What's the plan behind Carson Wentz?

What's the plan behind Carson Wentz?

There are any number of things to concern yourself with heading into this season if you’re an Eagles fan.

Is Doug Pederson the answer? Can Carson Wentz take that huge leap into superstardom? There’s the cornerback spot, the running back position. Will it be a committee thing? Can Wendell Smallwood stay healthy? How much does LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles have left in the tank? Will the defensive ends get to the quarterback enough to cover for the corners? Linebacker depth comes to mind as well.

Suffice to say backup quarterback doesn’t jump to mind. 

But maybe it’s time to start giving it some thought. Nick Foles has been nursing a sore elbow. He has yet to play in a preseason game and has been wearing a baseball cap for most of training camp. The club has downplayed the significance of his absence and injury, but we’re just a little more than two weeks from the start of the season and options behind Wentz are not ideal. 

In fairness, this is the case throughout most of the NFL. Dallas was the exception last season when their No. 1 went down and Dak Prescott stepped in as a rookie and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. The Eagles do have a history of success with backups. Be it A.J. Feeley or Michael Vick or Foles in his first go-round here. But for the most part when your starter goes down, so do your season’s hopes.     

That doesn’t mean you wave the white flag with who’s lined up behind Wentz. With Foles out, Matt McGloin has logged the large majority of the reps. He’s attempted 88 passes in three exhibition games. His statistics: 62 for 88, 491 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, 70.5 completion percentage and a 73.6 passer rating. Dane Evans, the rookie out of Tulsa, he of the strong arm, has barely sniffed the field in preseason games.

McGloin, the Scranton, Pennsylvania, native and former Penn State walk-on is a great story of perseverance. And he has four years of NFL experience under his belt from his time in Oakland. But his performance in the preseason thus far has not passed the eye test. 

If Foles' injury is more serious than we’ve been led to believe, is the club confident enough in McGloin as the No. 2? Would it consider bringing someone off the street? Colin Kaepernick perhaps? The organization has not been averse to taking on controversial figures in the past, such as Vick. Politics aside, the Birds have limited cap space, and Colin Kaepernick’s price tag may be too steep. It’s slim pickings elsewhere. Not to mention playing catch-up without a training camp to learn the system.   

Despite a choppy performance in the preseason, the Eagles' offensive line was thought to be a strength coming into 2017. It better be. In the meantime, three words: slide Carson, slide.

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

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More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

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Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.