5 biggest disappointments for Eagles in 1st half

5 biggest disappointments for Eagles in 1st half

The Eagles have reached their bye week with a 4-4 record, which is disappointing, but they got there with a big win over the Jaguars in London. 

This season hasn’t exactly gone to plan after winning the Super Bowl in February, but not everything goes the way we expect. 

Here are the five Eagles who have been the biggest disappointments through the first eight games.

(You can find the five biggest pleasant surprises here.)

Brandon Graham

In a contract year, Graham isn’t having the same impact as he did a year ago. It’s fair to wonder how much that offseason ankle surgery is affecting his play. But through eight games, Graham has just 1 1/2 sacks and hasn’t been nearly as disruptive as he was last season, when he had a career year. This is a bad time for Graham to struggle. He’s a 30-year-old defensive end in a contract year. 

Shelton Gibson 

This one might not be all on Gibson; the coaching staff might deserve some blame here. The Eagles have been in desperate need of a field-stretching deep threat and Gibson still can’t get on the field. He played 35 snaps in Week 2 and hasn’t played double digits since then. Even after he caught a 48-yard pass against the Vikings, he’s played just eight snaps in the three games since. The coaching staff is misusing him or he hasn’t earned playing time. Either way, it’s not good. 

Corey Clement

Before the season, if I would have told you Jay Ajayi was out for the season, Darren Sproles hasn’t played since Week 1 and Clement was healthy, you would have expected to see No. 30 on the field a whole lot. But it hasn’t happened. Smallwood has overtaken him on the depth chart and Clement’s snaps have suffered. Even when he’s out there, Clement hasn’t been great. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards per carry (50 carries for 167 yards). In the modern era, just two Eagles have had a lower yards-per-carry rate through eight games (minimum 30 carries): Ricky Watters in 1997 and Heath Sherman in 1991.  

Jalen Mills

In the red zone, Mills has been really good. If NFL games were only in the red zone, Mills would be a Pro Bowler. I don’t want to take that away from him. But he’s been a liability in the rest of the field. Mills has given up way too many big plays this season. It’s been a problem for the defense as a whole and Mills is a big part of that. 

Jason Peters 

Maybe we were all silly for assuming a 36-year-old left tackle coming off an ACL injury would be able to hold up. He hasn’t. While Peters hasn’t been as bad as you think when he’s on the field, he simply isn’t dependable this season. The future Hall of Famer has played every offensive snap just twice in eight games. He has suffered a quad injury and is now playing with a partially torn biceps, so it’s understandable why his play has dropped off. It just doesn’t make it any easier. 

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson is officially in offseason mode, and he kicked off Pro Bowl week - which he's now officially part of - by showing up on former teammate Chris Long's podcast and shooting the breeze for an hour.

The duo bantered about plenty, from dealing with failure and ego as football players, to Johnson's time as a grave digger. About halfway through, Johnson offered up a seldom-heard explanation for his hairstyle, or lackthereof.

Johnson, of course, famously keeps his hair short (read: nonexistent) on top, and keeps his beard long. He explained to Long that it took some serious self-reflection, and a couple rough games early in his rookie season, to officially start shaving his head:

I was in college, it was my senior year, and my friend goes, 'Bro, are you f***ing losing your hair?' I said, what are you talking about? Then I went to the mirror, and I'd clearly been in denial for some time. I said, 'Bro, this s*** is terrible.' 

So I played with it my senior year, it was bad. I'd comb it over, wear my hats, feather it out in the back, try to look cool. Then I got to the Eagles, and after getting bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney and giving up three sacks to Justin Houston, I just shaved that s*** off. I've been a different man ever since.

The Eagles, you might remember, lost in Week 2 that year to Freeney's Chargers, and then lost in Week 3 to Houston's Chiefs, to fall to 1-3. They went 9-3 the rest of the way, a startling and fun turnaround. I'm not saying it's all thanks to Johnson shaving his head... but maybe?

That's about as good a reason as I can think of to make a hairstyle change. Johnson has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL since he started shaving his head, so maybe he's on to something. He spends very little time focusing on his hair, and plenty of time focusing on his game.

When you go back and look at Johnson with hair, it's... extremely jarring:

Johnson is basically unrecognizable in that video. He looks like a child! Thank goodness for Freeney and Houston shellacking Johnson as a rookie, or he might still be clinging to that brutal hairdo.

Maybe Johnson should've floated this idea to the Eagles' coaching staff years ago. Who knows what a haircut could've done for Nelson Agholor?

You can listen to, and watch, the full conversation between Johnson and Long below:

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