Eagles

Carson Wentz knows the kind of spark Alshon Jeffery provides

Carson Wentz knows the kind of spark Alshon Jeffery provides

Three takeaways from Carson Wentz’s chat with the media Wednesday: 

Welcome back, Alshon

Alshon Jeffery has been cleared for contact, but the Eagles haven’t made a decision on whether or not he’ll play Sunday. But Wentz obviously wants to have Jeffery back in action. 

“Anytime Alshon’s out there, he brings a spark to the offense,” Wentz said. “He brings somebody that has the ability to make a play down the field and underneath and do some things really well.” 

Of course, Wentz is hoping Jeffery is back this week. Without No. 17, the Eagles are just lacking playmaking ability outside. Heck, they were lacking playmaking receivers with Mike Wallace and now he’s out for at least a couple months. Just the threat of Jeffery on the field changes the way opposing teams defend the Eagles. More attention to Jeffery means more 1-on-1s for Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. 

The good and bad 

I asked Wentz, after he saw the film from Sunday, for some encouraging things from his performance and some things he needs to clean up. He started with the things he needs to clean up:

• The turnovers

• Missing downfield 

Wentz rightfully said those turnovers when the Eagles were backed up put the defense in a tough position. Wentz should maybe send the defense a fruit basket for not allowing touchdowns on either of those ensuing possessions. If it did, the game is much different and Wentz gets a lot of the blame. 

As for the encouraging things: 

• The quick start

While the offense was shaky for a lot of Sunday afternoon, Wentz did lead his team down the field on the first drive of the game. It used its no-huddle offense and quick tempo to go 79 yards on 12 plays in 5:11 before Wentz hit Dallas Goedert for a 13-yard touchdown. 

“Going right down the field and scoring, I think that was something that was really encouraging,” Wentz said. “It’s something to build on.” 

Place your bets 

This Saturday at 3:30 p.m., North Dakota State hosts South Dakota State in an annual rivalry game for the Dakota Marker. NDSU is No. 1 in the FCS, while South Dakota State is No. 3. It should be a good matchup. 

This is notable because Wentz is obviously from North Dakota State and his rookie tight end, Goedert, is from South Dakota State. 

“We’ll have a friendly wager,” Wentz said. “I’m sure you guys will see about it when he’s wearing something NDSU next week after we take the Dakota Marker from him.”

South Dakota State won the game last year, 33-21. The winner of the game gets a trophy called the Dakota Marker. It’s a replica of the monuments between the borders of the two states. The trophy has been around since 2004 and weighs 75 pounds. 

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Eagles remember Kobe Bryant as 'a champion for the ages'

Eagles remember Kobe Bryant as 'a champion for the ages'

Anybody who’s seen the video of Kobe Bryant celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship knows how much he loved his hometown football team.

The Eagles joined the rest of the sports world Sunday in mourning Bryant’s death in a California helicopter crash:

The Eagles are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. He was a champion for the ages, a fearless competitor, and an outstanding ambassador for the city. Our hearts go out to all of today’s victims and their families.

The Eagles and Bryant had a very close relationship. Bryant spoke to the team in December of 2017 while the Eagles spent a week in the Los Angeles area between West Coast games against the Seahawks and Rams, and he was often seen wearing Eagles jerseys and other gear.

Several Eagles players took to Twitter to express their grief, including Zach Ertz, who tweeted out a photo of a signed jersey Bryant gave him.

Sidney Jones tweeted out a photo of himself with Bryant.

Jordan Howard wrote about the impact Bryant had during his 41 years.

Lane Johnson offered his thoughts.

And former Eagle Jordan Matthews posted a video with Bryant congratulating his wife on the birth of their son.

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on the Eagles’ new secondary coach, LeSean McCoy’s Hall of Fame case and an unbelievable stat about Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis.

All that and so much more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random offseason Eagles observations! 

1. OK, it’s been 18 days since the Eagles fired Mike Groh, and they still don’t have an offensive coordinator. Senior Bowl week is over, the combine is only a few weeks away and free agency starts in less than two months. Of the 10 teams with an OC vacancy, the Eagles are the only one that hasn’t hired anybody. A couple thoughts: 1) Maybe the guy Doug Pederson is going to hire is already in place. Internal candidates Duce Staley and Press Taylor were both at the Senior Bowl practices. Maybe the Eagles are just waiting until the entire staff is complete to announce everything. I doubt it, but it’s possible. 2) Maybe Doug has decided not to hire an offensive coordinator and just do the job himself with his position coaches. I doubt that too, but it’s possible. 3) Otherwise, it has to be Jim Caldwell, right? As long as he’s healthy. By far the most impressive remaining outside candidate. Caldwell was QBs coach of the Colts when they won the Super Bowl and offensive coordinator of the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. If Doug wants a veteran QB guru for the job, this is a no-brainer. Get it done.

2. I do like the Marquand Manuel hire. I like that he’s been a defensive coordinator on the NFL level, I like that he’s coached in a Super Bowl, I like that he played in the NFL for eight years and I like that he’s got a little background with Jim Schwartz — he played for Schwartz in Detroit in 2009 — but still brings a fresh voice to the coach’s room. He’s got his work cut out for him. Getting Sidney Jones on track is priority No. 1. But the Eagles’ secondary as a whole is going to look very different in 2020, and the Eagles needed a capable veteran voice to bring it all together and make it work. He looks like the guy to do it.

3. The last Eagles defensive players to make a Pro Bowl before their 25th birthday were Lewis and Sheppard in 2004. Since then, 94 defensive players league-wide have made a Pro Bowl before they turned 25. 

4. How many QBs would you rather have right now than Carson Wentz? First I’m going to eliminate anybody in their 30s — Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, all those guys. Who does that leave? You’d rather have Pat Mahomes than anybody, but beyond that? Lamar Jackson? Brilliant talent but I wonder how sustainable his style of play is. Dak Prescott? No thanks. Jimmy Garoppolo? Nope. Deshaun Watson? You can make a case, but I’d take Wentz. Jared Goff? Kyler Murray? Daniel Jones? Nah. The injuries are frustrating but no doubt in my mind that despite everything the Eagles have the right QB to build around. 

5. I wonder if the Super Bowl will be McCoy’s final game. He had a nice first half of the season and showed he has something left, but since Damien Williams’ emergence, he’s barely played and doesn’t even have a carry since mid-December. Shady’s a free agent after the Super Bowl and turns 32 this summer, an age where few running backs are still going. Shady’s the only player in NFL history with 11,000 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average and 500 catches. Hall of Famer if he retires now? Probably not quite. But one hell of a career.

6. Curious note about McCoy: He’s never had a carry in a postseason victory. The Eagles were 0-3 in the playoffs with McCoy in uniform and the Bills were 0-1. He didn’t have a carry in the Chiefs’ win over the Texans and was inactive for the win over the Titans. 

7. In Eagles history, Jordan Matthews has the most receiving yards after three seasons and Shady has the most rushing yards after three seasons. One of them will win a Super Bowl ring next Sunday. Both will probably be inactive.

8. Chiefs GM Brett Veach is a remarkable story. He grew up in Mt. Carmel, between Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre, starred at Mt. Carmel High School, played with Matt Nagy at Delaware and was on track to work in Delaware’s athletic department after college when he landed an internship with the Eagles in the summer of 2004. With his work ethic and uncanny eye for talent, he worked his way up the ladder. When Andy Reid asked him to find a wide receiver the Eagles could take in the second round in 2008, Veach recommended DeSean Jackson, even though he was coming off a poor season. When Reid was hired by the Chiefs in 2013, he brought Veach with him. In 2015, Veach was watching film of Texas Tech offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Tech’s unheralded QB kept jumping out at him, and Veach knew even then Mahomes was something special, and in 2017 they traded up for him. Mahomes is now the best QB in the NFL, an MVP and one win from a Super Bowl. In span of 10 years, Veach went from interning in the Eagles’ scouting office to drafting Pat Mahomes.  

9. This is kind of a strange one, but Boston Scott this year became only the seventh player in NFL history with 85 or fewer touches but at least five rushing TDs and 20 catches. The dude definitely made the most of his limited workload.

10. I used to think Harold Carmichael’s franchise record of 589 catches was untouchable. Only seven Eagles even reached 300 during the 30-year period from 1985 through 2015, and only Brian Westbrook got over 400. But Zach Ertz will go into 2020 just 64 catches behind Harold, and at his rate of 5.8 catches per game over the last five years he’ll pass him somewhere around Week 12 if he stays healthy. Harold will go into the Hall of Fame in September and have his most hallowed record broken in November. And knowing Harold, nobody will be happier for Ertz.

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