Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Slay praises position coach, thinks he deserves a DC job - NBCSP
Darius Slay has been in the NFL for nine seasons and before this year had already been a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro. But 2021 might be his best season yet. And on Wednesday, the Eagles’ best cornerback of the last decade heaped praise on his position coach Dennard Wilson. “I’m not going to sit here and play around,” Slay said. ”Dennard, man, he’s been a great coach. He helped me elevate my game to a whole ‘nother level.” Wilson, 39, has been coaching in the NFL since 2012 but joined the Eagles this offseason to take over as the defensive backs coach under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. And his players seem to love him. [...] “He ain’t never steered me wrong, not once yet,” Slay said. “Like I said, I’m just surprised he’s been in the game 15 years and not had a DC job because he’s a smart dude. And he played in this league before so I won’t be surprised if sooner or later he has one of them jobs.”
NFL insider notes: What new COVID protocols will mean, plus top six Super Bowl contenders, John Madden legacy - CBS Sports
Any prospective head coach trying to put a staff together or any team looking for a dynamic young defensive coordinator should take a long look at the Eagles’ Dennard Wilson. Wilson is a self-made guy, a hard worker and an under-heralded gem. He didn’t move up the coaching ranks as a secondary coach because of nepotism, or some well-connected agent or the way it works too often in this league. He’s worked under some great coaches, players love him (he played in the NFL), he got a good run coaching college at the time when many of these spread concepts and RPOs were coming in vogue and what I love most about him is that unique background. Wilson has a mix of college and pro background and he also spent four years with the Bears as a scout learning to evaluate talent and understand personnel. Honestly, every rising young coach should strive for that sort of mix. Wilson has coached DBs with the Rams and Jets and is completing his first year with the Eagles. He’s been in the NFL since 2008. He’s served as a passing game coordinator, and he’s ready for a coordinator role.
Eagles-WFT Game Preview: 5 questions and answers with the enemy - BGN
“For myself, I’d be rooting for the Eagles to beat the Cowboys in the 1st round of the playoffs if they get matched. I’d root this way primarily because I think the Eagles would be the least likely to advance further into the postseason and I wouldn’t want either team to have more playoff success than is necessary. I also think it would be hilarious for the Cowboys to win the division, have great statistical success through the season and get lauded by the media as a contender, then get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. It would just be very Cowboys of them to get all the hype and fold right away.”
NFC East Mixtape Vol.37: The Dallas Cowboys are the NFC East Champions - BGN Radio
As we get closer to the playoffs, RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton discuss the current storylines within the division.
Eagles at Washington Football Team: Five matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
I’m not exactly sure why Rivera would make that switch. With wins over the Eagles Week 17 and the Giants Week 18, Washington would still need quite a bit of help to get into the playoffs, but they’d at least have a fighting chance. Announcing that the third-string quarterback will get some playing time is reminiscent of when Doug Pederson said that the Eagles would give Nate Sudfeld some playing time in the Eagles’ tank game last year. Heinicke at least has some running ability, and some moxie. WFT players have rallied around him at times this season, while Allen is just... [snooze]. It should be noted that Washington has since walked back Rivera’s comments, so, we’ll see, but if Washington makes a switch while the game is still competitive, the Eagles should be thankful.
Eagles Film: It’s about time T.J. Edwards got some love for offering more than what shows up on paper - Inquirer
But the only numbers that matter, as Gannon stated Tuesday, are in the win-loss columns, and the Eagles are 6-2 since Edwards’ playing time increased. There are myriad reasons for the turnaround, from the emergence of the run offense to an easier schedule, but his individual contributions can’t be disregarded. Since Week 8, he’s ranked fifth among linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus’ calculations. Following his performance in the win over the New York Giants on Sunday he finished first in PFF’s rankings for last weekend’s games. And Edwards’ numbers support PFF’s evaluation: He’s had the sixth-most tackles and third-most pass breakups over that span. “He’s physical. He’s in the right spot. He’s extremely intelligent,” Gannon said recently of Edwards. “What we ask the [middle] linebacker, from a communication standpoint with the front mechanics, with the back seven mechanics, we put a lot on his plate each week, and he handles it well. He doesn’t make mental errors. He might miss a play every once in a while that nine out of 10 people miss, but his production is high right now.”
NFL All-Pro Team 2021: Bill Barnwell picks best players at every position, including Jonathan Taylor, Micah Parsons, J.C. Jackson - ESPN+
Center: Jason Kelce, Eagles. This position might be considered similar to tight end, where the most impactful player could be Cardinals center Rodney Hudson, who has missed five games with injuries. Kyler Murray’s QBR is 18 points better with Hudson on the field. Chiefs rookie Creed Humphrey was also in consideration here, but I opted for two stalwarts who continue to play spectacular football. Kelce remains spectacularly gifted for a center in his mid-30s, playing a critical role pulling and getting outside the tackles for one of the most demanding rushing attacks in football. He has also been essential in helping to set protections for second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. Kelce has missed a few snaps with injuries, and Ryan Jensen remains one of the league’s best antagonists protecting Tom Brady, but I gave Kelce the nod for degree of difficulty.
NFL picks against the spread: Sheil Kapadia has the Bengals, Cowboys, and Packers in Week 17 - The Athletic
The key for the Eagles in these final two games is Jalen Hurts’ health. He’s back from an ankle injury but ran just two times in their Week 16 win against the New York Giants. The Eagles’ offense just isn’t the same when Hurts can’t be a big factor in the run game. These two teams faced off a couple weeks ago, but it was Garrett Gilbert starting for Washington. In this game, they’ll roll with Taylor Heinicke, although Ron Rivera said Kyle Allen could also get a look. Washington is coming off of an embarrassing 56-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It’s possible that the wheels come off completely for Washington down the stretch. But they were competitive against the Eagles with Gilbert a couple weeks ago. This feels like an uncomfortable win for the Eagles. The pick: Washington (+3.5)
Week 17 NFL game picks: Chiefs best Bengals for 9th straight win; Cowboys hand Cards 4th straight loss - NFL.com
I was flummoxed, floored, flabbergasted by this line. That’s never a good sign because I’m a basic bro, and if I’m that surprised Philadelphia’s only favored by 3, then many others probably are, too. The Eagles rarely put together complete games on offense, but they don’t need to. When they start rolling downhill, they are one of the most unstoppable groups in the league. Even with players back on Washington’s roster from the COVID-19 list, injuries have decimated the Football Team defense. Taylor Heinicke’s glass slipper no longer fits, and the WFT has the profile of a 4-11 squad that is no longer punching above its weight.
Washington Roster Update: Sam Cosmi, Kyle Shurmur, and Tress Way placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list - Hogs Haven
Washington placed two players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list today. They were down to two players after placing 28 players on the list since December 8th. Yesterday saw 3 mote players added. Today OT Sam Cosmi and QB Kyle Shurmur were added. Cosmi has been on and off the active list for most of the season dealing with several injuries. He will have an opportunity to return before Sunday’s game, but this is more missed time during his rookie season.
2021 NFL Week 17 Dallas Cowboys Fan Rooting Guide: It is time for Kirk Cousins to be the hero - Blogging The Boys
You will note that we are also rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers this week which has to do with potentially setting up a scenario where the Eagles clinch a playoff berth this week and therefore having nothing to play for next week which could lead to them lying down in a game that Dallas needs to win in order to secure the top seed. That would be ideal. We fleshed out the logic behind all of that right here. Also a reminder that we are rooting for the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts so as to worsen the picks that Philly is getting from them. The New York Giants also hold Chicago’s first-rounder so we would normally root for them, but the Bears happen to be playing the Giants this week.
Fixing the Giants, Part II: Joe Judge needs to evaluate himself, and his coaching staff - Big Blue View
I have argued for most of Judge’s tenure that he is too conservative. Largely, that has to do with Judge often refusing to go for first downs when the time seemed right, choosing to punt or kick field goals. That also extends to the Giants’ painfully conservative offensive approach under both Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens, and a simple general lack of urgency that results in a “we’ll play for something to happen later” attitude. At the beginning of December, ESPN calculated that Judge had erred on 29.2 percent of “non-obvious” fourth-down decisions in his two seasons and that his win probability sacrificed was 31 percent, 28th among head coaches. Edj Sports ranks Judge 31st using its proprietary Edj Power Index (EPI) and Offensive Play Calling (CCI — Critical Call Index). Combined, Edj Sports Game-Winning Chance (GWC) metric shows that the only coach in the league whose decisions have made it harder for his team to win games this season is Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Genius of John Madden - The Ringer
One of the coolest things about John Madden is that he was an academic. It was a brief run, but still. In 1979, after Madden quit as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he was hired by the University of California, Berkeley, to teach an extension course called “Man to Man Football.” Madden’s students had watched football on TV. Now, they wanted to understand how it worked. Professor Madden stood in front of a board that was like the Telestrator he later used on TV. Madden drew X’s and O’s and carefully studied his students’ faces. “I wanted to see at what point I lost ’em,” he told me years later. Madden was trying to find the most simple way to explain a complex game. He was converting passive football fans into smart fans. For the next 30 years, Madden performed the same trick on TV every week.
John Madden never let anyone poop on his bus. Except Wayne Gretzky - SB Nation
It’s also well-known that Madden traveled the country by bus as a broadcaster because he hated to fly. Madden graduated from California Polytechnic State in 1958, and in 1960 a plane carrying the football team crashed and killed 22 passengers. Madden had said that claustrophobia is what really led to his hatred of flying. While Madden did travel by plane while he was coaching the Oakland Raiders, he quickly made the transition to traveling by bus once he entered broadcasting. The ‘Madden Cruiser’ became an essential part of Madden’s mythology as he drove from game to game across the country. Madden would often host meetings with top NFL figures on the bus. His cruiser reportedly only had one rule for guests: no pooping. He apparently let that rule be bent three times for three different people.
The Look Ahead #70: Clinching scenarios for Week 17 - The SB Nation NFL Show
Rob “Stats” Guerrera and RJ Ochoa take deep dives into the biggest games of the week and hit every other game this week in the Lightning Round. Can the Bengals pull off an upset against the Chiefs to win the AFC North? Why Miami won’t keep their win streak going against Tennessee. How can the Ravens keep up with the Rams - even with an injured Lamar? Will Kliff Kingsbury’s late-season swoon will continue against the Cowboys? Can Minnesota stun the Packers to keep their season alive? BREAKING NEWS: Ben Roethlisberger says this week is likely his last home game.
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