Good morning, Eagles fans. Early Birds is now coming to you five days a week. The Monday and Friday versions will look the same as they’ve been since we launched in September, with the midweek newsletters are taking on a different format. You can find out what’s happening at the NovaCare Complex, see the Inquirer/Daily News/philly.com Eagles stories you need to read, and I’ll answer a reader’s question each day.
Here’s what’s happening today:
- The Eagles practice at 12:45 p.m. They only had a walk-through on Wednesday, so it will be the first full practice of the week. And considering the game is Sunday, it will be their most intense practice of the week. The status of cornerback Ronald Darby will be important to watch. He would have been limited if the Eagles practiced Wednesday. Darby is still recovering from a dislocated ankle. The Eagles are being patient with Darby’s recovery. Sunday will mark seven weeks since the injury.
- Carson Wentz‘s news conference was rescheduled from Wednesday to noon on Thursday. The same questions about replacing Jason Peters will come his way. There’s a sense of confidence a quarterback can have knowing Peters is protecting his blind side. No matter how optimistic the Eagles are about Halapoulivaati Vaitai, it’s not the same as having Peters.
- A big point of emphasis will likely be making sure the Eagles don’t overlook the 49ers. The Eagles are 6-1 and the 49ers are 0-7, making the Eagles two-touchdown favorites. It’s rare to see a line that big. The Eagles have talked about dealing with success in recent weeks, but it’s easy to be motivated for a division foe. It’s more difficult against a winless team. “Nobody looks past anybody,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Everybody understands this league. We have a good group of veteran players. And we faced a couple of teams this year that came in with no wins. Doesn’t change the job that we have. And I like the maturity of our players to be ready every week.”
It’s free to sign up here to get Early Birds in your inbox every weekday. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- Carson Wentz‘s escapability was on display in Monday’s win. Jeff McLane broke down the film and talked to players to explain how Wentz did it.
- The Eagles have the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense. Paul Domowitch tells you why.
- Nigel Bradham will wear the defensive headset. Find out why that’s significant.
- The Eagles haven’t announced whether Lane Johnson will move to left tackle, but it sounds like he wants to stay on the right side, as Les Bowen writes. Les also shares what Frank Reich said about losing Jason Peters.
- Speaking of Peters, he went on injured reserve Wednesday. The Eagles signed Taylor Hart to take his roster spot.
- Domo offers his Eagles-49ers scouting report.
From the mailbag
Are we running on a 3-4 year window to win a SB before Wentz get paid?
— Jeppe van Ee ���� (@jeppevanee) October 24, 2017
Good question, I’m glad you asked. I wrote a story on this topic before the season. A top quarterback is worth top dollar even when he’s on the second contract, but there’s no doubt that the Eagles have a major advantage with a quarterback on a rookie deal — and it’s an advantage they wouldn’t have had under the previous collective bargaining agreement. (You can bet Howie Roseman considered this when he pursued the trade last year.) Carson Wentz is eligible for a contract extension after Year 3. The Eagles have a fifth-year option and could give him the franchise tag for the sixth year if they wanted. Of course, the Eagles likely won’t want it to get that far. And after the fourth year, the contract becomes expensive. So you’re accurate that the Eagles are in an important window now. Former Eagles executive Joe Banner explained it well:
“You don’t want to miss this moment. Years 3, 4, and 5 with these young quarterbacks are a chance when you have a benefit of an A-caliber quarterback with an unprecedented opportunity to probably have $20 or $30 million of extra cap room that you should have while you have an A quarterback, that you won’t have again for the rest of the career.”