Eagles

Howie Roseman takes shots at Chip Kelly and the mess he left

Howie Roseman takes shots at Chip Kelly and the mess he left

Everybody else is allowed to rip Chip Kelly for the long-term damage he did to the Eagles’ roster.

Why not Howie Roseman too?

Roseman took a few thinly-veiled shots at Kelly during his press briefing on Wednesday morning at the NovaCare Complex:

• His reference to the team’s lack of a second-round pick in last year’s draft — Kelly shipped it to the Rams in 2015 along with Nick Foles;

• Without prompting, he connected the Eagles' lack of offensive firepower this past year to Kelly's decisions to release DeSean Jackson, trade LeSean McCoy and fail to re-sign Jeremy Maclin;

• Roseman spoke several times about the team’s lack of salary cap space going into this offseason, which is at least in part a product of Kelly’s one year running the personnel department;

• And he criticized Kelly’s handling of the quarterback position, which left the Eagles without any quarterbacks under contract following last year.

Asked specifically how difficult it’s been for him to undo some of Kelly’s ill-advised moves, here’s how Roseman responded:

“You know, I think you're just dealing with the reality of the situation. I could say sitting up here last year, it was challenging. It was a challenging situation and it starts with the quarterback position. We didn't have a starting quarterback under contract. [Sam Bradford] was a free agent. We were picking 13th with no two (second-round pick).

“And we sat down and we said if we can come out of this offseason, and sit here next season at this time and feel like we had a permanent answer at that position, we're going in the right direction.”

Howie declined to speak specifically about Maclin, Jackson and McCoy, since all are currently under contract with other teams and that could be construed as tampering.

But he certainly indirectly discussed them.

From 2008 through 2014, the seven-year span in which at least one of Jackson, Maclin and McCoy were here, the Eagles led the NFL with 77 plays of 20 yards or more per year — 41 more than the second-place Saints.

This year, they had 46 — third-fewest in the NFL and just two more than the last-place Texans and Broncos.

Of course, it was Kelly that drafted Nelson Agholor, who became the poster boy for Eagles wide receiving ineptitude.

It’s also important to note that Jackson, Maclin and McCoy were all drafted here before Roseman became general manager in 2010.

“It seems like a long time ago we were leading the National Football League in 20-[yard]-plus plays, and I don't have a DeLorean time machine to go back in time and get some of those guys back,” Roseman said.

“We have a young group. We have a young room. They need to continue to grow, and it's one of the things, among others, that we need to look at.”

After the 2014 season, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie exiled Roseman and gave Kelly full control of personnel. A year later, while firing Kelly, he restored Roseman to power and gave him the title vice president of football operations.

Roseman’s digs at Kelly were not very subtle. Roseman has always prided himself on being a salary cap guru, but Kelly’s one year as general manager left the Eagles with very little cap room today.

“It’s a unique situation for us as an organization,” Roseman said. “It’s unusual certainly since I’ve been here to have a more challenging situation.”

And this more general comment about the state that Kelly left the franchise in: “We didn't have the same amount of resources that we are used to. We didn't have a second-round pick. We had a lot of guys becoming free agents over a two-year period of time.”

He also gloated about how he recognized the Eagles’ need to find a franchise quarterback after Kelly traded Nick Foles and left the most important position on the roster essentially vacant.

“I was very vocal internally about the need to have a long-term answer at that position,” Roseman said (see story). “And felt like it was the most important thing we could possibly do.”

Roseman’s digs are interesting and make for good offseason chatter. But all that really matters is that he gets the Eagles back on track in Year 2 of his return to power.

Or else the next general manager will be the one at a press conference a year from now taking thinly-veiled shots at Roseman.

'The Magic of Carson Wentz' gives Eagles a huge win over Washington

'The Magic of Carson Wentz' gives Eagles a huge win over Washington

Carson Wentz had one of the best passing games of his career on Monday night. 

He completed 68 percent of his passes for 268 yards, four touchdowns and had a passer rating of 126.3 in the Eagles' 34-24 win over Washington at the Linc (see breakdown)

Nobody wanted to talk about that though. 

The biggest question his teammates had in the locker room after the game was this: How the heck did he escape on that 17-yard scramble? 

On 3rd-and-8 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Wentz was seemingly sacked well behind the line of scrimmage. At least everyone thought. But that's when the 6-5, 237-pound quarterback somehow emerged from the pile and scrambled ahead for 17 yards. 

"Amazing," Nelson Agholor said. "We didn't know how he did that. Three, four plays later we are still on the sideline figuring out how he did that."

It seemed like everyone in the stadium thought Wentz was cooked on that play. The crowd didn't even start cheering until much later. Everyone in the stadium seemed pretty confused. 

The Eagles' defensive players even started getting ready to head back into the game. Malcolm Jenkins grabbed his helmet, but then looked at the video screen to see that Wentz was still going. 

"That's the magic of Carson Wentz," Jenkins said. 

Former long snapper and magician Jon Dorenbos was in the building on Monday night — and got a big ovation as he recovers from a serious health issue — but it was Wentz who pulled a rabbit out of his hat. 

"I couldn't believe he got out of that little jam," Brandon Graham said. "He just popped out of nowhere. There's something special going on right now and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

After that Wentz scramble, the Eagles went down the rest of the way and he capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Agholor. That score put them up 31-17 and put the game out of reach for Washington. The Eagles improved to 6-1 and have the best record in the NFL. 

His teammates called it magic, ridiculous and awesome. So how did Wentz escape on that play? 

He didn't know either. 

"I'm not really sure," he said. 

When Wentz wasn't scrambling all over the field — he finished the game with a career-high 64 rushing yards — he was making plays with his arm. 

Before the Arizona game, Wentz had never thrown three touchdowns in a game. He has now done that three games in a row. Before the Arizona game, Wentz had just three games with a passer rating over 100. He now has six. 

Through seven games this season, he has 17 touchdown passes, already surpassing his total from his entire rookie season. He has thrown just four interceptions. 

Before Monday, Wentz was already the Vegas favorite to win MVP. 

He showed why against Washington. 

"That's the type of guy he is, he gets out of trouble, he breaks tackles and he throws dimes," Washington safety D.J. Swearinger said. "He's a great quarterback and he'll be one of the greats for a long time."  

While Wentz's 17-yard scramble was the most-talked-about play after the game, there was a close second. 

The other question was this: How the heck did he see Corey Clement in the end zone?

In the third quarter, with two defenders barreling down on him, Wentz found Clement on the right side of the end zone. Clement was about his third read on the play. 

"He's amazing," Alshon Jeffery said. "On that touchdown to Corey, I'm like, I don't know how he saw him. He must have Spiderman vision. He's great. He does a great job just making plays and seeing guys." 

Head coach Doug Pederson called the touchdown pass "one of the best plays I've seen in a long time." 

Over the last month, Wentz's elevated play has thrust the Eagles into Super Bowl discussions. If he continues like this, that's not a far-fetched scenario. 

It seems like Wentz is just in a zone right now (see Roob's observations)

Does he feel it?

"I feel good," Wentz said. "I do feel good." 

Eagles' rookie class puts on a show in Monday Night Football win

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AP Images

Eagles' rookie class puts on a show in Monday Night Football win

The Eagles' 2017 rookie class was out in force Monday night, and in a huge division showdown on national TV, Derek Barnett, Mack Hollins and Corey Clement helped the best team in football improve to 6-1.

Barnett recorded two sacks and Hollins and Clement both had dramatic touchdown catches in the Eagles' 34-24 win over the Redskins at the Linc (see observations).

Barnett, the first-round pick from Tennessee, became the first Eagle rookie with a two-sack game since Trent Cole in 2005. Hollins' 64-yard TD catch was the longest by an Eagles rookie in 11 years. And Clement's circus TD catch made him the first undrafted Eagles running back in 64 years with two TD catches in a season.

The Eagles have plenty of big-time veteran stars. But this rookie class is looking awfully good right now.

Factor in third-round corner Rasul Douglas, who has played well, and record-setting kicker Jake Elliott, and that's quite a rookie class.

"We just always have a big chip on our shoulder," said Clement, who went undrafted out of Wisconsin. "When we come out here, we are always overlooked by somebody just because we are rookies, but that doesn't mean we can't make a play.

"When we're out there, we try to think and play as veterans. When we walk out there with those guys, like (Brent) Celek and all those other veterans, we want to prove that we belong.

"I don't want anybody second-guessing why we're out there on the field."

Clement was on the receiving end of a miraculous Carson Wentz effort, where he seemed to be swallowed up by the Redskins’ pass rush before floating a TD pass to Clement on a scramble drill. Clement looked like a wide receiver, sticking both feet in the right side of the end zone (see breakdown).

The catch made Clement the first undrafted Eagles rookie running back with two TD catches in a season since Hal Giancanelli in 1953.

Clement had just two touchdown catches in college, but seven games into his NFL career, he's already matched that.

How did he get tagged with the reputation that he can't catch?

"I wish I could tell you," he said. "But everybody's going to say something about somebody. So it's whether you're going to back it up or complain about it, and I chose to back it up."

Hollins and Clement became the first pair of Eagles rookies with TD catches in the same game since Jason Avant and Hank Baskett against the Falcons in 2006. Hollins' 64-yard TD is the longest by an Eagles rookie since Baskett's 89-yarder in that same game.

Hollins, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, has been targeted six times this year and has six catches for 134 yards and five first downs.

And then there's Barnett, who had just half a sack in his first six games but broke through with two Monday against a Redskins team that had allowed only eight in its first six games.

Barnett became the first rookie with a two-sack game against the Redskins since Ziggy Ansah of the Lions in 2013.

"Everybody's been telling me just keep grinding and they're going to come," Barnett said. "They all just say keep working and eventually it's going to break. It was a fun night."

Barnett's 2½ sacks are the most by an Eagles rookie defensive end since Brandon Graham had three back in 2010.

"We have a lot of guys who've been playing in the league for a while, and they give me a lot of tips and stuff, and it helps me pick up my game," Barnett said. "I'm very lucky to have those guys in the room to help me."