Eagles

Just a reminder that Eagles don’t have their Super Bowl without Andy Reid

Just a reminder that Eagles don’t have their Super Bowl without Andy Reid

I’m not here to tell you to root for Andy Reid in Super Bowl LIV. That’s your decision.

I’m just here to remind you that even though Reid had been gone five years before the Eagles won their Super Bowl, his fingerprints were still all over that team. And they wouldn’t have become Super Bowl LII champions without him.

That doesn’t mean Reid is forgiven for all the times he failed to deliver a championship of his own. It doesn’t excuse his flaws; and there were flaws. But it would be disingenuous to not give him credit because a lot of the groundwork for the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017 was laid by him.

Now, the Eagles also wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl (at least not the way they did) if they never fired Reid in 2012 either. That started a chain reaction that led to Chip and and then Chip’s downfall and there’s this whole Butterfly Effect that happened.

But just finding Reid’s influence on the Eagles’ championship team a couple years ago is much, much easier than all that. It was at every level.

On the roster

Six of the Eagles’ 22 starters in Super Bowl LII came from Reid’s time in Philadelphia. Think about that for a second. With how much turnover there is in the NFL and with the fact that the Eagles went through two coaching changes after firing Reid, to have 27.3 percent of your starters come from him is pretty impressive.

And think about those individual players: Nick Foles, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks. (And that doesn't even include Jason Peters, who missed the game because of injury.)

Sure, Foles left and came back but Reid drafted him, the other six starters and Brent Celek, who was also still on that team. So Reid, who was fired by the Eagles five years earlier, drafted the Super Bowl LII MVP and the guy who made one of the biggest defensive plays in franchise history.

And let’s not forget that it was Reid who helped Foles fall back in love with the game in 2016 after Foles had strongly considered retirement. Without Reid, Foles wouldn’t have even been in the league for the 2017 season.

“I just sort of made the decision to go back and play for Coach Reid,” Foles said to NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank during the 2017 season. “It was the best decision I made, going there in that situation. Because it wasn’t an easy call for me but I was back with someone that was familiar. I think Coach Reid is one of the greatest coaches in the world. I love them and I really had a special year last year with him.”

The coaching staff

When the Eagles were looking for a head coach in 2016, they listened closely to Reid, who vouched for his offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson. After all, who knows Pederson better than Reid? Reid coached Pederson in Green Bay, brought him to Philly to play before Donovan McNabb in 1999 and gave Pederson his first coaching job 10 years later.

So not only would Pederson not have gotten the head coaching job in Philly … without Reid, we wouldn’t even know who this guy was. And without Reid, Pederson would be a completely different coach. He learned his style as an offensive mind and as a leader from Reid and it shows. A lot of what Pederson did his first season as head coach was to try to get the cold feeling out of the building from Chip Kelly and restore the family atmosphere Reid worked so hard to foster for over a decade.

And let’s not forget Duce Staley either. Sure, Duce was drafted before Andy got to Philly but he played five seasons under Big Red and then Reid gave Duce his first coaching job in 2011.

The front office

While some of his moves since the Super Bowl season have been questionable, the 2017 season was Howie Roseman’s master-stroke. Don’t forget that Roseman worked under Reid for years and still worked under him when Roseman was promoted to general manager in 2010.

"I love Howie's energy, and I've loved it since I've been here with Howie," Reid said after Roseman was promoted to GM. "His eagerness to learn and then his ability to evaluate are second to none."

Roseman learned a lot of lessons from Reid, including the importance of solidifying offensive and defensive lines, something the Eagles did very well in 2017. It was under Reid and Joe Banner that Roseman was able to grow up in the NFL and become the youngest GM in the league at 34 back in 2010. He doesn’t become the Super Bowl GM without learning from Reid along the way.

•••   

Remember, I’m not telling you that you should be rooting for Reid to win this Super Bowl. To each his own. But the fact that the Eagles wouldn’t have won their championship without him, might be reason enough.

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Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Another week, another starting wide receiver changing teams - and the Eagles still remain on the sidelines.

The Rams traded Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Texans on Thursday for the No. 57 pick in this month's NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Cooks, 26, is headed to his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in 2014, and his third team since 2017.

The Texans' move, of course, comes a little more than three weeks after Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins, a superior wide receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for basically a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman implied in late March that the Eagles were involved in the Hopkins discussions, but couldn't - or didn't want to - match the Cardinals' offer. It was an interesting argument, considering the Birds' absolutely dire need for wide receiver help, but Roseman isn't one to overpay when he draws a line in the sand. 

It's unclear whether the Eagles were in the mix for Cooks, a player who they've been linked to in previous trade talks.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro broke down the pros and cons of a potential Cooks-to-Eagles deal, and concluded that while Roseman should've at least been talking to the Rams about Cooks, trading a second-round pick for a player with concussion history who isn't getting any younger wouldn't be a smart use of capital:

Should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.

The fact that the Texans' Bill O'Brien, not exactly one of football's most revered decision-makers at the moment, traded the No. 57 pick for Cooks tells that Dave was on the money.

Of course, this leaves the Eagles with one fewer way to fix their wide receiver woes. They are clearly eyeing the draft, where a historically deep wide receiver class should net at least one contributor.

Will it be in the first round? Players like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs seem like game-changers, but they might not be available without the Eagles trading up. If they don't, guys like Brandon Aiyuk could be available with the second-round pick Roseman just decided to not trade.

And if they wait past the first wave of top-tier wideout talent, there are plenty of names to watch in the later rounds.

One thing's for certain: things are starting to heat up, and that's normally when Roseman starts making moves.

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Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

“There’s a whole lot left. That’s all I can tell you. You haven’t seen nothing yet," Sidney Jones said Thursday afternoon in an interview. 

Jones is going into his third real season in the NFL. He has gone through injuries. He’s been a healthy scratch.

Howie Roseman said, “It’s time for him to prove it," and Jones agrees.

“Adversity builds character," he said. "I feel like I have weathered the storm. I am ready to show what I can do and prove it."

Jones is working out in Texas with noted defensive backs trainer Ronnie Braxton. They are working on physical and mental techniques. I asked Jones if his confidence has been affected through his ups and downs.

“It probably could have," he said. "I’m not going to lie. But you’ve got to keep pushing through it and that’s where I’m at right now, working with everybody in my circle that’s getting me back right." 

Jones is also working with veteran cornerback Chris Harris, who was just named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Jones wishes Harris would’ve signed with the Eagles, but Harris chose the Chargers in free agency. 

“Just to be around guys like that and to watch him and watch his moves and see how they go about their business, I can just follow him and pick up tips," Jones said.

Jones is thrilled the Eagles traded for his “boy” Darius Slay. Jones says having Slay with the cornerback will help him, and he says the two have a similar body type.

“Veteran leadership," he said. "He’s been around the game and has experience. I think it’s going to be really good for us."

Jones said the Eagles did not say anything to him after they traded for Slay. The word is Jones and Avonte Maddox will compete for the other outside cornerback spot, and Jones is ready to compete. 

“I am ready," he said. "I don’t think anybody is working as hard as me right now”

How motivated is he?

“I can’t even describe," he said. "It’s not even on the radar. It’s 1,000 times above that. I’m excited, man.”

Jones and his fiancée donated $25,000 to The Philly Pledge, following Rodney McLeod’s lead. Jones wants to help people in Philly, and wants to stay in Philly.  

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