Alshon's future, a crazy Shelton Gibson stat, Carson Wentz vs. Donovan McNabb and lots more in this weekend's 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations!
1. The question I’ve been asked more than any other since the season ended is: “What are they going to do with Alshon?” And it’s an intriguing one. Howie talked about Alshon when he met with the media a couple weeks ago, and bringing him back - if he’s healthy - makes sense in a way. When he’s healthy, he’s the most talented WR on the roster … by far (I know, I know, low bar), they’ve got to pay him anyway, and you can’t replace an entire corps of wide receivers, so why not keep the best one? But then I keep coming back to … I just don’t want this guy in my locker room. I don’t want him anywhere near Carson Wentz. I don’t want him near the young, impressionable wideouts the Eagles are going to draft. It’s a tough call, especially because of the economics. And Jeffery’s foot injury complicates everything. But bottom line is I just don’t think it’s a good idea for him to be in the building, and it’s up to Roseman to figure out a sensible way to make sure he's not.
2. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator. He’s obviously a bright offensive mind, but what I like is that he’s an outside voice who can bring some fresh ideas to Doug Pederson, but philosophically he’s coming from the same general place as Doug. Harrell is a disciple of Mike Leach - he played for him and coached under him - and Leach is not quite part of the Andy Reid coaching tree, but he used to visit Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and Pederson at Lehigh to pick their brains about their offense. They’re different enough because there’s no direct connection between Pederson and Harrell, but there’s enough common ground that it seems like a heck of a fit.
3. I wrote this past week about Doug Pederson’s struggles hiring assistant coaches, and one of the more troublesome trends is that he’s now fired three coaches he brought in and then promoted. He hired Carson Walch in 2018 as assistant wide receivers coach and promoted him to WR coach after one year, he hired Phillip Daniels in 2016 as a quality control coach and promoted him to d-line in 2018 and he brought in Mike Groh as WRs and promoted him to offensive coordinator after the 2017 season. Groh lasted two years and Walch and Daniels one year. I don’t get how you can be so wrong about guys who’ve been on your staff that you want to get rid of him that quickly.
4. For the first time since 1984, the Eagles didn’t have a punt return of 20 yards this year. Their longest was a 17-yarder by Darren Sproles on opening day. In 1984, their long was a 16-yarder by Evan Cooper against the Patriots. Overall, the Eagles ranked 25th in punt return average at 5.8, their lowest figure since 5.7 in 1983. Makes it tough on everybody when so many of your drives start deep in your own territory. Greg Ward is a nice slot receiver, but he's not a punt returner. Just another need for 2020.
5. There’s no down-side to Connor Barwin joining the Eagles’ front office. He’s a smart guy, he knows the game, he really loves this team and wants to see it succeed as much now as when he played here. The more people like Connor Barwin in your organization the better off you are.
6. I still believe in Carson Wentz, but interesting to think that four years into Donovan McNabb’s career he had already won four playoff games and reached two NFC Championship Games.
7. One-time Eagles training camp phenom Raheem Mostert, who plays for the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, has a higher career rushing average than every running back in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
8. Shelton Gibson has more position coaches than receptions in his career. Gibson has three career catches. He’s had four position coaches - Mike Groh in 2017, Gunter Brewer in 2018, Adam Henry with the Browns this past season and then Carson Walch for a week. If Gibson stays here this offseason? That disparity will go up.
9. Just a reminder for those clinging to their membership in the Jim Schwartz Sucks Cabal: Since 2016, the Eagles are No. 7 in the NFL in points allowed, No. 1 in run defense, No. 3 stopping third down, 10th in sacks, 9th in takeaways and 2nd in first downs allowed. With a Super Bowl title in there last time I checked. And allowing 17 points per game in six playoff games. And that’s with two players you’d classify as elite — Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins. He's not the problem.
10. Jason Peters has been an Eagle for so long he blocked for Brian Westbrook! Crazy, ain’t it? Going to be tough to see J.P. go. But it’s time.
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