Midweek updates: Eagles work out RB, SS

Here are some Wednesday updates as the Eagles prepare to travel to Houston for their Week 9 matchup with the Texans:

Running back Kenjon Barner returned to Philadelphia Monday for another workout with the team, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan via Twitter.

Waived with an injury settlement by the Eagles prior to the season, the former Carolina Panthers backup was in town for another workout earlier this season. Originally acquired for a conditional draft pick in an August trade with Carolina, Barner might be Philadelphia’s emergency option at running back if Darren Sproles (MCL sprain) is unable to play for a second consecutive game.

Additionally, former Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Chris Prosinski is scheduled to visit the Eagles on Wednesday, according to a report by National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson.

Prosinski, a former fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Wyoming, has started nine games since 2011. The Jaguars announced he had been waived/injured on Sept. 23 after appearing in three games this season.

Although Malcolm Jenkins has proven to be an invaluable free agent addition with a team-high three interceptions at free safety, the Eagles could still be in search of secondary help. Starting SS Nate Allen surrendered the go-ahead touchdown in the team’s Week 7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and second-year backup Earl Wolff has seen limited playing time this season.

In other news, the Eagles announced Wednesday that center Jason Kelce (sports hernia) and left guard Evan Mathis (MCL sprain) were full participants in practice. The latter isn’t eligible to return to the active roster until after the team’s eighth game this week. Kelce, however, is likely to return to the starting lineup for the first time since Week 3.

Editor’s Note: The Eagles also announced this week that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is the team’s 2014 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, which the NFL says honors “players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.” Maclin missed all of last season with a torn ACL but ranks 10th in the NFL with 632 receiving yards through seven games. Kelce won the award in 2013.

10 one-liners: Eagles fall to Cards in bitter 24-20 loss

Going strictly by wins and losses, Arizona has been a rough place for the Eagles to play in recent years. Despite a late comeback attempt, that trend continued for Philadelphia Sunday with turnovers and missed opportunities haunting the Eagles in a bitter 24-20 loss to the Cardinals.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ second loss of the season:

Entering the game having lost seven of their last nine meetings with the Cardinals in Arizona, the Eagles might have had their sloppiest performance of the season, turning the ball over three times (twice in the red zone) and finishing with 11 penalties.

Quarterback Nick Foles had a season-high 411 yards through the air and found receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper on pinpoint deep passes, but he also threw two interceptions to bring his 2014 pick total to nine.

The Eagles’ offensive struggles can partially be attributed to Foles, but a second-quarter red zone fumble by rookie receiver Josh Huff as well as some debated calls by the officiating crew seemed to play a big part in Philadelphia’s woes.

Head coach Chip Kelly’s play calling might have contributed to the struggles, too, as he elected to run from the Shotgun formation on a fourth-quarter series inside the Cardinals’ five-yard line and dialed up 62 passes for Foles against just 24 designed runs.

That being said, the offense wasn’t without its positive moments, as Cooper hauled in a 50-yard pass and Maclin, despite a brief departure to the locker room because of a helmet-to-helmet collision, exploded for 12 catches and a career-high 187 yards and two scores.

Maclin’s first touchdown of the day, a 21-yard score on a first-quarter screen pass from Foles, gave the Eagles an early 7-0 lead, but it was also the last time Philadelphia would dent the scoreboard until a 54-yard Cody Parkey field goal in the third.

The Eagles defense wasn’t without its sour moments, either, as the unit surrendered two crucial passes by Carson Palmer, the first being an 80-yard, tie-breaking third-quarter TD by longtime receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the second being a 75-yard bomb to rookie John Brown, who sped past blown coverage for the go-ahead score less than 30 seconds after the Eagles had taken a 20-17 lead with another Parkey field goal.

Foles and the offense had a final chance to rebound after Brown’s score, and although the unit reached the Cardinals’ 13-yard line, the Eagles’ final pass, a third-down heave to WR Jordan Matthews in the end zone, landed in the rookie’s arms out of bounds as time expired.

Although their weakness against big plays reemerged against the Cardinals, the Eagles defense had a few bright moments, limiting Arizona running back Andre Ellington to 71 yards on the ground and recording a takeaway when safety Nate Allen forced and recovered a fumble in the third quarter.

Despite the return of linebacker Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles’ defense was unable to sack Palmer, taking a sharp pass rushing decline from its 27-0 shutout win over the New York Giants in Week 6.

Now 5-2 on the season and positioned below the Dallas Cowboys (6-1) in the NFC East, the Eagles will stay on the road for their next contest, a Nov. 2 showdown with the AFC South’s Houston Texans (4-4).

Bird fight: 3 questions for Eagles vs. Cardinals

The Dallas Cowboys seem to be the talk of the NFL atop the NFC East, but the Eagles will have an opportunity to stay neck-and-neck with their rivals this week.

Rested up after a bye week that followed a shutout win over the New York Giants, Philadelphia hits the road for a Sunday showdown against the similarly 5-1 Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.

Here are three questions to consider as the Eagles look to top the Cardinals for the second consecutive season:

Can the Eagles continue to apply pressure up front?

Before their bye week, the Eagles made plenty of noise in the trenches in their 27-0 win over the Giants. Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry all got in on the action in the backfield, helping Philadelphia rack up the sacks of Eli Manning. Against the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer, who overcame a nerve injury to throw four touchdowns and one interception the last two weeks, it could be important for the Eagles to get pressure in Palmer’s face early and often.

Will the Eagles be able to run the ball against the Cardinals’ front seven?

Philadelphia finally got big-play production from running back LeSean McCoy two weeks ago, but the team could face quite a challenge against Arizona. Not only are the Cardinals the only team in the NFL that has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season, but the Eagles might be without the services of versatile backup Darren Sproles, who suffered an MCL sprain vs. New York and is listed as questionable for the game. Establishing the run might do wonders for QB Nick Foles and the rest of the offense.

Can the Eagles find a way to force takeaways?

Sunday’s clash of birds will pit one of the NFL’s most efficient offenses against one of the NFL’s most opportunistic defenses. Whereas Arizona has only turned the ball over four times this year, the Eagles have forced nine takeaways and at least one turnover in their last 19 games. Philadelphia might also have the benefit of getting back one of its regular defensive starters in linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has missed the team’s last four games with a calf injury.

Other Eagles notes: According to CSN Philly, Philadelphia holds a 2-7 record in the last nine meetings between the teams in Arizona, with one of the losses coming in the 2008 NFC Championship. Center Jason Kelce, who has missed three games with a sports hernia, is another Eagle listed as questionable for the Cardinals game.

Report: Eagles inquiring about Vincent Jackson

Wide receiver production hasn’t necessarily been lacking for the Eagles this season, but according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Philadelphia is among four teams inquiring about Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson.

Jackson, 31, is “still generating trade interest” ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, Rapoport reported via Twitter. The Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs were also listed as teams interested in Jackson.

Jeremy Maclin, replacing DeSean Jackson as the team’s No. 1 receiver, leads the Eagles with 445 yards through six games. And fellow starter Riley Cooper is in the first of a five-year, $25 million contract he signed prior to the season.

But Cooper had a relatively slow start to the season and Jackson’s size (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) might fit well on the outside of coach Chip Kelly’s offense. The fact that Vincent Jackson has five 1,000-yard seasons between the Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers since 2005 also makes him noteworthy.

However, Vincent Jackson’s contract would be a hefty one to pick up in the event of a trade. According to BleedingGreenNation.com, the receiver is due a base salary of more than $9.7 million in each of the next three seasons.

Bye week watch: Cowboys move up, Kelly’s culture

For the first time in roughly two months, the Eagles didn’t take the field for a game this week.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of action around the NFL during Philadelphia’s bye week.

In the Eagles’ own NFC East, the red-hot rival Dallas Cowboys moved up to first place in the division with a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Dallas had been tied with Philadelphia at 5-1, but now – at least temporarily – sits atop the East.

Speaking of 5-1, the Arizona Cardinals improved to that record Sunday with a win over the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles resume play Oct. 26 when they travel to Glendale to take on the Cards, their third NFC West opponent of the year.

While there are still many questions surrounding the Eagles, one thing that’s become clearer as the season’s gone on is head coach Chip Kelly’s emphasis on maintaining good team culture. Conveniently for Eagles fans during the bye week, NFL Network made available its “Inside the NFL” feature on Philadelphia’s Week 6 win over the Giants, and among Kelly’s many mic’d-up moments are comments about how culture always beats talent.

Kelly himself exemplified good culture during the bye week, too. The second-year coach paid a hospital visit to injured Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, according to NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan via Twitter. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon in New York’s shutout loss to Philadelphia.

Kelly’s admiration of culture was also represented by quarterback Nick Foles. More mic’d action of the Eagles-Giants contest showed Foles getting vocal with referees after teammate Darren Sproles was injured on an apparently illegal hit. As BleedingGreenNation.com fan “ProtoTyler” commented on an Oct. 17 article, the jury might still be out on Foles as a long-term answer at QB, but there seems to be little doubt about Foles’ character.

10 one-liners: ‘Black hole’ Eagles engulf Giants, 27-0

The Eagles picked a good time to put together what was arguably their most complete performance of the year. Under the lights of prime time Sunday night, Philadelphia embraced its all-black look like something out of a disaster space movie, engulfing the New York Giants in a historic 27-0 rout.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ fifth win of the season:

After weeks of the defense and special teams picking up the slack for a struggling Eagles offense, Philadelphia got big contributions from quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy, scoring early and giving Philadelphia an obvious edge in momentum against the Giants.

That’s not to say the Eagles defense didn’t stand out Sunday, for the unit helped Philadelphia capture its first shutout since 1996, recording a season-high eight sacks and forcing 10 New York punts in its most productive outing of the season.

Outside linebacker Connor Barwin, one of five Eagles who recorded a sack against New York, headlined the team’s dominant defensive performance, doubling his sack total on the year with three of Giants QB Eli Manning.

Aside from the pass rushing performance, the Eagles were also stout against the run despite missing injured linebacker Mychal Kendricks for a fourth straight week, limiting Giants starter Andre Williams to 58 yards on 16 carries.

Foles connected early and often with his tight ends to give the Eagles a hefty first-half lead, putting Philadelphia up 10-0 with a 15-yard touchdown to a diving Zach Ertz and later extending the team’s lead to 17 with a 25-yard strike to a wide-open James Casey.

Foles also had two interceptions despite opportunities to throw the ball away, but improved blocking up front and the reemergence of McCoy, who was uncharacteristically flat in weeks prior but racked up 149 yards on the ground, kept the Eagles well ahead of the Giants.

The special teams unit didn’t score any points as it’s regularly done as of late, but it was no less effective for the Eagles against the Giants, with rookie kicker Cody Parkey going two-for-two on field goals and punter Donnie Jones dropping five of six kicks inside New York’s own 20-yard line.

A week after struggling mightily in pass coverage, especially on deep balls, Eagles cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher took advantage of the team’s pressure up front, limiting Manning to just 151 yards through the air.

The Eagles’ third and final touchdown of the night was courtesy of McCoy’s shifty complement, Darren Sproles, who took an outside hand-off 15 yards for a score but was later taken to the locker room because of a suspected knee injury.

Speaking of injuries, the Giants lost one of their own premier players when wide receiver Victor Cruz was carted off the field with a torn patellar tendon, a likely season-ending injury suffered after a third-quarter fourth-and-goal pass slipped through the veteran’s hands.

Now 5-1 on the season and still tied with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East, the Eagles will have some time to rest on their bye week before hitting the road for an Oct. 26 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals (4-1).