Haloti Ngata

Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

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Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

We're deep into free agency, the draft is rapidly approaching and the 2017 Super Bowl champion Eagles are being reshaped into a new team.

Which means it's a perfect time for a Roob's 10 Observations.

1. As the Eagles move on from LeGarrette Blount and reshape the running back position, it’s intriguing to ponder just how good Corey Clement can be. From what I saw last year? I think the kid can be a stud. His touches were limited until late in the season, but how many rookies have had 300 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards and averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry and 13 yards per catch? Would you believe three in the last 40 years? A guy named Jesse Clark with the Packers in 1983, a guy named Adrian Peterson with the Vikings in 2007 and a guy named Corey Clement. It’s tough to project, but he can run, he can block, he can catch, he’s got a real flair for making big plays and a terrific knack in the red zone. Can’t wait to see him in an expanded role.

2. As for Blount, you can’t overstate his value to the Eagles last year, both as a running back and a leader. For a guy with his resume to come into that locker room and not once complain about his workload — even when he had no carries against the Chiefs — was remarkable. His selfless attitude really resonated with the young guys in the locker room. And I know a lot of fans were upset to see him go, but as incredible as his Super Bowl performance was, you can’t forget that in the seven games leading up to the Super Bowl he averaged 2.9 yards per carry. And he’s 31 years old. If the reported numbers are correct, Blount’s $4.5 million 2018 salary makes him the 12th-highest-paid running back in the league. Good for him. I wish him well. He was a huge part of that 2017 team. But it made no sense for the Eagles to bring him back.

3. It’s amazing how much money teams keep throwing at Sam Bradford. He’s got 34 wins in eight seasons, he’s never had a winning record, he’s never made a postseason, and on the rare occasions when he’s been healthy, he’s won only 43 percent of his starts. Oh, and he’s missed 42 games since 2013. “He’s our guy!”

4. Speaks volumes that both Blount and Torrey Smith singled out Duce Staley in their tweets or Instagram posts saying goodbye to Philly after joining new teams. Staley wasn’t even Smith’s position coach, and he still singled him out. Blount wrote: “To my main man Coach Duce Staley — You have impacted my life on and off the field and pushed me to be the best version of me I can be and for that I thank you!” Staley is such a natural leader and such a big part of what the Eagles accomplished in 2017. He’s going to be a head coach one day.

5. The Eagles lost Vinny Curry, but they have Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long. They lost Trey Burton and Brent Celek, but they have Zach Ertz. They lost Smith, but they have Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins. They lost Blount, but they have Jay Ajayi and Clement. They lost Patrick Robinson, but they have Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby and Daryl Worley. They’ve lost a lot, but they’re still stocked at every position where they lost someone. Pretty darn good roster planning.

6. I feel like in the wake of Nick Foles’ brilliant postseason, people are forgetting exactly how good Carson Wentz was before he got hurt. So here’s a list of every quarterback in NFL history with 33 or more touchdown passes and seven or fewer interceptions in a season before his 30th birthday: Carson Wentz.

7. I wonder how much Haloti Ngata has left. He’s 34, he’s coming off a torn biceps, and he’s five years removed from his last Pro Bowl. Beau Allen was quietly a solid backup defensive tackle and played a big role in that D-line rotation the second half of the season after Tim Jernigan hurt his ankle. I don’t mind the signing. Ngata comes cheap and there’s really nothing to lose. But it’s been a while since he’s been a dominant player, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in.

8. If you’ve never been to Canton, Ohio, plan your trip now. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a great place to visit any time. But the weekend of Brian Dawkins’ induction is going to be unforgettable. Dawk’s speech is going to be epic.

9. The Philly Special may be the greatest play in Eagles history, but where does the fourth-quarter, fourth-down conversion rank? The Eagles trailed with 5½ minutes left and faced a 4th-and-1 inside midfield when Foles converted a short completion to Ertz. If they don’t convert, they lose. That’s gotta be a top-10 all-time play. Maybe top-five.

10. Tight ends with more catches than Ertz in their first five NFL seasons: Kellen Winslow Sr., Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates.

What Reggie White meant to Haloti Ngata

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What Reggie White meant to Haloti Ngata

Haloti Ngata has worn jersey No. 92 his entire 12-year NFL career — nine years with the Ravens, three years with the Lions.

That's 184 games wearing the same number.

That obviously has to change.

The Eagles retired Reggie White's famed No. 92 jersey in 2005, a year after he died.

White, who spent the 1985 through 1992 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Eagles, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, his first year of eligibility.

So 92 goes, and that's fine with Ngata.

"I'll never take 92 here, but he is one of my idols," Ngata said Thursday, after signing a one-year deal with the Eagles.

"Reggie White is the reason why I chose 92, and it is so cool to be here and see 92 everywhere."

As he spoke, Ngata pointed over to the giant Reggie White mural adorning the wall of the auditorium at the NovaCare Complex.

Ngata is 34 and was in high school when White played his final season, in 2000 with the Panthers. Ngata said he never met White but followed his career since he was a kid.

"I love the way he played but mainly the man he was off the field," Ngata said. "Very humbling, God-fearing man. Just loved him.

"He's a great example, and that's what I wanted to be. Be a great football player but also a great person off the field."

Ngata is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro defensive tackle. White made 13 straight Pro Bowls from 1986 through 1998 and was an eight-time All-Pro.

The Eagles retired White's 92 and Jerome Brown's 99, so the only numbers available in the 90s are 90 and 91 and 93 through 98.

When Ngata arrived in Philadelphia, he learned 91 (Fletcher Cox), 93 (former teammate Tim Jernigan), 95 (Mychal Kendricks), 96 (Derek Barnett), 97 (Destiny Vaeao) and 98 (Elijah Qualls) were taken.

"So there were two numbers — 90 and 94 (available)," he said. "So I texted my kids real quick and they said 94. So I think I'm going to be 94."

Haloti Ngata inks deal with Eagles after brief scare

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Haloti Ngata inks deal with Eagles after brief scare

Updated: 6:45 p.m.

Phew. Haloti Ngata is an Eagle. 

While a report surfaced Thursday morning that seemed to indicate the former All-Pro defensive lineman might not come to Philly after all, Ngata finished his visit to the NovaCare Complex by signing a one-year contract. The deal is worth $3 million, according to a league source. 

Ngata, 34, was expected to join the Eagles as of Monday, but the Detroit Lions were reportedly still in the mix as of his visit Thursday morning. Instead of going back to Detroit, Ngata decided to sign with the Super Bowl champions. He’ll provide some much-needed interior defensive line depth after Beau Allen left for Tampa Bay in free agency. 

Sure, Ngata probably isn’t the same guy who went to five straight Pro Bowls with the Ravens, but the big 6-foot-4, 345-pounder might still have some tread left on the tires. 

After finishing his season on IR last year with a torn biceps, Ngata didn’t want his career to end like that, so he decided to keep playing. He said it added some fire to his wanting to return. 

“I love the game,” Ngata said. “I love the locker room, being with all the guys. I love everything about football, the studying, the dog days, just film watching, workouts, everything. I love it. Right now, I couldn’t imagine myself without it.” 

In five games with the Lions last season, Ngata made a clear impact on defense. The Lions gave up 74.6 rushing yards with him and 129.7 without him. The veteran defensive lineman said his recovery is going well, so there shouldn’t be any lingering issues from the torn biceps. 

There’s a clear Joe Douglas connection with this signing. The Eagles’ personnel chief was in Baltimore for most of Ngata’s career and the two have had several conversations recently. 

Ngata is one of five former first-round picks on the Eagles' defensive line. He joins Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Chris Long. 

He’ll also join a team that is coming off a win in Super Bowl LII. Ngata was on the Ravens when they beat the 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII at the tail end of the 2012 season. The chance to get another ring was a big reason he decided to come to Philly. 

“It’s huge,” he said. “Ever since I went, I’ve always wanted to go back. I haven’t been able to go back. But it’s the best feeling in the world. Something I want to feel again.”