This is the final post from the Eagles press conference on Friday and it’s features one of the Eagles veterans who has played as a member of the Rams, Patriots and Eagles. We finish up with a few predictions from famous folk.
Chris Long has been an inspirational athlete for many years with a huge amount of charity work done throughout his career. His passion for education especially was of interest to me and I was lucky enough to grab him as the Eagles finished up their training session.
I told him that, as a teacher, I knew how important books were to a child’s development. Long replied, “No doubt about it. We’re running a programme now and we’re partnering with United Way and their Read By 4th campaign…a lot of the importance of that Fourth Grade mark (Year 5 in the UK so children aged 9 and 10) is where you transition from learning to read to reading to learn. So if you’re left behind in Fourth Grade you’re going to be left behind the rest of your academic career. And then beyond that in society it’s a really big predictor for success in society, earning, how much you interface with the juvenile system and how much you interface with the criminal justice system,”. If you’re interested in Long’s campaign you can find more information at http://readby4th.org.
Lane Johnson, Eagles Pro Bowl tackle, agreed saying “It’s all about education.”
We discussed the Jaguars offensive line and Long noted that “They’re a good group. They play tough, they play together. I know they’ve had a rough couple of weeks but we haven’t been our best either. One team’s got to break out of the slump and hopefully it’s us.”
Long has now played in the league eleven years and I asked him about what he attributed his longevity to. He said “Hard work, a little bit of luck but also just being able to stand in the face of adversity. You’re going to get knocked down in this league, you’ve just got to keep getting up. I’ve been able to play far longer than I ever thought I would, being 33 now. I’ve just been extremely fortunate, had a lot of success but I attribute that to just good luck and hard work.”
I’m excited by the prospect of Sunday’s matchup but NFL network’s Peter Schrager tweeted out a worrying stat on Saturday evening. Jacksonville has been outscored a combined 57-0 by opponents in the first half of their last three games. Now whilst that’s terrible for the Jaguars I can’t help but think they will go all out to rebound at Wembley, a place they’ve played well in of late.
Looking at this match on paper I think the Eagles win. The absence of A.J. Bouye and other corners as well as the shaky recent quarterback play by Bortles are encouraging. I expect Ngata to play which will allow the Eagles to rotate players alone the D line more and stifle the Jags attack. Look for more of Nelson Agholor and Corey Clement than we’ve seen of late too. Eagles by 7.
Les Bowen, long time Philadelphia Eagles reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer
Blake Bortles has certainly had his up and downs. I think it’s an important game for the Eagles and will tell use a lot about them. I think Zach Ertz may stand out and the absence of A.J. Bouye this week should help Nelson Agholor or whoever is on that side. Eagles 17, Jaguars 16
Stephen Myler, London Irish Rugby Player and former Northampton Saints legend
As for the game, I’m saying Philadelphia by 10 points. Largely depends if the Jags can get something going on offense as they’ve been struggling recently. Saying that, Bortles and their offense went off at Wembley last year. For me, the Eagles are a more balanced team on both sides of the ball so that’s who I’m picking to win.