Good morning. The Eagles are at work today preparing for Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Doug Pederson has a 10:45 a.m. press conference, and Nick Foles follows at 12:05 p.m. The Eagles are not practicing, but they’ll have a 1:45 p.m. walkthrough.
— Zach Berman
At this time last week, the Eagles were focused on stopping Bears running back Tarik Cohen, a dynamic threat who entered the game with the most catches on the Bears. Cohen didn’t do much damage against the Eagles, touching the ball only four times on offense (one carry, no yards; three catches, 27 yards).
“Most of that credit goes to Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “They had a huge hand in that. I can’t say enough about how those guys played, because even the one play that he went down the field, that was neither of those guys’ coverage. It wasn’t just stopping the pass; it was stopping the run. …We were treating him like he was a wide receiver, and that went to Cre’Von [LeBlanc] and Cre’Von is one of those guys that’s really stepped up for us.”
This is relevant not just because it was a key to winning last Sunday, but also because a similar approach will be needed to win this Sunday. As much of a threat as Cohen posed, New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara is even more dangerous. Kamara had 1,592 yards from scrimmage this season and has had 81 catches for two consecutive seasons. In the first game against the Eagles, Kamara rushed for 71 yards and caught a 37-yard touchdown.
So Bradham and Jenkins (and LeBlanc) will have significant responsibilities again Sunday.
It sounds like the coaching staff was pleased with Isaac Seumalo’s performance against the Bears. After missing three games, all wins, because of a pectoral injury, Seumalo returned for the postseason and was back as the starting left guard. He played over Stefen Wisniewski, who opened the season as the starter, was benched for Seumalo, and then replaced Seumalo at the end of the year. He was also the starter during the Super Bowl.
“He played really well,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said of Seumalo. “He played solid. For missing the time he did, really good, a nice job, and under the circumstances. They have got a really good defensive line, and Isaac stepped up and played well.”
Seumalo is going to need to play better this weekend than he did in the last Saints meeting, when Carson Wentz was sacked three times.
Jim Schwartz knows that the Eagles-Bears game will long be remembered for the blocked field goal at the end that doinked off the upright and the crossbar. One of Schwartz’s regrets was that in the postgame excitement, he didn’t get to Bears kicker Cody Parkey.
“I never got a chance to go tell him how much I respect him and how much I respect that you live in that kind of fishbowl,” Schwartz said. “Again, I’m super happy that we won and everything else, but any — I don’t think there’s a competitor out there that doesn’t know what that’s like.”
Schwartz noted that he once lost a game when a kick hit both uprights. It didn’t hit the crossbar, but it was proof to Schwartz “how much of a game of inches that is.”
Schwartz, who barely knows Parkey but crossed paths with him for a summer with the Eagles in 2016, pointed to how many players in the game made mistakes. Some mistakes can be obscured when there are more players on the field, but it’s a different life for kickers.
“That kid has one play that’s on display for everybody, and he misses it by inches. That’s the pressure those guys live through,” Schwartz said. “It’s the pressure all of our guys live through, but more so for those guys.”
How come there has been no comments about the two point conversion Doug called, that failed, and opened the door to the game ending field goal attempt.
All game long the run up the middle was stuffed by the bears, and the air bourn assault by the eagles was from more than a yard out. I know it barely missed
But it still seemed like a poor choice of play. Any thoughts?
- Lee G., via email
The Eagles have certain plays for goal-line and two-point conversions, and this was one of them. (It was called the London Special.) The play design was decent and it looked close, but of course, it wasn’t ruled a score. So the play didn’t work, and you judge it on the result.