Good morning, Eagles fans. I bet you feel a whole lot better after yesterday afternoon, and you should. The Eagles put together a solid win on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills may not be as good as their record indicated, but they’re still a respectable team with a highly ranked defense. It’s a win the Eagles needed, and they got it. Regardless, it’s a new week and the Eagles will get to do something they haven’t done since the leaves changed colors: prepare for a game at Lincoln Financial Field. We’re halfway through the regular season, and the trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Eagles will likely be looking to add some pieces, and we’ll talk about some options and whether or not they should go all-in for an impact player.
Doug Pederson will chat with reporters at noon. He’ll likely talk about what went right, what the Eagles can improve on, and possibly even give an update on Miles Sanders’ shoulder injury. He may even let us know which injured Eagles are eyeing a return for this Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
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On the clock
By the time you read this, it’s possible Howie Roseman will already have sent a rival general manager a trade offer ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Halfway through the season, the Eagles sit at 4-4 and are in second place in the NFC East. A wild-card bid is already looking like a tall task, with the NFC North and NFC West both having multiple teams with six wins. But the division race, especially with the Eagles’ win on Sunday while the first-place Cowboys enjoyed their bye week, is very much still in play.
So should the Eagles be aggressive buyers in the next two days? I’d say so. The team had high expectations going into the season, but injuries and some young players failing to step into new roles seamlessly caused them to stumble out of the gate. It’s often pointless to look back and play the “what if” game, but the Eagles would likely be 6-2 had it not been for the injury debacle in Atlanta and a few costly drops against both the Falcons and the Detroit Lions.
“We’re always going to look to add value and talent and depth,’’ Pederson said Wednesday. “We understand our injury situation, especially at defensive line. So if we just start there, let’s say, and look and see what’s available, see what we can do.
“But we’re going to do what’s best for the Philadelphia Eagles. I think that’s where we start.’’
But there are areas that need addressing. With Malik Jackson out for the season with a foot injury and Tim Jernigan still recovering from a broken foot, the Eagles could use an interior pass rusher to help out Fletcher Cox. The team’s secondary issues are well-documented, and some veteran cornerbacks are seemingly available.
Plus, the team’s receivers have consistently struggled to make an impact on games since DeSean Jackson went down in Week 2. His return will help, but they could add another vertical threat to the group.
The obvious defensive line target for the team is Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams. The sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft hasn’t produced like a top pick, but would be an upgrade at the spot next to Cox. Plus, Williams is in the final year of his rookie contract and Jets GM Joe Douglas may be ready to move on. He could strike a deal with his former colleagues in Philadelphia.
There are plenty of options for secondary upgrades. Respected corners like Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Darius Slay, and Patrick Peterson are all believed to be available and each could hold their own on the outside.
Wide receiver targets are a little less obvious, and it might be more likely that the Eagles stand pat. Former Temple receiver Robbie Anderson, also with the Jets, might be available. Outside of that, maybe A.J. Green could be moved, but reports indicate the Bengals aren’t looking to trade him. With limited opportunities and the prospect of getting DeSean Jackson back, the Eagles could hope the current receivers find their way. Plus, they invested a second-round pick in J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in last year’s draft, and could still have faith in him contributing at some point.
Safe to say it will be a fun 36 hours, especially for Eagles fans. Get your Howie Roseman memes ready, you might need them.
What you need to know about the Eagles
The Eagles’ running game was incredibly productive against the Bills. Should they make the run-first approach a weekly thing? Jeff McLane lays out the reasons for and against it.
There’s a lot more “ups” in McLane’s up-down drill this week, find out who’s trending the right way and who’s not.
Ronald Darby put together a solid game against the team that traded him in 2017, and he says he’s feeling healthier than he has since tearing his ACL almost a year ago, Les Bowen writes.
Bowen also detailed yesterday’s game, from Miles Sanders’ big play, Brandon Graham’s stellar performance, and the Eagles finally playing with the desperation they’ve talked about over the last few weeks.
Carson Wentz made several key plays to keep the Eagles in command against the Bills, and Marcus Hayes argues the quarterback’s demeanor led to the win, saving the team’s season.
It’s that time again! Time to give the Eagles your grades and read Paul Domowitch’s grades following Sunday’s game.
Domo also caught up with Graham, who led the Eagles’ defensive turnaround after two dismal weeks.
Wondering what Doug Pederson and Wentz had to say after Sunday’s win? Erin McCarthy has you covered.
From the mailbag
When’s J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside] going to get more snaps? — @therealcjhood via Twitter
Good question, CJ. Not sure if you prefer periods in your name like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside does, but I don’t, so I’ll just call you CJ. I think Arcega-Whiteside’s low snap count is a little concerning, but would say it’s far too soon to make a long-term determination on the draft capital the team used on him. It’ll take a couple ofyears before we really know, but the early returns aren’t great.
When Doug Pederson and Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh were asked what’s keeping Arcega-Whiteside off the field, they gave a couple of reasons. Primarily the staff’s fondness for Mack Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside’s learning curve for the receiver positions other than the "X" spot he spent most of training camp learning. His ability to learn what to do from the other roles was hampered by Alshon Jeffery’s injuries earlier this season. Arcega-Whiteside had to step in, limiting his time to work elsewhere. But Arcega-Whiteside wasn’t very productive when Jeffery was out, and this might just become a redshirt season of sorts for the rookie out of Stanford.