EAGLES NOTEBOOK: Jordan Howard changes the dynamics of the running game

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PHILADELPHIA – Jordan Howard was never very talkative. He is calm, reserved, almost shy.

Until he steps onto the pitch, then he lets his game do the talking, with bursts into the line of scrimmage finding a hole and, when there isn’t one, creating his own.

“He’s a beast,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “He’s running hard. He always falls forward. He has a lot of power when he runs. Excellent password protector. Doesn’t say much. He moves in silence. But it’s just a big back. He did well for a long time.

Howard, who just turned 27 on Nov. 2, changed the dynamics of the Eagles back room. So much so that it will be interesting to see what happens with the instant counts and precipitation when Miles Sanders leaves Injured Reserve, something that could happen as early as the Eagles’ next home game, against the New Orleans Saints on November 21. .

Howard will have at least one more chance to show he can be a staple of the game plan when the Eagles play in Denver against the Broncos on Sunday (4:25 pm CBS).

“He tells me all the time, ‘I’m just going to run behind you,” said tackle Jordan Mailata. “I’m like’ Okay, I’ll do whatever I can to give you that hole. ‘

“Jordan is just a very straight runner, a tough runner. The guy is ridiculous with the way he runs. When you have a guy on the team like that it also helps the racing game a lot. Credit to Jordan. I’m just blocking. He does everything else.

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The Broncos’ run defense will provide a more rigorous test than the previous two teams that saw Hoard run 128 yards and three touchdowns after being high from the practice team. He was added to the roster earlier this week when the Eagles released cornerback Mac McCain.

The Eagles had hoped McCain would delete the waivers so he could add him to the practice squad, but the Broncos have claimed it.

The Chargers and Lions, whom Howard has faced more than once in the past two weeks, have two of the worst running defenses in the league. The Broncos are in the top 10, so Howard, who has had 17 races against the Chargers, but might not come close this week.

Still, it would be surprising if the Eagles gave up the race altogether.

“I think the most important thing is to respect our name so that we can direct the ball,” Mailata said. “That in itself will protect everything – the passing game, the action game, the screen game. I think we do a great job knowing our missions and trying to dominate the next guy who opposes us. It helps us a lot with that aspect of the game, just by protecting our game plan. “

BRONCOS THINGS

As the Eagles continue to spend draft guarantees on the wide receiver – using five picks over the past three years to bring in DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside – the Broncos have found an undrafted gem in Tim Patrick, a 6-4, 210-pound BYU wide receiver.

Patrick entered the league in 2018, he has 124 catches for 1,784 yards and 11 touchdowns over three seasons, including 34 for 509 (15.0 ypc) and four scores this year.

In case you didn’t know, Ronald Darby is one of Denver’s starting corners. The first CB of the 2017 Eagle Super Bowl Championship team, he’s 27 now, but it looks like he’s been in the league for 15 years.

The Broncos will be on leave next week after hosting the Eagles.

“We just need to empty the tank for the next five days, knowing that the week off is just around the corner, and to go bye 6-4,” said safety Justin Simmons. “That’s what’s important.”

INJURY UPDATE

A day after six players missed practice, there wasn’t a single player who didn’t practice at least to some extent on Thursday.

Four players were limited: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Avonte Maddox (knee), Darius Slay (hamstring) and Josh Sweat (concussion).

The fact that Maddox and Slay have both held press conferences with writers for the past two days.

Maddox announced Thursday that he will play on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Slay said he would push to play against the Broncos.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I kind of hit my knee three times on the same play. They did a crack throw, and I was running through, and my knee hit Keenan Allen on the knee, straight up. Then when I hit Austin (Ekeler), I kicked him on the hip. Then when I took him to the ground, I put my knee on the ground, so I was away for a minute. – Eagles CB Avonte Maddox when he had to leave last week’s game against the Chargers with a knee injury before returning later.

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Ed Kracz is SI.com’s Eagle Maven editor and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news on www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles Where www.eaglemaven.com and follow him on Twitter: @kracze.


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