Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with Eagles writer Zach Berman


Next game

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

TV: Ch. 19, 45

Radio: 700-AM, 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM

Cincinnati Bengals beat writer Jay Morrison caught up with Zach Berman, who covers the Philadelphia Eagles for the Philadelphia Inquirer and philly.com, for a Q&A to preview Sunday's game.

You can follow Zach on twitter @ZBerm.

Q: What has been the biggest difference from the hot 3-0 start this season to the Eagles' current stretch of losing six of eight?

A: There have a been a few factors. First of all, the opponents. Give the Eagles credit for beating Pittsburgh in Week 3, but the first two wins were against Cleveland and Chicago. Time has shown those are two of the worst teams in the NFL. Carson Wentz was outstanding in those games. He's been good this season, but that was before teams had film on him. The Eagles benefited from good field position on offense and also jumped to early leads. The attack-style defense is best when it's playing from ahead and can send the pass rush.

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Q: Has Wentz showed enough promise during his rookie year to make you believe he can lead this team for the next decade?

A: It certainly looks that way. He needs more talent around him, and that will come. But he has the tangible and intangible qualities to make Philadelphia optimistic about his future. Physically, he's big, athletic, and makes a few passes a game that show why he's a franchise quarterback. Off the field, he has the personality that the Eagles want at the position.

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Q: What happened with the guard from nearby Miami University, Brandon Brooks, who was taken to the hospital and missed Monday's game? And do you expect him to be able to go Sunday?

A: He had a stomach bug that left him nauseous and forced him to the hospital. He practiced all week and will be fine to play on Sunday.

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Q: If you had to pick out a single attribute as the thing the Eagles do best, what would be?

A: Earlier in the season, I'd say rushing the passer. But they have only six sacks in the past five games. I'd say special teams. They have a strong special teams unit, with two kick return touchdowns and a good kicking and punting game.

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Q: Have you seen enough from the Eagles to believe they can get on a hot streak over the final five games, starting Sunday in Cincinnati, and make a push for a playoff berth if other things break right for them elsewhere?

A: No, I don't see that happening. Given the division and the teams they've lost to already this season, it would likely require a five-game winning streak. That would be difficult to do. You never say never, but the offense isn't explosive enough to believe they can go on that type of run.

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