A wild Nick Foles stat that has nothing to do with the Super Bowl, the miracle of the A.J. Feeley trade, the greatness of Reggie White and the bizarre career of Hank Baskett!
That's only a small sliver of the wonders that await you in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations!
1. I can't even imagine an Eagles game without fans. I can imagine empty venues for other sports. I’ve watched some of those Korean baseball games over the past couple weeks and barely even notice there are no fans. Hockey and hoops, the crowds are more active and louder. But football? NFL? Eagles? The synergy between what’s happening on the field and the fans is so different in football than any other sport, and the old cliche about players feeding off the fans’ energy is very real. You can feel it. You can sense it. When the Linc erupts after an Eagles touchdown or big play, there’s literally nothing like it. It's not just cheering, it's an ocean of joyous noise that envelops your soul. I’d rather have Eagles football with no fans than no football at all, but I just can’t visualize Carson Wentz throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Zach Ertz and … complete silence. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, it’s really going to be weird.
2. One of the most amazing things about Nick Foles’ Eagles career has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or even the 2017 season. In 2013, Foles threw 27 touchdown passes in just 317 attempts. That’s the fewest attempts by any QB throwing at least 27 TDs in the last 44 years.
3. When I was putting together the all-time Eagles Never-Made-a-Pro Bowl teams last week, I was reminded of what Ron Baker said the day he announced his retirement at JFK Stadium at the start of training camp in the summer of 1989. Baker, a solid right guard, had played 11 NFL seasons as a 10th-round pick, the last nine seasons with the Eagles. He and Roynell Young were the only guys who played in the 1980 Super Bowl and were still with the Eagles in 1988 for the Fog Bowl. But when a 34-year-old Baker showed up for camp in 1989 and saw the Eagles’ depth chart, he knew it was time: “When I looked at the depth chart, I saw that I was on the fourth team, and I’ve been around long enough to know there is no fourth team.” And with that, he hung up the cleats and never looked back. Class act, Ron Baker.
4. From 1997 through 1999, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, Doug Pederson, Bill Callahan, Ron Rivera and Andy Reid were all with the Eagles as a player or coach. All seven became Super Bowl head coaches and all but Rivera and Callahan won. Those three teams Eagles teams? They went 14-33-1.
5. The last time the Cowboys won playoff games in consecutive seasons was 1995 and 1996. The last time they even reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons was 2006 and 2007.
6. I think back to training camp in 2011 when every fan in attendance at Lehigh could hear new defensive line coach Jim Washburn constantly berating and insulting his players in a way that was so inappropriate and so offensive and so demeaning I’m surprised Andy Reid let it continue. This went way beyond a coach being a hard-ass or a strict disciplinarian. This was awful. Reid finally fired Washburn halfway through the 2012 season, but a lot of damage had been done. I wouldn’t want that guy coaching my worst enemy.
7. Reggie White had 33 games as an Eagle with two or more sacks. Only six other Eagles have had 33 games with at least one sack.
8. It still blows my mind that the Eagles were able to trade A.J. Feeley to the Dolphins for a 2nd-round pick — a very high 2nd-round pick — after the 2003 season. What had A.J. done to convince the Dolphins he was their QB of the future? In 2002 he went 4-1 in relief of an injured Donovan McNabb, although he had just five TDs and five INTs and a modest 72.6 passer rating in those games. Nonetheless, the Dolphins not only traded the Eagles a 2nd-round pick, they gave A.J. a $3 million signing bonus when they restructured his deal. Feeley went 3-5 with 11 TDs and 15 INTs in eight starts in Miami before the Dolphins gave up on him, benching and eventually releasing him. The Eagles drafted Reggie Brown with the pick they got from the Dolphins — the 35th pick overall in 2005 — and Feeley wound up rejoining the Eagles and even threw a TD to Brown in a game against the Patriots. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since making that trade.
9. Before last year, only four players in Eagles history had netted 150 yards both rushing and receiving over the last four games of a season (Wilbert Montgomery twice, Keith Byars in 1988, Herschel Walker in 1993 and Brian Westbrook twice). Last year, both Miles Sanders AND Boston Scott did it, making the Eagles the first team in NFL history with that distinction. Doug Pederson’s ability to effectively use both backs as receivers and runners with the wide receiver cupboard bare was a crucial dimension of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish. It will be interesting to see how Doug deploys his backs this year with presumably an upgraded wide receiving corps because they sure look like a lethal combination. Scott needs a role in this offense.
10. Gotta finish with a great Hank Baskett stat! The fact that Baskett is one of only five players in NFL history with three career touchdown catches of at least 85 yards is one of the strangest things in football history. Hank only had three other touchdown catches in his career, none longer than 10 yards. He actually had three TD catches of at least 87 yards but NONE between 11 and 86 yards. That’s absurd.