Eagles

Eagles Mailbag: Still confident Carson Wentz will return to form?

Eagles Mailbag: Still confident Carson Wentz will return to form?

The Phillies, Sixers and Flyers have taken headlines recently, but before you know it, everyone’s focus will be back on football and the Eagles. That’s the way it always goes. 

And you guys still care. 

I got a ton of questions in the mailbag (thanks as always), so let’s get into the first batch today: 

My confidence in Carson Wentz as a player has never really wavered. No, he didn’t look like an MVP in 2018, but he wasn’t that far removed from a really serious knee injury. Remember, it was an ACL and an LCL tear. Even Wentz admitted these injuries can take two years to fully heal. And even with that and then dealing with the back fracture, he still threw for 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2018. He actually had a higher passer rating in 2018! I have no doubts in Wentz as a player. We all saw what he was capable of during the 2017 season and I fully expect him to get back to that level. I think he’ll win an MVP in this league. I think he’ll win a Super Bowl. 

The only real question is the other one you asked. Can he stay healthy? We don’t really know. I think he can, but there’s no doubt there’s at least some reason for concern about his durability. The key, for me, is this: When you look at his injuries, they haven’t been soft tissue injuries. If he kept hurting his hamstrings or groins or calves, I could see a common thread. But Wentz’s injuries have been breaks and impact injuries. As long as he protects himself and limits contact, I think he can stay healthy, like when he played all 16 games in his rookie season. 

I’ll start this by saying I think the Eagles don’t move on from Jason Peters this season. Yes, he has a big salary and he struggled to stay healthy in 2018, but I don’t think the other options are as enticing. 

As for moving Lane Johnson to left tackle, I suppose that’s an option, but I think it was telling that they didn’t do that for the second half of the 2017 season when Peters went down. They like Johnson at right tackle; it’s where he’s become a Pro Bowler and where he faces some of the top edge rushers in the NFL. I think there’s a very good chance they draft an offensive tackle with one of their first three picks. Bringing in a tackle in free agency is a little harder because teams aren’t normally willing to let them walk, so to get one, you have to overpay. Think Nate Solder with the Giants. It’s possible, but more cost effective to draft one. 

I know the Eagles think quite a bit of Nate Sudfeld and Washington should be kicking itself for letting him walk out of the building to come to Philly. I thought the Eagles showed how much they liked Sudfeld when they allowed him to be their backup quarterback for the entire Super Bowl run in 2017. Sure, there wouldn’t have been much time to catch another guy up, but if the Eagles didn’t feel comfortable with him then, they would have made a move. At every checkpoint, the Eagles have shown how much they like Sudfeld. They brought him over from Washington, promoted him to the active roster to avoid a poaching and then let him be the backup through Wentz’s injuries. I think he’ll be the backup in 2019. 

As for the second part of that, I do think it would be a good year to bring in a developmental quarterback. Doug Pederson once said he would like to draft quarterbacks often and keep developing them. This is a perfect year to do so. The top two are going to be Wentz and Sudfeld, but the Eagles have three sixth-round picks. I think a QB would be good use for one of them. The guy in that range I like is Boise State QB Brett Rypien.  

Oh! I’m good. Thanks! 

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Erase Jay Gruden's name from your Eagles coaching wish list

Erase Jay Gruden's name from your Eagles coaching wish list

Another of the most qualified remaining candidates for the Eagles’ offensive coordinator vacancy is off the board.

Jay Gruden, recently fired after six mediocre years as the Redskins’ head coach, is close to joining the Jaguars to fill their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Assuming the deal is completed, Gruden will become the Jaguars’ third offensive coordinator in three years. He replaces former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, fired last week after just one year in Jacksonville. DeFilippo replaced Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired and spent this past year in the same position with the Packers. DeFilippo was recently hired by Matt Nagy as QBs coach of the Bears.

Ten teams were in the market for an offensive coordinator when the regular season ended.

Of those 10, the Eagles are one of only two still hanging a "Help Wanted" sign on their front door. 

The other is the Vikings, whose offensive coordinator this past year, Kevin Stefanski, was named last week as head coach of the Browns.

Gruden, whose older brother John was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Ray Rhodes from 1995 through 1997 and is now head coach of the Raiders, spent 2011 through 2013 as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator before replacing Mike Shanahan as head coach of the Redskins in 2014.

His teams went 38-57 in six years and reached the playoffs only once, losing a wild-card game to the Packers in 2015.

In Jacksonville, Gruden will presumably be working with 2017 Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, who was the Jaguars’ opening-day quarterback this past year but was hurt much of the season and then benched later in the year for rookie Gardner Minshew.

It’s not known whether the Eagles had any formal interest in Gruden, but he was certainly one of the most intriguing remaining candidates for the opening.

The Eagles fired Mike Groh 12 days ago after two years as offensive coordinator one day after head coach Doug Pederson said both would remain on his staff.

Among the candidates the Eagles have been linked with who are now expected to remain in their current position are Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka, Ravens QBs coach James Urban (who spent three years as Bengals WRs coach under Jay Gruden) and USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

Other qualified candidates who are off the board include Chan Gailey, hired as Dolphins offensive coordinator; LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who was hired by the Panthers; Joe Moorhead, who was hired Tuesday as Oregon’s offensive coordinator; and former Eagles offensive coordinator and recently fired Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, who was hired as OC of the Broncos.

Earlier Tuesday, we outlined some of the top remaining candidates, including current Eagles position coaches Duce Staley and Press Taylor.

The Eagles also remain without a wide receivers coach, a secondary coach and a defensive line coach. The team fired receivers coach Carson Walch and d-line coach Phillip Daniels, and secondary coach Cory Undlin accepted the defensive coordinator position with the Lions.

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Here's a sneak peak of the 2020 NFL Draft venue ... and it's 100% Las Vegas

Here's a sneak peak of the 2020 NFL Draft venue ... and it's 100% Las Vegas

The blueprint for the 2020 NFL Draft venue has been revealed and it's just what you would expect it to be in Las Vegas.

The draft has become quite a production in recent years, but this has to top all previous attempts if it's executed the way they're saying.

Reportedly, players will be transported to the stage by a boat. Which could be an epic moment for the draftees ... but could also add a significant amount of time to the already long night of events.

The red carpet stage has a more traditional look when it comes to a draft setting, but since it's Vegas, it's go big or go home.

There are currently mixed opinions about it all, but here are some of the funniest:

 

 

 


The draft will be held from April 23-25 where the Eagles currently hold the 21st overall pick.

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