Eagles' 4 biggest offseason questions

Eagles' 4 biggest offseason questions

The confetti has been cleaned up and the party is over. The Eagles won a Super Bowl. Now it's all about trying to win one again. 

So hopefully Howie Roseman and his staff had a good time celebrating because there's plenty of work to be done. 

For the most part, the Eagles are in a pretty good position. Doug Pederson is back for Year 3, Carson Wentz's rehab appears to be going well, and the team brings back most of its starters from the 2017 season. 

But there are some major questions facing the team. 

Here are four of them: 

1. How should they replace Frank Reich? 
You can thank Josh McDaniels for this one. The Patriots' offensive coordinator had already accepted the Colts' head coaching job but then he backed out, leaving Reich in their crosshairs. The Colts might have actually lucked out in this whole situation because Reich has the makings of a pretty good head coach. But it is a loss for the Eagles. 

Now, there's a chance you don't know what the Eagles are going to miss losing Reich, but I tried to outline that here. Basically, the Eagles need to find a good complement to Pederson to put in this role. Maybe that's Duce Staley, maybe that's Mike Groh. Maybe that's someone who isn't in the organization right now. 

At some point, Pederson is going to have to figure out how to replenish his staff, especially if the Eagles are going to be successful over the next decade. Because with success comes other teams wanting your coaches. It seems like Pederson values promoting from within, but there also seems to be value in bringing in smart outside voices. He's going to have to learn how to balance those two things. 

2. Should they trade Nick Foles?  
Coming off a dazzling postseason and a Super Bowl MVP award, Foles' value has never been higher. Roseman could probably flip him right now for a high pick while also clearing $5.2 million in cap space. But, of course, it's not that easy and there's one big hurdle in the way. Wentz is still recovering from a torn ACL and LCL. His goal is still to be ready for Week 1 but it's far too early in his recovery to say definitively that he'll be good to go. 

So this puts the Eagles in a tough spot. Trade Foles and hope Wentz is ready. If he's not, then Nate Sudfeld is your Week 1 starter. Or keep Foles as an expensive insurance policy. 

The Eagles have already proven they can win a Super Bowl with Foles or Wentz, so the possibility of starting the season without either of them should be terrifying. Maybe we'll get a better sense of Wentz's recovery in a month or two, but until then it might be too risky to trade Foles. 

3. Who should they bring back? 
The Eagles have several key players set to become free agents when the new league year starts on March 14. The most important among them is linebacker Nigel Bradham, who came to the Eagles on a two-year deal two seasons ago. Bradham had a great 2017 season and filled in admirably for Jordan Hicks as the defensive signal-caller after the middle linebacker tore his Achilles. From there, the Eagles also have to make decisions on Beau Allen, Patrick Robinson, Trey Burton and others. 

The problem is that the Eagles don't have enough money to pay everyone. Based on projections of the 2018 salary cap, the Eagles are set to be about $9 million over. Now, don't worry too much about the numbers yet. If there's one thing Howie Roseman is great at, it's manipulating the salary cap. But they do have some decisions about players under contract, starting with Vinny Curry and his $11 million cap number in 2018. And is it worth picking up that Torrey Smith option for $5 million? That would be one quick way to help that cap situation. 

4. Who should they bring in? 
Roseman pulled all the right strings last offseason. Think about the guys he brought in: Alshon Jeffery, Robinson, Timmy Jernigan, Foles, Chance Warmack, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount. All of them played a role in 2017. 

It seems like there are so many years when we expect Roseman to be quiet in free agency and he never is. He's an aggressive guy when it comes to adding talent in the offseason and after what he did last year, it's hard to argue against his philosophy. Expect him to be able to manipulate the cap enough to find room to bring in quality free agents and maybe a few diamonds in the rough like Robinson from last year.

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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