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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s tight ends were crucial to upsetting the Packers

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/28/19.

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NFL: DEC 23 Texans at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Key takeaways from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-27 win over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football - PFF
The Eagles tight ends flew them to victory. Out of the 26 designated targets quarterback Carson Wentz had, 10 went to a tight end: eight to Zach Ertz and two to Dallas Goedert – and it’s clear the Eagles were a far more efficient offense on those 10 targets. On those throws Wentz directed to both Ertz and Goedert, he came away successful with a 133.8 passer rating and averaged a solid 8.1 yards per attempt. According to PFF’s QB Charting System currently led by former NFL QB Bruce Gradkowski, Wentz threw 80% of these targets accurately. For perspective, that 80% accurate pass rate to tight ends is the second highest we have seen in a game this season. Both Ertz and Goedert didn’t let Pederson and the offense down as they both caught every single one of their catchable targets and combined had seven of Philly’s 12 first downs and touchdowns receiving. While Goedert did finish with a solid 74.8 receiving grade on the night, Ertz was the star of the show with an ELITE receiving grade of 91.1. Excluding plays negated by penalty, Ertz was targeted on 40% of his routes ran – which is now the second-highest rate he has had in a single game in his entire career – and he made the most of every route ran gathering 3.25 yards per route run.

Eagles v. Packers: 17 winners, losers, and I dunnos - BGN
For the second week in a row, Rasul Douglas was the lone bright spot in a shockingly poor cornerback room. Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones both struggled mightily in man coverage over Davante Adams, and while Douglas saw him for fewer reps, was more effective over him in those opportunities. You live with the DPIs when you have no other option; Sul has played the best of any Eagle corner at the quarter pole of the season.

Four games in, a look at the Eagles and where they’re going -
The offensive line reminded us of just how dominant it can be with a great performance on Thursday night, and when you dig into the four-game sample entirely, you come away understanding that the unit has played probably a bit better than given credit for during that two-game losing streak. The Eagles are averaging 118.8 rushing yards per game, ninth in the NFL. That’s a full 26.5 yards per game higher than last season, and it’s only just started. Both Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are new to the team. Once they are fully integrated into the scheme and their respective roles – and it’s obviously very much there as we saw on Thursday night – the running game should be a consistent part of the offense.

Craig James (who?) might have saved the Eagles’ season - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles teammates were getting a kick out of the attention cornerback Craig James was receiving in the locker room after he made a game-sealing play in the closing moments of a 34-27 win against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. ”Hey, Craig, why are you taking your shirt off during the interview? You had it on all day,” shouted defensive back Rasul Douglas. “Craig James!” another yelled. “Oh,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins as he walked by the media encircling James, “you know who he is now!”

For Eagles, trading for Jalen Ramsey now more necessity than luxury - NBCSP
In the last couple weeks, the idea of trading for Jalen Ramsey has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for the Eagles. After a huge win on Thursday night, the Eagles are 2-2 and still expect to compete to make a deep playoff run, but four of their top five corners are hurt. And it just so happens the best overall player on the trade block is a 24-year-old All-Pro cornerback, who wants out of Jacksonville. The connection here is obvious. The Eagles are in desperate need of a shutdown corner. Ramsey is a shutdown corner, who has requested a trade. So I understand why the majority of Eagles fans have been clamoring for him for weeks. And Howie Roseman is never shy about pulling off a deal.

The Day After: Backs against the wall, Eagles D keeps Packers at bay — ‘You’re on the goal line, you gotta bow up’ - The Athletic
Cornerback Craig James: My mindset first was like, “Man, I hope Avonte is OK.” And then it was like, “OK, Craig, you have to be locked in. Play these plays like it’s your last plays of football.” In that moment, I just prayed for Avonte’s health, and then I asked God to be out there with me and guide me mentally and physically.. Fletcher Cox: You got guys like Craig. He’s in every meeting with us, he’s in every practice with us. He gets the same information everybody else gets, so when your number is called, I think the biggest thing is you gotta be ready. Tonight, his number was called and he just did his job. He didn’t do nothing special. He stepped up. We had a guy go down, he stepped up and did his job and that (deflected) into an interception to close the game out for us. Malcolm Jenkins: You never really know when that opportunity gonna come, when the team’s gonna need you. You just gotta be prepared because we’re gonna count on everybody on the roster. No better example than that.

The NFL Team Run by Women - WSJ
In a sports world in which most jobs, especially high-ranking ones, are still held by men, more than half of the Philadelphia Eagles’ top advisers are female.

The Takeaway, Eagles vs. Packers: LaFleur held back offense with fourth-down and goal-line mistakes - Acme Packing Company
LaFleur’s approach made life much harder for his offense. According to Warren Sharp, run plays inside the 5-yard line have a success rate of 57 percent since 2016 while passes succeed only 47 percent of the time, a difference of 10 percentage points. Consider also that Davante Adams, the Packers’ top red-zone receiver, left the game with a toe injury earlier in the drive. LaFleur had every reason to call run plays, specifically a QB sneak given the proximity to the goal line. Instead, he worked against the numbers and his available personnel. contributing to a blown scoring opportunity. Through four games, LaFleur’s offense has made important strides. The Packers have converted more plays downfield than in recent years, and the scripted portion of the game plan has produced a flurry of points in the games since the opener. However, for the offense to reach its potential, LaFleur has to make better decisions on fourth down and near the goal line.

Coaching Rumors: Jay Gruden could be fired if the Redskins lose to the Giants on Sunday - Hogs Haven
The Redskins have lost the first 3 games of the year. The defense was supposed to be a strength this year, but it’s been getting torched every week. Case Keenum did okay the first two weeks, but melted down in a 5 turnover disaster on national television Monday night. Now the Redskins travel to New Jersey for their 3rd division game this month. 0-3 is almost the kiss of death for a season, but falling to 0-4 with 3 division losses puts them into evaluation mode for next September. There have been (at least)two reports this week saying that Jay Gruden’s job is on the line this week. This is his 6th year as the Washington Redskins head coach, and his contract extension runs through the 2020 season. He has only taken this team to the playoffs once, and that ended in a home loss to the Green Bay Packers. The last two seasons have ended with a 7-9 record. The season before that had an 8-7-1 record, and they missed the playoffs after an excruciating Week 17 loss to a Giants team that had nothing to gain by winning.

Giants roster moves: RB Jon Hilliman promoted, WR Russell Shepard to IR - Big Blue View
The New York Giants made a necessary and expected roster move on Thursday, promoting undrafted free agent running back Jon Hilliman from the practice squad. With Saquon Barkley sidelined, Hilliman will be the backup to Wayne Gallman. To make room on the 53-man roster for Hilliman, the Giants placed wide receiver Russell Shepard on injured reserve. Shepard injured his left foot in Sunday’s 32-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shepard is in a walking boot with a foot sprain.

Ask a former NFL player: How do you play right after seeing someone get hurt? - SB Nation
Great question, and it’s one many asked after seeing Packers running back Jamaal Williams and Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox get boarded off the field Thursday night. Thankfully, it appears both of them will be fine — which is how we play after seeing injuries happen. More often than not, these players being carted off end up being OK, and that gives us peace of mind in the moment. However, I’d say the biggest reason we play after someone gets injured is we are conditioned for it. In practice, especially during training camp, if a player gets hurt, the drill continues. “Move the drill” is yelled out by the head coach and everyone just moves to the next field as the injured player is being tended to by the athletic trainers. It’s a cold business, folks. The game continues without the injured player. So, when a player is carted off the field, we just put our helmets on, go back to work, and hope for the best.


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