Good morning, Eagles fans! The Birds are not in the building today as they enjoy an off day following Monday's walk-through. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft leading off with an update on the status of the Eagles' All-Pro left tackle.
1. Could Jason Peters Play vs. Panthers?
Jason Peters left the Eagles' win against the Giants early with a biceps injury. Head coach Doug Pederson said Friday that it's a day-to-day injury, Peters is being evaluated in tests, and the outlook was positive.
Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland spoke with the media Monday and Chris McPherson writes that he too has an optimistic outlook on the situation:
"I don't think he's going to miss any time, personally," Stoutland said of Peters.
"That guy is a warrior. You know how he is. He keeps playing and playing and playing," he added.
2. Corralling Cam
The Eagles face a difficult and unique challenge in facing quarterback Cam Newton this week. The 6-5, 245-pound game-changer has a rocket arm and unique power-running ability. Newton finished last season with a career-high in rushes (139) and rushing yards (754). However, in games when Newton has a passer rating of more than 100.0 since 2013, he is 26-3.
The Eagles will need to control his passing game, like they did in last year's 28-23 win on the road in which Newton threw three interceptions, and make sure they can corral Newton throughout the game. Eagles' Insider Dave Spadaro has more on what makes this quarterback so special and what the Eagles need to do to stop him:
"If you don't prepare for Cam Newton and his ability as a ballcarrier then you will have a rough day against him," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "They have designed runs. They're running 'power' runs. He's more of a power running back than half the running backs they have. He's tough to get on the ground. At the same time, you can't commit 1,000 guys to the run, because he can pick it up and throw it. They've got more-than-capable guys on the back end. So that's what makes it a unique challenge to match up with these guys.
"I can't think of another quarterback in the league where they're running 'quarterback powers,' so you really have to account for him as a true running back in their run game, which is why they're always in the top of the league in rushing. Also, to have the arm to make every throw on the field, to be able to stretch the field, and have the receivers to do it … it's things that guys aren't used to doing. So this week of preparation is going to be key for us. We won't have to prepare for these types of things for the rest of the year."
3. Eagle Eye: Defense Dominates
The defense started fast on Thursday, using a turnover to set the offense up in the red zone and get the Eagles on the board right away. It set the tone for the 34-13 against the Giants. Fran Duffy liked what he saw from the defense in an important game not just on the first series but throughout the big win:
It's second-and-2 from the 33-yard line. The Giants come out in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends), causing the Eagles to come out in their base defense with four defensive linemen and three linebackers. The coverage call is something the Eagles utilized a lot of in this game, with a Combo Cover 2 look on the back end.
At the top of the screen, away from Beckham, the Eagles are in a Cover 2 Invert look. Cover 2 Invert is basically the same as your normal, high school version of Cover 2, except the corner is dropping to play as a half-field safety and the safety is playing in the flat as a typical Cover 2 corner would. The two defenders switching – or inverting – their responsibilities in the scheme makes it a Cover 2 Invert call.
At the bottom of the screen, and this is the important part, the Eagles are playing Cover 2 over Beckham. Jalen Mills is up at the line of scrimmage and gives the Pro Bowl target a jam early with safety help over the top in the form of Avonte Maddox. This was an early sign of things to come in this game, but it had no effect on the outcome of the play. Eli Manning drops back and wants to hit tight end Scott Simonson on a sit route over the ball, and Jordan Hicks breaks on the throw perfectly. The veteran linebacker pokes his hand in, knocks the ball up in the air in athletic fashion, and Kamu Grugier-Hill comes over to pick off the pass and return it into the red zone, setting up the Eagles' first touchdown of the day. It was a great read by Hicks in his Cover 2 technique, as he opened up his hips to the three-receiver side of the formation (as any middle linebacker does in that coverage), and read the route perfectly to break up the pass for the turnover.
4. Roster Move
The Eagles signed linebacker B.J. Bello to the practice squad on Tuesday. The 6-3, 229-pound product of Illinois State had six tackles last season as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent. The 23-year-old joined the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad after 53-man roster cuts and was released on September 18.