Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/4/18.
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“I was just mentally, emotionally, in a bad spot that specific night,” Rebecca said. “But a few minutes later, I got a call from Julie [from the Philadelphia Eagles] and she said, ‘We’ve got some great news. We’ve been thinking about you guys a lot, and we’ve got six tickets to the Super Bowl for you, and we want you guys here. We wish Lukas could be here with us, but we want you guys out here with us.’ I was pretty floored by it. It was quite a shock.” A special connection between Lukas and quarterback Carson Wentz has led to a bond between his family and the Eagles organization. Known as the Dutch Destroyer for his ferocity of spirit and style of play on the football field, Lukas -- the biggest of Eagles fans -- used Wentz’s hope for inspiration as he took on what doctors immediately described as the fight of his life. Hearing about Lukas from one of his radiation technicians, Wentz sent him a video of encouragement while he was in the hospital. Lukas’ Make-A-Wish was to thank Wentz for that gesture. The two spent a day together at the Eagles’ practice facility, and that’s when Lukas gave Wentz a “Dutch Destroyer” bracelet that Wentz wears every day, even during games.
Get ready for today’s game with a special bonus episode of BGN Radio.
I think the Eagles unleash Ajayi on Sunday, and I think he rewards them for it.
Dawk could literally do everything and do it well. He could play in the slot as the Nickel back. He could drop 20 yards deep and be the centerfielder. Dawk played LB in the Nickel at times. He could be the 8th man in the box and help to shut down the run game. Dawk didn’t just do these things, he did them well. The most underrated aspect of Dawk’s game is simply…preventing points. I can’t tell you how many times I saw him chase down a runner or receiver that had broken free. Even if he got the player down at the 10 or even 5-yard line, Dawk was going to make the opponent earn that TD. There were plenty of times when the Eagles would then play good Red Zone defense and only give up a FG. From 2000-2008, the Eagles allowed 17.7 points per game, the 4th lowest total in that span. Dawk was the primary reason why.
Sunday will be the biggest game of the year for the Eagles. For most of the players, it will be the biggest game of their lives. How do you win such a big game? By treating it like business as usual. I know some of you will think that’s crazy. It really isn’t. The Eagles have been incredibly consistent all year long, treating each game with equal importance. That helped the team to play at a consistent level and kept them from the dreaded “trap game” that so many fans and outsiders worry about. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked about the Patriots as his team prepared to play other teams. Pittsburgh didn’t stay focused and never got its postseason showdown with the Patriots. The Jaguars talked about winning the Super Bowl before even playing in the AFC title game. Instead of winning the Super Bowl, they’ll be watching it.
Nearly 60 percent of Philadelphia’s rushes came out of 11 personnel this season, the third-highest rate in the NFL behind the Raiders and Rams. The Eagles also regularly ran the ball from the shotgun out of 11. The vast majority of Jay Ajayi’s carries have come in these scenarios, and the back, who was acquired at the trade deadline, has proved lethal out of that alignment. He could be in line for a monster day. Finding success in the running game could make the Eagles’ trademark run-pass options all the more effective. With the Pats scrambling to stop the run out of shotgun formations, Foles could find plenty of simple throws over the middle. That could keep the ball in his hands and out of Brady’s.
The Eagles finished third in rushing (132.2 yards per game) and fourth in per-rush average (4.5 per carry) during the regular season. They have one of the league’s best offensive lines, but the ground game wasn’t as good late in the year as it was early. They have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in their two postseason games. In their last seven games, including the playoffs, they have averaged 4.0 yards per carry, and just 3.5 on first down. In their previous nine games, they averaged 5.2 yards per carry on first down. They have just one rushing touchdown in the last eight games (LeGarrette Blount’s 11-yarder in the NFC championship game). Jay Ajayi is an explosive back, who has been most effective early in games. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry in the first quarter in the Eagles’ last seven games, but only 3.0 in last three quarters. Ajayi has a tendency to fumble — seven times in the last two years. The Patriots allowed 4.7 yards per carry this season, which was the second-worst mark in the league, but they held Jacksonville’s No. 1-ranked ground game to 3.2 yards per carry in the AFC championship game. Edge: Eagles.
Brett Favre thought Doug Pederson was joking when he asked him to speak with his Eagles team the day before Super Bowl LII. He wasn’t. ”But when I realized he was serious,” Favre said, “I was honored.” NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark caught up with Favre after the 48-year-old Hall of Famer addressed the Eagles at their team hotel, the Radisson Blu, on Saturday morning. Favre said he started his speech by letting the players know he wasn’t going to tell them things they didn’t already know. He just wanted to offer words of encouragement. He said he thought it was a good way to break the tension. ”They’re a tremendous team,” Favre told Clark, recalling what he told the Eagles. “Their quarterback is the greatest to ever play, Bill Belichick is the greatest coach to ever coach. You know what they’re about. They’re going to play the whole game. Don’t ever say ... like last year, we have it won and we’re going to go through the drive-thru, that’s not a good idea.”
Most people believe the Patriots are going to win this game, but after closely examining the matchups, the Eagles have some big advantages. Schwartz’s defense has to keep Brady under control so that the offense can stick with the run game. The Eagles’ offensive line has manhandled opponents in the playoffs, and the Patriots might have the least talented front that they’ve faced. If this game becomes an alley fight, and the Eagles dominate the trenches, there’s only so much that Belichick will be able to do about it.
There has been a stream of high-value opportunities available to the discerning handicapper in the ultimate game — especially since the expansion to 12 postseason-eligible teams in 1990 fortified the chances of even superior sides to slip up because of wear and tear, Dame Fortune or lesser rosters enjoying specific matchup advantages. This game doesn’t look so simple, despite the presence of a five-time Super Bowl winner with the dominant quarterback and ace coach on their side, favored by a diminished number against a standing QB and a second-year head coach thriving with worthwhile talent gathered with the aid of the acumen of general manager Howie Roseman, whose eye for picking off other teams’ disrespected castoffs rivals New England’s.
Running Back: LeGarrette Blount and 35-year-old Darren Sproles (ACL) are free agents. The Eagles have Jay Ajayi for one more year. Ajayi likely isn’t an extension candidate due to his past knee woes. Coach Doug Pederson has preferred committees over feature backs in Philadelphia.
From the discord between owners to the national anthem protests, Lurie has been a quiet force looking forward.
The Eagles are maybe the only team in the NFL right now who can do something similar, and the Patriots did not see anything like this Eagles front four all season. Maybe a little bit when they hosted the Chargers in October, but those guys either come around the edge or loop around to the inside, they don’t go straight from Point A to Point B the way the Eagles do. Ditto for the Jaguars, who, despite the branding power of “Sacksonville” are better on the back end than they are in the pass rush. When you have seven in coverage, you can devote two of those seven to Rob Gronkowski and still have five other defenders to deal with their other four options. Not to mention, no one has run on the Eagles all season. This is the kind of team who can say they’re going to hold Brady to 20 points or less and mean it.
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t need to watch how the Jacksonville Jaguars used running back Corey Grant to exploit the New England Patriots defense- they already had an entire section dedicated to RPOs in their playbook. You’ll hear about RPOs a lot in this Super Bowl and for good reason. An “RPO” is a run pass option that gives the quarterback the flexibility to read the defense and change from a running play to a passing play at the last second. The play stresses the linebackers because they have to decide whether to commit to the run or the pass and the Patriots linebackers made the wrong decision multiple times in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, giving up huge chunks of yards to the Jacksonville offense.
A majority of our panel is siding with the defending champions, but the Eagles have a couple of believers.
He sat up slowly and cleared his head. I asked him if he knew anything about the homeless camp — if he knew what happened to the men. “Yeah,” he said. “Teens driving by started shooting their guns at them, so they decided there had to be a safer place to live. Why do you ask?” We talked for a minute or two, about my editor’s idea and journalism in general. After a brief pause, he said, “You ought to do a story about me.” I’ve heard this line many times before, and many more since. “And why would I want to do that?” I said. “Because,” he said, “I’ve played in three Super Bowls.”
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Source : http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/eagles-news-the-dutch-destroyer’s-family-will-be-attending-super-bowl-lii/ar-BBIG7HK