Eagles

A dubious streak that needs to end and more in Roob's Random Eagles Points!

A dubious streak that needs to end and more in Roob's Random Eagles Points!

Alshon’s value, a streak that needs to end Sunday, another mind-boggling wide receiver stat and tons more in this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations.

I can’t get over No. 9.

1. I’ve had a few people tell me in the past week they’d prefer if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs because it would force them to take an honest look at the roster instead of being deluded into thinking they have more talent than they really do. Here’s my thing: You’re always better off winning than losing. You’re always better off in the playoffs than out. You’re always better off with a chance to get to the Super Bowl than no chance. It’s up to Howie Roseman, Andy Weidl and their scouts to take a good, hard look at every facet of personnel either way and make the necessary changes. But if the Eagles do win the NFC East, it will likely mean they closed out the season 4-1 or 5-0, and there’s something to be said for being hot going into the playoffs. Ten wild-card teams have reached a Super Bowl and six have won it. Not the best odds. But better than if you’re not even there.

2. If Carson Wentz has a bad game in Miami? Then I’ll be concerned. The Dolphins have one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history, allowing opposing quarterbacks a 106.8 passer rating. That’s 9th-highest ever. They’re also on pace to become only the second team ever to allow 38 or more passing TDs in a season while intercepting 10 or fewer. The only QBs who haven’t had a passer rating of at least 90 against the Dolphins are Sam Darnold (85.4), Mason Rudolph (84.4) and Brian Hoyer (38.8). Wentz has to light this defense up.

3. I love hearing that Lane Johnson wants to retire an Eagle. The last player to make a Pro Bowl and spend every day of his career as an Eagle and retire as an Eagle? Mike Quick, who retired 29 years ago. Now Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce and Johnson all have a shot at it.

4. Alshon is clearly not the player he once was, and I’m on record as saying Howie has to find a way to move on from him after the season. But he’s still better than anybody else the Eagles have right now, and the Eagles need him down the stretch. All the injuries have taken their toll, and he’s nowhere close to the Pro Bowl, 1,400-yard guy he was in Chicago. But if he can just give the Eagles 60 or 70 yards a game it’ll be huge. Just be average. Just give Carson one reliable wide receiver. Just show up and stay engaged and catch the football. Is that too much to ask? Since Jeffery got here in 2017, the Eagles are 29-11 when he starts and finishes and 9-13 when he doesn’t. He still makes a difference. Come on, Alshon! Dare to be mediocre!

5. To put in perspective how bad the Dolphins’ running game is, consider this: Their 63 rushing yards per game is lowest by any team after 11 games since the 1961 Redskins (59.5) and before that the 1946 Lions (42.9). The Dolphins are also the first team since 1946 to average fewer than 70 yards per game and allow more than 145 rushing yards through 11 games. If Doug Pederson commits to the running game Sunday, the Eagles will win by three touchdowns. But …

6. The Eagles’ streak of games without a 100-yard rusher is up to a league-high 44. That’s the third-longest streak in franchise history and the longest in 60 years. Here’s a look at the three longest:

74 games between Swede Hanson rushing for 107 yards against the Giants on Sept. 13, 1936, and Bosh Pritchard rushing for 104 yards against the Dodgers no Nov. 15 ,1942

66 games between Don “Heartbeat” Johnson rushing for 121 yards against the Giants on Nov. 19, 1953, and Billy Ray Barnes rushing for 111 against the Cards on Oct. 25, 1959

44 games since LeGarrette Blount rushed for 136 yards against the Chargers.

7. That streak REALLY needs to end Sunday.

8. Nelson Agholor is on pace to become the 10th wide receiver in NFL history to catch 50 or more passes and average less than 9.0 yards per catch. The lowest yards per catch by a WR with 50 catches in Eagles history was Riley Cooper’s 10.5 in 2014. Nelly is averaging more than 1 ½ yards less per catch.

9. This blows my mind:

Mack Hollins: 396 snaps, 10 catches
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 252 snaps, 5 catches
Jordan Matthews: 137 snaps, 4 catches

BUT

Greg Ward: 39 snaps, 6 catches

So the 2nd-round pick has averaged a catch every 50 snaps, the third-year pro has averaged a catch every 40 snaps and the veteran second-round pick averaged a catch every 34 snaps while he was here. But the undrafted converted quarterback from the practice squad plays offense for the first time IN HIS LIFE and catches a ball every SIX snaps? I’m under no illusions that Ward is going to be a star, but I just don’t see how this is possible and how he couldn’t get a shot until Week 11.

10. It sounds like there could be as many as 30,000 Eagles fans in the building Sunday for Eagles-Dolphins, and that reminds me of the 2003 Eagles-Dolphins game in Miami, a Monday Night Football game. I’ve never seen that many Eagles fans at a road game. The Chargers game in 2017 in a small soccer stadium in Carson, Calif., had a higher percentage of Eagles fans, but Joe Robbie was packed to the gills that night 16 years ago. It was a wild back-and-forth game, but early in the fourth quarter it was tied 24-24 and the Eagles were about to start a drive at their own 38-yard-line. All of a sudden, the familiar opening notes of the Rocky theme song stared floating through the stadium. The crowd went berserk, the Eagles drove 62 yards in seven plays and took the lead for good on Correll Buckhalter’s impossible flying twisting upside-down touchdown run. Why the Dolphins would play the one song most associated with Philadelphia at a key point in an Eagles-Dolphins game I’ll never know. But to this day I credit the Rocky theme for that Eagles win.

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NFL Week 15 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 15 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are my games to watch for in Week 15 of the NFL season:

Bears at Packers — Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
The Bears are growling again. They have three straight wins and are playing like a playoff team. The only problem is their many stumbles along the way have them at just 7-6, and currently the No. 8 seed in the NFC playoff pitcure. They travel to Green Bay with revenge on their minds, still remembering the season-opening loss to the Packers. That the Packers are 10-3 — currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC — is amazing in itself. Defensively, they stop either the run or the pass but never both in a game. Offensively, they don’t score a lot of points and rarely win impressively, but the bottom line is more times than not they have found a way to win. First-year head coach Matt LeFleur has his squad believing in his system. The Pack will rack up their 11th W at Lambeau.

Texans at Titans — Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS

One team is exciting by land, the other by air. Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins gives defenses fits weekly. Tennessee RB Derrick Henry is a battering ram. These two are currently tied for the lead in the AFC South but after getting blasted by Denver last week, Houston is still in control based on best win percentage in division games. The Titans are currently the No. 7 seed. Since QB Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota after Week 6, the Titans have won six of their last seven and four in a row. Houston has the capability of rising up for big games with wins over the Patriots and Chiefs, but the Titans are hot, and I’m going with the hot team at home. Side note: They'll meet again Week 17.

Vikings at Chargers — Sunday, 4:05 p.m. on CBS

The only thing the Chargers have left to play for is pride and the Vikings are jockeying for better seeding and a possible division title. Under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have not fared well when traveling west, sporting a 1-6 record in road games played in the Mountain or Pacific time zones. Two of the Chargers' five wins have come against the NFC North. The Vikings' defense is starting to jell again and they’ll need cohesiveness on D because Philip RIvers' offense can light it up at any given moment. The Vikings know what’s at stake — it wont be easy, but they’ll find a way to get the job done.

Rams at Cowboys — Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Don’t look now, but the Rams are starting to play like the team that represented the NFC in last season’s Super Bowl. They’ve won three in a row with the offense functioning like a well-oiled machine and the defense making plays. As for Dallas, fans are calling for heads to roll, starting with head coach Jason Garrett. They’ve lost three straight and haven’t beaten a quality opponent all season. With that said, they somehow still control the NFC East. They have the the talent all over the field, yet don’t have the wins to show for it. What should have been a promising season will be a disaster if they don’t find a way to rebound and make the playoffs. Sorry, Dallas, until you prove otherwise, you’re just not ram tough enough to win this one.

Bills at Steelers — Sunday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Just when it looked like Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would have to endure his first losing season in Pittsburgh, his squad has risen from the ashes. A team that was 1-4 at one point is now 8-5, riding a three-game winning streak, and currently the sixth seed in the AFC. What’s even more impressive is that Tomlin is using his third QB of the season. Rookie free agent Devlin “Duck” Hodges has been on the winning side on all three of his starts. The defense has tightened the loose gaps and is playing 'Burgh ball. The Bills have been writing an incredible story of their own. They are currently the fifth seed and just one game behind New England in the AFC East. Buffalo is striving for its first 10-win season since 1999. It will also be Buffalo’s first Sunday night appearance in 12 years. Two good defenses in this one. Two teams hoping to move one step closer to solidifying a playoff spot. This one has the makings of a brass knuckles brawl with the Steelers delivering the final knockout blow.

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Here comes wide receiver Robert Davis … to save the day?

Here comes wide receiver Robert Davis … to save the day?

He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong. 

Can he play? Who knows? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday. 

Meet Robert Davis. He’s the 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver who once ran a 4.44 at the combine and tested through the roof. He’s also the receiver whom the Eagles called up from their practice squad earlier this week after even more injuries at the position. 

It’s probably unfair to expect a 24-year-old receiver with four career games and one career catch under his belt to suddenly cure all the Eagles’ ails at wide receiver. But here we are.  

I tweeted that video on Thursday and most of the responses were hilarious. Some were tongue-in-cheek, like suggesting that since he caught a ball the Eagles should sign him a long-term deal. But some were genuine — in that, hey, here’s a guy with an impressive frame and possibly some untapped potential. Heck, it’s gotten so bad at receiver, he’ll surely help, right? 

Last week’s 23-17 win over the Giants should be remembered as the practice squad game because three guys — Boston Scott, Josh Perkins and Greg Ward Jr. — all played a big part of the victory and all three were on the practice squad less than two months earlier. 

So … on one hand, Davis uses that as encouragement. Hey, if they can do it, so can I. 

On the other hand, maybe there are now some unfair and unrealistic expectations on just how big of an impact Davis will be able to have in his first game with the Eagles. 

“We’re all competitors,” Davis said. “That’s why we’re in the NFL. Seeing [Ward] go out there and have success, I want to go out there and have success, too.”

The Redskins saw that potential in Davis when they drafted him in the sixth round out of Georgia State back in 2017. It’s pretty easy to see why they used a pick on him. 

Despite his athleticism, Davis split time between the 53-man roster and the practice squad as a rookie and then broke his leg in 2018. Davis came back in 2019 but didn’t play much and eventually got cut. He’s been with the Eagles since he signed to the practice squad on Oct. 7. 

This weekend, Davis will play his first game as an Eagle and it’ll come against his former team in Washington. He’s as excited about that as Eagles fans are about seeing him play. 

And if you want to get even more over-hyped about Davis, here’s what his former Redskins and current Eagles teammate Nate Sudfeld said about him last month: 

He’s a freak of nature. He’s got muscles on top of muscles. Definitely looks the part of a big, freak wide receiver, and he plays big. He’s got speed, really good at running routes, he’s smart. He’s got a bright future, definitely.

Maybe Davis will just have a short stay on the Eagles’ active roster. Maybe he won’t even be able to make an impact. But, for now, it’s fun for fans to dream about finding another diamond in in the practice squad. 

After his call-up, Davis took over a real locker stall at the NovaCare Complex, moving up from the pop-up variety. While he’s listed as Robert on the roster, his nameplate said Rob. 

What does he prefer? 

“My mom named me Robert,” he said. “I go by Rob for my homeboys.”

You can decide what to call him after watching Sunday’s game.  

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