Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Eagles links: Birds climb up power rankings

Every week, I will be delivering various football links that mention the Eagles from around the Internet. While philly.com's Eagles section has your best local coverage, along with blogs Eagletarian and Birds' Eye View, these will be links you may have missed. SI.com's Peter King has the Eagles second in his power rankings: Two different defenses. The Eagle D had zero pass-rush in Dallas and allowed 41 points in the Monday nighter. On Sunday, the Eagles smelled blood in the water (with Ben Roethlisberger and his separated shoulder the reason), blitzed on practically every passing down and held the Steelers to six points. ESPN.com has the Eagles third in its power rankings: They put up points against a solid Cowboys defense and then used a fierce pass rush to slow down the Steelers. We need to see how Brian Westbrook responds to the ankle injury. CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco has the Eagles fifth in his power rankings: They're darn near perfect, except for the tough loss at Dallas. The defense bounced back in a big way in shutting down the Steelers. They looked like they had 13 men on the field. Adrian Hasenmayer of FoxSports.com has the Eagles third in his power rankings: Very gritty win against Pittsburgh last week, accomplished with seven offensive starters injured throughout portions or all of the game -- including main men McNabb and Westbrook. Watch out QBs: Defensive whiz Jim Johnson is dialing up the blitzes again. SI.com's Bucky Brooks has Donovan McNabb second on his MVP-watch list: In leading the Eagles to a hard fought 15-6 victory over the previously unbeaten Steelers, McNabb completed 24 of 35 passes -- including his first 15 in a row -- for 196 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted once. Through three games, McNabb has completed over 66 percent of his passes. He sports an impressive 5:1 touchdown/interception ratio. ESPN.com's Gregg Easterbrook says the Eagles' lines deserve more credit: The sports press gushes over Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, but TMQ contends line play is the essence of the Nesharim franchise. Never was that on better display than Sunday, when the Philadelphia front seven shut down the Steelers with nine sacks. Clark Judge of CBSSports.com was impressed with Darren Howard's play on Sunday: But the guy I was impressed with didn't score, had only two tackles and wouldn't draw a crowd if he walked down Market Street. I'm talking about Darren Howard, who is quietly rebuilding his reputation as a valuable defensive lineman and an invaluable part of an Eagles rotation that disrupted Pittsburgh's offense by sacking its quarterbacks nine times. SI.com's King wonders whether A.J. Feeley might be a good fit with the Patriots: He's played in some big games -- he nearly beat the Patriots at New England last year when Donovan McNabb was hurt -- and the Eagles would be willing to talk about him because of their comfort level at backup quarterback with Kevin Kolb. He's somewhere between Clint Longley and Jim Plunkett in terms of a guy who might have a chance to play effectively with a good team around him. He's the guy I'd try to deal for, but remember one thing: The Eagles always try to beat teams into submission on trades; anything more than a fifth-round pick in 2009 would be too much. SI.com's Brooks has DeSean Jackson third on his list of the top offensive rookies: The flamboyant rookie had a quiet game against the Steelers (five receptions for 40 yards), but his big play potential has opened up the field for the Eagles' other receivers. ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha says Donovan McNabb is showing more trust in his receivers: McNabb was right to point to that Pittsburgh game as evidence of the Eagles' growth on offense. That's because it's an example of how much confidence he now has in his supporting cast, even though a fair share of those receivers are backups. He got rid of the ball quickly. He gave his targets plenty of opportunities to make plays instead of buying time with his scrambling. A year after Westbrook set a team record with 90 receptions -- which reveals how unwilling McNabb was to go downfield -- the quarterback is operating like a man who knows exactly what he has at his disposal. SI.com's King names Juqua Parker one of his defensive players of the week: I could pick almost any Eagle after their nine-sack burial of Roethlisberger. Parker had 2.5 sacks, five tackles (two of them for loss), a forced fumble, a pass batted down and four quarterback hits. That's a career day for the man formerly known as Juqua Thomas. CBSSports.com's Prisco gives the Eagles a B-minus for their performance in Week 3: This one goes to the defense. They had seven sacks and dominated the line of scrimmage. The Steelers couldn't get their running game going at all. The offense didn't do much, but did just enough. Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports has the Eagles fifth in his power rankings: Was that the real Philly defense on Sunday, and if so, how scary is that? SI.com's Peter King names Sav Rocca his special teams player of the week: The stats looked modest -- five punts, 44.4-yard average -- but his net was 43.4 yards (meaning only five return yards) and he boomed a punt 75 yards in the air in the second half that pinned the Steelers; he punted from his own one and it landed at the Steeler 25, giving him credit for a 64-yard punt. His next punt was 54 yards to the Pittsburgh 6. His last was 37 yards to the Pittsburgh 7. "You don't very often talk about a punter being a weapon, but he was tonight,'' said Andy Reid. Vinnie Iyer of SportingNews.com has the Eagles seventh in his power rankings: There are many reasons this team has been good for so long under Andy Reid. Here is one: Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, William Thomas, Jon Runyan and David Akers all have held up as a decade-long nucleus. SI.com's King likes what he sees from Stewart Bradley: There aren't many middle linebackers stopping the run better than Philly's Stewart Bradley USA Today has the Eagles third in its power rankings. SI.com's King says he likes that the Eagles have shown they can play different styles: I think the best thing about the Eagles is they can win games in a variety of ways. They can stop the run -- 13 carries, 20 yards for Willie Parker Sunday -- and they can still blitz when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson feels like it. It sounds like Brian Westbrook might miss a week with his ankle strain (MRI to come today), but I don't doubt Donovan McNabb's ability to stand in against a pounding Chicago defense Sunday night and pull out a win.

Eagles links: Birds climb up power rankings

The Eagles are in the top-five in many power rankings around the country. (AP / Mel Evans)
The Eagles are in the top-five in many power rankings around the country. (AP / Mel Evans)

Every week, I will be delivering various football links that mention the Eagles from around the Internet. While philly.com's Eagles section has your best local coverage, along with blogs Eagletarian and Birds' Eye View, these will be links you may have missed.

SI.com's
Peter King has the Eagles second in his power rankings:

Two different defenses. The Eagle D had zero pass-rush in Dallas and allowed 41 points in the Monday nighter. On Sunday, the Eagles smelled blood in the water (with Ben Roethlisberger and his separated shoulder the reason), blitzed on practically every passing down and held the Steelers to six points.

ESPN.com
has the Eagles third in its power rankings:

They put up points against a solid Cowboys defense and then used a fierce pass rush to slow down the Steelers. We need to see how Brian Westbrook responds to the ankle injury.

CBSSports.com's
Pete Prisco has the Eagles fifth in his power rankings:

They're darn near perfect, except for the tough loss at Dallas. The defense bounced back in a big way in shutting down the Steelers. They looked like they had 13 men on the field.

Adrian Hasenmayer of FoxSports.com has the Eagles third in his power rankings:

Very gritty win against Pittsburgh last week, accomplished with seven offensive starters injured throughout portions or all of the game -- including main men McNabb and Westbrook. Watch out QBs: Defensive whiz Jim Johnson is dialing up the blitzes again.

SI.com's
Bucky Brooks has Donovan McNabb second on his MVP-watch list:

In leading the Eagles to a hard fought 15-6 victory over the previously unbeaten Steelers, McNabb completed 24 of 35 passes -- including his first 15 in a row -- for 196 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted once. Through three games, McNabb has completed over 66 percent of his passes. He sports an impressive 5:1 touchdown/interception ratio.

ESPN.com's
Gregg Easterbrook says the Eagles' lines deserve more credit:

The sports press gushes over Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, but TMQ contends line play is the essence of the Nesharim franchise. Never was that on better display than Sunday, when the Philadelphia front seven shut down the Steelers with nine sacks.

Clark Judge of CBSSports.com was impressed with Darren Howard's play on Sunday:

But the guy I was impressed with didn't score, had only two tackles and wouldn't draw a crowd if he walked down Market Street. I'm talking about Darren Howard, who is quietly rebuilding his reputation as a valuable defensive lineman and an invaluable part of an Eagles rotation that disrupted Pittsburgh's offense by sacking its quarterbacks nine times.

SI.com's King wonders whether A.J. Feeley might be a good fit with the Patriots:

He's played in some big games -- he nearly beat the Patriots at New England last year when Donovan McNabb was hurt -- and the Eagles would be willing to talk about him because of their comfort level at backup quarterback with Kevin Kolb. He's somewhere between Clint Longley and Jim Plunkett in terms of a guy who might have a chance to play effectively with a good team around him. He's the guy I'd try to deal for, but remember one thing: The Eagles always try to beat teams into submission on trades; anything more than a fifth-round pick in 2009 would be too much.

SI.com's
Brooks has DeSean Jackson third on his list of the top offensive rookies:

The flamboyant rookie had a quiet game against the Steelers (five receptions for 40 yards), but his big play potential has opened up the field for the Eagles' other receivers.

ESPN.com's
Jeffri Chadiha says Donovan McNabb is showing more trust in his receivers:

McNabb was right to point to that Pittsburgh game as evidence of the Eagles' growth on offense. That's because it's an example of how much confidence he now has in his supporting cast, even though a fair share of those receivers are backups. He got rid of the ball quickly. He gave his targets plenty of opportunities to make plays instead of buying time with his scrambling. A year after Westbrook set a team record with 90 receptions -- which reveals how unwilling McNabb was to go downfield -- the quarterback is operating like a man who knows exactly what he has at his disposal.

SI.com's King names Juqua Parker one of his defensive players of the week:

I could pick almost any Eagle after their nine-sack burial of Roethlisberger. Parker had 2.5 sacks, five tackles (two of them for loss), a forced fumble, a pass batted down and four quarterback hits. That's a career day for the man formerly known as Juqua Thomas.

CBSSports.com's
Prisco gives the Eagles a B-minus for their performance in Week 3:

This one goes to the defense. They had seven sacks and dominated the line of scrimmage. The Steelers couldn't get their running game going at all. The offense didn't do much, but did just enough.

Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports has the Eagles fifth in his power rankings:

Was that the real Philly defense on Sunday, and if so, how scary is that?

SI.com's Peter King names Sav Rocca his special teams player of the week:

The stats looked modest -- five punts, 44.4-yard average -- but his net was 43.4 yards (meaning only five return yards) and he boomed a punt 75 yards in the air in the second half that pinned the Steelers; he punted from his own one and it landed at the Steeler 25, giving him credit for a 64-yard punt. His next punt was 54 yards to the Pittsburgh 6. His last was 37 yards to the Pittsburgh 7. "You don't very often talk about a punter being a weapon, but he was tonight,'' said Andy Reid.

Vinnie Iyer of SportingNews.com has the Eagles seventh in his power rankings:

There are many reasons this team has been good for so long under Andy Reid. Here is one: Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, William Thomas, Jon Runyan and David Akers all have held up as a decade-long nucleus.

SI.com's
King likes what he sees from Stewart Bradley:

There aren't many middle linebackers stopping the run better than Philly's Stewart Bradley

USA Today has the Eagles third in its power rankings.

SI.com's
King says he likes that the Eagles have shown they can play different styles:

I think the best thing about the Eagles is they can win games in a variety of ways. They can stop the run -- 13 carries, 20 yards for Willie Parker Sunday -- and they can still blitz when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson feels like it. It sounds like Brian Westbrook might miss a week with his ankle strain (MRI to come today), but I don't doubt Donovan McNabb's ability to stand in against a pounding Chicago defense Sunday night and pull out a win.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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