What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

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

The Birds were bumped up two spots to fourth in the NFL.com power rankings:

Mark Sanchez, take a bow, man. What an efficient, effective outing from one of the most maligned quarterbacks in NFL history. That’s no exaggeration. He has taken heat from all corners of God’s green Earth, yet he was masterful Thursday, knowing precisely where to go with the ball every single snap. My question for the #bleedinggreen is simple: Do you trust Sanchez through the rest of the season and postseason?

Connor Orr of NFL.com writes about the second collision of Mark Sanchez and Pete Carroll in the NFL after their tenures together at USC:

Five years after Pete Carroll blasted Mark Sanchez for leaving USC early to enter the NFL draft, the wayward couple will meet again when the Seahawks visit the Eagles on Sunday.

But any resentment over that moment seems to have faded. Sanchez likely recognized that Carroll was being a little selfish. And Carroll probably realized that Sanchez knew Carroll was right, but needed to capitalize on a booming market for quarterbacks in the draft.

This will be the second time the pair will face off in the NFL. Sanchez and the Jets were demolished in Seattle back in 2011. This time, though, Carroll faces his old quarterback with a much better supporting cast.

And before the game, they will hug it out.

The Eagles jump up two spots to fourth in the ESPN.com power rankings:

The Eagles gained 244 yards on 40 designed rushes (excluding scrambles and kneeldowns) Thursday, the most yards on designed rushes by Philadelphia since Week 16 of 2013.

John McTigue of ESPN Stats & Information breaks down why the offense looks better, by the numbers, under Sanchez:

Sanchez may be working the Chip Kelly offense more to design than Foles had been this season. Sanchez is getting rid of the ball quicker, throwing shorter and getting more yards after the catch than Foles was.

Sanchez’s passes have been thrown an average of 2.45 seconds after the snap this season, quicker than Foles’ 2.73-second average. The difference might seem minimal, but of the 39 quarterbacks with 100 passes this season, Sanchez’s time from snap to release ranks as the 11th-quickest. Foles’ ranks 33rd.

One of Foles’ biggest faults this season was his deep passing. Foles threw the ball at least 30 yards past the line of scrimmage 22 times this season. He hasn’t played since Week 9, and that’s still within three of the league lead. Foles completed four of those passes (18.2 percent), and although three of those were touchdowns, he also had four interceptions deep.

Peter King of MMQB ranks the Birds fourth in his Fine Fifteen:

4. Philadelphia (9-3). Best thing about Mark Sanchez’s game on Thursday: one negative play. Zero lost fumbles, zero interceptions, one sack taken. Also liked his 28 rushing yards. Just okay throwing the ball, though.

Along with Aaron Rodgers, Peter King named LeSean McCoy one of his two offensive players of the week:

LeSean McCoy, running back, Philadelphia. Eight days ago, McCoy, in the midst of a pedestrian season (averaging just 3.7 yards per rush through 10 games) was inundated with all versions of What’s wrong with McCoy? On Sunday of Week 12, he steamrolled Tennessee for 130 yards on 21 carries; on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, he was the Eagles’ best player: 25 rushes, 159 yards, apparently none the worse for wear playing on the road on a short week. Two games, 289 yards, 6.3 per carry. “I had so many opportunities to make guys miss one-on-one,” McCoy said. “So much space.” The offensive line, getting more whole by the week, had its best game of the season in the 33-10 win over Dallas.

The Eagles leap three spots to fourth in the FoxSports.com power rankings:

The Eagles have developed a blueprint for running Chip Kelly’s offense with Mark Sanchez at the helm, and Sanchez is now 3-1 as a starter with the Eagles. On defense they continue to live and die with the play of their front seven — on a good week, they generate enough pressure to hide the secondary.

Donovan McNabb (via FoxSports.com) delivers his power rankings with the Birds sitting in fourth:

4. Eagles – Mark Sanchez playing mistake-free gives them a great chance against anyone.

CBSSports.com moves the Eagles up one spot to fifth, making the Birds the third NFC team behind the Packers (1) and Cardinals (4):

If the defense continues to play at the same level it did against the Cowboys, this could be a Super Bowl team. Now comes a tough one with Seattle.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com bumps Philadelphia up two spots to fourth in his power rankings:

Mark Sanchez is more than holding down the fort while Nick Foles is out. This up-tempo no-huddle offense can break down opponents and the defense is playing much better. Week 14 brings the Seahawks to town for a real test.

Pro Football Talk ranks the Birds fourth in its power rankings:

4. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 5; 9-3): Mark Sanchez gets a perfect opportunity on Sunday to show Pete Carroll that the quarterback was indeed ready for the NFL.

SB Nation gives the Eagles their highest ranking of the week at number two, noting that only three of the Birds’ nine wins have been settled by a touchdown or less:

Philadelphia’s outstanding special teams play continued this week. This time the hero was rookie kicker Cody Parkey, who made all four of his field goal attempts in a Thanksgiving Day win against the Cowboys. Parkey now leads the NFL with 27 field goals. The big story for the Eagles this time wasn’t the competent play from Mark Sanchez, but LeSean McCoy picking up where he left off last week. Shady’s 159 rushing yards were a season high and his 6.4 yards per attempt was his second-best effort this year. The Eagles aren’t just winning games this year, they’re blowing the doors off opponents. Of Philadelphia’s nine wins, only three of those games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

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