Eagles

Corey Clement's huge Super Bowl? 2017 Eagles in a nutshell

Corey Clement's huge Super Bowl? 2017 Eagles in a nutshell

MINNEAPOLIS — The day didn't start out so well for Corey Clement.

"When I woke up this morning I kind of felt sick," Clement said. "I was like, 'Damn, what am I walking into? What is this going to be like? I'm about to play in a Super Bowl.'"

No worries.

Clement caught four passes for 100 yards, including a 55-yard catch-and-run that's the longest offensive play in Eagles Super Bowl history, and a 22-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles a 10-point lead on the way to a 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium Minneapolis.

For this team? It makes perfect sense that a rookie running back who every team ignored seven times in the draft, who rarely caught the football in college or the first three months of this season, was the Eagles' leading receiver in one of the biggest games in franchise history.

Clement's 100 yards are third-most in Super Bowl history by a running back. He's the second Eagles running back with 100 yards in a playoff game. Keith Byars had 103 against the Bears in the Fog Bowl in 1988.

"This is awesome," said Clement, who grew up across the Delaware River from the Linc in Glassboro. "I was dreaming about this moment. I prayed so hard just to be a part of this moment with great guys that I knew wanted it so bad.

"We were counted out all season, but I knew the Philadelphia fan base really had our back and we just had to believe in ourselves."

Let's put Clement's 100 receiving yards in perspective.

He averaged 7.2 receiving yards per game at Wisconsin. He caught two passes as a junior. Even this year, he had just four receptions the first 11 games of the season.

But the Eagles eventually realized he was a pretty darn good receiver. They started throwing him the ball.

And here we are.

"Who ever thought he was going to be our third-down running back?" offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.

"Wisconsin doesn't exactly breed third-down running backs. They breed I-formation running backs. So for him to be our leading receiver in the Super Bowl … that's really just crazy."

The only running backs in Super Bowl history with more receiving yards are James White of the Patriots, who had 110 last year against the Falcons, and Roger Craig of the 49ers, who had 101 against the Bengals in 1988.

White, who had 66 yards of offense and a touchdown Sunday, is Clement's former Wisconsin teammate.

"He's always had a lot of great tips for me, even back in college," Clement said. "He's been a great mentor. I was happy for him last year, and I'm sure he's happy for me tonight.

"He's already won, what, two of these? Shoot, he has enough."

The Eagles' running backs piled up a staggering 255 yards of offense Sunday night, with LeGarrette Blount rushing for 90, Jay Ajayi rushing for 57 and Clement picking up 100 receiving yards in addition to one eight-yard carry.

His 55-yard catch broke the record for longest Super Bowl catch by a running back set by Marshall Faulk with a 52-yarder from Kurt Warner for the Rams against the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta.

Clement's 22-yarder is the third-longest TD by a running back in a Super Bowl, behind a 51-yarder from Steve Young to Ricky Watters for the 49ers against the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX after the 1994 season and a 33-yarder from Joe Montana to Carl Monroe for the 49ers against the Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX after the 2004 season.

Simply put, one of the least accomplished collegiate receivers imaginable just had one of the greatest receiving Super Bowls ever by a running back.

Only this team.

"It's all a blessing," Clement said. "Going back to when the season started and now to this moment, it's awesome. It's my dream. Great teammates, coming from a New Jersey, a small school … I've achieved my dreams, man."

Clement was on the field for 24 plays Sunday night, one fewer than Ajayi and the same number as Blount.

That's how crucial this kid has become to the Eagles' passing game. And that's how brilliantly Doug Pederson used his running backs.

In the regular season, Clement had 10 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

In the postseason, he had 10 catches for 139 yards and one touchdown.

His touchdown Sunday night was an absolute classic.

"It was something we practiced for the last two weeks, and I just believed in the play," Clement said. "It was kind of almost cut off, but I stuck with it. Nick Foles did a great job of keeping the play alive downfield. I gave him the hand, saying, 'I'm open.' Even if I had two guys on me, you still have to believe in yourself and know you can make a big impact for this offense."

He got a step on linebacker Marquis Flowers coming off the line of scrimmage and out-ran both Flowers and Pro Bowl defensive back Devin McCourty down the field. Foles put it where only Clement could catch it, and after a long review, the touchdown ruling was upheld.

"I really wasn't too nervous (they would reverse it)," he said. "But at the same time, when they slow everything down you kind of get the bubble guts and you're like, 'Damn, did I really catch it?' I knew I secured it, it was all about the feet. You have to make big plays when big plays are brought to you."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out the me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.