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Eagles News: PFF doesn’t include Miles Sanders in their top 50 rookies from the 2019 season

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/3/20.

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Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

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

Top 50 NFL rookies through Week 17 - PFF
[BLG Note: Somehow, Miles Sanders — arguably the Offensive Rookie of the Year — did not make this list. None of the Eagles’ rookies made the top 50. Three other running backs made it ahead of Sanders in the top 50.]

9 things to watch when the Eagles rematch the Seahawks in the wild card round - BGN
The Eagles don’t want to venture into Seahawks territory when they’re running the ball to a fault. But this is a week where the rushing attack should be a factor. The Seahawks rank 26th in run defense and 28th in opponent yards per rush attempt. Doug Pederson should continue to feed Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. If Sanders is limited by his ankle injury, it’s time to incorporate Jordan Howard into the mix as well. The Eagles only had 18 running back carries (and Jay Ajayi had six of them!) to 45 passing attempts in Week 12. They shouldn’t be taking the ball out of Wentz’s hands too much if he’s balling ... but there’s a better balance to be struck than last time.

The QB Scho Show #47: Wentz vs. Wilson Playoff Preview - BGN Radio
Michael Kist and Mark Schofield give a Carson Wentz performance review, talk about the journey to the playoffs and the shifting narratives around him & do a deep dive on Russell Wilson with thoughts on Seattle’s scheme and how the Eagles can contain him! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

5 Qs, 5 As with Bleeding Green Nation - Field Gulls
We did this recently and obviously we are doing it again. The Seattle Seahawks head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles for the second time in the last two months, and this time they’re playing for the right to see which team is a huge underdog in the divisional round. If a trap game is a trap game for both teams, then who is the one getting trapped? That’s what we find out on Sunday but to find out some stuff prior to then, I sent 5 Qs to the incredible Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation. In kind, he sent me 5 corresponding As. Let’s do this one more time. I answered 5 Qs from Brandon that you can read right here.

Eagles vs. Seahawks: Five matchups to watch when Philly has the ball - PhillyVoice
Anyway, Wentz’s fumbling issues this season are well documented, but they were at their peak against the Seahawks Week 12. I guess I just went a long way to say that you can be 100 percent certain that Seahawk defenders are going to be pawing at the football whenever they get close to Wentz, and he has to make sure he keeps two hands on the ball at all times, with a tight grip. The Eagles cannot afford careless turnovers.

Like Playoff Games - Iggles Blitz
The other big difference is the quality of competition. The Eagles played the Giants twice, the Skins and Cowboys once. The Skins and Giants were in the running for the number two overall pick in the draft (congrats to the Skins for getting that). Dallas is certainly a very talented team, but also highly flawed. Facing Seattle on Sunday will be very different. That team went 11-5 this year, winning a lot of close games. Dallas went 8-8, losing a lot of close games. There really is a fine line between a good team and a mediocre one. The degree of difficulty will go up quite a bit on Sunday. No more facing rookie QBs and interim coaches. The Eagles certainly have been tested and that should harden them for the tension of a playoff game.

Doug Pederson’s task: Keep ‘stress’ off Carson Wentz against Seahawks - ESPN
The recent track record for QBs making their postseason debuts isn’t great. Quarterbacks in their first playoff start have a 5-15 record since 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Dating to 2000, the record is 26-42. Pederson noted that emotions run high for newcomers to playoff ball and that for Wentz, the key will be calming his nerves early in the game. One way to do that, Pederson said, is to go up-tempo on offense to prevent overthinking and establish a rhythm. It’s a method that worked well for Wentz down the stretch of the regular season, as he tossed 10 touchdowns to one interception over the past five games to help the Eagles to a 4-1 finish and an NFC East title. The coaching staff did a better job overall of catering to Wentz’s strengths, allowing him to raise his game even as injuries hit the skill positions hard. For one, he got out of the pocket more. Since the Eagles’ Week 12 loss to the Seahawks, Wentz is averaging 6.6 attempts per game and 8 yards per pass attempt outside the pocket, per ESPN Stats & Info, up from 3.6 attempts per game and 7 yards per attempt in his first 11 games.

’We’re playing as a team. We’re playing with energy’ -
Up and down, and down and then up. That’s the 2019 Eagles regular season in a nutshell, with the playoffs here. The vibe is a positive one in the locker room and throughout the NovaCare Complex, exemplified by the thoughts of center Jason Kelce. “I feel really good,” Kelce said when asked how he felt about the team heading into the postseason. “Obviously, I’m proud of everybody for the way we’ve battled all season long. I think everybody wishes the season had started off better, but that’s not the way it works. With the way we’ve responded and the way the coaches have responded, I’m really happy for a lot of these young guys that have made a name for themselves, they’ve been trying to make it in this league for a long time, some of them. There are a lot of positives. I’m really happy with the way we’re playing right now. We’re playing as a team; we’re playing with energy; we’re playing with excitement and juice, all the things you want as a team.”

Eagles thinking that a turnover turnaround will get them past pesky Seahawks this time - Inquirer
Ask anyone associated with the Eagles offense what went wrong in the Nov. 24 loss to visiting Seattle – in which the home team scored no points from the middle of the first quarter until the final 20 seconds of the game – and you will hear about turnovers. Sometimes, this sort of talk is a dodge, a way of deflecting attention away from unfavorable coaching or personnel matchups. In this case, though, as the Eagles prepare for their rematch Sunday with the Seahawks in a wild-card playoff game, turnovers were and are the story. The Eagles coughed the ball up a season-high five times, to the defense that would finish the season tied for third in the NFL, with 32 turnovers.

Two-time Super Bowl champ Malcolm Jenkins’ crucial message to his teammates - NBCSP
A lesson he shared with the younger players on the Eagles this week. “The biggest thing is you want to convince young players that it’s no different [than the regular season], because it isn’t,” Jenkins said. “The only thing that’s different is the fanfare and the looming doom of your season, but the game is all the same really just trying to convince them that it’s no different than the last month that we’ve been in and get them to focus more on the task at hand and the context of the situation.” This team does have a fair amount of playoff experience. Some 18 players on the current 53-man roster have played in at least four playoff games. But 26 of them, including five projected offensive starters, have never experienced NFL playoff football.

Start and Sit: Wild Card Weekend - Football Outsiders
The final quarterback with a plus matchup this week is Carson Wentz, but he still has several causes for concern. The most obvious is an extreme lack of skill-player talent with all of the Eagles’ injuries. But the two others I’m worried about are extreme weather and a defensive opponent who is less friendly in fantasy than in reality. To the former point, the forecast in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon calls for 43-degree temperatures and high winds of 15 mph and gusts into the 20s. Extreme winds not only cut completion percentages, they can dramatically shift team workloads from passes to runs. To the latter point, the Seahawks are neutral with the No. 15 DVOA pass defense, but they cut passing touchdowns per attempt by 33%. DraftKings shares my pessimism with a $6,200 salary that is sixth-highest at the position this week -- I ranked him sixth, as well -- but I would only use him if the forecast turned more favorable over the next few days.

The Five Fixes That Could Make the Seahawks Contenders - The Ringer
The Seahawks have been losing the battle of attrition that every team faces throughout a grueling NFL season. On offense, the team is dealing with a knee injury to left tackle Duane Brown and lost starting center Justin Britt (knee), tight end Will Dissly (Achilles), and running backs Chris Carson (hip), Rashaad Penny (ACL), and C.J. Prosise (arm) to season-ending ailments. Josh Gordon’s suspension exacerbated the Seahawks’ distinct lack of depth at receiver, too; Gordon, whom Seattle added in the middle of the season to help out on high-leverage plays like third downs and in the red zone, was missed late in the team’s loss to the 49ers on Sunday, when Russell Wilson could’ve used another big-bodied, playmaking target to throw to. Wilson repeatedly fed rookie receiver DK Metcalf the ball on the team’s final drive (which ultimately came up a yard short), but it was less than ideal that Seattle’s final two plays were designed for Jacob Hollister, a player who would’ve been the fourth or fifth option (or worse) in the passing game earlier in the season.

A 7-step blueprint for how the Seahawks can beat the Eagles in the playoffs - The Athletic
1. Relentlessly attack their corners downfield. Here’s a rundown of where the Eagles defense ranked against outside receivers during the regular season: Yards allowed per game: 144.9 (32nd), explosive receptions: 31 (T-29th), TDs: 17 (32nd), yards per target: 9.09 (27th). Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz prefers to play with a single high safety in the middle of the field. Whether it’s Cover 3 or Cover 1, that often leaves his cornerbacks on an island, and at times this season that’s been a recipe for disaster. In this game, Jalen Mills is expected to return from an ankle injury at left cornerback, and it’ll be either Avonte Maddox or Rasul Douglas at right corner. Russell Wilson has always been an excellent downfield passer. Over the past three seasons, his 42 completions on throws that travel at least 30 yards downfield rank first in the NFL and are 11 more than any other quarterback. His completion percentage (40.0 percent) on those throws ranks second. The Eagles defense has allowed 15 completions on passes that have traveled 30 yards or more downfield. That ranks 32nd. This one really shouldn’t be that complicated. There is an obvious recipe for the Seahawks to pick up huge chunks of yardage downfield in this game.

BREAKING: ESPN reporting Jason Garrett will not be part of Dallas Cowboys organization moving forward - Blogging The Boys
The first week of the offseason has been one of patience for Dallas Cowboys fans. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (New Year’s Day) all went by with no announcement from the organization as to the status of their head coach. Jason Garrett entered the season that the team just finished in a contract year, and given how disappointing the results it made sense that a divorce was upon us. Three days of idle hands had a lot people wondering what a lack of word could mean. While we do not know the answer to that quite yet, we do seem to know one thing. According to ESPN it appears as if it is over and that Jason Garrett will not be part of the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.

Dave Gettleman on whether he thought he would be fired: “Of course” - Big Blue View
As the New York Giants rode a nine-game losing streak - the longest in franchise history - into Week 15 of the 2019 season, general manager Dave Gettleman said there was no doubt in mind about whether he thought he would be fired. “Of course,” Gettleman said Thursday on WFAN. A 9-23 record in two seasons was apparently bad enough to release Pat Shurmur, but excusable enough for Gettleman to stay. Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are sticking with Gettleman through at least the 2020 season. Gettleman told WFAN’s Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno that he didn’t know his job was safe until Mara and Tisch told him he’d be coming back “just the other day,” after the season ended.

Ron Rivera has picked his ST Coordinator and is bringing in outside candidates for Offensive Coordinator - Hogs Haven
Rivera is still evaluating the offensive coordinator, and said on the radio today that continuity is important with all of the young players on offense. He also said he didn’t want to throw a hand grenade into the situation. That does not mean he is just going to hire O’Connell because he spent one year with the QB of the future. On Redskins Nation Rivera said that he has his DC(Jack Del Rio), his STC(Kaczor?), and he feels strongly about the candidates they are bringing in for the OC job. O’Connell is obviously in the mix for the job, but nothing is guaranteed at this point. The early word was that the Redskins(ie Dan Snyder) were interested in keeping O’Connell. If Rivera wants to go in another direction, perhaps with someone he is actually familiar with, he will likely get his way. There have been no reports of anyone else interviewing for the OC position, but that could change very quickly.

What will the Jaguars look like moving forward? - Big Cat Country
I will be surprised if Nick Foles is back in 2020. I keep hearing everyone on local sports talk radio talk about how there should be a quarterback competition in the offseason and how we can’t judge Nick Foles based on roughly three games of playing time with this poor roster and how he looked so good in training camp... but in my personal opinion, I don’t think that is what is going to happen. First of all, quarterback competitions are fake and have predetermined circumstances outside of a few rare circumstances. If Foles is on the opening day roster in 2020, it’s because he’s the starter. NFL teams simply just do not have $22 million backup quarterbacks. He is sunk cost at this point and I would expect the team to give Minshew the reins in 2020 and try to dump the salary, even if it means giving up a draft pick. Then again, 2020 is a “win now” scenario, so perhaps the buck conventional operation and keep both as a hedge, but again I would be surprised.

Bears hire Juan Castillo as offensive line coach - Windy City Gridiron
One day after firing offensive line coach Harry Hiestand as a part of an overhaul of their offensive coach staff, the Bears hired Juan Castillo for the position on Wednesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. The 60-year-old Castillo most recently served as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the Bills from 2017 to 2018. Buffalo finished in the top 10 in total rushing yards in the two seasons he spent with the team.

Why the Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah duo could be a nightmare in the playoffs - SB Nation
I can understand if Seahawks fans are a little dejected. Their team came literally inches away from winning not only the game over the 49ers, but also the division. While I’m not generally receptive to moral victories, I will say there were a few bright spots in Week 17 (hello, Beast Mode!) that should help the Seahawks faithful keep hope alive heading into their road playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. In particular, one play near the end of the game could be a harbinger of positive developments in Philly. I would bet not many people even paid much attention to the play in question.


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