A peek ahead to next year’s offensive line, thoughts on this year’s defensive line and a change at wide receiver I’d like to see.
All that and lots more in today’s Roob’s 10 random Eagles observations!
1. There’s a lot of football left to be played this year, but it’s never too soon to speculate about the future, and considering how dominant the Eagles’ offensive line has been, it’s natural to wonder what the interior of the will look like in 2022. If Jason Kelce returns for a 12th season, then you have Landon Dickerson, Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo under contract. Not to mention Jack Driscoll, who’s played well at right guard. I suspect Brooks will be the odd man out.
Incredible talent when healthy and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, but he’s played two games since the end of the 2019 season, he’s 32 now, and you just get the sense they’ve moved on. This will be the first offseason the Eagles can release Brooks where the cap savings is more than the dead money, and I think that might be the move. There's no scenario you move Dickerson from left guard. If Kelce is back, you line up Dickerson at LG, Kelce at C and Seumalo at RG. If Kelce retires, then you go with Dickerson at LG, Seumalo at C and Driscoll at RG. However it works out, with Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata both signed through 2025, this should be an elite o-line for years to come.
2. The only NFL players drafted in the 7th round over the last 20 years with at least 20 career interceptions are Kurt Coleman, the Eagles’ 7th-round pick in 2010, and Jordan Poyer, their 7th-round pick in 2013. Both had their best years under Sean McDermott – Coleman in Carolina and Poyer in Buffalo.
3. It’s natural, it’s effortless and it’s meaningful. Jalen Hurts doesn’t try to be a leader. It just happens because of his personality. This past offseason, Hurts socialized on a 1-on-1 basis with most of his offensive teammates just to get to know them on a deeper level than is possible once the season starts. One of Nick Sirianni’s core values is connection, the belief that if you’re close to your teammates, you’ll fight just a little bit harder for them. Hurts spoke eloquently after practice Friday about why it was so important to him: “I put a lot of value into building relationships with the guys I’m around and getting to know them,” Hurts said. “In the offseason, whether it’s in Philadelphia, whether it was in Florida or Texas, wherever it was, there was a lot of time put into building those relationships, getting the work in, learning each other, knowing all the youth we have, and I value it so much. I was telling my family the other day, but I told my teammates too, there’s just so much out there to be thankful for and I’m thankful for the time spent with my teammates, I’m thankful for my family and my loved ones, we’re all thankful to be able to play the game we love. I’m really grateful to be able to build those relationships with my teammates and for them to be able to accept me in that way, putting that time in, putting that work in during the offseason when it matters the most.” This is pretty special stuff. Hurts is 23. Who knows what the future is, but you can see why this team plays so hard for him.
4. The Eagles have won three of four and the Dolphins and Colts have each won three straight, and all of a sudden the 2022 draft doesn't look quite as tantalizing as it did a month ago. After Week 7, the Eagles were projected to pick at No. 3, No. 8 and No. 9. Today? The Dolphins’ pick has dropped to No. 7, the Eagles’ own pick right now is No. 11 and the Colts’ pick is down to No. 15.
5. It’s really hard to believe the Eagles have only 18 sacks, 29th in the NFL. With this defensive line? I actually think they’ve generated pretty good pressure the last couple weeks, but considering the contracts and high draft picks on this defensive line 18 sacks in 11 games is embarrassing. That’s the fewest the Eagles have ever had through 11 games. Pressure is great but sacks create 3rd-and-longs. Sacks can force fumbles. Sacks can knock quarterbacks out of games. Get this: The Eagles have had five games with no sacks. No other NFL team has had more than two. And five games with no sacks ties a franchise record for a full season. When the Eagles record a sack, they’re 4-2. When they don’t they’re 1-4.
6. How rare would it be for the Eagles to reach the playoffs after a 2-5 start? According to Stathead, there have been 294 teams in history that have been 2-5 and only nine have made the playoffs. The Eagles have been 2-5 some 11 times and never finished better than 6-7-1, which was 1971. Their last 2-5 start ironically was 1999, Andy Reid’s first year as head coach, and they finished 5-11. Only five teams have ever been 2-5 and won a playoff game. The last one to do it? The 2018 Colts, with offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and secondary coach Jonathan Gannon.
7. Am I crazy that I’d rather see J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the field right now than Jalen Reagor? JJAW looked better on that one crucial 23-yard catch-and-run against the Saints than Reagor has looked all year.
8. It’s really been incredible to see DeSean Jackson continue making big plays, now in his 14th season and with his sixth team. His 56-yard TD Thursday from Derek Carr for the Raiders vs. the Cowboys was his second long TD this year, coming two months after a 75-yarder from Matt Stafford with the Rams against the Bucs. Not only did D-Jack became the first player in NFL history with 50-yard TD catches for two teams in the same season, he increased his career total to 29 TD catches of 50 yards in his career (second to Jerry Rice’s 36) and 34 total TDs of at least 50 yards (second to Rice’s 36). At 34 years, 359 days, Jackson became the oldest player ever with a 50-yard TD against the Cowboys (Vernon Davis had a 53-yarder in 2018 at 34, 295) and tied four other players (most recently Art Monk) for the most 100-yard games ever against the Cowboys with five. Finally, D-Jack on Thursday night in Dallas became the 37th player in history to surpass 11,000 career receiving yards.
9. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Hurts and Jonathan Taylor are the only players in the NFL who’ve rushed for at least 30 yards in all 11 games this year. Two others – Najee Harris and Antonio Gibson – have done it in all 10 games their team has played. Hurts is only the second QB to rush for 30 yards in his team’s first 11 games. Michael Vick did it for the Falcons in 2006.
10. Corey Clement: 100 receiving yards in the Super Bowl, 5.4 receiving yards per game since the Super Bowl.
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