The best formula for success against the New England Patriots is to keep Tom Brady on the sideline and harass him when he’s on the field.
That’s not a news flash. But the good news for Eagles fans and everyone rooting against Brady Kyler Fackrell Jersey , Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl is that Philadelphia has the ingredients to do it.
The Eagles (15-3) have a multidimensional, ball-control offense capable of chewing the clock and forcing No. 12 to be a spectator.
Jay Ajayi, former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement led the NFL’s third-best rushing offense and the Eagles were first in time of possession.
”You have to stay patient and diligent there,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. ”That’s something we’ve been able to do all season long. It’s something we stay committed to.”
This isn’t an old-school, ground-and-pound offense, either.
The Eagles have a versatile passing attack with several receivers who create matchup problems. Carson Wentz threw for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdown passes before he tore his ACL in Week 14 and Nick Foles has eight TD passes, including playoffs.
Foles proved in the NFC championship game he can make quick-strike plays with three passes of 40-plus yards against the league’s top-ranked defense. Two of those were TD tosses of 53 yards to Alshon Jeffery and 41 yards to Torrey Smith.
Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz and slot receiver Nelson Agholor are other options. Tight end Trey Burton, who also lines up at fullback in certain short-yardage situations, had five TD catches this season.
”You can’t just stop one guy,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. ”You can’t go out there and say, `if we just limit Jeffery or if we just limit Ertz that won’t matter.’ They have a lot of different guys out there that can beat you.”
Foles has been adept at making the right calls on run-pass option plays Randy Gregory Jersey , making it even more difficult for defenses facing Philadelphia.
”It’s hard because you have to defend every inch of the field,” McCourty said. ”Each guy has to do their job on the play. We can’t have guys doing things that don’t fit the defense.”
On the opposite side of the ball, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has an aggressive unit. Nobody runs on Philadelphia’s defense. It was No. 1 against the run and didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher until Ezekiel Elliott had 103 in Week 17 against backups and third-stringers.
The Patriots (15-3) rely mainly on Brady’s arm, even though Dion Lewis had 896 yards rushing and James White was a Super Bowl hero last year. But Brady can’t throw if he doesn’t have time and the Eagles have a dominant front four led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.
The line often generates enough pressure that Schwartz doesn’t have to blitz much and there’s enough depth with Chris Long, Vinny Curry, Tim Jernigan and Beau Allen that guys stay fresh in the fourth quarter.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins is a physical presence in the secondary and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are solid cover guys.
”They have a great defense,” Brady said. ”It’s as good any we’ve faced all year. They have a great scheme that mixes in well with their coverages.”
If the game comes down to a field goal, rookie kicker Jake Elliott has a strong leg. He kicked a 61-yarder at the end of regulation to beat the Giants in Week 3 and is 6 of 7 from beyond 50 yards.
The Eagles shouldn’t be tight and they’re not intimidated by the Patriots. They’re a loose, relaxed group that has embraced their underdog role throughout the playoffs and overcame injuries to several key players.
”Greatest quarterback of all time, but that doesn’t mean that he’s unbeatable,” Jenkins said of Brady. ”We’re not worried. We match up well.”
AP NFL website:
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Jake Butt couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic over the simple routine of putting all his pads on again.
Reasonable. It’s been a while.
The Denver Broncos tight end returned to the field in full gear Tuesday for the first time since tearing his right ACL against Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 Vontae Davis Jersey , 2016.
”I kind of thought about it when I put on the pants. It was like, `Man, I haven’t put on the pads in almost two years,”’ the Michigan standout said. ”It was exciting. It felt good out there.”
Next order of business: Jerseys .
Butt and his family don’t mind having a little fun with their last name. And now that he’s fully healthy, those No. 80 uniforms will be going fast – taken by his clan and completely customized (his father had ”Papa Butt ” on his jersey when Jake was at Michigan).
”We’re ordering in bulk,” Butt said. ”We’re building the `Butt Army’ out here, for sure.”
It was on hold last season as the 23-year-old recovered from the knee injury that caused him to slip to the fifth round of the 2017 draft. The Broncos were hopeful to have him back for the second half last season, but he wasn’t ready and went on injured reserve.
Butt declared Tuesday his knee feels ”100 percent” again. He wasn’t wearing a protective brace when the team donned full pads.
He could be a big boost to the tight end corps. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Butt won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end his senior season at Michigan. He had three catches for 28 yards against Florida State in the Orange Bowl before tearing his knee.
His recovery has been somewhat slower than he anticipated. The rehab has been filled with plenty of ups and downs.
”It’s not just you’re getting better and better every day. You have some days that are better than others,” said Butt, who had 138 catches for 1,646 yards while with the Wolverines. ”In that sense Terrance Williams Jersey , you have a mental component. But once you’re on the field, for me personally, you’re playing football. You’re not thinking about any bumps and bruises you might have.”
He used the down time in 2017 memorizing his routes and reads. He’s putting it to good use now.
”I had a year to observe how pro football really works,” Butt said. ”Going back to the spring, I really got into the playbook so I can hit the ground running in camp.”
Butt has plenty of competition in camp among a tight end group that’s got deep Big Ten Conference roots. There’s rookie Troy Fumagalli, a fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin. There’s also Jeff Heuerman, a third-round pick in 2015 from Ohio State who’s currently sidelined by a balky knee. Not to be left out: Matt LaCosse attended Illinois, and Austin Traylor went to Wisconsin.
Fumagalli has an easy explanation for the league’s representation.
”Well-rounded,” he said. ”I can’t speak for all of the Big Ten, but a lot of the schools they expect you to be a pass catcher, a pass blocker and a run blocker. They expect you to be well-rounded.”
Butt’s hoping to display that throughout camp.
”You know you can’t come in and take a day off because that next guy up is hungry,” Butt said. ”Everyone in our room is making plays and doing a great job. That’s going to help us in the long run.”
He’s already developing a solid rapport with quarterback Case Keenum.
Then again http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/mark-sanchez-jersey , Butt said that’s not difficult.
”Case is doing a great job connecting with a lot of guys out there,” Butt said. ”That’s the advantage of having a veteran quarterback. He understands where to go with the ball, where to put the ball, what reads to make. We’re trying to take advantage of that.”
NOTES: DE Derek Wolfe briefly left practice Tuesday with what coach Vance Joseph described as a small stinger. ”He’s fine. He came back out. He’s OK,” Joseph said. … OT Garett Bolles returned to practice after taking a hit to the chin. ”When you have these head injuries, any type of a head injury, it’s always going to be on the safe side to check him out,” Joseph said. … CB Tramaine Brock will miss about a week with a hamstring ailment, Joseph said. … OG Ron Leary on his scuffle with LB Todd Davis during practice: ”It’s all love.”
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