Doug Pederson thinks Jason Peters can be ‘dominant’ again in 2019

Doug Pederson thinks Jason Peters can be ‘dominant’ again in 2019

While it’s true that Jason Peters started all 16 regular season games and the two playoff games last season, it’s also true that he didn’t look like Jason Peters. 

Not the Jason Peters we’ve come to know. 

Aside from the fact that Peters played just over 80 percent of the Eagles’ snaps in 2018, when he was on the field, he didn’t look like the same dominant player who has spoiled Eagles fans for a decade. 

Even though Peters is another year older (37) for this upcoming season, head coach Doug Pederson thinks Peters can “still be a dominant left tackle.” 

Here’s what Pederson said last month about his future Hall of Fame left tackle’s chances of having a better 2019 season as he gets further away from the ACL tear that ended his 2017 season early:  

I do believe that. Obviously there’s data behind that, that supports that [the second year after an ACL tear is better than the first]. Having a full offseason to recover and really be healthy. Even though he hasn’t been here (during OTAs), he’s had the rest and he hasn’t had the wear and tear on him. That’s why I do think that he can definitely regain what he had a couple of years ago, and still be a dominant left tackle. Still play for a few more years.

A few more years? OK, maybe Doug’s getting a little ahead of himself. For now, Peters and the Eagles have to worry about him getting through the 2019 season. Everything at this point in his illustrious career has to be year to year. 

And there are two ways to look at Peters this season: 

1. Yeah, he’s another year removed from the ACL tear and it takes time. Of course, he should be better this year. We’ve heard about how Carson Wentz didn’t have full explosion in his knee last season and the same thing was probably true of Peters, too. Later in the 2018 season, despite a myriad of other injuries, Peters said he was feeling more like himself as his knee continued to strengthen. The further away from the knee injury he gets, the more back to himself he’ll be. 

2. Are you kidding me? You think time is helping Peters? Time is hurting him. Steve Miller Band and Seal warned you about this! Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future. Peters is 37 years old and getting older by the day. Father Time is undefeated and all that. Maybe his explosion wasn’t there in 2018, but the rest of his body started to fall apart too. He had quad and biceps injuries that plagued him for most of the season. Why would you expect that to get better now that he’s a year older? 

At least this season, if Peters can’t stay healthy, the Eagles will have a better contingency plan than just plugging Halapoulivaati Vaitai in at left tackle. They traded up in the first round to draft Andre Dillard with the 22nd pick. If everything goes according to the master plan, Dillard will be a backup in 2019 and then take over the left tackle spot in 2020 and hold it for the next decade. But if Peters can’t get through this season, the Dillard Era could start a little prematurely. That would be OK, but the Eagles brought Peters back at a discounted rate to play this season. 

Peters was born on Jan. 22, 1982, so he’ll be 37 years old for the entirety of the 2019 season. There are just 11 active players (still on NFL rosters) older than him. Five of those 11 are quarterbacks, three are long snappers, one’s a kicker. There are just two other position players older than Peters: TE Ben Watson and OT Andrew Whitworth. 

Here’s that full list of players: 

K Adam Vinatieri - Dec. 28, 1972 (47)
QB Tom Brady - Aug. 3, 1977 (42)
LS John Denney - Dec. 13, 1978 (41)
QB Drew Brees - Jan. 15, 1979 (40)
TE Ben Watson - Dec. 18, 1980 (39)
QB Eli Manning - Jan. 3, 1981 (38)
LS L.P. Ladouceur - March 13, 1981 (38)
QB Matt Schaub - June 25, 1981 (38)
LS Don Muhlbach - Aug. 17, 1981 (38)
QB Philip Rivers - Dec. 8, 1981 (38)
OT Andrew Whitworth - Dec. 12, 1981 (38) 

Whitworth is about a month and a half older than Peters and has had a nice career. Kind of a late bloomer, Whitworth has spent the last two years with the Rams, missing just one game. He didn’t make it to a Pro Bowl last year but had made the previous three. He’s about the same age as Peters and although he hasn’t had the same caliber career, he’s been able to play at a high level deep into his 30s. 

Most people seem to agree Peters is heading to Canton one day, so let’s take a closer look at Hall-of-Fame offensive linemen who have played at 37 or older in the modern era: 

C Kevin Mawae: 2009 (38), 2008 (37)
OG Bruce Matthews: 2001 (40), 2000 (39), 1999 (38), 1998 (37)
OG Randall McDaniel: 2001 (37) 
OT Jackie Slater: 1994 (40), 1993 (39), 1992 (38), 1991 (37)
C Mike Webster: 1990 (38), 1989 (37)
C Mick Tingelhoff: 1978 (38), 1977 (37)
OG Gene Hickerson: 1973 (38), 1972 (37)
RT Forrest Gregg: 1970 (37)

You’ll notice that most of the members of that group are interior offensive linemen or became interior offensive linemen later in their careers. Not many tackles. Typically, to play tackle, probably even more so in today’s NFL, quickness is needed. Quickness is one of those attributes that tends to fade with age. 

Basically, the point here is that it’s hard for an offensive linemen, especially tackles, to play deep into their 30s. It’s even somewhat rare for the best of the best, the guys who have made it into the Hall of Fame. 

The Eagles are hoping to squeeze one more year out of an all-time great. It’s worth noting that 80 percent of Peters is still better than a lot of tackles in the NFL and it’s equally worth noting that the Eagles are in win-now mode. Their window to win championships is open right now. They have a solid backup plan, but if Peters somehow could turn back the clock and re-find his dominant form, it would only help the cause. 

During training camp and the season, the Eagles will do everything in their power to limit the wear and tear on Peters’ body and prepare him to play on Sundays. We’ll find out soon enough if Pederson is right. 

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Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon Jeffery vs. James Thrash, Henry Ruggs’ 40 time, the Gin Blossoms and Mark Duper all found their way into this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations.

I’m guessing that’s never happened before!

ALSHON VS. JAMES THRASH: Forget all the Carson stuff. Forget about the injuries and the terrible body language and the awful contract and the dropped passes that turned into Nick Foles interceptions in the Super Bowl and the playoff loss to the Saints. Let’s just focus on production, and Alshon Jeffery in three seasons in an Eagles uniform has 165 catches, 2,122 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Let’s do a little comparison of three WRs. These are averages based on their years when they were regulars on the Eagles:

Todd Pinkston: 44 catches, 659 yards, 15.0 ypc, 4.0 TDs

James Thrash: 55 catches, 675 yards, 12.4 ypc, 5.0 TDs

Alshon Jeffery: 55 catches, 707 yards, 12.9 ypc, 6 TDs

Jeffery did have a big 2017 postseason, but for the most part he’s been a pedestrian receiver since he’s been here. He’s the 14th-highest-paid WR in the NFL, but since 2017 he’s 37th among WRs in yards per game (54).

He’s an underachieving, overpaid, injury-prone 30-year-old James Thrash clone. Howie’s gotta find an exit strategy.

HOW FAST WILL HE RUN? I’ve never been a huge Combine fan, but I'll be glued to the TV Thursday when the wide receivers run the 40. How fast can Henry Ruggs go? In a way, Eagles fans should hope he doesn’t put up a 4.23 or something absurd because that might move him up too high for the Eagles to even trade up for. But I just want to see this kid run. It’s been a long time since one player made so much sense for the Eagles.

GET THIS MAN A CONTRACT: Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are both scheduled to speak at the Combine on Tuesday, and it will be the first time we’ve heard from them in about six weeks, since Doug assured us that Mike Groh and Carson Walch weren’t getting fired. I’m most interested to hear what Howie has to say about Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles need to resolve this situation quickly because the last thing they need this offsaeson is a growing impasse between the franchise and one of their best players and the drama and distraction it would bring. Jenkins deserves a new deal. They have the money. Get it done.

NICK AND DENNIS: It’s hilarious to me that the two players the Eagles took in the 2012 draft who’ve caught postseason touchdown passes are Nick Foles and Dennis Kelly.

WHO'S AFTER MILES AND DALLAS? I was going to make a list of the top 5 Eagles 25 or younger but after I jotted down Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert I got stuck. Who else would you put on that list? Derek Barnett? Nate Gerry? Jake Elliott? Avonte Maddox? Boston Scott? Greg Ward? Cre’von LeBlanc? Andre Dillard? Sidney Jones?

I guess I’d go:

1. Miles Sanders

2. Dallas Goedert

3. Derek Barnett

4. Avonte Maddox

5. Jake Elliott

MARK DUPER'S BRIEF EAGLES CAREER: History has forgotten it, but Mark Duper was briefly with the Eagles during 1993 training camp. You won’t find it mentioned on his Wikipedia page or his Pro Football Reference page. None of his on-line bios mention it. But after spending 1982 through 1992 with the Dolphins – he was a three-time Pro Bowler and had four 1,000-yard seasons – Duper signed in the summer of 1993 with the Bengals. It didn’t go well. They released him a couple weeks into training camp. Rich Kotite, desperate for more old broken-down players who couldn’t play anymore, immediately signed the 34-year-old Duper. He arrived at training camp in West Chester late in the day on Aug. 19, and a group of us grabbed him walking into the dining hall:

“The biggest mistake I ever made was going to the Bengals,” he said, adding, “I feel like I still have a few good years of football left.”

Turned out he didn’t even have a few weeks of football left. Duper was 34, which made him a typical Rich Kotite favorite. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t run anymore. We saw it in his first practice. The Eagles released him a couple weeks later, and he never played football again.

FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU: Anybody remember when the Gin Blossoms played the Eagles’ 2004 pep rally in the Headhouse Plaza outside the Linc? It was Sept. 9, 2004, three days before the 2004 Super Bowl season began. Did you know that gig was the first time several songs from their next record, Major Lodge Victory, were ever played live? And the next night the entire band was at the TLA on South Street to see the late, great Tommy Keene, a long-time Gin Blossoms collaborator, open for Guided by Voices?

1-FOR-62: The Eagles have selected 62 defensive players in their last 14 drafts, and one has gone to a Pro Bowl. Fletcher Cox, naturally. The rest of the league has drafted 171 Pro Bowl defensive players over the last 14 years.

BEING GREG LEWIS: How about Greg Lewis’s career. As a player, he made little impact in his five years with the Eagles – he averaged just 25 catches and 339 yards per season – but he caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on what may have been the best pass Donovan McNabb ever threw. Then he goes to Minnesota in 2009, playing for Brad Childress, and in his first game with the Vikings makes that insane miracle 32-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left against the 49ers that wins him a freaking ESPY for Play of the Year. Then he becomes Eagles WRs coach in 2016 and gets fired after one year. Then he goes to the Chiefs in the same role and wins a Super Bowl.

WHAT ABOUT THIS GUY? So maybe there’s hope for Carson Walch, too!

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Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

If you're a football fan, you've probably read about ongoing negotiations on a new CBA between the NFLPA, which the union representing the players, and management council, which represents the 32 NFL owners.

The NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season, but negotiations have been ongoing this offseason.

The NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 to not recommend the current proposal to the members, so negotiations continue.

The complete proposal hasn’t been made available to the public, but enough details have leaked over the last two days to get some sense of what’s included.

The NFLPA released this fact sheet outlining key points in the CBA proposal.

And there are a lot of positives for the players. It expands pension eligibility and improves insurance benefits for retired players and raises minimum salaries, eases drug testing and reduces fines.

All good.

But there are plenty of red flags, enough that numerous high-profile players have been tweeting against the proposal.

Here are four reasons the deal as currently proposed is a bad one for the players:

1. The proposal calls for a 17-game regular-season schedule while also calling for an increase in player revenue from the current 47 to 48.5 percent. That’s about a 3.1 percent revenue increase for a 6.3 increase in games played. How is that fair? The owners are going to be raking in massive TV revenue increases, especially with the expanded playoff schedule, but the players won’t be receiving an equivalent share of that money.

2.  All players under contract when the league goes to a 17-game schedule — presumably in 2021 — will be paid only $250,000 more for that 17th game game. So anybody with a base salary over $4.25 million in 2021 will essentially be taking a pay cut. The Eagles have 10 players with 2021 base salaries of at least $5 million. Carson Wentz is on the books at $15.4 million. That’s $905,882 per week based on a 17-week schedule. So his weekly salary would go down to $869,440. That’s a $36,000 pay CUT per week. He’ll essentially be making less money per week. Now multiple that pay cut by several hundred players. The NFL will be raking in billions more dollars by increasing the regular season from 256 games to 272 - and eventually more with expansion - and increasing the postseason from 11 games to 13. While essentially asking the players to earn less per week.
3.  The proposal does shorten the preseason from four games to three, but there is apparently no second bye week included. So the players are being asked to play 17 regular-season games in an 18-week span in an era where the NFL loves blabbing about player safety. Add to that the likelihood of increased international travel and the wear and tear that takes on a player as the league explores more and more international games. This is just pure greed on the NFL’s part. It’s clear that everything the league says about player safety is just lip service if they are so desperate to add a 17th regular-season game in an era with increased focus on concussions, injuries and player health after football.  

4. The NFL is way too eager to get a deal done now when the current CBA doesn’t expire for another year. It definitely benefits both sides to have a deal hammered out and guarantee labor peace for a decade. But you just get the feeling the owners want to get this done before the NFLPA really has a chance to digest the full proposal and its long-term financial implications for the players. The owners over the last few days have embarked on a carefully strategized PR campaign to make this proposal seem like a good one for the players and try to rush a vote through before everybody knew what the implications were. Nobody wants a strike. Nobody wants a lockout. But the players are what makes the league work. Without them there is no NFL. They deserve more than what this CBA proposal calls for.

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