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Eagles News: Philadelphia needs Carson Wentz to come up big down the stretch

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/14/19.

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Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

10 reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles - NBCSP
CARSON: It’s mindblowing that there are still fans out there blabbering about Nick Foles. Dude’s a folk hero around here but it’s time to move on. It’s impossible to argue with the job Wentz has done this year with minimal contributions from his wide receivers. How do you have 15 TDs and 4 INTs without any wide receivers consistently contributing? Over the last three years, Wentz has started 33 games and had two bad ones – Saints last year, Falcons this year. In his 31 other games, he’s got 68 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He’s 21-12 since opening day 2017, the 7th-best winning percentage among NFL. As long as he’s the Eagles’ quarterback, they have a chance to win every game.

Is Carson Wentz an elite QB? A dive into the numbers - ESPN
His weapons have let him down this season. Defenses have adjusted to his game, thereby limiting the amount of explosive plays. Wentz is improving when it comes to operating within the system, but it’s not always the most natural thing for him and remains a work in progress. He still has an ability to create magic out of thin air and performs best when the weight falls on his shoulders to make a play. The ingredients remain in place for him to become great. A strong performance Sunday against one of the top defenses in the NFL, and opposite arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, would help get Wentz back into the elite-quarterback conversation.

How does Eagles’ Carson Wentz truly measure up to the great ones? We might have a better feel before long - Morning Call
Still, not until multiple playoff games are completed can a complete picture of Wentz begin to emerge. Unless he never plays in one, which is somewhere nobody wants to go right now. And even then, there may be no definitive conclusion for at least another half a decade. Look at the Saints’ Drew Bees. He didn’t make the playoffs until his fourth season, didn’t win his first playoff game until a year later and didn’t win his second playoff game until his ninth season, long after he moved on from his original team, the San Diego Chargers. Another example: Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Lost four of his first five playoff games and, like Brees, didn’t get his second playoff win until his ninth season. But for Wentz and the faction of fans who still haven’t totally bought in to what the Eagles believe he’s capable of delivering, a more encouraging picture could begin to be painted if he takes over a game or two and is the biggest difference in some wins that they’re not supposed to get.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick thinks that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is ‘pretty good at everything’ - Pats Pulpit
The game against the 8-1 Patriots will be a challenge for Wentz, but New England is also aware of the 26-year-old’s abilities to do what Foles did in February 2018: consistently put pressure on the defense and subsequently points on the board (even though this year’s version is far superior to the one the Patriots fielded in Super Bowl 52). Head coach Bill Belichick pointed this out during a press conference on Wednesday. “He’s a good quarterback,” said Belichick about Wentz. “He can do it all: good arm, athletic, can extend plays, tough kid, can run if he needs to, can make all the throws, get the ball down the field, gets the ball to all his receivers. Uses the backs, tight ends and receivers based on who’s open, his route progression. He’s good at reading defenses. They give him a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage to change plays or adjust plays.”

Eagles rookie midterm report card - BGN
I have been transparent about my Miles Sanders partisanship since he was drafted. The talented back seemed like a perfect fit for Doug Pederson’s offense and through nine games I feel confident in that assessment. Sanders started cold as a runner, but from the jump has looked excellent catching the football. As he has become more confident running the football and the game slows down for him, Sanders has turned into a dangerous all-purpose back that contributes in the passing game, ground game and as a returner. While Jordan Howard’s steadiness has kept Sanders from being a full time back, it is curious that any other back would take snaps from the electric rookie. I’m excited to see how he continues to be a playmaker for the Eagles because he’s the best one they’ve got as of now.

From the Bleachers #5: Give Us This One, Football Gods - BGN Radio
Shamus Clancy thanks Minnesota for lending the Eagles a hand by beating the Cowboys and then details his thoughts on what the Eagles-Patriots means to him and the team. Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Eagles vs. Patriots: Five matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
The Patriots’ passing defense game plan shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Bill Belichick is going to attempt to take away Zach Ertz first and foremost. The guess here is that Ertz will see a lot of double teams, while Belichick will ask Stephon Gilmore, a top 3 NFL corner, to shut down Alshon Jeffery on his own, like he (eventually) did in the Super Bowl, after Jeffery had already done his damage against Eric Rowe. This would be a good time for Dallas Goedert to step up in the passing game, though it is worth noting that the Patriots have allowed the third-fewest receiving yards to tight ends in the NFL this year. Through nine games, they’ve allowed just 26 receptions, 288 yards, and two TDs to opposing tight ends. At some point, the Eagles are going to need Nelson Agholor or Jordan Matthews to at least keep the Patriots’ defense honest. We’ll see.

The Search for Solutions - Iggles Blitz
Mike Groh did a great job with the WRs in 2017. He knows the position and how to coach those guys. Having him be more hands-on is an excellent idea. He’s not going to suddenly turn Alshon Jeffery into a speedster. Nelson Agholor isn’t going to become Stefon Diggs. But Groh can help, especially with the young guys. The Eagles need Mack Hollins and JJAW to do something. Just make a play when the ball comes your way. One catch can be a difference-maker. And you don’t know if that will happen on the first drive or the final play of the game. We all agree the Eagles are lacking talent at WR. That said, the guys they do have can do more. They need to do more if this team is going to make a run. I really do think this is a smart move. We’ll see on Sunday if it makes any difference.

Carson Wentz says Philadelphia Eagles ‘can definitely win with this’ offense after bye week evaluation - PennLive
“You can definitely win with this, first of all,” Wentz said. “And second of all, we’re going to find ways to create that. I’m never worried. You come out of games and maybe didn’t have an explosive play. There’s plays every game that either I miss or we miss as a team and that we leave out there, so without a doubt, you can win like that. But at the same time, I’m confident that we will find ways to make big plays and be explosive in both the passing and running game.”

From North Dakota nice to Philly tough, Eagles QB Carson Wentz has two places like home - The Athletic
To understand what Wentz means to North Dakota, it’s important to contextualize his place in North Dakota State football history. The school won eight Division II national championships before moving up to the FCS in 2004. Jensen, Wentz’s predecessor, delivered three national championships from 2011-2013 and went 47-5 as a starter, setting the FCS record for career wins. Then came Wentz and his two titles. Then Stick, Wentz’s successor, who delivered two more national championships and set a new FCS record with 49 career wins. Lance, this year’s freshman quarterback sensation, is already 10-0, on pace to break that record again. What makes Wentz stand above the others in North Dakota lore is not necessarily what he accomplished in college, but rather his high profile since. Everyone appreciates that Wentz has not left North Dakota behind, whether that means staging his tentpole Audience of One foundation events in Fargo, importing the Eagles receivers for offseason training or just showing his face around town. In the span of a few years, he went from self-proclaimed future football coach to Big Man on Campus to outright celebrity. “Carson was out hunting last year in the western side of the state,” Hedberg says over the phone after an initial interview was canceled due to the blizzard, “and he was in a restaurant in a very small town, and he obviously got recognized. And it was kind of interesting, in the back of the picture, Mike Trout was back there. And I’m sure nobody there in that restaurant knew Mike Trout, but they obviously knew Carson Wentz.”

Handling of DeSean Jackson’s surgery raises more questions about Eagles’ handling of injuries - Inquirer
It’s not as if the Eagles could have held down Jackson on the operating table against his will. But, could they have made a stronger recommendation? Could they have made a case for surgery, considering the usual timetable for recovery? And, aren’t they ultimately obligated to do what’s best for the team? Pederson has been evasive about Jackson’s injury, but the one piece of information he was willing to divulge cleared the Eagles of any culpability in the decision to not have surgery two months ago. “It’s elective by the player,” Pederson said. “We support this decision. We support DeSean. He wants to be out there with his teammates. It’s unfortunate that this happened, but it did. Injuries are a part of this game. [Reccurrence] of injuries are a part of this game.” The Eagles have been down this path before, many times.

The NFL’s easiest and most difficult remaining schedules - PFF
The Philadelphia Eagles have crept back into a little over a 46% chance to win the NFC East, despite being behind the Dallas Cowboys due to a tiebreaker and largely sleepwalking through their first nine games. However, their easy schedule, along with Carson Wentz’s rate of generating positively graded throws (30% of his dropbacks), could make Week 16’s showdown in Philadelphia a meaningful one for the Birds.

Scramble for the Ball: A Deep Breath - Football Outsiders
If I had to pick a winner in every game down the stretch, I would put Dallas over Philly for the division. But that also involves giving several coin flips to Dallas and taking away several coin flips from Philadelphia. The Cowboys feel like they’ll finish somewhere between nine and 11 wins, the Eagles somewhere between 10 and 12. If Philly can pull off the upset against the Patriots this week -- and I’m not predicting that, but it’s not exactly crazy -- then they are in the driver’s seat. This is the closest divisional race down the stretch, I feel, if not the most important.

The Rematch is fun for fans and media, but Sunday is just a huge game to go out and win - PE.com
”We’re a different team. They’re a different team from then,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Wednesday morning. “Their defense is different today than it was then. Their offense is different, personnel is different. ... It’s not something that’s a focal point at all going into this game.” The coaches are watching film from Super Bowl LII and the players are, too. For the coaching staff, that study began last week during the bye. For the players, it started on Monday. “It’s the first time I’ve even really watched the game,” linebacker Nathan Gerry said. “I never went back and spent much time doing it. I was a rookie that year and so for me it was about preparing myself for the next season. This week, watching film from the Super Bowl, it’s just film study.” Same for the coaching staff.

Why Lamar Jackson Is So Liked, Dalvin Cook at the Heart of the Vikings, More NFL Notes - MMQB
The rest of the NFL can learn a good lesson from the Eagles, who just gave G Brandon Brooks a new four-year deal—when you have good linemen, move heaven and earth to keep them. There are just too few to go around in 2019, evidenced by the market at those spots. Nate Solder, Trent Brown, Andrew Norwell, Ryan Jensen and Mitch Morse became the highest paid players at their positions as UFAs the last two offseasons, and that’s no mistake. It happens because demand far outweighs supply. So Brooks is 30, and the Eagles had to make him the highest paid guard? It’s a lot better than the alternative. And that Brooks got back to this place after tearing his Achilles in the divisional playoffs makes this money well-earned.

2019 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running backs for Week 11 - Fake Teams
25. New England should have no issue jumping out to an early lead against the Eagles. Sanders should operate as the 1A this week in the Philly backfield.

Doug Pederson sees similarities between 2019 Patriots and 2000 Ravens - PFT
Pederson has one other specific recollection of the 2000 Ravens, whom he faced as a member of the Browns: “I think I cracked my ribs in that game.” The Ravens beat the Browns that day, 44-7. The Eagles will try to do at least slightly better against the Patriots on Sunday.

Week 16’s Cowboys at Eagles game could very well end up being flexed to Sunday Night Football - Blogging The Boys
It would be very unlike the NFL to take away a primetime game from the city of Philadelphia without paying it back. Considering that they have likely looked ahead to what their current SNF schedule is, odds are they’re considering putting Philadelphia in that time slot during a different week. Perhaps a week where there aren’t more enticing games. Week 16’s SNF game is currently scheduled to be the Kansas City Chiefs on the road against the Chicago Bears. While that game features Bears head coach Matt Nagy welcoming the team that he rose to prominence with and a matchup of quarterbacks drafted in 2017, the Bears and Mitchell Trubisky aren’t exactly great to watch these days. Chicago is certainly a big media market, and while the Chiefs will definitely be a playoff team, it makes sense for the NFL to bail from this contest. Do you happen to know who the Philadelphia Eagles play in Week 16? They host the Dallas Cowboys, of course. What’s more is they host the Cowboys in a game that very well looks like it could decide the division that draws the most ratings... the NFC East.

Nick Foles getting a bit introspective - Big Cat Country
Foles had a mini-sermon during his Wednesday post-practice press conference.

Special Mutual Respect Shared Between Nick Foles and Frank Reich, Who Will Be AFC South Opponents Sunday - Jaguar Maven
But on Sunday when Foles leads the Jaguars (4-5) against the Colts (5-4), he knows that Reich will be his AFC South enemy. But whenever the final second on the clock ticks and the final whistle blows, the veteran quarterback knows it will be a special moment sharing the field with his former coach. “I think the big thing is it will be emotional seeing him because of what he means to me,” Foles said Wednesday. “He is one of the greatest people I ever met, so when he went there I was so excited for him. But I am going to go out there and play.”

BREAKING NEWS: Texans Claim CB Vernon Hargreaves III Off Waivers - Battle Red Blog
Hargreaves became available after the Buccaneers waived him Tuesday. The former first-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career in Tampa Bay, logging 164 tackles, two interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.

Colin Kaepernick Will Get a Private Workout for NFL Teams. But Is the League Giving Him a Legit Shot? - The Ringer
Out of nowhere, the ousted quarterback finally has been granted an opening to potentially get back to the NFL. The circumstances around Saturday’s scheduled workout, however, suggest that the odds will not be in his favor.

NFL Panic Index 2019: The Cowboys keep losing games they should win - SB Nation
Panic index: The division is still right in front of the Cowboys. They’re tied for the lead with the Eagles and have a rematch with Philadelphia coming just before Christmas. It’s hard to trust Garrett and his staff not to screw things up, but the Cowboys are plenty talented enough to win in spite of them anyway.

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