far-reaching.

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far-reaching.

Postby linhui95 » 2018-10-11 08:12

A picture on a wall inside the Philadelphia Eagles' practice facility shows players holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy with the words "The New Norm" written across the middle.

Coach Doug Pederson coined the phrase after the team beat the New England Patriots to win its first Super Bowl.

The Eagles finally got a taste of championship success and they want more. Only eight teams in NFL history have repeated as Super Bowl champs Patriots Adrian Clayborn Jersey , none since the Patriots did it after the 2004 season.

It's a tough task, but the Eagles are determined to build a dynasty. They won't be underdogs anymore as they were throughout last year's playoffs. Teams are coming for them and they believe they'll be ready for the challenge.

"It's a great opportunity for us this season," Pederson said. "Great motivating factor for us to sort of rip off the dog masks and no longer be the underdog, but now be the hunted. Have the target on our back."

Several key players who missed Philadelphia's playoff run are returning from injuries, including quarterback Carson Wentz, nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and playmaking linebacker Jordan Hicks. They'll make sure their teammates stay hungry.

"The biggest thing is the culture we've created, the team-first mentality, a bunch of unselfish players and the camaraderie we've built," Wentz said. "I don't see why the sky can't be the limit for us going forward again. We have high expectations, the city has high expectations and we love that."

Some things to know about the Eagles, who open the season Sept. 6 against Atlanta:

INSURANCE POLICY: The Eagles are in a unique position with a backup quarterback who was the Super Bowl MVP. Nick Foles will be under center until doctors clear Wentz to return following surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL last December. Foles will then return to the sideline without complaining. Foles has no ego, understands his role and is close with Wentz. He didn't demand a trade to go start somewhere else, loves playing for the Eagles and enjoys the city. It's an ideal scenario. Foles played poorly in the preseason 鈥?minus several starters around him 鈥?but he gets a pass after sensational playoff performances.

MORE WEAPONS: Rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, a second-round pick, was impressive in the preseason and joins Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to form matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, especially inside the red zone. Versatile running back Darren Sproles returns after missing most of last season, giving the offense another threat coming out of the backfield.

THE UNDERDOGS: An offensive line that features two All-Pros 鈥?right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce 鈥?and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks along with left guard Stefen Wisniewski may have been the best in the league last season and now gets Peters back to protect the quarterback's blind side. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who was shaky in the preseason, has plenty of experience after filling in for Johnson in 2016 and Peters in 2017.

FRONT FOUR: The addition of three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett and five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata strengthens a deep line that was No. 1 against the run last year.

Starting defensive tackle Tim Jernigan is coming off back surgery and it's uncertain when he'll return plus Vinny Curry and Beau Allen moved on.

But Bennett, Ngata and the emergence of second-year pro Derek Barnett should help this unit stay dominant. Fletcher Cox is one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. End Brandon Graham played at a high level and veteran Chris Long showed he had plenty left in the tank.

COVER GUYS: Cornerback is another strength for the defense led by starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. Sidney Jones, a 2017 second-round pick who missed nearly the entire season following surgery on his Achilles before the draft, and rookie Avonte Maddox had a strong battle for the nickel spot and provide plenty of depth.

COACHING CHANGES: Offensive coordinator Frank Reich left to become the head coach in Indianapolis and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo became the offensive coordinator in Minnesota. Mike Groh replaced Reich and Press Taylor took DeFilippo's spot. Both coaches already were part of the team's staff and have familiarity with the system and the players.

The NFL's revision of the catch rule figured to grab the spotlight this season.

Then the league altered the regulations on using the helmet when making contact on both sides of the ball, basically making it a 15-yard penalty no matter where on the helmet strikes an opponent. Even players on offense and linemen in the trenches are subject to being flagged, with potential fines and ejections for particularly flagrant hits by lowering the helmet.

Players are upset. Officials are deeper under the microscope. Fans are wondering why replay review isn't part of the entire process.

Suddenly, the Dez Bryant and Jesse James non-catches are non-issues. It's all about the helmet hits Ray Nitschke Jersey , which unquestionably need to be removed from the game in a similar way that tacklers launching to make hits pretty much has been eliminated in the pros.

Here's where things stand from a variety of constituencies as we head toward the kickoff of the 2018 schedule:

THE LEAGUE

NFL executives were encouraged that the flags thrown for helmet-initiated hits dropped from 51 through the opening two weeks of the preseason to nine for Week 3 鈥?when many regulars get on the field, though in a limited capacity. Officials have been instructed not to flag incidental or inadvertent contacts with the helmet or facemask by defensive or offensive players. The deeper we get into games that count, the better those with the whistle or ball in their hands or the guys attempting tackles will have a handle on what's legal.

"These are necessary changes where the rules come in," says Troy Vincent, the NFL's football operations chief and one of the hardest hitters in the league when he played defensive back from 1992-2006. "As stewards for the long term, the well-being of the players comes first."

Adds Giants owner John Mara, a long-time member of the competition committee that advises rules changes for teams to vote on:

"I think officials and players will adapt to the rule, that is what happens every time we have a change based on player safety. There's an outcry at the beginning that it will change the game, and it never works out that way; statistics don't bear that out at all. Players should not lower their heads is what it is all about, and we should not have some of the injuries we have seen."

THE OFFICIALS

The rule change has placed the men in stripes in even sharper focus. Simply put, at the current speed of play and with the size and power of players, any call is difficult. Now, a bit more judgment has been added, with decisions made in split seconds.

"It's still a work in progress because officials need to learn to instinctively read and react to this type of hit that they've never looked at before as a foul," says recently retired referee Terry McAulay, now an analyst for NBC. "So there is going to be some learning curve yet to come, but I think they're in a much better place than they were a week ago."

One somewhat puzzling question remains: Why isn't video replay involved when some of these calls, especially if they lead to ejections, can be game changers?

Well, it actually is, on a limited basis. Should a player be ejected for initiating helmet contact, Al Riveron and his staff at New York headquarters can affirm or overrule the ejection.

"Our charge is, No. 1 player safety: Make it safer in all ways," Riveron says. "No. 2, make sure we still have a product that is entertaining. And No. 3 Customized Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys , find a happy balance with replay and how much it gets involved. We always stop the game to get it right."

Mara believes replay could play a further role if officiating the rule becomes too problematic.

"I certainly think are a lot of people who would support adding those calls to instant replay and making them reviewable," he says, "and I think that's another discussion we could have in the offseason if it is warranted."

THE DOCTORS AND RESEARCHERS

Thousands of hours and millions of dollars of data gathering, research, technological innovations and testing helped lead to the new rule. Every penny will have been well spent if usage of the helmet as a weapon disappears.

"It's an offshoot of all that work," says Jeff Miller, the league's executive vice president of health and safety initiatives, whose department works with medical professionals, researchers and equipment manufacturers. "An identification of what causes concussions and why there was a troubling increase in them.

"We see patterns, the increased velocity of the hits, the positioning of the head and neck ... that increase in force and magnitude of a hit, and not just with the crown of the helmet."

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's medical director, believes all the data helped construct a comprehensive story that required immediate action.

"Everything we saw said we must act on this," Sills says of the injury rate for helmet-first hits. "There was a sense of urgency when the data was so compelling to do something now on this."

THE COACHES

For decades, the head was taught to be part of the tackling process. That has changed 180 degrees 鈥?at least in the NFL 鈥?as the consequences of that technique became so clearly grim and far-reaching.

NFL coaches 鈥?yes, even those who don't win with regularity 鈥?are the elite of the profession. Still, changing a culture that was part of football for so long, and might still be at lower levels of the sport, is challenging.

Throw in that some coaches were caught by surprise by the wide-ranging change, and others aren't truly certain when flags will fly, and there's concern on every NFL sideline.

New Titans coach Mike Vrabel, a Super Bowl-winning linebacker, narrated a league-distributed video on tackles that are kosher and which are outlawed. Yet his team was among the most penalized early in the preseason.

"It's frustrating because I'm not doing a good enough job explaining to them what
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