The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles did something that many did not think was possible coming into that season, especially after starting QB Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14 against the Rams. However, Nick Foles came off the bench and led the Eagles to a victory in Super Bowl 52 against the Patriots.
Before getting to the Super Bowl, the Eagles had a very magical run through the playoffs. In the Divisional Round, Philly beat the Falcons after stopping Atlanta on 4th and goal late in the game, which set up a battle against the Vikings, in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.
In that game, then Vikings QB Case Keenum, who is now with the Redskins and will start Week 1 against the Eagles, led Minnesota to a touchdown on their opening drive. From there, it was all Philadelphia. The Eagles would go on to beat Minnesota 38-7 to advance to the Super Bowl.
On Monday, Eagles defensive coordinator, who led the defensive that season, reflected on the 2017 NFC Championship game.
“That just happened to be our day. That happened to be the City of Philadelphia’s day,” Schwartz said. “I think a lot of times the first half of that game is a little bit of a blur. I remember P-Rob [former Eagles CB and current Saints CB Patrick Robinson] making that interception and scoring and [DE] Derek Barnett getting the sack strip. Those were big plays.
“But honestly, the second half of that game moved in like slow motion and high-speed at the same time because it was obvious we were going to win the game. It was just really cool. It was sort of a party atmosphere the whole second half, and it was fun to be a part of that.
“Not every game comes down to the last minute. However you’ve got to win it, you’ve got to win it. But that game in the second half was really a special experience. But that doesn’t take anything away from [former Vikings QB and current Redskins QB] Case Keenum. He really had a great year that year, and we had to play really good defense to come out with that win, and we were able to.”
Schwartz and Eagles fans will never forget the 2017 NFC Championship Game.
In 2017, Eagles DE Vinny Curry was a big part of the team’s defensive line rotation, a rotation that helped Philadelphia win a Super Bowl that season, and after spending the first six seasons of his career in Philadelphia, Curry, 31, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, and in 2018, he amassed 2.5 sacks in 12 games.
Now, he’s back in Philadelphia, on a one-year deal, and according to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Curry should have a solid season for the team.
“Like I said, our defensive line is extremely important to us,” Schwartz said on Friday. “A guy I probably missed in that whole thing was [DE] Vinny Curry. I’m really excited to have Vinny back. He played a really strong role for us that Super Bowl year. Throughout the spring, he looked as good, if not better, than I’ve ever remembered him. I think you’ll see big contributions from him.”
The defensive line has been the strength of this Eagles defense under Schwartz. With Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Timmy Jernigan on the inside, and Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, and Curry on the outside. Philly should be in decent shape on the defensive line this season.
“I say it all the time to our players: the defensive line is the engine that runs this defense,” Schwartz said. “Those guys embrace that. They know they have to set the tempo for our team being physical, swarm around the quarterback, chase the ball, all those different things.”
The Eagles like to rotate their defensive linemen, and Schwartz believes he has the talent to do so.
“We’ll have plenty of guys to rotate,” Schwartz said. “You know we prefer not to play anybody too many snaps up there so we can keep guys fresh and keep them going.”
While Curry may not be as good as the departed Michael Bennett or Chris Long, he is a guy that had played well in this scheme, which should bode well for the Eagles in 2019.
For Philadelphia Eagles CB Sidney Jones, 2019 is a big year and could be a make or break season. Entering his third season, Jones has yet to solidify himself as a consistent contributor for the Eagles.
Jones, who fell to the Eagles in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft because of a torn Achilles during his Pro Day, played in one game during the 2017 season and played in only nine games last season due to a hamstring injury. So far, he has not proven that he can stay healthy in the NFL, but fortunately for Jones, he has a chance to makes things right this season.
“(Jones)Battled some injuries early, then had some productive time on the field, and then battled injuries again and struggled through some times on the field,” Eagles DC Jim Schwartz said as the team goes through OTAs. “I think that’ll be an advantage for him going forward.
“It was a tough season for him, but he did experience some success. He saw some tough times. Persevered through it. Finished the year healthy even though he wasn’t really back on the field for us. It’s an important off-season, important training camp for him.”
The two corners that started for the Eagles last season, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, are coming off injuries, so there is an opportunity for Jones to have an impact with the team in 2019. Based on what he did in college, and based on some of the flashes he has shown with the Eagles, you can see why the Eagles drafted Jones where they did, but if he can’t stay healthy, it won’t matter.