Eagles

Eagles finally release Mack Hollins

Eagles finally release Mack Hollins

Mack Hollins, who hasn’t had a catch since September, won’t even have an opportunity anymore. 

The Eagles on Tuesday afternoon waived the 2017 fourth-round pick. 

Hollins, 26, was actually contributing earlier this season, but his last catch came on Sept. 26 against the Packers. Since then, Hollins played 204 snaps in eight games without a catch on five targets. 

To fill Hollins’ place on the roster, the Eagles called up undrafted guard Sue Opeta from the practice squad. The Eagles wanted to sign Opeta to the active roster after another team wanted to sign him away. (The Eagles also signed DT Kevin Wilkins to fill Opeta’s practice squad spot.) 

And recently, Hollins’ role on offense had rightfully decreased. 

What made Hollins’ lack of production so frustrating this year was the Eagles’ refusal to even acknowledge that it was a problem. 

Here’s what receivers coach Carson Walch said about Hollins in early November after five straight games without a catch: 

I don’t think there’s a direct reason. I know production is a word that’s getting thrown around a lot. Production as a player to me isn’t just how many catches you have in a given week. Each guy on our team has a role and right now Mack Hollins has done a very good job at his role, and a lot of it is blocking, but he’s running all the routes we’re asking him to run, he’s getting to his depth and when the ball comes to Mack he’ll make a play for us.

Yeah, that was pretty infuriating for Eagles fans. 

In recent weeks, the Eagles began limiting Hollins’ playing time. He played 12 snaps against the Patriots and just 10 in the last two weeks. The Eagles have finally started to play second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside more.

 

With Hollins gone, the Eagles have four members left of their eight-man draft class from 2017: Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas and Nathan Gerry. 

While Barnett is a starter and Gerry is a prominent role player, Jones has been a healthy scratch and Douglas has become a backup again. 

The Hollins move means the Eagles have now cut him and Jordan Matthews in consecutive weeks. These two guys played big roles for the Eagles at times this year, which highlights how bad things have been at the receiver position. 

Hollins actually had a somewhat promising rookie season (16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown) before missing the entire 2018 year. He returned in 2019 and found his way on the field but wasn’t able to stick. 

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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.

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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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Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Lane Johnson is a Pro Bowler after all.

Johnson, snubbed in the original Pro Bowl announcement, has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as an alternate, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio.

This is Johnson’s third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. There was no word on which offensive lineman dropped out of the game.

It was a little surprising that Johnson didn't make the team initially. He's considered one of the NFL's most dominating right tackles and was a first-team all-pro in 2017.

He didn't seem thrilled when the original team was announced a month ago:

Johnson missed the last three games of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Seahawks with a high ankle sprain, and it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando.

But for the purposes of bonuses and status, he’s now officially a three-time Pro Bowler.

Johnson becomes the seventh offensive lineman in Eagles history selected to three or more Pro Bowls.

Jason Peters was picked to seven between the 2009 and 2016 seasons. Tra Thomas, Bob Brown, Bucko Kilroy, Jason Kelce, Jim Ringo and Brandon Brooks have all been picked to three.

The 29-year-old Johnson becomes the Eagles’ sixth Pro Bowler, joining Brooks, Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz and Rick Lovato.

Johnson, the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, recently signed a contract extension that runs through 2025.

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