Good morning, Eagles fans! Today is another day of full practice for the Eagles ahead of Monday's clash with Washington. Practice begins at 1:20 p.m. and we will stream the beginning of it live. The players will then speak to the media in the locker room after practice. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup leading off with the road ahead for the Eagles.
1. Road Just Got Bumpier
The road to a division title is not going to be easy for the Eagles. The Cowboys' win over the Saints last night made that obvious. The only thing the Eagles can do now is win. They can't look to other teams for help. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has the formula for what the Eagles can do to play their best five weeks of football and get into the playoffs. It starts with cleaning up the turnovers, getting fast starts, and taking down Washington:
Turnovers destroy offenses. The Eagles have given the ball away 16 times – seven interceptions, nine fumbles – and they've had only eight takeaways. There are many factors for the disparity – the Eagles haven't started well offensively and, unlike last season, the defense hasn't been able to pin its ears back and get up the field is one – and all of them matter.
But what truly matters is what happens starting Monday night. The Eagles want to run the ball on offense, of course, but they know they need to take some shots down the field. They need some chunk plays. They need to find a few drives a game where they don't have to work so hard to score points.
2. Sproles Retakes The Practice Field
In his press conference yesterday, head coach Doug Pederson made a surprise announcement that running back Darren Sproles would practice. In a limited role, Sproles did work with the Eagles on the practice field ahead of Monday night's matchup with Washington. Sproles has not played in a game since Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Before the Eagles' Week 10 game against the Cowboys, Sproles was expected to practice and play but suffered another injury to his hamstring. Pederson did not say if he expects Sproles to play but it was a step forward for the veteran:
"He so wants to be on the field so bad that it will be exciting to get him out there today in a limited capacity," Pederson said. "Regardless of what happens after this season (Sproles has said he will retire), he's such a competitor and a leader of this football team, and he wants to be out there really, really, really bad."
3. Heavyweight Showdown: Ryan Kerrigan vs. Lane Johnson
Washington's defensive front poses a tremendous challenge for the Eagles' offense. Specifically, defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who has been an Eagles-killer in the past. Kerrigan has registered 10.5 sacks in 14 games against the Eagles and will match up against a long-time rival in Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson. Dave Spadaro writes that it's a crucial matchup and Johnson doesn't think Kerrigan has slowed down at all:
"He's seen everything from me, I've seen everything from him. We know what it is," Johnson said. "I enjoy playing against the guy. He's a classy guy, a great player. I love playing against great players. I think anytime you go against guys of that caliber, it only brings out the best in you. It has to if you want to perform well."
Washington's entire defense will be a tough test for an Eagles offense trying to find its groove. Getting something going early would be ideal.
"They're fast at linebacker, they're good on the back end, and they've got all kinds of talent up front," Johnson said. "We've got our work cut out for us."
4. Monday Night Magic
When the Eagles take on Washington on Monday night in Philadelphia, it will certainly bring back memories of the last time these two teams took the field. The Eagles won the Week 7 Monday night matchup 34-24 in one of Carson Wentz's best career games. Wentz passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a career-high 63 yards. He will try to rekindle some of that magic in a crucial game this week:
"As a whole, offensively, I mean, we started out slow," Wentz said. "Then we stayed kind of slow for a couple of drives and then just kind of turned it on. We turned it on and offensively, we started rolling, defense played great, and obviously, there were a ton of big plays made in that game.
"And there's a lot to build from in that game and learn from for how to attack these guys."
5. Soaring Innovation
Over the offseason, while the Eagles were the best team in football on the field, the organization did not take any time off from leading the league. Lincoln Financial Field installed unprecedented video technology that improves the fan experience and even help the Eagles as a team:
On the playing field, the Eagles have a secret weapon. Although engaging highlights of Carson Wentz completing a pass through a tight window may dazzle fans, the 4800's in low-end-zone positioning are paramount in an official review.
"For us, having a competitive edge is the most important thing by far," says Eric Long, vice president of content and creative for the Eagles. "When it comes to a critical play and getting a look at a toe being out of bounds or the spot of the ball, what this camera brought to the table pushed us over the edge. We rely heavily on this stuff to give our coaching staff the best looks, so we can, hopefully, help them out."