Eagles

How Eagles' run D can make history Sunday

ap-marshawn-lynch.jpg
USA Today Images

How Eagles' run D can make history Sunday

Some good, some bad in this week's Roob's Stats. Don't worry … it's mostly good!

• The Eagles haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in their last nine home games. That's the 10th-longest streak in NFL history and five shy of the NFL record of 14, set by the 1995 and 1996 Steelers. Only four teams have gone an entire season without allowing a rushing TD at home — the 1942 Chicago Cards, 1977 Bills, 1985 Saints and 2005 Arizona Cardinals. 

• The Eagles' one third-down conversion Monday night was their fewest in 13 years since they went 0-for-8 in a loss to the Steelers in 2004 — their only loss that year with the starters in the lineup. This was the first game the Eagles won with just one third-down conversion since Nov. 18, 1990, when they beat the Falcons 24-23 despite going 1 for 9 on third down. Their one conversion in that game came on their first third down. They had a 3rd-and-5 on their first drive and Randall Cunningham converted it with a 10-yard pass to Keith Byars.

• With one TD pass and one INT, Nick Foles extended the Eagles' streak of games with one or more touchdown pass and one or fewer interception to 17, dating back to the end of last year. That's the third-longest streak in NFL history, behind the Falcons' 21-game stretch from 2015 through earlier this year and an 18-game streak by the 49ers over the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

• Zach Ertz's nine-catch game was his 12th career game with eight or more receptions. That's 12th-most in NFL history by a tight end and most in Eagles history by any player.

• Ertz locked up his third straight season with 70 or more catches and 800 or more yards. He and Travis Kelce are the only tight ends to do that in each of the last three seasons, and he's the first player in Eagles history to do it three straight years. Only seven tight ends in NFL history have had longer streaks with 70 catches and 800 yards.

• The Eagles have seven players with two or more interceptions — Patrick Robinson (four), Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby (three each) and Corey Graham, Rasul Douglas and Malcolm Jenkins (two each). This is the first time since 1991 they’ve had seven players with two or more interceptions. In 1991, it was Eric Allen (five), Wes Hopkins (five), Seth Joyner (three), Rich Miano (three), Byron Evans (two), Ben Smith (two) and Otis Smith (two).

• Derek Barnett's touchdown as the game ended Monday night was the first by an Eagles' rookie defensive lineman in 36 years, since Greg Brown recovered a Joe Theismann fumble and returned it four yards for a touchdown against the Redskins at the Vet on Sept. 27, 1981.

• The Eagles won despite netting just 219 yards of offense. That's their fewest yards in a win in 12 years, since they had 201 in a 17-16 win over the Rams in 2005 with Mike McMahon at quarterback at the Edward Jones Dome.

• Monday's game was the first in which the Eagles forced five turnovers in a half since the last day of the 1999 season, when they forced six in the second half of a win against the eventual Super Bowl-champion Rams at the Vet. Those six turnovers were a Mike Mamula interception of Kurt Warner, a Robert Holcombe fumble forced by Tim Hauck (now an Eagles assistant coach) and recovered by Barry Gardner, a Rashard Cook strip-sack of Joe Germaine recovered by Mamula, a Cook interception of Germaine, a Watson fumble forced by Gardner and recovered by Hauck and a pick-six off Germaine by Al Harris.

• If the Eagles gain 55 or more rushing yards and allow 61 or fewer rushing yards Sunday, they will become the fifth team in NFL history to gain 2,100 or more rushing yards and allow 1,200 or fewer rushing yards. 

Eagles aim to master late 1st-round picks

ap-eagles-howie-roseman.jpg
AP Images

Eagles aim to master late 1st-round picks

The Eagles will be at a disadvantage on April 26, when the first round of the 2018 draft begins in Dallas. Thanks to winning the Super Bowl — remember that? It wasn’t a dream — they have the 32nd and last pick of the first round. 

It’s a disadvantage they hope to have every year. 

“Yeah, that’s the goal,” Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas said on Thursday. “Hopefully we’ll be picking in the late 20s and early 30s [every year].” 

There’s an art to hitting in the second half of the first round and it’s obviously harder to find success there than it is in the top half. The good news for the Eagles is that Douglas learned under Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome, who is one of the best general managers in the NFL. Newsome’s team has often picked late in the first round and he’s often been able to find some great talent in that range. 

Ed Reed was picked at No. 24, Todd Heap at 31, Ben Grubbs at 29. There are more too. 

“Ozzie is patient,” Douglas said. “Ozzie Newsome is a Hall of Famer for the Cleveland Browns and he should be a Hall of Famer for the Baltimore Ravens as a GM. He’s the absolute best. His first two picks (Reed and Terrell Suggs) are first-ballot Hall of Famers. He was able to have great success in the 20s. Those players you specifically named, they were not a move up or move down guys. Those were guys that Ozzie was patient and he let the board come to him. Some of those picks were met with greater fanfare than others.”

They can’t all be hits, of course. In 2013, the Ravens took safety Matt Elam, who played in 41 games for Baltimore in three seasons, but was out of the league by 2017. Many consider him a bust. It happens. But it’s hard to argue with the Ravens’ body of work. 

The Eagles haven’t been nearly as consistent picking in the 20s in recent years. Nelson Agholor was No. 20 in 2015 and finally fulfilled his potential last season. But before then, Marcus Smith was 26 in 2014 and Danny Watkins was 23 in 2011. The last time the Eagles came off a Super Bowl appearance, they picked DT Mike Patterson with the 31st pick in 2005. A decent player, never a star. 

Douglas thought there were a lot of hits late in the first round of last year’s draft, but admitted it “varies year to year.” 

For now, the Eagles own the 32nd pick, but they’re definitely not ruling out a possible trade. On Thursday, de facto GM Howie Roseman said the team is “open for business.” 

There’s also plenty of appeal for other teams who might want a specific position with No. 32 because of a possible fifth-year option in their contracts. A few years ago, the Vikings traded for No. 32 to get Teddy Bridgewater. This week, the groundwork for possible draft day trades will happen, Roseman said. The Eagles will have contact with other teams to gauge their interest in moving up or down around their area of the first round. 

If the Eagles don’t move up or down, they feel comfortable at 32. 

“I guess when you’re picking, any number you’re picking, whether it’s 14 last year or 32, you’ve got to have 32 guys to be excited to take,” Douglas said. “Right now, we have 32 guys we’d be fired up to get. How it plays out, we’ll find out.”

Coming off first Super Bowl win, Eagles aim to crush complacency

usa-malcolm-jenkins-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Coming off first Super Bowl win, Eagles aim to crush complacency

The Eagles on Monday released a short video montage of players returning to the NovaCare Complex for the start of the team’s offseason workout program, the first time the team has been back together since winning Super Bowl LII. 

Playing over the video is a snippet from Doug Pederson’s speech to the team, in which he talks about sacrifice and starting over at ground zero. 

The 30-second video then ends with a shot of the Eagles’ new Super Bowl champion banner hanging in the weight room, while Pederson delivers the message, “The new normal starts today.” 

The Eagles have finally won a Super Bowl, so now what? 

Well, now they have to battle complacency on their quest to make a parade down Broad Street an annual occurrence. 

“For me, when I hear the ‘new norm,’ I’m not thinking about the end result, the championships and the parades and all that,” veteran leader Malcolm Jenkins said on Tuesday. “I’m thinking about the work it took to get to where we were. How we started last year in April and grinded and competed throughout. For me, that’s kind of the new norm and the standard and the base that we’re trying to start from this year as we try to defend that title.” 

Unlike many of his teammates, this isn’t the first time Jenkins is coming off a championship. The year after his Saints won the Super Bowl during his rookie season, they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. 

Being that this isn’t the first time Jenkins is in this situation, he said he knows some of the “pitfalls” that come with trying to avoid the Super Bowl hangover. Aside from the obvious month less of recovery time, the Eagles also need to shift their mindset from celebration back to work. Jenkins doesn’t think that will be a problem. He thinks teams get their attitude from leaders. He thinks these Eagles want to “create something special.” He thinks they know how to do it. 

One thing that should help is getting back several key players who weren’t able to play in last year’s Super Bowl because of injuries. Their drive will be there. 

“I know for myself and (Jordan) Hicks and (Chris) Maragos, Jason Peters, it didn’t sit well with them either,” Carson Wentz said. “As much as we love our teammates and we were excited to see it, we wanted to be out there. We know that will kick things into gear. I don’t think complacency would have been an issue regardless, but I think that will definitely help.”

Jenkins this week didn’t want to even talk about repeating yet because there’s so long to go before we even know what the team will look like. 

But repeating remains the ultimate goal.  

“We’re extremely hungry for sustained success in this city,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We’ve tasted it one time and that’s something you never want to give up. We’re hungry to repeat. … I don’t think we’ll ever have that mindset that we’ve arrived as a football team or as a city.”