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Eagles News: Ski mask season is back in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/5/20.

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Why Rodney McLeod says Eagles’ defense will celebrate in ski masks for the playoffs again -
This time last year, McLeod wasn’t even playing. He missed all but three games, sidelined with a knee injury, though he was still involved. His pregame motviational speeches for the defense galvanized his teammates. He started the Eagles’ movement for ski masks, which a defensive player puts on after forcing a turnover. The idea behind it, safety Malcolm Jenkins said last year, was that the Eagles had to go and take what they wanted if they were going to get back into the playoffs (they did) and go on a run (they beat the Bears and then lost to the Saints.). “For us it’s kinda that season where we’re gonna go steal everything we got,” Jenkins said last year. “Whether it’s the ball, it’s the game , our chances go play in the postseason, we gotta go take it. That’s what that ski mask is doing.” Well, it’s ski mask season again, and McLeod is around this time to take part in it.

Report: Zach Ertz cleared to play in Eagles vs. Seahawks game - BGN
There was previously some talk that Zach Ertz’s season could be over following the report he suffered a lacerated kidney. But apparently that’s not the case. Ertz has been medically cleared to play in the Philadelphia Eagles’ wild card game against the Seattle Seahawks, according to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn.

Babes On Broad #19: The Eagles Deserve to Be Here - BGN Radio
Sam Wilson & Jessica Towne make the case for the Eagles belonging and give their outlook on the upcoming playoff game with the Seahawks, PLUS What’s Going On Around Philly & more! Powered by SB Nation & Bleeding Green Nation!

Eagles mailbag: NFL playoff predictions, the return of Nick Foles (?), and more - PhillyVoice
Question from Norm Snead: What is the possibility Nick Foles is ever the Eagles’ backup QB again? The Eagles can’t bring Foles back. Carson Wentz has come a long way this season as a leader, and I think that you run the risk of undermining his role as a leader if you bring back Foles. The risk vs. the reward just isn’t worth it.

Underdogs - Iggles Blitz
First up though, the Eagles do have to get by Seattle. Can they do that? Absolutely. Seattle won the first meeting 17-9. The Eagles turned the ball over five times. Rookie Andre Dillard started at RT and struggled. Brandon Brooks left the game and Big V took over for him. The right side of the line was a major issue. The Eagles are in better shape this time around. Matt Pryor and Big V were the RG and RT for most of last week. They practiced together and that will have them ready to play. The Eagles have protected the ball better in their winning streak. Just in general terms, this is a better team than when the two faced each other previously.

Tracking what’s happened with the Seahawks, Eagles since Week 12 - ESPN
Seattle’s pass rush hasn’t been anywhere near that effective for most of the season. The Seahawks finished the regular season with 28 sacks (tied for the second-fewest in the NFL). They were 16th in pass rush win rate (42.8%) and 30th in generating pressure on QBs (22.9% of opponents’ dropbacks). It’s a big reason why the Seahawks have allowed 6.02 yards per play in 2019, which is fourth-most in the league and their worst mark under coach Pete Carroll. Seattle’s defense in the second half of 2019 has not been stellar save for cornerback Shaquill Griffin’s breakout season and what safety Quandre Diggs was giving the unit before he sprained his ankle. Diggs had four takeaways in his first four starts and allowed the Seahawks to play more Cover 3 with him as the deep safety. He looks to be on track to play Sunday and would be a major upgrade over replacement Lano Hill. One other change of note is rookie third-round pick Cody Barton is starting at strongside linebacker for Mychal Kendricks, who tore his ACL last weekend. The Seahawks had been playing an abnormal amount of base defense this season, which means keeping Kendricks on the field even in would-be nickel situations. Don’t expect Seattle to do that as much with Barton.

Miles Sanders is ‘ready,’ so how will Eagles use him? -
“It feels pretty good,” Sanders said on Friday after a post-practice massage. “I had a chance to run around on it a little bit and it feels pretty good. It gave me a lot of confidence for Sunday. I’m excited to get out there and play. I’ll be straight. I’ll be ready.” Having Sanders gives the Eagles a full complement of backs, and now the question is how the Eagles will employ them in the offense against a fast and aggressive Seattle front seven that excels in covering sideline to sideline. Will Sanders return to the lineup as the go-to running back who led all NFL rookies with 1,641 all-purpose yards and 1,327 yards from scrimmage? Will the Eagles use more of Boston Scott, the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week? How will Jordan Howard fit into the picture now that he’s had one game – and one snap from scrimmage – under his belt after missing six weeks with a shoulder injury? Is Elijah Holyfield, added to the 53-man roster from the Carolina practice squad, part of the picture after being with the team only for a few days?

Eagles-Seahawks playoff game cheat sheet: Everything you need to know - The Athletic
Bo Wulf: It’s time for Wentz’s moment. The Seahawks are incapable of playing non-close games, so we know this one will come down to the fourth quarter. I think the Eagles will have success running the ball, and I trust Pederson to dial up things in his second time facing Seattle this season. I’m less confident the Eagles defense can hang on, but they have been so much better at home under Schwartz, and Wilson won’t have as much freedom to change plays at the line with the feral Linc crowd. Still, he will lead a touchdown drive to give the Seahawks the lead with less than two minutes remaining. In, then, will come Wentz, needing a field goal with no timeouts at his disposal. Short completions to Scott and Goedert will pave the way for a long completion to Burnett that sets up Jake Elliott for a game-winning 44-yard field goal. Eagles 26, Seahawks 24.

Joe Banner: Eagles won NFC East because they had more talent and were better coached than Cowboys - Inquirer
Domo: Even after the Eagles fell to 5-7, you never wavered in your belief that they would win the NFC East. What made you so confident about that, even as the injuries kept piling up? Banner: Usually the season plays out in a way that’s reflective of two combined ingredients. One is who has the most talent. The other is who is the best coached. At any given stretch, it may not look like it, and even the team that wins the Super Bowl is going to have some ups and downs during the course of the year. But there never was a moment where I felt, even with the injuries, that the Eagles weren’t still the most talented team in the division, and they clearly are the best-coached team in the division. That’s what kept me confident. When you run a team, you learn to at least try not to go up and down with the predictable flows of the season. And as long as I kept feeling like they still continued to have the most talent and the best coaching in the division, it kept me comfortable sticking with that prediction.

What Doug learned from Andy and more in Roob’s Observations! - NBCSP
1. One of the biggest things Doug Pederson learned from Andy Reid is the ability to sense when to go hard on his players and when to back off. How to really sense what the team needs from training camp through the postseason. Under Big Red, the Eagles had the 3rd-best December record in the NFL from 1999 through 2012 at 39-19, a .672 winning percentage. They were always fresh and mentally and physically sharp going into the playoffs. Under Doug, they’re 11-4 in December over the last three years, also 3rd-best in the league, and if you include January and February they’re 15-5. It’s remarkable how little the Eagles are actually on the practice field this time of year. A quick walkthrough Wednesday, under two hours Thursday and maybe 90 minutes Friday, and that’s it. It’s all about mental reps and keeping the players off their feet. It’s no coincidence the Eagles have played their best football at the end of the season for most of the last two decades.

Matt Miller’s Scouting Notebook: Team-by-Team 2020 NFL Draft Insider Buzz - B/R
Philadelphia Eagles — It’s no secret around the league that the Eagles are all over this year’s cornerback and wide receiver classes. Both groups have excellent depth and should offer viable starting prospects on the board no matter where the Eagles land after the playoffs.

Sleeper picks for highest and lowest scoring teams and games - DraftKings Nation
Highest scoring game: Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles (+300). I think Seattle has a chance to run the score up, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t keep things competitive. The Seahawks forked up at least 26 points 10 times this season. While Seattle did manage to bottle up the Eagles once before in 2019, the playoffs are a different atmosphere altogether. Philadelphia eclipsed 30 points themselves three times in the final five weeks of the regular season. If they can conjure up more of that magic, this game could turn into a shootout.

Quandre Diggs and Jadeveon Clowney are going to tough it out for the playoff run - Field Gulls
To be fair, Clowney essentially single handedly defeated the undefeated San Francisco 49ers in Week 10. But he’s been hampered by his core and has been ineffective at times. Meanwhile, the turnover differential with and without Diggs is undeniable. He’s simply that much of a difference maker, which makes the Detroit Lions that much more of a dummy for giving him up. Philadelphia’s best offensive weapon in Zach Ertz has gone through the whole spectrum of play likelihood, but now is trending more likely. It makes Diggs’ presence all the more important.

‘Pawns in The Process’: Cowboys Assistants Express Frustration During Garrett Delay - CowboyMaven
They accept that they are Pawns in The Process, many of them faceless relative to the fame of principals Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett. But after almost a week of waiting, multiple members of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff are growing increasingly frustrated with Garrett’s delayed departure. “I understand ‘Jerry Time,’’’ said one long-time NFL exec with detailed knowledge of how Cowboys owner Jerry Jones works only at his pace. “But this is beyond dumb.’’ Added an assistant coach, more politely: “Despite what the media reports, nobody’s really told us much of anything.’’

Jason Garrett Is Either Leaving the Cowboys or Holding Meetings for the Rest of Time - The Ringer
I don’t understand what the point of all this is. Garrett has been the Cowboys head coach for nine years, and was with the team for three years before getting promoted to the head gig. It’s absurd that the Cowboys need more time to evaluate his performance. What could Garrett possibly say in a face-to-face meeting (or seven face-to-face meetings) that could outweigh a decade’s worth of results? The Joneses have all the information they need to make a decision. There is some notion that the Cowboys are merely doing right by Garrett and treating him with respect after his decade-plus with the organization. I fail to see how that is the case. If the Cowboys truly respect Garrett, they should be honest with him. Nobody wants to get dumped, but if a relationship has no hope, it’s better than being strung along.

UPDATE: Cowboys already interviewed Marvin Lewis for head coach position - Blogging The Boys
Things with the Dallas Cowboys picked up a bit of speed on Saturday morning when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is headed to Dallas to “speak” with the team. Of course, the Cowboys haven’t technically moved on from Jason Garrett yet so we are still in a state of limbo, but the beat of this dance is progressing in tempo. It seemingly remains a matter of when the Cowboys will move on from Garrett and not one of if. McCarthy obviously has history in the NFL as he coached the Green Bay Packers for over a decade. According to Rapoport, it is older coaches that the Cowboys might be focused on and apparently there is another name drawing interest within the organization... Marvin Lewis. [BLG Note: Cowboys hiring a retread like Lewis or McCarthy would be ideal for the Eagles.]

Report: New York Giants to interview Matt Rhule on Tuesday - Big Blue View
Matt Rhule’s Mexico vacation is apparently almost over. Perhaps the New York Giants coaching search is as well. Ian Rapoport is reporting that Rhule, believed to be the top candidate on the Giants’ list as they seek their next head coach, will interview with the Giants next week, probably on Tuesday. That, of course, is if Rhule gets out of Carolina. Rhule is interviewing for the Panthers’ vacancy on Monday.The Baylor coach, an assistant offensive line coach on Tom Coughlin’s Giants staff in 2012, is believed to covet the Giants’ job above all others. [BLG Note: Think this is the best hire the Giants could make.]

Why each NFL playoff team can win Super Bowl 54, and why it won’t - SB Nation
Why they can win it all: Super Bowl experience can’t be replicated. Yes, the 9-7 Eagles barely made it into the postseason by winning the NFC East. But let’s not forget that coach Doug Pederson led this team to a Super Bowl victory just two years ago. Remember too that he did it with a backup quarterback in Nick Foles. Philly has dealt with a slew of injuries this season on both sides of the ball, and their record certainly reflects that. But don’t count out the Eagles to surprise some teams this postseason.


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