The Eagles got a good result in the game!

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Even though the Eagles ranked fourth in rushing entering Week 9, there was no running back on the roster that possessed the type of playmaking potency Jay Ajayi brings. They walked away viewing Ajayi as a player that fit their mold. They see a young, tough, explosive runner with underrated receiving and pass-protection skills.

The Eagles, now 8-1, entered the game as the third-ranked offense in the NFL. Still, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stayed aggressive at the trade deadline and worked up a deal with old friend Mike Tannenbaum, who holds the same title with the Dolphins, sending a 2018 fourth-round pick to Miami for the 24-year-old Ajayi.

From that moment on, Ajayi resembled the back that gave the Falcons’ defense fits earlier in the season when he rushed for 130 yards as a Dolphin, the most allowed to an individual rusher by Atlanta all season. Ajayi finished the opening quarter 49 rushing yards and 58 yards from scrimmage which were the most he’s ever had in the first quarter of a game. He finished the game with 54 rushing yards on 15 carries and 98 total scrimmage yards.

A span of 20 days will have passed from the last time running back Jay Ajayi carried a football in a game, December 25 against Oakland, to Saturday’s playoff game against Atlanta. Twenty days. Time off to recover cheap Eagles jerseys, to become refreshed. Enough time for Ajayi to feel like he’s got all the energy in the world for the Falcons.

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This week’s fantasy blocking breakdown will detail the dominant run blocking of the Tennessee Titans, highlight an upside path for fantasy managers with Todd Gurley on their roster, review whether Jay Ajayi will start to produce anytime soon for his fantasy squads and take a look at what led the Giants’ passing game to post big point totals. If the season had gone as predicted, it’s quite conceivable that they would have simply admired Ajayi from afar for the time being. But they’ve since determined that the time to strike is now.

Nike Dolphins #23 Jay Ajayi White Youth Stitched NFL Elite Jersey
Nike Dolphins #23 Jay Ajayi White Youth Stitched NFL Elite Jersey

Ajayi was acquired from Miami on Tuesday at the trade deadline. He first practiced with the Eagles on Wednesday. Pederson said he wanted to get through Friday’s session, which features a lot of red zone work, before greenlighting Ajayi to play against Denver. The Eagles and Dolphins held joint practices this summer in front of their preseason game against one another.

Perhaps it was a good omen that running backs coach Duce Staley and Ajayi shared a moment following the joint practices with the Dolphins during Training Camp in Philadelphia. Ajayi remembers Staley during his playing days as an Eagle and believes Staley can bring the best out of him.

Ajayi wasn’t gaining many yards or scoring touchdowns with his ample chances, and that should adjust, in theory, with Philadelphia, but the bottom line is those relying on Ajayi shouldn’t presume his fantasy value skyrockets. Perhaps now he can fulfill the original expectations and at least act as a RB1. Ajayi enters Week 9 tied for 30th among running backs in PPR scoring after being selected as the No. 8 running back and 16th overall in ESPN average live drafts.

Pederson would not speculate on how soon the new back would be able to contribute but expects that he will fit well with the chemistry the Eagles have. After his first practice Wednesday afternoon, Ajayi seems to be relishing the opportunity. Pederson said that Ajayi is being given a “very limited” portion of the playbook, about 10 to 15 plays. The Eagles want to get him comfortable before filling up his plate. So far, Pederson has liked what he’s seen out of his new back.

The intensity has ramped up this week, of course. The playoffs are here, and the Eagles intend to stick around for some time. Ajayi figures to play a significant role if the Eagles want to stress the running game.

That’s especially true when your franchise quarterback goes down. While offensive coordinator Frank Reich and new starting quarterback Nick Foles suggested this week that the offense will stay the same, it would be a surprise if Pederson didn’t tweak the game plan to try and feature the run game, and Ajayi in particular, a bit more starting Sunday at the New York Giants. He’s shown he has durability and the skills to take it to the house for the offense.

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery scored in the red zone on a 15-yard reception.

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On Wednesday, head coach Doug Pederson praised the unselfishness Alshon Jeffery showed all season long in Philadelphia Eagles. His numbers aren’t as gaudy as they were in prior years but his nine receiving touchdowns this season were a team high. On Sunday, Jeffery faces the team he’s had the most success against in his entire career. When he was asked about that success, Jeffery’s response was fully in line with Pederson’s acclaim.

Jeffery caught an early 32-yard touchdown strike from Wentz along the right sideline to give the Eagles the early 7-3 lead. Later, the two connected again, this time in the red zone for a four-yard touchdown that extended Philadelphia’s lead to a whopping 44-9 to end the third quarter.

On third-and-10, Foles danced around in the pocked and unleashed a 53-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Alshon Jeffery to put the Eagles up 21-7. Jeffery found the end zone yet again 50 seconds into the final quarter of the game. Foles’ 5-yard pass to Jeffery gave the Eagles the final score of the game.

There will be substantial interest in Jeffery’s services beginning March 9, and the Bears’ reluctance to engage in any recent meaningful contract talks puts them at a disadvantage. Jeffery wants to play for a contender and will strongly explore all options. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and cornerback Ronald Darby are expected to play, head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday. Jeffery was held out by the coaches last week against Green Bay, while Darby was acquired by the team on Friday.

The issue in the years since has been availability. Jeffery has missed 11 games over the last two seasons — seven due to injury and philadelphia eagles jersey sale four for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. His production has taken a hit as a result, particularly when it comes to finding the end zone, as he scored six touchdowns in ’15 and ’16 combined.

“I think the big thing tonight is we were able to do a bunch of different stuff,” Foles said. “If you watch the game, we tried to keep them out of rhythm because that defense does a really good job if they can catch your rhythm. They were almost unstoppable but we were able to keep them off balance and any time you go against any sort of defense you want to keep them off balance so I think we did a great job of that. The coaches did an amazing job giving us the scheme this week and the guys did a great job executing.”

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The third quarter was stagnant until the Eagles’ offense took over with just under six minutes to go. Foles connected with Jeffery three times during the drive which all resulted in first downs. Elliott drained a 37-yard field goal and the Eagles reclaimed the lead at 12-10.

Nike Eagles #17 Alshon Jeffery White Youth Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey
Nike Eagles #17 Alshon Jeffery White Youth Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey

Yes, the NFC Championship is “an exciting time” but Jeffery intends to stay in the moment and treat this game just like he would any other. Recent history suggests Jeffery is a risky pick who could end up frustrating fantasy players by being in and out of the lineup. If you’re willing to roll the dice, though, the upside is big. “Of course we all know that we’re one game away from the Super Bowl but you’ve just got to relax and you can’t go out there and just think about that in the game,” he said. “You’ve got to just go play and be relaxed and stick to the things that got you here.”

Foles was able to find Jeffery for a 15-yard gain with a second left to bring the Eagles to the Atlanta 35. Elliott smashed home a 53-yarder as time expired to narrow the lead to 10-9 at halftime. The field goal was the longest in Eagles postseason history.

A change of scenery this offseason brings renewed optimism, but also some uncertainty for Jeffery. Paired with quarterback Carson Wentz, the expectation is that Jeffery is in capable hands. As we saw at times during offseason training and briefly in preseason action, this tandem has a chance to make some noise. There’s also a learning curve involved. Jeffery noted recently that his comfort level with Cutler was developed “over years.” It could take some time before he and Wentz are fully on the same page. Jeffery’s ability to catch just about anything thrown in his zip code, though, eliminates the need for perfection.

NFL Eagles acquired a prominent offensive player Jay Ajayi.

The Eagles had a look at Jay Ajayi when the Dolphins came to Philadelphia for joint practices during Training Camp.

In five games with Philadelphia, Ajayi has 44 carries for 307 yards, averaging 7.0 yards per carry. He’s added another six receptions for 30 yards. The workload is nothing like the one Ajayi had in Miami for the two-plus seasons he was there. Ajayi averaged 14.4 carries per game and averaged 17.3 carries per game in 2016 when Ajayi ran for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns.

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Since practicing with the team Wednesday, Ajayi has walked through a limited number of plays that could be called in varying game situations. The team is working on red zone plays in practice this afternoon.

Ajayi ran for 53 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns against the Eagles in the preseason contest. Even though the Eagles ranked fourth in rushing entering Week 9, there was no running back on the roster that possessed the type of playmaking potency Ajayi brings.

The Eagles pounded the ball on the ground midway through the first quarter. Running back Corey Clementconverted on a fourth-and-1 attempt and Ajayi polished off the drive with his touchdown. On the score, Ajayi passed 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the season. The Eagles can lean heavily on Ajayi or Blount if they need to in a certain game, but the versatility of this attack – from both a schematic and personnel standpoint – makes it that much harder to authentic Eagles jerseys defend.

Perhaps it was a good omen that running backs coach Duce Staley and Ajayi shared a moment following the joint practices with the Dolphins during Training Camp in Philadelphia. Ajayi remembers Staley during his playing days as an Eagle and believes Staley can bring the best out of him.

They have been conservative in their use of Ajayi, even though he’s averaged 5.8 yards per carry since coming over while looking like the team’s most explosive back. Despite bursting onto the scene with a 46-yard touchdown run against the Denver Broncos days after being acquired from Miami, Ajayi carried the ball seven times on average over his first four games with the Eagles. He has experienced an uptick of late, averaging 14 rushes in his past three games. Pederson hinted those numbers could go up in the postseason.

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The elephant in the room is obviously two-time Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry. He is the team’s biggest pending free agent, and an extension will not come cheaply. Landry leads the Dolphins with 50 receptions for 398 yards and also has three touchdowns.

Nike Dolphins #23 Jay Ajayi White Youth Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey
Nike Dolphins #23 Jay Ajayi White Youth Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey

After having just a few days to prepare for Denver, Ajayi turned in a remarkable debut leading the team with 77 rushing yards and earning his first touchdown of the season. With extra time over the bye week to delve further into the playbook, Ajayi could assume a larger role in the offense. He’s shown the coaching staff the ability to pick the offense up quicker than expected.

With Ajayi’s addition, the Eagles’ ground game becomes even more difficult to contain. He participated in his first practice Wednesday and did everything the coaching staff has asked of him since he’s arrived in Philadelphia. All in all, there’s no trepidation for locker room disruption, especially in the running back room.

Ajayi looked smooth and explosive and elusive in Los Angeles last weekend. He understands the playbook and the concepts in the offense and, well, he’s been here before. In Miami last year, quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending knee injury on December 11 and Ajayi helped take Miami to the postseason. Ajayi had 19 carries and 51 yards in a victory over the Giants and then erupted for 206 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries in a Christmas Eve win against the Bills.

With little time for Ajayi to get up to speed, coach Doug Pederson gave him about 10-15 plays to focus on during the week to ease the learning curve. He shared snaps with LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner in the opening half, making the most of his opportunities. Ajayi’s recent absence could be a cause for concern. But it can also be viewed as a sign the Eagles are preparing him for a heavier workload in the postseason.

Wentz has heart, keep on Flying Eagles!

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Head coach Doug Pederson announced on Monday afternoon that quarterback Carson Wentz is out for the remainder of the 2017 season after suffering a torn left ACL against the Rams.

In two games against Dallas, Wentz has thrown for 447 yards while completing 68 percent of his passes and three touchdowns. With just how deep the Eagles-Cowboy rivalry plunges and how invaluable the bragging rights are for the fans in Philadelphia, the importance of winning these games go outside of just the regular-season record for Wentz.

Quarterback Carson Wentz set the franchise record for most touchdowns in a single season (33). On the day, Wentz has thrown for 291 passing yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. However, he left the game after the Eagles’ last touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter.

In the second quarter on fourth-and-1, Wentz dropped back and hit Agholor for a short pass and an 18-yard pickup to once again keep the Philadelphia drive alive. A few plays later, Wentz and Burton hooked up for the second time of the day for an 11-yard touchdown giving Burton a career-high two touchdowns. It was Wentz’s 32nd touchdown of the season.

Other than the ability to make plays “outside of structure,” the other area where the Eagles may miss Carson Wentz the most is in “situational football” – on third down and in the red zone. Wentz has been nothing short of outstanding in both scenarios this year for the Eagles. Part of that is on him, part of that has been the coaches, and part of it has been on the supporting cast around him. It will be up to Foles now to carry that torch and Philadelphia Eagles shop keep the offense rolling in that regard.

As for the off-the-field chatter, it’s not part of what Wentz is spending time thinking about. He and New England quarterback Tom Brady are mentioned frequently in the Most Valuable Player talk in the media, but Wentz has other things on his mind.

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On the next possession, Jeffery drew a pass interference call on third-and-3 to keep the drive alive before Wentz hit Burton for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. “He was definitely sending me texts before the game. I haven’t had a chance to look at my phone but just wishing us luck,” Foles said when asked if Wentz spoke to him before the game. “Going out there and getting this win, I know he’s really excited.”

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Nike Eagles #11 Carson Wentz Black Alternate Men’s Stitched NFL New Elite Gold Jersey

The Future of the NFL is on center stage with Wentz on the visiting sideline against Goff and the home Rams. The two are friends off the field and Wentz has seen Goff play as he has studied the Rams’ offense against defenses of common opponents.

“I can promise to everybody, all my fans out there in the Philly area, North Dakota area, all across this country that this will not stop me. Going forward, I will come back stronger than ever. I will use this as motivation and I’ll be attacking this whole process as I recover,” Wentz said.

When Wentz wasn’t throwing the ball, he showed off his ability to make plays with his feet. On third-and-9 early in the second quarter, Wentz spun away from a tackle and scrambled 16 yards to extend the drive. A couple of plays later, he flung a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor which sparked a 17-0 avalanche in the second quarter that blew the game open.

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The coaches know they have a quality scheme that put Carson Wentz in position to succeed and will do the same for Nick Foles. Fran pointed this out in his Eagle Eye column Friday, but the key for the coaching staff is whether or not the team continue to execute at a high level on third down and in the red zone. Wentz was able to bail the Eagles out of a lot of third-and-long situations with his playmaking ability. The Eagles must remain on schedule on first and second down to put Foles in as many third-and-short plays as possible. The atmosphere in the locker room was a positive one preparing for the Giants. There was no panic. It’s not just the “next man up” mentality that has allowed the Eagles to be so resilient this season. It’s the team’s faith in Nick Foles and I don’t expect sweeping changes to the offense in light of Wentz’s absence.

Up to this point in the season, Wentz leads the league with 28 touchdowns while joining quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Sonny Jurgensen as the only Eagles to throw two or more touchdowns in seven consecutive games. In addition, Wentz has taken care of the ball as well having not thrown an interception in three consecutive games which ties a career high. His five interceptions this season are tied for fifth-fewest among quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts.