June 5, 2023

3 storylines as Eagles try to keep playoff hopes alive in Denver


AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Eagles are up in the Mile-High City this afternoon. This is a must win game for the Eagles of they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Here’s three storylines:

Favorable matchup for Smith

DeVonta Smith is going up against Mike Ford Sunday afternoon.

The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner is coming off his best performance of the season, in which he totaled five receptions and 116 yards with a touchdown against a tough Los Angeles Chargers secondary.

The Eagles have attempted the fewest passes in the league over the past two weeks, with just 33. With fewer opportunities in the fold, Smith will need to capitalize on every opportunity but should be able to do so against Ford’s lackluster coverage this season.

Broncos without OC

The Broncos are expecting to be without their top offensive coach and play caller Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is in NFL COVID-19 protocols, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio confirmed. He found out about Shurmur on Friday morning.

NFL Network first reported the news about Shurmur.

Fangio was asked if Shurmur is definitely out.

“Don’t know yet for sure, but we have to prepare as if he’s not available,” he said.

Fangio said he knows who will call the plays in Shurmur’s absence but wouldn’t give out that information. The most likely candidate seems to be quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, who has been an NFL offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants.

This is just the latest COVID-19 issue with the Broncos this week. As of Friday, the Broncos had four players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Austin Schlottmann, QB Drew Lock, CB Michael Ojemudia, and LB Justin Strnad.

Shurmur, 56, has been the Broncos’ offensive coordinator for the last two seasons. With a defensive head coach in Vic Fangio, Shurmur is the top-ranked offensive coach for the Broncos.

Last week, the Broncos scored a season-high 30 points in a big win over the Cowboys in Dallas. On the season, the Broncos have averaged 20.7 points per game, ranking them 22nd in the NFL.

A new uniform combination

The Eagles will be sporting a never-before-seen look in Denver Broncos at Empower Field Sunday. For the first time ever, the team is pairing their standard white road jersey tops with black pants.

Here’s a projected preview via the team:


The Eagles usually wear white pants to match their white top. They’ve less frequently used midnight green pants as well. Black pants is an entirely new look.

The reason for this change? Well, if the clip in the announcement put out by the team is any indication, it comes from a recommendation from Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo.

The following exchange took place when DeVonta Smith was mic’d up earlier this season:

DeVonta Smith: We need to do all green.

Kevin Patullo: I would love to wear black pants with a white jersey. That would be sick.

Since Patullo got his wish, does this mean we might actually see the Eagles go with Smith’s suggestion at some point? Would the Eagles really break out a look they haven’t sported since the early 2000s in the all-green look?

Breaking out black pants with white tops indicates the Eagles are at least willing to try out new looks, which is fun. Doesn’t hurt to experiment.

Excited to see how this new combo looks when the Eagles hit the field on Sunday. Getting a win can only increase their appeal.

Kick off is at 4:25pm ET at Empower Field. Catch the game on CBS and listen on 94.1 WIP.

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