Eagles

Carson Wentz and Golden Tate already learning how to fly together

Carson Wentz and Golden Tate already learning how to fly together

Carson Wentz was back in his home state of North Dakota hunting ducks during the bye week when Howie Roseman actually pulled the trigger. 

Wentz got the call that the Eagles had traded for wide receiver Golden Tate, so he quickly sent his new weapon a text message to welcome him to the flock. 

On Wednesday, Wentz said that text message was so he and Tate could immediately begin to build chemistry. Same with the invitation for Tate to join him at church on Sunday — an invitation Tate declined to study his new playbook, but his wife took up. They’ll still have to learn to play with each other on the fly, but any bit of information the two can gain about each other will help.

“Everyone’s different,” Wentz said. “Obviously, the more reps, the better. At the same time, you turn on the film of what he’s done in Detroit and just try to see his body language on routes and what he’s good at and those types of things. It’ll be big to finally get out there today and finally start to get used to him and build that chemistry right away.”

Doug Pederson said it’ll be on Wentz and Tate to build their rapport by spending extra time throwing to each other and getting a feel for one another. They won’t get it down immediately; Pederson said it’ll take some time. 

“Getting used to Carson is something he’s going to have to do,” Pederson said. “But we gotta do it fast. Like now. It’s going to take some time.”

Sure, it’ll be a gradual process. No matter how much the two are on the same page by week’s end, they’ll even be further along come this time next week, and so on. There’s no mighty recipe to quickly create chemistry. But the quicker the better. 

It’s good that Wentz isn’t going in blind too. While there’s nothing that can make up for practice reps, there’s plenty he can learn about Tate from watching film. Specifically, offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Tate is a QB-friendly receiver because of his body language. 

Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was able to elaborate on what exactly that body language looks like: 

It’s kind of just sinking his hips, being able to shed a defender at the right time, understanding when to cross over a defender, maybe when not to, when to get in and out of a break. There’s a lot of times we have depths on certain routes and it may be one revolution short, one revolution extra, based how the coverage is dictated. With stuff like that, you need to be able to trust what you see with your receiver. So when he sinks his hip, when he changes his leverage of a guy, that’s when the ball needs to be out. That’s something that’s developed with Carson and these guys he’s been throwing to. That’s something we need to get Golden up to speed on.

Taylor said that Groh is especially good at making sure Wentz is always communicating with his receivers. If they’re in a meeting and Wentz mentions he’d like a receiver to run a route a different way, Groh will ask if he’s talked to that receiver about it. Because Wentz is the guy pulling the trigger, they want him to be vocal with what he wants. They want him to do that with Tate right away. 

For years, Tate worked with Matthew Stafford and became Stafford’s security blanket on third downs. He can similarly help the Eagles in those situations, but Wentz will need to learn to trust him first. That started with a text message in the North Dakota wilderness as ducks hit the ground for the purpose of jerky.  

So how quickly can these two get on the same page? 

“Hopefully by Sunday,” Taylor said. 

That would be quacktastic. 

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Howie Roseman pulls off another player-for-player trade, nabs safety from Arizona

Howie Roseman pulls off another player-for-player trade, nabs safety from Arizona

For the second time this summer, Howie Roseman has made a player-for-player trade.

This time, the Eagles have acquired safety Rudy Ford from the Arizona Cardinals for defensive tackle Bruce Hector.

Ford, 24, was a sixth-round pick out of Auburn in 2017 and has played in 23 games (one start) in the last two years for the Cardinals. Hector, a 24-year-old undrafted rookie out of South Florida last year, played in eight games for the Eagles in 2018.

Like most of these player-for-player trades (which are rare for most teams, but not the Eagles), it seems like Ford and Hector will each have a better chance of cracking rosters with their new teams. Earlier this month, Roseman moved undrafted OL Ryan Bates to Buffalo for DE Eli Harold for similar reasons.

During his two years in the NFL, Ford (5-11, 205) has primarily been a special teamer. He played 65 percent of the Cardinals’ special teams snaps in 2018 and just 5.5 percent of their defensive snaps. He didn’t play on defense at all as a rookie and played just 62 defensive snaps in 2018. He has played 455 special teams snaps in two years.

Even after trading for Ford, it doesn’t seem like he’s anywhere near a sure thing to make the roster. First, training camp is already over and we’re just two weeks from the start of the season. And the Eagles still have Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien. And when the Eagles go to three safeties in practice, it’s still Sendejo who stays on the field.

We’ve talked about this for a while: the Eagles would basically recoup a compensatory pick if Sendejo isn’t on the roster. But based on how much they’ve been using him all summer, that hasn’t seemed likely.

In addition to those top four, the Eagles also still have Tre Sullivan, Deiondre’ Hall and Trae Elston. Sullivan and Hall were each on the 53-man roster in 2018. So this move has provided the Eagles even more depth at the safety position.

The Eagles did move on from Blake Countess on Aug. 13, so perhaps they just traded for Ford to fill the requirement for Auburn safeties on the roster.

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Hall of Famers, Braxton Miller, and more in Roob's random observations!

Hall of Famers, Braxton Miller, and more in Roob's random observations!

Some random thoughts on Eagles cornerbacks, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Braxton Miller, Mackey Sasser and much more as we continue to count down the days until these football games actually mean something.

  • I like what Carson Wentz said the other day about spending more time in the pocket this year (read more). It’s really part of the natural progression most athletic quarterbacks go through as they truly develop a thorough understanding of their offense. They still CAN run but they just don’t NEED to run. Randall Cunningham ran 500 times his first seven years, but by his MVP season with the Vikings in 1998 he ran only 32 times (including 11 kneel-downs). Donovan McNabb ran 349 times his first five years, but in the Super Bowl season, when he had by far his best passing numbers, he ran only 41 times all year  (including 11 kneel-downs). Russell Wilson ran over 6.0 times per game his first six seasons but last year, when he had his best passing numbers, he ran only 50 times all year not counting 15 kneel-downs. The key is that when it does make sense to take off and make a play with your legs, you don’t hesitate, and Carson promises he will. I honestly think we could see him take his game to another level this year. With these weapons? I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.
     
  • Cody Parkey went into last year as the 8th-most accurate kicker in NFL history. His 77.8 career percentage from 50 yards and out (on 7-for-9) is 5th-best in NFL history among kickers who’ve attempted at least five of them. He was 21-for-23 with the Dolphins in 2017. Pretty darn good resume. And he can’t get a job. Incredible what hitting a few posts and double-doinking a postseason game-winning attempt will do for you. Tough line of work.
     
  • Very curious what the Eagles will do with Clayton Thorson. He followed his encouraging game in Jacksonville last Thursday with a very good week of practice. Really looks like he’s turned the proverbial corner. So do they still try to clear him through waivers to get him onto the practice squad and risk losing him? Or do they keep a guy who won’t play this year on the 53-man roster and cut somebody else they want to keep? Right now, I’d say there’s about a 35 percent chance Thorson would get claimed if they cut him. But two more productive preseason games and that number is going to go up significantly. Tricky decision for Howie.
     
  • I don’t know why the Pro Football Hall of Fame continually snubs deserving former Eagles like Eric Allen, Harold Carmichael, Al Wistert, Harold Jackson and Seth Joyner. But I do know that it’s absurd that a franchise that’s been around for 88 years is represented by only SIX players who spent more than half their career here: Dawk, Reggie, Chuck Bednarik, Pete Pihos, Tommy McDonald and Steve Van Buren. That’s it.
     
  • It’s great that Ronald Darby is back, and it’s not that I don’t like Darby, but I can’t help thinking Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones are the Eagles’ two best options right now at outside corner.
     
  • I hope things work out for Braxton Miller with the Browns. He’s a good kid and things haven’t worked out for him since he got hurt in 2014 and lost his job quarterback Ohio State. He’s changed positions, becoming a wide receiver, and bounced from the Texans to the Eagles to the Browns. It’s been a rough few years. But I’ve got to be honest. I never saw him make one play at training camp. The Eagles were pretty high on him going into camp, but he just never ever flashed.
     
  • The Eagles and Packers are the only NFL teams that haven’t had a 50-catch running back in either of the last two seasons. As much as the Eagles work with all their backs in the receiving game, I’m not sure they’ll have one this year either. I do think Miles Sanders will eventually become a dangerous NFL receiver, but that’s probably a year or two away.
     
  • What the heck happened to Stefen Wisniewski? I’ve never seen a guy just lose the ability to snap the football accurately like he has. It’s like Macky Sasser. Or Chuck Knoblauch. The inability to execute the most routine play. Wisniewski is still a solid guard, but he’s here to back up the three inside positions, and if you can’t trust him to play center, does it make sense to keep him? Wisniewski has started a ton of games in the league at center and was a Super Bowl starter at guard two years ago, but I’m not sure the Eagles can afford to keep him around.

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