Gameday: Eagles without three starters on defense versus Washington

Gameday: Eagles without three starters on defense versus Washington

Big game for the Birds today. Huge game in fact. A win would give Philadelphia a half-game lead over idle Dallas in the NFC East standings. A loss will drop the Eagles to 5-6—2-3 in the division—muddying their path to the playoffs.

If the Eagles are going to extend their winning streak to three games, not to mention end home losing-streak that’s into its 14th month, they’ll have to do it shorthanded. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, interior linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and safety Earl Wolff are all inactive today due to injuries.

Fletcher missed last week’s game already with a pectoral injury. Kendricks and Wolff both suffered knee injuries in the victory at Green Bay as well.

Wolff’s absence is no surprise. The rookie safety was declared out today earlier in the week. Patrick Chung has been active the past two weeks after missing time with a deep shoulder contusion, so at least the Eagles have a veteran to turn to.

Roc Carmichael made his first NFL start for the Eagles last week in place of Fletcher. The former Houston Texan held up well against the Packers’ backup and third-string quarterbacks, although the officials probably could’ve flagged him for pass interference a few times.

Najee Goode replaced Kendricks last week and was serviceable. With DeMeco Ryans having such a huge game stuffing the run, it made Goode’s job that much easier in his first meaningful NFL action on defense.

Of the three injuries though, Kendrick is probably the biggest loss. He likely would’ve been used to spy electrifying Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, who by the way is looking much better than he was the last time around.

The Eagles raced out to a 33-7 in the game’s first 32 minutes when they met Washington in Week 1. The Skins were unprepared though, both for Chip Kelly’s offense in his pro head coaching debut, and Griffin who had not faced a live rush at all after suffering a torn ACL last January.

Griffin has long since shaken off the rust, and he has Washington looking respectable again. He can still beat defenses with his arm and his legs, and he has some pretty good weapons in Alfred Morris (third in the NFL with 825 yards rushing) and Pierre Garcon (seventh with 803 yards receiving).

Nick Foles and the Birds’ offense will likely be called upon to put points on the board this week, because the Eagles’ streak of holding opponents to 21 points or fewer may be in jeopardy.

Clay Buchholz was introduced to his wife by Donald Trump, is big fan of 45

Clay Buchholz was introduced to his wife by Donald Trump, is big fan of 45

Philadelphia Phillies fans likely don't know a ton about one of the team's most recent pitching acquisitions, former Red Sox right-hander Clay Buccholz, but it turns out he has a unique connection to the 45th President of the United States of America.

It was Donald Trump who first introduced him to his now wife, Lindsay Clubine, at an after party of a UFC fight following a game out in California back in the late aughts.

The Boston Globe wrote about the encounter early last year.

“It was ‘Affliction: Banned’ fighting, and [Trump] owned the whole circuit," Buchholz told the Globe. "My wife knew him prior, from ‘Deal or No Deal’ when he came on the show as a celebrity banker."

“She was helping him host this event in Anaheim. So when we all walked in, he was there, and he saw us and he introduced Lindsey to me.”

Trump, of course, also has ties to a more formative New England athlete in Tom Brady who allegedly called Donald on Thursday to congratulate him on his coming inauguration. 

As for Buchholz opinion on Trump? He was a big supporter during the campaign and is a fan of the former " The Apprentice" host.

“He says what a lot of people think and don’t say,” Buchholz told the Globe. “I like that part of him."

Phillies fans tend to say what they think, so he'll probably be a fan of them as well, right?

Here are some shots of the couple from their social media accounts:

On verge of Super Bowl, Eric Rowe responds to Eagles, Roseman

On verge of Super Bowl, Eric Rowe responds to Eagles, Roseman

The Eagles' season ended a few weeks ago with a 7-9 record. 

In a couple weeks, Eric Rowe might be playing in the Super Bowl. 

Rowe, of course was the Eagles second-round pick in 2015 and went on to have a promising rookie season. But in 2016, the change of head coaches brought a new defensive coordinator and a new scheme, which Rowe apparently didn't fit. So a few days before the season began, he was dealt to the New England, where he has become a big part of their defense. 

In his after-the-season press conference on Jan. 4, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was asked about the trade and gave a somewhat curious answer. He said the team made the move because the front office had already determined they were not going to give Rowe an extension, even though he wouldn't have been eligible for two more seasons. 

If that sounded weird to Eagles fans, they weren't alone. It sounded weird to Rowe too, when the Wilmington News Journal's Martin Frank caught up with him this week. 

“That’s a long time away," Rowe said. "If that’s the reason, that’s really, really weird. You know, it’s whatever. If he thinks that, then I guess that’s what it was. They’re thinking way down the line.” 

Rowe, 24, ended up starting seven games during this regular season for New England, but played just 43 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps. If Rowe played 50 percent of defensive snaps in 2016 or if he does it in 2017, the fourth-round pick the Eagles get back in the trade will turn into a third-rounder, so there's still a chance next year. 

While a third-round pick wouldn't be bad, the Eagles gave up on a young, talented corner just a year after drafting him because he didn't fit what they wanted to do. 

Shortly after the trade, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz called Rowe a good cover corner but cited the development of Jalen Mills as a reason why Rowe became expendable. Schwartz said he appreciated Rowe, but the personnel staff "decided to use him as an asset, and as coaches, we just deal with that and keep playing." 

It was pretty clear during training camp that Rowe had fallen out of favor with the Eagles. He was buried behind Mills and others on the depth chart, so maybe the trade was the best thing for him. 

"That was frustrating, just kind of like thinking, 'What am I doing wrong?'" Rowe said to the Wilmington News Journal. "Yeah, I made mistakes, but everybody makes mistakes. I'm not making bad mistakes. I'm making plays. Why am I sliding down? That was frustrating times. I would just go home and my girlfriend's there, and I'm telling her all this stuff. I'd tell my parents, and they're like, 'Just keep your head up, just keep working because you never know. Then boom, the trade comes up." 

And now he might get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, while the Eagles desperately need to fix their cornerback position before next season.