Carson's future, the importance of Jeff Stoutland and a final thought on Nick Sirianni's press conference.
Here's this weekend's 10 random Eagles observations:
1. The only thing Carson Wentz can do to save face at this point is tell Nick Sirianni he wants to compete for the starting quarterback job, he believes in himself, he’s confident he can beat out any challenger, he wants to lead this team, he’s excited to work with the coaches and if he doesn’t win a training camp battle he’ll do all he can to help the starter prepare. Anything short of that and he’s gone.
2. Can’t wait to see what Miles Sanders can do with more than 13 carries a game.
3. Jeff Stoutland returning for a ninth season with the Eagles is enormous. It’s huge for Jordan Mailata’s development to still be coached by the guy who transformed him from a rugby player to a very good left tackle. It’s huge for Andre Dillard to have his only position coach try to help him find his way in Year 3. It’s huge for Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig and the other young linemen who got to play this past season to have continuity. And it’s huge for Jason Kelce, who you would think is more likely to return for an 11th season with the guy who took him to the next level than some new position coach he doesn’t know. Dude is the best in the business.
4. It’s fascinating to me that Mike Groh and Press Taylor, two of the most vilified Eagles’ assistants under Doug Pederson, are now in Indy under Frank Reich, the most revered assistant under Pederson. With half of Reich’s staff in Philly and a chunk of Doug’s staff in Indy and both teams trying to figure out who their quarterback will be, it’s going to be really interesting to compare these teams in 2021.
5. The Eagles’ leading wide receiver the second half of this past season was Jalen Reagor with 36 yards per game.
6. Malcolm Jenkins’ remarks on the way Doug Pederson handled Carson Wentz’s struggles were the most spot-on commentary we’ve heard on the disconnect between Wentz and Pederson. Jenkins held Wentz and Pederson equally accountable, Wentz for the way he played and for his ego getting in the way of him improving and Pederson for the way he coddled Wentz. And as much as it’s convenient sometimes to just blame one person, the reality is that both Wentz and Pederson could have handled things better.
7. My final thought on Nick Sirianni’s presser on Friday and the notion that he was unprepared. He was unprepared. Keep in mind, he was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale with his family after the Colts were eliminated from the playoffs. When the Eagles called, he drove immediately up to Palm Beach to meet with Jeff Lurie and the search committee. As soon as he was hired, he began working around the clock to put together his coaching staff. Because the Eagles started this process so late, he had to really scramble to find the right coaching fits. His first priority was finding coaches, not sitting back and studying film of the 80 guys who played for the Eagles in 2020. There’ll be time for that before any big decisions have to be made. But now all of a sudden he’s doing a Zoom call with Philly media who are asking all these questions about personnel. He could have either lied and said something nice about everybody, but he was honest and said he hasn’t had the chance to study the roster yet, and that’s what he did. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
8. It’s crazy how similar Carson Wentz and Jared Goff’s careers have been since they were the first two picks in 2016. They’ve both completed 63 percent of their passes, Wentz has six more TD passes and five fewer interceptions, Goff has a slightly higher passer rating (91.5 to 89.2). Both had a passer rating over 100 in 2017 and 2018 and had their worst season this past year. Will the comparison continue this offseason?
9. The Eagles have never won a playoff game in a season when their defense was ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in points allowed.
10. I wonder if Wentz’s struggles and failure to pay off on his initial promise are making people rethink their opinions of Donovan McNabb. Wentz has played five seasons. After his fifth season, McNabb was a four-time Pro Bowler, had won five playoff games and reached three NFC Championship Games and had a .672 winning percentage (43-21). Five was really good.
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