Eagles

Eagles mailbag: Rookie of the year, Adams’ role, Sidney Jones

Eagles mailbag: Rookie of the year, Adams’ role, Sidney Jones

As we head into this weekend, we’re just a few days away from the start of Eagles’ OTAs in Phase 3 of the offseason program. 

Doug Pederson will have his press conference before practice on Tuesday and Carson Wentz is also scheduled to speak with reporters. 

You guys gave me so many questions that I broke this mailbag up into three parts. Part 1 is today and we’ll run the other two over the weekend. 

Let’s get to your questions: 

I’m going to play the odds here and say Miles Sanders. He’s one rookie I know will play a lot this season. Now, if Jason Peters suffers a significant injury at some point, I’d go all in on Andre Dillard. But since Peters is clearly the starting left tackle, I can’t pick Dillard … at least not now. 

Barring injury, sheer opportunity makes Sanders the easiest pick. But Sanders is going to be a damn good player. I think he’s going to play well enough this season that the Eagles don’t have to worry too much about letting Jordan Howard walk after this year. 

Since the Eagles drafted Mailata, I don’t think there’s been a time I’ve asked for questions and didn’t get one back about him. He’s an intriguing guy; I get it. And I understand why you’d look at him and think he could play on the defensive line. Still can’t see it happening. 

If the Eagles were to move Mailata now, they would have basically wasted a year of his development. Maybe if Mailata hadn’t shown incredible growth at offensive tackle, they’d think about it, but he has shown tremendous growth. Last preseason was shocking. He went from never playing football to looking like a serviceable player in a live game. It was never going to be a short-term project, so the Eagles just have to stick with him at offensive tackle. No one knows if he’s going to be a Hall of Famer or if he’ll ever play a meaningful snap. But there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged by his progress as an offensive lineman. 

Simply put: No. Adams was thrust into a lead role last year out of necessity and then was basically benched in the playoffs. And that’s not a knock on him; he should have never been in a lead role to begin with, but injuries forced the Eagles’ hand. Adams did play through an injury of his own so maybe he comes back healthy and sticks around as the fourth running back, but he doesn’t even have a roster spot locked up right now. He needs to have a good spring and summer just to make the team. Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and even Corey Clement are firmly ahead of him. 

Got a couple questions on Sidney Jones, so I’m happy to address him here. I’ve been bullish on Jones since the Eagles drafted him and I still think he’s going to be a really good player in the NFL. Jones is about to turn 23, so the harsh criticism of him is pretty unfair. I get that he didn’t have a great season in 2018, but he was injured. Part of the impatience from Eagles fans comes from his redshirt season in 2017, but it’s unfair to hold that against him. We all knew the situation when the Eagles drafted him in the second round. They were playing the long game. You can hate the pick because there was too much risk involved, but to say Jones isn’t ever going to be good is unfair. Had he been a normal rookie last season, you’d look at it and say, “Oh well, he got hurt.” Instead, folks are holding his 2017 season against him. 

And it seems to have been forgotten, but Jones won the nickel corner job out of camp last year and was pretty good at the beginning of the season there. He shined in an unfamiliar position in the first meaningful games of his career. By the time he got to play outside, he was already dealing with that lingering hamstring injury. This is a huge year for Jones, no doubt, but I’m not ruling out big things for him. He just needs to stay healthy. 

The Eagles are in a better position with kick returners than they are with punt returners, which isn’t ideal because most kickoffs just end up as touchbacks anyway. 

At kick returner: Wendell Smallwood or Corey Clement would make sense. 

At punt returner: DeSean Jackson in small doses and then maybe a deep reserve WR (like Greg Ward or Braxton Miller) makes the team as a punt returner. Heck, maybe even Nelson Agholor or Avonte Maddox could do it. We’ll see who’s back there at OTAs and get a better idea. 

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Who are the best Eagles to never make a Pro Bowl?

ap_rodney_peete_brent_celek_duce_staley_eagles.jpg
AP Images

Who are the best Eagles to never make a Pro Bowl?

The Eagles have had 113 Pro Bowlers in franchise history going back to the first NFL All-Star Game in 1950.

A bunch are Hall of Famers, like Reggie White, Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael.

A bunch are fairly obscure, like Buck Lansford, Jess Richardson and J.D. Smith.

And then there’s everybody else.

This story is about everybody else.

This is the all-time Eagles Never-Made-a-Pro-Bowl team.

These are the best players in franchise history who never made a Pro Bowl, either as an Eagle or with any other team at any point in their career.

The best of the rest.

We start with the all-time Eagles Never-Made-a-Pro-Bowl offense, with the defense and specialists coming on Wednesday.

Arguments are welcome.

Quarterback

Rodney Peete
It’s not easy finding a quarterback for this team. All the successful QBs in franchise history have been to a Pro Bowl — Donovan McNabb, Ron Jaworski, Carson Wentz, Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Randall Cunningham. 

That leaves people like Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Ty Detmer and Bubby Brister. Incredibly, Peele was 15-9 as an Eagles starter and is the only quarterback to win 10 games in an Eagles uniform and never go to a Pro Bowl. And he's the only non-Pro Bowl QB ever to win a postseason game for the Eagles. So Peete gets the nod.

Running back

Duce Staley
A no-brainer. Staley ran for 4,807 yards in an Eagles uniform with three 1,000-yard seasons. No other non-Pro Bowler in Eagles history had one 1,000-yard season.

Wide receivers

Ben Hawkins, Jason Avant, Jordan Matthews
Hawkins is the best receiver in Eagles history to never make a Pro Bowl — he’s 11th in franchise history with nearly 5,000 receiving yards.  

Matthews is one of only five receivers in NFL history to begin his career with 800 yards in each of his first three seasons and never make a Pro Bowl. 

And Avant was just a steady, consistent slot who caught nearly 300 passes in an Eagles uniform.

Tight end

Brent Celek
Another no-brainer. Celek piled up 398 catches for 4,998 yards and 31 TDs in his 11 years with the Eagles but never made a Pro Bowl. John Spagnola would be the next guy on the list, more than 2,000 yards behind. 

Offensive tackles

Todd Herremans, Vic Sears
Two long-time Eagles from different eras. Herremans started more games than any non-Pro Bowl offensive lineman in franchise history and was a steady, consistent guard or tackle on a bunch of really good teams for 10 years. Sears was a starter on two NFL Championship teams and spent his entire 13-year career here before retiring after the 1953 season.

Guards

Ron Baker, Stefen Wisniewski 
Baker was a backup on the 1980 Super Bowl team and then a steady starter for most of the 1980s. Wiz wasn’t here long but was huge during the 2017 run and in the Super Bowl. 

Center

Guy Morriss
Morriss played 15 seasons in the NFL, started 173 games, played in Super Bowls for two different teams and never made a Pro Bowl. But he was a capable 11-year starter for the Eagles from 1973 through 1983 before finishing his career in New England.

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Brian Dawkins shares his powerful and refreshing message on mental health

Brian Dawkins shares his powerful and refreshing message on mental health

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month and Eagles legend Brian Dawkins is on a mission to erase the negative stigma around mental health. 

And in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an even more important topic than ever. 

“Mental health: We all have it,”” Dawkins said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. "If you are breathing right now, you have mental health. We all have it just like we all have physical health. If you’re breathing, you have physical health. Same thing with mental health. 

“The problem is that when I say mental health, what usually happens is a person will think of depression. They’ll think of stress. They’ll think of negative things when you say mental health, but we all have it. Not everybody has a mental issue or a mental illness, but everybody has mental health. So if we can begin to separate the two. There’s such a negative stigma when it comes to mental health. That’s why I changed it to something else.”

When it comes to his own mental health, Dawkins said he chooses to call it cerebral wellness. It doesn’t have the negative connotation and, to him, it encompasses more. 

Dawkins, 46, has been a advocate of mental health awareness for a long time and has been open about his own struggles with depression. Early in his NFL career, he turned to alcohol and had to fight off suicidal thoughts. 

But since then, Dawkins has found ways to deal with that depression. That includes his faith and a daily routine. 

“I do specific things daily in the morning and at night to make sure that I’m operating in a place that I want to be in,” Dawkins said, “that I’m making sure I tell my body to shut up and get in line.”

Dawkins said every morning when he wakes up he spends at least 20 minutes praying, meditating and writing in a journal. He also focuses on breathing techniques, something he began doing after joining his wife at Lamaze classes. He was fascinated that breathing techniques could help women manage pain while giving birth, so he began to use those techniques himself during his football days. 

“I’ve taken ownership of it,” Dawkins said. “It belongs to me.” 

Dawkins realizes that everyone will have different things that work for them, but he’s invested in sharing his own experiences to help anyone who might be listening. And a lot of that simply starts with a refreshing reminder that mental health shouldn’t come with a stigma at all. 

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