Eagles

Who's worse: Cowboys fans or Jerry Jones?

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Who's worse: Cowboys fans or Jerry Jones?

In this week’s edition of Rob’s Rants we delve into the enemy among us, an egomaniac with an agenda, and one of the more overhyped athletes in Philadelphia sports history.

Local Cowboys fans
It’s that time of year again when the Eagles and Cowboys meet for the first time. I’ve never been shy about my hatred of the Cowboys. It was bred into me at a very young age by my father and has not dissipated one bit all these years later. It’s a tradition I’ve happily passed down to my kids. It would be easy to reel off some of the individuals over the years that continued to fuel my fire ... Mr. Fedora himself, Tom Landry and his fraudulent, gentlemanly persona. Behind that façade he was a coach who harbored arrogant, cheap shot artists of players. (See: Dennis Thurman). Landry actually ran up the score in a replacement game.

Next up was Jimmy Johnson and his “How Bout ‘Dem Cowboys.” The rap sheets ran deep for old Jimmy’s squad. Michael Irvin, Leon Lett, Nate Newton, just to name a few. There was Deion Sanders and his preening, Emmitt Smith taking off his helmet, Irvin and his first-down signal. Great team, great players, no question. But they also epitomized arrogance. Jump to the modern day and you have Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Enough said.

So while the players own a piece of the Cowboys hate, they pale in jackassery comparison to the fan base. I don’t mean those from Dallas. I’m referring to ones born and raised in the Delaware Valley with no ties to Texas. You know them. We all know them. The agitator. The ones crying out for attention. The contrarians. The ”look at me” guys and gals. The “I have no sense of communal pride” peeps. They love the Cowboys because when they were kids they liked the star on the helmet. They are the ones who are constantly living in the past, referencing the '90s or rings.

The root of these frauds — aside from bad parenting — is that at their very core, they are front-runners. Most jumped on that bandwagon when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. They are the first to bail when the going gets tough. Dig deep into their closet and you’re likely to find Yankees and Lakers gear as well. They are the worst kind of fans. They have no civic connection. They are outliers, subversives. It’s not easy being an Eagles fan by any stretch, for reasons we know all too well. But it will be all that much sweeter when they finally win and this community can celebrate as one, something Philadelphia Cowboy fans will never understand.

Jerry Jones
Speaking of the Cowboys, if you believe for a second that Jones' attempted ouster of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell derives from anything else other than his anger over Elliott’s suspension, I’ve got some swampland in Jersey I’d love you to take a look at.

Does Goodell make a monster salary? Yes. Has he made massive mistakes along the way in his handling of issues such as “Spygate,” Ray Rice, and “Deflategate?” No question. But I didn’t hear Jerry voicing his outrage then. The other owners want and continue to keep Goodell in charge because he makes them boatloads of money, plain and simple. Jerry has been right there in support of Goodell with his peers for a very long time. Suddenly, that’s changed. I wonder why? If Zeke had won his appeal or gotten suspended a game or two, we’re not hearing about Goodell’s salary demands, private jets or lifetime benefits.

Jones has had a great deal of success in his life and he used to having things his way, on his own terms. He also knows his personal clock is ticking to win another championship. And he realizes without Elliott for six games, those chances are significantly hampered this season.

Nerlens Olajuwon 
When the Sixers traded away Nerlens Noel last offseason to the Mavericks for what amounted to Justin Anderson and a first-round pick they were never going to see, there were people in town that were outraged. They couldn’t fathom how the Sixers didn’t get more for such a talent. Or they couldn’t comprehend moving a player with such value and skill. Fast forward to this past offseason where Noel reportedly turned down a four-year, $70 million deal and ended up settling for a one-year, $4.1 million contract. He’s since fired his agent.

Through 13 games this year, here’s his stat line: 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, 16 minutes a game. In the last three games, he’s played six minutes, gotten a DNP-CD, and played two minutes, respectively. He’s playing behind 31-year-old Salah Mejri on a team that is tied for the fewest wins in the NBA. There’s nothing special about Noel. His career stats aren’t overly impressive: 9.7 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.6 steals. He’s a nice role player with defensive ability. He’s limited offensively and has never worked hard enough on his game to become good at that end. He may think he is but he’s not a centerpiece worth breaking the bank over. 

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

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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

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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