Soaring Eagles separate themselves from the pack

NFL: Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles
Nov 5, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) celebrates his 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Lincoln Financial Field. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

November 6, 2017

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – The Philadelphia Eagles were dismissed as long shots when the National Football League season began two months ago but they have taken the league by storm to emerge as serious Super Bowl contenders.

Each year it seems at least one team comes out of nowhere to make a run at the postseason but nobody could have predicted the sheer dominance shown by the Eagles as they cruised to the league’s best record heading into their bye week.

Their chances this season rested on the shoulders of Carson Wentz and the second-year quarterback has answered the call, most recently on Sunday when he tossed four touchdowns in a convincing win over Denver that improved Philadelphia to 8-1.

Despite having at least two more wins than any other NFL team, the suddenly confident Eagles are far from complacent as they chase a maiden Super Bowl championship.

“We’re never going to settle,” said Wentz, who leads the NFL with 23 touchdown passes this season. “Touchdowns, whatever, that’s all great but being 8-1 is what it’s all about.

“I didn’t know what to expect with stats and all that stuff, that doesn’t really matter. But I will say I’ve always had high expectations for myself, for this team, so we’re fortunate where we’re at.”

The Eagles had an encouraging start to the 2016 season until Wentz began to struggle, as so many rookie signal callers do, en route to a 7-9 campaign.

But with a year of seasoning and upgrades to the team’s offense and defense, Wentz has proved to be the real deal and the former second overall draft pick is making a strong case for being named Most Valuable Player.

READY TO GO

“As great as it is, we still have half a season and seven ballgames left,” said Eagles coach Doug Pederson as they look forward to their bye week.

“We’ve got to come out and enjoy this time this week, reflect on what we’ve done, but we’ve got to come back ready to go next week.

“If you don’t take care of business from here on out, it’s all for nothing.”

The Eagles’ receiving corps was a major issue in 2016 but the offseason acquisition of Alshon Jeffery has helped bolster an offense that appears capable of going up against any defense.

The recent addition of former Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi — who rushed for 77 yards on eight carries and one touchdown in his Eagles debut on Sunday — as well as moves to shore up the defense, have also paid off.

“The sky is the limit, man. We’re just working real hard, taking whatever the defense gives us,” said Jeffery. “We just believe in ourselves.”

Philadelphia have faced little drama as they opened up a seven-game win streak but will face perhaps their toughest test of the season so far when they return from their bye week.

Three of their next four games are on the road against the rival Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams and should go a long way in determining how much chance the Eagles have of reaching the Feb. 4 Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

“We’re staying grounded, all the way,” Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said. “We have a mature team, even though we’re pretty young in spots. We know what we’re capable of doing.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

  • InAtlanta

    IF OANN WILL NOT CEASE AND DESIST GIVING THE DISRESPECTFUL THUGROES IN THE NFL FREE PUBLICITY, I SAY ITS TIME TO FIND OTHER SOURCES IF NEWS.
    LETS PUT AN END TO THIS MADNESS. BOYCOTT OANN NOW!

  • Austrailianterrierlady

    who cares I boycott the NFL, NATIONAL; NFL BOYCOTT IS THIS SUNDAY

  • intimeforthedime

    THE NFL AND ALL SPONSORS CAN GO POUND SALT!

  • AtomicFury

    Just my luck they decide to have a breakout year in Year Two of my NFL boycott. But I’ve learned to be skeptical of Philadelphia sports franchises. Trust me, the Birds will let down their America-hating fans once again. It’s a condition of supporting them.

  • BNG66

    Boycott

  • BNG66

    #yawn

  • Richard McMeekin

    This gold star mother wrote a letter to the editor which was published. I hope this reaches the players on this Philadelphia Eagles team. Apparently it has not reached Roger the Dodger Goodell – or at least if it has, he has ignored it. It was entitled:

    Get Off your Damn Knees

    This Sunday, it was 11 years since two Marines showed up at our door to tell
    us that my husband’s first child, my stepson and our two children’s brother,
    Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Cosgrove III, 23, was killed by a suicide bomber at a
    checkpoint in Iraq. He should have been out of Iraq but he volunteered to stay
    behind to train the new Marines coming to replace them. Christopher left behind
    his mother, father, stepmother and stepfather, his brothers and his fiancee.

    I watched as they informed my husband that his son, the love of his life,
    died in the line of duty. I watched the strong man I married be reduced to a
    puddle of tears. When I sat our children on the couch to tell them that
    Christopher was gone, I watched as my previously carefree 13 year-old son curled
    into a ball and began sobbing as if I just punched him in the stomach, and I
    had to look at my innocent 9 year-old son and answer his question, “Why didn’t
    Christopher shot the bad guy first?”

    Several days later, we had the privilege of attending his “dignified
    transfer” at Dover Air Force Base. I’m sure you have seen it depicted on
    television or in the movies. Viewing it reduces most people to tears. To
    actually experience it is indescribable. The gut-wrenching, raw emotion of the
    experience is not anything an individual can prepare themselves for. The sound
    of “Amazing Grace” as you walk behind the casket, the sound of the 21 gun
    salute, the playing of “Taps” and the presentation of the flag at his graveside
    cannot be described because there are no words that can ever appropriately
    describe any of those moments. Looking up and seeing the Patriot Guard Riders
    lining the street to the church and the cemetery is breath-taking. However, in
    the end, the family goes home to live with the grief and loss for the rest of
    their lives.

    Christopher loved his life. He loved being a Marine and he loved this
    wonderful country. He lit up a room when he walked into it. His laugh was
    infectious. Instead of watching football today, we decorated his Memorial Tree
    with orange lights and pumpkins for Halloween, which will be replaced by red,
    white and blue lights at Christmas time. We no longer watch the NFL. They’re
    not worth our time.

    I ask all of you taking a knee: Do ALL black lives matter or just some?
    Because if they do, why do you only protest the black lives lost as a result of
    police action? Michael Brown was a thug. Trayvon Martin was a thug. Anthony
    Lamar Smith was a heroin dealer. How many lives he destroyed in the black
    community will forever be unknown. Did any of you show up at the trial of MS-13
    gang members who killed three innocent black teenagers and seriously wounded a
    fourth in a school yard in Newark in 2007 to comfort the families or any of the
    other trials of defendants who killed innocent children? Did you ever show up
    at any of the marches against violence by preachers and parents who have lost
    children that are held in the inner cities around this country?

    Do you care about the 506 people who have been killed in Chicago this year
    alone, and the 751 killed last year? Did the Chicago Bears go out en masse to
    support those families? Have any of you taken the millions of dollars you make
    playing a game and establish scholarships to private schools for inner city
    youth who are desperate for a way out of their current circumstances with a
    mother or father working several part-time jobs because their one full-time job
    was eliminated by Obamacare requirements? Have any of you engaged in anti-gang
    violence programs in the inner cities you live closest to? Gangs claim more
    black lives than police ever could or will.

    Did any of you take a knee when your fellow NFL player Aaron Hernandez lured
    a young black man to a desolate place before he executed him because he didn’t
    trust him? If you did, I must have missed it. Did that black life not matter
    because he was taken by one of your own? What about his other victims? Did
    their lives not matter either?

    What about Cpl. Montrell Jackson assassinated in Baton Rouge? Did his black
    life not matter? What about his infant son who will grow up without his father
    because of the actions of followers of BLM? What about the five Dallas Police
    Officers killed by a sniper? Did they deserve to die because they were
    protecting the BLM marchers rallying against them? Did Officers Rafael Ramos
    and Wenjian Liu deserve to be ambushed in N.Y. after BLM marched in the street
    chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” Oh, I’m sorry.
    I forgot. I guess “blue” lives don’t matter to members of the NFL, except to
    their credit, the Dallas Cowboys.

    I will not begin to presume how Christopher would feel about what the NFL is
    doing now by disrespecting the national anthem and the country for which he
    sacrificed his life. I can only share how I feel.

    I watched 8-year-old children emulating you as they took a knee as the
    national anthem played. Do you know that the tradition of playing the national
    anthem began in 1862, during the Civil War? Do those 8-year-olds know that the
    man they are disrespecting our flag and country for was a heroin dealer who
    fled the police in a high-speed chase? Whether you believe there was a gun or
    not, a gun was recovered in the vehicle. Do they know that, or are you teaching
    them that all cops lie? Did his coach portray him to them as an innocent black
    man randomly shot by the police or was he honest with them? What do you think?

    I know what Christopher’s death did to our family. I know what the families
    of all those innocent children in Chicago and around the country are going
    through, because we have been there. I know what it is to wake up every day
    having lost a part of your family and knowing that your life will never be the
    same.

    So while you are busy taking a knee, ask yourselves: Do all Black Lives
    Matter? Or only the black lives killed by police officers trying to protect the
    very same community from the crime that surrounds them, frequently committed by
    the very individuals who are killed by the police?

    Here’s my suggestion for all of you. You should be on your knees thanking
    God for giving you the talent to play a game thousands of young men would give
    their right arm to be talented enough to play at the professional level. Thank
    God for the ability to make more money in a single game than many of those
    police officers protecting you and your communities will make in a lifetime.
    Thank God for having been blessed to have been born in a country that gives you
    that opportunity for the sole reason that you are a gifted athlete. Most of
    all, thank God for men like my stepson who fought in 120 degree heat in full
    military gear and died to defend your ability to live freely in this country.
    Then get off your damn knees. Stand for the American flag and national anthem
    that represents the country and those who have died defending her to give you
    this opportunity, and DO something to prove that black lives actually DO matter
    to you. Put your money where your knee is.

    Get engaged in the inner-city communities around you. Act as a role model
    and mentor to these kids. Set up your own scholarship funds at decent schools.
    Take a ride-along with those officers you are protesting and see what they face
    every day as they do their best to protect ALL lives. Take a “Shoot, don’t
    shoot” class and see how difficult it is for officers to make that split-second
    decision, knowing that if they are wrong they will either die or go to jail.
    Meet with the families of children killed in random drive-by shootings and
    support them instead of those committing the crimes. Get to know some police
    officers and actually talk with them and, more importantly, listen to what they
    have to say. Support anti-gang initiatives.

    As for me, once an avid football fan on every level, I haven’t watched you
    play since Kaepernick started this protest last year. I’ll watch college games,
    which are more fun anyway. If college students start participating in these
    protests, I can easily live without football. Your privileged, self-important,
    hypocritical attitudes disgust me and millions of other patriotic Americans. I
    owe it to Christopher and every other fallen soldier and veteran to stand up
    against your blatant disrespect of our country, our flag, our anthem, our
    military, and our police officers.

    Good riddance.

    Eileen Cosgrove, of New Providence, N.J., is a retired attorney and
    author of “The Fighting Hawks at D-Day” and “The Fighting Hawks at Pearl
    Harbor,” a time-travel adventure series for children 8 and up, so they can
    learn and understand the sacrifices made by our military over the years.

  • Another Deplorable

    “The Philadelphia Eagles were dismissed as long shots when the National Football League season began…” and I’ve dismissed the entire NFL. Hooray for me!!!

    • Ken Jones

      Same here my friend.