Eagles

Incredible Eagles fans, Favre's failures vs. Birds, more in Roob's observations

Incredible Eagles fans, Favre's failures vs. Birds, more in Roob's observations

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — We start out this edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Super Bowl Observations with Eagles fans, who never cease to amaze me with the intensity of their support. They could put the Super Bowl on Jupiter, and Eagles fans would find their way there. And they'd find the only open bar on the planet, too.

We also touch on Tim Jernigan's health, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement in the receiving game, Brett Favre's performance against the Eagles, Jason Kelce's T-shirt and the obligatory Nick Foles Mind-Boggling Stat of the Day.

Dive in!

1. Eagles fans began arriving in Minnesota in earnest Friday, and by mid-day the Mall of America, the center of most Super Bowl activities during the week, was jammed with jubilant packs of Carson Wentz, Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook jerseys, soaking in the moment. There were reports mall security threatened to kick some of the more enthusiastic fans out of the mall (see story), which is absurd. If you have a Super Bowl, you can't be surprised if fans show up. But I didn't see any of that. I just saw Eagles fans everywhere, and it was surreal walking around the mall and hearing choruses of "Fly Eagles Fly" and E-A-G-L-E-S chants echoing from near and far in the massive five million square-foot shopping center. Every team has rabid fans. Nobody has this.

2. I was doing a radio interview Friday and the guy asked about the huge disparity between quarterbacks, and I said, "Yeah, I know Nick Foles has a higher career postseason passer rating, a better career postseason completion percentage and a superior postseason TD-to-INT ratio, but that doesn't mean Tom Brady isn't a really good quarterback."

3. The best news out of Friday was the Eagles' injury report, which revealed that defensive tackle Jernigan not only practiced but was a full participant (see story). Jernigan hadn't practiced since the previous Thursday back at the NovaCare Complex, so this is big. The Eagles' defensive line is the heart of the team. If the Eagles are going to win Sunday, they're going to need a monster performance out of the D-line both against the run and pressuring Brady. Without Jernigan, this is still a formidable group. But with him, they go a legit seven deep, and Jim Schwartz has the flexibility to rotate everybody, keep them fresh and attack in waves.

4. I have this hunch Clement and Ajayi are going to have a significant role in the passing game Sunday. I find it curious that the two running backs combined for only 20 catches during the regular season but they have 12 in two playoff games. Of course Ajayi wasn't with the Eagles the first half of the season, but with each passing week you saw the Eagles use the backs as receivers more and more. Several backs had big receiving games against the Pats this year, including Matt Forte (8-59), Kenyan Drake (5-79), Kareem Hunt (5-98), LeSean McCoy (5-76), D'Onta Foreman (2-65) and Le'Veon Bell (5-48). I expect that to continue Sunday.

5. How stupid are the Redskins?

6. Five things you need to know about the Mall of America, the NFL's headquarters during Super Bowl week: 1) There are three Starbucks inside the Mall, 2) There's a store in the mall that sells only cookie dough. Not cookies … just cookie dough, 3) There is an actual amusement park with 28 rides in the middle of the mall, 4) The parking lot has 12,287 spots and 5) The whole place smells like a Cinnabon.

7. I really liked what Doug Pederson said in our chat earlier this week about the challenges he faced as the Eagles' quarterback in 1999 and how that season — which was so hard for him and his family — helped shaped the man he is today. My story is here and I hope you have a chance to read it.

8. Hey, how about Jason Kelce's T-shirt! What a great tribute to his legendary teammate of seven years who's unable to play Sunday.

9. Interesting that Favre will be speaking to the Eagles Saturday morning considering no team gave him more trouble in his career than the Eagles. As a matter of fact, Pederson actually had a higher passer rating playing quarterback in Philly than Favre — 59.3 for Pederson, 53.3 for Favre. Playing at the Vet or the Linc, Favre completed fewer than half his passes (49.6 percent) and had just four touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He tried six times but never won a game in Philadelphia. 

10. And the Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day: Foles has thrown 96 career postseason passes, the second most in NFL history in the playoffs without an interception. Only Jeff Hostetler (115) has more postseason attempts without getting picked off.

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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USA Today Images

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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USA Today Images

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.