1. Carson Wentz: Back Like He Never Left
Carson Wentz's return has been just about everything Eagles have hoped for. He has been his same, mobile, play-making self and led the offense to a resurgent victory over the Giants last Thursday. His numbers in his first four games can be compared favorably to other quarterbacks returning from knee injury like Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer (twice), and more. As Eagles' Insider Dave Spadaro writes, nothing showed the strength of Wentz return better than his touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery last Thursday:
What's remarkable about the play is that Wentz did everything against the grain there. Quarterbacks aren't supposed to throw the ball across their bodies into the middle of the field into the teeth of a defense. It's a formula for an interception. The coaching staff didn't exactly celebrate the decision to make the throw, but they sure loved the result.
"Unreal," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. "Just one of those throws that from a coach's perspective you just say, 'Wow.' One of those kinds of plays."
In Wentz's case, it was the formula for a spectacular play.
"It was hard to watch, honestly," quarterback Press Taylor said. "I thought he threw it right into the hands of (Giants linebacker) Alec Ogletree. But Carson had that innate ability to throw it just over the top, with the right amount of touch, lead Alshon across the field. It's just a play that you're not gonna coach, you can't take any credit for it. That's just a guy making a play. You hope that every time he makes that decision he makes that play and it's that kind of outcome with it. There's a lot of bad things that can happen with it.
"That's just a guy making a special play."
2. Roster Moves
The Eagles announced on Tuesday that they waived/injured defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao and signed cornerback Dexter McDougle. They also released linebacker Kyle Wilson from the practice squad and signed both linebacker B.J. Bello and defensive tackle Winston Craig to the practice squad. Click here for more on the moves.
3. Avonte Maddox Has Been Huge
With how important Avonte Maddox has been in the secondary, filling in at safety after Rodney McLeod's injury and then moving to the nickel corner spot when Sidney Jones left last week's game early with an injury, it's easy to forget that he is a rookie and a player that some consider undersized for the safety position. Maddox has done everything asked of him and done it well, describing himself as a defensive back instead of a specific position. He has turned the heads of his teammates and of the coaching staff with his last three games:
"He's a smart guy, he's mature beyond his years," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "From the time he's got here, there really hasn't been a situation where things were too big for him. He's just got a great attitude. When we said, 'Hey, we need you to take some safety reps.' He was like, 'OK.' We said, 'Hey, you have to go in there and play the nickel.' (He said), 'OK.'
"Those guys with that low blood pressure, that serves them well in stressful situations like that. Doesn't serve defensive coordinators well or secondary coaches or anybody else, but those guys on the field, he never bats an eye no matter what you're asking him to do, special teams, you know, any position on defense."
4. Ready For A Run
The Eagles sit at 3-3 going into an important game at home this week against the Carolina Panthers. It's certainly not where the team wanted to be at the start of the season. However, the Eagles aren't in a bad position. The NFC East is not separated by much and the Eagles got on the right foot last week in the division by taking down the New York Giants on the road. Tommy Lawlor writes that the landscape of the league is confusing right now and, if the Eagles keep winning, the NFL is wide open for the taking:
Mid-October is about the time of year when you start to look around the league to figure out who is good and who isn't. That is proving to be quite the challenge this season. You might have an easier time finding the Philadelphia chapter of the Jerry Jones Fan Club.
The Eagles sit at 3-3 and are a prime example of how confusing this season is. The Eagles are a few plays from being 5-1 or maybe even 6-0. They are also a few plays away from being 1-5. You could go with the Bill Parcells axiom that you are what your record is. That would mean the Eagles are an average team. With so many teams right around the .500 mark, I think you need to mix in some subjective analysis.