Good morning, Eaglefolk.
There’s been a lot of talk about the tough stretch the Eagles will face after this week’s game at the Giants, which includes games against five successive opponents that have winning records (Cleveland, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Arizona). But before those games arrive, the NFC East-rival Giants have to be dealt with, and that could be tricky.
More on that in a minute. This is where we note that if you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @lesbowen.
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Taking Giant steps
Maybe you recall that the Eagles and Giants met just a few weeks back, on Oct. 22, and though the Eagles won, 22-21, they trailed by double digits more than midway through the fourth quarter. Since then, the Giants have lost to Tampa and Tom Brady, 25-23, and they’ve beaten Washington, 23-20. Yes, they’re 2-7, but their last five games have been decided by a total of 10 points.
“Quite frankly, they had us beat,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. "It was 21-10 with under five minutes to go. ... This a good football team, and we’ve got to learn from that game. We’ve got to go back and study it and not just from X’s and O’s, but just our execution as an offense and defense. There were trick plays on special teams, and there were all kinds of things in the game that came up that we can learn from and study and be prepared.
“It is nice to have just played them a couple weeks ago, because things are still kind of fresh on your mind, and we’ve had a chance to study them a little bit more.”
Giants coach Joe Judge was asked Wednesday about having to cut former starting cornerback Corey Ballentine, and his answer spoke to the Giants' progress. “I see a lot of improvement from the guys on our roster. We’ve gotten a lot of improved play throughout the season. We had some things early on in the season that we had to clean up and correct. I think that’s improved as we’ve gone,” Judge said.
The Giants' offensive line has improved dramatically since the team’s 0-5 start. Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said Wednesday he thought the group was benefiting from having been together for a while, and was developing continuity and cohesion.
“They’re all on the same page,” Cox said. “They kind of start feeling their stuff and really just playing together.”
The Eagles hope to get back some key veterans this week who didn’t play in the previous meeting, but the Giants could be getting back running back Devonta Freeman (ankle).
Bye the way
The Eagles are 1-3 coming out of their bye week under Pederson. The only win came during the Super Bowl season.
What you need to know about the Eagles
EJ Smith reports on the Eagles' entrance this week into the NFL’s intensive COVID-19 protocols, after the positive test of a staff member.
Upon further review, Jeff McLane deduces that over-aggressiveness is a problem for Carson Wentz.
If you were wondering who possibly might have a kind word for the Eagles' most maligned linebacker, Nate Gerry, why, Paul Domowitch has the answer.
What did Pederson think when his old buddy Brett Favre opined that the Eagles should have kept Nick Foles over Wentz? We found out Wednesday, but it wasn’t easy.
From the mailbag
What would have to happen for there to be any type of significant change to the Eagles' front office in the next year or two? — Temple Dave (@dmkaiser76) via Twitter
Good question. Wish I had a good answer. My sense is not much can happen this season that will get Howie Roseman in trouble. The Eagles talked about “reloading” even before COVID-19 hit. A second half as dismal as the first for Wentz could certainly change the way Wentz is viewed, but in terms of that affecting Roseman, Jeff Lurie was happy to get in on the credit when Wentz was flying high. Lurie was blown away in that predraft dinner in North Dakota. Difficult for him to paint Wentz as some sort of Howie project.
If the Eagles perceive that their talent level from the past several drafts hasn’t proven sufficient, I guess player personnel chief Andy Weidl could be the fall guy. Weidl came in with Joe Douglas, and isn’t a Roseman creation.
For Roseman to be in trouble, I think 2020 and 2021 would have to be pretty bleak, with little hope of quick revival. But that would be a huge move for Lurie, equal to his parting with Andy Reid. That was a slowwww process, if you recall.