Eagles

DeSean Jackson's future and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

DeSean Jackson's future and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Ominous signs from Jeff Lurie, the search for elite defensive backs, DeSean Jackson's future and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations!

And only 35 weeks until opening day!

1. One of the things that’s always set Jeff Lurie apart from owners like Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones has been the distance he keeps from football operations. He’s always left all that up to his coaches, front-office execs and scouts. Hire good people and let them do their jobs. The fact that Lurie appears to now be meddling in stuff that’s outside his bailiwick is troubling. Lurie needs to focus on owner stuff — The Eagles Charitable Foundation, the Go Green initiative, the Eagles Autism Challenge. All worthy causes that have nothing to do with football. If you don’t think your GM and head coach are doing a good enough job making decisions on their own? Then find better people.

2. Howie Roseman kept emphasizing the other day how the Eagles need to get younger, and of course he’s right. And it’s good to hear him acknowledge it. The Eagles have one young player who I would say is elite, and that’s Miles Sanders. You can make a case for Dallas Goedert. To put this in perspective: 31 NFL players 25 or younger made the Pro Bowl this year, 39 last year. None were Eagles. The Eagles’ only Pro Bowlers 25 and under since the days of Shady and DeSean are Nick Foles in 2013, Fletcher Cox in 2014, Cody Parkey in 2015 and Carson Wentz in 2017. The Eagles don’t just need young players. They need elite young players.

3. Along those lines … there’ve been 88 Pro Bowl defensive backs drafted since the last time the Eagles drafted one. Those 88 draft picks have been selected to a combined 205 Pro Bowls. The Eagles are the only NFL team that hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowl d-back since 2003.

4. Nothing truly capsulizes the current state of the Eagles’ wide receiver situation more than the fact that their biggest play against the Seahawks was a DPI drawn by Shelton Gibson, who was on the Browns’ practice squad all year, hasn’t played a regular-season NFL snap since Week 13 of 2018 and only played one other snap on Sunday. Josh McCown to Shelton Gibson. Just how the Eagles drew it up in training camp.

5. Interesting that WR coach Carson Walch was fired but assistant WR coach Matt Harper — as far as we know — hasn’t been. Harper coached under Chip Kelly at Oregon, and Chip brought him here in 2013. And he’s still here. Wonder if he’ll be your 6th WRs coach in six years. When you keep changing receivers coaches every year I’d think a little consistency might be important.

6. Gotta say I’m pretty intrigued by what Boston Scott will be able to do over a full season. If you take his last five games - once he got a role on offense - and project them over a full season you have 483 rushing yards, 636 receiving yards, 1,119 total yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s a little much, especially projecting Miles Sanders’ full-season workload. But I could see him in the 350 / 350 range. The Eagles have never had two backs the same season with 350 yards both rushing and receiving. The versatility and explosiveness that duo gives you is fun to think about.

7. I expect Nelly to be elsewhere next year. I expect Howie to figure out a way to unload Alshon. But I want DeSean back. I know he turns 34 during the 2020 season. I know he only had one healthy game all year. But you can’t replace an entire wide receiver corps in one offseason. And for some reason I just don’t trust this front office to draft or sign the right guys when it comes to receivers. The Eagles’ best chance to get a game-breaking wideout on the roster next year is to keep the one they already have.

8. A lot of people have asked about Zach Ertz’s future in light of his contract situation — he’s up after 2021 — and Dallas Goedert’s rise to prominence. Ertz will no doubt be looking for huge money at some point fairly soon. And when you look at what Goedert has done — from Week 6 through wild-card weekend he had 60 catches, 3rd-most among all NFL tight ends, behind Travis Kelce and Ertz — it’s an understandable question. But there’s absolutely no reason the Eagles can’t and won’t keep both. It makes sense from both a financial and a football standpoint. Even when (if?) they actually put together a legit wide receiver corps, there’ll always be a place in this offense for two big-time receiving tight ends. Especially as much as Doug Pederson likes two-TE sets. More weapons means more options. And that means a more dangerous offense.

9. Crazy that Goedert actually has more catches in his first two seasons than Ertz (100 to 97). He’s one of only 21 tight ends in NFL history with 100 catches in his first two years. The only team that ever had two of them playing together was the Patriots with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

10. You know what’s a hell of an effective formula to win a playoff game? Move the chains on offense and limit points on defense. Coming into this year, NFL teams were 182-10 all-time in postseason history when they recorded 20 or more first downs and held the opposing team to 17 or fewer points. That's a .948 winning percentage. Not bad. That’s now 183-11. Because the Eagles picked up 20 first downs, gave up 17 points and lost. That’s not easy to do. But that’s what happens when you have drives to the 28, 20 and 8 and get field goals and drives to the 24 and 10 and don’t score. Excrutiating way for a season to end. Because even with all the injuries and with 40-year-old Josh McCown out there playing quarterback with a torn hamstring, if they convert that 4th-and-4 where McCown underthrew Miles Sanders and Sanders couldn't make the catch ... I think they win that game.

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Donnel Pumphrey, Freddie Martino and more: Every former Eagles player on XFL rosters

Donnel Pumphrey, Freddie Martino and more: Every former Eagles player on XFL rosters

The XFL season kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 8 when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Dragons at 2 p.m. on ABC. 

You can watch that game and root on Donnel Pumphrey! 

But he’s just one of many former Eagles in the eight-team startup league. 

After scouring all eight rosters, I counted 25 former Eagles. That means the league is 6 percent former Eagles. 

Here’s a look at every former Eagles player on each team: 

Dallas Renegades 

WR Freddie Martino
CB Josh Hawkins
LB Asantay Brown
DE Winston Craig 

The most notable name on this list is Hawkins, who played late in the season for the Eagles in 2018. He was thrown into a really tough spot against the Saints in the divisional round playoff game and didn’t hold up very well. He came back for training camp in 2019 but was released at final cuts. Martino, Brown and Craig were camp bodies and never played for the Eagles. But Martino was a fan favorite in camp in 2015 and ended up playing for the Bucs for a few years. From 2016-18 in Tampa Bay, Martino had 13 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown. 

DC Defenders 

WR DeAndre Thompkins 
RB Donnel Pumphrey 
C Jon Toth 
OL Malcolm Bunche 
DT Elijah Qualls

The Defenders actually boast two former Eagles draft picks from the 2017. Pumphrey was a fourth-round pick and Qualls was a sixth-round pick. Neither ever played a game for the Eagles. Pumprhey was the most prolific running back in NCAA history but at 5-9, 176 pounds, the Eagles tried to change his entire game and he never worked out. As recently as last offseason, Pump was in camp with the Eagles. Thompkins, a receiver from Penn State, was in camp before last season. Bunche, who is from Newark, Delaware, went undrafted out of UCLA in 2015. He was cut by the Eagles but spent the entire 2015 season on the practice squad. 

Houston Roughnecks

S Trae Elston 
CB Ajene Harris 
RB De’Angelo Henderson
OL Toby Weathersby
DL Gabe Wright 

Henderson was with the Eagles on their practice squad for most of the 2019 season but the Birds brought in Elijah Holyfield at the end of the season instead of promoting him. After the season ended, Henderson didn’t sign a futures deal with the Eagles and instead is heading to the XFL. Harris, a corner from USC, was also with the Eagles on their practice squad for some of this past season. You probably don’t even remember him, but Elston played in one game for the Eagles in 2017; he got seven special teams snaps in the Week 3 win over the Giants. 

Los Angeles Wildcats

S Jerome Couplin III 
LB Quentin Gause 

In 2014-15, Couplin played in nine games with the Eagles and had a total of five combined tackles. The William & Mary product went undrafted in 2014 and was with the Lions and Bills before coming to Philly. Gause was with the Eagles in the summer of 2016 and ended up playing in three games that season for the Broncos. 

New York Guardians

QB Luis Perez
QB Matt McGloin
LB Ryan Mueller 

Perez came from the AAF and spent just a month with the Eagles. McGloin, the former Penn State quarterback, lasted the 2017 offseason with the Eagles. But he did play in 13 games (7 starts) for the Raiders from 2013-16. Mueller was a big-time defensive end at Kansas State but when he got to Philly in 2016, he was a fullback that offseason. That was the last time the Eagles toyed with the idea of a full-time fullback. 

St. Louis BattleHawks 

WR Carlton Agudosi 
DB Harold Jones-Quartey 
RB Matt Jones

Agudosi (6-6, 220) made some spectacular catches with the Eagles in the summer before the 2019 season but didn’t stick. And you’ll remember Matt Jones. He was with the Eagles briefly in 2018 but didn’t make the team. With the Redskins, the former third-round pick rushed for 950 yards in 2015-16. 

Seattle Dragons

S Godwin Igwebuike 

A year after Igwebuike played six games for the Niners and Bucs as an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern in 2018, he was with the Eagles in the summer of 2019. 

Tampa Bay Vipers 

QB Aaron Murray
WR Seantavius Jones 

Murray was with the Eagles in the 2016 season on the practice squad after he had been with the Chiefs under Doug Pederson in 2014-15. But the former fifth-round pick from Georgia went to the Rams in 2017. Jones was with the Eagles for a little over a month in the offseason of 2016 and never practiced in Philly. Still, he remains the best Seantavius in Eagles history. 

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Similarity Travis Kelce sees between Eagles' Super Bowl LII team and Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV team

Similarity Travis Kelce sees between Eagles' Super Bowl LII team and Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV team

Travis Kelce is about to play in his first Super Bowl but it’s not the first time he’s been around the biggest game in the sport. 

The Chiefs' tight end, and brother of Jason, was around the Eagles’ run to Super Bowl at the tail end of the 2017 season so he has an idea about what the week is like and what it takes to win it all. 

And Kelce, speaking to reporters in Miami, said he sees one big similarity between the Eagles in Super Bowl LII and his Chiefs that will play in Super Bowl LIV: 

I was out there in Minnesota. It was a very unique situation because I got to see it almost second hand and really kind of in the background of the Eagles, asking my brother everything that was going on that week. 

“It was unique how tight of a team they were, how their chemistry ... they just felt like a brotherhood, even from the outside. You could just tell how tight-knit that group was. With that being said, I think this team has the exact same feeling going into it. How much we appreciate each other and have fun on the field with each other and make sure we’re doing the right things so we’re accountable for each other.

There was definitely something special about that Eagles team that played in Super Bowl LII. It’s probably a bit much to call it a team of destiny, but that team had a special feel to it. And a big part of it is because of how close they were. 

In some sense, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see an Andy Reid-led team have a similar feel. The atmosphere around the 2017 Eagles was created in part by Doug Pederson and his coaching staff. Pederson wanted his guys to have fun, he wanted them to be themselves. And, of course, Pederson is a protégé of Reid. Both men are known as players coaches. 

As of early this week, Travis Kelce said he hadn’t yet asked his older brother about tips for Super Bowl week or playing in the big game. Jason was at the Pro Bowl with his family and baby daughter, so Travis wanted to give him a chance to enjoy himself. 

But Travis said he does plan on chatting with Jason soon. He wants to ask for tips about some things he might not know about playing in the big game, anything that will give him an advantage on Sunday evening. 

For now, how tight-knit the Chiefs are certainly won’t hurt. 

“Everyone is just enjoying their time, being themselves,” Kelce said. “I love this team more than any other team I’ve ever been on, man, because it’s that much more fun.”

Sound familiar? 

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