Good morning, Eagles fans! It's quiet at the NovaCare Complex today as the bye week is in full swing. The trade deadline is a 4 p.m. today and we will of course provide updates if anything happens. But for now, here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft beginning with a London takeover.
1. Eagles Invasion
Eagles fans flooded London this past weekend and painted the city midnight green. While thousands came from the Philadelphia region to enjoy all that England has to offer, thousands more Eagles fans came from regions around the world to see the Eagles play live, many for the first time. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro was there, meeting with fans at events across the city all week. He recounted the success of the Eagles' business trip and shared stories of the unique fans he met:
"It was an incredible experience to see all of the fans from not only the Philadelphia area but from, truly, around the world who came out to support the football team this weekend," Eagles President Don Smolenski said. "To see all those fans at our pep rallies and then at the game, it just made this organization once again so thankful to our fans for their passion. It makes a difference. It was a road game for the team on the schedule, but the way the fans came out and wore the Midnight Green and shouted 'E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES' throughout London and carried that enthusiasm into Wembley Stadium turned Sunday into a home-game feeling for all of us. Thank you from the Eagles. It was amazing!"
2. Pederson's Plans For The Bye
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the media yesterday following Sunday's win and outlined the success of the trip abroad as well as the team's plans for the bye. The bye week comes at a perfect time as the Eagles can ride the momentum of a big win and take time to get healthy and refreshed. When the team returns, Pederson has a plan for improvement:
"We have to continue to get better on third down. ... Red zone efficiency has got to improve in the second half of the season. We have to score more points," Pederson said. "So we just have to keep improving. We have to get better. Hopefully we get some guys back healthy in this second half of the season. We know our division: we have five division (games) in the next eight weeks, so that's a challenge, but everything is right in front of us."
3. Turning Up The Heat
The Eagles' defense went out of its element this weekend and blitzed a LOT against Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's surprising decision to turn up the heat was effective. Fran Duffy breaks down the tape of the defense's performance in his Eagle Eye column:
- Seventeen of those blitzes were against pass plays, five of them were run plays.
- Bortles was 6-of-13 against the blitz for 82 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times for -21 yards and he ran once for 8 yards. Avonte Maddox's forced fumble on a completion downfield also occurred on a blitz. Bortles was blitzed on 17 of 52 dropbacks (32.7 percent) which, according to the fine folks working over at NFL Matchup, would place the Eagles third among teams that blitz the most in the NFL – if that was the ratio over an entire season, of course.
- Twenty of the 22 blitz calls were five-man pressures. The Eagles went Cover 0 with six blitzers twice, and one of them was on the touchdown catch by Dede Westbrook.
- Fourteen of the 22 blitzes had man coverage on the back end (some form of Cover 1 with one high safety or the pair of Cover 0 looks). The other eight had zone looks, typically with three deep defenders and three underneath (though some had a Cover 2 look as well).
- The Jaguars struggled against the run blitzes, rushing five times for 10 yards.
4. Best Of The Best In Week 8
Two Eagles made Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week after standout performances against the Jaguars. Left tackle Jason Peters was named to the offensive team of the week and defensive end Brandon Graham headlined the defensive team of the week:
Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles – 82.9
Peters missed some time during the game but his ability to return and perform at a high level was key for the Eagles. Solid as a run blocker, it was in pass protection where he really made his mark, allowing zero sacks, hits or hurries from 25 pass-blocking snaps, good for a 100.0 pass-blocking efficiency rating.
Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles – 90.5
Graham didn't record a sack on Sunday but he did rack up a hit and eight hurries from 43 pass-rushing snaps. Like has been the case for much of his career, Graham doesn't consistently bring the quarterback down, but he does consistently getting pressure, with Sunday's game taking him to 38 total pressures on the year.