Eagles

Dawkins learns Hall of Fame fate

Dawkins learns Hall of Fame fate

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Brian Dawkins, one of the greatest Eagles ever, has been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dawkins, who spent the 1996 through 2008 seasons with the Eagles, was one of six players selected into the 2018 Hall of Fame class by a panel of sports writers meeting at the Super Bowl.

This was Dawkins' second year of eligibility and his second year as one of 15 finalists.

Dawkins is the first defensive back in Eagles history to make the Hall of Fame.

Dawkins, who now works in the Eagles' scouting department, was a second-round pick out of Clemson in 1996. He was named All-Pro four times as an Eagle and made seven of his nine Pro Bowls as an Eagle before finishing his career from 2009 through 2011 with the Broncos.

Dawkins played in 224 games and had 37 interceptions, 26 sacks, 36 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries. 

He's one of only six players in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions and the only one with 25 forced fumbles, as well.

But his brilliance can't be measured by numbers alone. He redefined the safety position with his combination of thunderous hits, stout run support and pass coverage. He was part linebacker, part cornerback, part defensive lineman.

It's very difficult for pure safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame. Dawkins is only the eighth safety who never played cornerback at any point of his career to make it into the Hall, and he's the only one who played after 1982, although Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson spent most of their careers at safety.

Dawkins will become the 19th former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent most of his career with the Eagles.

"This is tremendous news and I could not be more proud of Brian," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in reaction to Dawkins' selection. "Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor he truly earned. He epitomized everything we love about the game of football. His intensity, his passion, his love of the game and his leadership were always dialed in at the highest possible level.

"He connected in every possible way with the city of Philadelphia and our legion of Eagles fans across the country. We cannot wait to celebrate his special night in Canton this summer."

Although three guys who played one year apiece for the Eagles in the early 1990s at the end of their careers have been inducted — James Lofton (1993), Art Monk (1995) and Richard Dent (1997) — Dawkins is the first true Eagle to make the Hall who played for the Eagles after 1993.

The last player who spent more than three years with the Eagles inducted in the Hall of Fame is Reggie White in 2006.

The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the weekend of Aug. 2-5 in Canton, Ohio.

In an interview in 2016 with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Dawkins spoke about the impact the Hall of Fame made on him when he played in the Hall of Fame Game with the Eagles in 2006.

“I remember the feeling that I felt looking at the busts, seeing all those guys and seeing the hallowed walls as they call it, the hallowed hallway of all those busts, and to just imagine myself being in there," he said.

"I could do that because at that point, I had put some good years together. That would be a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous thing for not just me, it's not just me. I know you always thank your teammates and all that stuff but this fan base as well because they deserve a lot better than what people give them.

"They don't give this fanbase the benefit of the doubt. Now, there are also knuckleheads who do some crazy stuff but there are knuckleheads who do crazy stuff in every town. It just so happens that this town gets beat up for it. But I'm fine with all of that. Whatever. Whatever.

"I just know that this fan base deserves to celebrate. So if I get into that Hall of Fame, you think that I will be the only one celebrating? No. We're going to have a good time. We're going to have a party."

Roob’s 10 observations: Agholor, underrated Super Bowler, Shady’s career

us_roob_knows.jpg
USA Today Images

Roob’s 10 observations: Agholor, underrated Super Bowler, Shady’s career

More improvement from Nelson Agholor, an underrated Super Bowl performer, two agonizing yards from a milestone and an incredible accomplishment that LeSean McCoy is closing in on.

It’s all right here in this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations!

1. Doug Pederson has found the perfect balance these past few months of allowing his players to really enjoy being Super Bowl champions while still keeping an eye on 2018, and that’s not an easy thing to do. The Eagles have celebrated when it’s time to celebrate and they’ve worked when it’s time to work, and honestly, I feel like most of the guys on this team would rather be at an OTA practice under the hot June sun than at some banquet re-living Super Bowl LII. Which is the beauty of this team. Zach Ertz put it beautifully when he said this: “There’s always going to be one-hit wonders in this league. Teams that won one Super Bowl or players that made one Pro Bowl and then you didn’t hear from them again. But it’s the great players and the great teams that are able to have that sustained success.” And that right there is the mantra for this football team. Last year was incredible. But it’s in the past. It’s time to move on. It’s time to go to work.

2. Five quarterbacks in NFL history have had a passer rating of 101.9 or higher in their second NFL season [minimum of 200 attempts]. Three of them are Hall of Famers – Otto Graham, Kurt Warner and Dan Marino. The other two are … Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

3. This is insanity, but there’s no doubt in my mind T.O. can still help a football team. I know, I know. He’s 44. The oldest player in NFL history to catch a pass is Jerry Rice, Owens’ former teammate, who was 42 years, 67 days, when he caught his last three career passes – 3 for 25 yards from Matt Hasselbeck for the Seahawks against the Jets on Dec. 19, 2004. The only other player to catch a pass in his 40s is Brett Favre, who caught a batted pass that he threw (for minus-two yards) against the Rams at 40 years, 1 day, for the Vikings in 2009. I know T.O. hasn’t played since 2010, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine TDs playing for the Bengals. But T.O. is different than other human beings. He’s a freak of nature. He could play till he’s 50. But considering his history, no team is ever going to take a chance on him. It’s a shame, but that’s the reality.

4. It still blows my mind that the Eagles won the Super Bowl just two years after Chip Kelly was fired. Think about that. Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman and Pederson overhauled the entire franchise from late 2015 train wreck to 2017 NFL champs in 769 days. 

5. During that span, the Browns have won one game.

6. Kind of lost in all the Super Bowl insanity – Philly Special, Nick Foles’ performance, Brandon Graham’s strip-sack, the 4th-down conversion to Zach Ertz – was LeGarrette Blount’s remarkable performance. Blount’s 6.4 rushing average that day (14 for 90) is highest in NFL postseason history by a back 31 or older. The previous record was Tiki Barber’s 5.3 for the Giants in the 2006 wild-card game that the Eagles won at the Linc. Blount destroyed that record. And it came after a stretch in which Blount had averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in his previous eight games. Blount wasn’t here long but what a tremendous impact he made both as an unfailingly unselfish leader and as a battering-ram running back.

7. Hard to believe DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are the only Eagles draft picks with a 1,000-yard receiving season since Fred Barnett, who was drafted 28 years ago. I expect Nelson Agholor to do it this season.

8. I’m still sad Brent Celek is sitting there with 4,998 career receiving yards. 

9. Wondering what the heck the Redskins are thinking is a way of life around the NFL, but it still blows my mind that they believe they have a better chance of winning with a 34-year-old Alex Smith and than with a 29-year-old Kirk Cousins. 

10. LeSean McCoy has averaged 101 yards from scrimmage per game in his brilliant nine-year NFL career, and he now has 13,470 net yards from scrimmage – eighth-most in NFL history by a player before his 30th birthday (behind seven Hall of Famers). Every back in NFL history who’s gained 16,000 yards from scrimmage — and there are 10 of them — is in the Hall of Fame. At his current pace, Shady would get to 16,000 in Week 9 of the 2020 season. I’m sure as heck not betting against him. 

A meeting with Chip Kelly brought Press Taylor to Eagles

A meeting with Chip Kelly brought Press Taylor to Eagles

This is a story about how Chip Kelly helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl. 

Really. 

So in the summer of 2012, when Kelly was still the head coach at the University of Oregon, he was in Miami visiting some friends on the Dolphins’ coaching staff. He was hanging around the facility waiting for one of those friends to get out of a meeting, when he stopped in the office of the Dolphins’ new quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor. 

On that exact day, Taylor had a visitor of his own. His younger brother Press, then a graduate assistant at Tulsa, happened to be on his summer break and was visiting Miami. 

So the three — Zac, Press and Chip — sat in a room at Miami and talked football for a couple of hours. Then they went their separate ways. 

Until Kelly was hired as the Eagles’ head coach and was looking for a quality control coach. 

That’s when another tie came into play. Greg Austin, who was Kelly’s graduate assistant at Oregon and became the Eagles’ assistant offensive line coach on that original staff, happened to be a college teammate of Zac’s at Nebraska. In fact, Austin was a part of the offensive line that protected Zac, the quarterback. So Austin suggested the name Press Taylor and Kelly remembered that long chat in Miami. 

“So when they got here, they had an idea for what the position looked like and they called me,” Press Taylor said last week. “It didn’t take much longer for me to say yes and show up here.” 

Five years later, Taylor is still just 30 years old, but he’s risen to the level of quarterbacks coach, replacing John DeFilippo, who is now the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. Last year, Taylor was responsible for mining the "Philly Special" from a Bears-Vikings game in 2016. He then watched that play help the Eagles win Super Bowl LII (see story)

And it all wouldn’t have happened without that chance meeting in Miami. 

Taylor never expected that day in Miami to lead to all of this. 

“No, I did not,” Taylor said. “At the time, Coach Kelly is at the University of Oregon, I’m at the University of Tulsa. I was just grateful to sit and talk football with anybody. It was just fun. I didn’t anticipate it being this.” 

Kelly brought Taylor to Philly, but Doug Pederson had just the right amount of missing ego to keep him. Taylor was one of several coaches Pederson kept on his original staff. Not only did Pederson keep Taylor, but he promoted him to assistant quarterbacks coach, a title he held until getting promoted this spring. 

During the 2016 offseason, after Kelly was fired and while the Eagles were looking for a replacement, Taylor was back at home in Oklahoma with his wife, mining information about possible new bosses with the same zeal with which he mined the "Philly Special."

“Trying to find connections I had with that person because, ideally, I wanted to stay,” Taylor remembered. “I really liked my time here in Philadelphia for the first three years, knew what kind of talent we had on our roster and really enjoyed coaching in the NFL. I was hoping to stay and really followed it all throughout that.”