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Eagles News: DeVonta Smith is looking really good

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/30/22.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

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DeVonta Smith has arrived and he’s not done yet - NBCSP
If there was ever any question about Smith’s trajectory in the NFL, he’s answered them this year, especially in the last few weeks. DeVonta Smith has arrived. And he’s not done yet. While Smith has spent plenty of his second NFL season in the shadow of A.J. Brown, he went over 1,000 yards in the loss in Dallas on Christmas Eve and did it in spectacular fashion with acrobatic catches, clutch moments and the kind of precision route-running that still wows his teammates. “It’s amazing. It’s just fun to watch,” Brown said. “Those are some big catches. We needed those and he was coming in clutch.” Had the Eagles managed to win that game with their backup quarterback, the biggest story coming out of the weekend would have been about the play of Smith. “It’s pretty freaky, man,” third-string quarterback Ian Book said. “We always talk about it as quarterbacks, how easy it is when you have receivers that don’t lose. You can talk about progressions, you can talk about reads. At the end of the day, I can also take A.J. 1-on-1 because it’s not 50-50. But then with DeVonta, every week making a spectacular catch. “He does it every week. He does it in practice too. It just makes the quarterback’s job so much easier. You feel like, ‘Damn, this isn’t a good ball’ and then he goes and gets it.”

The Saints ain’t a walkover - BGN
The Saints roster is in purgatory, and they’re in salary cap hell. Alvin Kamara is having the worst season of his career, which was also true last year. Their QB is 35-year-old Andy Dalton, who started the season as the backup to Jameis Winston. They have extremely limited methods of upgrading that position. They of course don’t have their first-round pick in 2023; the Eagles do. Their best hope in the draft is that someone forks over significant draft capital to hire Sean Payton. Free agency isn’t going to give them any help. As it stands now, they are $54 million over the cap for next year with 17 of their top 20 earners offering them no cap relief if released. They are by far in the worst salary cap position for 2023. So this team is screwed. They’re too good to be truly bad (at least this year), but they’re too bad to be any good. Yet this team is no pushover. This game could be closer than the talent discrepancy would indicate.

Eagles-Saints preview + Jalen Hurts practices - BGN Radio
Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski preview the Eagles-Saints matchup in addition to making their NFL Week 17 picks against the spread. Interact with us on Twitter: @BrandonGowton, @JimmyKempski, @BGN_Radio, @BleedingGreen. For a LIMITED TIME only, use discount code BGN20 at for 20% off your order!

Interview with the Enemy: Philadelphia Eagles - Canal Street Chronicles
Our Interview with the Enemy series continues this week with Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation. Brandon joins us to answer a few quick questions before the Philadelphia Eagles face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Mailbag: What might the Eagles’ offensive line configuration look like on Sunday against the Saints? - PhillyVoice
My sense is that they’re going to play Dillard at LT and Mailata at RT. I believe that they will opt for putting their “five best linemen” on the field, and in their minds that will include Dillard over Driscoll. But beyond the starters, the Eagles also have to consider who backs up whom at each spot. Driscoll has more versatility than Dillard, so he would give the Eagles more “one-for-one” in-game replacement options should someone else go down against the Saints. As for the continuity aspect of your question, these guys have all been with the team for years. I don’t think that will be a concern, no matter what the Eagles ultimately decide.

Game Preview – Saints at Eagles - Iggles Blitz
The Saints play good pass defense. They allow the third lowest completion percentage and have 40 sacks on the season. Rookie CB Alontae Taylor leads the team with 11 PDs and has played well. Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye give them a pair of productive safeties. Minshew won’t have an easy time throwing the ball. I expect the Eagles coaches to be able to scheme up some good plays to help put him in position to succeed. It will also help having red hot receivers AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith. Those guys have been very productive for the past month. The Saints can slow them down, but they won’t stop them.

Pass rush evokes memories of Gang Green era -
This group, they know the names of that group, the 1989 Philadelphia Eagles that set a franchise record with 62 quarterback sacks. That was the Gang Green defense, Buddy Ryan style, and it was led by defensive ends Reggie White and Clyde Simmons, and defensive tackle Jerome Brown. It may have been the best of the Ryan teams, one that won 11 games and finished second in the NFC East before losing in the first round of the NFC playoffs to the Los Angeles Rams. As Randall Cunningham emerged as The Ultimate Weapon that season, the defense was spectacular, that incredible front four led by Simmons and his 15.5 quarterback sacks, White’s 11 sacks amid constant double- and triple-team blocking, a 10.5-sack output by the explosive Brown, 7 from unheralded tackle Mike Pitts, 5 from outside linebacker Seth Joyner, and a sneaky 3.5 from safety Wes Hopkins. They amassed 62 quarterback sacks, a franchise record until this very day. This group, the 2022 Eagles, has heard the stories about that group. Every day they walk into the team meeting room, the auditorium of the NovaCare Complex, and they see the larger-than-life print of White on the wall, arguably the greatest Eagle (and maybe greatest defensive player in the history of the NFL) on the wall, presented by Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie when the building opened in 2001 as “one of the pillars of the franchise.” “Reggie White? Of course I’ve heard of him,” defensive tackle Javon Hargrave said on Thursday at his locker. “Jerome Brown, yeah. Those are names in this league! They mean something.”

Week 17 NFL game picks: Eagles clinch NFC’s No. 1 seed; Giants secure playoff berth -
As rumors of Sean Payton’s possible return loom, Dennis Allen will need a miracle for the Saints to win their final two games (vs. Panthers in Week 18). This is a coaching mismatch. The Eagles are more physical on both sides, and even if Gardner Minshew starts again, Philadelphia is the perfect team to expose New Orleans’ lack of discipline. With the win, the Eagles lock up the NFC’s No. 1 seed and the division title.

How the Eagles can help themselves in the draft by beating Saints in Week 17 - ESPN
Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints has implications that reach beyond this season thanks to a deal on draft night last April that sent New Orleans’ 2023 first-round pick to Philadelphia. That first-rounder has a 71% chance to be a top-10 pick, according to ESPN Analytics. The results this week will not only help shape the playoff picture — Philly can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win while a Saints upset would help keep their slim playoff chances alive — but help dictate where the selection ultimately lands. ESPN’s current projected draft order has the Eagles picking 10th. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said the focus is solely on the game, but added: “It will be sweet if we can go out there and get this win, and then once we’re making the draft pick later we can say to ourselves, ‘Well, that really did help us out.’”

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread - The Ringer
It looks like the Eagles will roll with Gardner Minshew again in this game. Minshew was fine last week against the Cowboys, but what really stood out in that game was how well-supported he was. DeVonta Smith was terrific, and the coaching staff dialed up some outstanding calls against Dallas’s defense. The Eagles can lock up the no. 1 seed in the NFC with a win here. As for the Saints, they have just a 3 percent chance of getting into the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. Don’t forget about the subplot in this one. The Eagles own the Saints’ first-round pick in 2023. If the season ended today, that’d be the 10th selection. I have no feel for this game. I think there’s a chance that the Eagles defense will bounce back in a big way, and they’ll roll. But I could also see the Saints defense giving Minshew a tough time. I think the Eagles will win but the Saints cover. The pick: Saints (+6)

10 thoughts on the Cowboys 27-13 win over the Titans - Blogging The Boys
4. Down goes Biadasz. The Cowboys lost their starting right tackle Terence Steele a few weeks ago. It was a tough loss as the third-year tackle was having a great year. Speaking of third-year players having a good season, center Tyler Biadasz has been an unsung spark along the interior offensive line for the Cowboys this year. Unfortunately, Biadasz left the game with an ankle injury. It’s unclear just how long he’ll be out, but if the team loses another starting offensive lineman, this will just create more challenges for this Cowboys offense.

Giants-Colts injury report: Xavier McKinney ‘probably not’ going to play on Sunday - Big Blue View
Xavier McKinney is back to practice with the New York Giants, but head coach Brian Daboll said McKinney will “probably not” be activated from injured reserve for this Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. McKinney has missed seven games since injuring several fingers on his left hand and requiring surgery following a bye week mishap in Cabo. Daboll indicated that edge defender Azeez Ojulari, who sustained an ankle injury last Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings, is “good to go,” per Daboll. cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, out since Week 11 with a sprained MCL, will be a game-time decision. McKinney practiced for the first time Thursday while wearing a splint or wrap of some kind to protect his hand.

With Commanders winless in December and Ron Rivera opting for return to Wentz, fan confidence plummets - Hogs Haven
But losses to the Giants on Sunday Night Football in Week 15 and the 49ers six days later on Christmas Eve saw the Commanders’ record slip to 7-7-1. With the Giants, Lions and Seahawks all losing on Christmas Eve as well, the Commanders remained in the 7th seed spot, but the 0-2-1 December record prompted head coach Ron Rivera to reevaluate the quarterback position, and based on Carson Wentz’s two 4th quarter drives against the 49ers, he made the decision to switch horses, benching Taylor Heinicke and returning to the opening day starter, Wentz. The effect on fan confidence of this rocky December has been predictable.

Why the NFL is set for a historic QB carousel in 2023 - SB Nation
Washington Commanders. This team is in a weird spot. They are in major need of a QB upgrade, but will be drafting too low to get a top passer. It’s just not a good year to look to the draft for them, but an incremental upgrade is out there over the horrific QB room the Commanders have right now. My best guess for 2023: Derek Carr.


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