Eagles’ Pederson: ‘We know our division is down’

The NFC East has turned into the NFC Least this season. After six weeks, every team in the division is below .500. The division is a combined 5-18-1, and there’s a very good chance that the winner of this division could end the season below .500. 

On Thursday, the New York Giants(1-5) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles(1-4-1). If the Eagles win, they are on top of the NFC East. If the Giants win, they will be a 1/2 game behind the Cowboys for the top spot in the division. Every game in the NFL is big, but this is a division game, and being that it’s highly unlikely any of these teams will get a wild card spot, this game becomes even bigger.

However, according to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, this game is no different than any other game.

“Every week is heightened,” Pederson said on Wednesday. “The sense of urgency each week to win a football game, right? We understand where we are, the sort of the hole we dug ourselves into, and it’s all about just one-game-at-a-time mentality. You don’t want to look past the Giants. This is a good football team coming in here Thursday night, and we have to be prepared. It’s a short week, we came off an emotional game this past Sunday with Baltimore, and we got to turn around and play. So, the sense of urgency each week is always there, and again it’s a one-game mentality, one opponent at a time…

“We know our division is down, and maybe it’s up for grabs. All I know is we’re going to focus on one week at a time, and I think that’s all I can ask of our players. This is a short week. The New York Giants coming to town, it’s a good football team. I know their record doesn’t show it either, but these guys are good on defense, they’re good on offense, and got really good special teams. So, we have to prepared to win this game come Thursday and play hard.”

Giants safety Logan Ryan knows the importance of this game, and according to him, it’s pretty close to a must-win game for New York.

“The division games matter, and we’re tying to win it,” Ryan said on Tuesday. “Like I said, the history of the years prior, this is my first year playing in the NFC period. I have been in the AFC for seven years. It is what it is. Our division is winnable. We have to go out here and win some games in our division to put us in a position at the end of the year to strike.

“That’s what we’re doing week in and week out. You prepare hard to put yourself in position to win the game. At the end of the game, I think three or four games this year have come down to the final drive. Our record can swing either way. We found a way to win last week. We need to find a way to win this week. It’s probably going to be a close game. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of that.”

At this point, both teams are not very good, but somebody has to win it, and ultimately, somebody has to win the division. The winner of Thursday’s game will put themselves in a good position to do just that.

A smiling Joe Judge on return to Philly: ‘I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries’

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is going home on Thursday night. The Philadelphia area native will bring his Giants(1-5) into Lincoln Financial Field to battle the Eagles(1-4-1).

.This is not Judge’s first time coaching at the Linc. He coached in Philly as an assistant coach with the Patriots last season, but this time, Judge comes into Philadelphia as the head man. 

Judge, who got his first victory as a head coach against Washington on Sunday, knows a lot about Philly fans and knows a lot about the rivalry between the Eagles and Giants, which he discussed on Monday.

“I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries,” Judge playfully said on Monday. “To be honest with you, it’s not my first time going back to Philly as an opposing coach. It’s a great city. It has great, passionate fans. It’s an excellent team. It’s obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games. They were always tough games, blue-collar type games, when the Eagles and the Giants were playing when I was growing up watching the games. Again, you’re so focused on the opponent; the emotion doesn’t really get tied into it. We just know we have a heck of a team we have to match up against.

This is a massive game for the Giants. At 1-5, New York has an excellent opportunity to make their move in the NFC East. Depending on what happens with the Cowboys on Monday night against Arizona, New York  could be 1/2 game behind Dallas for first place in the NFC East with a win over Philadelphia.  

One thing that could help the Giants on Thursday night is that Philadelphia will be without two of their best players on offense in Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz and RB Miles Sanders due to injury. However, according to Judge, Philly still has some capable players on the offensive side of the ball.

“I think they have enough weapons on all fronts to really prepare for with these guys,” Judge said. “Look, you don’t want to see any players get hurt, to be honest with you. You want to play teams when they’re at their best. That’s what competition is all about. We’re expecting (Alshon) Jeffery and (DeSean) Jackson to be back, and they’re going to give you a lot of trouble, along with all the other receivers they have already. They know how to use their receivers, their backs, and their tight ends all very well, so it doesn’t matter who’s in there. They’re all very capable.”

It should be interesting to see what Giants’ team shows up on Thursday. Still, in the end, a win against Philadelphia would give Judge a happy homecoming, and more importantly, could jumpstart New York’s season.

 

 

 

Eagles’ Wentz on Fulgham: ‘He’s a baller’

On Sunday, at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-4-1) started slow on offense against the Baltimore Ravens, but the offense finally came alive in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia would score 22 points in the quarter, and quarterback Carson Wentz would throw two touchdowns and run for another. However, with a chance to tie the game, Wentz and the Eagles failed on the two-point conversion, and Philadelphia would lose to Baltimore(5-1) 30-28.

Another player that came alive for the Eagles in the fourth quarter was WR Travis Fulgham. The second-year receiver had three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Also, Fulgham forced a pass interference call on Marcus Peters that ultimately set up the Eagles final touchdown. Fulgham led the Eagles with six receptions for 75 yards on Sunday.

“He’s a baller,” Wentz said about Fulgham after the game. “I said last week, I see it in practice. It’s good to just see these guys get their chance and make plays.”

Fulgham had his first 100-yard receiving game of his career last week against the Steelers and is establishing himself as Wentz’s go-to guy. In three games, Fulgham has 18 receptions for 284 yards and three receiving touchdowns. 

“It means a lot that [Eagles QB] Carson [Wentz] trusts me now, and we continue to build on it,” Fulgham said. “I just wish I could’ve made more plays for the team, and we just need to do more to get the win.”

Wentz trusted Fulgham in the fourth quarter as he threw the ball up for grabs in the end zone on 4th & 9, and Fulgham went up and grabbed the ball out the air for the touchdown. After the game, Fulgham discussed what happened on the play.

“Wentz made a check at the line,” he said. “It was a great check. And he placed the ball at the right spot, floated it up, and let me get a chance to go up and get it.”

The Eagles are struggling right now, and injuries are a big reason for those struggles. Still, the good thing that has come from the injuries is young guys are getting an opportunity to play, and Fulgham is taking advantage of this opportunity.

 

Eagles to allow fans in stadium starting Sunday against Baltimore

The fans will be back at Lincoln Financial on Sunday when the Eagles battle the Ravens.

According to the Eagles, and starting with the team’s home game on Sunday, Oct. 18, the stadium occupancy will be limited to 7,500 people, including players, coaches, team and stadium personnel, media, and fans.

As part of this work and preparation in recent months, the Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation for implementing the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. GBAC STAR is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation. Lincoln Financial Field demonstrated a strong compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment, emergency preparedness and response measures.

Single-Game Ticket On-Sale

Due to the limited capacity at Lincoln Financial Field, single-game tickets versus the Baltimore Ravens (Oct. 18) and New York Giants (Oct. 22) will go on sale to Season Ticket Members who have opted into the 2020 season beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Tickets will be sold in groups with the ability to purchase as many as six tickets in the same seating pod. Any remaining tickets for the Ravens and Giants games will go on sale to the general public and communicated at a later date. Single-game tickets for the remaining 2020 home games will go on sale in the coming weeks.

Lincoln Financial Field Policies and Protocols

Several changes to the game day experience at Lincoln Financial Field have been made to create a safe environment for fans and staff. A full breakdown of the policies and protocols for the 2020 season is available at PhiladelphiaEagles.com/Know-Before-You-Go. Some of these changes include:

Mask Policy

  • Face coverings are required for all guests (age two and up) at all times, other than while actively eating or drinking (which should only occur when seated), within Lincoln Financial Field and in parking lots.

  • Based on guidance from health authorities, bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not permitted face coverings.

Social Distancing

  • Fans will be required to maintain six feet of social distance from other fans and stadium staff at all times.

  • Signage throughout the stadium will help guide fans in maintaining proper social distancing.

Seating Pods & Mobile Ticketing

  • Personalized seating pods have been established for proper social distancing and limited fan-to-fan contact.

  • Each seating pod has been appropriately spaced out to allow six feet of distance in all directions.

  • Fans are encouraged to purchase blocks of tickets and attend games with family and other trusted acquaintances.

  • To help maintain social distancing guidelines, it is NFL Policy that ticket holders cannot sell, transfer or otherwise provide any of their tickets to anyone other than family with whom the ticket holder has been sheltering (or other trusted acquaintances). The NFL Policy accepts if the seller’s full pod of tickets are being sold, transferred or provided to one party.

  • As has been the case in previous years, mobile ticketing will continue to be utilized. The Eagles Mobile App provides the most convenient access to mobile tickets.

  • Fans within the same seating pod can enter together, but are not required to do so. A ticket holder who has their ticket transferred to them can enter the stadium separate from the other guests in their seating pod.

Contactless Parking

  • Social gatherings or tailgating in the sports complex are not permitted for the 2020 season.

  • Parking passes will be digital and fans are strongly encouraged to purchase their parking ahead of time. If a fan chooses to purchase parking on game day, a game ticket must be presented to the attendant at the booth.

  • Only fans with tickets to the game will be granted access to the parking lots.

  • K Lot and the Wells Fargo Center lots will be operational on game days, and will open approximately two hours before kickoff. To ensure a more convenient and quicker trip from the parking lot to Lincoln Financial Field, it is recommended that fans park in the designated lot found on their game ticket.

  • To maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, every other spot in each parking aisle will be utilized.

Contactless Gate Entry

  • Gates will open 90 minutes prior to kickoff and guests will be assigned a specific gate for entry that corresponds to the location of their game ticket.

  • The clear bag policy will be in effect. Bags no larger than 12x6x12 are permitted.

  • Walk-through metal detectors will allow for social distance screening.

  • Fans will be asked to manage their own items as they go through the metal detectors.

Cashless Concessions

  • All transactions will be cashless at the concessions stands.

  • Cash conversion machines/stations will be available at the stadium.

  • All meals and menu options, condiments and utensils will be pre-packaged and disposable.

  • Food handling and preparation, as always, will be in accordance with FDA best practices.

  • The Eagles Pro Shop on Pepsi Plaza will be open in a limited capacity and all merchandise transactions will also be cashless.

Stadium Cleaning & Staff Protocols

  • In accordance with CDC guidelines, the stadium will undergo a thorough cleaning, disinfecting and sanitation process before, during and after each game.

  • Numerous hand sanitization stations will be located throughout the stadium.

  • Frequent sanitization of high-touched surfaces such as handrails, doorknobs and tables will occur.

  • COVID-19 signage has been placed throughout the stadium to encourage compliance with mask wearing and proper social distancing.

  • All staff members were required to complete a mandatory COVID-19 protocol training.

  • Health questionnaires and temperature screenings will be required of all staff before entering the stadium.

Fan Health Promise

  • In an effort to keep everyone safe inside the stadium, and as part of the Fan Health Promise, fans must stay home if:

    • They have tested positive for, or been exposed to someone who tested positive for, COVID-19 within the prior 14 days.

    • They have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4⁰F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking, muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the CDC) within the prior 48 hours.

    • They have traveled to any state or international territory identified by federal or applicable local governments as being subject to travel or quarantine advisories due to COVID-19 within the prior 14 days.

  • Smoking will be prohibited in all areas of Lincoln Financial Field, including previously designated smoking areas.

  • Fans are encouraged to download the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s free COVID ALERT PA app, which notifies users if they have been potentially exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. More information on the COVID ALERT PA app can be found by visiting pa.gov/covid/covid-alert-pa/.

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘We haven’t put four quarters, or we haven’t put two sides together’

The Philadelphia Eagles fought hard against the Steelers on Sunday. After being down 31-14 in the third quarter, the Eagles were able to cut the lead to 31-29 in the fourth quarter. With an opportunity to take the lead, Jake Elliott missed a 57-yard field goal, and the Steelers would march down the field and put the game away after Chase Claypool’s 35-yard touchdown reception as the Steelers would defeat the Eagles 38-29 at Heinz Field.

After five games, the Eagles have not played a complete game. Yesterday, the offensive came to play and put up a season-high 29 points, but defensively, the Eagles gave up a season-high 38 points. The Eagles inability to put together a complete game on both sides of the ball is one reason they are 1-3-1.

“We haven’t put four quarters, or we haven’t put two sides together, really, three phases, when you think special teams, as well,” Pederson said on Monday. “Listen, there’s enough when you watch the tape again today, there’s enough football plays offensively, defensively and even on special teams — we need to be better in the kickoff return game. There’s enough plays out there that we have to continue to show our players and continue to teach and coach. With the amount of players, new players, new faces, young guys that are playing, every game is a new game, and so we’re continuing to coach and get these guys ready to play and try to have complementary football.

“If the defense struggles, the offense needs to pick it up, right? And if the offense struggles, the defense needs to pick them up. So we’re building towards that and we continue to work to hopefully put that all together.”

It’s a good year to be in the NFC East, and even with Philadelphia being 1-3-1, they still are only a 1/2 game behind the Cowboys for the top spot in the division. If the Eagles were in any other division, they would be near the bottom, but all that is irrelevant, according to Pederson.

“Our division, what are we, still a half-game back? Look, it is what it is,” Pederson said. “I’m going to pull out my inner [Patriots Head Coach] Bill Belichick and say I’m focused on Baltimore.”

It might not take much to win the NFC East. With the Cowboys losing QB Dak Prescott for the rest of the season, and the struggles that New York and Washington are having, maybe the Eagles are the team that can take control of the division, but that won’t happen until this team figures out a way to have a complete game on both sides of the ball, which they will need to do if they want to beat the Ravens on Sunday.

 

Eagles’ Schwartz on Avery: ‘That was sort of the breakout game we’ve been waiting for from him’

The Philadelphia Eagles needed a big performance out of their defense against the 49ers last Sunday, and they got it. Philly’s defense forced three turnovers, scored a touchdown, and sacked San Francisco’s quarterbacks five times. Ultimately, the Eagles would get a big road victory against the 49ers.

Many members of that Eagles’ defense played well on Sunday night, including DE Genard Avery, who Philadelphia acquired from the Browns last October. The 25-year-old Avery was terrific against San Francisco. In only 16 snaps, Avery had one sack and five quarterback hits. One of those hits led to a Rodney Mcleod interception deep in Eagles’ territory. 

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was impressed by what he saw out of Avery, and according to Schwartz, it was a breakout performance for the third-year defensive end.

“That was sort of the breakout game we’ve been waiting for from him(Avery),” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “He’s always been a skilled pass rusher. It’s just fitting him in with all the other stuff. I think he’s really done a good job of refining his technique and limiting his — sticking with what works best for him.

“He’s certainly made a difference in this game. He was fresh when he came off the bench, which is a big thing for our guys that are coming off the bench, and he gave us that changeup and made some big plays for us in the game.

“His pressure led to the first interception, which I think was a huge play in that game, sort of maybe flies below the radar when the game is all said and done. They [the 49ers] were driving. They were in the red zone. We got that pressure, got that interception, and I think that that was a key turning point in that game.”

Philadelphia brought Avery in to do what he did on Sunday. The former fifth-round pick of the Browns had a career-high 4.5 sacks in 2018, and he hopes to build on Sunday’s performance moving forward. If he continues to play at this level, Avery will help the Eagles’ pass rush immensely. 

 

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘Finally overcame some of the mistakes yesterday to put ourselves in a position to be in first place in the NFC East’

After four games, the Philadelphia Eagles have not been very good, but they play in the NFC East, and after beating the 49ers on the road 25-20 on Sunday night, Philadelphia(1-2-1) is now on top of the division. 

While it’s hard to call any game in Week 4 a must-win, Sunday’s contest was pretty close to that for Philadelphia. According to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, the team felt relieved after defeating San Francisco.

“The guys were excited in the locker room, high-fiving, jumping around, hugging each other, what you would expect after a win,” Pederson said on Monday. “I think these guys have been obviously beaten down the last few weeks, not only by our opponents, but by what they are seeing and reading and being talked about outside of the building. I think you can just see the relief, right, or just kind of getting that win.”

The first quarter of the season is in the books, but even with all the lows, there still is hope in Philadelphia. On Monday, Pederson reflected on the first month of the season. 

“I think the one thing that’s really stood out this first month is just how resilient this football team is,” Pederson said. “We have not played our best football; I don’t feel. We’ve kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first three, four weeks here.

“Finally overcame some of the mistakes yesterday to put ourselves in a position to be in first place in the NFC East. But there’s a long road ahead. We’ve got to learn from the first four weeks, but at the same time, learn from it and carry it forward. We’ve just got to keep working, and this is what I appreciate about our guys is they come to work every day no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the situation. They practice. It’s always been a next-man-up mentality, and they go to work, and that’s what I’ve learned, and that’s what’s going to carry us these next four weeks.”

Injuries have hurt the Eagles in the first month of the season, including injuries to both tackles on the offensive line and injuries to their top two wide receivers in Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson. Furthermore, Carson Wentz has struggled in the early part of the season, but the Eagles have found a way to stay afloat at this point. 

The Eagles by no means have solved all their issues. Plus, their next two games are against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, which means Philadelphia easily could be out of first place in NFC East by next Sunday. However, for now, they lead their division, and they still have time to fix what’s wrong. 

 

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘We’re not a very good football team’

It’s still early in the 2020 NFL season, but yesterday was a low moment for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sunday’s home game against the Bengals was an opportunity for the Eagles to get right, but due to turnovers, penalties, and overall lousy play, Philadelphia had to settle for a tie against Cincinnati.

On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson stated the obvious about the 0-2-1 Eagles; they are just not very good right now.

“Well, the glaring thing for me as the coach is we’re not winning the turnover ratio,” Pederson said via a video call. “We’re obviously giving the ball away more than we’re taking it away. The penalties yesterday were way too many, 11 penalties yesterday for almost 100 yards. I thought we ran the ball effectively for the amount of times that we ran it. [RB] Miles [Sanders] did a nice job there in the backs. And quite frankly, we have to find ways now to utilize the guys we have as we talked about earlier, creative ways to get these guys open, and whether we do that by formations, we do that by motions.

“We have to continue to coach our young players. We have to get them ready to go, and they’re the ones that are going to be playing on the perimeter for us. So, right now we’re not a very good football team, as I said after the game, we’re not very smart. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re leaving touchdowns on the field offensively, and we’re just not executing. And those are things that we’re going to really look hard at this week, and if we have to simplify, we’ll simplify. If we have to go up-tempo, we’ll go up-tempo, things that have been successful in the past.”

One player who has to step up for the Eagles to turn things around is Carson Wentz. In three games, Wentz is tied with Kirk Cousins for the most interceptions(6) in football. Additionally, Wentz has struggled with his accuracy, and he missed a wide open Miles Sanders late in the game against the Bengals.

In fairness to Wentz, his offensive line has been inconsistent, and he has lost some of his weapons to injuries, but again, he has to play better, which Wentz believes will happen for him and the Eagles’ offense.

“Obviously, I just have to be better [and] handle some of these,” Wentz said after the game on Sunday. “Some of them are communication, just making sure we’re on the same page with everybody, and some are just poor throws. I have to be better, and I will. We’re still meshing and gelling as a team and building the chemistry. [There were] a lot of moving pieces today, not as an excuse, but guys will continue to get this experience and learn from it. We’ll all be better, including myself.”

Can the Eagles turn it around? Maybe, but the next three weeks will be very tough. Philadelphia has to travel to San Francisco on Sunday, go to Pittsburgh the following week, and host the Ravens after that. If Philly does not play better, they could easily be winless after the first six games. So, the time is now for Philadelphia to get things right.

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Pederson on Ertz: ‘He’s helped us win a lot of games around here’

Eagles Pro Bowl TE Zach Ertz is not happy with his contract situation, and he made that very clear on Thursday.

“I’m an emotional guy when it comes to football,’ Ertz said via The Athletic’s Zack Berman. … “It’s been frustrating at times, it’s been difficult. I said all along I want be here for the long run.

‘I don’t know if for sure that feeling is mutual. I’m going to play this year like it’s my last year.”

The three-time Pro Bowler has two years left on his contract and is hoping to get paid like tight ends George Kittle(five-year, $75 million) and Travis Kelce(four-year, $57 million) did this offseason. According to reports, Ertz turned down a contract extension during the season and has shut down negotiations at this point. 

The 29-year-old Ertz is scheduled to make $6.6 million this season and $8.5 million in 2021, which is bargain when you consider his production. Ertz has led Philadelphia in receptions each of the last three seasons and holds the NFL record for most receptions(116) by a tight end in a season. 

No matter the contract situation, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is happy to have Ertz on his roster.

“Look, I’m not going to get into a ton of this because my expertise is not necessarily the contract stuff and those types of issues,” Pederson said via a video call on Friday. “All I know is Zach Ertz is a tremendous football player; he’s a great person, love having him on this football team. He is a leader, and he’s helped us, gosh, he’s helped us win a lot of games around here. He led our team in receptions, and he’s a big part, he’s a valuable part of what we do offensively, but also as a team.

“I’m excited that he’s here. I’m excited that he’s an Eagle. He and I, we get along extremely well. I love having him. We game plan for him. I just hope we can put all that behind us and move on to football.”

Ertz is one of the best tight ends in football, and he happens to be Carson Wentz’s go-to guy. Regarding his contract, he has earned a raise but based on his reaction, he’s clearly not happy with the Eagles’ offer.

Let’s see how this one plays out. 

Doug Pederson is happy with DeSean Jackson, the leader

The Philadelphia Eagles have some experience and a lot of youth in their wide receiver room. Leading the way is 13-year veteran DeSean Jackson. The 33-year-old Jackson, who missed 14 games last season for Philadelphia due to a hernia injury, is being counted on by the team to be a deep threat for the Eagles in 2020.

Jackson is also being counted on to help mentor Philly’s young receivers, including rookies Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. In addition, Jackson is assisting second-year wideout Greg Ward, who transitioned from college quarterback to receiver.

On Wednesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson discussed how impressed he has been with Jackson’s leadership ability.

‘DeSean(Jackson) has done an outstanding job for us, not only as a player but now probably more so in this rolel(leader),” Pederson said. “I think DeSean knows that where he is in his career and those that have kind of mentored him along the way, and now he’s kind of in that same role where he can mentor these young guys. It’s one of the things that I take notice of with him out at practice, being able to talk to our young players and young receivers and teach them the game. DeSean has always played it at an extremely high level. He’s a great pro, takes his job seriously, and that’s what he’s instilling in our young players now.”

When healthy, Jackson gives Philadelphia a big-time playmaker. He is second(30) in NFL history in 50-plus yard touchdown receptions, and is only six touchdown receptions behind the all-time leader in 50-plus yard touchdown receptions, Jerry Rice. If Jackson can stay healthy, he might come close or equal Rice’s mark this season. 

Based on videos we have seen in camp and the offseason, Jackson still has a lot of speed. In last season’s season opener against the Redskins, who the Eagles face on Sunday, Jackson had two long touchdown receptions. Hopefully, for the Eagles, he can duplicate that performance against Washington on Sunday, continue to lead the young players, and stay healthy in 2020.