Eagles

Is there an NFC QB you'd rather have than Carson Wentz?

Is there an NFC QB you'd rather have than Carson Wentz?

Who would you rather have?

If you were starting an NFL franchise today and could build around any current NFC quarterback, who would you rather have than Carson Wentz?

It’s interesting to look at because most of the NFC starters fall into three categories: Aging Hall of Famers, unproven youngsters and veterans in their 30s who’ve never won anything.

Who does that leave?

Let’s take a look:

Aging Hall of Famers: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan have all reached at least one Super Bowl — only Ryan hasn’t won one - and all are among the top-10 in NFL history in passer rating. Brady, Brees and Rodgers are Hall of Fame locks and it might take Ryan a little longer, but he'll get in too.

But Brady and Brees are in their 40s and Rodgers and Ryan are at least 35. If you’re going to build for the future, it won’t be around these guys.

Unproven Youngsters: Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins fall into this category. All got significant playing time as rookies and each did some good things. Murray completed 64 percent of his passes, threw for 3,722 yards and ran for over 500 yards. Jones had three games with 4 or more TDs and no interceptions. Haskins was sharp late in the season, including the late-season game against the Eagles. But all three remain projects, unproven going into their second seasons. 

Veterans Who’ve Never Won Anything: Teddy Bridgewater played well enough in five starts with the Saints last year to earn a whopping three-year, $63 million contract with the Panthers. But as talented as Bridgewater is, he’s thrown 38 touchdowns in 35 career starts. Mitch Trubisky had a decent 2018 season, but there’s a reason the Bears signed Nick Foles. Foles? As much as we all love him, he’s 31 now, with his sixth team in seven years if you count the Eagles twice, and 5-6 since the Super Bowl. Matt Stafford is 32, has no playoff wins in 10 years and is 10 games under .500 in his career. Kirk Cousins is 31, two games over .500 and has one career playoff win. 

Five guys left: That leaves us with Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz.

Wilson is a future Hall of Famer and a Super Bowl winner, and he’s still terrific, but he’s going into his ninth year, and he’ll be 32 by the middle of the upcoming season. Not washed up by any means, but is he the guy at this point you’d want to grow with? Probably not.

Goff came back to Earth in his fourth season, was 4th in the NFL in interceptions and has been a poor postseason quarterback. He hasn’t come up big in big games.

Garoppolo? There’s a reason the 49ers threw the ball almost twice as much last year in the playoffs (111 times) as they threw the ball (58 times). 

It comes down to Prescott and Wentz. Like it always does. 

And, honestly, Prescott is a good player, but if you compare their first four seasons and take into consideration who they’ve been throwing to, it’s no contest.

Wentz last year had more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Prescott throwing to an ineffective Alshon Jeffery, a non-existent Mack Hollins and a slumping Nelson Agholor than Prescott did throwing to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb.

Head-to-head? Prescott has 8 TDs and 7 INTs and an 83.5 passer rating vs. the Eagles. Wentz has 12 TDs and 2 INTs and a 99.4 passer rating against the Cowboys.

Wentz goes into his fifth NFL season with one glaring question mark, and that’s his health. And we’ve been talking about that for a few years.

But healthy? There isn’t a quarterback in the NFC I’d rather have for the long haul.

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Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

DeSean Jackson is 33 years old now and he’s coming off a sports hernia surgery that basically wrecked his 2019 season. 

But he still has it. 

On Friday afternoon, former NFL receiver Chad Johnson shared some 1-on-1 practice video that Jackson sent his way from the Eagles’ ongoing training camp practices. Johnson was pretty excited to get these clips and posted a couple on his Twitter account. 

That one is Jackson going against Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, in his first training camp with the Eagles. This will be a fun battle all camp long. Last year in training camp, DeSean dominated but he didn’t have a top tier cornerback to go against. 

It was fun to watch Jackson do this to the DBs in camp last year, but now he’s going against a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best corners in the game. And Slay still stood no chance. 

That little hesitation step from Jackson and the explosion out of it is pretty wild. In a regular foot race no one is going to beat Jackson; if he gets the DB flat-footed, forget about it. And Jackson is going to beat corners as long as he’s healthy. That’s why so many defensive coordinators slide any help they can that way. 

And then there’s this hitch route that Johnson posted with some NSFW language.

On that one, you can see that Slay has to respect the deep ball and Jackson has that change of direction ability. One of the misconceptions about Jackson is that he’s just a go route deep threat; but that’s not the case. He can run short and intermediate routes well and it’s all set up from his ability to burn corners deep. 

The Eagles won’t be in pads until Monday, which is also when reporters are allowed to watch practice. I can’t wait to see this battle in person and report back. 

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Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Twenty-five years ago, Randall Cunningham retired after a dismal final season with the Eagles. 

Two years later he came out of retirement, signed with the Vikings and a year later had one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever, earned MVP honors and would have taken the Vikings to the Super Bowl if not for some terrible coaching by Dennis Green.

Cunningham’s offensive coordinator his last year in Philly? Jon Gruden.

Gruden today is head coach of the Raiders, and one of his pet projects is Nelson Agholor.

“A change of scenery worked for Randall Cunningham, maybe it will work for him,” Gruden told the Athletic.

Interestingly, Cunningham, who settled in Las Vegas after playing college football at UNLV, is now the Raiders’ team chaplain.

As for Agholor, he’s trying to rebuild a career that despite some great moments in 2017 and a brilliant Super Bowl never lived up to expectations.

"I trust him and I think he was picked high in the draft for a reason,” Gruden said of Agholor. "He’s a good player. You can pick up the Philadelphia Inquirer and they will probably say something different, but this guy has caught over 200 passes, he’s a young guy, he has played split end, flanker and in the slot. He caught eight or nine passes in a Super Bowl (9-for-84) and won a Super Bowl. So he's a world champion. He's a great person.”

Agholor caught 224 passes for 2,515 yards and 18 touchdowns in five seasons with the Eagles, who made him the 20th pick in Chip Kelly’s 2015 draft.

He never caught more than 768 yards in a season and he surpassed 64 yards in only nine of his 76 games here.

Agholor said he and Gruden actually have a family connection that goes back to when he was in high school at Berkeley Prep in Tampa and Gruden had just finished coaching the Buccaneers.

“He actually used to hang around after his days coaching in Tampa, he still lived in Tampa, and he would always go to a racetrack near his home, and my brother worked at that racetrack so him and my brother spent a lot of time talking every morning when Jon was getting his coffee about football and about my college career and things like that,” Agholor said in a Zoom call with Raiders writers. 

“So it’s a blessing to be in this opportunity having a previous relationship. But at the end of the day I chose this relationship because he knows the game and all I want to do is learn and be a better player.”

The Eagles, who paid Agholor nearly $19 million over the last five years, made no attempt to re-sign the 27-year-old after last season ended.

He signed a one-year minimum salary benefit deal with the Raiders worth barely above minimum wage - $1.0475 million.

In Vegas, he’ll likely compete for slot reps with Hunter Renfrow, who had 49-for-605 with 4 TDs as a rookie 5th-round pick last year.

“Honestly, this is a beautiful opportunity for me to get a chance to play with a guy like Jon Gruden, who has a background in coaching receivers,” Agholor said. “I chose this opportunity to make myself a better player. There’s no better opportunity to play for a head coach that knows receiver play and can articulate ways you can get better.

“My No. 1 goal is to progress as a player.  Lot of things that happened in the past, some really good things and some things I wanted to grow from. I told myself this opportunity is to be 2 percent better than the player I was in my previous five years.”
 

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