What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton - USA Today

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton – USA Today

Here’s a roundup of what the national and local media are saying about the Eagles this week.

If the season ended today, the Birds would be hosting the Seahawks in the wild card round.

Adam Schein of NFL.com provides meaningful storylines from around the league:

6) The Eagles are winning the NFC East.

I am such a believer in Chip Kelly. His team is the most well-coached in the NFC East, and inherently, it’s the best. Of course, as previously documented, I’m not even remotely a believer in Mark Sanchez. But Kelly maximizes his quarterbacks, and covers up their flaws with brilliant scheming. And Philly got a huge boost from LeSean McCoy on Sunday. With 130 yards on 21 totes — including a season-long 53-yard scamper — Shady looked like the reigning rushing king that he is, despite how this season has played out. That’s gigantic.

The Eagles now play the Cowboys twice in the next three weeks. I see the NFC East rivals splitting the series. Still, even though Dallas is demonstrating amazing heart when it matters most this season, Philadelphia is just better. I don’t think this is a team built for a deep playoff run — sorry, but even the great Kelly can’t mask Sanchez’s limitations forever — but I do think this is a team built to win the NFC East for the second straight year.

Dan Hanzus of NFL.com gives three takeaways from the Eagles-Titans game:

2. Sanchez has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his three starts — Brian Schottenheimer’s Jets’ offense has never seemed so far away. It was an uneven performance on balance, with two ugly interceptions. But Sanchez continues to look very comfortable in this offense, has shown good arm strength and a nice rapport with his receivers, particularly rookie Jordan Matthews.

LeSean McCoy picked up the number two spot in NFL.com’s Week 11 top running plays.

Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com writes about how the Eagles’ defense must maintain its play against the Cowboys:

The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been riding a dangerous see-saw for the past few weeks. It was way up against the Carolina Panthers, then way down last week in Green Bay. It bounced back for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, winning 43-24, and that was fine.

But on Thursday, the Eagles will face Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys offense. Another swing toward the way it played in Green Bay would be disastrous.

“They forgot about [Green Bay] real quick,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “These are pros and we have a great group of veteran leadership and it’s the NFL, the life of the NFL. You can destroy someone, you can be destroyed, it can be close — every game is a game in and of itself and sometimes it’s just not your day.”

Peter King of MMQB has the Eagles fifth in his rankings and gives Josh Huff some love:

The Fine Fifteen

5. Philadelphia (8-3). Three games that will try green men’s souls on the docket: at Dallas on a short Thanksgiving week, Seattle at home, Dallas at home.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Josh Huff, wide receiver/kick-return, Philadelphia. The third-round rookie from Oregon—a Chip Kelly player in college and now in the pros—has been disappointing in the first two-thirds of his rookie season. Ten games, six catches, 48 yards, no impact. And last week he got the blame as one of the key pursuit men on Green Bay punt-returner Micah Hyde’s 75-yard return for touchdown. “Everything that I’ve done so far this season has been going back,” Huff said in the locker room this week. It didn’t take long for him to atone. On the opening kickoff against Tennessee, Huff took the ball seven yards deep in the end zone, made a couple of Titans miss in traffic, cut right, and stiff-armed Ryan Succop and Brandon Ghee on his way to the end zone. A good, instinctive and physical return—the longest scoring play in Eagles history—that set the tone for an easy victory. One other note on Huff: At Oregon he roomed with fellow wideout Eric Dungy, son of the former coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy.

Ten Things I Think I Think

Tennessee defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who is such a good and underappreciated player. On consecutive snaps at Philadelphia, he sacked Mark Sanchez for minus-seven, then chased down LeSean McCoy for minus-two. Sapp-like.

Don Banks of SI.com rounds up the games of NFL Week 12:

Now the Eagles’ real season begins. The next three games will tell the story of their 2014: at Dallas on Thanksgiving, home against Seattle in Week 14 and home against the Cowboys in Week 15. If Philly can win two of those, a trip to the playoffs will be all but assured. Three wins, of course, and the Eagles should be NFC East champs with a shot at a first-round bye.Keep in mind how important it will be for Chip Kelly’s team to prove it can punch in the NFC’s heavyweight division. The Eagles have beaten only one team that had a winning record when they played them this season, and that was in Week 6 against the then 3-2 Giants. Their Week 2 win at Indianapolis was impressive, but the Colts were 0-1 at that point. Road losses at San Francisco, Arizona and Green Bay were the other biggest measuring stick games for Philadelphia.

Huff lands in the No. 1 spot in FoxSports.com’s best plays of the week:

This week, we saw some great football throughout the league, but there were a few plays that stood out. They were beyond good. These plays were just … sick. So, let’s run down the list, shall we?

1. Josh Huff

The Philadelphia Eagles returner started Sunday off right, when he took the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes that Mark Sanchez had his third consecutive 300-yard game:

Think Mark Sanchez likes playing for Chip Kelly? Sanchez completed 30 of 43 passes for 307 yards in the Eagles’ 43-24 win over the Titans on Sunday. Sanchez never even had two straight 300-yard games in his 68 career starts with the Jets, but he now has three straight 300-yard games after his first three starts with the Eagles.

Les Bowen of the Daily News asks if the Eagles are ready for the Cowboys:

Start with the good stuff: We were reassured that the run game still works (130 rushing yards for LeSean McCoy, on 21 carries) and the pass rush still works (five sacks of Zach Mettenberger, lots more pressures). Special teams are still lethal (team-record 107-yard Josh Huff touchdown return of the opening kickoff). Jordan Matthews is still good (six catches for 77 yards, all in the first half). Third-down defense (2-for-12) and offense (10-for-18 before the kneeldown) were very strong.

There were enough bad moments sprinkled in, though, to make the obligatory look ahead to Thursday’s game at Dallas a little perilous. And if you’re projecting this 8-3 team into the playoffs, well, prospects for success there look equally dicey.

Two more Mark Sanchez interceptions yesterday, running the Eagles’ league-leading turnover total to 27. (Six picks for Sanchez in less than four complete games.) A 3-for-7 red-zone performance that was real mediocre, some of it due to sloppy penalties. Softer-than-Charmin pass coverage; a Titans offense that couldn’t get any run-game traction and was forced early into pass, pass, pass, with a rookie quarterback making his fourth start, still rolled up 345 air yards, including a couple of touchdowns.

Mike Sielski of the Inquirer talks about the tough test that the defense will face on Thursday:

Connor Barwin collected two more quarterback sacks Sunday, giving him a career-high and an NFC-high 121/2 this season, strengthening the case that there’s no defensive player in the conference more versatile and valuable to his team. And he planned to celebrate his fine game, and the Eagles’ 43-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans, by putting his feet up, flipping on his television, and forgetting everything that had just happened.

Barwin’s agenda for his Sunday night comprised a single item: Watch Dallas. The Cowboys and the New York Giants were kicking off on NBC in a few hours in East Rutherford, N.J., and even if this weren’t a short week for the Eagles, even if the schedule didn’t demand that they move on quickly, there would be little for their defense to extract from Sunday’s win.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.