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  1. Eagles Twitter Destroys Jalen Reagor, Muffed Punt Explained By Mike Greger Updated Jan 17, 2022 at 12:15am Getty: Eagles receivers DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor walk off the field in disgust after losing in the 2021 NFL playoffs. The decision to leave Jalen Reagor in the game after he muffed a punt early in the third quarter had many people scratching their heads. This wasn’t the first time that the first-round pick had failed on special teams. In fact, Reagor made an ill-advised play on another punt in the fourth quarter when he bobbled it deep in his own territory. Scrambling to recover the loose ball, he took a 10-yard loss in garbage time with the game already out of reach. He finished with five punt returns for 35 yards in the Eagles’ 31-15 wild-card playoff loss. Head coach Nick Sirianni was asked why Reagor was allowed to keep returning kicks after muffing the first one so badly. The score was only 17-0 at the time of his first miscue. The reason was a practical one. The team’s other punt returner, Greg Ward Jr., was out with back spasms. Remember, the Eagles left Jason Huntley inactive for the playoff contest. "The muffed punt right there, the wind messed with him earlier in the game,” Sirianni explained. "It just looked like he misjudged it and came back. Whenever you have a mistake or something like that – it’s a big mistake, you’re always going to be like, what’s the next approach? Does Greg Ward go back there? Greg Ward had back spasms and he was out. We would have explored that opportunity but he [Reagor] got another punt and made a nice play and then he made a mistake again.” The nice play came on a 31-yard punt return with 13:04 showing in the fourth quarter. Four minutes later, at the 9:01 mark of the fourth, was when Reagor bobbled it and lost 10 yards. "He’s going to want those plays back and we’ll get back to the drawing board and fix those things,” Sirianni said. "But, as far as why we stayed with Jalen, I’m glad he made a play after that. Again, not happy with the one that happened after the play that he made but it was more about Greg not being available.” Eagles Twitter Wants Reagor Gone for Good Sirianni can trot out as many excuses as he wants for keeping Reagor in the game. It doesn’t matter. The 2020 first-rounder – the guy selected one pick ahead of Justin Jefferson – has already been cut from the roster in the court of public opinion. He made one reception for two yards versus Tampa Bay after finishing with 299 yards on 33 receptions in the regular season. Order Officially Set for 2022 NFL Draft There is no more guessing about where the Eagles might pick in the 2022 NFL draft. All three of their first-round picks are locked in by virtue of their early playoff exit. Philadelphia owns the 15th overall, 16th overall, and 19th overall picks. Now the fun begins as the Eagles decide whether they want to keep them and take three franchise-changing rookies, or package them up in a blockbuster trade for a veteran quarterback. Of course, they could use them to move up in the draft or do something completely off the wall. Everything is on the table. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/jalen-reagor-muffed-punt/
  2. Nick Sirianni Reveals Eagles QB Plans After Dismal Playoff Loss By Mike Greger Updated Jan 17, 2022 at 12:48am Getty: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts gets pressured by Devin White during a dismal 31-16 loss in the wild-card round of the 2021 NFL playoffs. Jalen Hurts was wearing a walking boot as he talked about taking accountability for his actions. His left ankle was swollen following the Philadelphia Eagles’ 31-15 wild-card playoff loss, not that he would ever use an injury as an excuse. Hurts turned in arguably his worst performance of the year on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first-year starter went 11-of-19 for 88 yards and an interception in the first half. He should have had four picks, but those other errant throws were either dropped by defenders or thrown too low in the dirt. After the game, Hurts put the blame squarely on his shoulders. "I didn’t play good enough today,” Hurts said. "This game does not define us, it does not define who we are, it does not define us at all. I know as a football team we’ll be back.” According to Next Gen Stats, Hurts finished 5-of-21 for 100 yards and two interceptions on passes of 10-plus air yards by the time the clock ran out in the fourth quarter. He was off-target all day and finished 23-of-43 (53.3%) overall for 258 yards (mostly in garbage time) with one touchdown and two picks. Despite the hobbled quarterback’s struggles, Nick Sirianni never thought about benching Hurts for Gardner Minshew. And the head coach didn’t sound like there was any plan to replace him next season. "I feel good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position,” Sirianni said. "I thought he had a great year and he came a long way. And that’s what I expect from Jalen, just because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness he has, the love for football that he has. I can’t say enough good things about Jalen the player (and the person). So, I feel good about him.” Eagles Express Regret of Early Exit Several Eagles players were noticeably downtrodden coming off the field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay. Jordan Mailata held back tears as cameras showed him walking toward the visitor’s locker room. Jason Kelce stared up at the ceiling almost in disbelief, maybe for the final time. And Rodney McLeod let his emotions out on Twitter where he thanked Eagles fans for their support. "Man this is not the way I wanted this to end,” McLeod wrote. "Proud of every man on this team. Grateful for this journey we been on, it showed the character of this team. We fight, we don’t quit! I have so much love for this city. I appreciate all the Eagles fans for cheering us on this season!” There weren’t many positives to glean from a 16-point loss that was never close. The Eagles trailed 31-0 heading into the fourth quarter before a pair of garbage-time touchdowns cut the gap. It was a similar blueprint to the first matchup between these two teams, only this one was even more lopsided. Rookie Kenny Gainwell (16-yard touchdown grab) and Boston Scott (34-yard run) provided the scoring for Philly. Roots Growing: ‘Only the Beginning’ Jordan Mailata paused for a second when asked to put the 2021 season in perspective. No, it didn’t end the way anyone wanted it to but he was proud of the foundation they built. The Aussie left tackle brought up Sirianni’s roots speech as reason for optimism. They are building and growing something special. "Everybody ripped him [Sirianni] but we trusted him and we invested ourselves and we got to the playoffs,” Mailata said. "And I think my biggest takeaway would be just everything we built with such a young team – and I’m not using that as an excuse because that’s crap – but we’re a young team with a young coach and this is only the beginning.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/jalen-hurts-future/
  3. Eagles Make 5 Roster Moves: Josh Sweat Spotted in Tampa Bay By Mike Greger Updated Jan 15, 2022 at 4:49pm Getty: Eagles DE Josh Sweat is tied for the team lead in sacks with 7.5 for the 2021 campaign. The Philadelphia Eagles officially listed defensive end Josh Sweat as questionable for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game. He has been battling a non-COVID illness all week and missed three straight practices. Suddenly, there’s good news on the Sweat watch. According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Sweat traveled with the team to Tampa Bay and was "all smiles” at the team hotel. The Eagles still haven’t declared him active, but the fact he made the plane ride down to Florida is pretty telling. Injured players don’t usually make road treks unless they are playing. Head coach Nick Sirianni clarified that Sweat was dealing with abdominal pain when he met with reporters on Friday. It sounded like the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder might be a game-time decision. "He had some abdominal pain early in the week, but he’s getting a little bit better each day,” Sirianni said. "We don’t know his status for the game yet, but I’ll tell you he’s questionable.” Sweat is tied for the team lead in sacks with 7.5 and ranks second in quarterback hits with 13. Philadelphia absolutely needs him if they expect to get pressure on Tom Brady and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. "Get him out of his comfort zone a little bit,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said when asked how to stop Brady. "He typically has success versus most people, but I do think that we got to be able to get him a little bit out of rhythm with the different tools that we have to do that.” Richard Rodgers Activated, Make 4 Other Moves The Eagles were busy fine-tuning their roster 24 hours prior to kickoff. The team signed veteran tight end Richard Rodgers to the 53-man roster, a move that Sirianni hinted at making earlier in the week. He and rookie Jack Stoll will serve as the backups behind starter Dallas Goedert after Tyree Jackson went on season-ending IR. Philadelphia also signed guard/tackle Kayode Awosika from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement. He’ll take the roster spot vacated by rookie defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu who got placed on the COVID-19 list. Meanwhile, the Eagles promoted receiver KeeSean Johnson and defensive end Cameron Malveaux as standard elevations. Johnson could see action with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside out; Malveaux is insurance in case Sweat needs a breather (or can’t go). Eagles Back in Midnight Green The Eagles announced they will wear their midnight green jerseys matched with white pants on Sunday. This is the color combination the team wore in Super Bowl LII when they defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-33. Not sure that matters, but maybe it’s good luck. Philadelphia has a 2-7 record this season in midnight green. Tampa Bay will be donning white jerseys and pewter pants which is notable for two reasons. It’s the color combination the Buccaneers wore in last year’s Super Bowl, which they won 31-9 over the Kansas City Chiefs. And it is the uniform that Tampa Bay wore in the 2002 NFC Championship Game where they upset the Eagles 27-10 in the final game at Veterans Stadium. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/josh-sweat-injury-update/
  4. Eagles Share How Plane Ride Back From Vegas Changed Their Luck By Mike Greger Updated Jan 4, 2022 at 7:19pm Getty: Las Vegas Raiders LB Denzel Perryman. Most people are nursing massive hangovers when flying back from Las Vegas after a long weekend. Non-stop partying and bottle popping, coupled with losses in the sportsbook, make for annoying headaches and nausea. But the Philadelphia Eagles were dealing with a different kind of hangover coming off a brutal 33-22 loss to the Raiders on October 24. That Week 7 loss put their record at 2-5 as calls for Nick Sirianni’s head lit up the phone lines on local sports radio. The Raiders put up 442 total yards of offense in a game that wasn’t as close as the scoreboard showed. Derek Carr went 31-of-34 for 323 yards and a 113.6 passer rating. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas goes the famous tagline. And the Eagles took it to heart. "We were pretty down after the game, and a lot of us had conversations on the flight,” safety Rodney McLeod said on October 28, "but we showed up here yesterday ready to work. Complaining and making excuses is not going to get it done.” The flight from Vegas to Philly is approximately five hours, ample time to reflect and correct mistakes. The Eagles used that plane ride home time to re-watch the game they just lost and figure out ways to save the 2021 season. "It was just about continuing to work, continuing to believe, which I don’t think anybody wavered,” safety Anthony Harris told reporters on Tuesday. "We take a look around the locker room, understand the talent that we have, understand some of the experience that we have at different positions, and then just continue to believe in the coaching staff.” Growing Roots, Coming Together Head coach Nick Sirianni has been receiving plenty of NFL Coach of the Year hype for his role in turning things around. He was mocked uncontrollably – vicious jabs mixed with playful jokes – for his infamous "Flower Speech” on October 27. Sirianni put a picture of a flower up and talked about growing roots. "The roots are continuing to grow out,” Sirianni said at the time. "We all fertilize, we all do our part, each individual, each individual coach, each individual player, everybody in the building, that we do our part to water to make sure that, when it does pop out, it really pops out and it grows.” It’s still funny to envision a football coach saying that with a straight face in the locker room. Yet it worked. The analogy rang true and the players rallied around the message and their coach. "And coming together, staying together,” Harris said. "And just going in with the attitude from a players’ standpoint and a coaches’ standpoint of we’re all in it together. We’re all going to come in with our best efforts to find out what we need to do to win and then focus in and get to work.” The Importance of One Consistent Message The other thing the Eagles did was double down on their process. Sirianni stuck with his five core values – connecting, competition, accountability, intelligence, fundamentals – and focused on getting "1% better every day.” The latter phrase is burned into the back of everyone’s brain, from the players on the team to the reporters who cover them. Guess what? It worked. Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards said sticking to one message instead of introducing a new one was a big reason for the turnaround. "I think at the end of the day the thing that Coach Sirianni has done so well is keeping the messages the same,” Edwards told reporters on Tuesday. "There’s never been a panic and there’s never been a – even when we down at our worst – there’s never been a time where anyone is freaking out. Or, obviously after a loss there’s a lot of disappointment and people are frustrated with how we’re playing and things like that, but our process has stayed the same throughout this entire time whether we’re winning or losing.” It’s a tad comical to hear players say "Trust the Process” in the context of Philadelphia sports considering what the Sixers are going through. For the Eagles, it was the message they needed to hear. "Those things come to fruition and now we’re seeing success from all those things,” Edwards said. "All the roots and all the talks we’ve had in the past, all those things that we really doubled down on, are really helping us now. So it’s awesome to see.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/nick-sirianni-roots-down/
  5. Eagles Expected to Make Major Shakeup in Tight Ends Room By Mike Greger Updated Jan 14, 2022 at 10:00am Getty: The Eagles are expected to activate veteran Richard Rodgers to the 53-man roster for the playoffs. Dallas Goedert has blossomed as the starter ever since taking over for Zach Ertz. The fourth-year tight end talked honestly about wanting to be number one on the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart prior to the trade and showed it. He’s creeping up on a 1,000-yard season: 830 yards on 56 receptions with four touchdowns. More importantly, Goedert has stayed healthy which had been a major concern when he inked an insane $57 million contract. It’s worked out amazingly well. He has missed only two games in 2021 (COVID-19, concussion) excluding a healthy scratch in Week 18. However, the Eagles are dealing with a new problem behind Goedert after Tyree Jackson’s ACL tear forced him on injured reserve. The Eagles have rookie Jack Stoll installed as the backup tight end, with plans to elevate veteran Richard Rodgers from the practice squad. Noah Togiai remains in the mix after seeing 24 snaps last week against Dallas. "As far as the plan for the tight ends, I think Richard Rodgers has done a good job every time he’s got an opportunity to play. He brings good veteran leadership,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. "He brings great ability to block, not only in the first level, but at the second level as well, and so he’ll be the one that’s elevated up and ready to go.” Rodgers made two catches for 11 yards last week against Dallas while seeing 51% of the offensive snaps. Everyone knows his history with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. He’s a true professional, with great hands, in his seventh NFL season. And Noah Togiai remains in the mix after seeing 24 snaps in Week 18. "We also have confidence in Noah as well,” Sirianni said. "Right now, it’s looking like Rich, but we have confidence in Noah as well.” Running Backs Room Getting Healthier The running backs room has been hit hard by injuries all year, including six missed games for Miles Sanders due to a variety of ailments. Injuries have kind of been the story of his young career. The Eagles have also been down Jordan Howard (neck stinger) and Boston Scott (COVID-19) in recent weeks. But one man’s absence has been another man’s gain and rookie Kenny Gainwell has taken full advantage. He had 12 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in Week 18. "We’ve got a great group of backs that we trust in all those guys,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. "And every time these guys have a chance to step up and play ball, like Kenny got a whole bunch of reps, he took advantage of his opportunity. He’s continuing to grow as a young player, learning from the veteran guys and we love where our backfield is right now.” Training camp hero Jason Huntley has been another bright spot as an explosive runner and special-teams weapon. He rushed 13 times for 51 yards while returning three kicks for 84 yards last week. Will he be activated in the playoffs? That remains to be seen. "You saw how explosive of a player he is,” Sirianni said. "Unfortunately, for him, he’s in a very crowded room with a lot of good players that have had a lot of good reps and we have great depth there.” Eagles Protect Four Practice-Squad Players The Eagles protected four players on the practice squad earlier this week. They also released running back Kerryon Johnson from the practice squad and elevated Jason Huntley to the active roster. Sirianni continues to weigh his options on what to do at tight end 72 hours prior to kickoff. The Eagles play the Tampa Buccaneers in the wild-card round on January 16 at 1 p.m. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/richard-rodgers-activated/
  6. Eagles Injury Report: Miles Sanders’ Surgery Update, 2 Starters DNP By Mike Greger Updated Jan 14, 2022 at 5:14pm Getty: Eagles RB Miles Sanders ran for a career-high 131 yards against Washington, but he didn't appreciate the fans booing the team. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni confidently proclaimed Miles Sanders good to go for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game. The explosive running back has no limitations as he takes back the starting job. Both Jordan Howard and Boston Scott were also missing from the final injury report. That means the team should have its full stable of running backs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It remains to be seen whether Kenny Gainwell and Jason Huntley will be active. Neither one has an injury designation, but the Eagles aren’t likely to carry more than four rushers. Philadelphia brings the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack — 2,715 yards, or 200.2 yards per game — into the postseason. "Really excited to be able to have all hands on deck,” Sirianni said of his running backs. "I was just saying to the team after practice, what great contribution we’ve gotten from so many different people this year and I really talked about the running back group. What other team can say they got contributions from four different running backs, and really Jason Huntley played a good game the other day, so five different running backs, right?” Nate Herbig, Josh Sweat Listed Questionable It wasn’t all positive vibes in South Philly following Friday’s practice. Defensive end Josh Sweat missed his third straight day with an undisclosed non-COVID illness. The fourth-year edge rusher is officially listed as questionable versus Tampa Bay. Sweat has filled the pass-rushing void left by Brandon Graham and his 7.5 sacks are tied for the team lead with Javon Hargrave. Meanwhile, starting right guard Nate Herbig was also listed as questionable on the final injury report after missing Friday’s practice with an ankle injury. Herbig must have suffered a setback because he was a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, look for Sua Opeta to take his spot next to Lane Johnson on the right side of the offensive line. Johnson (rest/knee) was a limited participant on Friday. Ditto for rookie linebacker Patrick Johnson (back). Those two guys are expected to play against Tampa Bay. Everyone else has a clean bill of health going into the postseason. Sanders Underwent Hand Surgery, Ready to Go Sanders fractured his right hand on December 26 against the New York Giants. He could have gone on season-ending IR and started rehabbing for next season, but that wasn’t his mindset. Instead, the talented running back underwent a minor surgical procedure on December 27 in the hope he could return for the playoffs. It was part of a promise he made to Sirianni. "I said, ‘promise me playoffs and I’ll get this surgery tomorrow’ and he [Sirianni] said, ‘I got you,’ and I think the week came and we got the dub in Washington,” Sanders told reporters. "And he said, ‘I hope you got the surgery,’ and I said, ‘I already got it.’ With the win or not, just to give me a chance [to play].” Sanders declared himself "ready to go” on Friday while explaining the battery of tests he endured. Coaches were punching at the football as he ran and made him catch passes out of the backfield. His surgically-repaired hand held up during all the ball-security drills, too, as he took hand-offs from Jalen Hurts and squeezed the football with no problem. "They were kind of asking me what I wanted to do this week and I told them I wanted to do everything,” Sanders said. "I feel ready to go.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/miles-sanders-playoff-injury-report/
  7. Eagles Reveal New Playoff Mantra: Leaving Dog Masks in the Basement By Mike Greger Updated Jan 14, 2022 at 11:35am Getty: Former Eagles pass rusher Chris Long sports a dog mask following an Eagles win in the 2017 NFC Championship Game versus Minnesota. When Lane Johnson posted a photo of him wearing a dog mask, people thought he was sending a message. It said: The underdogs are back, baby! Hold that thought. Johnson laughed it off as just something "funny” he wanted to put out there. No one is comparing the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles to the 2017 championship team. The three-time Pro Bowl right tackle said a buddy sent him that picture and there was no bigger meaning behind it. In fact, Johnson said he doesn’t even know what happened to that original dog mask. He thinks it might be buried in his basement somewhere. "I don’t even know where the dog mask is, I gotta find it,” Johnson told reporters. "Not even really talking about it [being underdogs]. The big message is not becoming emotional with the game or where we’re at or anything really. It’s just one day at a time and that’s where we’re at.” Johnson missed the first matchup with Tampa Bay on October 14, a 28-22 loss at Lincoln Financial Field. It was one of three contests he missed as he was battling mental health issues. In fact, the 31-year-old said he didn’t even watch the Buccaneers-Eagles game until weeks after it happened. That may help him calm everyone down and provide a nice outsider’s perspective. "Trying not to be overly emotional in this game,” Johnson said. "Worry about our assignments and take it play-by-play and whenever you do that, I think you put yourself in the best position to win.” The Eagles opened as seven-point underdogs against the Buccaneers with that number jumping up at 8.5. Masks or not, listen for some barking. Was First Tampa Bay Game Turning Point? Some have pointed to Week 6 as the turning point in the Eagles’ season. It wasn’t long after that the team decided to start running the football and leaning on their dominant offensive line. The Eagles racked up 135 rushing yards on 32 attempts in Week 7, then went for 236 rushing yards on 42 attempts in Week 8. Head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t want to use the word "turning point” to describe it, but the coaching staff sat down and re-evaluated everything after that first Tampa Bay game. The real turning point, according to players, was the plane ride home from Las Vegas following a 33-22 loss to the Raiders. "I think what you saw is it started to turn that game, as far as our kind of who we were and what we were doing,” Sirianni said. "Not only in the run game but also in the passing game and the way we were doing some things in the passing game as well to make things a little bit easier for Jalen [Hurts] and to be able to see the things a little differently and our receivers, tight ends and running backs.” Preparing for Todd Bowles, Bucs Defense The Eagles are going to pound the rock on the ground. Everyone knows that. No one has been able to stop it. But the Buccaneers boast the NFL’s third-best rushing defense (first in the NFC) while surrendering just 1,573 rushing yards, or 87.4 yards per game. Why are they so good on defense? For starters, their talent on the defensive line is unmatched. Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston, Jason Pierre-Paul are all impact players, plus pass-rushing outside linebacker Shaq Barrett. The unit is guided by Todd Bowles, one of the best defensive coordinators in football. "I think he’s just really good at creating matchups. The NFL is always about creating mismatches,” Johnson said of Bowles. "As far as the D-line, it’s the best if not one of the best in the league, all the way across the board. Their D-linemen, edge rushers, linebacking corps, really top unit in this league so it’ll be a real big challenge for us.” Barrett (knee) and Pierre-Paul (shoulder) have been limited participants this week at Buccaneers’ practice. Keep an eye on the injury report. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/lane-johnson-dog-masks/
  8. Eagles’ Nick Sirianni Offers First Thoughts on Tom Brady, Buccaneers By Mike Greger Updated Jan 10, 2022 at 11:48am Getty: Buccaneers QB Tom Brady has 43 TD passes this season and already beat the Eagles 28-22. Alot has changed since the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers met back on October 14. Nick Sirianni’s team has gone 7-4 since Week 6, although that Week 18 doesn’t really count with the Eagles resting their starters. The Eagles lost the first matchup 28-22. Then, Philadelphia turned the 2021 season around by switching their identity to a run-heavy offense. They have also been more locked in on the defensive end. The Eagles and Buccaneers are two very different teams heading into Sunday’s wild-card showdown – except for one major constant: Tom Brady. The greatest quarterback to ever lace up cleats continues to shower in the Fountain of Youth. Coming off a three-touchdown performance, Brady has now thrown 43 touchdowns against 12 interceptions this season. "I’m confident that Tom Brady’s going to see a completely different defense than he saw in Week 6,” Sirianni told SportsRadio 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi on Monday. "We know that some of the players have changed throughout Tampa, but we know that No. 12 is still going to be standing back there and what a good challenge for us, to go against one of the guys that is considered one of the greatest players of all-time.” Sirianni told Cataldi the first thing he’ll do to prepare is go back and watch the tape from Week 6. They put on the film from a 2018 Colts-Patriots game (Sirianni and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon were both in Indianapolis) prior to the first meeting, then watched a 2020 Chargers-Buccaneers game (Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was in Los Angeles) to glean clues on how to defend Brady. "I think both teams are going to look very different,” Sirianni said. "You always like to have the tape. I think one thing that you always do as a coach is, you go back and you look at the last time you played the team or maybe the last two or three times you’ve played the team." Sirianni’s Wife Wins Over Eagles Fans NBC Sports’ Peter King included an interesting nugget about Sirianni from the preseason in his "Football Morning in America” column. In it, the plugged-in reporter shares how Sirianni’s wife, Brett, gave him the business following a 35-0 loss to New England in the preseason. He was upset the Philly fans had booed him when Brett checked his ego on the drive home from Lincoln Financial Field. King wrote: Amazing. Which leads to the next question: What did Brett say to him after resting his starters and losing to Dallas 51-26? Eagles Heavy Underdogs Versus Tampa The Eagles opened as seven-point road underdogs to Tampa Bay. The line had grown to 8.5 points by Monday morning. Immediately, people began thinking back to Philly’s magical 2017 run through the postseason when they were the underdogs in every single game. They broke out dog masks and rallied around the disrespect that year. Well, it’s time to do it again and Eagles’ right tackle Lane Johnson started the rallying cry. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/nick-sirianni-tom-brady/
  9. Eagles Reveal True Feelings on Tom Brady: ‘Any Other Quarterback’ By Mike Greger Updated Jan 12, 2022 at 4:10pm Getty: Eagles LB T.J. Edwards is turning into a viable starter and breakout star in Philly. Football players are creatures of habit and those habits dictate they do what got them here. So the Philadephia Eagles are treating Sunday’s wild-card playoff showdown like just another game. To a man, they are not feeding into the Tom Brady myth. Head coach Nick Sirianni has given the team a new motto: "Know what to do, know how to do it.” He repeated it to them at least 50 times during Wednesday’s walk-through. Forget Brady, stick to assignments and fundamentals. Sirianni dusted off the tape of Kobe Bryant delivering a pep talk to the 2017 Eagles’ championship team to pound home his point. "His message was exactly the same,” Sirianni said. "It was, ‘Hey, the fundamentals and technique get amplified more and more so and the assignments get amplified more and more so in the playoffs.’ Kobe went on to tell a story about Game 7 or Game 6 of the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs. He really dove into a fundamental mistake that somebody made to help make that game change.” The team has bought into the message hook, line and sinker. Starting linebacker T.J. Edwards has taken it to extremes, in that he’s treating Brady just like any other quarterback he’s seen over these past 18 weeks. "We obviously respect him [Brady] and who he is as a football player and things like that but that doesn’t mean we’re scared or anything like that,” Edwards said. "We’re excited for the challenge. We’re excited that we’re playing a high-powered offense and a really good football team in general, but again it’s on to the next game for us. "We’re approaching it like a normal week and when you make it bigger than what it is, that’s when mistakes and things happen. So, no, we’re treating him like any other quarterback we’ve played these past weeks.” Trying to Stop a ‘Trained Killer’ Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon knows the challenge he faces trying to stop Brady. His defense surrendered 297 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air in Week 6. And they failed to record a single sack on Brady. That can’t happen in the rematch. "This guy [Brady], he’s a trained killer,” Gannon said, "and he knows how to play good offense and what he needs to do to keep his offense on track, so it’s going to be a big-time challenge.” The number one thing Gannon has been preaching to his guys this week is to get Brady out of his comfort zone. If the Eagles can get hats on him and stymie his rhythm, then maybe – just maybe – you can create a turnover. Anthony Harris sniped an interception in the first game. "And we know he’s a guy who is not going to force mistakes or do things like that,” Edwards said, "so we just have to do our best to get to those early reads and make him uncomfortable in the pocket.” Don’t Forget About Rob Gronkowski Two key players missed the first Eagles-Buccaneers contest on October 14. Philly tight end Dallas Goedert was absent due to COVID-19, while Tampa tight end Rob Gronkowski was out after suffering "four cracked ribs, one broken rib and a punctured lung” in Week 3. Ouch. Both guys are healthy and ready to go in this one. Goedert told reporters he was looking forward to "playing the defending world champions” – Tampa Bay beat Kansas City 31-9 in Super Bowl LV – and expects a fun game, with a great atmosphere. He’s also excited to be on the same field as Gronkowski, arguably the greatest tight end of all-time. "It’s really cool, it’ll be the first time that I get to see Gronk [in person],” Goedert said. "Obviously being a tight end in college and high school, watching him, you know he’s been great for a long time so hopefully our defense holds him in check and he doesn’t have a great game.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/tom-brady-tj-edwards/
  10. Eagles’ Jalen Hurts Details ‘Intent’ Prior to NFL Playoff Debut By Mike Greger Updated Jan 12, 2022 at 8:48pm Getty: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has the second-best selling jersey in the NFL after Week 1. Age is just a number, right? Jalen Hurts will become the youngest quarterback in franchise history to start a playoff game. Tom Brady has 21 years on the Philadelphia Eagles’ star heading into Sunday’s wild-card showdown. Hurts has all the poise, confidence and maturity of someone double Brady’s age. Nothing seems to rattle him. Even when a reporter asked a question he didn’t like during Wednesday’s media availability, he brushed it off and politely said: "Next question.” Hurts is laser-focused on the task at hand, and that task involves beating the defending Super Bowl champions. And the greatest quarterback to ever do it. "We’ve put ourselves in a great position being where we are right now,” Hurts told reporters. "And we know how far we’ve come as a team, as an offense, as a defense, as a special teams group, and we just want to continue to do the things that have gotten us here. Focusing on the process, focusing on getting better, focusing on the fundamentals, all the little things we talk about.” Head coach Nick Sirianni set the tone early in the week when he stressed the importance of fundamentals and paying attention to "minute details.” Center Jason Kelce has been in everyone’s ear about it, too. For Hurts, nothing has changed since Week 1. "I preach about the process,” Hurts said. "I preached about it when we were 2-5 and I preached about it when we made the run to get to this point. Nothing changes as far as our preparation and our intent as a football team.” When Hurts was asked to recall his favorite Tom Brady playoff moment, his mind went completely blank. "I don’t remember,” Hurts said. How could he? The Eagles quarterback was only three years old when Brady made his first postseason start, a 16-13 win over the Raiders in the infamous "Tuck Rule” game on January 19, 2002. No DVR. No Netflix. No memory. Sirianni Updates Hurts’ Ankle Sprain Part of the decision to let Hurts sit out in Week 18 was to give his injured ankle another week to heal. Questions lingered about decreased mobility with Hurts running for only 44 yards in a Week 17 start. His season average stands at 52.3 yards per game. Sirianni said he wasn’t worried about Hurts’ health, although the coach admitted that the quarterback’s high ankle sprain isn’t 100%. "Jalen is feeling pretty good,” Sirianni said. "We’re going to go out there and practice with a walk-through today, but we’ll get more and more information on him as the week goes on. But I know the last week off really helped him heal and get better and closer to that 100%.” Eagles Release First Injury Report The Eagles participated in a walk-through on Wednesday over traditional practice. It’s been the norm since November 18 as a way to keep guys fresh and let their bodies heal. The team did release an "estimation” of an injury report, though. Jason Kelce (rest), Lane Johnson (rest/knee), Fletcher Cox (rest), Josh Sweat (illness) were listed out. None of those seem out of the ordinary or troublesome. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders (hand) was a limited participant which was a huge step in the right direction. He hadn’t practiced at all since fracturing his hand on December 26. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/jalen-hurts-playoff-mindset/
  11. Eagles Coach Reveals Jalen Hurts’ Best Advantage: ‘Second to None’ By Mike Greger Updated Jan 11, 2022 at 4:38pm Getty: Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has been impressed with Jalen Hurts' development in 2021. Jalen Hurts will be making his first playoff start in the NFL on January 16 in Tampa Bay. Don’t think for one second that he’ll be at any kind of disadvantage against Tom Brady. No one prepares harder than Hurts, something Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen believes has him primed for the moment. "He’s played big games in college and the way he prepares – I know I’ve said this a million times – but the way he prepares for every game, that’s what you want in a quarterback,” Steichen told reporters on Tuesday. "His preparation is second to none. He loves ball, he grinds every single day, mentally and physically, to get ready to play on Sunday. So, I know he’s going to be ready to go.” Hurts played in five bowl games during his storied college football career. He went 3-2 in those contests, including the 2017 national championship game where Hurts was benched for Tua Tagovailoa. But one hiccup doesn’t make the man. Hurts set a slew of records during starting stints at Alabama and Oklahoma while finishing with a 51-5 record. "He has great poise,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Hurts in 2016. "I don’t think the stage is too big for him at all.” Hurts will need every inch of that poise to upset the GOAT. The dual-threat quarterback finished 12-of-26 for 115 yards with one touchdown and an interception when the Eagles and Buccaneers met on October 14. He also rushed for 44 yards and two touchdowns. He was good, not great. Throw all that stuff out in the rematch. Hurts has grown by leaps and bounds since then. "He’s grown as a quarterback. You can see the growth that he’s made from that game to now,” Steichen said. "When someone plays and continues to play and play and play, you see the growth in what he’s doing. So, we’re excited where he is at, and I know he’s fired up for this game on Sunday.” Playing Keepaway From Buccaneers’ Offense Brady and Hurts won’t be physically lining up against each other, but never under-estimate the mental part of football. The camera shots of a steely-eyed Brady staring down rivals – and sometimes teammates – from the opposing sideline have struck fear into lesser men. And created some of the best memes on the internet. Steichen knows the Eagles need to win time of possession to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. That’s the chess match to watch on Sunday. It starts with winning the turnover battle. "I think the biggest thing is any time you go into a game, we want to win the turnover battle, time of possession is huge and then we want to create explosive plays,” Steichen said. "Any way we can create explosive plays – when you win the turnover battle and create explosive plays, you got a high percentage chance to win the football game.” Eagles Protect Four Practice-Squad Players The Eagles protected four players on the practice squad ahead of Sunday’s wild-card playoff showdown. John Hightower was not one of them, maybe slightly surprising since J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was sent to injured reserve. The team has just four receivers on the 53: DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Greg Ward Jr. In addition to Hightower, the Eagles have Deon Cain and KeeSean Johnson down on the practice squad. Neither player was protected or elevated. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/jalen-hurts-second-to-none/
  12. MRI Reveals Bad News for Eagles Young Playmaker: Report By Mike Greger Updated Jan 9, 2022 at 1:54pm Getty: Eagles TE Tyree Jackson injured his knee after scoring his first career TD on January 8, 2022. It was a tale of two nights for Tyree Jackson who caught his first NFL touchdown, then limped off the field. The young tight end caught a three-yard shovel pass in the first quarter as the Philadelphia Eagles grabbed a 7-0 lead. Not only was it Jackson’s first touchdown, it was his first NFL catch. Period. But the lead didn’t last. And neither did Jackson. The 24-year-old injured his knee on a punt return early in the fourth quarter as he slammed on the brakes before going out of bounds. The Eagles ruled him out with a knee injury and he never returned. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Jackson’s injury is a season-ending one. The converted quarterback suffered a torn ACL as many had feared when the play first happened. He underwent an MRI on his knee on Sunday that confirmed the bad news. Remember, Jackson missed the first six weeks of the season with a fractured back. He didn’t see his first meaningful snap until November 7 versus Los Angeles. Philadelphia also watched defensive tackle Marvin Wilson (eye), cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. (foot), linebacker Shaun Bradley (shoulder), tackle Brett Toth (knee) all come up lame against Dallas. Bradley and Jackson were the only two officially ruled out. Gardner Minshew Confirms Coaches Meeting Nick Sirianni didn’t want to reveal details on his reported meeting with Gardner Minshew last week. The head coach prefers to keep one-on-one conversations private. However, Minshew confirmed it happened and what was said after Saturday’s game. The backup quarterback simply marched into Sirianni’s office and asked him what it would take for him to win the starting job from Jalen Hurts. His response? Hurts is the starter. Minshew walked away fine and appreciated the transparency. Minshew started for the Eagles in the regular-season finale after Sirianni decided to rest Hurts. He went 19-of-33 for 186 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Philadelphia lost 51-26 to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18. Sirianni Reveals Playoff Message The message has been the same all year and it’s not going to change now. Sirianni struck gold when he started running the football in late October. The Eagles went 7-2 down the stretch and talked about getting one-percent better every single day. That will continue to be the mantra heading into the playoffs, the first postseason under Sirianni. "The same message that we’ve had the entire time,” Sirianni said when asked to reveal his message. "And the first message is, what’s that saying? We didn’t come this far to only come this far, right? So let’s make sure we’re locked into what put us in this position in the first place, right? "Detail in meetings starting with the coaches going to the players. Full speed in walk-through to the snap, and then high intensity at practice and try, and get a little bit better each day to put ourselves in a position to go 1-0 this week. So that’s our formula, that’s our process, and that’s what we’ll continue to preach throughout.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/tyree-jackson-acl-tear/
  13. Eagles Would Provide Perfect ‘Fresh Start’ for Falcons Star By Mike Greger Updated Jan 6, 2022 at 1:26pm Getty: Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons. If Jalen Hurts is indeed going to be the franchise starter in Philadelphia – and it’s heading in that direction – then the Eagles would be wise to load up on talent at the skill positions. DeVonta Smith is entrenched as Hurts’ go-to receiver, with Dallas Goedert playing the role of trusty safety valve at tight end. Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins have flashed at times, but they don’t project as No. 2 receivers. Philadelphia has been rumored to be looking at receivers in the 2022 NFL draft, guys like Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks all possess first-round talent. And the Eagles currently own three picks in the Top 21. But maybe the team would look to a veteran option on the trade market to pair opposite Smith. Enter Calvin Ridley. The Atlanta Falcons’ top target hasn’t seen a snap since October 24 and left the team on Halloween to deal with mental health issues. There’s been no sign that he wants to return while rumors churn that he’s on the trading block. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche thinks Ridley’s future with the Falcons is in jeopardy and both sides are looking for a "fresh start.” Ridley was also dealing with a knee (or hamstring) injury suffered at Falcons’ training camp. The team placed him on the non-football injury list on November 5. Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith talked about it during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on November 13. "We don’t force anything, we wouldn’t force anybody back from any kind of injury,” Smith told Eisen, via Falcons Wire. "So, we take it day by day, or week by week, and that’s how we view it. There’s no timetable on it, nor would I push anybody on that.” Perfect Landing Spot for Ridley Philadelphia would be the ideal landing spot for Ridley. For starters, the Eagles are turning into a booster club for Alabama football. Ridley was actually a teammate to Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith in 2017 before Atlanta took him with the 26th overall pick. He’s been an elite pass-catcher in the NFL over the past four seasons: 248 receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns. A reunion with Hurts would be deadly for opposing secondaries. Then there is the issue of Ridley’s public battle with mental health issues. There would be no better locker room to walk into than the Eagles where Lane Johnson is the outspoken face of anxiety and depression. He missed three games in 2021 due to the illness before opening up in an effort to help others. "The real message is don’t bottle it up. It’s easy to do that,” Johnson told reporters. "It’s easy to avoid situations that you don’t want to go through, something that’s going to be difficult. Don’t let your pride get in the way.” Eagles Coach Values Personal Connections Ridley would have the perfect coach to help him cope in Nick Sirianni, too. Reagor shared how Sirianni was the first person to talk to him and lift him up after he dropped a potential game-winning touchdown in New York. The fans berated him. And sports talk radio raged. Not Sirianni. He felt the need to personally connect with Reagor. The second-year receiver thinks Sirianni might be a better human being than a football coach. "That means an awful lot to me that he said that and talked about that first because, again, connecting is so important to me,” Sirianni said of Reagor’s comments. "I’ve talked to you guys about this, like why is connecting important to me? Because it’s a relationship business. "For my entire life growing up I would see grown men come to my parents’ house just to see my dad because they’re back in town and they wanted to come see my dad because they had a connection with him. I always thought that was so cool and one of the main reasons I got into coaching.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/calvin-ridley-trade-rumors/
  14. Eagles Discuss Playing Starters, Cowboys Make Final Decision By Mike Greger Updated Jan 4, 2022 at 11:49am Getty: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott The debate over whether playoff-bound teams should play their starters in the final regular-season game has been going on for decades. The Philadelphia Eagles have traditionally erred on the side of caution and benched them. That practice started during the Andy Reid era. And, judging by the way Nick Sirianni handled the preseason, that trend should continue in 2021. While a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday could move the Eagles up to the No. 6 seed, is it worth the risk of re-aggravating Jalen Hurts’ hobbled ankle? Or re-popping Jason Kelce’s knee out of place? Probably not. "Again, things that I haven’t really thought too much about yet,” Sirianni said when asked about resting his starters. "Again, we came in here, we watched the tape of our game, then we started getting ready for Dallas. So, everything is on the table to talk through all those things.” Meanwhile, Dallas owner Jerry Jones sounds like a man determined to finish 12-5. The Cowboys intend to give it their best effort in Week 18, including throwing their starters out there for four quarters. Ditto for Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy. "We plan to play,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We plan to play to win.” Those comments echo what Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott told reporters after a 25-22 loss to Arizona on January 2. "I plan on playing,” Prescott said, via CBS Sports. "Period.” Eagles Only Thinking About Dallas The Eagles’ coaching staff was quick to dismiss any questions about potential playoff opponents on Monday. They have an 80% chance of taking on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round, but a date with the Los Angeles Rams or Arizona Cardinals aren’t off the table. For now, all their focus is on beating Dallas in Week 18. The Eagles were embarrassed by the Cowboys 41-21 in Week 3, although both teams are different versions of themselves now. Also, there is an outside shot that Philly and Dallas could meet in the wild-card round. "So, we will use that game and look at it and see what we didn’t do well and what we did do well and how we have to play better to get ourselves in a chance to do our part to get ourselves to be able to be competitive and win that game,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said of that Week 3 game. "They did some things that were good I thought, and we have some answers for. I think we’re a better football team and they’re probably a better football team, too. It’s going to be a big-time challenge because they’re loaded.” Eagles Activate Craig James, John Hightower One day after the Eagles placed a mind-numbing 12 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the team got two guys back. Cornerback Craig James and wide receiver John Hightower were activated to the practice squad. Hightower hasn’t seen game action since November 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers when he fumbled a kick return. And James has yet to see a snap in 2021. That leaves receiver KeeSean Johnson and tight end Noah Togiai as the lone members of the practice squad still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Jason Kelce, Rodney McLeod, Genard Avery, Fletcher Cox, Dallas Goedert highlight the 12 players from the active roster in the league’s health and safety protocols. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/cowboys-playing-starters/
  15. Eagles vs. Cowboys: Jalen Hurts Offers Update on Playing Status By Mike Greger Updated Jan 4, 2022 at 5:18pm Getty: Jaylon Smith with Cowboys The Philadelphia Eagles are being coy about their plans for Saturday night. Will they risk injuring their starters to (maybe) grab the No. 6 seed in the playoffs? It doesn’t appear so given Nick Sirianni’s cryptic comments. The head coach simply stated "everything is on the table” when he addressed the subject of rest versus rust with reporters on Monday. One day later, quarterback Jalen Hurts was equally evasive on what the team might do. However, Hurts made it clear that if it was solely his decision to make then he would be suiting up against the Dallas Cowboys. "I love football,” Hurts said, "and I’m preparing as if it’s business as usual so …” Hurts’ sentence trailed off just like that. And no one dared ask a follow-up question. Eagles Haven’t Played Their Best Football Hurts has talked often about the Eagles being close to playing their best football. Following a 42-30 loss to the Chiefs in Week 4, the second-year starter held up two fingers to indicate just how close they were to doing that. Inches, maybe centimeters. Three months later with a playoff spot locked up, they are still a flawed football team. "No mental errors, no busted assignments, staying true to our fundamentals for the entire course of the game,” Hurts said when asked what needs to happen. "And just want to go out there and play at a high level, at a more consistent basis – and one may argue or say that, ‘hey you’ve been doing that’ but, for me, enough isn’t enough.” So, how close are the Eagles to putting together a perfect four quarters? "It’s coming,” Hurts said. Taking Action for Washington Railing Collapse Add fan-safety activist to Hurts’ growing resume. The Eagles quarterback sent a memo to the NFL offices in New York City, as well as to the Washington Football Team, to seek follow-up action for the tragic railing collapse that nearly injured him. Several Philly fans came crashing down around him as he was walking off the field and into the visitor’s tunnel last week. Hurts expressed concern for all those put in harm’s way, including himself, fans, and media members. And politely asked to know what was going to be done to rectify the situation. Hurts wrote: "I would like to know what safeguards the NFL and the Washington Football Team are implementing to prevent this from ever occurring in the future.” When asked about the letter during his media availability on Tuesday, Hurts answered honestly and with compassion. He wanted to prevent much worse incidents from happening across the NFL. "It was actually sent to league officials as well and I tried to handle the situation with a lot of poise and show compassion for the people who fell down really,” Hurts said. "I know it could have been so much worse, and it kind of didn’t hit me until after the fact. "Having some time to reflect on it and think about it. So I just wanted to make sure what could be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s all I really care about. That’s a very tragic incident and it could have been much, much worse.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/eagles-vs-cowboys-jalen-hurts-offers-update-on-playing-status/
  16. Eagles Make 8 Roster Moves, 3 Starters Miss Practice By Mike Greger Updated Jan 5, 2022 at 7:07pm Getty: Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata are building good chemistry along the left side of the Eagles' offensive line. It’s a short work week for the Philadelphia Eagles with kickoff just 72 hours away. The team is swiftly putting final preparations on the gameplan following the NFL’s controversial decision to flex their matchup against the Dallas Cowboys to Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. The Eagles made eight roster moves to start the week and elevated four practice-squad players: T Kayode Awosika, WR John Hightower, S Jared Mayden, CB Mac McCain. They also added defensive end Cameron Malveaux and linebacker JaCoby Stevens to the 53-man roster as COVID-19 replacements. Remember, 12 key players hit the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Philadelphia wasn’t done moving and shaking, though. The Eagles announced tight end Noah Togiai and receiver KeeSean Johnson had been activated back to the practice squad from the COVID-19 list. Meanwhile, three offensive starters missed Wednesday’s practice: RT Lane Johnson, RB Miles Sanders, LG Landon Dickerson. Sanders isn’t expected to play, but keep an eye on Dickerson (thumb) and Johnson (rest/knee). The decision to elevate Awosika from the practice squad would seem to indicate both guys may be out on Saturday. Then again, the Eagles may decide to rest all their starters with a playoff spot clinched. "Obviously, we’re really excited to be in the tournament,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. "But, like I said, we got to focus on beating Dallas and the plan that goes into that. Got to focus on getting better from the game we played yesterday. But obviously, we’re all excited to be in this situation, and the goal is obviously to run it out and go as far as we can in this thing.” Jake Elliott Not Changing His Mentality Jake Elliott has enjoyed a resurgence in his fifth NFL season after struggling in 2020. He has gone 42-for-42 on extra points, making him one of only two kickers in the league to have attempted at least 40 and not missed. He has also gone 3-for-3 from 50 yards or deeper, while going 9-for-12 from 40 yards or longer. Elliott probably should have been selected to the Pro Bowl – Matt Gay of the Los Angeles Rams got in – but he’s not complaining. Nothing has changed, not even his mindset following last year’s disappointment. "Mentality’s the same. I’m trying to strike the ball the same,” Elliott told reporters. "It’s just being comfortable and hitting a good foot to ball, being consistent in that regard and obviously, you’re going to make some and you’re probably going to miss some. It’s just kind of the nature of the beast for those longer kicks. Sometimes you hit a really good one and it just doesn’t work out. But I’ve been fortunate this year to put a couple of those through and gonna try to keep that going.” Listen to Jalen Hurts’ NSFW Speech Jalen Hurts is soft-spoken and methodical in press conferences. So it was a surprise to hear him unleashed during a spirited post-game speech after the Eagles’ 20-16 win last week. Hurts was surprisingly dropping F bombs like George Carlin. And his teammates loved every minute of it. The Eagles’ video team posted the NSFW clip on YouTube. Give it a listen. No, give it a f****** listen! CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE TO VIEW VIDEO https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/eagles-practice-report/
  17. Jalen Hurts Tells Epic Tale of Training with Eagles ‘Warrior’ at Dawn By Mike Greger Updated Jan 3, 2022 at 2:21pm Getty: Boston Scott accepts the hand-off from Jalen Hurts during the Eagles-Chargers game on November 7, 2021. When Jalen Hurts speaks about Boston Scott his voice gets slightly louder, followed quickly with a knowing smile and head nod. He called the 5-foot-6 running back a "warrior” on Sunday who would do anything to help the team, even sacrificing his beauty rest in the offseason. Hurts recalled the story of Scott driving four hours from his hometown of Baton Rouge to Houston this summer to train with Hurts. The two would play pitch-and-catch on a field in the little neighborhood where Hurts lives while talking about life. On a whim, Scott drove the 268 miles not fully knowing what to expect. "The Boston Scott I know is the Boston Scott that would drive from Louisiana where he’s from, come to Houston like four hours away, and come throw with me,” Hurts told reporters. "In the little neighborhood where I live, just on the field, coming to get the work in because he’s so hungry. And wanted to get the work in and wanted to get better.” The biggest thing Scott learned on that first visit to Houston was just how early Hurts starts working out. The former sixth-rounder out of Louisiana Tech could have easily jumped back in his car and went home. Except he didn’t. He’s a warrior. "The Boston Scott that I know is the guy who just got into town and I tell him, ‘you know I work out at 5 in the morning, you want to throw we’re going to throw at the field at 5’ and he’s there. Early and ready to go,” Hurts said. "And [he has] the desire, the want to – and, obviously, for him to step up in a big time way as he did today is big. A lot of respect for him and I’m happy for him.” Scott Starts for Injured Miles Sanders Scott ran for 47 yards on 14 carries and punched two touchdowns in against the Washington Football Team in a de facto playoff game. He was filling in for starter Miles Sanders and out-touched backup Jordan Howard (11 rushes for 26 yards) who played while nursing a neck stinger. "He stayed diligent, remained diligent, knowing his role has changed throughout the season from years prior and he stuck with it,” Hurts said. "And he’s been the ultimate team player.” Scott also hauled in four passes for 39 yards, including a crucial 19-yarder for a first down. No matter where the Eagles put him – kick return, backfield, slot receiver – he has produced. "He’s just a good all-around back and he had a big game today,” tight end Dallas Goedert said. "He came through for us twice in the red zone and had a couple of other big runs. Just anytime he gets the ball in his hands he’s a dangerous runner.” Printing New Business Cards for Scott Head coach Nick Sirianni couldn’t remember who sent him the message, but it was one that should go on Scott’s business cards. He was answering a question about the "next-man-up” mentality on this Eagles’ team when it popped in his head. Sirianni was pretty sure it came from legendary radio play-by-play broadcaster Merrill Reese. The saying summed Scott up in a nutshell. "You could wake up Boston Scott in the middle of the night, lead him to the stadium, and there would be a game going on and he would be ready to go,” Sirianni said. "I love that about players. I absolutely love that about our players, and Boston Scott in particular.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/boston-scott-jalen-hurts/
  18. Eagles Clinch Playoffs: Potential Opponents Revealed By Mike Greger Updated Jan 2, 2022 at 11:51pm Getty: Sean McVay talks to Matthew Stafford before the Titans game on Sunday, November 7. The Philadelphia Eagles have done what was unthinkable two months ago. They are officially in the NFL playoffs. Green Bay’s 37-10 victory over Minnesota on Sunday Night Football clinched them a trip to the postseason party. Or the dance, as Lane Johnson called it after the Eagles’ 20-16 win. San Francisco’s 23-7 win over Houston was the other domino they needed to fall. Once the Packers finished it off, there were no more shoes to drop. The Eagles (9-7) are currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC. Philadelphia would travel out to California to take on the Los Angeles Rams (12-4) in the wild-card round, if the season ended today. It doesn’t. Now the Eagles will have to decide whether they want to rest their starters in Week 18 or play them to try and move up the playoff ladder. While the 49ers (9-7) own the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Eagles, there is still a path to the No. 6 seed for Philly. San Francisco takes on Los Angeles in Week 18 in a game the Rams need to win to retain the No. 2 seed. Yes, things are getting interesting. Even more so considering the Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys on January 9. Yes, the hated stinkin’ Dallas Cowboys (11-5) are coming to town in the final regular-season game. And, guess what? The Cowboys need to keep pace with the Cardinals (11-5) to avoid falling out of the No. 4 seed to No. 5. The Cowboys blew their chance at the No. 2 seed by losing 25-22 to Arizona. Eagles Possible Playoff Opponents Los Angeles Rams (12-4): This is the most likely wild-card round opponent for the Eagles. They own tiebreakers over Dallas and Tampa Bay and split with Arizona. The Rams – all apologies to so-called "boy wonder” Sean McVay – would be the best possible matchup for Philly. Matt Stafford might be a one-time Pro Bowler but he’s clearly the most inconsistent of the five other signal-callers in the dance – remember, the Eagles cannot play San Francisco (Trey Lance/Jimmy Garoppolo) – and has played in only three playoff games. He’s thrown six interceptions over his last three games. Also, the Eagles had won six straight over the Rams prior to losing last season – a 37-19 defeat on September 20, 2020. Arizona Cardinals (11-5): The Eagles have surprisingly struggled against their one-time NFC East rivals over the years. Arizona holds a 60-56-5 all-time advantage over Philly. And the Cardinals beat the Eagles 33-26 in a wild shoot-out game last December. Kyler Murray threw for 406 yards; Jalen Hurts went for 338. The two have similar skillsets, so scout team practices would be fun. Murray is a matchup nightmare, one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football – legs and arm, second to none – and was the MVP front-runner until spraining an ankle. He’s back and better than ever. Also, If the two teams faced off this year in the postseason there would one savory new wrinkle: Zach Ertz – the beloved Eagles Super Bowl champion – suits up for Arizona. Ditto for Jordan Hicks. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4): Seeing Tom Brady in January is akin to welcoming the Grim Reaper into your house. Don’t do it. Don’t ask for it. In February? Against the NFC East? Well, we like our odds there. Seriously, though, Tampa Bay has been a tricky team to figure out through 16 games. The Bucs have been decimated by injuries, especially at the skill positions: Leonard Fournette, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Giovani Bernard, and Antonio Brown’s craziness. The defensive side has been hit hard, too, especially in the secondary. Could be a dream scenario for a physical team (hint, hint) that loves to win in the trenches (hint, hint), right? Maybe. The Eagles only lost by six points, 28-22, when the two teams met on October 14. But, once again, do you really want to see Brady? I don’t. Dallas Cowboys (11-5): This would be the perfect ending to a Cinderella season that came out of nowhere. Beat the Cowboys in the final game to move up the playoff ladder for the chance to see them again in the wild-card round. You can’t script it much better than that, plus the Cowboys looked vulnerable during Sunday’s 25-22 loss to Arizona. The Cardinals held the NFL’s second-best offense – Tampa Bay is No. 1, 405.8 yards per game – to 301 total yards, with a good chunk of that Cowboy yardage coming in the fourth quarter. Problem is, when Dallas is humming on offense they are unstoppable. Dak Prescott is as efficient and deadly as any quarterback in the NFL. He has thrown for 4,154 yards and 32 touchdowns (10 interceptions) despite missing a game. He is surrounded by talent, too. Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard in the backfield, along with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb at receiver. They are a dangerous team. And NFC East champions for a reason.
  19. NFL 2022 Draft Order Revealed: Eagles Nab Impact Players in Round 1 By Mike Greger Updated Jan 5, 2022 at 12:48pm Getty: Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo and his 11 sacks would look great in a midnight green Eagles jersey. The Philadephia Eagles will become the first team since the 2013 Minnesota Vikings to score three first-round draft picks in 2022. They are currently set to go on the clock at No. 14 (via Miami Dolphins), No. 19 (own pick), No. 21 (via Indianapolis Colts). All three spots are ripe with college talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Assuming the Eagles are keen on bringing back Jalen Hurts at quarterback – apparently, that is still a big assumption – then the 2022 NFL Draft provides the perfect opportunity to strengthen the core around him. Or to put more ammo in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s holster. Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman has never been shy about taking offensive and defensive linemen early in drafts. Look at last year when he grabbed Landon Dickerson in the second round, then selected Milton Williams in the third round. After the picks were in, Roseman detailed his philosophy in full. "We’re always going to build this football team and we’re going to start with the line of scrimmage,” Roseman told reporters on May 1. "Right or wrong, as long as I’m here, that’s going to be the priority. If we have an offensive lineman or defensive lineman sticking out on our board and they’re the highest guy, I promise you we’re going to take them.” Looking at Possible Difference-Makers LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia: Roseman’s aversion to taking linebackers in the first round has been well-documented. And you could argue the Eagles are actually in good shape there, with T.J. Edwards energizing the unit and Davion Taylor flashing before his season-ending injury. Still, Micah Parsons would have looked amazing in midnight green. And so would Dean, the 2021 Dick Butkus Award winner. The 6-foot, 255-pounder started all 13 games for Georgia where he led the team with 61 tackles and five quarterback hits. WR Jameson Williams, Alabama: The Crimson Tide pipeline has a direct line to Philly these days. The Eagles have hit on Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Landon Dickerson in recent years, so why not keep it going? Williams – a transfer from Ohio State – has legitimate game-breaking speed and is one of the best players in the nation at YAC (yards-after-catch). At 6-foot-2, 189 pounds, he’s a physical specimen and would instantly become the biggest receiver on the roster (outside of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). Williams has 75 receptions for 1,507 yards (fifth in college football) and 15 touchdowns (third in college football). DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M: The sun could be setting on Fletcher Cox soon, although he promised to return to Pro Bowl form. The Eagles value the monsters in the trenches and Leal is a Frankenstein. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder excels at the point of attack, a guy who loves rushing the quarterback and can line up inside or outside on the edge. He recorded 58 tackles (12.5 for loss) and 8.5 sacks this season. DE David Ojabo, Michigan: The Eagles have a decision to make on Derek Barnett. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and his up-and-down play – two sacks vs. seven penalties – probably hasn’t impressed the front office. Enter Ojabo. The Michigan pass rusher is a matchup nightmare waiting to happen. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder has 35 tackles (12 for loss) and 11 sacks in 13 starts this season. OL Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan: You could say the Eagles are set on the offensive line. Jason Kelce may return for another year. And Jordan Mailata is clearly the new franchise left tackle, with Landon Dickerson (left guard) and Nate Herbig (right guard) looking like solid pick-ups. However, you can never have too many bodies up front and Raimann is the biggest one in this draft. The converted tight end stands at 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds and dominates opponents off the line of scrimmage, especially when it comes to run-blocking. Raimann – a foreign exchange student from Austria – is a raw prospect (sound familiar?) who has the football intelligence and athleticism to wreak havoc in the NFL. He played left tackle at Central Michigan, but move him over to right tackle and prep him to replace 31-year-old Lane Johnson. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/2022-nfl-draft/
  20. Cowboys Got Preferential Treatment over Eagles Prior to Schedule ‘Flex’ By Mike Greger Updated Jan 4, 2022 at 2:18pm Getty: Jerry Jones with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell The decision to "flex” the Eagles-Cowboys game in Week 18 seemed like a harmless schedule adjustment at the time. The NFL wanted to put two huge football markets with a storied rivalry into the national spotlight, right? Maybe. Or perhaps there is something more sinister going on behind the scenes. Nick Sirianni was asked an innocent question the other day about whether the league office had contacted him prior to moving Sunday afternoon’s game to Saturday night. The first-year head coach said he heard "rumblings” but nothing concrete came across his desk until after the final whistle blew in the Packers-Vikings game. Sirianni found out five minutes before the world did. "There were rumblings about it that we might play on Saturday. We knew a little bit,” Sirianni said. "Again, didn’t know for sure. And then I found out [after the Packers-Vikings game].” Interesting. Especially when Sirianni’s comment is compared to what Mike McCarthy said about the scheduling adjustment. The Cowboys head coach admitted to knowing the game might change dates "five or six weeks ago.” That sure sounds like preferential treatment for Dallas. Why does it matter? Well, it doesn’t seem fair to take a rest day away from an Eagles team already behind the eight ball thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Washington Football Team. Their Week 15 matchup was pushed back two days – postponed from December 19 until December 21 – in a wildly criticized move. Now the Eagles are looking at four games in 19 days. Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell Still at Odds? It seems odd that the NFL would favor the Cowboys considering NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas owner Jerry Jones had been at odds in recent years. The beef started with Goodell’s decision to suspend Ezekiel Elliott for six games in 2017, then they feuded again over whether players had a right to kneel for the National Anthem. The animosity between the two got so intense that Jones lobbied against a new contract extension for Goodell, while rival NFL owners petitioned to strip Jones of his ownership rights to the Dallas Cowboys. But all that appears to be water under the bridge in 2021. Jones publicly defended Goodell and his $64 million annual salary back in November. "Certainly those numbers on the face of them are large numbers. Roger has been an excellent commissioner,” Jones said, via Pro Football Talk. "I think that Roger Goodell has done an outstanding job as Commissioner of the NFL.” Cowboys Lose Key Playmaker to ACL Tear Much has been made over whether the Eagles and Cowboys will play their starters in Week 18. Philadelphia probably will keep them on the bench, while Dallas plans on playing them. Either way, the Cowboys are going to be without one of their top playmakers in the playoffs. Receiver Michael Gallup tore the ACL in his left knee during a 25-22 loss to Arizona on Sunday. He is done for the year, according to Jones. Gallup was a speedy slot receiver for the second-ranked offense in football. His 2021 season ends with 445 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions in nine games. Gallup also missed time early in the year with a calf injury. The Cowboys also activated the 21-day practice window on tight end Blake Jarwin. He’s eligible to return for the postseason. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/cowboys-eagles-schedule-flex/
  21. COVID-19 Outbreak Rocks Eagles: 12 Players, Including Jason Kelce By Mike Greger Updated Jan 3, 2022 at 5:34pm Getty: Jason Kelce was one of 12 Eagles players to hit the Reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the 2021 playoffs. Good thing it happened this week. That’s the positive to take away from 12 players landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. Those guys should have an extra week to rest up since their playoff fate is locked in. Sure, the Eagles could throw their starters out there in Week 18 and try to grab the No. 6 seed but recovery seems like the more likely option. Especially now, after several key players tested positive including Jason Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Howard, Rodney McLeod, and Boston Scott. Philadelphia also activated cornerback Andre Chachere from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The team released kicker Matt McCrane from the practice squad to make room. Head coach Nick Sirianni announced that linebacker Davion Taylor was done for the year after being placed on injured reserve for the second time this season. He underwent knee surgery back on November 24. No Update on Brandon Brooks, Miles Sanders Out Sirianni was a little more guarded when running through the rest of the Eagles’ walking wounded. First, there is no new update on Brandon Brooks and his season-long pectoral strain. The Pro Bowl right guard has been out since Week 2, but the team declined to put him on injured reserve. Brooks still isn’t back and likely played his last down for the Eagles on September 19. "No new update on Brandon,” Sirianni said. Miles Sanders is another guy who avoided injured reserve as Philly hoped to have him back for the stretch run. He missed Week 17 with a fractured hand, an injury that should keep him out again in Week 18. But Sirianni expressed optimism that his starting running back would be back for the playoffs. "I’m not thinking Miles is going to be up this week,” Sirianni said. "Not ruling it out, but I’m not thinking he’s up this week. Hopefully, he’ll be up the following week. Not putting a timetable on him, but you guys know, we’re hopeful we can get him back for the opening round of the playoffs.” Rest vs. Rust: Will Starters Play? The Eagles (9-7) will have to make a decision on whether to play their starters prior to January 8. Kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys is slated for 8:15 p.m. after the game was flexed from Sunday to Saturday. The only reason for playing them would be to try and move up from the No. 7 seed to No. 6. The Eagles would need to beat the Cowboys (11-5) – Dallas may rest their starters, although Dak Prescott said no – and then the Rams (12-4) would have to beat the 49ers (9-7) on Sunday (January 9) at 4:25 p.m. Sirianni wasn’t ready to reveal his plan for the final regular-season game when chatting with reporters on Monday afternoon. He’ll take a few more days to weight the pros and cons of rest versus rust. "We’re talking through all that still. We haven’t decided anything there yet,” Sirianni said. "So, I know there is a thing about resting and there is a thing about staying sharp. No doubt we’re taking everything into account, and we’ll discuss that later on today.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/covid-19-outbreak/
  22. ‘Pissed’ Eagles Star Reveals Reason Team Might Break 72-Year Record By Mike Greger Updated Dec 29, 2021 at 3:44pm Getty: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson and quarterback Jalen Hurts were snubbed for the 2021 Pro Bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing attack in 2021 has been historically dominant. The hogs up front are just pushing guys around like bullies on the playground. Truthfully, it’s been unfair. Every opponent knows what’s coming. And they still can’t stop it. Center Jason Kelce called it the best ground game he’s witnessed during his 11-year career in midnight green. Right tackle Lane Johnson agreed with Kelce, then divulged why the team has been so good at running the football. The reason wears No. 1 on his chest. "I think Jalen Hurts,” Johnson told reporters. "You have a guy that dynamic, can do what he can do with his legs, it puts the defenses in a bind. So I’d say, he’s the common denominator when it comes down to that.” The Eagles are 160 yards away from setting a new single-season record for team rushing. They have accumulated 2,448 yards in 15 games so far this season. The franchise record stands at 2,607 yards, set way back in 1949. "It would mean a lot,” Johnson said of breaking the record. "Obviously you gotta execute, but a big reason behind this is Jalen and the O-line, it’s everybody together. I think Coach Stout [Jeff Stoutland] deserves a lot of credit, just whatever’s he’s been able to do for the past decade. With guys injured or coming in and out, and the next guy stepping in, and the way he coaches and just the way he goes about his business.” Considering they gashed the Washington Football Team for 238 yards on December 21, that record should fall this weekend. The Eagles are averaging 163.2 yards per game, plus they have rushed for at least 125 yards in nine straight contests. Hurts’ Ankle Not Bothering Him Hurts has been killing teams with his legs all year, so it was surprising to see him rush only two times for seven yards in Week 16. The dual-threat quarterback was probably limited from the high ankle sprain that caused him to miss one game, right? That’s not the case, according to Hurts. His ankle is fine. "It feels fine,” Hurts said. "Been good enough for us to get two wins.” Head coach Nick Sirianni doubled down on Hurts’ health, adding that there are no restrictions on him. "We have don’t have restrictions on him anymore,” Sirianni said. "He’s feeling better every day, what he tells me. He’s getting better every day.” Johnson Sounds Off on Missing Pro Bowl Johnson and left tackle Jordan Mailata were both snubbed from the Pro Bowl. It seems kind of odd for the top rushing attack in the NFL to only have one player (Jason Kelce) from their offensive line heading to the All-Star game. The entire locker room has rallied around Johnson’s slight, one that made him justifiably upset. "I was pissed. I’ll leave it at that,” Johnson said. "I was really pissed. But as far as that, it just motivates me, whatever is left of the season.” The veteran right tackle knows why he wasn’t picked. Johnson sat out three games early in the year to deal with mental health issues and depression. He helped a lot of people by becoming a vocal advocate for the disease, but it cost him a Pro Bowl nod. "I think it did a lot of good for a lot of people,” Johnson said. "For me, I don’t know if it did.” To clarify, Johnson was talking about on the field. Off the field, he declared: "I’m the best version of myself now.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/lane-johnson-pro-bowl-snub/
  23. Darius Slay Says Eagles Assistant Deserves ‘One of Those Jobs’ By Mike Greger Updated Dec 29, 2021 at 5:23pm Getty: Eagles CB Darius Slay tallied two big-time interceptions in Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers. Darius Slay was already one of the best cornerbacks in football when he arrived in Philadelphia. Slay – a four-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in interceptions and pass breakups in 2017 – has gotten even better during his ninth season. Credit Dennard Wilson, the first-year defensive backs coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Slay was in an extremely chipper mood when he met with reporters on Wednesday and couldn’t stop gushing about his position coach. Wilson, a college standout at Maryland, has been telling his players to trust their eyes and anticipate where the quarterback is going with the football. Everything he’s instructed Slay to do has come up on gameday. "Dennard, he’s been a great coach, man. He helped me elevate my game to a whole other level,” Slay told reporters. "He has never steered me wrong. Not once, not yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later he has one of those jobs.” "Those jobs” include a defensive coordinator position. Slay can’t believe Wilson has never been promoted to the highest level of his profession. "I’m surprised him being in the league as long as he has, 15 years, he ain’t been a DC [defensive coordinator] yet,” Slay said. "Because of the way he can gameplan, he’s smart, because everything he’s been telling me, man – him, JG [Jonathan Gannon], and the whole staff have been telling me – it’s been true on the field. Even with the film study that I do myself, them guys have been right.” Send Asante Samuel to the Hall of Fame Slay paused his scheduled press conference on Wednesday to deliver a Hall of Fame plea. Not for himself (although that came up, too), but for one of the greatest ball-hawking cornerbacks of all-time: Asante Samuel. The former Eagles great recorded 51 interceptions in 11 seasons (157 games) while twice leading the NFL in picks and pass breakups. Before unpacking Slay’s comments, let’s start with this: Samuel deserves a bust in Canton (something I’ve said before). His ability to swing momentum at any time was amazing to watch. He was a walking takeaway, even if his tackling skills left something to be desired. Doesn’t matter. He’s a Hall of Famer. Now Slay is openly campaigning for Samuel. Love to see it. Game recognize game. "Not yet, but I’m working,” Slay said of his own Hall of Fame credentials,” but a guy like Asante Samuel, a four-time All-Pro, four-time Pro Bowler, 51 career interceptions and over 400 tackles, and he ain’t first ballot. I’m sitting here like, ‘Dang, can I even knock on the door?’ Because he’s doubling my picks right now and he did it over 11 years. If you can’t get in there doing that, it’s going to be hard for me to do that. We need to figure a way out [to get him into the Hall of Fame].” Eagles Looking Healthy for Week 17 The Eagles went with another walk-through over practice to start the week. Five players were listed "DNP (did not participate) on an estimated practice report, including RB Jordan Howard (stinger), RB Miles Sanders (hand), S K’Von Wallace (hip). Sanders has already been ruled out, but Howard is one name to monitor. https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/darius-slay-dennard-wilson/
  24. Eagles’ Nick Sirianni Getting Calls for Major NFL Award By Mike Greger Updated Dec 31, 2021 at 11:23am Getty: Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni is sticking with injured starter Jalen Hurts after the bye week. The Philadelphia Eagles were left for dead on October 24. Following an embarrassing 33-22 loss in Las Vegas – the score reads a lot closer than that game was – people wanted head coach Nick Sirianni gone. The team was 2-5 and headed nowhere. Then the Eagles looked themselves in the mirror on the long plane ride back to Philly. Rodney McLeod talked about having tough conversations. Jason Kelce no doubt gave a speech, too. They are 6-2 since that soul-searching flight. "We were pretty down after the game, and a lot of us had conversations on the flight,” McLeod told reporters in late October. "Complaining and making excuses is not going to get it done. That’s been our mindset all week as leaders on this team. The guys have rallied behind it and showed up ready to work.” The Eagles are two wins away from clinching a postseason berth. They can nab a playoff spot in Week 17 if they beat Washington and a few other chips fall their way. Philly needs the Green Bay Packers to beat the Minnesota Vikings, then either the San Francisco 49ers need to topple the Houston Texans or the Carolina Panthers have to defeat the New Orleans Saints. Nick Sirianni Getting Coach of the Year Calls The Eagles’ amazing turnaround has people calling for Nick Sirianni to win NFL Coach of the Year. Not crazy basement bloggers but credible journalists. The first-year head coach has proven he can control the locker room against all odds. That flower speech turned out to be prophetic. Pro Football Talk thinks Sirianni should get consideration for Coach of the Year. Ditto for some folks over at SportsRadio 94WIP. And The Athletic laid out their case. Perhaps the most compelling argument to date has come from Rueben Frank at NBC Sports Philadelphia. The chorus is growing louder and louder. "He’s been brilliant,” Frank wrote. "The job he’s done not only keeping this team together but guiding them within reach of a playoff berth has been nothing less than phenomenal. This team was dead.” Letting Those Flowers Grow (Again) It takes a real man to double down on a quote that was wildly mocked around the league. Sirianni did it. He told reporters earlier this week that the team had to let their "flower roots grow” to continue on this playoff trajectory. Love to see it. "It is our detail in walk-through and our full speed to the snap in walk-through, and our detail in meetings, starting with the coaches and then to the players,” Sirianni said on December 27. "And if you can be in this trajectory, or if you will, let your roots grow, your flower roots grow, right? "I’m not thinking when the outside world might be thinking about playoffs, I’m thinking about how I’m going to get better today to get better tomorrow, the next day, the next day, so we can go 1-0 this week. It’s just staying in the moment and going a little bit at a time.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/nick-sirianni-coach-of-the-year/
  25. Eagles Rookie Responds to Drastic Change on Special Teams By Mike Greger Updated Dec 31, 2021 at 12:33pm Getty: Eagles RB Kenny Gainwell has taken over the kick-return duties for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to switch kick returners largely went under the radar. Jalen Reagor was having some ball security issues, so Kenny Gainwell took over in Week 15 against the Washington Football Team. Like a wardrobe change at the Oscars, it was over before anyone noticed. Gainwell took three kick returns back for 71 yards, including a long of 31 yards on December 21. And, after fumbling his first one in Week 16, the rookie running back ripped off two returns for 30 yards versus New York on December 26. Gainwell hasn’t been exponentially better than Reagor, but give him time. He’s just getting started. "I continue to play my role and do my thing,” Gainwell told reporters. "I’m a guy who stays motivated throughout anything, and I just take it day by day. I have a positive spirit about everything. I just come to work, do my job, and continue to work.” The Eagles haven’t been afraid to use Gainwell all over the field. He’s proven to be a reliable rusher (55 carries for 209 yards, four touchdowns) and pass-catcher out of the backfield (29 receptions for 244 yards, one touchdown). And now he’s taking on increased responsibility on special teams (six returns for 116 yards). "I think I’ve done great, just being a rookie who can come in and do multiple things, in the slot, out wide, in the backfield running routes,” said Gainwell. "I feel like I put in a lot of work to come out with a great season as a rookie.” Special Teams Coach Explains Fumbled Return Eagles special teams coordinator Michael Clay used Gainwell’s fumbled kick return as a teaching point. Sure, the Giants’ defense made a nice play to get a helmet on the ball but the youngster needs to cover it up. Luckily, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was there to make the recovery. "You’re in a crowd, let’s just cover it up,” Clay said. "If he falls, he’s going to fall forward to the 25, 26. Balls pops out, we’re fortunate enough that J.J. was in the right place at the right time and got on it and saved a disaster play from happening.” Gainwell fumbled it at the 20-yard-line and Arcega-Whiteside grabbed it at the 23. He’s watched the film and moved on. "Continue to learn,” Gainwell said. "That and build on it.” Reagor Keeping Punt Return Job Reagor may have lost his job as the lead kick returner, but he’s still entrenched as the top punt returner. The second-year receiver has 30 punt returns for 220 yards through 15 games this season. Reagor almost broke one in Week 16 when he took it back 39 yards. He had messaged Clay prior to the game about busting loose for a big return. "I don’t think the confidence ever wavers for Jalen,” Clay said. "It’s funny, I was on my morning commute to the stadium and I rarely get a text from anybody before 9 on Sundays. I got a text from Jalen saying he was going to get one this week.” https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-eagles/kenny-gainwell-returner/
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