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The Philadelphia Eagles will host the 2018 NFL season opener on Sept. 6 Joe Mixon Jersey , and it looks like we'll be getting an NFC Championship rematch to kick off the new year.According to聽Philadelphia Eagles reporter Howard Eskin, the defending Super Bowl champions will host the Minnesota Vikings in the first game of the 2018 season:When #NFL schedule comes out sources tell me #Eagles will play #Vikings to open season Thursday night September 6th in Philadelphia. It鈥檚 rematch of NFC Championship game. @SportsRadioWIP— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) March 19, 2018The Eagles defeated the Vikings 38-7 in the 2017 NFC Championship Game, in which backup quarterback Nick Foles torched the Minnesota secondary with 352 passing yards and three touchdowns.Both Philly and Minnesota have undergone some major roster changes that will be fun to see. The Vikings landed quarterback Kirk Cousins on a three-year contract worth $84 million, all of it guaranteed. They also landed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on a one-year deal.As for the Eagles, they traded wide receiver Torrey Smith to the Carolina Panthers for Daryl Worley, acquired Seattle Seahawks pass-rusher Michael Bennett but also cut ties with defensive end Vinny Curry, Super Bowl tight end hero Trey Burton and running back, LeGarrette Blount.Each team has a聽top-five defensive unit from 2017 and a boatload of play-makers on offense, so this game could be one of the best in all of 2018. It'll certainly be interesting to see how Minnesota tries to slow down a Philly offense that was unstoppable last year - whether it was Carson Wentz or Nick Foles at quarterback.The Eagles and Vikings figure to fight for perennial supremacy in the NFC Jimmy Garoppolo Jersey , as both teams have tremendous cores with stars under the age of 30. Both title windows are open long-term, but last season's NFC Championship Game suggests the Eagles are overwhelmingly ahead.Traditionally, the NFL announces the full schedule somewhere in mid-to-late April. We won't have official word about the kickoff game until then, but Eskin is as reliable of a source as they come in the NFL. So Vikings and Eagles fans, prepare for your NFC Championship rematch in Week 1. 鈥?There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.After serving for five seasons as the team’s linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.Enthusiastic doesn’t even begin to describe Martindale’s attitude about being in charge of the defense.“Ever since we’ve made this transition, it’s been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it,” Martindale said after Wednesday’s mandatory minicamp practice.This isn’t the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.Given a second chance Will Hernandez Jersey , the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.“He’s just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast,” Weddle said. “The idea is to do what’s best for the defense, not what’s best the individual.”Martindale called Mosley “the quarterback” of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.“The way we’re able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it’s more creative, I would say Saquon Barkley Game Jersey , than where we were last year,” Mosley said.Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.“All we’re doing is forwarding John’s plan,” Martindale said. “We’re remodeling the package. It’s still Ravens football, it’s still Ravens defense, but we’ve streamlined it. It’s the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast.”Asked for his take on Martindale’s defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, “They’re fast and they’re furious.”Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale’s boss likes what he sees.“We’re doing a lot of neat things on defense Andy Dalton Jersey , things that are really good,” Harbaugh said. “More than ever, we’re putting it on our players to make decisions in real time.”Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.“For the most part, it’s been the same,” Mosley said. “He always comes in and says, ‘I have to lead the linebacker room,’ and sits down and gets to talking like he’s back at linebacker coach.”Told of Mosley’s disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, “I’ve been trying to stay out of there Uchenna Nwosu Youth Jersey , but you can’t help but go in. That’s home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well.”And just about everywhere else.“Where we’re going with this thing is really exciting to me,” Martindale said, “and I know it’s exciting to the players.”In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.“I don’t know if Jimmy’s like half Wolverine, but he’s healed up in half the time of regular human beings,” Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.___.
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