What are Doug Pederson's expectations of Carson Wentz in Year 2?

What are Doug Pederson's expectations of Carson Wentz in Year 2?

It's not exactly like Carson Wentz was flying under the radar last year.

As Eagles training camp in 2016 approached, there were still plenty of eyes on the young quarterback. But a year ago, Wentz was gearing up for a season of watching football in a baseball cap, with clipboard in hand.

That was the plan even through training camp, all the way until Teddy Bridgewater went down in Minneapolis and the Vikings came calling for Sam Bradford.

It wasn't until the Bradford trade that Wentz's redshirt year became a rookie season that saw him complete more passes (379) than any rookie in NFL history.

Yeah, a lot has changed, including the expectations of the 24-year-old quarterback as he enters his sophomore season in the league.

So, what's realistic?

"Realistically," head coach Doug Pederson said after spring practices concluded, "we want to see, and I've said this before, we want to see incremental growth."

As a rookie, Wentz completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,782 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions — good for a passer rating of 79.3. If he steadily increases his play in 2017, there's a good chance he will become the first 4,000-yard passer in Eagles history.

What the Eagles really need out of Wentz is more consistency. He had five games during his rookie season with a passer rating of over 90, but he also had five games with a passer rating under 65.

Perhaps what will help his consistency and his growth are the Eagles' new weapons. This offseason, the team added Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount in free agency and drafted receivers Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. Pederson said it will help Wentz to be able to rely on those players and the run game more in his second season.

"I don't want to keep a box on it," Pederson said. "I don't want to keep a lid on it. He thinks a lot like I do, sort of out-of-the-box thinkers, which is good to have. He's creative and just understanding the overall structure of the offense, the plays, the situational football. He'll be so much better in those areas. We'll see increases and incremental growth in his play this year just by observing that."

During the offseason, the thing most folks said was different about Wentz wasn't his mechanics — that he worked on with a private QB coach. Instead, the biggest difference was as a leader.

Sure, Wentz is considered to be a natural leader by Pederson and the coaching staff, so much so that Pederson hasn't had to direct him at all in terms of leading his teammates.

But there's a clear difference this year. Instead of being a third-string rookie preparing for a redshirt season, Wentz is the man. He even gathered his teammates in his home state of North Dakota last week for some workouts (see story).

As he enters Year 2, he's the unquestioned leader of the team.

Pederson pointed to Wentz's willingness to accept blame for mistakes as well as his excitement for teammates after they make a good play as examples of his leadership.

"I think those are steps you want to see from your young quarterback," Pederson said. "You've seen it with the greats in the game. You've seen it with the Peyton Mannings and the (Drew) Breeses and (Aaron) Rodgerses and Tom Bradys and those guys. You see it with those guys. And he's starting to apply that in his own way with the guys on the team.

"You've been around [Wentz] now for a year and you know he's got one of those sorts of infectious personalities, people sort of gravitate toward him because of his work ethic and that's what we've seen with him this spring."

Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

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Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are again one step closer to making it to the Hall of Fame.

Both former Eagles were named as two of 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2018 class.

Their inclusion on the list Tuesday is not a surprise at all. Both were on the list of finalists last year, but did not make the 2017 class to the dismay of Eagles fans.

The 15 finalists will be announced during January and Hall of Fame voters will cast their votes for the inductees on Super Bowl Saturday.

This is Dawkins' second year of eligibility and Owens' third. Traditionally it has been difficult for safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame, which might have hurt Dawkins. Owens has likely been hurt by his abrasive personality. Both are very worthy candidates and have a shot to be inducted this year.

Joining them on the list of semifinalists are six who made it on their first years of eligibility: DB Ronde Barber, OG Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss and DL Richard Seymour.

The original list of 108 nominees was cut down to 27 semifinalists instead of 25 because of ties.

Here is the full list of semifinalists:

S Steve Atwater
CB/S Ronde Barber
OT Tony Boselli
WR Isaac Bruce
S LeRoy Butler
Coach Don Coryell
RB Roger Craig
S Brian Dawkins
G Alan Faneca
WR Torry Holt
OG Steve Hutchinson
OT Joe Jacoby
RB Edgerrin James
Coach Jimmy Johnson
CB Ty Law
LB Ray Lewis
FS John Lynch
C/G Kevin Mawae
LB Karl Mecklenburg
WR Randy Moss
DE Leslie O'Neal
WR Terrell Owens
DE Simeon Rice
DE/DT Richard Seymour
LB Brian Urlacher
CB Everson Walls
WR Hines Ward

Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

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Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

Former Eagles cornerback Dexter McDougle has found a home with another one of the top teams in the NFC. 

McDougle on Tuesday signed with the New Orleans Saints, who, like the Eagles, are also on an eight-game winning streak. 

McDougle, 26, came to the Eagles in a trade with the Jets for safety Terrence Brooks in late August and even signed him to a one-year extension in early September. 

The former third-round pick in 2014 played more than the Eagles likely anticipated during his eight games active in Philly. 

In total, McDougle played 55 defensive snaps, and just three weeks ago played 32 of them in a pinch against the 49ers. He also played 135 special teams snaps (50 percent through the Denver game). 

McDougle was waived last week when the Eagles brought in linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. McDougle was expendable as Ronald Darby returned from his dislocated ankle. The only game McDougle was inactive was the opener, before Darby's injury. 

Without McDougle, the Eagles still have plenty of corners. They have five on the roster, including Jaylen Watkins, who is listed as a safety but has played corner this season.