Thu, 09 Feb 2023

The latest on the Birds: Which jersey will the Eagles wear

Philadelphia Eagles
21 Jan 2023, 18:12 GMT+10

Which jersey will the Eagles wear on Saturday night?

The Eagles will wear their midnight green jerseys with white pants for Saturday night's NFC Divisional Round showdown against the New York Giants.

Looking for an X-factor on Saturday? Consider DT Milton Williams

Maybe it's because he's healthy. Or that he's gained some knowledge, confidence, and more of an edge since the Eagles add some veterans at his position. Could be that it has just clicked for second-year defensive tackle Milton Williams, who has taken advantage of his reps in the deep and talented rotation in the middle of Philadelphia's defense.

"I know this," he said on Thursday at his NovaCare Complex locker, "I feel good out there. I can't wait to get on the field and make something happen."

Williams has played some of his best football since the bye week in mid-October, with has 4 quarterback sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 5 quarterback hits, and 29 combined tackles in those 11 games. Even with the additions of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, Williams has continued to be a presence with his quickness off the ball and his strength and technique in winning his one-on-one battles.

If you're looking for an under-the-radar factor for Saturday's NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Giants, consider Williams. He has played 36 percent of the defensive snaps this season, his second after the Eagles made him a third-round draft choice in 2021, and going against a New York offense that wants to establish the running game, Williams could be a key factor.

"Man, you know I'm just trying to take advantage of the opportunities and make people notice when I'm on the field," Williams said. "Just trying to make a splash play whenever I'm out there. Everything is kind of clicking for me. I feel it when I'm out there and it's a great feeling. I've been picking up a lot in the film room, looking for tendencies and then when I go out on the field, I try to hit them and win my matchup."

Adding Joseph and Suh to the defensive line room has helped everybody because the two veterans have seen it all, and the way they work brings a new dimension and perspective to the room. Perhaps some expected Williams to fade into the background when those two players arrived to give the Eagles six defensive tackles on the 53-man roster, but Williams has continued to shine.

It's all part of the growth process in this league.

"Sometimes it's just instincts. You're out there and you just make a play and you realize that it's years and years of playing football and you understand why it happens," he said. "Having Linval and Suh here, I'm learning all the time. Them coming here, I know people on the outside said that it would mean less for me, but I took it as a chance to work even harder on me, on my technique, everything that comes with me being on the field. It's paid off. It's helped me take that next step.

"Now it's the playoffs and we know New York. They looked good last week. This week, it's a new ballgame, a new opponent. I know we will be ready for what they do, the challenge they bring." - Dave Spadaro, January 19 at 1:40 PM

DeVonta Smith wants to 'step it up' in the postseason

In his first playoff appearance, wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught 4 passes for 60 yards in the loss last season to Tampa Bay and he came away hungry for more. A National Champion at the University of Alabama, Smith made a smooth transition to the NFL in 2021 and he's taken it a step beyond in 2022.

He wants to do the same on Saturday night and throughout this postseason.

"It helps a lot, just learning from the mistakes we made last year, not being on the same page and things like that," Smith said. "So, going into this game, it's important that we're on the same page and not having any miscommunications and playing our game."

Smith admitted that the playoff stage is different and that it takes a minute to get used to because of the way the NFL adapts and adjusts, but that isn't a problem any longer. He knows what to expect. And he knows what it takes to have success.

"The speed and the tempo and things are the same, it's just that the opponents are better and they've found their identities. Teams do different things, whatever helps them be successful," Smith said. "If you played a team early in the season, it's not going to be the same team when you play them again. You've got to be ready to step it up."

Smith watched "the majority" of the first weekend of playoff football, seeking out friends from around the league he could root for and also, as a football player, how he would handle certain situations.

"As a football player, when situations come up, you think, 'What would you do?'" he said. "That's how I watched the games. It was a combination of watching friends and watching for different situations." - Dave Spadaro, January 18 at 5:45 PM

James Bradberry 'not surprised' by Daniel Jones' success

For two seasons with the Giants, cornerback James Bradberry shared in the frustration of a franchise that had not reached the postseason since 2016 campaign and he watched the maturation of quarterback Daniel Jones who, Bradberry said on Wednesday, was always diligent in the way he prepared even during some very tough times.

"There were injuries along the offensive line and in the receiving corps and when you don't have a healthy O-line for a quarterback, it's hard to get settled and get comfortable back there," Bradberry said. "Now, he looks like a very, very good quarterback who takes care of the ball. I know that in the past, he had issues with turnovers and whatnot. And the fact that he's not turning over the ball, he's making plays with his legs, too, that's a recipe for winning and that's what they've been doing."

Bradberry said he "had a lot of respect" for Jones and the way the Giants' No. 1 draft pick in 2019 draft pick handled the beatings he was taking, the injuries he incurred, and the losses and boos that mounted.

"He came, week in and week out, no matter if we won or lost, he came with the same mindset," Bradberry said. "He was sitting in the front of the room, he was always taking notes, and he was always paying attention. That was one thing I noticed about him. He didn't always say a whole lot, but he definitely works hard throughout practice. You could just tell. He really, really tries. And that's all you can ask for from any player. He gives you his best effort.

"You're supposed to be talented, and when you're the quarterback of a franchise, you're supposed to be the guy and whatnot, but sometimes it doesn't always go your way. But as long as you come in and do your best, you can't control the outside variables. I'm not surprised by what he's doing. I knew he was always capable of it. It was about getting all the pieces together and working." - Dave Spadaro, January 18 at 5:45 PM

More St Petersburg (Florida) News

Access More

Sign up for The St Petersburg News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!