Eagles

Rob's Rants: Eagles' start; Seumalo's struggles; Marshawn's dancing

Rob's Rants: Eagles' start; Seumalo's struggles; Marshawn's dancing

Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which CSNPhilly's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.

If I told you before the season the Eagles would be 1-1 after starting with two road games — one against a division opponent, the other in one of the tougher venues in sports — an objective person would have been satisfied. That doesn’t mean losing a very winnable game in Kansas City wasn’t a tough pill to swallow, but when you consider that the Birds' neighbors in the NFC East have not exactly looked like world beaters, there is room for much optimism if they can clean some things up. Despite his costly turnovers and tendency to hold the ball too long, I’m convinced Carson Wentz will be a star. The Eagles' defensive line has looked fierce. And certainly in part because of the line, the Birds' defensive backs — despite major injuries — have held up pretty well. There are absolute positives with this club. 

But here are some of the things with the Eagles and beyond that have me in rant mode. 

Get your tokens ready
Saying Isaac Seumalo has been bad is like saying Donald Trump is polarizing. Seumalo's been a turnstile. His play has been alarming through two games and Doug Pederson may need to make a decision fast to avoid getting Wentz killed. But the Seumalo issue runs much deeper than the surface. He was a third-round pick last year, 79th overall. The club’s next selection after Wentz. Third-round picks need to be able to play. 

Now, you could very well chalk his struggles up to growing pains. By Week 10 we may see a completely different player. But perhaps even more disturbing was the Eagles' judgment that Seumalo was ready to start. Howie Roseman dealt veteran Allen Barbre early in camp to Denver for a 2019 seventh-round pick. The Eagles did save minimal cap space as well. And while Barbre won’t be confused with Zack Martin any time soon, he was a competent player. Surely an upgrade from what we’ve seen from Seumalo thus far. The objective is to keep your franchise quarterback upright and available. So far, not so good. 

Escape plan
Since signing that monstrous contract prior to last season, Vinny Curry has made no big plays. That streak continued Sunday against the Chiefs. Go back to the fourth quarter, game tied at 13, K.C. driving with a 3rd-and-4 on the Eagles' 25-yard line. Curry had Alex Smith all but wrapped up for the sack, which at the very least would have forced Kansas City into a long field goal attempt. Smith escaped the 6-3, 279-pound defensive end and two plays later the Chiefs scored on a shovel pass to Travis Kelce to take a 20-13 lead. That play, along with the Eagles' two turnovers, were game-changing plays. Once again, Curry came up small.

Catch the Damn Ball Part II     
Last week this rant was directed at Alshon Jeffery. This week it applies to the Eagles' other big money offseason wide receiver signing. There were two plays Sunday that again weren’t easy but need to be caught by a good receiver. The pass catcher in question is Torrey Smith. The first drop on the Eagles' opening drive could and should have been a touchdown. Later in the game, Wentz made a nice back-shoulder throw that was covered well but the ball was where it needed to be and Smith could not bring it down. These plays are the difference between three points and seven points or keeping a drive alive or winning and losing. 

Cue Lee Ann Womack
I don’t think “I Hope You Dance” was what Marshawn Lynch was Beast Mode-ing  to on the sideline during the Raiders' 45-20 smackdown of the woeful Jets. In fact, it was “I’m Really From Oakland Tho” by Vell and DJ Mustard. Love it when those two crazy kids collaborate. New York in fact was not loving Lynch’s sideline moves. Some Jets players were upset that the Oakland native was dancing with time still left on the clock. There’s a simple solution to that issue: Stop him. If the score was flipped, Lynch would not have been shaking his groove-thing. It’s OK for a player to have fun and celebrate. It’s all about time and place. And by the way, the Jets should get accustomed to opposing players celebrating. In fact, when your front office’s objective is to tank the season, it could look like a conga line on the opposite sideline all season.

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long excused from Eagles practice to attend league meetings

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Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long excused from Eagles practice to attend league meetings

For over a year, Malcolm Jenkins has raised his fist during the playing of the national anthem before Eagles games. 

On Tuesday, he was in New York City for a joint meeting between players, owners and the NFLPA in an attempt to find common ground on the same social issues that have led to those pre-game demonstrations. 

Jenkins and teammate Chris Long were both excused from the Eagles' light practice on Tuesday to be in New York for the meeting. They were two of 12 current players representing eight NFL teams. Former NFL player Anquan Boldin was also in attendance. 

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was one of 11 owners in attendance. 

The NFL was represented by commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president of football operations (and former Eagle) Troy Vincent, while the NFLPA was represented by executive director DeMaurice Smith, president Eric Winston and senior director of player affairs Don Davis. 

The NFL and NFLPA released the following joint statement: 

"Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together. 

"As we said last week, everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military. In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change."

While there didn't seem to be a message of finality about anthem protests in that statement, it appears both sides took a big step in the right direction as far as social justice issues go. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the NFL's policy on the national anthem "did not come up."  

"This was the first time we have gotten the chance to sit down in front of ownership," Jenkins said to ESPN. "We felt they were receptive. We felt there was a real dialogue. We felt it was positive."

This season, Jenkins has continued to raise his fist during the anthem and Long, his teammate, has put his arm around him as a showing of solidarity. Safety Rodney McLeod has also begun to raise his fist. 

But too much attention has now shifted to the protests during the anthem instead of the actual issues at hand. Jenkins, in particular, cares about social and racial injustice; the fist in the air was just a way to start a conversation about those issues. 

The demonstrations became even more widespread after President Donald Trump encouraged NFL owners to release players who protested during the anthem. A couple days after those comments, the Eagles linked arms during the anthem in a showing of solidarity. 

While Torrey Smith wasn't in attendance during Tuesday's meeting in New York, he's one of the more socially active Eagles. He said there have been a lot of phone calls and coordinating between players over the last few weeks about these issues and handling them with the league. 

"A win for me coming out of those meetings is that everyone's on the same page and trying to help the people in this country and use our game, which unites people from all different races, all different areas, all different levels of income, for one moment, for these games," Smith said. "And there's no better platform than for us to work together and try to benefit our country.

"Our owners have the power to impact a lot of lives in terms of whether it's financially or their guidance. I feel like it's our duty. Obviously, we're playing ball but the fans that are cheering us on, the fans that are working in these stadiums, the fans that are working in these neighborhoods are affected by some of the things that we're fighting for. If anyone thinks it's not an issue for us to be involved in as athletes or the owners of the NFL, then you're looking at it dead wrong."

After missing Tuesday's practice, neither Jenkins nor Long were available for comment in the Eagles' locker room. The Eagles will be back at practice Thursday as they prepare to host Washington on Monday night. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story. 

Eagles QB Carson Wentz favorite to win NFL MVP

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USA Today Images

Eagles QB Carson Wentz favorite to win NFL MVP

Carson Wentz is in his second NFL season, but he could already be on his way to his first MVP award. 

At least, he's now the favorite. 

The Eagles' starting quarterback is now the favorite to win this year's NFL MVP award, according to Bovada. Wentz is just ahead of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. 

Here's the top five: 

1. Carson Wentz: +175
2. Alex Smith: +200
3. Tom Brady: +400
4. DeShaun Watson: +1,000
5. Russell Wilson: +1,200

Basically, this means that a $100 futures bet would win $175. Since Wentz pays out the least, he's the favorite. 

It's no surprise Wentz and Smith are atop this list. They have both led their teams to 5-1 records (tops in the NFL) through six games. 

Wentz has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,584 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 99.6. He's well on his way to becoming the first Eagles quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. 

The last (and only) Eagles player to win an MVP came during the 1960 championship season, when quarterback Norm Van Brocklin took the award. 

The last player to win the MVP award in his second NFL season was Kurt Warner in 1999. But Warner had a long road to get to the NFL and was 28 years old in 1999. Wentz is just 24. 

Vegas isn't alone with the Wentz hype. According to Dick's Sporting Goods, the Eagles' quarterback has the best-selling jersey of all NFL players. In another few months, those people might have the jersey of an MVP winner.