Good morning, Eagles fans! The Eagles have a full practice today before tomorrow's travel day to London. Head coach Doug Pederson will meet with the media at 10:30 a.m. and we will carry that live. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft leading off with what the Eagles' Chairman and CEO hopes the business trip overseas can accomplish.
1. Jeffrey Lurie On London
Jeffrey Lurie sat down with NFL Network's Good Morning Football to talk about the Eagles' first game in London and what the trip entails.
"I am excited. We get to bring our team to the UK where there's so many fans with that first chance to really see the team live so I'm really excited for that," Lurie said.
Lurie spoke to the challenging logistics of taking the team to Europe and adjusting to the five-hour time change quickly. He also discussed what the international games have done for the NFL and its global popularity.
"Here, we've got the most popular sports league by far in North America and we don't export that much," Lurie said. "So, the London series is the best method of export, Mexico City has been very successful, but we've got to be willing to be aggressive about it and take chances and that's what I think it's leading up to. With all the success, I feel it reinforces going more international."
The focus of the team is winning a football game. Lurie stressed that this is a business trip and everyone must remain focused. However, this game presents the opportunity to show to an international fan base what the Eagles organization and players do in the community each day.
"We're going to organize some events highlighting autism research in London," Lurie said. "One thing that is synonymous with the Eagles is our support of autism research with our **Eagles Autism Challenge** and all that and it's a chance to bring that to the UK. It's also a chance for the UK to learn about some of our players and the great community work that they do. ... I feel like it's an opportunity to share that our interests are very community based."
2. Bet On Jim Schwartz
The defense played 45 minutes of nearly perfect football on Sunday before it all turned in the fourth quarter. The defense allowed three-straight touchdown drives and couldn't seem to make they plays it was making in the first three quarters. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took heat for the way the game ended. But as Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro writes, Schwartz is the reason the Eagles' defense has been stellar for the past few seasons. He's willing to bank on Schwartz turning things around:
"On each of those drives, it was literally like one play that we've got to make, and you know, we've had that at different times this year, against the Titans (a 17-3 lead evaporated in an overtime loss). We had just a couple chances to be able to get a play to stop a drive. We weren't able to make it. We had a fourth-and-10 (against Carolina). Have to make that," Schwartz said on Tuesday.
"You know, there have been different times over the course of our years here that that's happened. But we've always sort of picked them up and made a play somewhere else along, special teams made a play, offense made a play, and then this, you know, we didn't get that done."
3. Offense Knows 17 Points Are Not Enough
Mike Groh spoke with the media yesterday as well and outlined his frustrations with the end of Sunday's loss to the Panthers. He talked about the importance of putting up more points consistently as well as getting back to the quick-strike plays the Eagles were known for a year ago. Center Jason Kelce spoke in the locker room about the issues offensively on Sunday and how he believes they should take as much blame for the loss as the defense. He said that 17 points is not enough to win games in the NFL and now the pressure is on going forward:
"Obviously, there's a sense of urgency," Kelce said. "Everyone's really upset at the last game, we had one of the worst closing quarters that I've ever been a part of for sure. Obviously, everybody's very embarrassed with the outcome. The reality is, offensively, we had numerous times to put that team out of their misery and numerous examples in the red zone to get touchdowns."
4. Lawlor: Supporting Pederson's Confidence
The Eagles were unable to close out a win on Sunday and that hurts. The reality is the Eagles are 3-4 and getting close to must-win mode. But head coach Doug Pederson has said since that the Eagles are only a few plays away from being 5-2 and that he trusts his team's ability to regroup and start winning these close games. While some aren't buying into Pederson's confidence, Tommy Lawlor believes he is absolutely right. The Eagles have impressive playmakers and they have been able to win close games in the past. There's not reason to think they can't turn it around now:
Pederson believes this team will start winning the close games. He knows how good these players can be. He knows Wentz is a great quarterback. The talent is there.
There is reason for optimism. The Eagles had a four-game win streak in 2016. They had a nine-game win streak last year. Pederson has shown that he can get his teams to play at a high level for an extended period of time.
Getting healthy will also help the situation. Darren Sproles, Haloti Ngata, and Sidney Jones could all be back in the next couple of weeks. Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace could be coming back. That would improve the offense, defense, and special teams.
5. Eagle Eye: Understanding The Offense
While the Eagles' offense put up only 17 points, the unit also made impressive plays and controlled the flow of the game for three quarters. When it came down to it, the offense's inability to extend a fourth-quarter drive kept the Eagles from putting the Panthers away. Fran Duffy broke down the good and bad from Sunday's loss in his Eagle Eye column beginning with how the Eagles' tight ends open holes all over for the offense:
At the snap, the Panthers have what appears to be some kind of extra attention toward Jeffery. The Eagles move Goedert to that side and the Panthers change their coverage up, deciding to "double" Ertz in the slot instead. Any lesser tight end would not command that kind of attention. This creates the one-on-one scenario for Jeffery, who abuses cornerback James Bradberry with his route and wins for a touchdown. This is also a phenomenal example of the Eagles' coaching staff understanding how opponents will react to their various shifts and motions to help get answers to Wentz before the snap and create room to work for their pass catchers in space.
6. Pumphrey To Practice Squad
The Eagles announced the signing of running back Donnel Pumphrey to the practice squad yesterday. The fourth-round draft selection by the Eagles in 2017 spent all of last season on the injured/reserve with a hamstring injury and was still banged up during Training Camp and the preseason. He was released on September 1 but returns now at full health.