Eagles

Could Wentz-Pederson emulate Brady-Belichick?

Could Wentz-Pederson emulate Brady-Belichick?

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have been together for 18 years now, reaching eight Super Bowls and winning five (so far).

This is Year 2 for Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz, and if they find a way to match Belichick and Brady's longevity, that would take us to … 2033?

Imagine Pederson and Wentz in Super Bowl 68 in February of 2034?

Pederson would be 66, and Wentz would be 41.

Today? Belichick is 65, and Brady is 40.

Pederson said Thursday he has daydreamed about himself and Wentz being together as long as Belichick and Brady. And being just as successful.

“Gosh, I’d love to, and even in some of the quiet moments, I try to envision that," Pederson said Thursday. 

"In this league, if you have a quarterback and you do things right, and you surround him with talented players and coaches, then you can have a long career in the business and have the [kind of] success that those two gentlemen have had.

"A lot of respect for those two and what they’ve meant to this league, and obviously that’s something that myself and Carson and the guys we have around him could possibly have in Philadelphia.”

Belichick went 36-44 with the Browns from 1991 through 1995 in his first head coaching stint. He replaced Pete Carroll as head coach of the Patriots in 2000, and drafted Brady in the sixth round out of Michigan that spring.

From 2001 through 2017, once Drew Bledsoe was out of the way, the Patriots averaged 12½ wins per year, won 15 of 17 AFC East titles and reached eight Super Bowls, winning five.

Pederson and Wentz both came to the Eagles last year, Pederson replacing Chip Kelly and Wentz in the first round of the draft.

Belichick won his first Super Bowl in his second year, and now Pederson is trying to do the same thing. 

The Eagles face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

"When I first got here [in 2013], the first three years stability at the quarterback position was a revolving door," tight end Zach Ertz said. "There was no stability.

"So when Carson got drafted and Doug got brought in, it really set the table to ultimately strive for that kind of success.

"Obviously Tom and Bill have been doing this for a long time. The consistency they’ve been able to have is unheard of. This league is all about parity. There’s a reason the best teams draft last in every round. Teams are supposed to go in cycles, but every year they win a lot of games and make the playoffs.

"As an organization, you have to strive for that kind of consistency. The way Doug and Carson are, this could be the closest thing to emulating that. I hope they’re together a long time."

Wentz is hurt and not playing in this Super Bowl, but he's only 25 years old and had a record-setting second season before giving way to Nick Foles. 

His 49 touchdowns are eighth most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first 29 games, and his 7,078 passing yards are 10th most. He was 11-2 in 13 starts this year and believes he'll be ready for opening day next fall.

Ertz said he can see comparisons between Brady and Belichick and Wentz and Pederson.

"People doubted Doug when he was brought in as a head coach, kind of similar to how Bill was doubted when he was brought in," he said.

"Tom and Carson had extremely different paths as far as where they were drafted but there’s a lot of similarities. If you just look at the way they talk about football, the way they talk about the craft of football, how dedicated they are to the craft, they’re extremely similar in that regard. Carson is an extremely bright football mind. He watches so much film, he studies so much.

"The Patriots have been to the Super Bowl eight out of 16 years now? That's incredible. But I think the [Eagles'] organization has built stability around Carson, too.

"We have a lot of guys locked up for a long time, a lot of guys playing at an extremely high level locked up for a long time. It’s not going to have to be Carson carrying the Philadelphia Eagles, although at times he definitely does carry us."

Eighteen years is an awful long time for a head coach to stay in the same place and it's an eternity for a quarterback to play at a high level.

Andy Reid is the longest-tenured Eagles head coach with 14 years and Greasy Neale — who coached from 1941 through 1950 and won two NFL Championships — is next with 10 years.

Donovan McNabb, who replaced Pederson as the Eagles' quarterback midway through 1999, was the longest-running Eagles QB but only Ron Jaworski (eight), Norm Snead (seven) and Randall Cunningham (six) also quarterbacked the Eagles longer than four years.

So 18 years is an eternity.

“I have a lot of respect for that tandem, when you talk about Brady and Belichick," receier Nelson Agholor said. "But I also have a lot of love also for my head coach and my quarterback.

"I think they’re two very special people who really love this game and have a lot of passion for what they do."

Can they be the next Belichick and Brady?

"I think the sky’s the limit for both of them," Agholor said. "They can do whatever they put their mind to."

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

usa-mack-hollins-eagles-bike.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Mack Hollins
Roob: Hollins wasn't really a factor later in the season, once Torrey Smith got going, but he did show early in the year what kind of player he can be, notably with that 64-yard TD catch in the second Redskins game. Depending on what the Eagles do about Smith, Hollins should be either the Eagles' third or fourth receiver this fall. Either way, he'll be here, and I expect him to make a big jump in Year 2.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Hollins caught just 16 passes as a rookie and it seemed like he just never started producing the way he seems capable of. Even when Smith struggled, Hollins got more playing time and didn't produce. The good news is he's still young and plays a role on special teams. The Eagles will probably bolster their receiving corps in some way, but if they don't, Hollins will have a shot at starting if Smith is gone next season. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alshon Jeffery
Roob: Jeffery really played better than his stats this year. He made every big catch, caught every big third-down pass, made huge plays in the end zone. Jeffery was a star receiver without a star receiver's stats. His unselfish attitude carried over to the rest of the receivers and throughout the roster. And he did it all with a rotator cuff injury that required post-season surgery. Can't wait to see what Alshon can do healthy.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jeffery didn't put up eye-popping numbers during the regular season, but if you needed any proof he's a No. 1 receiver, go back and watch Super Bowl LII, when he made that ridiculous catch in the end zone for a huge touchdown. The good thing about Jeffery is he really doesn't care at all about his numbers. There are a lot of diva receivers in the NFL, but Jeffery clearly isn't one of them. All he cared about last year was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and he certainly helped get the Eagles there. 

Verdict: STAYS

Malcolm Jenkins
Roob: Jenkins has so many roles on and off the field — community activist, NFLPA organizer, locker room leader — it's easy to forget just how good a player he is. Jenkins has been here four years and has had four very solid, very consistent, very productive seasons. He made his second Pro Bowl this year and joined Bill Bradley (3) and Dawk (7) as only the third Eagles safety since 1960 to make multiple Pro Bowls. Jenkins is signed to a cap-friendly deal through 2020 and should be an Eagle for many years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: As important as Jenkins is to the Eagles as a safety and defensive back, you could make a legitimate argument that he's even more important to the team as a leader and man. There's a reason he became the guy to follow up Doug Pederson's postgame speeches. He isn't just the leader of the defense; he's the leader of the entire team. And on the field, he's still playing at a really high, Pro Bowl caliber level. He's 30 now but is still signed through 2020 and maybe outside of Fletcher Cox is the Eagles' most important defensive player. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

part6.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Darrell Greene
Roob: The Hall of Fame cornerback is now 58 years old and 21 years removed from his last Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. Oh wait … wrong Darrell Green. This is Darrell GREENE, and he's a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard out of San Diego State who's been on the Eagles' practice squad most of the last two years. The Eagles liked Greene enough to keep him around the last couple years, and unless they see something in Chance Warmack that I missed, Greene has a chance to stick around as a young O-line prospect.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Greene has been around now for the last two seasons. He was without a team for most of 2017; the Eagles didn't bring him back to the practice squad until December. The offensive guard had some real potential coming out of San Diego State, and the Eagles paid him a lot of guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent before 2016. But he's never really impressed them enough to stick around for good. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Hicks
Roob: With Hicks, it's always about durability, not ability. Hicks has played more than half a season only once in his three NFL seasons, and since he's under contract for 2018 with a modest $2.068 million cap figure, he's obviously not going anywhere. The question is what the Eagles do with him after 2018 when he's due to become a free agent. Hicks can play. We all know that. He needs to prove this year that he can stay healthy in order to get a big-money deal a year from now.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Losing Hicks was a problem in 2017 and his absence started showing up late in the season. He's a big-time playmaker. It's a shame he got hurt last year because if he didn't, he'd be in line for a payday. For now, he'll be back in the final year of his four-year rookie contract until he can prove he's the same player he was pre-injury. 

Verdict: STAYS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
Roob: Grugier-Hill must be Howie Roseman's dream. He's signed at the minimum through 2019 but is an awfully valuable member of the roster — a reserve linebacker and emergency kicker and maybe the team's best special teamer. Kamu's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: He really doesn't play at all as a linebacker, but Grugier-Hill has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL and had a real chance to be named a Pro Bowler in 2017. He led the team in special teams tackles with 19 last season. He's still young, cheap and is a big part of Dave Fipp's group. 

Verdict: STAYS