Good morning, Eagles fans. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Thank you for reading Early Birds all season, and there's much more to come. The Eagles return home for the first time in nearly a month when they host the Oakland Raiders on Monday. There's a chance the Eagles could have the No. 1 seed clinched by then, although it's unlikely. (More below.)
A quick programming note: We will not have an Early Birds newsletter on Monday morning, but we'll be back as regularly scheduled on Tuesday. It's free for anyone to sign up here to receive in your inbox every weekday. 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 @ZBerm.
— Zach Berman
Here's what I'll be watching when the Eagles host the Oakland Raiders on Monday…
Zach Berman: You were finally recognized as a Pro Bowler. I know you thought you played a Pro Bowl-level last year, but as a player how are you different this season?
Brandon Brooks: "I know what's expected, I guess. When you come in as a new guy, a new system, you're trying to find your own, trying to jell with the guys, trying to understand what your position coach wants out of you, technique-wise. Going into Year 2, I was able to be comfortable with it, know what's expected and not to have think. Just react. I've been doing it enough now where I know what he expects and how to do it."
Zach Berman: You've seemed to embrace Philadelphia and keeping a presence in the city. Is that important to you?
Brandon Brooks: "When I was going through free agency, before I knew where I was going, it was like — if I go to a city with a real downtown … if it's an East Coast city where everything is right here and you can walk around — I definitely want to be a part of the city, of the fans. I heard about the fans before I came here, how passionate they were. And I'm a regular dude, man. I live downtown. I walk around all the time. I'm grabbing food, just walking around. It's not something like where I'm too big-time."
Zach Berman: What are your favorite places to eat?
Brandon Brooks: "So if I'm going for a steak — I mean, realistically, Del Frisco's, Barclay Prime. Steak-wise, they're similar. The difference is the sides you want. So I'd probably say Barclay Prime or Del Frisco's if I'm going to do that. If it's more of like a brunch or something, I'd usually go to Parc. Mexican food, El Vez, El Rey. But probably my favorite restaurant is Butcher Bar. That's good, top to bottom."
Note: Look for more from Brandon Brooks in the Sunday Inquirer and on Philly.com.
A few questions in this one …
With Carson Wentz recovering from a torn ACL, I don't think the Eagles can afford to move Nick Foles this offseason. It's not a given Wentz will be himself by Week 1, and even if he is, the Eagles need a proven backup quarterback. If someone offered you a Day 2 pick, you need to consider it. I don't think Foles goes for that type of pick, especially because he was on the open market the past two years. Short of that type of deal, I wouldn't look to trade him. He's one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. They should want that security given the early-season unknown of Wentz.