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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