings) - BGN
DOUG PEDERSON: The Eagles are 5-1 in their last six games and reasonably could’ve been 6-0 if the worst call of the season didn’t go against them in the Cowboys game. The entire team has really stepped things up ever since they got blown out by the Saints in Week 11. It’s time to put some respeck on Dougie P’s name.

At the Podium #17: We’re On to Chicago - BGN Radio
Triple threat of press conferences on At the Podium #17! Double dose of Doug Pederson addressing injury updates, how the Eagles stack up against the Bears, etc etc PLUS Nick Foles talks about his record-tying performance in the Eagles 24-0 win over the Redskins. Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Nothing! - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles facing Johnson and the Skins had me a little nervous. I remember the Eagles losing to Bruce Gradkowski when he was a rookie. We all remember losing to Joe Webb. There was a costly loss to John Skelton in 2011. You get the point. Just because the other QB is a scrub doesn’t mean he can’t beat the Eagles. Not on Sunday. The Eagles were bullies. They limited the Skins to 89 yards for the whole game. Zero third down conversions. Zero points. That was some beautiful defense. There was plenty of bad offense as well, but the Eagles did their job. When you face an inferior opponent, you want to dominate them. That’s what the Eagles did. They got pressure on Johnson. They shut down the run game. They tackled well in space. Nobody caught a short pass and turned it into a big gain. Didn’t happen.

Young Eagles fan on giving Nate Sudfeld back his football: ‘He’s the player. He earned it more.’ -
Cohen didn’t have to wait long for a replacement. At Agholor’s urging, a ball boy gave the young Eagles fan a different football almost immediately. Zechman said his phone instantly blew up with text messages after Sudfeld’s negotiation with Cohen for the football was broadcast on Fox and quickly went viral. “My phone is still buzzing,” Zechman said. “People are sending me videos from ESPN. It’s crazy.” Not only was Cohen given another official football from the game, Agholor signed the ball for the young fan, who hopes to have Sudfeld sign the football in the future. Cohen also left the game with one of Agholor’s gloves, which the wide receiver tossed over following his pregame warm-ups.

Playoff Week Opens With Taste Of The New Normal -
Anyway, it’s only Monday. I know we all want Sunday to get here fast, but let’s sit back and think about the ways to beat the Bears. It won’t be easy. This is a good football team the Eagles are playing. Matt Nagy is an aggressive head coach with a young quarterback and the Bears are here to seize the moment. They’re not settling for “just being in the playoffs.” What we’ve got is a week ahead of us that is going to be fun and fascinating. The game plan is being put into place. As you usher in the New Year, 2019, be thankful for where we are, all of us. A season that looked like it was in danger of heading south, really south, turned around and the Eagles are alive. Does it matter that this football team, with so many veterans who have won in the postseason, is going on the road? Not in the least.

Week 17 NFL Team of the Week - PFF
Interior Defensive Lineman. Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles – 93.2 overall grade. Cox was downright unblockable for the Eagles for much of the win over the Redskins, racking up eight total pressures from just 22 pass-rushing snaps. That included three sacks, and he also forced a fumble. The big performance capped a career year in terms of PFF grade for the former first-round draft pick out of Mississippi State.

Remembering the greatest football game Reuben Frank never saw - NBCSP
Eagles owner Norman Braman holding a spur-of-the-moment press conference in a shower stall in the basement of Soldier Field was one of the stranger moments of a strange day. It was 30 years ago today, New Year’s Eve 1988 in Chicago, and I was in my first full season as Eagles beat writer for The Burlington County Times newspaper in South Jersey. The Eagles had won their first NFC East title since 1980 on the final day of the regular season, and that earned them the No. 3 seed in the old five-team playoff bracket, a first-round bye and a meeting with the top-seeded Bears at Soldier Field. There was so much drama involved, this being just three years after Buddy Ryan had been carried off the field at the Superdome after his defense helped the Bears win Super Bowl XX over the Patriots, 46-10. Now, he was the Eagles’ head coach, and to say there was no love lost between him and Bears head coach Mike Ditka would be putting it mildly. So this was personal.

Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears’ 24-10 win over the Vikings - Chicago Tribune
“If Nick Foles doesn’t play, the game is a joke. Nate Sudfeld? Come on. I expect Foles will play. They’ll get him out there one way or another. They run a bunch of pick stuff and try to attack open windows but the Bears don’t play any real static defense so they will match everything. It will be interesting to see when they do play man if they put (Kyle) Fuller on (Alshon) Jeffery. I think Prince Amukamara might be a better matchup because he’s a little bit more physical. Golden Tate really hasn’t done a whole lot since he came over in the trade from the Lions. You can look at up but I think he’s had only one big game, Monday night (against the Redskins Dec. 3, seven catches, 85 yards, one touchdown), but those were mostly off-schedule plays. He’s still Golden Tate, I think he’s a really good player, but he’s not utilized nearly as much as he was in Detroit. (Nelson) Agholor is a smaller, speed guy. Really good route runner. He’s not physical at all. Foles will throw the ball to Jeffery much more than (Carson) Wentz and then it’s (Zach) Ertz. The Bears haven’t faced a tight end like him this season. If Foles has some magic left in him, maybe Philadelphia does something there. But the Bears have got a better team right now. They’ve got a much healthier team.”

Marino’s Mock Draft 4.0 - The Draft Network
21. Philadelphia Eagles. Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia. Cajuste has exciting potential as a blindside protector in the NFL given his foot speed, anchor, length and power. Philadelphia is so multiple with its offensive scheme that it requires a foundation of mobility to execute, and Cajuste has the physical traits needed to fit. Philly would be well-served to once again tap into the West Virginia talent pipeline.

New York Giants’ quarterback question: What should the plan be? - Big Blue View
But with some teams facing decisions around the league, the list of available quarterbacks is soon to grow. We know the Bortles Era is coming to a close in Jacksonville. Ryan Tannehill might soon be out in Miami. It seems that Joe Flacco is going to be available given the rise of Lamar Jackson. Then there’s a decision looming for the Philadelphia Eagles and their current backup quarterback, Nick Foles. Foles and the Eagles have a mutual option for the 2019 season, which would first be triggered by the team extending his contract for the sum of $20 million for the 2019 league year. Then it’s up to the quarterback, who can agree to stay with the team or decline it. If he decides to move on, he owes the organization $2 million, purchasing his rights to walk away. It is ... hard to imagine the Eagles paying $20 million for one year of Foles as a backup, so it’s likely he finds himself on the market, and he might be the most enticing free agent quarterback available. But there would likely be a number of teams inquiring as to his services, including Washington, Jacksonville, Miami and others. So there could be a bidding war for Foles.

Raiders interviewed Marc Ross, Trey Brown for G.M. role - PFT
Also,’s Dan Graziano adds that former Eagles personnel man Trey Brown also interviewed for the post. Brown is currently working for the Birmingham team in the Alliance of American Football. Former Giants G.M. Jerry Reese turned down the opportunity to interview for the job.

This Redskins team wasn’t built for today’s NFL. It was built to fall apart. - Washington Post
In Washington, a promising 6-3 start devolved into chaos and hopelessness. For the second straight season, injuries overwhelmed the team, with a league-high 24 players being placed on injured reserve. But bad luck wasn’t the only issue. The season exposed several holes on the roster even before the attrition, including a lack of speed on defense and very little explosiveness on offense. And then, in a series of typical but foolish decisions, the organization went into full Daniel Snyder-era dysfunction, starting with the controversial acquisition of troubled and freshly arrested linebacker Reuben Foster in late November and ending with the ouster of Brian Lafemina, the president of business operations and chief operating officer, along with three of his deputies after just eight months on the job. Between those bookend disasters, multiple players took their unhappiness to social media. And safety D.J. Swearinger Sr., the most prolific mouth in the locker room, managed to get kicked off the team last week for taking his criticisms too far and unloading on defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after a loss to Tennessee.

Final 2018 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
The Kansas City Chiefs finish the year on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, and rank among the best offenses we’ve ever tracked. On the flip side are the Arizona Cardinals, in distant last place as one of the worst offenses we’ve ever tracked. But there are also plenty of interesting stories in between.

Frank Reich has molded the Colts into the most dangerous team in the playoffs - Stampede Blue
The beat writers have come forward and said specifically that this is a team where there aren’t any jerks. When you see them looking like they’re having a great time as they’re showboating after a turnover or celebrating a touchdown, it is real. They really do have the selfless group of guys in this locker room that actually genuinely like each other and love the game of football. That’s Frank Reich’s gift. That unity, that closeness, that buy-in to an idea that this team could be more than just a team in rebuild mode has taken hold. From day one he has professed belief in this team and in his process. His staff has guided, grown, and held accountable the young men that fill out this roster.

Todd Bowles has been fired by the Jets - Gang Green Nation
The Jets got their Black Monday started on Sunday by relieving their coach of his duties just hours after a blowout loss in New England. Bowles is the second coaching casualty since the end of the regular season. Tampa Bay had just announced the dismissal of Dirk Koetter hours earlier. Bowles’ tenure started with a 10 win campaign in 2015, but it ended on a sour note as the Jets fell to the Bills on the final day of the season. The defeat cost the Jets a Playoff spot.

Every NFL playoff team’s fatal flaw - SB Nation
Heading into Week 17, your defending Super Bowl champions were maybe the weakest team in the playoff field, ranking just 16th in FPI and 18th in DVOA. Thanks to a surprisingly weak NFC, they still got in, and good for them. Their stay probably won’t last very long. While Philly’s offense has regressed from eighth to 16th in offensive DVOA this year, the defense has been the primary issue, falling from fifth to 21st in defensive DVOA. The Eagles are strong in the red zone (seventh in points allowed per scoring opportunity), and they punish impatient quarterbacks with decent big-play prevention through the air. But that only matters so much when you have the worst defense in the league on standard downs; Philly is 31st in standard downs success rate allowed in open play (which means that strong red zone D is constantly tested) and 32nd in standard downs explosiveness allowed. That puts far too much pressure on a merely decent offense to keep up. “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion” and all that, but unless Nick Foles has a lot more playoff magic to unveil, the Eagles’ title defense won’t last too long.


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