Eagles

Roob's observations after Eagles get demolished by Cowboys on Sunday Night Football

Roob's observations after Eagles get demolished by Cowboys on Sunday Night Football

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ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Eagles look more like a bad team right now than a good team that’s struggling.

A week after losing by 18 points to the Vikings in Minneapolis, they were even worse Sunday night in a pathetic 37-10 loss to the Cowboys in North Texas.

Two years after winning a Super Bowl, they’re sputtering along at 3-4 with the Bills, Bears, Patriots and Seahawks — who have a combined record of 19-6 — up next.

Maybe it’s a good thing the Eagles didn’t trade a couple first-round picks to the Rams. Because it’s starting to look like they might be pretty good picks.

Let’s get to our grim 10 instant observations.

1. You can blame the offense, which committed two fumbles on their first seven plays. Or you can blame the defense, which allowed two touchdowns on the Cowboys’ first eight plays. But when the exact same thing keeps happening over and over, week after week, that’s on the head coach. When you get horribly outplayed at the start of games virtually every week, that’s on the head coach. When you’re just not ready, that’s on the head coach.

Here’s a glance at the early deficits the Eagles have faced in all but their game against the Jets:

Redskins: Trailed by 17 in first quarter
Falcons: Trailed by 11 in second quarter
Lions: Trailed by 10 in second quarter
Packers: Trailed by 10 in second quarter
Vikings: Trailed by 21 in second quarter
Cowboys: Trailed by 14 in first quarter

They came back to win two of those games, but the reality is this team is simply unprepared to play football when the ball is kicked off. It’s been that way for two years now, and that’s solely on Doug Pederson.

2. I’m way more disappointed in the offense than the defense. I expected the offense to carry the team this year. I thought the defense would be middle of the pack. Obviously, both have been pathetic the last couple weeks, but the absence of any sort of plan on offense other than run the ball constantly until you’re down by 20 points and then chuck it every snap is truly disturbing. What’s the plan? What’s the concept? What is this offense right now? I have no clue. The bigger concern is I’m not sure Pederson does either.

3. As bad as everybody else has been, the offensive line might be the biggest disappointment on this team. This should be a top-five offensive line. One analytics site had them No. 1 in the league coming into the season. But they’re a mess right now, and the problems Sunday night went way beyond Andre Dillard, who made his first start night. The Cowboys’ pressure came from everywhere. This is two weeks in a row the Eagles have gotten manhandled up front. Terrible job by the offensive line.

4. When you get blown out by the Vikings, it’s one thing. When you’re not competitive against the Cowboys, it’s a whole different deal. This is your biggest rivalry. This is your only real competition in the division. This is a team that you haven’t swept since 2011. This is a team that’s now won four straight against you for the first time since the 1990s. The Eagles came into North Texas for a nationally televised battle for first place against their biggest rival and a chance to make a statement, and this is how they responded? Looking unprepared, undisciplined and disinterested? The Eagles have plenty of season left, but it’s tough to have any faith at all after watching this slop.

5. Just to put into perspective just how rare it is to get embarrassed in back-to-back weeks like the Eagles have: This is only the fourth time since 1977 —  more than four decades — that the Eagles have lost consecutive games by 18 or more points. It happened late in the 1998 season, during the last few weeks of Ray Rhodes’ coaching tenure, it happened in 2006 just before Jeff Garcia led them on a late playoff run, and it happened in 2015 in the final weeks of Chip Kelly's tenure. Let’s be honest: These are the types of performances that get coaches fired. Pederson won’t get fired. The 2017 season earns him time. But it’s certainly fair to wonder if the Eagles have the players and coaches — and GM — to turn this thing around.

6. I’ll be shocked if Howie Roseman doesn’t make a trade before the deadline in a couple weeks, but the more I think about it, the more I realize the Eagles need a wide receiver more than anything. The Eagles have two wide receivers that defenses have to even think about — and they’re hardly game-breakers. How do you go play football with two mediocre receivers, one third-year guy who barely plays and a rookie who doesn’t play? This offense has zero firepower right now. This is five straight games without a catch of longer than 30 yards by a wide receiver. Can’t win like this. Not against a decent team.

7. Pederson also remains way too conservative early in games. The Eagles had 11 runs and 5 passes on their first four drives, and his 3rd-and-4 call with the Eagles still in the game at 14-7 early in the second quarter was so bizarrely conservative. A Miles Sanders run? On 3rd-and-4??? A rookie averaging 3.5 yards per carry??? What happened to the fearless play caller of 2017? What happened to aggressive Pederson? What happened to keeping defenses off-balance? He did the same thing on a big third down last week. I just don’t get it.

8. Watching the Cowboys also brings up the sobering reality that there is a real talent gap between the two teams when it comes to young players. Connor Williams is 22, Leighton Vander Esch is 23, Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith and Chidobe Awuzie are 24, Amari Cooper is 25. Where are the Eagles’ budding young stars? Guys like Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert and Derek Barnett show flashes, but a game like this really demonstrates just how desperately the Eagles need to start hitting on some draft picks.

9. It’s hard to evaluate Carson Wentz because he wasn’t getting any help from anybody, but two lost fumbles and an interception and just 10 completions for 186 yards adds up to one of the worst games of his career. He’s always played great against the Cowboys. This one was a disaster.

10. In the big picture it doesn’t mean anything, but what on Earth was Nelson Agholor doing on that deep ball early in the fourth quarter? It looked catchable? Should have been about a 55-yard gain? And it looked like he just gave up on the play? Lowered his arms as the ball went past him? What the heck is going on with him?

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NFL Rumors: Former Eagles DL Tim Jernigan finds a new home for 2020 season

NFL Rumors: Former Eagles DL Tim Jernigan finds a new home for 2020 season

Former Eagles defensive lineman and Super Bowl LII champion Tim Jernigan is returning to the AFC.

The 27-year-old defensive tackle is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to a report from NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

Garafolo clarified that the deal isn't done just yet, but Jernigan visited with the team on Wednesday, and barring something unforeseen, Jernigan will spend his seventh year in the league with the Jags:

Jernigan joined the Eagles in a 2017 trade with Baltimore - which also netted the Eagles Rasul Douglas  - and played 28 games over three seasons in Philly. His 2018 was derailed by back surgery, and he appeared in just three games that season. He compiled 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss during his time with the Birds.

Once viewed by the organization as a possible long-term piece on the defensive line, Jernigan signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Eagles in November of 2017. But the Eagles declined the option on his deal after the 2018 season, before bringing him back on a one-year deal worth up to $2 million.

The two sides parted ways after the 2019 season.

Interestingly, Jernigan was previously set to sign a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Texans during free agency this offseason, until the deal fell apart in June, seemingly in part because of his injury history. It's currently unclear how Jernigan's prospective deal with the Jaguars compares to his reported agreement with the Texans.

Jernigan started in all three playoff games during the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl run, and is credited with a pair of quarterback hits on Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII (the Eagles won, 41-33).

Jernigan was the Ravens' second-round pick in 2014.

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Former Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd dies at age 78

getty_mudd.jpg
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Former Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd dies at age 78

The 1964 NFL draft was held Dec. 2, 1963.

A week later Howard Mudd got a phone call.

"The 49ers mailed a letter to our athletic director (at Hillsdale College) letting them know they had drafted me and inviting me to training camp," Mudd told me in the summer of 2012. "Our AD opened his mail and called me, and that's how I found out I was drafted."

Mudd, the 49ers' 9th-round pick, went on to a brilliant playing career and a spectacular coaching career, including two years on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles. 

Mudd, considered one of the greatest offensive line coaches in NFL history, died on Wednesday, two weeks after a motorcycle accident in Seattle, his family announced through Mike Chappell of Fox 59 in Indianapolis. 

He was 78.

Mudd was a guard on the NFL’s team of the decade for the 1960s. He was only 28 when he retired after a serious knee injury.

He began his coaching career at Cal in 1972 and spent 1974 through 2012 as an offensive line coach with eight teams before retiring.

Mudd came out of retirement in February of 2019 to briefly serve as a senior offensive assistant with the Colts under former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who had worked with Mudd as an assistant with the Colts in 2008 and 2009. Mudd retired from that position in September.

Mudd's last full-time job was the Eagles' offensive line coach in 2011 and 2012. He came out of his first retirement to replace Juan Castillo after Castillo replaced current Bills head coach Sean McDermott as Eagles defensive coordinator.

"(Reid) said, 'I want you to consider coming out of retirement. Would you consider that?'" Mudd told Philly reporters after joining the Eagles in February of 2011. "I was kind of stumbling around for things to say and I said, 'I'm very flattered.' We talked and chatted. Andy is pretty persuasive. My daughter said, 'Dad you retired. You get to do anything you want.' I said, 'I want to go coach. That's what I do.'"

Jason Kelce was a rookie 6th-round pick in 2011, Mudd's first year with the Eagles. In a "Five Minutes with Roob" segment in 2017, Kelce recalled Mudd telling him to think like a starter:

"I definitely didn't have a mentality that I was going to be the starter, to tell you the truth," he said. "My mentality was just to go out there and compete and make the team and I think just do the best I can, and fortunately I had an offensive line coach who believed in me, Howard Mudd, and he taught me a bunch of techniques as an under-sized player that I could utilize at this level. I still remember having a conversation with him where he said, 'Do you want to play this year?' And at that point that wasn't really in my mind."

Here's a story Dave Zangaro wrote about Mudd in the fall of 2011, after Mudd had hip replacement surgery.

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