Kelce takes on new role as fa­ther

But he’s back to man O-line af­ter birth of daugh­ter; de­fense also has some­thing to be cel­e­brat­ing

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Nick Fierro

PHILADEL­PHIA — The new­est mem­ber of the Philadel­phia Ea­gles is def­i­nitely a devel­op­men­tal player.

Wy­att El­iz­a­beth Kelce, born Wed­nes­day to par­ents Ja­son and Kylie Kelce, is only 8 pounds, 6 ounces, so she’ll be in shorts and shells for a while. But she’s al­ready ahead of her fa­ther, the Ea­gles start­ing cen­ter, who was given Wed­nes­day off to wel­come her into the world.

“That’s not too bad,” Kelce said of his daugh­ter’s birth weight. “I was only 5 1⁄2.”

Kelce couldn’t be hap­pier, but he also knew that tak­ing any more time off wouldn’t make that much dif­fer­ence at home.

“We’re re­ally for­tu­nate,” he said. “[Kylie is] from the area, both her par­ents are here, my par­ents came in, she has a lot of friends, fam­ily mem­bers. She’s not alone by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. There’s not much I can do.

“Ob­vi­ously I can be sup­port­ive and what­not, but I don’t that there’s too much else I [can do].”

The name Wy­att was sort of a com­pro­mise, Kelce ad­mit­ted.

“We were think­ing be­fore we knew the sex that it was go­ing to be Wy­att for a boy and Char­lotte for a girl,” he said. “But a cou­ple of our friends took that [Char­lotte name], so … we kind of liked Wy­att re­gard­less.”

The play be­fore the play

By now, ev­ery­thing about cor­ner­back Craig James’ game-sav­ing pass breakup on Green Bay’s fi­nal play last Thurs­day night has been dis­sected and an­a­lyzed ad in­fini­tum.

But what about the play be­fore that? On first-and-goal from the 7, run­ning back Aaron Jones was able to get some good trac­tion on a run up the mid­dle and plowed into Fletcher Cox, who was off bal­ance from try­ing to get off a block from guard Billy Turner at the line of scrim­mage. Cox was dragged 4 yards be­fore barely be­ing able to drag Jones to the ground at the 3.

It was a huge stop be­cause Jones’ mo­men

tum and power al­most car­ried him into the end zone.

“You just put it all on the line ev­ery game, ev­ery down,” Cox said. “There was just some­thing about the game at that point. You had to dig deep, and we did. Craig made a play and that was great.”

Cox and the Ea­gles have been good against the run in all four games so far, al­low­ing op­po­nents just 3.2 yards per carry. The Ea­gles have al­lowed an av­er­age of just 62 rush­ing yards per game, good for fourth in the NFL.

That could have been in the minds of Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur and quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers on their pre­vi­ous se­ries, when the Pack­ers at­tempted four straight passes from the 1 and were turned away each time.

“I think it’s a sign of re­spect,” Cox said. “We do a good job against the run game. But I don’t know — if I’m the co­or­di­na­tor, I still think I test it. You know, Detroit ran the ball and they scored. So I don’t know.”

Fa­vor­able field po­si­tion

Ea­gles punter Cam John­ston has pinned op­po­nents in­side the 20 on eight of 14 tries this sea­son (57%). Only three other pun­ters in the league have done that at a higher per­cent­age this sea­son.

“It’s been good,” John­ston said. “The cov­er­age unit has been play­ing re­ally well. It’s a good start to the sea­son.”

To his credit, John­ston never thinks about in­di­vid­ual stats. But here are some that can’t be ig­nored: Since he made the team com­ing out of train­ing camp last sea­son, John­ston is sec­ond in the league in both net av­er­age (43.1) and gross av­er­age (48.2). His net (42.7) and gross (48.1) av­er­ages as a rookie in 2018 were fran­chise records.

In­jury up­date

CB Ron­ald Darby (ham­string), TE Alex El­lis (knee), WR DeSean Jack­son (ab­domen), DT Timmy Jerni­gan (foot) and CB Avonte Mad­dox (con­cus­sion, neck) re­mained out on Thurs­day.

DE Derek Bar­nett (groin), CB Sid­ney Jones (ham­string) and T Ja­son Peters (knee) were lim­ited. Peters is a new ad­di­tion af­ter prac­tic­ing fully Wed­nes­day.

MICHAEL PEREZ/AP

Fletcher Cox and the Ea­gles de­fen­sive line have been solid against the run this sea­son.

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