“Meaningful Football” For Birds In January
ITB Eagles Vs. Football Team Pre
The Eagles have a potential playoff-clinching weekend ahead, but they’ll need to take care of business against Washington first.
On the latest Inside The Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan preview the 1 p.m. matchup at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., and give predictions as well as postseason-clinching scenarios.
Geoff Mosher: “I find this game pretty cool … There’s something on the line here, the Eagles are playing meaningful football. So while we straddle that line between whether it’s an evaluation year, a transition year or a competition year … you can do both and you’re getting both this year and that’s what makes this weekend cool.”
Adam Caplan: “Yeah, it’s really cool. When we gave our preseason predictions, I said 7-8 wins is my win range and I thought that was reasonable. It looked like when they were struggling in the middle of the season, I’m like, ‘Alright, it’s not looking good for this.’ Then their schedule eased up, which we knew in the second half of the season, the schedule would be easier. Decent-to-good teams are going to beat most of the time – not always – but most of the time are going to be inferior teams and that’s what they’ve done.”
Caplan: “[Jonathan] Gannon, he’s not aggressive but the thing that’s been fascinating … the Eagles over the last two months are top-10 in man coverage. They were No. 1 in zone coverage for the first half of the season. It tells you how much more he trusts them at least in coverage.”
Caplan: “One thing I should mention, this tells you how good the Eagles run defense is: Over the last two months, eighth-best against opposing running backs, the Eagles giving up just over 3.7 yards per carry. Which in today’s NFL is phenomenal. There are only 10 teams giving up less than 4 yards per carry against opposing running backs. Now I know some people would argue – and it’s mostly true – they haven’t faced a who’s-who of running backs. [Saquon] Barkley has been hurt, he’s not the same guy with the ankle injury. They’ve had some good matchups, but you know what? Improvement is improvement. Against the pass they’ve improved greatly and against the run where they were terrible to start the season, they’re really good right now. It’s just the discipline, and this is what we’ve learned about evaluating [Jonathan] Gannon this season.”
Mosher: “So from a running game standpoint, this is going to be interesting because as we’ve talked about, Miles Sanders is out. Jordan Howard has the stinger. There’s also a slight sprain going on there. I know Jeff McLane said he could see that he’s wearing a harness, he’s wearing something on his shoulder to protect him. So that kind of to me signals a little bit of caution because, again, we’ve talked about taking contact on a shoulder that you’ve got two different things going on. There’s a nerve issue – a stinger – and a slight sprain. How much contact can he take before that shoulder might start to get sore or achy and then make ball security an issue or just the ability to play? That’s what we were told earlier in the week, his tolerance and pain threshold were going to be a deciding factor in him playing on Sunday.”
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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