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Setting odds on Eagles' 2018 nominees for the Hall of Fame

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Setting odds on Eagles' 2018 nominees for the Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 108 nominees for induction in 2018, and the list has a very Eagles flare.
 
Fifteen players and one coach who spent at least one season with the Eagles are up for enshrinement this year, although some naturally have better odds than others. There are a handful that many feel should be a lock to have their bust immortalized in Canton, Ohio, and there is at least one player who is literally on the list by mistake. Otherwise, it's usually an honor just to be nominated.
 
The process certainly could be exciting for Eagles fans, as two former club members have an excellent shot to get in, and two or three more might be knocking on the door. We handicapped the group and took a closer look at each candidate's specific situation.
 
Brian Dawkins: 3/2
 
If Dawkins doesn't make it this year, he may have to wait awhile. There's about to be a logjam at safety. Ed Reed becomes eligible in 2019, Troy Polamalu in 2020, and for whatever reason, those two guys are higher-profile players. That certainly isn't reflected in the numbers. Dawkins is the only player in NFL history to record at least 25 interceptions (37), forced fumbles (36) and sacks (26), and leads both players in every major statistical category except interceptions, where Reed has the edge (64). What's more, Dawkins did it first. Voters will recognize the situation, which should result in a strong push -- and Dawkins slipping in the door before his peers.
 
Terrell Owens: 5/2
 
As much as Owens probably deserves to be in the Hall, he has only himself to blame for this plight. At first glance, the path doesn't appear to get any clearer in 2018 now that Randy Moss is eligible. Then again, Moss was no saint, either, and Owens has his fellow wide receiver beat in receptions (1,078 to 982), yards (15,934 to 15,292) and is only beaten only narrowly in touchdown catches (156 to 153). Plus, this is not the most loaded class we've seen, with Ray Lewis seemingly the only mortal lock to get in. Production should win out over politics, although Owens continues to hurt his own cause, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the voters pass once again.
 
Donovan McNabb: 8/1
 
We've officially entered McNabb's very small window for the Hall. There are only five quarterbacks among the nominees, and McNabb's 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns through the air has the other four beat by a mile. Those numbers are only good for 22nd and 29th all-time, respectively, and will continue falling down the list, but it just seems like a signal caller gets in every year. McNabb has an additional 3,459 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing, not to mention seven trips to the playoffs in a 10-year span. It's now or never, though. If McNabb doesn't get in this year or next, he'll likely wind up forever lost in the mix of more prolific passers.
 
Dick Vermeil: 10/1
 
Vermeil's resume doesn't scream Hall of Fame. He has the one Super Bowl championship with the Rams, and another appearance in the big game with the Eagles. That being said, Vermeil only has a 120-109 record with three division championships and eight trips to the playoffs in his 15-year NFL coaching career. He has the fame part going for him, being at the helm for two of the league's most famous underdog stories -- Vince Papale and Kurt Warner -- and is a renowned nice guy who has always stayed around the game. Vermeil absolutely could sneak in on reputation in a thin class.
 
Brian Mitchell: 12/1
 
If this were any other year in any other period in history, a return specialist might not be in the conversation. Yet, the voters have been making it a point to include some specialists in the Hall, electing punter Ray Guy and kicker Morten Anderson in recent years. The depth of this class is also creating opportunities for some fringe candidates. For what it's worth, many feel Mitchell is deserving on merit. He's second all-time in all-purpose yards with 23,330 -- only 246 back of Jerry Rice, so it's not at all difficult to envision somebody championing Mitchell's cause, especially at this point in time.
 
Randall Cunningham: 20/1
 
If you want to talk about a player who revolutionized a position, paving the way for guys like McNabb, like Michael Vick, like Cam Newton today, Cunningham is the guy. Cunningham was the first weaponized mobile quarterback of the modern era, which that alone qualifies him for the discussion based on fame. His numbers weren't bad either, with 29,979 yards and 207 touchdowns through the air, and 4,928 yards and 35 touchdowns on the ground. But if Cunningham made it this long without ever garnering serious consideration, don't expect a sudden groundswell of support to emerge.
 
Seth Joyner: 25/1
 
Some would say it's criminal that Seth Joyner isn't in already. Joyner was one interception away from becoming the first player ever to record at least 25 picks (24), forced fumbles (26) and sacks (52.0), long before Dawkins accomplished the feat. He also picked up his Super Bowl ring in his final season with Denver, something Dawkins, Owens and McNabb all lack on this list. Yet, Joyner never really racked up the individual accolades, earning an invitation to just three Pro Bowls over 13 seasons. The weak class of '18 gives an otherwise overlooked great a remote chance, but it's just that -- remote.
 
Eric Allen: 40/1
 
Allen is in a similar boat with Joyner. When you see cornerbacks like Aeneas Williams get in a few years back, you wonder why Allen's name never comes up. Nothing against Williams, but Allen had one less interception (54) in the same span of 14 NFL seasons. Regardless, his time appears to have come and gone without any meaningful consideration. It's a shame, but Allen is a serious long shot.
 
Greg Townsend: 50/1
 
Ricky Watters: 50/1
 
Mark Bavaro: 75/1
 
Keith Millard: 75/1
 
Herschel Walker: 75/1
 
Gary Anderson: 250/1
 
Sean Landeta: 250/1
 
Steve Smith: 1,000,000/1

 
Whoops! There were once two NFL wide receivers named Steve Smith. The good one, Steve Smith Sr. of Panthers and Ravens fame, finished his career with 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns -- but is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. The other Steve Smith wound up with 2,641 yards and 12 touchdowns, his career shortened by injury. Yet, that is the Steve Smith who's eligible for the Hall and was mistakenly voted one of the 108 nominees in for enshrinement in 2018. We have to assume the voters will sort this out, and bad Steve Smith will not be inducted by accident. Smith spent one season with the Eagles in 2011, recording 124 yards and a touchdown.

Grading the Eagles' 34-24 Week 7 win over the Redskins

Grading the Eagles' 34-24 Week 7 win over the Redskins

Grading the Eagles' 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.

QUARTERBACK

Carson Wentz: 17/25, 268 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT

Four drives into this game, Wentz had completed 2 of 7 attempts for 24 yards with two sacks and an interception. On the Eagles' fifth possession, he connected with Mack Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown, and it was almost as if a weight had been lifted. Wentz hardly missed a throw the rest of the way. He also made plays with his legs, rushing for 63 yards. Even his interception on the first series of the game effectively amounted to a long punt on 2nd-and-forever. This kid simply cannot be stopped right now (see 10 observations).

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS

Wendell Smallwood: 8 ATT, 25 YDS

You have to appreciate the way Smallwood runs — when he's healthy enough to play. He can explode through a hole and make a man miss, but will doesn't shy away from contact and always fights for extra yards. There simply wasn't much room to run against Washington. LeGarrette Blount didn't fare any better, either, carrying 14 times for 29 yards.

Grade: C+

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mack Hollins: 1 REC, 64 YDS, 1 TD

Hollins' touchdown changed the complexion of the entire game. Up until that moment, the Eagles were trailing 10-3, and the offense was struggling to move the football. Then they scored touchdowns on three straight possessions, going up 24-10 in a matter of roughly eight minutes. Nelson Agholor added four receptions for 45 yards and a score. But what's the deal with Alshon Jeffery? Even against Washington's depleted secondary, he could not get open, catching just two passes for 37 yards on six targets.

Grade: B+

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz: 5 REC, 89 YDS, 1 TD

Another week, another big game for Ertz. I honestly couldn't tell you what kind of night he had blocking, but does it matter when he continues to produce at this level?

Grade: A+

OFFENSIVE LINE

Jason Peters: Exited game in 3rd quarter (knee)

For the second week in a row, the O-line experienced issues early. Lane Johnson in particular looked rusty after missing last week with a concussion — granted, he had his hands full with Ryan Kerrigan. The unit began settling down in pass protection toward the end of the first half, though it never quite got into a groove running the football. Wentz was hit just six times total, but Eagles backs averaged only 2.56 yards per carry. Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Peters at left tackle and had a quiet game, which is a good thing of course.

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE LINE

Derek Barnett: 3 TFL, 2.0 SK

The front four controlled the point of attack all night. That won't necessarily show up in the box score, but Kirk Cousins was under pressure from start to finish. Barnett and Fletcher Cox each registered a sack, while Brandon Graham hit the quarterback's arm mid-throw to force an interception. Meanwhile, the NFL's No. 1 rush defense was at it again, limiting Washington's backs to 54 yards on 14 carries.

Grade: A

LINEBACKERS

Jordan Hicks: Exited game in 1st quarter (ankle)

Hicks went down on the second play of the game, which was especially tough, because the Eagles were already without Mychal Kendricks. The absences showed, as Najee Goode was more like Najee Bad (ahem). Goode failed to pick up an assignment that resulted in a seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson in the second quarter, and generally was a liability in coverage over the middle. Nigel Bradham did what he could recording three tackles, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss, but the linebackers were shorthanded, and it showed (see breakdown).

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Malcolm Jenkins: 10 TKL, 1.0 SK

On paper, Cousins' line looks borderline spectacular, completing 30 of 40 passes for 303 yards with three touchdowns. Then again, most of that production — 203 yards and all three scores — went to tight ends and running backs. The Eagles really didn't allow Washington to do anything significant on the perimeters or deep down the field. Jenkins was all over the field making key stops, and Corey Graham came up with a gift-wrapped interception.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jake Elliott: 2/3 FG, 4/4 XP

Nothing spectacular. Just another all-around solid special teams performance for the Eagles. Elliott was mostly automatic once again, connecting on field goals of 50 and 42 yards, and only missed from 45 after the outcome was all but decided. Donnie Jones averaged 51.0 yards per punt, with one kick downed inside the opponents' 20. And Kamu Grugier-Hill forced a fumble that Corey Clement very nearly recovered deep in Washington territory. The units were a strength, as usual.

Grade: A-

COACHING

Eagles' record: 6-1

Credit Doug Pederson — he never got away from the run against Washington, even though it clearly wasn't working. His team also never lost its composure despite a rough start against what some would consider an inferior opponent. The Eagles also survived injuries to some of their best players, yet never missed a beat on either side of the ball. This team is for real, in part because so is its head coach. Great job taking care of business at home, even when for awhile there is seemed things might be askew.

Grade: A+

Carson Wentz is a magician and Eagles fans are freaking out

Carson Wentz is a magician and Eagles fans are freaking out

Carson Wentz is the truth.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn't exactly shoot out of the gate on Monday Night Football but once he and the Birds offense got going, oh my! His second half was a thing of beauty.

Two plays in particular had football fans at a loss for words.

First, the scramble and touchdown toss to Corey Clement has a "how'd he do that" vibe:

But it was this Houdini-like, Barry Sanders-esque escapability that had the Internet abuzz. Just watch. Over and over.

Former Eagle and elusive dude in his own right Shady McCoy was impressed.

Oh and we haven't even mentioned his TDs to Zach Ertz, Mack Hollins, and Nelson Agholor yet. All pretty, pretty, pret-ty good.

It's safe to say Carson has the city of Philadelphia believing.

Wentz finished the night 17-25 for 268 and 4 TDs. Not to mention his 63 yards rushing. The quarterback of your favorite football team is a stud. Oh and one interception that was basically an incredibly good punt.

The Eagles won by a final of 34-24 and remain the class of the NFC at 6-1.