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Eagles News: Former NFL team doctor thinks Zach Ertz is unlikely to play against Seahawks

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/2/20.

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Still seems unlikely Zach Ertz plays in Eagles’ Wild Card game - San Diego Union-Tribune
Yes, we have two kidneys and a person can live a normal life on one fully functioning kidney. However, if the worst case happened and Ertz’s kidney sustained additional trauma, necessitating removal, his life would continue but his football career would be over. Typically, with one functioning kidney, one cannot play contact or collision sports. If the remaining kidney were damaged, a life on dialysis is fraught with problems. The worry on a lacerated kidney is that the “cracks” can get bigger with a second blow. Even with flak jacket protection, there is no way to fully protect the kidney. And remember, Ertz is reported to have at least one broken rib, so his kidney protection is already compromised. With the above, I think it seems clear that Ertz will not or should not play. There could be other reasons for the optimism. There could be gamesmanship from the team, which could already know he will not play.

Eagles-Seahawks Game Preview: 5 questions and answers with a playoff enemy - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles (No. 4 seed) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 5 seed) are set to rematch at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. In order to preview this wild card matchup, reached out to our associates over at Field Gulls. The keen Kenneth Arthur kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming playoff game. Let’s take a look at his answers. Don’t forget to check out my side of the Q&A exchange over at FG. (And here’s our previous exchange from Week 12.)

Eagles-Seahawks Wild Card Preview - BGN Radio
Jimmy Kempski and Brandon Lee Gowton discuss the Eagles chances in the Wild Card round as the face the Seahawks in a rematch of Week 12! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Eagles vs. Seahawks: Five matchups to watch when Seattle has the ball - PhillyVoice
Personally, I believe the Seahawks would be better served giving Homer more opportunities. Homer is a rookie back with fresh legs (only 18 carries this season), who played well last Sunday night against the 49ers, and has some explosive athletic measurables. Of course, the Eagles are very good at stopping the run. They were third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, at 90.1, despite facing quality backs all season long, like Elliott (twice), Saquon Barkley (twice), Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, Le’Veon Bell, etc. Whenever the Seahawks run, I would chalk that up as a win for the Eagles.

Injury Updates - Iggles Blitz
This helps the Eagles a few ways. Shelton Gibson knows the Eagles offense and offers immediate depth at WR. He has excellent speed, something the offense can use. Gibson is also an excellent STs player. He did a good job as the gunner for a couple of years. He can step into that role right away if needed. Lastly, he has some RS experience. Gibson offers depth there.

A Complete History of Terrible NFL Division Champs Winning in the Wild-Card Round - The Ringer
So what does this all mean for the Eagles? The Seahawks are currently 2.5-point favorites on Bovada, but maybe they shouldn’t be. After starting 10-2, Seattle lost three of its last four. That 11-5 record masks a point differential of seven for the entire year. The Seahawks also looked listless at times against the 49ers in Week 17, are facing a number of injuries to key players, and have a litany of other issues they need to address. Philadelphia, which started 5-7 before winning its last four, is also battling the injury bug, but it showed a lot of heart over the last month of the season, when every matchup was essentially a playoff game. This team has also proved the past two seasons that it can get hot in the playoffs just when you count it out. They don’t have Nick Foles anymore, and Carson Wentz will be making his playoff debut, but would you bet against them? After all, as the Seahawks themselves have shown on a few occasions, sometimes the least deserving playoff teams are the toughest outs.

How each team in the NFL wild-card round advances: Game plan keys to victory for all eight squads - ESPN+
1. The offense schemes open its tight ends in the passing game. Philadelphia will have to script matchups for the tight ends versus the Seahawks’ single-high and split-safety zone coverages. That has been the theme in Philly for this Eagles offense given the injuries and the lack of explosive-play talent at the wide receiver spot. Look for head coach Doug Pederson to create open-window throws for quarterback Carson Wentz here with Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz (if he is active) and Josh Perkins. One example? Check out this 6-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to Goedert in the Week 15 win over the Cowboys. Wentz pump-fakes to hold the post safety, then works the stick-nod route backside with both tight ends in a wing alignment. That’s how you scheme against red zone coverage.

NFL Wild Card Weekend PFF Preview: Players to watch, fantasy football advice and betting projections - PFF
However, the other matchup is worth highlighting, though Ertz is questionable. The Seahawks have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (15.2). Over the last two weeks, Dallas Goedert has totaled 34.6 fantasy points on 22 targets. With Ertz out last week, Joshua Perkins played on 78% of the snaps, turning six targets into 15.0 fantasy points. While tight end is the matchup to exploit against Seattle, Philadelphia is even more exploitable via outside wide receivers. In each of the past three seasons they’ve given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing outside wide receivers (where D.K. Metcalf runs 89% of his routes). However, they’re much tougher against slot wide receivers (where Tyler Lockett runs 69% of his routes), giving up the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing slot wide receivers. Metcalf is a solid DFS gamble because of this, averaging 13.1 fantasy points per game over his last nine games

5 unsung heroes from Eagles’ last quarter push to playoffs - NBCSP
Tim Jernigan. Earlier this season, Jernigan missed six games with a foot injury but he’s been back now since the game before the bye week and he’s made a big difference. Jernigan is never going to be a big sack guy but he’s getting solid pressure and giving Fletcher Cox a decent player next to him. “Timmy has been really on the rise and has been playing some impactful ball for us over these last few weeks,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “And we’re going to need it. We got a tough chance ahead of us, not only stopping the run game, but trying to affect the quarterback.” Jernigan has dealt with injuries throughout his time with the Eagles, dating back to 2017. But we’re starting to get a reminder of what a healthy Jernigan can do.

How Josh McCown played a huge role in Eagles’ turnaround, made life easier for Carson Wentz behind the scenes - NJ.com
Shortly after Robert Davis was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 7, McCown pulled him aside during practice to demonstrate the Eagles’ route concepts and go over the team’s offensive philosophies. He’s still doing that now. “He helps us tremendously,” Davis said. “One thing about being a young player in this league, and being a young player who has bounced around, seeing stuff like that just fuels you and helps you build confidence in what you’re doing out there. It lets you know that you’ve got people in your corner that support you. That’s always a big thing to have support from your teammates, especially one that’s been around for as long as he has.”

Eagles Bopourri: Duke Riley named captain, the locker room’s playoff predictions, coaching carousel effects - The Athletic
On Wednesday mornings during the season, the Eagles gather in the auditorium at the NovaCare Complex for a full-team meeting. On New Year’s Day, as the team prepared to begin the playoff work week, Doug Pederson had an announcement. Two weeks ago, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. For the last two seasons, Grugier-Hill has been the special teams captain. Now, with a new “season” upon them, the Eagles were down an official leader. So Pederson informed the team of a “C” change. The new special teams captain is linebacker Duke Riley. “Doug Pederson said it in front of the whole team, and everybody was just clapping and applauding me,” Riley told The Athletic. “I’m more honored than anything that they would even do that for a guy like me. I’ve always worked and tried to lead by example, so it’s good that they see that, that I’m doing that and trying to lead by example, and taking every rep like it’s my last even if it’s at practice or anything.”

Addressing injury updates (please hold), new Eagles, and more ... - PE.com
3. At running back, the Eagles are hopeful to have Sanders, but only if he can demonstrate that he has the same kind of burst he had prior to his ankle injury. Jordan Howard is another week healthier after playing just one snap against the Giants. Boston Scott is healthy. And the Eagles added Elijah Holyfield from Carolina’s practice squad (he’s the 14th player plucked from a practice squad to the Eagles’ active roster this season), but Holyfield is more of a developmental running back. The Eagles have liked Holyfield for a long time and worked him out prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. He gained 79 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the preseason after running a terrible 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. At 215 pounds, Holyfield is a physical, relentless kind of player who might develop into a nice complement in the backfield in the future. Assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley continues to do great work with his stable of backs here.

Elijah Holyfield joins Philadelphia Eagles ‘always fighting, always hungry’ - PennLive
But he flopped at the 2019 NFL Combine. And when April rolled around, Holyfield went three days and seven rounds without hearing his name called. That’s how Holyfield’s NFL career started. “The combine didn’t really make me mad,” Holyfield said Wednesday more than eight months after the fact. “It was not being drafted and all the stuff like that. But I just tried to go back to work, and what got me there was working and continuing to push and having faith in the Lord, and that’s what I continue to do.”

NFL Mailbag: 2010s All-Decade Team - MMQB
Offensive tackle: Jason Peters, Eagles; Joe Thomas, Browns. Thomas was a slam-dunk choice here—he made six first-team All-Pro teams between 2010 and ’17, then retired. Dallas’ Tyron Smith absolutely deserves mention here. He’ll have a Hall of Fame case when he’s done and was the anchor for some great Cowboy lines, but I gave it to Peters by a nose. [...] Defensive Tackle: Aaron Donald, Rams; Fletcher Cox, Eagles. Donald was at Pitt for the first four years of this decade—and he’s been so good since, that’s irrelevant. He’ll be named first-team All-Pro for the fifth straight year in a few weeks, and has twice been Defensive Player of the Year. Cox has made first or second team All-Pro four times over the last five years, and was the best player on a defense that won a Super Bowl.

Full list of Eagles Super Bowl 54 odds - DraftKings Nation
The Seahawks are favored against Philly in the opening round, but you can never underestimate the strength of a home playoff game. It feels like every year there’s an undervalued home team that handles their business at home to the surprise of some. If the Eagles can get past that, they’ll likely spend the rest of the playoffs on the road. It makes for a difficult road to Super Bowl 54, but they wouldn’t be the first. If Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders can get a little close to full strength, they could surprise some folks.

John Ursua appears likely to be active for Wild Card game - Field Gulls
All season long the Seahawks have had five or six wideouts active on gameday, but with Brown out and Turner still recovering from his concussion, that could leave the team with just four healthy wideouts heading into Sunday. There have been reports that the team could add a receiver, but with just days until the Hawks and Philadelphia Eagles face off in the postseason, there wouldn’t be much time for anyone new to learn the system. That would tend to indicate that any player added to the roster is either a player who was with the team in the preseason or is currently on the practice squad, where Penny Hart is the lone wide receiver. In any case, the receiver situation is definitely something that bears watching in the coming days, as Tyler Lockett’s shoulder injury could further deplete the team’s depth at the position.

Giants coaching search: Kris Richard will interview on Thursday - Big Blue View
The New York Giants will kick off interviews for their vacant head-coaching position on Thursday by talking to Kris Richard, currently defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. The 41-year-old Richard has served as defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator for Dallas for the past two seasons. Richard coached with the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-2017, the last three of those seasons as defensive coordinator.

Which Cowboys coaching theory are you buying? - Blogging The Boys
When the Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs last Sunday, the vast majority of fans and observers expected an announcement on the coaching situation soon after. Surely Jerry Jones would announce the team was moving on from Jason Garrett and that a search for the new coach would take place. It’s Wednesday now, and after two meetings between Garrett, Jerry and his son Stephen, no announcement has been made. The whole process is shrouded in mystery. In a vacuum of information, people will supply their own theories.

Redskins Rumors: Bill Callahan and defensive coaches not returning, several offensive coaches being interviewed today by Ron Rivera - Hogs Haven
Reports have been coming out all day about possible changes to the Redskins coaching staff under Ron Rivera. Multiple people are reporting that interim Head Coach and former OL coach Bill Callahan is not returning as expected. Most of the Redskins defensive staff won’t be returning either. Rivera has hired Jack Del Rio as the Redskins new defensive coordinator and he will soon start filling out his new staff. Several offensive coaches, special teams coaches, and strength and Conditioning coaches are getting interviewed by Ron Rivera today. This includes Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell and RB Coach Randy Jordan. We could find out their fates today, but if nothing leaks then we’ll have to wait until Thursday to learn more, Rivera is holding his introductory presser tomorrow at 2 pm.

Ranking all 12 NFL playoff teams by trustworthiness before the Wild Card Round - SB Nation
7. Philadelphia Eagles. Bravo, Eagles. While a bunch of fans and franchises whine about injuries, the Eagles just keep winning with players we have never heard from. I thought this tweet from Chris Brown sums it up well: Every completed Eagles pass: “Amazing catch by Hawkins McGallicutty! Last week he was making smoothies at a Jamba Juice.” “What a grab by Billy Ray Sturgess! Philly signed him before kickoff out of a racquetball game at the local YMCA” “Great catch by...wait that’s my uncle!” Credit their culture, mental toughness, and leaders in the locker room for making this happen. Carson Wentz has played maybe his best ball of his career considering his weapons over the last month. Now they host the Seahawks in the playoffs.

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