What we learned from Sunday’s roster cuts, the most ridiculous Jordan Matthews stat ever, Jim Johnson’s postseason brilliance and lots more in today’s Roob’s 10 random Eagles observations!
1. What we learned from Sunday's cuts
The five players the Eagles released Sunday have one thing in common: All finished last season with the Eagles. Albert Huggins played in four games and finished the season on the practice squad. Daeshon Hall was on the roster all year and played in nine games. Shelton Gibson, the Eagles’ fifth-round pick in 2017, was on the roster for the Seahawks playoff game. Marcus Green was on the practice squad all year. Tremon Smith spent the last month on the practice squad.
The takeaway is clear: The Eagles believe that even without an offseason or preseason games, they have newcomers who have a better chance to contribute than five guys who were in the building last year and know the system. It means they value undrafted rookie DT Raequan Williams over Huggins, they value all their young receivers over two guys who know the offense, they value untested Joe Ostman and Shareef Miller over Hall, and they feel stronger about all their young corners than a guy who’s been in the program since December. It’s interesting philosophically because it really tells us that Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson believe young players with no offseason can compete for roster spots ahead of known quantities.
2. Finally an agreement
I’m glad the NFL and NFLPA finally agreed on training camp protocols. But it’s crazy it didn’t happen until four days before camps were due to open. I sure hope the people making these decisions know what they’re doing.
3. Jordan Matthews' bizarre career
Matthews has had one of the strangest careers I’ve ever seen. He caught 225 passes in his first three seasons, and granted two of them came in Chip Kelly’s hurry-up offense, but that’s still the 14th-most receptions in NFL history in a player’s first three seasons. In three seasons since, Matthews has 49 catches and has changed teams eight times. There have been 48 players in NFL history who caught 200 or more passes in their first three seasons. Of the 39 who came into the league by 2014, not one has come anywhere close to Matthews’ statistical decline. The only other receiver who caught 200 passes in his first three seasons and fewer than 100 in his next three is one-time Falcons first-round pick Mike Pritchard with 79. The average receiver caught 203 in his next three seasons.
4. A ridiculous Jordan Matthews stat
There are 33 modern-era wide receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Matthews had more catches in his first three seasons than 32 of them. Randy Moss had one more catch than Matthews.
5. Making sense of the Jamal Adams trade
Normally I would say two first-round picks (and a three and a starter) is way too high a price for a safety. But Adams is 24 and a truly elite player. And the Seahawks know that their first-round picks — when they keep them — are always at the end of the first round. They’ve kept only four first-round picks since 2013, and they’ve been No. 31, 27, 29 and 27. They haven’t picked higher than 27 since 2012. The Seahawks are the rarest of perennial playoff teams, building and winning without premium first-round picks. The Seahawks are trying to go from being an 11-win team back to the Super Bowl, and the Jets are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade. This deal gives both teams what they need.
6. Howie doesn't do this
And remember, Roseman has still never traded a first- or second-round pick for a player.
7. The Super Bowl alumni
There are 21 guys who played on the 2017 Super Bowl team that went on to play for another NFL team. Good luck trying to find more than a couple out of those 21 who did anything at their next stop. Stefen Wisniewski started in the Super Bowl for the Chiefs last year, but he started only two games during the regular season. Jordan Hicks had a solid year for the Cards in 2019 (but didn’t actually play in the Super Bowl). That’s really it. Almost none of those 21 guys did anything at their next stop, and only four of those 21 are currently with the team they joined after leaving the Eagles (Joe Walker, Hicks, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson). The Eagles got so much out of so many guys who haven’t done anything since.
8. Elite company for Pederson
If the Eagles reach the playoffs this year, Pederson will become only the 19th head coach in NFL history to reach the playoffs in at least four of his first five seasons. Of the first 18, only George Seifert, John Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin, Bud Grant, Mike Holmgren and Paul Brown won a Super Bowl or NFL Championship during those first five years.
9. Are they serious?
NFL.com is in the process of putting out its list of top-100 players, and they’ve only done 71 through 100 so far, but … Fletcher Cox is No. 73, Jason Kelce is No. 94 and Brandon Brooks is No. 98. You have the best center in the NFL, one of the best guards in the NFL and one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, all on one of only four teams to reach the playoffs in each of the last three years with the fourth-best record in football over the last three years along with a Super Bowl championship. Somebody hasn’t been paying attention.
10. In appreciation of Jim Johnson
In 17 playoff games with Johnson as defensive coordinator, the Eagles allowed 10 second-half touchdowns and a total of 94 points, or 5.5 per game. During those 17 second halves, the Eagles allowed 3.3 yards per carry and held QBs to a 63.0 passer rating.
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