Good morning, Eagles fans! We've got a lot for you in store on this Wednesday, December 2 and it all starts with the 5 Things to Know Today ...
1. Live Coverage Begins At 10:50 AM
Head coach Chip Kelly addresses the media prior to the team's training session and we'll stream it live online and on our app. Following the training session, linebacker DeMeco Ryans explains how the Eagles will look to slow down the Patriots' offense led by quarterback Tom Brady at 1:15 PM. At the end of the day, Dave Spadaro and Joe DeCamara bring you a complete wrap-up of all the news on Eagles 360.
2. Bradford One Step Closer To Playing?
Quarterback Sam Bradford practiced on Tuesday. The first official injury report of the week is released later today. The key for Bradford will be whether or not the non-throwing shoulder is stable enough to take a hit. Bradford was playing his best football before suffering the shoulder sprain along with a concussion in the third quarter of the loss to the Dolphins.
"As we watch Sam play, I think he really did improve each game that he played," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "I think as the games went along, until he was out in the Miami game, I think the receivers were becoming more comfortable with him, catching more of his passes, so there was a comfort level. I've always thought that Sam is a naturally accurate passer."
Heading into Week 13, we take a look at some of the Patriots' key players that the Eagles will face in New England. View the full gallery here...
3. Brady Is Undefeated Vs. The Eagles
One of the other names to watch this week on the injury report is that of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. On Tuesday, the Patriots and Gronkowski's family released a statement about the All-Pro's right knee. The statement noted that Gronkowski suffered a bone bruise/sprain in the fourth quarter of the overtime loss to Denver last Sunday and that he is being evaluated on a "week-to-week basis." Reports have indicated that he will not play against the Eagles.
That is important because the Patriots' offense has already suffered a significant amount of injuries this season including ones to wide receiver Julian Edelman and left tackle Nate Solder. It's not like the injuries have slowed down the Patriots' offense. New England ranks second in points, third in yards and first in passing offense.
Quarterback Tom Brady is undefeated in five career starts against the Eagles, including Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady has not lost in the regular season to eight different teams in his NFL career. Following a loss, Brady is 40-8 and the Patriots have dropped consecutive games just four times since 2003 and not once since 2012.
4. Rowe Gets The Nod
"I think it’s time for him to go out there and see what we have," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said on Tuesday.
Davis was talking about cornerback Eric Rowe, who will start opposite Byron Maxwell with Nolan Carroll done for the season due to a fractured ankle. Rowe was thrust into action on Thanksgiving in Detroit and learned a great deal going against a future Hall of Fame receiver in Calvin Johnson.
"I learned how the best receiver in the game works," Rowe said. "That's a great learning experience for me, and with the (long) weekend, that really helped me clear my mind, it helped me recover for next week and now I just have to get back to what we're doing."
It won't be any easier taking on Brady and Co. this Sunday.
"The mindset is that we've got to try to outsmart Brady," Rowe said. "He's unbelievably smart. He is the best quarterback I've ever seen in my era. All we can do is just study film, study him up and try to out-scheme him. ... For any team, if we can just hold up the receivers, the rush will get there. We just have to do our job on the outside and we just have to play better."
5. The Message From The Leaders
Head coach Chip Kelly routinely names players like linebacker Connor Barwin, safety Malcolm Jenkins and center Jason Kelce among others as the leaders in the locker room. What do they say needs to happen to turn things around?
"You've got to get back to playing smart, good football and you've got to do it from the beginning and you've got to do it for four quarters," Barwin said. "It's the same thing you say when you're winning games and you want to keep winning games. When you're losing games, you've got to find that edge, play with confidence like you've been winning games, you've got to play clean. You need to eliminate the mistakes and stay in games and give yourself a chance to win at the end. Obviously the last two weeks we haven't given ourselves a chance to win games."
I liked the quote from Davis on Tuesday when he said that you can't overreact, but you can't underreact either. Jenkins said that the struggles on defense of late are not due to scheme or the coaching, but the players.
"We misfit a lot of runs as of late. We've given up big, explosive plays on the back end, missing tackles when those runs do misfit," Jenkins said. "We've been really bad in the red zone the last few games and third downs have been an issue. All of those things are individual players messing up on different plays. I would say on third down we've had a few coverage breakdowns, just miscommunications of somebody dropping coverage or not doing their job."
The players simply said that this team needs to find a way to get a win. Any way possible.