The Eagles hold their first practice of the week later this afternoon as preparation is underway for Sunday's showdown in Kansas City. Make sure to join us for head coach Doug Pederson's press conference at 10:30 a.m. Until then, here are the things to know for Wednesday, September 13.
1. Will This Be The Year For Brian Dawkins?
Eagles Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins has a nice ring to it. Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins would be even sweeter.
Dawkins was named as one of the 108 modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night joining other former Eagles like Eric Allen, Randall Cunningham, Seth Joyner, Sean Landeta, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Dick Vermeil, and Ricky Watters.
No. 20 deserved to be a first-ballot selection last year but didn't make it. Ray Didinger laid out the perfect case for Dawkins. There are 11 first-year players including the likes of Randy Moss and Ray Lewis who are worthy candidates.
The under-the-radar name for the Eagles in Joyner. He is a member of the 20/20 club for interceptions and sacks and was named the NFL Player of the Year in 1991 by Sports Illustrated and the runner-up for the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
2. Eagles Surge In Power Rankings
Analysts were impressed by the Eagles' performance Sunday in the win over Washington.
NFL.com's Eliot Harrison moved the Eagles up nine spots to No. 10 in his power rankings.
"Coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense showed a glimpse of why I think the Eagles are a sneaky playoff team. The front seven made life miserable for Washington QB Kirk Cousins, even when Philly didn't get him on the ground," Harrison wrote.
FOX Sports host Colin Cowherd has the Eagles at No. 3 in his rankings.
"I'm high on the Eagles," Cowherd said. "(Carson) Wentz and those playmakers extend drives, keep the defense off the field."
ESPN has the Eagles in the middle of the two other outlets at No. 9.
"Hop on the Wentz Wagon while there's still room," noted ESPN. "The young quarterback should continue to improve, and he'll have a lot of help from FPI's second-ranked defense."
The Eagles prepare to take on the Chiefs in Week 2. Take a look at some of their key players to watch.
3. Jim Schwartz Isn't Sleeping On Alex Smith
Not our own Alex Smith, but the Chiefs' quarterback who threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns in last Thursday's win over the Patriots earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
"I don't know if it goes underrated, but it is in my book – he's a good athlete. They run a lot more read-option-type plays than most teams that we'll face, so you have to account for that," Schwartz said. "Bootleg passes, you have to account for that. He does throw the ball quick, but he has the ability to escape if he doesn't throw the ball quick. You couldn't have a much better game than he had in Week 1.
"He's been around for a long time and I've got a lot of respect for his ability to execute the offense. We’re going to have to play our very best against him."
The Chiefs have a dynamic playmaker at running back in Kareem Hunt, wide receiver/returner in Tyreek Hill, and tight end in Travis Kelce. But the man running the show is the former No. 1 overall pick in Smith.
4. Frank Reich Wants Offense To Remain Aggressive
The very first play on offense Sunday was a deep shot down the field to wide receiver Torrey Smith. The two didn't connect, but offensive coordinator Frank Reich will continue to test defenses all season long.
"I think we really worked hard on getting some players in the building that we felt comfortable throwing the ball deep to," Reich said. "We've worked on that throughout the entire offseason. Throwing it, design plays for it, thinking personnel. Coach (Doug Pederson) made it abundantly clear. We’re going to be aggressive all year and we're going to take our shots. A lot of times those are lower-percentage throws but you just have to keep throwing them. You've got to have the confidence."
5. Making Moves
The Eagles agreed to terms with Jake Elliott on Tuesday to handle the kicking duties and placed Caleb Sturgis on Injured Reserve with a hip injury. Sturgis' season is not over. If healthy, he would be eligible to practice as early as Week 8 and could be placed on the active roster during the Week 10 bye.
Tackle Victor Salako and cornerback De'Vante Bausby were also signed to the practice squad.
6. How Long Before They Learn The Eagles Chant?