Yay! Danny Watkins Is Going to Play!

Yay! Danny Watkins Is Going to Play!

After being made inactive for three of the season's first four weeks, the Eagles' first round pick will finally be on the field this Sunday according to reports. Danny Watkins, who was touted by some draft analysts as the most NFL-ready lineman in this year's draft, will finally start at right guard against the Buffalo Bills. He replaces Kyle DeVan, who the team claimed off waivers shortly after cut-down day.

Watkins struggled during the preseason, and didn't look quite as prepared as we were promised, so the Eagles added DeVan as an insurance policy on September 4. Formerly a member of the Indianapolis Colts, offensive line coach Howard Mudd was familiar with the Oregon State product, who within days he was announced as the opening day starter.

Not surprisingly, DeVan has been the weak link in the offensive line. While he's not been completely ineffective either, he's part of the problem with an interior that hasn't been able to get any push at the goal line. In short, DeVan is a replacement level player who can generally give the quarterback a few seconds in pass protection, but isn't overwhelming anybody on the other side.

Which is why it's go-time for Watkins. We have no way of knowing if the big Canadian is ready or not, but the Eagles are 1-3, and in no position to wait around for him to develop. When he was selected number 23 overall in April, it was assumed the 26 year old would start immediately. In fact, whether he was a good choice or not was largely dependent on him having a positive impact right away.

Much has been made about this year's draft class not contributing so far, with Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Curtis Marsh -- their first three picks in April -- all spending the first month inactive for the most part. You can give Jarrett and Marsh somewhat of a pass due to the lockout and some additional circumstances, but Watkins was sold to us like a used car that could be driven right off the lot.

While it obviously wouldn't be wise to label him a bust because he missed four games, Watkins needs to get in there and beef up the interior. The Eagles' struggles in the red zone have been crushing, particularly in their last two defeats, and you can't help but wonder if maybe they would have punched one or two more in behind big number 63 had he been ready.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for the Birds, and they're still trying to find their best 11 on both sides of the ball.

>> Eagles to start first-round pick Watkins [Wilmington News Journal]

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

Joel Embiid will play Monday night against the Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center.

The reigning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month is still unable to play back-to-back games. He'll likely be out Tuesday night when the Sixers travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies.

The home crowd will get see Embiid but they may not get to see him paired with fellow big man Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is questionable on Monday with an illness.

Robert Covington (left knee sprain, flu) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are also out on Monday.

More coming...

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

Penalties the only consistent theme for Doug Pederson's Eagles

CINCINNATI — There’s one thing the Eagles are very consistent at, and it’s nothing to be proud of.

The Eagles continue to be one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, and with 10 more infractions in their 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, they increased their 12-game total to 100 — second-most in the NFL this year.

Five times they’ve been called for 10 or more penalties, and that’s one shy of the most games in franchise history with double-digit penalties in a season.

And there’s four games to go.

The Eagles have been cited for penalties seven or more times in all but three games. They’re on pace for the third-most penalties in franchise history.

Earlier this year, the Eagles committed seven or more penalties in four straight games for the first time in six years. The last month, they did that again.

This is not a disciplined football team. Not remotely.

“The penalties are hurting us,” said Brandon Graham, who was called for a personal foul after a low hit on Andy Dalton Sunday. “You kind of get frustrated a little bit and sometimes a lot of stuff starts happening. But we have to clean that up.”

The Eagles are on pace for 133 penalties. The franchise high is 138, set in 1994 by a Rich Kotite team that lost its last seven games. The 2005 team — torn apart by the Donovan McNabb-Terrell Owens feud — committed 134.

The only team with more penalties than the Eagles this year is the Raiders with 112. They always lead the league in penalties and at least this year they’re winning anyway.

The Eagles aren’t. Their lack of discipline has contributed greatly to their current stretch of seven losses in a nine-game span.

For the Eagles, it’s been just another part of the season that’s gotten away from coach Doug Pederson and his players.

“Penalties have got to stop,” Pederson said Sunday night. “Obviously, the turnovers and things like that too. It’s just not characteristic of how we coach and how we play.”

But it’s how this team has played. Consistently.

Only against the Bears, Cowboys and Giants have the Eagles committed fewer than seven penalties. When they commit 10 or more, they’re 1-4

“Some of it is focus, and some of it is anticipating the snap count,” Pederson said. “Some of it is a little on the quarterback, because we’re using so many snap counts and cadences to get indicators from the defense to tip their hat a little bit.

“Guys are geared up. We’ve got to focus in on that, because it’s something we work on every single week. Obviously the silent count we work on every week.”

Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ 100 penalties:

12 — Jason Peters

8 — Jason Kelce

7 — Nolan Carroll

6 — Zach Ertz, Allen Barbre

5 — Jalen Mills, Fletcher Cox

4 — Dorial Green-Beckham, Brandon Graham, Carson Wentz, Malcolm Jenkins

3 — Nigel Bradham, Rodney McLeod, Najee Goode, Marcus Smith, Brent Celek

2 — Jaylen Watkins, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Destiny Vaeao, Trey Burton, Matt Tobin

1 — Kenjon Barner, Darren Sproles, Ron Brooks, Jordan Matthews, Wendell Smallwood, Vinny Curry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Donnie Jones, Bennie Logan, Chris Maragos, Leodis McKelvin, Halapoulivaaati Vaitai.

And here’s a breakdown of the types of penalties the Eagles have been hit with:

22 — False start

16 — Offensive holding

10 — Unncessary roughness

8 — Defensive pass interference, offensive pass interference

7 — Defensive offsides

4 — Delay of game, illegal formation, defensive holding

3 — Roughing the passer, facemask, neutral zone infraction

2 — Chop block, defensive 12 men on the field, encroachment, illegal contact, running into the kicker

1 — Unsportsmanlike conduct, horse collar tackle, illegal block above the waist, illegal shift, offensive 12 men on the field, offensive offsides, illegal use of hands