One move that will solve two problems, a DeVonta Smith comparison and a Hank Baskett vs. Jalen Reagor stat you won’t believe.
It’s this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles observations!
1. Two issues the Eagles have that could be solved with one move: First of all, there’s Jalen Reagor’s ineffectiveness. Last year’s first-round pick is having a miserable season and over the last five weeks has just five catches for 43 yards. Then there’s Kenny Gainwell, who has shown he’s a productive young back and a smooth and sure-handed receiver but will likely be the odd man out now that Miles Sanders is back. So how about Gainwell in the slot with Quez Watkins and DeVonta Smith outside? That would give Jalen Hurts three reliable weapons at WR where he has only two right now and give the passing game an added dimension. Think of it this way: Gainwell has 173 receiving yards on 205 snaps (0.84 yards per snap) and Reagor has 171 yards on 431 snaps (.40 yards per snap). Gainwell, a rookie fifth-round running back, is netting more than twice as many yards per snap as Reagor. No doubt the offense would operate better with Smith, Watkins and Gainwell than with Smith, Reagor and Watkins. Not a good look to bench last year’s first-round pick, but you have to play the guys who can help you win, and right now Reagor isn’t one of them.
2. Mike Quick was a couple inches taller and maybe 20-25 pounds bigger. But, man, DeVonta Smith really reminds me of Quick in a lot of ways. Smith has that same remarkable body control, the same knack for running precise routes, those same terrific hands, that same ability to get off the line of scrimmage against press coverage, that same quiet confidence. But more than anything Smith and Quick share the same grace when they hit the field. Like they’re floating while everybody else is running. Quick was very tough, and so is Smith, but they play with such smoothness it’s easy to miss that aspect of their games. Quick is the best Eagles WR ever. Smith has a chance to be just as good.
3. The 10 quarterbacks the Eagles have faced so far have a combined career W-L record of 390-323-1, a .547 winning percentage. The next six QBs they face have a combined career record of 42-79, a .347 winning percentage. The only QBs they’ve faced so far with a losing record are Derek Carr (52-67) and Justin Herbert (11-13). The next six QBs the Eagles face -- assuming Zach Wilson plays in three weeks -- all have 13 or fewer career wins and losing records.
4. One of the reasons the Eagles have been so good on third down the last few weeks is that they’re running the ball so well on first down and getting to manageable third downs. Jalen Hurts is averaging 5.3 yards per carry on first down, Boston Scott 5.2 yards and Jordan Howard 4.9 yards. Those are all among the top-15 marks in the league. Overall, the Eagles are third-best in the NFL running the ball on first down but now they’re doing it obviously a lot more often. The Eagles’ average third down since the Lions game is third-and-5.5, which is fourth-shortest in the league (behind the Bucs, Chargers and Raiders, three teams that beat the Eagles). Over the last three weeks, the Eagles are 54 percent on third down -- best in the league. It all works together. If they can keep churning out the yards on first down this offense is going to be hard to stop.
5. Gotta say, Howie Roseman really handled the Zach Ertz/Dallas Goedert situation well. Trading Ertz to the Cards really put a lot of pressure on the front office to get a Goedert extension done or the Eagles would have been left without either tight end. Trading Ertz gave Goedert and his camp leverage and Goedert’s price only went up. But Roseman got the deal done -- and it didn’t hurt that the Ertz trade cleared some cap space -- and now the Eagles have a terrific 26-year-old tight end under contract through 2025 along with an extra fifth-round pick and a young cornerback from the Ertz trade. Roseman has his faults and the first-round misses are a real problem. But when it comes to contracts and extensions, he’s very good.
6. Before the Eagles moved into the NovaCare Complex in 2001, their locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices were inside the Vet. By the Vet’s last few years, they weren’t doing a whole lot of cleaning in the building. It was 1999 third-round pick Doug Brzezinski who perfectly summed up what it was like walking into work at the Vet on a Monday morning after a home game: “The aroma when you walk in here is a unique mixture of vomit, urine, diesel fuel and spilled beer.” He wasn’t wrong.
7. Hank Baskett had two catches of at least 87 yards as an undrafted Eagles rookie WR in 2006. Jalen Reagor hasn’t had more than 55 yards in a game in his career.
8. Was happy to see the Texans signed Cre’Von LeBlanc from their practice squad to the active roster. LeBlanc has had a tough run with injuries and has played only 24 games the last four years, only 13 since the start of the 2019 season. He hasn’t played a snap in almost a year, since Eagles-Browns last November. But he’s a good, tough, smart slot and when he’s healthy he’s better than a lot of the corners I see out there playing in the NFL every Sunday.
9. The Eagles have used 33 starting linebackers since 2010.
10. It’s sad how acrimonious the whole Jalen vs. Carson thing has gotten. If you’re really an Eagles fan, why wouldn’t you root for whatever quarterback is out there and not take sides and pit one former QB against the current one? It doesn’t always have to be Jalen vs. Carson. Should be Jalen vs. whoever the Eagles are playing.
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