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Eagles News: The case for more Jordan Howard carries

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/10/19.

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Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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Jordan Howard reacts to light workload in Eagles debut - NBCSP
He won’t say it, but I can say it: Jordan Howard needs more carries. On the Eagles’ first drive of the second quarter Sunday, Howard got the ball on three straight plays — a pass and two runs — and netted 17 yards. Then the Eagles ran 44 consecutive plays without Howard touching the football. Then he got another three straight plays deep in the fourth quarter and ran for 29 more yards. The Eagles had 10 drives in their 32-27 win over the Redskins Sunday, and Howard touched the ball on just two of them. It was an odd Eagles debut for Howard, who got only 17 snaps — fewer than Miles Sanders (36) or Darren Sproles (23) — but made the most of them with 6-for-44 rushing and 2-for-11 receiving.

Eagles v. Redskins Week 1: 14 winners, losers, and I dunnos - BGN
Carson Wentz: How does 228/39, 313 yards, and 3 touchdowns sound to you, team? In his (second) return from injury, Wentz look far more like his 2017 self than his 2018. He broke the pocket and orchestrated chaos on late downs, threading tight needles and throwing across his body for tough completions. He put great balls on DeSean Jackson downfield for explosive scores. He protected the football and only took one sack. Wentz, on a one-game sample size, is back.

2019 NFL press box food spread ratings - PhillyVoice
What’d I have? I had a sausage sandwich (like, literally just three mini sausage links on a dinner roll, a staple of the @JimmyKempski diet), smoked beef brisket on a dinner roll, a soft pretzel, and a piece of devil’s food cake. That was all fine. I almost never have any of the awful post-game food. You know how some people say there’s no such thing as bad pizza? Well, they’ve never had the Eagles’ post-game press box pizza.

RB By Committee - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles haven’t had a RB who could move like that since LeSean McCoy. I’m not saying Sanders is Shady, but he’s got great wheels and that’s something the Eagles have needed in the backfield for a while. There was a TD run later on that got wiped out by a penalty. Sanders showed burst/speed on that run as well. He is going to be a difference-maker for the Eagles. You need chunk plays and Sanders has the ability to make them. He did catch one pass. There was an almost-fumble, but Sanders got control of the ball before he was hit. That was an odd exchange between he and Wentz. It looked like Wentz may have put the ball too far into his arms, but I don’t know how the coaches will grade that.

Eagles HC Doug Pederson earns AWS Decision of the Week honors in Week 1 - PFF
Fast forward to the third quarter, where the plucky Redskins had extended the lead to 20-7. The Eagles were on their own 34-yard line facing a 4th-and-1 in a situation that seemingly leaves all head coaches sprinting toward the punt unit and a worse chance of winning the game. But Pederson was not about to let himself fall prey to conventional decision making or the failed 4th-down attempt from earlier in the game. Over the last three seasons, teams down by two scores or less on their own end in the first three quarters went for a 4th-and-short (1 or 2 yards to gain) just 15% of the time. With so much field to work with, the chance of converting is higher than most would expect; given the Eagles’ strength offensively, we would predict they convert this play 69% of the time they go for it. This is an important consideration here because we often assume converting is a 50/50 proposition. With a conversion, the Eagles’ chance of winning would jump to 29% while a punt would result in a 19% chance of winning, and a turnover on downs would give the Eagles a 14% chance of coming out victorious. You’ll notice that the difference between a conversion and a punt is 10% and the difference between a punt and turnover is just 5%. Even if the chance of converting were simply 50%, going for it would be the smarter decision. But given the 69% chance of converting, this is a no-brainer.

Gridiron Digest: Lamar Jackson Silences the Skeptics - B/R
The Eagles trailed the lowly Redskins 17-0 before Jackson awoke the team from its slumber with a 51-yard touchdown bomb. Jackson later added a 53-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a lead they would never relinquish in a 32-27 victory, finishing with an 8-154-2 stat line. Jackson gives Carson Wentz the deep threat he lacked last season, and Eagles fans have fallen in love all over again with the receiver who was released when Chip Kelly went on a “change the culture” spree back in 2014. Say, where is old Chip these days? Oh yeah, UCLA. Oh dear.

Cleaning out the notebook and looking ahead to Falcons -
4. How are the Eagles going to use this extremely talented running back group moving forward? Everyone is going to get touches and stay involved in this offense, but it makes sense that rookie Miles Sanders, a “special” talent head coach Doug Pederson told me on Monday in our weekly one-on-one interview at the NovaCare Complex, will see his role expand. He gained 25 yards on 11 carries in his debut and had a scintillating 21-yard touchdown run nullified when J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was penalized for holding. Jordan Howard ran hard and moved the pile and looks like the kind of back who is going to be a positive gainer every time he touches the ball. Darren Sproles had nine carries and three receptions and sparked the offense, but he’s described as a “change-of-pace” back and that’s a lot of carries for that role. I still think Corey Clement deserves some touches, but we’ll see how that develops. This backfield is loaded.

Beat back and forth: What Malik Jackson’s ‘significant’ foot injury means for the Eagles - The Athletic
I recognize that I’m focusing on the defensive end group in response to an injury to a defensive tackle, but that’s where I think the pressure now falls. With Jackson out for the foreseeable future, Brandon Graham is now likely to slide inside more on passing downs (I always thought the idea that Jackson would allow Graham more time on the outside was a waste of what makes him special). Whom, then, can you count on to make a play on the outside beyond perhaps Derek Barnett? It was always surprising to me that Roseman did not make more of a major move to bolster the edge rush given the win-now timeframe and what we know of his team-building philosophy, especially on the heels of the Bennett and Long departures. Both would be tremendous assets at the moment. Do you think Roseman has already contacted Long about a potential return? Is there another move in his back pocket? Hassan Ridgeway had a few nice snaps on Sunday, and maybe he can prove interesting. Maybe Daeshon Hall can do in the regular season what he did in the preseason.

D-Jax auctions cleats to aid Nipsey Hussle’s kids - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is honoring his late friend Nipsey Hussle this season by wearing custom pregame cleats that he will auction each week, with proceeds going to Hussle’s two children. The first pair, sported Sunday before the Eagles’ opener against the Washington Redskins, had an image of Hussle along with the message, “You’ve got to have faith in what you’re doing and not take no for an answer.”

Tipping Points: Week 1 - Football Outsiders
Carson Wentz has always loved to be aggressive. He has thrown 35.7% of his passes at least 10 yards in the air the last two seasons, which trails only Jameis Winston among the 29 quarterbacks with 500 or more total attempts. But he has never had as capable as deep threat as Jackson, who is poised to provide the Eagles offense its only previously missing piece.

Kenjon Barner was a bright spot for the Falcons against the Vikings - The Falcoholic
There was one consistently good area of the team during Sunday’s game, however: punt returns. The Falcons surprised some fans with their decision to keep five RBs after veteran Kenjon Barner beat out rookie WR Marcus Green and UDFA WR Olamide Zaccheaus to win the returner job. Barner hadn’t returned many kicks for the Falcons during the preseason due to injury and the team’s desire to evaluate the young players, but he succeeded by looking consistently solid and not putting the ball on the turf. On Sunday, Barner appeared to vindicate the Falcons’ decision to name him the returner. He looked the part of a savvy veteran, fielding four punts and generating positive return yardage on each of them. Barner showed off excellent field vision, instincts, and elusiveness as he navigated traffic to create good field position for Atlanta. The Falcons rarely took advantage of it, but Barner did his best to put the team in a good position to start their drives.

Redskins Injury Update: Derrius Guice to get MRI on non-ACL repaired knee, likely to miss time - Hogs Haven
Derrius Guice is injured again. Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch and he’s not happy along with some veterans who are making that known. Now Peterson will have to be the feature back until Guice returns to the field. Guice only had 10 carries for 18 yards in his regular season debut for the Redskins. He didn’t seem hurt, but he did make a trip to the medical tent that he called a bathroom run. Chris Thompson had the majority of the snaps late in the game.

FanPulse: UCLA Bruins Fan Confidence in Chip Kelly Plummets to Single Digits - Bruins Nation
If you thought that last week’s UCLA Bruins fan confidence level of 27.5% was low, you ain’t seen nothing yet. That’s because this week’s poll has slipped into single digits. To remind everyone, the question which we’re asking each week is simple: “Are you confident in the direction of the UCLA program?” with responses of “Yes” and “No” available. Well, the good news for Bruin fans is that UCLA hasn’t totally hit rock bottom. That honor goes to the Stanford Cardinal whose fans have absolutely no confidence in the direction of their team right now. The bad news is that UCLA is the second lowest of all the schools included at just 8.1%.

Conspiracy Corner: Was Antonio Brown’s Patriots Signing Part of an NFL Long Con for the Ages? - The Ringer
The All-Pro wide receiver’s move to New England sent shock waves across the league. It’s also prompting us to view his Raiders antics in an entirely different light.

Dak Prescott’s big bet on himself is about to pay off - SB Nation
The Cowboys have no choice but to give Dak Prescott everything he wants.


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