And in this corner, wearing the green and white and silver trunks, from parts unknown and fighting out of the Joe Hand Boxing Gym on North 3rd Street in Philadelphia, please welcome to Seattle’s CenturyLink Field— the challenger…
“We know it’s going to be a tough matchup,” said Eagles starting QB Carson Wentz. “Seeing them on film—everyone knows the Seahawks have had a great defense over the years, and it’s the same this year. They have the same guys — a lot of guys that have have been in the system for a while — a lot of playmakers back there, and they fly around,” said Wentz. “They cover some ground. So we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, but I think we’re all excited for the challenge. I think we kind of got the monkey off our back of pulling out these close wins, we’re 5-4 now, we’re very confident and we’re just going to build on that. We know it will be a fun atmosphere, we know it’s going to be a loud place, so we’re really excited for this matchup.”
Remember Sheil Kapadia? We used to love his Eagles coverage at PhillyMag.com. But now Sheil is one of them—a Seahag!!—can you believe it? Actually, Sheil covers the Seahawks now for ESPN.com, a gig which represents a substantial raise in pay, but I think secretly Sheil still roots for the Eagles. Anyway, he offered his “Six To Watch” scouting capsules on the Eagles’ opponent this Sunday:
QB Russell Wilson: The story with Russell during the early part of the season was injuries — he suffered an ankle injury, a knee injury and a pectoral injury in the first six games. But he’s clearly getting healthy. After a Week 8 loss to theNew Orleans Saints, the Seahawks decided they were being too conservative on offense. In the last two weeks, they’ve pushed the ball downfield, and it’s paid off: Wilson has completed 45 of 63 passes (71.4 percent) for 630 yards (10.0 yards per attempt), five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s still not a factor in the run game (60 yards rushing all season), but Wilson is back to picking defenses apart from the pocket and with his improvisational skills.
RB C.J. Prosise: The rookie out of Notre Dame has provided the offense with a lift in recent weeks. He started against the New England Patriots and had 24 touches for 153 yards. Prosise played wide receiver in college before switching to running back, and the Seattle coaches love his versatility. The Seahawks are hoping to get running back Thomas Rawls (fibula) back for this game, but expect Prosise to be featured heavily both in the run game and the pass game.
WR Doug Baldwin: He and tight end Jimmy Graham are Wilson’s favorite targets. Baldwin is an outstanding route runner and does most of his damage from the slot. Since Week 10 of last season, he has 17 touchdown receptions, more than any other receiver in the NFL. Baldwin is effective on third down and is often used in the short and intermediate parts of the field. But he’ll test the Eagles downfield as well. Baldwin’s eight catches of 20-plus yards this season are the most on the team.
DE Cliff Avril: The veteran defensive end is playing the best football of his career. Avril has nine sacks and three forced fumbles on the season, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Avril consistently creates pressure from the left defensive end spot and is a disruptive player both as a pass-rusher and against the run. He is a technician who can win with both speed and power. The Seahawks will likely be without defensive end Michael Bennett (knee), but with Avril and second-year player Frank Clark (7.5 sacks), this is still a very good pass rush.
SS Kam Chancellor: He returned last week against the Patriots after missing four games with a groin injury and had a significant impact. Chancellor had eight tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. He most often plays up in the box and is a big factor in the Seahawks’ excellent run defense. Offenses will often try to get their tight ends matched up against Chancellor and take their chances, rather than test the other members of the Seattle secondary. In addition to Chancellor, the Seahawks start Richard Sherman and DeShawn Shead at corner, along with Earl Thomas at free safety. All three are playing at a high level.
LB Bobby Wagner: The Seahawks’ middle linebacker has 93 tackles on the season (second in the NFL) and is playing great football. Wagner is very good against the run and helps patrol the short and intermediate zones in the middle of the field. One thing to keep an eye on with Wagner: He’s been extremely effective blitzing up the middle. The Seahawks are not a big blitzing team, but defensive coordinator Kris Richard has dialed up pressure more this season, and it’s added another layer to the defense.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Some interesting words were uttered by WR Dorial Green-Beckham about his relative lack of productivity so far with the Eagles. Maybe unfortunately for DGB, they were recorded by Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com:
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Green-Beckham said. “You just gotta know, out on the field, I’m not a guy who’s going to be frustrated and on the sideline like, ‘Hey, throw the ball! Go through your reads!’ I’m not one of those type of guys. I’m patient. I’m just going to pull [Wentz] to the side and say, ‘Look, we see this, everybody is taking off, I’m coming under you.’ Little stuff like that.”
“I’m not a guy who’s going to get on his head because I understand he’s a young quarterback. And I’ve been with a young quarterback last year with Marcus (Mariota). I understand the thought process. And there might be some brain farts every now and then. But you know, that’s something we can get past.”
Ah, maybe that wasn’t so bad after all. On my first read of it, though, it felt a little like DGB was throwing someone under the bus and it wasn’t himself!