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Eagles News: Miles Sanders is showing off star talent

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/24/19.

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Kapadia: From church mode to juke mode, Miles Sanders looks like a star for the Eagles - The Athletic
Sanders is a huge reason the Eagles are 8-7 and one win against the Giants from clinching the NFC East. During the team’s three-game winning streak, his 69 touches and 397 yards from scrimmage rank fourth among running backs. The second-round pick started the season as part of a committee with Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles, who have both since been sidelined. There were times early on when Doug Pederson pointed out that Sanders was bouncing runs outside instead of trusting his reads. Now, as the Eagles prepare for a potential postseason run, Sanders has become the focal point of the offense. [...] If you compare what Sanders is doing with what other rookie running backs have accomplished in recent years, it’s easy to see why his teammates are so excited. His 510 receiving yards are the sixth most by a rookie in the past 10 seasons, and his 10.9 yards per reception are higher than the averages players like Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley posted as rookies. Among this year’s rookies, only Josh Jacobs has more yards from scrimmage than Sanders (1,316 to 1,276), and that could change after Week 17.

Miles Sanders opens up about Duce Staley: ‘I never had that father figure’ - NBCSP
“I never had that father figure in my life,” Sanders said. “Duce looks at me like I’m his little brother. I never had that. I never had anybody to really push me. I always had my mom. Moms can’t really do both when it comes to stuff like that. To have someone like Duce pushing me and believing in me and knowing what I can do, that’s meant a lot. Especially because he went through the same stuff I went through.” Sanders on Sunday became the first Eagle rookie in 62 years with 75 yards both rushing and receiving in the Eagles’ massive win over the Cowboys. He increased his season total to 1,276 scrimmage yards, becoming only the eighth rookie in NFL history with 750 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards. A rookie’s relationship with his position coach is huge, and Staley and Sanders first bonded back in February.

10 takeaways from the Eagles’ crucial win over the Cowboys - BGN
Unlike the past two weeks, Carson Wentz didn’t engineer a late game-winning touchdown drive to lead the Eagles to victory. But he still came up pretty clutch in the context of the Eagles’ situation. Losing to the Cowboys would’ve eliminated the Eagles from the playoff picture. Wentz didn’t allow such an outcome to happen; he played great. Wentz made some big time throws in this game, including his touchdown pass to a tightly covered Dallas Goedert. Final stat line: 31/40 (77.5% completion), 319 yards (8.0 yards per attempt), 1 TD, 0 INT, 108.2 passer rating. Wentz clearly outplayed Dak Prescott: 25/44 (56.8% completion), 265 yards (6.0 yards per attempt), 0 TD, 0 INT, 74.5 passer rating. Wentz is now up to completing 68.2% of his attempts for 1,220 yards (6.8 yards per attempt), 9 TD, 1 INT, and a 101.7 passer rating in the month of December. He’s led the Eagles to three straight wins that have the team one more win away from clinching the division. And Wentz is doing this all with no experienced NFL receivers and arguably the team’s most important offensive lineman missing games. It’s nothing short of remarkable. Wentz is playing like the franchise quarterback the Eagles paid him to be.

At the Podium: Ol’ Walk It To ‘Em Wentz - BGN Radio
John Stolnis discusses his Three Things about the Eagles win over the Cowboys PLUS three new pressers (Doug x2, Wentz x1)! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

A look at the Eagles’ playoff-clinching scenarios, as well as their likely/ideal playoff opponents - PhillyVoice
Yes, the Seahawks have owned the Eagles in recent matchups, but the Seahawks have suffered a number of key injuries of late. In their loss to the Cardinals Week 16, they likely lost RB1 Chris Carson and RB3 C.J. Prosise for the season. They were already without RB2 Rashaad Penny (you should remember him from the Eagles-Seahawks matchup earlier this year), which left them with just rookie RB4 Travis Homer for the rest of the game on Sunday. The Seahawks are the fifth-most run heavy team in the NFL, so being without their top three backs is, you know, kind of a big deal. They also would likely be without starting LT Duane Brown, who was questionable for Week 16, but had his knee operated on instead, and sat out. Brown’s season isn’t necessarily over, but it would be unlikely for him to return by the wildcard round of the playoffs. Second-year fifth-round pick Jamarco Jones started in place of Brown Week 16. If indeed Brown would be unable to go for the wildcard round, the Seahawks would be without their top two offensive linemen, Brown and center Justin Britt.

Good New, Bad News - Iggles Blitz
That said, the Eagles are on a roll right now with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as the 1-2 punch. You don’t want to force Howard in there and disrupt the chemistry and rhythm of the offense. I think the coaches will bring Howard back slowly, mixing him in here and there. He would be good for short yardage situations. Howard’s return is mainly a boost to the RB depth. Should anything have happened to Sanders or Scott, you didn’t want Ajayi getting important touches. That changes with the return of Howard. He doesn’t have the speed of the other two, but he is a tough, physical runner and his teammates feed off his runs.

The Eagles’ late-season push might not yield a championship, but Carson Wentz can build on it - Inquirer
Even if the Eagles don’t win the Super Bowl this season – that pending playoff berth aside, let’s climb way out on a limb and deem SB LIV unlikely, still – there could be long-term benefits to this late-season surge that has taken the team from 5-7 to 8-7 and the cusp of the NFC East title. Carson Wentz ought to be able to move into this offseason with full confidence in his status with his teammates and with Eagles fans. He is who we thought he was.

The NFC East Race May Have Just Been Decided by Coaching—or a Lack Thereof - The Ringer
Pederson hasn’t done a flawless job since the Eagles’ incredible Super Bowl run, but Sunday’s game makes you wonder what a coach like him could do with Dallas’s roster. When the Cowboys inevitably move on from Garrett (whether it’s later this week or after the season), they may not find the next great NFL coach. But they should at least be searching for the next good one. There’s no conceivable way this team should be 7-8 and essentially done in the NFC East race—not with the talent lining this roster. But as Dallas’s latest loss reminds us, talent is only part of the equation in the NFL. Teams ultimately need coaches who understand the best possible ways to use their players, even when their original approach goes awry. The Eagles have one. The Cowboys do not. And that’s why, in a season when everything went wrong for the Eagles, they’ll likely be hosting a playoff game while the Cowboys will be sitting at home and wondering what could have been.

News, notes, and a little bit of this and that with a Giant need-to-win showdown ahead -
What happens if tight end Zach Ertz (rib injury) is out for the Giants game? That would be a big loss and the Eagles would likely have to add a tight end who could come in and play right away and know the system. Dallas Goedert is a starting-caliber tight end, no doubt about that, and Joshua Perkins can be a threat in the passing game, but the Eagles would probably have to add another tight end. Could be that Alex Ellis moves up from the practice squad or a veteran player who knows the system is added this week. Stay tuned.

Big Trouble in Big D as the Cowboys’ Playoff Hopes Take Massive Hit With a Loss in Philly - MMQB
“We respond the way we respond because we’ve been through it now,” safety Malcolm Jenkins told me postgame. “This is the third year in a row we’ve had injuries to key guys. And we just found ways to keep it moving, whether it’s the coaches adjusting the game plan to help those guys do what they do best, or if it’s these young guys who come in and are just prepared and ready for the opportunity.” Part of it, obviously, is having depth on the roster. But another part, as Jenkins sees it, is making sure the standard doesn’t slip. So whether it was Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones or Maddox at corner on Sunday night, Jenkins’s expectations as the leader weren’t going to change. “I believe in culture,” he said. “I think that starts with leaders and I think culture survives whether you’re having success or failure and that’s one of the things that’s happened. Even though this year has been up and down, we haven’t deviated from who are as a core. You know what we believe in as a team, how we prepare every week. We haven’t abandoned the plan, and it’s coming back to help us.”

Gridiron Digest: 6 Players Who Could Decide Who’s in or out of the NFL Playoffs - B/R
As you may know, the Eagles ran fresh out of wide receivers after losing Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor to injuries during the year and giving up on Jordan Matthews and Mack Hollins. Their solution has been to run two-tight-end sets with Zach Ertz and Goedert and hope opponents forget to cover them. Thanks to the magic of NFC East futility, that tactic has worked. Ertz has had 18 catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants, Washington and the Cowboys over the last three weeks. Goedert, acting as a de facto No. 2 receiver after a mistake-plagued early season, has gone 17-187-1. The mirrors-and-tight-ends strategy might not work outside of the NFC East, but it doesn’t have to: The Eagles clinch the division if they beat the Giants next week. Goedert can provide just enough offensive juice to make that possible.

NFL Week 16 Team of the Week - PFF
TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles. A depleted receiving corps needed a huge game from Goedert, and they got it in the form of nine catches for 91 yards and a score. He ran a crisp route for his red-zone touchdown, and he converted five other first downs, including a downfield back-shoulder throw and a flat route to help seal the game for the Eagles in the fourth quarter.

2019 NFL playoff picture: AFC, NFC standings, seeds, scenarios and outlook in Week 16 - ESPN
Dallas Cowboys (7-8): After losing Sunday in Philadelphia, the Cowboys need to beat the Redskins and for the Giants to beat the Eagles in order to win the NFC East. Otherwise, they will miss the playoffs, a disappointing finish that FPI projects as a 73.8% likelihood.

Sikkema’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 - The Draft Network
21) Eagles — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU. The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the lower-tier pass coverage units in the NFL when it comes to the cornerback position — I put that as nicely as I could — and Kristian Fulton is very good at the whole pass coverage concept. Do we have any questions?

Report: Cowboys limited Amari Cooper’s reps in fourth quarter against Eagles because he wasn’t playing well - Blogging The Boys
The end of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles was not pretty for the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, it was downright ugly. Their chances boiled down to a 4th and 8 attempt that they ultimately failed on. The Cowboys purposely left Amari Cooper off of the field on the play, and on Monday morning Jason Garrett explained that this was a decision partly made by Kellen Moore and Sanjay Lal. Still, though, it’s Amari freaking Cooper. We’re talking about the wide receiver that saved the team’s season a year ago, the one who has made so many dynamic plays. Apparently, according to sources, the Cowboys were so disappointed with him throughout the game that they benched him during that final stretch. You know, the most important one of the season.

Bill Callahan Redskins Presser: Dwayne Haskins Jr. won’t play final game against Cowboys - Hogs Haven
Redskins interim Head Coach Bill Callahan spoke with reporters the day after the Redskins overtime loss to the Giants. Dwayne Haskins Jr. suffered a high-ankle sprain during yesterday’s game and couldn’t finish his great start. He will need several weeks to recover and will miss the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. [BLG Note: Case Keenum gets the start in Dallas.]

Report: Seahawks sign Marshawn Lynch - Field Gulls
On January 17, 2016, Marshawn Lynch made his return from hernia surgery, an injury which had kept him out of the Seahawks’ lineup since the previous November. Lynch’s stat line that day, a brutal loss to the Panthers, was a meager 20 yards on six carries. It would be the last time Seattle’s legendary running back/cultural icon would play for the team. Or so we thought. After losing both Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise for the season on Sunday—two weeks after Rashaad Penny was also lost for the year—the door evidently opened for a return, one which both sides were open to. It became a real possibility on Monday morning, when it was reported Lynch was traveling to visit the Seahawks. On Monday evening, it became a little more real, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting Lynch’s physical was taking place, shortly after Robert Turbin’s reported signing. Now, it is really real.

Titans sign Darius Jennings, promote Rashard Davis from practice squad - PFT
The Titans have a pair of wide receivers in the concussion protocol after Sunday’s loss to the Saints, so they added a couple of healthy wideouts to the roster on Monday. The team announced that they have signed Darius Jennings and promoted Rashard Davis from the practice squad. Linebacker Nigel Harris and running back Dalyn Dawkins were waived in corresponding moves. [BLG Note: Davis used to be on the Eagles. Jennings also recently worked out for Philly.]

NFL confidence rankings for the 12 teams in the playoff picture after Week 16 - SB Nation
6. Philadelphia Eagles. Well, someone had to win the NFC East and the Eagles are standing — well, barely. The Eagles are so banged up there’s no chance they can compete for a Super Bowl at the moment. Nonetheless, they’ve won the games needed, including their win over the Cowboys Sunday. They should wrap up the division with a win against the Giants in Week 17. They deserve credit for that.


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