Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles being practicing for the Oakland Raiders on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The players will speak to reporters after practice.
Nick Foles didn't play in the preseason and took four pass attempts in mop-up duty at two home games this season, but Sunday will be his first start at Lincoln Financial Field since a 27-0 win over the New York Giants on Oct. 12, 2014. Foles has won his last eight regular season starts at Lincoln Financial Field. He won the last four home games in 2013 and the first four home games in 2014. (Sandwiched in between was a home playoff loss to New Orleans on Jan. 4, 2014.) "Any time you wear an Eagles uniform, it's a special moment," Foles said. "But to step back out there at the Linc, I'm really excited for that opportunity."
Carson Wentz is back in the building after undergoing surgery last week, but he's not around as much as one might think. Coach Doug Pederson said Wentz leaves around 9 a.m. each day after going through rehab. He attended the team's morning meeting and then went on his way when the team started working. "He's not hanging around," Pederson said. "He doesn't need to right now."
There have been a few questions about why Rasul Douglas was inactive last week. The quick answer was that the Eagles signed Bryan Braman to boost special teams, and because Braman was active, they need a player who typically plays to sit. It wasn't likely to be a key special teams player such as Nate Gerry, and Jaylen Watkins has more defensive versatility and special teams value than Douglas. It likely came down to either Douglas (a fifth cornerback) or Shelton Gibson (a fifth receiver). "Special teams, you have to look at everything," Pederson said. "And then you have to look at defensively who gives us the best value, if a safety goes down, if a corner goes down, if a nickel goes down and of course Jaylen Watkins is kind of in that mix right there of being that guy. And we've juggled that back and forth from week-to-week. So that what was kind of reason."
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What you need to know about the Eagles
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Doug Pederson thinks the "dogfight" the Eagles were in on Sunday will help them in the playoffs, Paul Domowitch writes.
Want to know what happened with the Eagles defense on Sunday? Jeff McLane broke down the film.
Malcolm Jenkins earned attention all year for what he did off the field. Bob Ford writes about Jenkins' on-field achievements.
Who was snubbed from the Pro Bowl? Marcus Hayes goes around the locker room to talk to them.
Brandon Brooks discussed his Pro Bowl bid, and find out updates on the injured players and the Eagles' schedule.
One fan wants to sell his knee to Carson Wentz for Super Bowl tickets, Stephanie Farr writes.
The weekly chat produced many questions, including some about the future of the coaching staff.
If you missed Wednesday's newsletter, it offered thoughts on the Eagles' Pro Bowlers.
From the mailbag
The worst matchup would be the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is a proven big-game quarterback who can take advantage of the Eagles' secondary and release the ball quickly against the Eagles' pass rush. They have two Pro Bowl running backs that can help running the ball and also catching the ball out of the backfield, challenging the Eagles' linebackers. And their defense is aggressive, although it helps the Eagles that Cameron Jordan rushes from Lane Johnson's side. It would be a good game and the Eagles would have a home-field advantage, but I think that's the toughest matchup.
The best matchup? The Minnesota Vikings are the second-best team in the NFC, but Case Keenum is the quarterback I'd want to play the most out of the five other likely playoff teams.
For the first weekend, I guess I'll say the Carolina Panthers because the Eagles already beat them on the road without some key pieces. It wasn't an easy game, but the Eagles put pressure on Cam Newton and forced turnovers. That's a tough defense, though, and the game might be different with Nick Foles instead of Carson Wentz.
What do all of you think?