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EAGLES NOTEBOOK: Home-Cooking Must Start vs. Saints

If the Eagles want to be taken seriously for the playoffs, they must find a way to win their first game of the season at home, and more here
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PHILADLEPHIA – Finding a home win won’t be easy against the New Orleans Saints.

The Eagles may have on the most recent encounter with the team from the Big Easy, but the Saints are 7-3 against the Eagles dating back to 2006, including two playoff victories.

“It’s been an emphasis all year, not just this week,” said linebacker Davion Taylor on Thursday when asked if securing a win in front of the home crowd has been a talking point this week among players and coaches.

“I feel like we’ve been good on the road these past couple games, but we really need to get a win at home. We’ve really been emphasizing that this week. We want to make sure we bring that physicality and everything we’ve been bringing these last couple weeks to these home games. We really need a win and hopefully, we can put it all together and get a win this week.”

Until the Eagles can win at home and win two in a row, it will be difficult to talk about playoffs with a serious face.

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They can achieve both on Sunday when New Orleans visits the Linc for a second straight year.

Last year, the Eagles stung them, 24-21, but had to hold on after taking a 17-0 lead at halftime.

“There’s been a lot of talk, man,” said CB Darius Slay. “We’ve been looking at it as the fans deserve a win. We know we do. We’ve been close at home, but as you look at it, a lot of the teams at home have been tough.

“Tampa, Kansas City. We’ve played probably three of the four last teams that went to the Super Bowl. We’ve just got to win. That’s what we want to do.”

DEVONTA THE DEFENDER

There’s been a lot of talk about DeVonta Smith’s two-touchdown performance on his 23rd birthday last week. Another play he made may have been just as important, and that was the pass breakup he made on a throw that looked like rookie CB Patrick Surtain had a chance to intercept.

“It’s just me just trying to do what I can to stop the interception,” said Smith on Thursday. “Once I seen the pass and seen him sitting on it, it was kind of like just do what you can, just to break it up. Plays like that make a big difference.”

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Smith played some defensive back in high school and a little at Alabama early on.
“I guess you can say that it helped a little bit, but as a receiver, when you see something like that, you’re told to go break it up,” he said. “Even if you get the pass interference call, you’re told to break it up.”

The Eagles, though, are just fine with Smith as a receiver and hope he doesn’t have to play DB too often.

The rookie pass-catcher has three of his four touchdowns in the last two games. For the season, he has 42 receptions for 603 yards and a 124.4 yard per catch average.

LEARNING ABOUT MAILATA

Landon Dickerson wasn’t too familiar with Jordan Mailata’s backstory – the Australia rugby days and never playing football until he was drafted in the seventh round in 2019 - when Dickerson arrived as a second-round pick last spring. He knows now.

“It’s really impressive because a lot of us, I can’t speak for everybody, but I know I’ve been doing this for about 18 years now, playing football,” said Dickerson. 

“I’ve been doing it since I was about four years old. The fact that he really hasn’t had the high school, college, the lifetime experience of playing, it’s amazing to see what he’s able to do, how fast he learns, how fast he can fix things and adjust to this game.”

INJURY UPDATE

Every Eagles player practiced in some form on Thursday, though some were limited.

Those who were limited: Jack Anderson (hamstring), Dallas Goedert (concussion), and Davion Taylor (knee).

That’s good news for Goedert that he could be trending toward playing on Sunday.

Taylor said he had suffered a bone bruise last week against the Broncos but was able to return to the game. He said he should be able to play against the Saints.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I feel like it’s more fun. Me watching film and seeing myself get better is making it more fun for me. Now I feel like I’m at the point where I can make plays even more, because I’m learning what I can do on the field, I’m learning what’s coming and everything…Just letting my athleticism take over and I feel like it’s going to be a great rest of the season.” – Eagles LB Davion Taylor

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