PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Russell Wilson nearly ended up in Philadelphia instead of Nick Foles.
Former Eagles coach Andy Reid wanted to select Wilson in the 2012 NFL draft but Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider beat him to it. So Reid took Foles 13 picks later.
Both quarterbacks ended up winning Super Bowls for their teams, though Foles did it as Carson Wentz’s backup after returning to Philadelphia following two seasons with two other teams. Now Foles is a Philly folk hero playing in Jacksonville.
Meanwhile, Wentz and the Eagles (5-5) are struggling on offense heading into a difficult matchup against Wilson and the Seahawks (8-2) on Sunday in Philadelphia.
“Just watching him as a player and his ability to create is something that I really admire,” Wentz said. “His athleticism is something I tried to implement in my game a little bit. But at the same time, we’re different players. He’s way quicker than I am, way faster than I am, but a lot of respect for how he can improvise and make plays.”
Wentz was an MVP candidate the last time the teams played in 2017. A week later, he tore two knee ligaments. Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory. Wentz hasn’t been the same since returning, though he’s throwing to one of the league’s worst group of wide receivers.
“I don’t see any difference in what he is now then what he was before,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Wentz. “I think he’s an amazing player. I love his competitiveness, his playmaking ability. You see his power and strength. He doesn’t get knocked down easily. He can get out of problems. He causes the second play to happen with his scrambles. Eyes are down the field. He runs well when he needs to. I just think he’s a fantastic player.”
DO IT AGAIN
In a 27-24 overtime win at previously unbeaten San Francisco before the bye, Seattle’s pass rush finally had the kind of impact most expected when Jadeveon Clowney was acquired before the start of the season. Clowney had one of the better games of his career with five tackles, five quarterback hits, one sack, one forced fumble and one touchdown in the victory over the 49ers. But Clowney wasn’t alone in causing disruption. Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson and even Shaquem Griffin caused issues for San Francisco’s pass protection.
It was an impressive performance by the group as the Seahawks got five sacks. That could be tough to repeat against Philadelphia’s offensive line, though the Eagles could be without the line’s best player, right tackle Lane Johnson.
THE OTHER ROOKIE
The Eagles passed on DK Metcalf in this year’s draft and selected J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round at No. 57. Metcalf went to Seattle seven picks later.
Through 10 games, it seems like a big mistake for Philly. Metcalf has 35 catches for 595 yards, 23 first downs and five touchdowns. Arcega-Whiteside has three catches for 43 yards, one first down and no TDs.
Tyler Lockett has taken over the role of Seattle’s go-to receiver for Wilson, so the bye week fell at the perfect time. Lockett suffered a severe lower leg contusion in the fourth quarter against the 49ers. He had to spent two nights in a Bay Area hospital before being cleared to return to Seattle. The bye gave Lockett extra time to recover and he is expected to play against the Eagles. He has 62 catches and six touchdowns so far.
Seattle could be breaking in a new nickel cornerback with the job likely falling to rookie Ugo Amadi. Seattle released Jamar Taylor earlier this week to clear a roster spot for tight end Ed Dickson. Taylor had been the primary option whenever Seattle added an extra cornerback, but Amadi seems the likely choice to take over the role. He may not get a ton of snaps as Seattle has used its base defense a surprising amount this season, even in passing situations. Safety Quandre Diggs also has experience playing the nickel spot.
Wentz didn’t have his top two receivers and leading rusher for the entire game in a 17-10 loss to New England last week and his best blocker left the game early. DeSean Jackson is out for the season, but Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard are close to returning. The Eagles need them to provide a boost.