Eagles

Appreciating Corey Clement and more in Roob's 10 observations

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Appreciating Corey Clement and more in Roob's 10 observations

A kicker we can trust, appreciating Corey Clement, a surprising defensive stat and the most frequent Eagles scores in franchise history.

Yeah, I really looked them up.

All this and tons more in a Cowboys Week edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles observations! 

1. An encouraging sign

You don’t want to get carried away with wins over the Giants and Redskins, but the most encouraging thing I’ve seen these last two weeks is the performance of the Eagles’ offensive line. Ray Didinger went into detail on the O-line on this week’s Roob Knows podcast, but whether it’s because they’re healthier or just playing better as a unit, the offensive line is finally back mauling people. Jason Peters isn’t what he used to be, but he’s playing well now (“He’s like a fancy car with 200,000 miles on it,” Ray said), Isaac Seumalo has settled in nicely after a rocky start, Jason Kelce is getting healthy and back beasting, Brandon Brooks has been kick-ass all year and Lane Johnson is also finally getting healthy and has been playing at his old All-Pro level. The matchup Sunday with the Cowboys’ vaunted defensive front will go a long way toward deciding whether the Eagles can get a win in Dallas. Which will go a long way into determining whether the Eagles are a playoff team. I feel a lot better about that the O-line than I did a few weeks ago.

2. Looking ahead with Ertz 

At his pace over the last four years — 5.8 catches per game — Zach Ertz, if he stays healthy, will have 530 catches at the end of next year. That would be 12th-most ever by an NFL tight end, and he will have just turned 29.

3. Deceptively defensive

The Eagles’ defense has had its issues this year, but so has everybody’s defense. It’s interesting to note that the Eagles, Cowboys and Texans are the only NFL teams that have allowed 28 or more points just once. Other than the Saints, the Eagles have been in every game they’ve played. Every week I get dozens of the same “Eagles’ defense SUCKS,” tweets every time they allow a play of more than four yards, but the reality is, it doesn’t. They’re fifth-best in the NFL on third down, fourth in the red zone and 12th in points allowed, so there’s something there. They need to tackle more consistently, force more turnovers and avoid those killer big plays, but they have shown signs of life the last two games. Sunday will be a fascinating test.

4. I don’t hold my breath anymore when Jake Elliott kicks a field goal

Jake Elliott has gotten into a nice groove and after missing a couple field goals early in the season, he’s 16 for 18 the last nine games and has made his last eight. I was shocked when I ran the numbers in the Pro Football Reference play-finder to find that Elliott is not only the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history from 40 yards and out (23 for 28, 82.1 percent), he’s also the third-most accurate fourth-quarter kicker in NFL history (18 for 19, 94.7 percent), which includes his two huge kicks in the Super Bowl. And he hasn’t even missed a PAT this year. Kickers come and go, but I think the Eagles may have found the heir apparent to David Akers.

5. Appreciating Corey Clement

I know there’s been a ton of talk lately about Josh Adams, and I do like the way he’s playing. But I really appreciate Corey Clement and his versatility and production. Finally healthy, Clement had 45 yards rushing and 31 receiving against the Giants and 27 and 47 against the Redskins. That’s 150 yards on 15 touches. Great to see the screen game back in the Eagles’ arsenal. Adams and Clement seem to compliment each other well. Two undrafted free agents from the Delaware Valley, one in his first year, the other in his second. Kind of crazy.

6. One-year anniversary

It’ll be a year Monday since Wentz tore up his knee in Los Angeles. The original prognosis for his recovery was nine to 12 months. What he’s been able to do this year before the end of his original recovery time is remarkable. In terms of mobility and making plays on the run, he looked more like his old self Monday night than he has all year. If you think his season has somehow been disappointing or that he may not be the Eagles’ long-term answer at quarterback, I just have no idea what you’re watching.

7. Maybe he's actually really good

Wentz’s passer rating is currently 100.6 after he had a 101.9 rating last year. If he finishes at 100.0 or higher, he’ll be the first Eagles QB ever with back-to-back years at 100. (Or 90 and higher).

8. This is actually true  

The Eagles allowed 24 passing touchdowns last year. They’re on pace to allow 22 this year despite missing six of their top seven defensive backs for an extended period of time. But yeah, let’s fire everybody.

9. Speaking of young DBs

An NFL-high nine defensive backs 24 or younger have played defensive snaps this year for the Eagles — Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Ronald Darby, Deiondre’ Hall, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Tre Sullivan, Cre’von LeBlanc and Chandon Sullivan. That's insane. In all, 112 defensive backs 24 or younger have played this year, an average of 3 1/2 per team. The Eagles have used nine.

10. Most common Eagles' scores

OK, this is the most random Eagles random point ever. Have you wondered about the most common Eagles scores in franchise history? I think about these things! Thanks to the Pro-Football-Reference score finder, we can figure it out! Here are the 10 scores that have shown up the most in Eagles games, along with the most recent example of it:

22    17-14    [W, Dec. 12, 2004, at Redskins]
16    20-17    [W, Oct. 23, 2005, vs. Chargers]
16    24-14    [L, Dec. 7, 2014, vs. Seahawks]
14    27-24    [W, Sept. 24, 2017, vs. Giants]
14    27-20    [L, Nov. 11, 2018, vs. Cowboys]
13    20-10    [L, Sept. 20, 2015, vs. Cowboys]
13    23-17    [L, Oct. 5, 2008, vs. Redskins]
13    23-20    [W, Dec. 13, 2015, vs. Bills]
13    24-17    [W, Sept. 27, 2015, at Jets]
12    27-17    [W, Nov. 21, 2010, vs. Giants]

Now you know!

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More on the Eagles

Looks like Eagles fired defensive line coach Phillip Daniels

Looks like Eagles fired defensive line coach Phillip Daniels

We keep waiting for the Eagles to hire some assistant coaches. Instead they keep losing them.

It appears that Phillip Daniels, promoted to defensive line coach a year ago, is the third coach to be fired by the team this offseason and the fourth to leave.

Daniels didn’t specifically say he was fired, but it sure looks that way in a tweet from his verified account in which he thanked owner Jeff Lurie for his four years with the organization.

"Thank you to the Eagles organization for four great years," he wrote. "I’m proud of what we accomplished as a DL and even prouder of what we accomplished this season against all odds."

Daniels, who played for the Seahawks, Bears and Redskins in a 15-year NFL career, was on Doug Pederson’s original 2016 coaching staff as a defensive quality control assistant and assistant defensive line coach.

He was promoted to defensive line coach when Chris Wilson was fired a year ago this week. Wilson spent this past year on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff in Arizona along with one-time Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis.

Last week, the Eagles fired two offensive coaches: offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receivers coach Carson Walch. They haven’t filled either opening.

The Eagles do have an assistant defensive line coach on the staff. Nathan Ollie joined the team a year ago after spending a year coaching at Eastern Kentucky. He has only one year of NFL coaching experience. 

With Daniels, Groh and Daniels out and Cory Undlin taking the Lions’ defensive coordinator job, there are currently 10 assistant coaches remaining from Pederson’s initial coaching staff: defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Ken Flajole (linebacker), Tim Hauck (safeties), Justin Peelle (tight ends), Duce Staley (running backs), Jeff Stoutland (offensive line), Press Taylor (quarterbacks), Matthew Harper (assistant wide receivers), Dino Vasso (assistant secondary) and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.

There was no comment from the Eagles about Daniels' tweet. They have not announced or confirmed his departure.

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Cross Eagles offensive coordinator candidates James Urban and Bobby Engram off the list

Cross Eagles offensive coordinator candidates James Urban and Bobby Engram off the list

On Thursday, we learned that the Eagles were interested in Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban for their vacant offensive coordinator opening.

The next day, we found out that isn’t happening. 

At his year-end press conference in Baltimore on Friday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the Eagles interviewed Urban and TEs coach Bobby Engram for openings but both candidates pulled their names out of contention within the last 24 hours.

While the Eagles were reportedly interested in Urban as an offensive coordinator candidate, they were also reportedly interested in Engram as a wide receivers coach candidate. Those are the two vacancies on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles. (They also have to fill the defensive backs coach spot left vacant by Cory Undlin, who went to Detroit as a defensive coordinator.)

Urban, 46, seemed like he’d be a good fit for the Eagles. He’s a hot name right now based on his success with likely MVP Lamar Jackson this year. And he has familiarity with the Eagles and head coach Doug Pederson. 

Urban and Pederson were on Andy Reid’s Eagles staff together in 2009 and 2010. In fact, when Urban left after the 2010 season, Pederson took over his role as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach. 

Urban spent the next seven seasons as the Bengals’ wide receivers coach and then the last two seasons in Baltimore coaching Jackson and their other quarterbacks. 

But now we can cross him off the list. 

Same goes for Engram, who was one of two former players of interest named in a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. The other was former NFL star Hines Ward, who spent this past season as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets. 

It has been over a week since the Eagles fired Mike Groh and they have been very quiet as they search for their next offensive coordinator. In fact, Urban was one of the first names even mentioned in reports. 

Some other names of interest still available are Chiefs OC Mike Kafka, Dolphins QBs coach (and former Colts HC) Jim Caldwell, former Redskins HC Jay Gruden and internal candidates Press Taylor and Duce Staley.

More on the Eagles