Eagles Mailbag: Offensive game plan, Rasul Douglas, season outlook

Eagles Mailbag: Offensive game plan, Rasul Douglas, season outlook

Over the last couple of days, we’ve answered plenty of your questions in our three-part mailbag. 

Part 1. 

Part 2. 

And, as we get closer to rookie minicamp on Friday, here’s Part 3. 

Have you met Doug Pederson? 

He’s gonna throw the ball. I think the key is to find balance. Really, that’s been the key with him as a head coach since he took over in 2016. Fans clamor for a running game, Pederson stays true to himself. But I do agree with you that now there’s less of a reason for him to abandon that balance and we’ve seen how much a running game can do for the entire offense. Believe it or not, the Eagles have the 11th-most rushing attempts in the NFL since Pederson took over as head coach, but he certainly hasn’t favored the run. 

Adding Jordan Howard and then Miles Sanders should at least help Pederson keep some of that balance, but if you expect him to become a run-first play-caller, that just isn’t going to happen. The Eagles still have Carson Wentz and they have a ton of money tied up in their receivers. As much as they improved at running back, this is still a team with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. There are just as many reasons to stay pass-happy as there are to commit to the run. Ultimately, it’s all about the right mix and I do agree with you, that it should be easier to find with better backs. 


The Eagles have a good roster and should compete for the NFC East title. In fact, I’d even call them the favorites to win the division after finishing second behind the Cowboys in 2018. I still think Dallas is a pretty solid team after winning 10 games last year. Either way, this is a two-team race. It’ll either be the Cowboys or Eagles winning the division and the other team will have a shot at a wild cart spot, just like last year. I don’t see much competition coming from the Giants. The Redskins might be OK. Based on recent history, the Cowboys aren’t going to win the division. It’s been over a decade since any team won back-to-back NFC East titles. 

It really all comes down to Carson Wentz. If he’s healthy and back to his 2017 form, the Eagles have the best QB in the division and it’s not close. He has plenty of weapons around him and the Eagles’ offense should get back to being one of the most dynamic in the NFL. 

I really like Rasul Douglas. I don’t know what he’ll be long-term, but I have certainly seen enough from him over the last two years to allow him to compete for a starting gig as an outside cornerback. To me, he’s earned that. Every time the Eagles have needed him to start, he’s played pretty well and I think there’s more potential there. But you’re right, it seems like the coaching staff might not like him as much as I do and I’m not entirely sure why. If it’s an open competition this summer, I think Douglas would win a starting job. Not sure if that will really be the case. 

I’m still leaning toward Sproles not returning for the 2019 season, but if the Eagles bring him back, then he’s going to make the team. They wouldn’t sign him and then cut him after training camp. The Eagles could probably still use him as a change-of-pace guy on offense and a punt returner. His role would be pretty limited, but if he would agree to a minimal deal, he might help a little. 

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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