Good morning, Eagles fans! Once again, I come with good news: We’re less than 48 hours away from an Eagles game. There are certainly some players not as excited as fans about this quick turnaround, but the team will be on prime time against a beatable New York Giants team tomorrow night.
The Eagles won’t practice this afternoon since this is technically a Saturday to them. They’re relying on walk-through reps and a simplified game plan to get them to Thursday with players as fresh as possible. Whatever Doug Pederson’s routine leading into Thursday night games has been in the past isn’t likely to change much. Pederson is 5-0 in Thursday night games as Eagles coach, including two wins against the Giants.
“My wife tells me all the time that. ‘You can put a game plan together in a day and go win a game on Thursday night. Why can’t you do that for a Sunday game,’ ” Pederson said Monday. “But I do think that there’s some validity, so to speak, to keeping it simple, to going back to some of your training camp-type plays. Utilizing all your personnel. And a lot of it, too, falls on the players. It’s more of a narrow focus, a laser focus for a couple of days. Focusing in on the game plan. It’s all about mental preparation over the physical.”
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Joe Judge has mastered at least one facet of Bill Belichick’s methodology.
The New York Giants head coach, a Philadelphia native, spent eight seasons on the New England Patriots staff, long enough for him to learn Belichick’s art of flattery when asked about his next opponent.
During his Tuesday news conference, Judge opened up with effusive praise of the Eagles, top to bottom. He gave shout-outs to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, Pederson, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.
“This is definitely an explosive team on all sides of the ball,” Judge said. “Howie’s done a good job building this team with a lot of depth and playmakers. Obviously, starting with Doug, he does a great job of calling the offense and really isolating matchups. This is an explosive team in the run game and the pass game, and can make plays at any turn. Anywhere the ball is on the field, they’re looking to get the thing into the end zone. They do a great job on situational football. So on third down, red area and two-minute, we really need to elevate our level of play to be effective against these guys. They do a great job.”
Judge, who is 1-5 in his first year as the Giants' head coach, went to Lansdale Catholic and grew up in the Philadelphia area. His father, Joseph, played football at Temple. He probably knows Eagles fans better than most coaches outside of Andy Reid and Pederson, and said the public perception of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz doesn’t match his standing around the NFL.
“There is a ton of respect for Carson across the division, across the league,” Judge said. “This guy is a tough competitor. Look, sometimes, you know how it is in Philly. It’s a great town because people are very critical, are very hard on you. Sometimes that highlights some of the things that aren’t going as well. When you look from a different perspective and you see how you have to play the guy as an opponent, you understand all of the things that he really does well and what he really has as strengths. He’s really a very good player.”
Judge told reporters Monday that his family members who are planning to attend his first game as a head coach at the Linc were mostly Eagles fans and joked that his in-laws were “already buying batteries” to hurl at him. The 38-year-old said he’s not sure what the final count on tickets for family members will be, but he said he’s got one crucial rule for anyone there with connections to him.
“My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue,” Judge said. “I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town. But hey, look man, you ain’t showing up cheering against my kids' Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us.”
What you need to know about the Eagles
Wentz got pummeled once again Sunday against the Ravens. As Les Bowen writes, the Eagles quarterback is shaking off the hits and focusing on Thursday’s divisional game.
Speaking of Wentz’s pummeling, David Murphy argues the team should target offensive linemen at the trade deadline to protect its most important player.
As mentioned earlier, the Eagles have had nothing but success on Thursday nights under Pederson. Mike Sielski explains why they’ve been able to find success, and why history is on their side again this time.
Headed to the game Thursday? Even if you’re just hoping to attend a game later in the year, Bowen walks you through what to expect when returning to the Linc.
Jake Elliott missed a 52-yard field goal against the Ravens that could have changed the complexion of the game, but as Bowen writes, Fipp won’t entertain any concerns about the Eagles kicker.
From the mailbag
If they are “buyers”, do you see them going after Frank Gore to add RB depth and spare Miles short yardage plays? I’m sure he’ll be cheap given the state of the Jets. — from Berg (@AndrewZomberg) on Twitter.
Thanks for the question, Berg. As funny as it would be for Frank Gore to end up on the Eagles for the final games after backing out of signing with the team in 2015, I have a really hard time seeing this happen. I’m sure you already know this, but if the Eagles actually decide to send out draft assets to add a 37-year-old running back in a push to win the NFC East, it would reflect very poorly on their front office. This team is going to need to continue to get younger, cheaper, and better in the next few years if it hopes to sustain success, and giving up draft picks will hurt that effort. It’s important that the Eagles' decision makers don’t let the weakness of the NFC East the last two seasons fool them into thinking this team is headed in the right direction.
Regarding the running-back market, I wouldn’t expect them to do anything too drastic unless Miles Sanders is out for a significant amount of time. Even if Sanders is out for a long stretch, Pederson might choose to roll with the committee approach we’ve gotten so used to seeing in recent years. It won’t be exceptionally talented, but the Eagles would be much better off seeing what they have in Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins, and Mike Warren than they’d be bringing in a short-term rental such as Gore.