WTS: Did the Eagles Win Or Lose the Trade Deadline?

Plus: Which addition to the Eagles was the most important for any playoff contending team?

Jim Schwartz. (Jeff Fusco)

Jim Schwartz. (Jeff Fusco)

With the Eagles moving forward to the New York Giants after Sunday night’s loss against the Cowboys, let’s see what the national media are saying about the team.

The Eagles were winners and losers at the trade deadline, opines John Clayton of ESPN In$ider.


New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins

The Jets reached out to the Cowboys, who have a two-game lead in the NFC East, about a deal for defensive end Sheldon Richardson. Dallas’ defense could have used the boost, but the trade didn’t happen — so rest of the teams in the NFC East win.


Philadelphia Eagles

General manager Howie Roseman tried to upgrade their receiving corps. Nothing worked. Then wide receiver Josh Huff was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a firearm.

Just because Carson Wentz didn’t throw a deep pass against the Cowboys, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal writes Eagles fans shouldn’t panic. He also says Brandon Graham should be an All-Pro.

It’s a little crazy that Carson Wentz didn’t complete a pass over 14 yards in 43 attempts against Dallas, but he was just executing a conservative Eagles game plan that attempted to minimize the team’s weaknesses at receiver and on the offensive line. If coach Doug Pederson didn’t coach so tight late in the game, we’d be talking about Wentz’s big win over his rookie quarterback rival.

Players I hope Chris Wesseling considers for his midseason All-Pro team

2) Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles: Whether you want to call him a defensive end or an outside linebacker, just call him an All-Pro, especially with now on the shelf.

The SI.com staff asks if the defense can help the Eagles get through a grueling five game stretch against some of the top offensive players in the league.

Carson Wentz has been solid and accurate to start the season, but the Eagles still don’t trust him to throw deep and make game-changing plays. In Sunday night’s loss to the Cowboys, Wentz was averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt. He’s not going to be beating anyone in a shootout.

The real key to the Eagles’ success so far has been Jim Schwartz and his defense. In each of their four wins this season, the Eagles have limited their opponents to 14 points or fewer—and that includes a Steelers team in Week 3 that still had Ben Roethlisberger behind center. They’re currently ranked second in total defense behind Minnesota’s remarkable unit, third in passing defense, and eighth in rushing defense.

If the Eagles want to challenge the Cowboys in the NFC East, they need their defense to continue to come through for them and take pressure off Wentz as he works through some rookie growing pains. That challenge starts right away. In their next five games they get to see Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and A.J. Green.

Even though Dak Prescott didn’t have a great game, Wentz was surprisingly good, pens Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

We’ve talked about rookies coming back to Earth, and that certainly pertains to Carson Wentz , the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft who was elevated to starter just a week before the season. He got off to such a white-hot start that no one outside of Dallas was really talking about Prescott. Then the Eagles lost two in a row before regaining their footing last week against the Minnesota Vikings .

In Dallas, Wentz was … well, efficient. And while efficiency isn’t particularly sexy, there are worse qualities to have as an NFL quarterback. The problem for the Eagles’ offense, at least on this night, is that there was little chance of moving the ball down the field in large chunks, something Prescott, Bryant and the Cowboys are very capable of doing.

And you know what didn’t help Wentz? A ton of dropped passes. Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham were responsible for at least four drops.

Still, like Prescott, Wentz is savvy beyond his years, and no play from Sunday night embodied that like this sack that inexplicably wasn’t a fumble. It was late in the fourth quarter, deep in Eagles territory, and a turnover there seals the win for the Cowboys. Instead, Wentz gets blasted and somehow manages to tuck the ball under his arm while he’s going down.

The Eagles are a playoff-bound team on the bubble, according to Brian Billick of NFL.com.

They won’t admit it publicly — you can’t, really — but the Eagles entered the 2016 season thinking this was a rebuilding year, in which they’d dismantle the unbalanced roster Chip Kelly left behind and try to construct the nucleus of a team for 2017 and beyond. New coach Doug Pederson had every intention of sitting second overall pick Carson Wentz for a full season, so he could learn from veteran quarterback Sam Bradford. Everything changed in September, when the Eagles were able to recoup a first-round pick from the suddenly QB-needy Vikings in exchange for Bradford.

Two months later, the Eagles are in the thick of a playoff race, with only an overtime loss to Dallas keeping them from being in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. They’ll get a rematch with the Cowboys in Philadelphia on the final week of the season — one that could very well decide the division. Wentz has been a revelation, but it’s clear things are sunny in Philadelphia not merely because of him. Veteran coordinator Jim Schwartz has revived the Eagles’ defense with his much-discussed wide-9 scheme (giving his defensive ends plenty of room to start their pass rush unimpeded). The Eagles are in the top five in both scoring and passing defense and rank eighth in total defense. If not for some costly fumbles, this team could easily be 6-1.

ESPN In$ider’s Matt Bowen thinks the addition Schwartz was the most important offseason addition for a playoff contending team.

Jim Schwartz has transformed the Eagles’ defense in his first year as coordinator. Through seven games, this Philadelphia unit is holding opposing quarterbacks to a Total QBR of 40.1 (second in the NFL) and is giving up only 16.71 points per game (fourth in the NFL). Plus, I see a defense that is playing with technique and speed on the tape. That’s coaching; that’s building a defensive identity.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis is MMQB’s Peter King’s Special Teamer of the week.

Most impressive thing in the kicking game I saw Sunday? Sturgis’ performance at the end of the first half in Texas. In 51 NFL games before this one, Sturgis’ longest field goal was from 54 yards. Here, he lined up with one second left in the second quarter of a 10-10 game for a 55-yarder. Snap, kick, wait … timeout, Dallas … and the kick was drilled inside the left upright. Would have been good from 63. So he had to kick again, and this time the kick was right down the middle, and would have been good from 65.

Former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens, 42, says he’s “available” to help the offense, writes John Breech of CBSSports.com.

Although Owens hasn’t played an NFL snap in six years, at least one Eagles fan thinks that T.O. would be an upgrade over what Philly currently has at receiver.

During the Eagles 29-23 overtime loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, six of Carson Wentz’s 11 incompletions came because his receivers dropped a pass. That performance led to a fan on Twitter asking if T.O. would be interested in returning.

Less than five hours later, Owens answered the tweet with one word: Available.

Sure, he’s 42, but at this point, Eagles fans are probably figuring he can’t be much worse than what Philly has now. The last time Owens was on the field came in 2010 when he was 37. In the final year of his NFL career, T.O. caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns while with the Bengals.