Hey, Eagles backup QBs have actually fared well over the years

Hey, Eagles backup QBs have actually fared well over the years

They've been here before. An awful lot.

Eagles backup quarterbacks have actually fared extremely well over the years when forced into action because of injuries or other reasons.

This is a unique situation since Carson Wentz was having an MVP season and the Eagles are in position to lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC as early as next weekend.

But in the NFL, quarterbacks get hurt. It's a fact of life. And over the last 20 years, it hasn't been the end of the world when it's happened to the Eagles.

In fact, four of the last six times the Eagles reached the playoffs, their postseason quarterback was not their opening day quarterback.

Let's take a look!
Rodney Peete had gone 9-3 and led the Eagles to a playoff win the year before after Randall Cunningham was benched. But after starting out the 1996 season 3-2, Peete suffered a knee injury against the Cowboys and was lost for the season.
The backup was Ty Detmer, and he went 7-4 in relief of Peete and led the Eagles to the playoffs, although he got benched in that rainy 14-0 wild-card loss to the 49ers at Candlestick Park.
The Eagles were 7-3 when Donovan McNabb hurt his ankle against the Cardinals at the Vet. He threw four touchdown passes while hobbling around, and after the game, he learned that what he believed was a sprained ankle was actually broken.
Enter backup Koy Detmer, who gave the Eagles a big lead in San Francisco before getting hurt himself. That forced the Eagles to use No. 3 quarterback A.J. Feeley, who finished off the 49ers win and then went 4-1 in his first five pro starts. McNabb returned for the playoffs, but there wouldn't have been any playoffs if it hadn't been for Feeley.
Mike McMahon on the other hand? That one did not go so well. A year after their Super Bowl trip, the Eagles were already struggling at 4-5 when McNabb's season ended with a sports hernia.
McMahon was the backup that year and he won just two of seven starts as the McNabb-T.O. drama swirled around the franchise.
McNabb tore his ACL against the Titans in mid-November and was lost for the season. Jeff Garcia lost his first start as an Eagle, to the Colts at the RCA Dome, before winning the last five and leading the Eagles to the NFC East title.
Garcia then became the first quarterback other than McNabb to win a playoff game since Peete in 1995 when he beat the Giants at the Linc.

McNabb missed parts of three games during the disappointing 2007 season with an ankle injury, but this time Feeley was unable to recall the magic of 2002. Although he beat the Dolphins in relief, he lost starts to the Seahawks and Patriots before McNabb returned.
Kevin Kolb replaced McNabb for two midseason games and played very well, going 1-1 but showing enough that the Eagles were comfortable trading McNabb to the Redskins that offseason.
Kolb was the opening day starter, but he didn't even make it to halftime. Michael Vick replaced him and went 8-3 in 11 starts and led the Eagles to the playoffs.
In 2011 it was Vince Young's turn to serve as the backup, and he won just one of three starts when Vick was hurt.
Nick Foles was a rookie in 2012, and when Vick suffered a concussion, Foles replaced him. He won only one of six starts, but he actually played well, completing 61 percent of his passes with more TDs than INTs.
A year later, Vick suffered a hamstring injury against the Giants in early October. Foles responded with a Pro Bowl season, with 27 TDs and just two INTs — the best TD-INT ratio in NFL history.
Foles opened the 2014 season as the starter but broke his collarbone in a game against the Texans and missed the rest of the season. Mark Sanchez went 4-4, and the Eagles finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs.
Sam Bradford didn't get hurt in 2016 but he did get traded, and Wentz, No. 3 a week before the regular season, was promoted to No. 1 and responded with an auspicious rookie season, going 7-9 but giving everybody a hint of what was to come.
Which brings us to this year. Wentz was having a remarkable season until he hurt his knee in Los Angeles Sunday. Foles replaced him and with plenty of help from the defense rallied the Eagles to a 43-35 win. Moving forward, it appears Foles will be the Eagles' quarterback the rest of the season and postseason.

Jeffery's role, Pederson's personality, and more in Roob's observations

Jeffery's role, Pederson's personality, and more in Roob's observations

Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis, record-setting third-down conversions, and Vince and Mike Lombardi highlight Monday's edition of 10 random Super Bowl observations, which will appear every day between today and Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.

That should be 140 total random Super Bowl observations! 

1. You could just sense Nick Foles and Alshon Jeffery building up their chemistry over the past few weeks, and in these two playoff games Jeffery has played like the star the Eagles hoped they were getting when they signed him. Jeffery was 4 for 61 against the Falcons and 5 for 85 with two TDs against the Vikings. Foles targeted him five times and he caught every one, including that 53-yard TD on a scramble drill. Jeffery needs 66 yards in the Super Bowl to break the franchise record for receiving yards in a single postseason (211 in 2008 by none other than Kevin Curtis). Jeffery is just blossoming now. His two TDs Sunday give him 11 this year, and only Harold Carmichael, Tommy McDonald, Terrell Owens and Mike Quick have had more in a season in franchise history. He just looks more and more comfortable each week, especially in the red zone, where he has a real flair for going up and getting the ball. I have a hunch he's going to have a big game in Minneapolis.

2. The Eagles have allowed 15 second-half points in their last five games. 

3. Pretty funny after everything that’s transpired over the past few months that the Super Bowl winner receives the Lombardi Trophy. Definitely not named after Mike! 

4. According to Pro Football Focus, 69 of Jay Ajayi’s 73 rushing yards Sunday night came after first contact. That means 94.5 percent of his yards came after he was hit. That’s remarkable and speaks to just what a tough runner he is. 

5. Corey Graham was such an underrated signing. He’s been very solid as a third safety and like newcomers LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Chris Long and Dannell Ellerbe, he’s a winner and has a Super Bowl ring. He knows what it takes. Graham’s interception Sunday was his third career postseason INT, and only two active players — Antoine Bethea and Tramon Williams, with four each — have more. Solid guy, solid player.

6. Soon after the media was allowed in the locker room after the game Sunday night, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill snuck over to this panel on the wall and plugged his iPhone into a jack and instantly music began blasting over speakers throughout the locker room. Grugier-Hill closed his eyes and started dancing. Rodney McLeod cracked up but yelled over, “Come on, Kamu. You can’t be playing Lil Yachty in the locker room while the media is in here,” and everybody cracked up. This team is so loose and having so much fun right now. Doug Pederson deserves so much credit for letting these guys show their personality all the time, whether it’s in an end zone celebration, in the locker room before a game or on the sideline with the German Shepherd masks. If you’re loose, you can just go out and play your game. If you’re tight, it’s tough to be at your best. Pederson understands this as well as any coach I’ve ever been around.

7. Amazing that the Patriots’ top two receivers this postseason are former Eagles: Receiver Danny Amendola (18 for 196) and running back Dion Lewis (16 for 111). Amendola spent the early part of the 2009 season on the Eagles’ practice squad before the Rams signed him. Lewis was the Eagles’ fifth-round pick in 2011 and spent his first two NFL seasons with the Eagles before getting traded to the Browns for linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

8. The Eagles’ 456 yards of offense Sunday are the most they’ve ever had in a playoff game, two more than they had in the 2008 NFC Championship Game. It was the second most the Vikings have allowed in their 49 franchise playoff games. The Giants netted 518 in their 41-0 win over the Vikings at Giants Stadium in 2001. The Eagles' 27 first downs are also a franchise playoff record. 

9. I can’t get past the fact that 24 months ago Pederson had never coached above the high school level and Foles was mulling retirement. Twenty-four months ago! Look at ‘em now! This is why sports rule!

10. Maybe the craziest thing about Sunday’s game was the Eagles’ ability to convert on third down against a defense that came into the game historically among the best in NFL history on third down at 25.4 percent. The Eagles were 10 for 14 on third down, good for 71.4 percent. That’s third best against the Vikings in any game — regular season or postseason — since 1991, which is as far back as available records go. To put that 71.4 percent figure in perspective, the Eagles converted more third downs Sunday (10) than the Vikings’ last four opponents had combined (eight). 

Former Eagles assistant named Giants head coach

AP Images

Former Eagles assistant named Giants head coach

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been hired as the New York Giants head coach.

The Giants announced the hiring late Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Shurmur and the Vikings were beaten by the Eagles in the NFC title game.

The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December with the team mired with a 2-10 record and owners and fans upset with his handling of the benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took over for the final four games and posted a 1-3 record.

"He has an outstanding track record in developing young players, and it is clear his players respond to his guidance and direction," co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a statement.

"We interviewed six talented and qualified candidates, and we feel like Pat, with his vision and experience, is the right person to lead our team."

The Giants won't officially introduce Shurmur until Friday. A winter storm in the Midwest is preventing him from coming to New Jersey on Tuesday and he will be at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, from Tuesday night through Thursday.

Shurmur returns to the head coaching ranks for the first time since leading the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12. He takes over a troubled team that posted a 3-13 record a year after making the playoffs.

Shurmur was interviewed on Jan. 6 by Mara, new general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant GM Kevin Abrams.

Following that meeting in Minneapolis, Shurmur had an hour-long phone conversation with Tisch.

"I can't wait to start working with Pat," said Gettleman. "I know he will provide the type of leadership we need to take our team back to where it belongs. I have followed Pat's career for many years, and he has had great success wherever he has been.

"What struck me during our conversation is that being the head coach of the New York Giants is not too big for him. He is made for this moment and this opportunity."

The Giants interviewed five other candidates, kicking it off with Spagnuolo three days after the season ended.

New York also spoke with New England coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and recently fired Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville, who has since been hired as a running backs coach by the Dolphins. Wilks was hired as the head coach in Arizona on Monday

Shurmur has earned a reputation as a quarterback whisperer. NFC title game opponents Nick Foles of the Eagles and Case Keenum of the Vikings were tutored by him.

With the Giants, Shurmur will get to work with Manning and possibly the No. 2 pick in the draft, if New York uses the pick to pick an heir apparent.

But the Giants also had problems in the locker room. Three defensive backs -- Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple were suspended for a game for conduct detrimental to the team.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen said Shurmur constantly put players in position to contribute and he doesn't take anything for granted.

"He's not a stubborn guy. He's going to throw stuff out if it's not working, and he's going to find things that guys are good at," Thielen said Monday as the Vikings cleaned out their lockers.

"So I think as a head coach, he's going to do that on both sides of the ball. Special teams, he's going to find guys who can make plays and let them do what they do. So I think he's going to have a lot of success as a head coach."

Shurmur has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs nine times and won seven division titles. He was the Eagles' quarterbacks coach when the Eagles played in the Super Bowl against New England in the 2004 season.

Shurmur is finishing his second year with the Vikings. He began last season as the tight ends coach and for the final nine games was also the offensive coordinator, the title he retained this season.

The Vikings finished 10th in the NFL in scoring (23.9 points), 11th in total yardage (356.9), and seventh in rushing yardage (122.3) this season.

Shurmur posted a 9-23 record in his two seasons with the Browns, going there after a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator with the Rams. He spent three seasons as the Eagles offensive coordinator after being fired.

Shurmur's NFL coaching career began with a 10-year run (1999-2008) with the Eagles. He coached in college at Stanford and Michigan State.