With Bears win behind them, Eagles turn attention to Seahawks | Early Birds
The players return to work on Tuesday to begin preparing for a trip to Seattle to face the 7-4 Seahawks.
Good morning, Eagles fans. This is a Tuesday edition of Early Birds. After an off day on Monday, the Eagles return to work today to begin preparing for the Seattle Seahawks. They don't practice until Wednesday, but they'll have meetings. The coordinators speak with reporters at 1:30 p.m.
Doug Pederson held his day-after news conference Monday, and he started to set the tone for the Eagles' big West Coast trip. As much as Pederson insists each week that every team is tough, he's not shy about acknowledging the "great set of challenges" ahead of the Eagles with the Seahawks and the Rams. Pederson noted how this is playoff-level competition. He said that the way the Eagles played against the Bears, with turnovers and penalties, won't cut it against Seattle and Los Angeles. His attention is obviously on the Seahawks, who have won 10 of 13 December home games since 2012.
You might have noticed injured left tackle Jason Peters walking out for the opening coin flip on Sunday. The presence of Peters, one of the most respected players in the locker room, was not lost on his teammates. "It's awesome," center Jason Kelce said. "It was great having him back in here for the pregame and everything like that. His presence and the way he carries himself, the leader that he is for this team, it's just awesome having him around. It kind of hurts you that he's not out there. He's been through a lot. I've been here my whole career with him. Right now we're having the best start since I've been here, certainly since he's been here. He really deserves to be out there."
The playing-time distribution was less revealing this week because the Eagles sat a lot of their starters in the fourth quarter. The player who jumped out to me was Mack Hollins playing 49 percent of the snaps. He's someone who continues to find a bigger role on offense. LeGarrette Blount led running backs with 47 percent of the snaps. Jay Ajayi took 28 percent of the snaps, and Corey Clement took 19 percent.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
The Eagles' West Coast trip will be a litmus test for how good they really are.
Even though the Eagles won by 28 points, Doug Pederson found areas in which his team must improve, Les Bowen writes.
As well as Carson Wentz is playing, he can take it to another level, Marcus Hayes says.
What did Jeff McLane learn in the Eagles' win over the Bears?
Paul Domowitch offered five reasons for the Eagles' victory.
Wentz has a fan in LeBron James, Sarah Todd writes.
Jay Ajayi is fine, Pederson says, but the fumbling is not.
Will the Eagles-Rams game be flexed to prime time? Rob Tornoe explores.
The latest Birds' Eye View podcast recaps the Bears game and looks ahead to the West Coast trip.
If you missed Monday's Early Birds, it gave credit to the Eagles' top-ranked rush defense.
From the mailbag
With the help of Pro Football Reference, I looked this up and learned that there have been seven times a player had at least 35 touchdowns and fewer than 4,000 yards in a season:
Cam Newton, 2015 (3,837 yards, 35 TDs)
Tom Brady, 2010 (3,900 yards, 36 TDs)
Brett Favre, 1997 (3,867 yards, 35 TDs)
Brett Favre, 1996 (3,899 yards, 39 TDs)
Steve Young, 1994 (3,969 yards, 35 TDs)
Y.A. Tittle, 1963 (3,146 yards, 36 TDs)
George Blanda, 1961 (3,330 yards, 36 TDs)
Will Carson Wentz join that group? I actually think he can top both 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. He's on pace for 3,865 yards and 41 touchdowns, but the Eagles have been playing with big leads and he's sat in the fourth quarters of recent games. My guess is Wentz passes more in the coming weeks and he narrowly eclipses the 4,000-yard mark. He needs to average 268 yards during the final five games. That's attainable. The unknown variable is the Week 17 game. If Wentz sits, he could miss his chance for 4,000 yards. The touchdowns will be easier to hit. He has 28 touchdowns with five games to go. I think he reaches 35 TDs before Christmas.