Good morning, Eagles fans! The Eagles are back at the NovaCare Complex for practice on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Doug Pederson meets the media at 10:30 a.m. to provide the latest on the quarterback front and much more. Later this afternoon, Amy Campbell will provide a complete recap of the day's news and notes on Eagles 360 presented by Xfinity. Until then, here's what you need to know in our Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. Where Do The Eagles Stand In The Power Rankings?
The return of the NFL regular season also means the return of power rankings. The Eagles are the top-ranked team on five major sites and are in the top five just about everywhere.
Check out this stat from ESPN's Doug Clawson, who has the Eagles No. 1: Michael Bennett wasn't a force in the box score in his debut (two tackles, zero sacks), but his versatility will help a deep Eagles defensive line throughout the season. He played 40 total snaps on Thursday, 19 at right end, 16 at left end, one at right defensive tackle and four at left defensive tackle. The Falcons gained 3.6 yards per play when he was on the field, and 6.3 yards per play when he was off the field.
NFL.com's Elliot Harrison also has the Eagles atop the leaderboard: Ugly, ugly, ugly annnnnnnnnd ... a win. That's all that matters, right? If you're scoring at home, Philadelphia hasn't lost a game that counts since early last December. (No, we're not counting that Week 17 snooze-fest against the Cowboys that mattered nada.) Thought the Eagles secured last Thursday's win multiple times, only to suffer through them playing footsie on a punt, logging a few tight end drops and committing the most airheaded neutral-zone penalty of all time. All of which darn-near derailed the defending champs. But ... they ... just ... keep ... winning.
From USA Today: Wasn't a pretty opener, but respect factor — and, yes, dominant defense — keeps reigning champs in pole position until further notice.
2. Jason Peters Is Officially Back
All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters played his first game, regular season or preseason, last Thursday after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 7 of 2017 and he was back to his dominant self. While Pederson said Peters was a little fatigued after the game, he played nearly every offensive snap and didn't show any signs of injury. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has more on Peters' incredible return:
“We’re watching a first-ballot Hall of Famer. One of the most talented players at any position to ever play the game,” Howie Roseman said on Tuesday from his NovaCare Complex office. “To have him here in Philadelphia for all of these years and to see what he does every time he’s on the field, it’s just special. It’s remarkable and sometimes you just have to step back and appreciate Jason and what he brings to this football team and this city.”
3. Three Takeaways From Jim Schwartz
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz addressed the media early Tuesday afternoon. Here's what we learned:
- On the return of Jordan Hicks: "He looked a lot like he always has. I thought one of the biggest plays in the game was his sack. It wasn't just getting the sack, but just the way he did it. It was such a physical play with such a – it really helped our defense sort of catch on fire.
"I've said a lot times that Nigel Bradham has played that role for us and has been the heart and soul of our defense. Well, Jordan was able to give us that same kind of spark. I thought it was a really key part of the game. It was such a physical play."
- On Brandon Graham's performance after missing all of the preseason: "Those guys were just really bringing it. They were able to do that because they were fresh. But he was able to make it through. I don't think it's ever ideal that you miss 95 percent of Training Camp or whatever it was. But he's a veteran player; he's been through a lot of those wars before. He was able to pick things up pretty quickly.
I think we haven't seen - I think there is more left to be seen from Brandon also, which is a good sign."
- On Tampa Bay putting up 48 points on the Saints: "They made a lot of big plays. DeSean Jackson down the field, (Mike) Evans, tight end. A lot of big plays. (Ryan) Fitzpatrick has been around for a long time. He got hot, and New Orleans had a hard time getting him stopped.
"Yeah, it was eye-opening to watch it for sure."
4. Three More Takeaways From Mike Groh
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh also met with the media and offered these updates:
- On the lack of explosive plays: "I don't think there was any real issue. We had some chances down the field and didn't capitalize on them. Atlanta has got a lot of talent over there. They've got excellent defensive backs. They made some plays on the football, too, which kept the production down.
"We know that we've got to create more explosive plays and push the ball down the field."
- On the Bucs' defense: "Their linebackers obviously really set the tone there with Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, guys that have played a lot of good football over the last several years.
"I recruited Kwon Alexander out of high school, so I have followed him for a long time. In their secondary they have added some pieces there. I know they are hoping to get Brent Grimes back and of course Vernon Hargreaves III out there on the perimeter at corner. Both of those guys are really good corner cover guys.
"They've got team speed, a lot like Atlanta. Like we talked about here today, their defensive line, they have invested and put some pressure on the quarterback and created those kind of matchups. We've got our work cut out for us."
- On the lack of snaps for rookie Dallas Goedert with injuries at wide receiver: "I think it just kind of happened that way. I don't know there was a particular plan to limit his reps. We feel very confident what Dallas is going to do and how he'll produce for us as the year goes on. Targeted Dallas I think three times in the game and he had the one catch, so we think we'll get a lot of production out of him."
5. Breaking Down Philly Philly
In his All-22 analysis of the offense from Thursday's win over Atlanta, Fran Duffy details the play that ignited the attack in the second half - Philly Philly:
A spin-off of the play immortalized from Super Bowl LII, Nick Foles caught a 15-yard pass from Nelson Agholor, which to that point had been the longest completion of the night. There certainly were some similarities to the touchdown that Foles caught against the Patriots in February, but really it harkens back more to the play that New England actually ran AGAINST the Eagles earlier in the same game. The pass that Tom Brady dropped? That was the play the Eagles ran with success against the Falcons last week, and it led to the first touchdown of the 2018 season. You’ll see in the clip above the similarities between the plays, and it was the perfect time for Pederson to reach into his bag of tricks to give his team a shot in the arm when it needed it most.
6. Don't Dismiss The Value Of The Practice Squad
The Eagles brought back safety Tre Sullivan to the practice squad and released cornerback De'Vante Bausby who had been on the practice squad.