Eagles-Cowboys: Roob's 10 Observations

Eagles-Cowboys: Roob's 10 Observations


ARLINGTON, Texas -- So this is what 9-1 looks like. Not a bad view of the rest of the NFL up here.

The Eagles won their eighth straight game Sunday night, bouncing back from a 9-7 halftime deficit to clobber the Cowboys, 37-9 (see breakdown).

That was a serious whooping the Eagles put on the Cowboys in front of their home crowd. Let's break it down with our 10 Observations.

1. When people were panicking at halftime, I tweeted this out: "Nobody is going to blow out every team they play. Even the best teams face adversity, find themselves in tough spots. Let's see how the Eagles respond. They've been pretty good at it so far this year." And, man, I love the way the Eagles responded Sunday night. As bad as they looked on offense for most of the first half, they regrouped at halftime and came out and opened the second half by reeling off TD drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards. They outscored the Cowboys, 30-0, in the second half, outgained them, 268-99. This team knows how to finish people off. And they know how to handle a little adversity. Something special going on here.

2. Specifically, Carson Wentz really did a tremendous job gathering himself at halftime after finishing the first half 3 for 14. Wentz did not look right much in the first half and it was fair to wonder if that blow he took to the head in the first quarter was affecting him. But he came out in the third quarter sharp, confident and effective and although his final numbers weren't anything special, he did throw two more TDs and no interceptions. He now has 25 touchdowns and five INTs this year. What a season the kid is having.

3. Really a tremendous effort by the defense against a pretty formidable offense. They kept the Eagles in the game in the first half when the offense was struggling, then blanked the Cowboys in the second half. Three INTs against a guy who had never thrown three in his career. Four sacks. No TDs. This was a huge performance by the D just when the Eagles needed it the most.

4. Have to give Kamu Grugier-Hill a ton of credit for handling kickoffs so ably after Jake Elliott left the game with a concussion. Grugier-Hill, a terrific special teamer and backup linebacker, hit his first kickoff to the 1-yard line and his second was a touchback. Losing a kicker early in a game can be a huge blow, but you can't ask for anything more than what they got out of Grugier-Hill. And looking longer term, Caleb Sturgis — a pretty good kicker in his own right — is eligible to come off injured reserve if the Eagles need him.

5. Remarkable to see Ronald Darby come back after not playing since opening day and just pick up right where he left off. Darby, Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson were all very good Sunday night, especially on Dez Bryant. I've been doing this a looooong time and I can safely say the Eagles have never had four cornerbacks as good as Mills, Robinson, Darby and Rasul Douglas, with Sidney Jones waiting in the wings. And all but Robinson are 23 or under. Scary.

6. I wasn't sure how the Eagles were going to involve four running backs in a game plan, but they're pulling it off. Kenjon Barner had a career-long 22-yard catch and TD run on the Eagles' first drive, Corey Clement gained 33 yards on five carries and scored his sixth red-zone TD of the season, Jay Ajayi had 87 yards, including a 71-yard run that really got the Eagles rolling, and LeGarrette Blount added 57 yards on 10 carries, including a big 30-yarder on the fourth-quarter TD drive. In all, the four running backs netted 202 rushing yards and a couple catches for 32 more yards. Incredible job by Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas for rebuilding the running back position and for Doug Pederson and Frank Reich for figuring out how to take advantage of the skill sets of each guy. And just think — when training camp began, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey were all expected to have major roles. With none of them in uniform Sunday night, the running attack looks stronger than ever.

7. We don't talk about the Eagles' offensive line enough, but my goodness, they were monstrous in the second half (see report card). The Eagles, so ineffective early, just kept pounding and pounding and pounding and eventually, the Cowboys just fell apart. The Eagles gained 268 of their 383 total yards in the second half and 180 of their 210 rushing yards after halftime. They lost a Hall of Famer and are still playing out of their minds. Incredible.

8. This may be my favorite stat of all-time: Since 2000, the Cowboys have lost 22 games by 23 or more points. Eleven of them — half of them — have been to the Eagles.

8A. And favorite stat No. 2: Last time the Cowboys allowed 30 or more points in a second half while failing to score in that second half was against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in 1962. They were outscored, 38-0, and lost, 52-20.

9. Clement's knack inside the red zone continues to defy belief. He had three touches on the Eagles' opening drive of the second half — an eight-yard run down to the 11, an 11-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion. Clement now has 11 red-zone touches this year and six red-zone touchdowns and a two-point conversion, which is really kind of hard to believe. I think before too long Ajayi and Clement are going to be the Eagles' top two running backs.

10. Dak Prescott had three interceptions Sunday night. Wentz had three interceptions in his last eight games. I don't care how young they are or how much football they have left or what players they have around him. Wentz > Dak. Period.

Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

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Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

Brian Dawkins has chosen longtime teammate and close friend Troy Vincent to introduce him this summer at Dawk's Hall of Fame induction.

Dawkins was selected in February for enshrinement in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.

"The presenter that will actually be on the stage will be Troy Vincent," Dawkins said in a video posted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.

"My teammate in Philadelphia. We came there the same year. Almost from Day 1 he kind of ... not kind of, he took me under his wing on becoming a professional. Not just a football player but a professional. The details. The details that he went through, the particulars of how he played the position of cornerback was the same way he lived his life (and ran) his businesses that he had off the field.

"He's a guy I can call anytime. Any time of night. And tell him 100 percent all what's going on with me, and I know he's not going to judge me, and it's not going to leave his lips (for) anybody else.

"And the most important thing for me, being a man of faith, is that I know he's going to pray with me. So all those things combined are the reasons why Troy was the perfect guy to introduce me to the Hall of Fame."

Vincent, a native of Trenton and graduate of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before signing an offer sheet with the Eagles before the 1996 season that the Dolphins didn't match.

The Eagles drafted Dawkins in the second round a month after signing Vincent, and the two spent eight years together in the secondary, reaching the playoffs five times and the NFC Championship Game three times.

During those eight seasons, Vincent reached Pro Bowls and Dawkins made the first three of his nine Pro Bowls.

Vincent retired after the 2006 season and Dawkins after the 2011 season.

Dawkins, Vincent and Eric Allen are the only Eagles defensive backs picked to five or more Pro Bowls.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

Dawkins' former Eagles teammate, Terrell Owens, will also be inducted. He hasn't yet announced who will present him.

Dawkins will be the 21st former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent the majority of his career with the Eagles.

Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

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Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

Offseason quarterback controversies are a rite of passage in the NFL. A time-honored tradition, really. 

We’ve certainly had our share in Philadelphia over the years. There were calls for Ron Jaworski to sit in favor of a young Randall Cunningham. Then cries for Jim McMahon to take Randall’s place. When Andy Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, that began a groundswell that he was the better choice than Donovan McNabb. Of course, most recently we had the Michael Vick/Nick Foles back and forth. To look back now, it seems silly these were even debates.

Most of the time, when you have these “controversies,” it generally means you have no quarterback on your roster. Not always. The 49ers in the late-80’s and early-90’s had Joe Montana and Steve Young, both Hall of Famers and all-time great quarterbacks. Both also won Super Bowls for San Francisco. But that is the exception. So is the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ situation.

I use the word “situation” and not “controversy.” Because there is no controversy. If Wentz is cleared by the Eagles’ medical staff, he starts Week 1. Period. What Foles did was incredible and will go down as one of the great — if not the greatest — stretch we have seen in Philadelphia sports history. He came up as big as you can. But Wentz he is not. That’s no disrespect to Foles. There are a handful of people on the planet who are in Wentz’s class.

Just a refresher course on what Wentz did in 13 games last season (his second in the NFL, by the way). He threw for 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 3,296 passing yards and had a 101.9 passer rating. The 33 TDs were the second-most in the NFL despite his missing the final three games. He also led his team to an 11-2 record before succumbing to that knee injury late into that Rams game that clinched the NFC East. He would have been the league MVP had he not gotten hurt.

There is a great luxury having Foles on this team. Wentz does not have to come back before he is able. If he’s not ready, you have the best backup in the league to start the season. But that’s the only scenario in which Foles plays Week 1. Simply put: Wentz is the better quarterback. And he has earned the right to start the opener if cleared. 

Some people read into Wentz's Instagram video of himself throwing earlier in the week as him somehow sending a message to Foles. I don’t buy it. I think Wentz’s message was to the fans and himself that I’ll be back, better than ever.

Wentz and Foles are both good teammates who put the team above themselves. Sure, Foles is a competitor and would likely prefer to start. But there won’t be any behind-the-scenes maneuvering to undercut Wentz. And Wentz is secure enough to be able to handle a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and all that goes along with that. Not to mention a coaching staff and organization that won’t allow outside noise to become a distraction.

Wentz over Foles. There’s no quarterback controversy.