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