Eagles

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Terrell Owens' Hall of Fame chances, Eagles rookies during Super Bowl week, lots of rushing stats that fascinate me and a Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day that includes Chad Pennington.

That's just a taste of what's to come in our Thursday night edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles Super Bowl observations!

Sit down, relax and let the observations come to you!

1. I don't like Owens. I don't like him at all. He didn't strike me as a particularly good person during his brief stop in Philly. But the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn't have a word in its bylaws about whether a candidate is a good person or not. It's all about production, and you just can't deny that T.O. is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history. They put Cris Carter in the Hall of Fame, and T.O. has 2,000 more yards, 23 more touchdowns and three more first-team All-Pro seasons than Carter. Not to mention nearly 2½ yards more per catch. He's No. 2 behind Jerry Rice in receiving yards. No. 2. And you want to talk character … Carter is a convicted felon. T.O. has never been arrested. The Hall of Fame is a sham if T.O. doesn't get in. 

2. I have no idea what this means, but there have been only seven rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more in 51 Super Bowls and only two in the last 26 Super Bowls — DeShaun Foster's 33-yarder for the Panthers against the Patriots in 2003 and Willie Parker's 75-yarder for the Steelers against the Seahawks in 2005. Two in 26 years seems really, really low. I guess that just shows that the Super Bowl is all about quarterbacks and defense. So maybe most Super Bowl teams are built around an elite quarterback and an elite defense, both of which could neutralize big-time running back play.

3. No Eagle rushed for more than 44 rushing yards in either of their Super Bowls. Brian Westbrook and Wilbert Montgomery both ran for 44. Jay Ajayi is going to double that Sunday.

4. Interesting also that the Patriots haven't had anybody rush for more than 44 yards in their last four Super Bowls. In fact, their pass-run ratio in their seven Super Bowls under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is 334 pass plays and 162 runs. That's a 67-33 ratio. I wouldn't be surprised if Dion Lewis and James White are more involved in the passing game Sunday than the running game. 

5. I don't know what Chris Long's future is or how long he wants to play. He hasn't speculated about it. He turns 33 in March and is in his 11th year in the NFL and his second Super Bowl in a row. I do know that I've never seen a veteran player make as much of an impact as Long has both on the field and off the field in such a short time. The Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP Award that Long received Thursday is an extraordinary honor, and I can't think of anybody more deserving (see story).

6. I was really impressed by the way all the Eagles handled the Super Bowl media the last four days but in particular the rookies. Guys like Mack Hollins, Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas and Corey Clement are kids, and I can't imagine being 21, 22, 23 and all of a sudden being thrust into the middle of the most hyped sports event in the world. It speaks volumes about their character and also speaks volumes about the Eagles' veteran leaders who got them ready for all this. Those guys spent a lot of time last week really preparing the younger guys on the team for what they were about to experience. And it definitely paid off. I've always felt this was a really smart, focused, mature team. They played that way all year and behaved that way this week.

7. I find it fascinating that Doug Pederson never mentions Andy Reid. 

8. What do you guys think the odds are that the Replacements will make a surprise halftime appearance backing Justin Timberlake Sunday? This is Minneapolis. How about a halftime All-Star jam with Timberlake singing "Cry me a River" backed by the Replacements, Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Nelly Furtado, Bob Mould, Ringo Starr, Soul Asylum, Christina Aguilera and Rick Aguilera? Maybe?

9. Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day: Foles is the only quarterback in NFL history to have three playoff games with a 69 percent completion percentage or higher and no interceptions before his 30th birthday. Only five others even had two — Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Pennington. (Pennington?) And only 13 others even had one. So there have been a total of 26 such performances in NFL history by quarterbacks in their 20s and Foles has three of them.

10. Here's a fascinating stat that is certainly relevant this year, considering the Eagles' running back rotation: There have been 25 teams in history that had two different running backs with 10 or more carries in a Super Bowl. Those 25 teams went 22-3 — and two of the teams that lost faced a team that also had two double-digit ball-carriers. Here's the full list, with losing teams in italics:

1966 Packers: Jim Taylor (17-56), Elijah Pitts (11-45)
1967 Packers: Ben Wilson (17-62), Donny Anderson (14-48)
1968 Jets: Matt Snell (30-121), Emerson Boozer (10-19)
1969 Chiefs: Warren McVea (12-26), Mike Garrett (11-39)
1970 Colts: Norm Bulaich (18-28), Tom Nowatzke (10-33)
1970 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (18-35), Walt Garrison (12-65)
1971 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (19-95), Walt Garrison (14-74)
1972 Dolphins: Jim Kiick (12-38), Mercury Morris (10-34), Larry Csonka (15-112)
1972 Redskins: Larry Brown (22-72), Charlie Harraway (10-37)
1973 Dolphins: Larry Csonka (33-145), Mercury Morris (11-34)
1974 Steelers: Franco Harris (34-158), Rocky Bleier (17-65)
1975 Steelers: Franco Harris (27-82), Rocky Bleier (15-51)
1976 Raiders: Mark van Eeghen (18-73), Clarence Davis (16-138), Pete Banaszak (10-19)
1977 Cowboys: Tony Dorsett (15-66), Robert Newhouse (14-55)
1979 Steelers: Franco Harris (20-46), Rocky Bleier (10-25)
1984 49ers: Roger Craig (15-58), Wendell Tyler (13-65)
1985 Bears: Walter Payton (22-61), Matt Suhey (11-52)
1989 49ers: Roger Craig (20-69), Tom Rathman (11-38)
1991 Redskins: Earnest Byner (14-49), Ricky Ervins (13-72)
1992 Bills: Kenneth Davis (15-86), Thurman Thomas (11-19)
1996 Packers: Edgar Bennett (17-40), Dorsey Levens (14-61)
2002 Buccaneers: Mike Alstott (10-15), Michael Pittman (29-124) 
2005 Steelers: Jerome Bettis (14-43), Willie Parker (10-93)
2007 Colts: Dominic Rhodes (21-113), Joseph Addai (19-77)
2012 Ravens: Ray Rice (20-59), Bernard Pierce (12-33)

Rick Lovato explains why he got a huge Lombardi Trophy tattoo

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Rick Lovato

Rick Lovato explains why he got a huge Lombardi Trophy tattoo

After the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII, there will be a Vince Lombardi Trophy living in Philadelphia permanently. 

There will also be one on Rick Lovato forever. 

On Wednesday, the Eagles' long snapper tweeted out a photo of some new ink, a huge Lombardi Trophy on the left side of his torso. Lovato isn't the only Eagles player or fan to get a tattoo after the Super Bowl, but it looks like his tattoo might be one of the biggest. 

On Thursday, Lovato went back on Twitter to explain why he decided to get the trophy tattooed on himself. 

Two years ago, in April of 2016, Lovato visited the grave of Vince Lombardi, which happens to be in his hometown of Middletown, N.J. He said that's also where his grandfather is buried. 

"I still pray and thank Coach Lombardi to this day because of how my life has changed since the day I visited his grave," Lovato explained in his tweet. 

A couple months before Lovato's visit, MMQB's Jenny Vrentas took a trip to Mount Olivet Cemetery to learn a little bit about the legendary coach's unassuming grave.

When Lovato visited Lombardi's final resting place, the long snapper was still playing for the Packers. After a college career at Old Dominion, Lovato spent that first summer with the Bears but didn't make the team and wasn't signed by the Packers until December of 2015 when their long-snapper suffered an injury. 

Lovato spent the rest of the season with the Packers and was with them for the next whole spring and summer. But just a few months after his visit to the cemetery, he was released. 

During the 2016 season, he was signed by Washington to fill in for 10 days before he was again cut. Lovato was back working at his family's restaurant, "Joyce's Subs and Pizza" in Lincroft, N.J. after that, but Jon Dorenbos got hurt and the Eagles needed a replacement. Lovato did a good enough job at the end of last season to warrant a position battle this past summer. He won the competition and was the Eagles' long snapper in their Super Bowl season. 

It seems like the tattoo is a reward for finally making it to the pinnacle. 

Here's Lovato's full explanation of his new ink and what it means to him: 

"For those who want some more background on my tattoo, 2 years ago I visited Vince Lombardi's grave in my hometown of Middletown, NJ where my grandfather is buried. Not having a full time job in the NFL yet and not knowing where this career would take me, I trusted my passion and faith to keep reaching my dreams. Since then I was cut two more times and could've given up on those dreams, but it made me want it more than ever. After a heated battle with my friend Jon Dorenbos in training camp I had finally found my place in this league. Through the ups and the downs of my first full season in the NFL, I have fulfilled my dream of playing and winning the Super Bowl. It has brought me more joy in my life than I could've ever imagined. I still pray and thank Coach Lombardi to this day because of how my life has changed since the day I visited his grave. This tattoo means much more than just winning a Super Bowl. It represents my journey, everyone who's supported me and my faith in God." 

Eagles Stay or Go — Young CBs and a new return man?

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USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — Young CBs and a new return man?

As we continue our offseason series examining the future of the world champion Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro try to figure out who will be on the roster in 2018. 

We go alphabetically — Part 1 was Nelson Agholor to Derek Barnett, Part 2 was De'Vante Bausby to Brandon Brooks, Part 3 was Billy Brown to Vinny Curry. Today is Darby to Ertz. 

Ronald Darby
Roob: I’m still not completely sold on Darby. He made some big plays but also needs to be more consistent. That’s probably true of every young cornerback, and Darby certainly has all the tools to be a very good corner in the NFL. He just turned 24, he’s got world-class speed and when he gets his hands on the ball he’s always a threat to go the distance. The Eagles have a whole stable of young corners, and he’s in a similar position to Jay Ajayi in that he has one year left on his rookie four-year deal with another team, an AFC East team — in this case the Bills — and 2018 will give the Eagles a long look at him with a full training camp and season in an Eagles uniform. Darby will definitely be here in 2018. Beyond that, we’ll see.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: When you think about Darby's road to becoming a Super Bowl champion last season, it's pretty crazy. He gets traded to the Eagles during training camp, has to catch up and learn the defense and then dislocates his ankle in Week 1. He eventually came back as the Eagles' starter and never looked back. He's still just 24 and is really talented. Darby is about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, so the Eagles are going to have a decision to make about him soon enough. But for now, this is a no-brainer. 

Verdict: STAYS

Rashard Davis
Roob: Davis came and went on the practice squad throughout the year, but he was along for the Super Bowl ride in Minneapolis as a practice squad receiver, so the Eagles must like him. Davis had a decorated career at James Madison, where he was a record-setting punt returner, and that’s something the Eagles could be looking for depending what happens with Darren Sproles. Davis remains a long-shot, but he is an interesting guy. Stranger things have happened. Especially around here lately. 

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Davis didn't even spend all year on the Eagles' practice squad in 2017, but the team did bring him back and he'll be with them this spring. An undrafted receiver out of James Madison University, there's not a ton of people who even know about him. His best chance to make the Eagles' roster is as a returner, especially if Kenjon Barner isn't back. Not completely out of the question, but he has a steep uphill climb. 

Verdict: GOES

Rasul Douglas
Roob: I really like Douglas. What he lacks in pure speed he makes up for with intelligence and preparation. He’s a physical corner, likes to support the run, a sure tackler. He started five games while Ronald Darby was out and played surprisingly well for a rookie third-round pick, even picking up two interceptions in the first month of his pro career, both in key situations in close games. Whether or not he eventually moves into the slot or even safety remains to be seen, but I expect Douglas to be around here for quite a while. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Douglas had a pretty weird year. He was a third-round pick and would have had the opportunity to win a starting job but struggled some early during training camp. If he didn't, the team might not have made the move to trade for Darby. But when Darby went down, Douglas became a starter and played really well, finishing with two interceptions. He's not the fastest guy, but his length and ballhawk skills make up for it. With Darby and Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones all in the mix, how does Douglas fit in? That's not clear yet, but he'll be back for his second year. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dannell Ellerbe
Roob: Ellerbe gave the Eagles functional linebacker play after joining the Eagles late in the season to provide defensive depth in place of Jordan Hicks. He was solid against the run and provided veteran leadership during the postseason run. He essentially did exactly what the Eagles brought him in to do. But Ellerbe is 32 and has nine years under his belt, and the Eagles will no doubt go younger at linebacker moving forward. Whatever happens, Ellerbe now has two Super Bowl rings — one with the Ravens and one with the Eagles. Not a bad career!

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The Eagles were looking for a veteran to play on base downs, so they went out and got Ellerbe from the street in November. The 32-year-old eventually became a starter, but never played much. He then missed the NFC Championship Game with an injury and played just a few snaps in the Super Bowl. The Eagles need to upgrade and get younger at linebacker. Ellerbe shouldn't be back. 

Verdict: GOES

Jake Elliott
Roob: Yeah, he missed too many PATs, but the positives sure outweigh the negatives with Elliott. If Elliott didn’t prove his worth with the 61-yard game-winner against the Giants, he sure did with fourth-quarter field goals of 42 and 46 yards in the Super Bowl. Those are incredibly tough pressure kicks with the whole world watching, and Elliott crushed them. Caleb Sturgis is a very good kicker. Elliott is a potentially great one.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: This time last year, Elliott was still at Memphis getting ready for the draft. A lot has happened since then. He went in the fifth round to the Bengals, but he lost the competition in Cincinnati, was placed on their practice squad, and stayed there until Sturgis got hurt in the first week of the season. Elliott came to the Eagles and in his second game, he became a hero when he made a 61-yard, game-winner against the Giants. The crazy thing about it is, if Elliott missed the 46-yarder just before the game-winner, he would have been 2-for-5 and in jeopardy of getting cut. But that didn't happen and now it's his job for good. 

Verdict: STAYS

Zach Ertz
Roob: Ertz has established himself as a top-three tight end in this league, behind Gronk and probably a little behind Travis Kelce, although it’s close. As good as Ertz was during the regular season, earning his first Pro Bowl honor, he was massive in the postseason, with 8-for-93 against the Vikings and 7-for-67 with two huge catches in the Super Bowl — the two-yard gain on a fourth-quarter 4th-and-1 with the Eagles trailing by one at their own 45 and his go-ahead touchdown a few moments later. Ertz has the sixth-most catches by any tight end in NFL history after five seasons and the 10th-most yards. He’s already the greatest tight end in Eagles history, and he just turned 27. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: There's no question about it. Ertz has grown into one of the best and most complete tight ends in the NFL. He's one of the best weapons on the team and he's going to have a chance to continue to grow his already-impressive chemistry with Carson Wentz. 

Verdict: STAYS