Eagles

Roob's Random Points, Part 1: Wentz's historic start, incredible run defense, Philadelphia A's

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AP Images

Roob's Random Points, Part 1: Wentz's historic start, incredible run defense, Philadelphia A's

A little Mack Hollins, a little Robbie Robertson, a little Philadelphia Athletics, a little Donnie Jones and a little crosswalk etiquette.

Put it together and you're on your way to Part 1 of this week's 25 Random Points!

Here are the first 12½ random points ... 12½ more coming soon!

1. Carson Wentz isn't just having one of the best seasons of any quarterback this year. He's having one of the best seasons a quarterback has ever had. He's on pace for 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The only QBs who've ever had 39 TDs and single-digit interceptions in a season are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. This is historic stuff!

2. Crazy that there's a former Eagles running back who went to Pitt who's having a terrific year for an AFC East team, but it isn't LeSean McCoy. Shady is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry for the Bills, but Dion Lewis — who replaced Shady at Pitt and was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round in 2011 — is averaging 5.3 yards per carry for the Patriots.  

3. Most of the run defense numbers the Eagles are putting up are insane, but the one that amazes me the most is that opposing teams have run the ball only 123 times all year against the Eagles. That's 17.6 attempts per game, and that's the second-lowest figure ever against any NFL team through seven games! The only lower figure was against the 1991 Saints (119 carries through seven games). The Eagles have been so dominating against the run, opposing teams aren't even trying to run the football! And Kareem Hunt remains the only opposing running back to reach even 40 yards against the Eagles this year. That's crazy! 

4. I'm going to say it right now: Eagles-Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 10 will be for No. 1 seed in the NFC. And I ain't picking against the Eagles!

5. Interesting that the Eagles are playing the Redskins and 49ers back-to-back. When that happened in 1989, it produced two of the greatest fourth-quarter finishes in NFL history. In the first game, the Eagles trailed the Redskins, 30-14, at halftime at RFK Stadium, then outscored the Redskins, 28-7, in the second half to win, 42-37. A week later at the Vet, the Eagles led the 49ers, 21-10, early in the fourth quarter before Joe Montana threw four touchdown passes in the final 13½ minutes to give the Niners a 38-28 win. Two of the most historic comebacks the Eagles were ever involved in, and they happened seven days apart! 

6. Speaking of those two games, the Eagles are the only team in NFL history to be involved in consecutive games in which the home team led by eight or more points going into the fourth quarter, then allowed 21 or more fourth-quarter points and lost. In fact, after being involved in two such games in eight days, they've been in only two more in the last 28 years — a 40-26 win over the 49ers at Candlestick in 2008 after trailing, 26-17, after the third quarter, and the 38-31 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium in 2010 after trailing, 24-10, going into the fourth quarter — the DeSean punt return game!

7. I feel like it's only a matter of time before Mack Hollins is getting more targets than Torrey Smith.

8. One of my favorite stats ever was courtesy of baseball stats guru Jayson Stark: Before Wednesday night, there had been 17 extra-inning home runs in the 115-year history of the World Series. Then there were five in 42 minutes.

9. I find it absurd that the Athletics have won more championships than any major professional sports team in Philadelphia history.

10. If you are crossing the street or walking across a parking lot or crossing anywhere I’m driving, I will always stop and let you go by. Every single time. But you better show some hustle! Even if it's just a courtesy jog, you gotta give me something!

11. I find this fascinating: Three of the Band's most beloved songs are The Weight, I Shall Be Released and It Makes no Difference, and each was sung by a different band member — and none were sung by Robbie Robertson! Richard Manuel sang I Shall Be Released, Rick Danko sang It Makes no Difference, and Levon Helm sang The Weight (except the fourth verse, sung by Danko). A truly unique band.

12. Donnie Jones is so underrated.

12½. It blows my mind that four of the seven QBs in NFL history with four touchdown passes and 60 rushing yards in a game were Eagles, yet none of them were Donovan McNabb! On Monday night, Wentz joined Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham and Bobby Hoying in that elite group, along with Rodgers, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III. Bobby Hoying? Really???

Carson Wentz's durability is his biggest strength

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USA Today Images

Carson Wentz's durability is his biggest strength

Forget for a moment all the record-setting touchdown passes, all the dazzling third-down conversions and the highlight-reel red-zone heroics.

One of Carson Wentz's greatest accomplishments these last two years has just been playing football every Sunday. Being out there for his team without fail every week.

That alone puts him in an elite group.

Look around the league. Tyrod Taylor just got benched in Buffalo with the Bills in the playoff hunt. Trevor Siemian was benched just before the Broncos came to Philly. The 49ers benched Brian Hoyer a few weeks before facing the Eagles. 

Last we checked, the Browns have already benched DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan this fall.

Heck, even one-time Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco was benched by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh during a loss to the Jaguars.

We've been through all of that. That quarterback carousel. It never leads anywhere.

Wentz on Sunday night will start his 26th consecutive game. Every game the Eagles have played since opening day last year. He's one of only 12 quarterbacks who's started all his team's games over the last two years.

Elite quarterback play is huge for any football team, but quarterback stability is just as important. And Wentz is finally giving this franchise something it's lacked for much of the last quarter century.

Think about it.

From 1991 through 2015, a 25-year span, the only years an Eagles quarterback started 16 games were Donovan McNabb in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008. And McNabb got benched in 2008.

From 2010 through 2015, the six years between McNabb and Wentz, the Eagles used seven different quarterbacks. Not only did the Eagles not win anything during that span, there didn't seem to be much of a future either. 

The Eagles were stuck trying to build a championship team without an elite quarterback. Which is almost impossible to do.

All of which led Howie Roseman to make the franchise-altering decision that the Eagles had to do anything possible, no matter how drastic, no matter how extreme, to get that guy and turn the franchise over to him.

That realization, that organizational decision and the series of trades that landed Wentz in Philadelphia guaranteed that the Eagles would have quarterback stability and a chance for sustained success for the foreseeable future.

Just by starting 25 games in a row, Wentz has done something no Eagles QB had done since McNabb started 31 straight from opening day 2003 through Week 15 of 2004. With the No. 1 seed locked up, he didn't play the last week of the season.

McNabb started 51 straight games from midway through 1999, when he replaced Doug Pederson, through Week 10 of 2002, when he broke his ankle against the Cards (but threw four touchdowns anyway).

And along with those two McNabb streaks and streaks by Jaws and Randall, Wentz's run of 25 starts is already the Eagles' fifth-longest since Norm Van Brocklin started 36 straight from 1958 through 1960.

You've probably already picked up on the fact that the Eagles' greatest periods of success in the NFL's modern era — the 1960 Championship and the 1980 and 2004 Super Bowl appearances — just happen to coincide with periods of tremendous quarterback stability.

And maybe very soon we can add another era to that list.

Just by being out there every Sunday, Wentz has separated himself from most quarterbacks in the NFL.

Of the 12 QBs who've started every game since opening day last year, only six have a career winning record. And of those six, only Wentz and Dak Prescott -—both 24 — are under 28.

They'll meet for the third time Sunday night in Dallas, and whatever happens, both franchises are in good hands for the foreseeable future.

For the Eagles, these are heady days. Wentz is having an MVP season and Roseman and Joe Douglas have surrounded him with a deep and talented roster.

An entire generation of quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer — will be retiring in the next few years. And most of the young QBs lining up to replace them are unproven. Even guys like Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson will be in their mid-30s in five years.

How many NFL teams know who their quarterback will be in, let's say, 2023? The Texans with Deshaun Watson, the Rams with Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota in Tennessee and probably Jameis Winston in Tampa. And the Eagles and Cowboys. Anybody else?

Most NFL teams are in a constant search for that elite quarterback. Not around here. Not anymore.

The most important question facing almost every NFL team is one the Eagles won't have to even think about for a decade.

Alshon Jeffery listed as questionable vs. Cowboys

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Alshon Jeffery listed as questionable vs. Cowboys

Alshon Jeffery will be listed as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas. 

The Eagles' receiver popped up on the injury report with an ankle injury on Thursday, when he was limited. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said he expects Jeffery to play and he's optimistic he'll be able to go. On Thursday, Jeffery said he will "most definitely" play against the Cowboys. 

"It's been kind of lingering a little while," Pederson said. "There's no really one particular game or instance. It's hard for me to even put a finger on when it happened or how it happened. 

"It's something too in his case with all the cutting and stopping and starting in practice and games and where we are at that time of the year, you're going to start seeing more and more guys get added to the list or taken some reps off at practice, just so we can keep them healthy for Sunday."

Zach Ertz (hamstring), Ronald Darby (ankle) and Jaylen Watkins (hamstring) were full participants on Wednesday and Thursday, the two most important practice days of the week. Every player -- including Jeffery -- was a full participant in Friday's indoor practice. Barring setbacks, Ertz and Darby should make their returns on Sunday. 

Ertz missed the Denver game and Darby hasn't played since Week 1, when he dislocated his right ankle. 

The Cowboys are reportedly going to be without left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee. They're also missing Ezekiel Elliott, who will serve the second game of his six-game suspension.