Happy Thanksgiving, Eagles fans. This is a Thursday edition of Early Birds. I'm thankful for your readership and hopeful that this newsletter continues to evolve during the coming weeks and months. The Eagles will practice Thursday, but there is no media availability. So don't expect many Eagles-related updates today other than the injury report.
The Eagles are coming off a primetime victory over a division rival and have a meeting next week with the Seattle Seahawks. That leaves Sunday's game against the 3-7 Chicago Bears unceremoniously sandwiched in between with the "trap game" designation. Don't tell the players or coaches it's a trap game, though. "Listen, this is the National Football League and you're seeing it every week: If you don't come ready to play, you'll get your tail beat," coach Doug Pederson said. Defensive end Brandon Graham pointed to the quality teams the Bears have topped — the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Carolina Panthers. Those three teams are a combined 20-10. "I don't believe in trap games," Graham said. "Our mentality is we're in the NFL. They're professionals like us. …I don't really believe this team worries about trap games."
Bears coach John Fox had Alshon Jeffery on his team the past two seasons. Fox said he's seeing "a lot of the same things" in Philadelphia that he saw from Jeffery in Chicago, noting the attention that Jeffery draws from defenses. "Alshon is a great competitor," Fox said on a conference call. "He's a big, long-type of receiver. Big hands, big catch radius. And he's a great kid. Has a great smile, works hard. Have nothing but great things to say about Alshon."
The NFL released its Pro Bowl voting results, and Carson Wentz leads the NFL with 273,367 votes. Tom Brady is second with 239,989 votes. Zach Ertz leads all tight ends with 156,183 votes. The rosters will be announced on December 19. The Pro Bowl is January 28 in Orlando. If your friends haven't subscribed to Early Birds, it's free to sign up here to receive the newsletter 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. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
If you want perspective on Carson Wentz's development, look at Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday.
If something happened to Wentz, Nick Foles is a capable backup, Paul Domowitch writes.
It sounds like Eagles kicker Jake Elliott will clear the concussion protocol by Sunday, Les Bowen writes.
Jeff McLane breaks down the film to show how Halapoulivaati Vaitai has improved.
Why are the Eagles the desperate team? Bob Ford explains.
Domo offers his Eagles-Bears scouting report.
Check out the transcript of my weekly chat on Philly.com.
Wednesday's Early Birds looked at Lane Johnson and the defensive end who helps him in practice.
From the mailbag
Joe Douglas, the Eagles' vice president of player personnel, has gotten his fair share of credit. We wrote about him often during the offseason and especially on draft weekend. I mentioned him as recently as last week when the Eagles signed Dannell Ellerbe, another player that he has a background with from Baltimore. But it's also important to recognize that Howie Roseman has final say. If an acquisition doesn't work out, certainly Roseman will get the blame. So when something works out, he will get a lot of credit. But Douglas' voice carries a lot of weight in the NovaCare Complex.