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Taking A Trip Around Eagles' Locker Room

Posted Nov 3, 2017

It is a winning locker room, a loose one, with a very positive environment. Hey, the Eagles are 7-1. The only thing that matters is keeping things rolling. This locker room is a very, very good place to be ...

It is a winning locker room, a loose one, with a very positive environment. Hey, the Eagles are 7-1. The only thing that matters is keeping things rolling. This locker room is a very, very good place to be.

As the Eagles prepare for Denver in Sunday’s Salute To Service game at Lincoln Financial Field, let’s take a trip around the locker room.

JASON KELCE, center

Denver’s defense is led by outside linebacker Von Miller, who is a transformative pass rusher, but it’s not all about Miller. Kelce is the man in the middle of the Eagles’ offensive line and he’s got a ton of responsibilities against a 3-4 front. He has spent the entire week preparing to play a great defense.

Kelce’s perspective on Denver’s defense is a valuable one.

“They’ve got a heckuva group of players, first and foremost,” he said. “Everybody knows about Von Miller, but the entire front seven plays very well together, they have a stout defense. Their DBs, they can match them up on the outside and play man-to-man coverage, stack the box, stop the run. This is a heckuva test for our offense this week and we’re looking forward to it.”

So how to attack the Broncos? Kelce wouldn’t give any specifics about what has worked against Denver in the past, saying the Eagles just need to play an Eagles game.

“At the end of the day we’re our own offense and we have to do what we’re good at and try to exploit some things,” Kelce said. “It’s going to come down to everybody doing their job, and that’s the bottom line.”

NIGEL BRADHAM, linebacker

The more comfortable you become with a scheme, Nigel Bradham is saying, the better you’re going to play. That’s what is happening with the Eagles defense, in its second season with Jim Schwartz at the helm. And that’s what is happening with Bradham, who played for Schwartz in Buffalo and came to the Eagles last year to reunite with the defensive coordinator.

“He’s a great guy to play for,” Bradham said of Schwartz. “He lets you know what he expects from you and he demands it or you don’t play. He’s going to be straight with you. I like that in a coach. I want to hear exactly what he wants me to do.

“I know that if I follow my assignment it’s going to help our defense. Once you start going outside your job responsibilities, then you’re going to mess up the entire defense. You have to be disciplined.”

Against Denver, with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback, the Eagles want to put the offense in third-and-long situations. That means stuffing the ground game comes first.

“It’s always the first priority,” Bradham said. “Stop the run and make teams one dimensional. Once offenses can run the ball, they can impose their will on you. We can’t let that happen.”

TREY BURTON, tight end

How to beat the “No-Fly Zone?” Tight end Trey Burton knows the big gains will be tough on Sunday. Denver’s coverage is that good.

“They’re extremely athletic. They have a bunch of guys who can do a lot of different things,” Burton said. “They can match with whatever personnel you put out there. It starts with their defensive line, so we have to be sound there. But they’re extremely talented on the back end, too, and obviously their defense is tops in the NFL.

“They play with a lot of confidence. They can rush the passer so well and then they’ve got the athletic guys on the back end who can match anything you put on the field. We just have to play our game and be patient, take care of the football and then we’ll see what happens.”

LANE JOHNSON, right tackle

Miller is an extraordinary player and Johnson has said all week how special Miller is for the Broncos. This is another week and another top-level test for Johnson, who has seen a litany of pass rushers in the seven games he’s played and has more on the way this season.

His scouting report of Miller paints an impressive picture as the Eagles prepare to see Miller for the first time (Miller did not play in Denver’s 52-20 win over the Eagles in 2013 after suffering a season-ending ACL injury).

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“Teams go to a lot of quick (passing) game, a lot of chip pro (chipping from a back or a tight end), because one on one I don’t think you can leave a tackle on him the whole game,” Johnson said. “He’s so quick off the ball, very fluid in everything he does and his hand movements and the way he fights against pressure keeps him from getting tangled up.

“The way I see it, he’s the best in the league. I haven’t seen a lot of Khalil Mack (Raiders) yet, so I would say Von is the best I’ve seen.”

And that makes Sunday extra challenging? Fun? Concerning?

“Yeah, I’m excited,” Johnson said. “Everybody expects him to dominate every week so I look at it like I don’t have anything to lose.”

NELSON AGHOLOR, wide receiver

With 27 receptions, 392 yards and five touchdowns scored, Nelson Agholor is one of the primary reasons the Eagles have soared offensively this season. Where is he now versus 12 months ago is 180 degrees different. Last year he struggled at the simple things of the game. Now Agholor is dominating when he’s on the field.

“I’m just having fun, playing the game I love to play,” he said. “Last year is last year and I’m passed that. I’ve worked hard and I’m going to continue to work hard. I have a lot more to accomplish for this team and for myself.

“We’re all going to go through ups and downs and you have to handle them the right way. For me, it’s just stacking one good day and then having a better day the next day. Just want to keep having good days.”

He’s had eight of them so far this season, and the Eagles’ offense has reaped the benefits. Quick, fast and confident from the slot, Agholor gives the Eagles a tough player to match against.

“We’re all doing a lot of good things in the offense,” he said. “I just know that, I’m glad that Carson (Wentz, quarterback) has the confidence in me to give me a chance to make plays. I don’t want to let him down or let the team down.”

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