Good morning, Eagles fans. This is a Tuesday edition of Early Birds, and it comes to you from Orange County, Calif., where the Eagles are stationed this week. The Eagles don’t practice on Tuesday, but they’ll hold meetings in their team hotel as they begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
- This is not a normal week for the Eagles. They are staying in a hotel in Costa Mesa and will practice at the Los Angeles Angels’ ballpark in Anaheim. All the classroom work will be at the hotel and the physical work will be at Angel Stadium. The team will need to shuttle to practices and follow an itinerary while here, but it will otherwise be structured as a regular practice week. “We try to keep the week as normal as possible for the guys and for the coaches,” coach Doug Pederson said. “We have a great set up here in the hotel. Coaches have offices and work space to get the work done. Players have got everything they need right here from treatment, rehab, doctors, medical facilities, all of that.” When the Eagles were in Seattle, Pederson kept the players on East Coast time. Now that they’re in California until Sunday, they’re on local time. That means practices and news conferences are going to be later in the day, for those waiting for updates. But the reason they’re here is that Pederson did not want his players to travel coast-to-coast in back-to-back weeks. The Eagles requested the chance to stay on the West Coast when they knew they had two games in Los Angeles and one in Seattle.
- Pay attention to the status of tight end Zach Ertz this week. He suffered a concussion against the Seahawks. Ertz also had a concussion in 2015, missing a Thanksgiving game. He is with the team here in California. Like all concussions, it’s out of the team’s control because he must go through the league-mandated protocol and get cleared by an independent neurologist to return to action.
- Two positions stood out from the playing-time distribution in the Eagles-Seahawks game:
- Jay Ajayi took the most snaps at running back, with 41 percent. Corey Clement was second with 37 percent. LeGarrette Blount took only 19 percent of the snaps.
- Najee Goode was the middle linebacker with Joe Walker out, playing 18 defensive snaps. Veteran Dannell Ellerbe took only one defensive snap in his first game active with the Eagles.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- Doug Pederson defended his decision not to throw the challenge flag on Russell Wilson’s lateral on Sunday. Tom Avril explains the science behind the supposed lateral and why it was really a forward pass. Lateral or not, Wilson gave the Eagles defense fits, as Paul Domowitch writes.
- The Eagles need cleaner practices, Les Bowen writes, and they’ve come to a laid-back locale to do it.
- Bob Ford says this Sunday’s Eagles-Rams game is a must-win for the Birds.
- Nelson Agholor thrived where he slumped one year ago.
- What did Jeff McLane learn in the Eagles-Seahawks game?
- Domo gives five reasons why the Eagles lost.
- If you missed Monday’s Early Birds, it tells you why it’s not time to be alarmed.
From the mailbag
There are a couple NFC teams I'd prefer to not have to face on the road. Is there anyone you'd feel uneasy about going into a playoff game at the Linc?
— Jack M (@ClickKlentak) December 4, 2017
I’d say the New Orleans Saints, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers. All three teams have elite quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl. The Saints’ running game is impressive and that will travel wherever they go, so they’re probably atop the list. But I look at quarterbacks. They can neutralize anything. The Cowboys were the best team in the NFC last year, but they lost at home to the Packers because of the way Rodgers played. I’d feel uneasy in a playoff game against one of those battle-tested quarterbacks, especially compared to the quarterbacks who lack playoff experience.