Frank Reich Still Believes in Nelson Agholor
As the Eagles get set to take on the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, let’s take a look at some of the best articles on the web from the week.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich believes karma will come around for wide receiver Nelson Agholor, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
“It’s just experiential, just over the years,” Reich said. “Sometimes it takes longer to see the fruit of that. Sometimes the reward of that effort doesn’t always come back to you in the way you think it’s going to come back. But that’s just what I’ve seen and experienced and I still maintain that with Nelson. Obviously, we hope to see it sooner rather than later and you hope to see it on the field. But even if it doesn’t, as a person, you grow. You go through hard times and you grow and sometimes it makes you a better person in other ways as well.”
Head coach Doug Pederson said he wanted to see how Agholor would respond to adversity this week before making a decision about whether or not he’ll sit the receiver or greatly lessen his role.
On Friday, Reich said Agholor’s attitude and effort have been great, but said he honestly didn’t know who will be active and inactive come Monday night.
“He’s smart, tough, plays hard,” Reich said. “He’s going through a rough time right now. And it’s real. You don’t want to de-emphasize it. It’s real. He feels it; we all feel it. At the same time, you have to keep the perspective that the good players, the strong players are going to bounce out of it like we believe he will.”
With the statuses of Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles still up in the air for Monday night’s game, expect Wendell Smallwood to see more snaps, pens Zach Berman of the Inquirer.
Smallwood thought this could help him because defenses would not key on him as when he enters the game. But part of the Eagles’ rushing success this year has been rushing when the opponent knows it’s coming. The Packers have a stout run defense that has limited opponents to 3.7 yards per carry and 91.1 yards per game, which ranks sixth-best in the NFL. It could be up to Smallwood to try to wear the Packers down late in the game if the Eagles have a lead. Reich said that with an increase in playing time Smallwood must show he can withstand the physical pounding.
“Having the durability to get hit 15 or 20 times as opposed to four or five,” Reich said. “I think we all see that when he touches the football, you see the explosiveness. Can you maintain that explosiveness on your 15th carry if he ends up with that many carries?”
Smallwood, who is 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, said more carries allows him to get in a rhythm and wear down a defense. That is easier to do with 13 to 17 carries, like he has received in three games this season, than with the four or fewer carries in the other seven games this year.
“I definitely think I’m that type of running back that gets better and gets a bead on defenses,” Smallwood said. “Once I start to slow it down and get those runs going, I get better.”
Jordan Matthews could have a big game for fantasy owners, opines Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com.
4b) Jordan Matthews averages 5.3 receptions on 8.6 targets and 63.9 yards per game this year with just three receiving touchdowns. This week against the Packers his upside is right up there with the elite wideouts. Why? Aaron Rodgers is averaging 276.1 passing yards per game (ninth) for the season, but 316.3 passing yards per game in the past four (third over this time). This game script could play out where lots of points are scored. If you are looking for upside (and a pretty safe floor) Matthews should be on your list.
ESPN.com’s Matthew Berry is a fan of Zach Ertz in fantasy football this week, but not the Eagles’ defense.
Tight ends I love in Week 12
Zach Ertz, Eagles: Averaging 8.7 targets a game over his past three, and the Packers’ defensive struggles extend to tight ends, where they give up the sixth-most fantasy points to the position. Top-seven play for me.
Defenses I hate in Week 12
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST: The struggles of the Packers’ defense have kept Aaron chucking it all night long, and that’s the last thing you want if you own Philly’s defense. No thanks.
With young quarterbacks taking over the reigns of some of the best teams in the NFL, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com is keeping an eye out for Carson Wentz in this transition of power.
Wentz hasn’t been able to sustain his sizzling start (103.5 passer rating through his first four NFL games), but he remains a dangerous playmaker from the pocket. He already has established Eagles rookie records for QB wins (5), passing yards (2,339) and passing touchdowns (11). With Philly poised to add some more playmakers through the draft or in free agency, the team is likely to see its franchise quarterback make a big jump in his sophomore season.
In a league where quarterback play determines which teams have a legitimate shot at the title, the emergence of five young field generals could quickly change the balance of power.
In SI.com’s Chris Burke‘s latest NFL Mock Draft, the Eagles will take Florida cornerback Teez Tabor.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
By my count, there are around a dozen cornerbacks that have realistic Round 1 aspirations at the moment. Tabor is only the second CB off the board in this Mock. Either the real deal plays out like this and teams focus elsewhere because cornerbacks run so deep, or there will be a huge run in the first round. Regardless, if Tabor’s off-field red flags are cleared up, he has the size/footwork combo to be a top-32 selection.
Linebacker Nigel Bradham was one of the best free agent signings of the season, according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com.
7) Nigel Bradham, LB, Philadelphia Eagles: After a slow start to the season, Jim Schwartz‘s hand-picked weak-side linebacker has come on strong with nearly 10 tackles per game over the past six weeks. Bradham also has led his new team’s turnaround in tight-end defense, holding his offensive counterparts to two catches or fewer in half of the Eagles’ 10 games. This is the NFL’s most improved scoring defense, allowing just 18.6 points per game (and a league-best 9.5 at home). Outside of leading tacklers Bradham and safety Rodney McLeod, the defensive personnel is largely unchanged from last year’s unit that surrendered 26.9 points per game.
The Eagles should have gotten an air horn during Black Friday, opines Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
An air horn.
This is to be set off next to coach Doug Pederson for every pass play he calls beyond the 35 mark. He knows the winning formula requires this team to pound the rock and eat up clock, but sometimes he allows the situation to move him away from the plan despite the fact that the Eagles have been competitive in every game they’ve played. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has averaged 45 pass attempts over the team’s past three losses. In the team’s five wins, he has averaged 33 attempts. Sometimes, a little reminder is all you need.