Philadelphia Eagles News

Ella on the Scene: Inside Monday night's marquee matchup

Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson
Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson

The Vikings last visited Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in the NFC Championship Game. Two very different teams will meet again in prime time on Monday night. Let's head into the locker room and around the NovaCare Complex to get the inside scoop heading into the bright lights of Monday Night Football.

A WIDE RECEIVER SHOWDOWN

The top two performing wide receivers through Week 1 will step onto the same field in South Philadelphia: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson (184 yards vs the Packers) and Eagles WR A.J. Brown (155 yards vs the Lions). This will be just the second time in NFL history a pair of wide receivers will meet in Week 1 after each having 150+ receiving yards in the opener.

As Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon creates a game plan to best deploy his defenders against Jefferson, Brown says, "In my opinion, he's top three (wide receiver) in this league. I'm excited for our defense, because they have a big challenge ahead of them."

Safety Marcus Epps has been in an "iron sharpens iron" situation throughout the preseason – A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith having prepared him for Monday night's challenge: "We feel like having gone against them throughout camp they got us ready for these moments going against a receiver that's as good as Justin Jefferson," Epps said. "We saw what he did in Week 1, so we feel pretty good about having gone against that talent level in Training Camp."

A WELL-OILED MACHINE

Running back Boston Scott punched the fourth and final rushing touchdown of the day against the Lions. I caught up with him at his locker where he credited the offensive line – a unit he called, "the best offensive line in the league hands down."

The Eagles put 216 yards on the ground, Scott saying, "it's a synergy thing." When all the guys upfront are in sync, the running game takes off.

"You can't take what you see out there for granted," Scott said. "Not every offensive line is like that. I can't say enough about those dudes. They want to put it on their back every time."

And while we're on the subject of the offensive line, Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen spoke unprompted about right tackle Lane Johnson: "This guy is one of the best offensive linemen I've ever been around, and he was dominant on Sunday – He's a freak show."

For Johnson, he admits Steichen's words give him confidence, but he takes it with a grain of salt. His goal – to take it week-by-week.

Johnson quickly passes the praise to the guy to the left of him, Isaac Seumalo. He's been impressed by Seumalo's transition from the left guard position to the right: "There's not a lot of players that can do that and can be as effective as they were," Johnson said. "Having him and (Jason) Kelce, and really just going down the line – we have a lot of talented guys, we work together, and it helps everybody."

So when Scott says he's "in awe" of Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland, it's no surprise that his preparation and passion trickles down to the big boys.

HOBBY TIME

As rookie Jordan Davis prepares for his Lincoln Financial Field debut, he shared a new hobby he's recently picked up: Legos.

Davis said he has more time in the NFL as opposed to college, and he wanted to find a way to keep his mind focused in the downtime: "I just bought my first kit a week ago, and I finished it three days ago. I don't know if it's going to be a habit, but I hope not – it's pretty expensive."

GOLDEN GLOVES OF GIVING

Every week, Eagles players donate their time in the community. The events vary from working with community partners, hospital visits, Salute to Service Week, and so much more. Following each event, a participating player wins the "Golden Gloves of Giving," and the gloves live in their locker for the week. Linebacker T.J. Edwards won the first set of gloves, following the team's visit to Leveling the Playing Field during Week 1.

A DAY TO NEVER FORGET

Monday marked 9/11 Day at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philadelphia served as one of 11 cities to host a day of service to honor the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The nonprofit organization 9/11 Day strives to transform a tragic day in American history to one of positive and impactful change.

Hundreds of volunteers including Eagles players, alumni, and staff packed 285,000 meals to be donated to Philabundance.

Former Eagles tight end Brent Celek said, "This city has given me everything that I have, so anyway I can give back through the Eagles doing these types of things – I love it."

CAN YOU COLLECT THE PINS?

The Eagles Autism Foundation is launching a new initiative that coincides with the 50/50 Raffle available at every Eagles home game. Fans will receive an exclusive pin with each $25 raffle ticket purchased.

There are four different pin designs for each game, and every ticket seller will have just one of the four pins at their station. Can you collect all four pins at the home opener? On Monday night, you can receive a 2022 season home opener pin, a "Go Birds" pin, a Jalen Hurts pin, or a Brandon Graham pin. Proceeds from each ticket purchased benefits Eagles Autism Foundation in their mission to provide innovative research and care programs for the autism community.

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