Eagles

Eagles-Seahawks: Roob's 10 observations

Eagles-Seahawks: Roob's 10 observations

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SEATTLE — It's been a while. About 2½ months since the Eagles experienced this.

The Eagles, who've been pushing teams around for the last couple months, faced an elite opponent for the first time since beating the Panthers in Week 6 and got pushed around Sunday night.

The Seahawks built a 17-3 lead in the third quarter and then coasted to a 24-10 win over the Eagles at CenturyLink Field (see breakdown).

Nine-game winning streak? Over. Undefeated record vs. the NFC? Over. Firm grasp of the No. 1 seed? Over … for now.

After the Eagles' first loss since Sept. 17, let's get right to tonight's 10 Observations.

1. I felt like this game was over early. The Seahawks were really the more physical, more dominating team on both sides of the ball in the first half, and just took the game to the Eagles. This is the sort of opponent the Eagles haven't seen lately — a cocky, confident bunch with a lot of guys who won a Super Bowl four years ago. They've got some swagger and attitude, and they don't play around. They really were the aggressor on both sides of the football in building that 17-3 lead, and it felt like the Eagles took a lot of punches to the midsection before they finally kind of made the game a level playing field and started fighting back. By then it was too late. You don't come back from 14 points down to the Seahawks in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. The Eagles have been bullying teams all year. Sunday night, they got bullied. Good lesson. Can't let it happen again.

2. Doug Pederson has been brilliant calling plays this year, finding a rhythm, being aggressive, balancing run and pass. But I just didn’t like the concept of the offense Sunday night. You don’t beat a team like the Seahawks on the road running the ball, and I get that he was trying to protect Carson Wentz from Seattle’s pass rush, but the first-half run-pass ratio was 19 runs and 13 passes, and the Eagles got some yards on the ground but only three points. The Eagles started moving the ball through the air in the second half — Wentz had more passing yards on the first drive than in the entire first half — but then his fumble out of bounds gave the Seahawks the ball. They went down the field and scored, and once it was 17-3 the Eagles pretty much had to pass. I just feel like against a team like Seattle the Eagles needed to be aggressive from the jump, and they weren't.

3. But I'll tell you what. Wentz keeps proving how special he is, and it seems like every week he does it in a different way. Wentz got battered early Sunday night. He took a lot of huge hits. He had a finger on his right (throwing) hand wrapped up on the bench with some sort of apparent injury. He struggled to find time to throw and forced a few balls. He fumbled out of the end zone when he was about to score. He missed open guys. He struggled for much of the game like we haven’t seen him struggle in a long time. You look up, and it’s 17-3 Seahawks in a building where they’re 37-8 over the last six years and the crowd is going nuts and you’re just thinking, “You know what? This just isn’t Carson’s day.” And then he busts out of a sure sack for a 51-yard miracle down the right sideline to Nelson Agholor and then a spectacular 27-yard TD across the field to Agholor and the Eagles are back in the game, and you realize just how special this kid is. With everything conspiring against him, he still threw for 348 yards, completed 64 percent of his passes, threw one TD and one interception - to Eagles castoff Byron Maxwell - and finished with a respectable passer rating of 86.2. Heck, he threw for over 300 yards in the second half alone. The Eagles fell short Sunday, but I like the fight this kid has. He may go down, but he doesn't go down quietly.

4. You can make a case either way, but I didn’t like the punt on 4th-and-2 from just inside midfield with 18 seconds left in the first half. Doug has been aggressive all year, and to beat a good team in their own building you have to be aggressive. The Seahawks are missing half their secondary. You should be able to get two yards and then try to get into Jake Elliott range, which really was only a few yards away. If you don’t get it, the Seahawks still need 22 yards in, what, maybe 13 seconds, to get within range for a 50-yarder — which is the longest field goal Blair Walsh has made the last two years. That punt had a vague sense of playing-not-to-lose, and that's not how the Eagles got to 10-1.

5. It’s really hard to question Jim Schwartz right now, but I didn’t get the zero blitz on the play that turned into Russell Wilson’s 47-yarder to Doug Baldwin down to the 1-yard-line. That play led to the Seahawks' TD that turned a 10-3 lead into a 17-3 lead. The Eagles were getting tremendous pressure the whole game, and Wilson is so good at finding his hot receiver when he’s blitzed. Again, tough to second guess Schwartz, who’s been phenomenal this year. But it was 3rd-and-10 near midfield, your pressure from the front four has been relentless, and that really turned into the pivotal play in the game.

6. We haven't seen the Eagles' secondary torched like this in a long time. Wilson was brilliant Sunday, doing exactly what Schwartz said he's most dangerous at - making plays on the run, especially after rolling backward, deep behind the line of scrimmage, and then reversing field and either running or throwing on the move. Wilson finished 20-for-31 for 227 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, and his 118.6 passer rating is the highest against the Eagles since Matt Stafford's 135.0 in Detroit last year. Good measuring stick game. The Eagles' pass defense has been so effective lately, but Wilson is just a uniquely talented quarterback, and now this secondary knows exactly where it stands. The two QBs who've beaten them -- Alex Smith and Wilson -- are both guys who can run and throw. If the Eagles are going to make a deep playoff run, they're going to have to beat some really good quarterbacks. They're going to have to play better than they did Sunday night.

7. Brandon Graham played out of his mind Sunday night. Playing on the same field as Earl Thomas, who eight years ago the Eagles bypassed in the draft to take Graham, he was an absolute beast. He picked up his career-high eighth sack of the year and got constant pressure on Wilson, forcing several errant passes and rushed passes, including one in the third quarter that should have been a pass interference. I thought Graham was the Eagles' best player Sunday night.

8. One quick note on Halapoulivaati Vaitai: He seems to struggle from time to time early in games, and Sunday night he sure did. He had a very tough first quarter. But he generally seems to bounce back, and he did again this time. Vaitai needs to figure out how to start off more effectively, but it is encouraging that he's able to figure things out and play better as the game goes along.

9. His performance will probably go unnoticed because the Eagles lost, but Agholor had a career game with seven catches for 141 yards. That's the most yards by an Eagles wide receiver since Jordan Matthews had a 159-yard game against Arizona in 2015, and the second-most yards anybody has had against the Seahawks this year -- DeAndre Hopkins had a 224-yard game in October. Last year, Agholor was so bad against the Seahawks he got benched the next week. That's how far this kid has come. Agholor is now sitting with 40 catches and 599 yards, both career highs with four games left. Good for him. He's overcome a lot and really become a weapon.

10. Finally, this: Big point now for the Eagles now. They're spending the week in Los Angeles, they have another very good opponent waiting for them in the Rams, and with the Vikings, Rams and Saints all in hot pursuit, the Eagles can’t afford too many more losses if they're going to snag a first-round bye, in particular the No. 1 seed. Big test. Big moment. There's a ton at stake here. The Eagles have answered all the big tests they've faced this year. They answered their only previous loss with nine straight wins. Let's see how they respond to this one. I have a hunch they'll respond positively.

A fascinating trend in Howie Roseman's drafts and more in Roob's Random Observations

A fascinating trend in Howie Roseman's drafts and more in Roob's Random Observations

Finding a pattern in Howie Roseman's drafts, Duce Staley and his future and the latest with Matt McGloin.

Even in the middle of February, there are 10 Random Eagles Observations!

1. Take a long look at this list of Eagles: 

Nick Foles

Vinny Curry

Mychal Kendricks

Fletcher Cox

Bennie Logan

Zach Ertz

Lane Johnson

Marcus Smith

Isaac Seumalo

Carson Wentz

Derek Barnett

Dallas Goedert

Miles Sanders

Andre Dillard

Pretty strong group, right? Obviously Smith was a bust, but the rest range from functional pros like Curry, Seumalo and Logan to budding stars like Goedert and Sanders to Pro Bowlers like Cox, Ertz, Johnson and Wentz. This is a list of every player Howie Roseman has drafted in the first three rounds since 2012 … with the WRs and CBs removed. It’s pretty remarkable. That’s 23 guys and one swing-and-a-miss. Howie’s record drafting corners and receivers is brutal. His record drafting everything else is pretty damn good. Imagine if the Eagles can get that WR / CB thing figured out?

2. For the record, the corners Howie has drafted in the first three rounds during that period are Curtis Marsh, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones, and the receivers are Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. (Eric Rowe and Nelson Agholor from that 2015 draft are the responsibility of Chip Kelly).

3. All that said, the Eagles can’t shy away from drafting what they have to draft in April: Corners and receivers. That has to be the focus. They just have to be better.

4. There’s been a lot of talk the last few days about Duce Staley, people wondering why he would stay with the Eagles as running backs coach when he’s been bypassed for promotions three times now. It’s a valid question. I can’t speak for Duce, and I’m sure we’ll have a chance to talk to him at some point this spring. I don’t know if he’s frustrated or not. But I do know one thing. He loves what he does. He loves coaching Eagles running backs, and he’s not going to quit just because he’s mad about not getting a promotion. From talking to him over the years, he doesn’t think that way. I’m sure he’d love a chance to be an offensive coordinator or college head coach or one day NFL head coach, and he'd be great at it. But he doesn’t think of what he’s doing as some sort of lowly job that he has to get out of. He takes so much pride in the work he does with the Eagles’ backs, and he’s damn good at it. Whether it’s squeezing one more big year out of LaGarrette Blount, getting a remarkable Super Bowl performance out of undrafted rookie Corey Clement, getting a decent year out of undrafted rookie Josh Adams or guiding Miles Sanders to a remarkable rookie season, Staley has that ability to get the most out of the guys he works with. There’s a reason Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson both kept him after he began his coaching career under Andy Reid. If you’re looking for Duce to be disappointed, maybe he is. I wouldn’t blame him. But if you’re looking for him to be anything less than the best running backs coach in the NFL as long as he’s in that role, that’s just not happening.

5. How much has quarterback play evolved in the NFL recently? As of 1990, only four QBs in NFL history had a season in which they threw for 235 yards per game, had a passer rating over 90 and an interception percentage under 2.4 INTs per 100 attempts (Joe Montana twice,  Ken O’Brien, Bernie Kosar and Warren Moon). This past year? Those marks — 235 yards, passer rating of 90 and a 2.4 INT average — were the NFL averages. 

6. A day doesn’t go by where it doesn’t just hit me how special Miles Sanders is. Some reminders:

—> This past year, Sanders became only the 7th rookie in NFL history with 750 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average and 50 receptions. Only one player in NFL history has reached those milestones in his first two seasons, and that’s Sanders college teammate, Saquon Barkley. 

—> The only other Eagles to reach those plateaus even once in their entire career are Brian Westbrook three times, LeSean McCoy twice and Timmy Brown once. 

—> In the last 50 years, only nine running backs have netted more scrimmage yards in a season on fewer touches. 

7. It’s a shame Harold Carmichael and the other Centennial Hall of Famers won’t have the chance to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the other honorees during the usual summer enshrinement weekend. The Hall still won’t even confirm when the Centennial inductees are going in, but it’s apparently going to be sometime in September, after the regular season has begun instead of during enshrinement weekend with the Class of 2020. Every summer, Hall of Fame Weekend, the weekend before the preseason games begin, is the focus of the football world, and the inductees are treated like Gods in Canton, from the parade through town to the lavish dinner to getting interviewed during the Hall of Fame Game broadcast to the ceremony itself inside Fawcett Stadium. Harold and the other Centennial inductees won’t get to experience any of this. I understand there are logistical issues with so many people going into the Hall, but they could have worked around those. Putting Harold and the other all-time greats into the Hall when nobody is paying attention does them all a grave disservice. 

8. Hard to believe this coming season will be the Eagles’ 18th at the Linc. After their 18th season at the Vet, they only had 14 years left there. Somehow I think the Linc will last a little longer.

9. Shocked things aren’t going well in the XFL for Matt McGloin. Never saw that coming.

10. Every time I see that Clowney hit it blows my mind that he wasn’t penalized or fined. What a joke. The NFL can never talk about player safety if they’re going to allow that kind of stuff to happen.

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Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay embraces Philly mentality in American Idol experience

Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay embraces Philly mentality in American Idol experience

The Eagles cheerleading squad looked a little different in 2019 thanks to rookie Kyle Tanguay. Not only because he was the first male cheerleader the organization has had in decades, but because of his bright, contagious personality and being completely fearless in everything he does. 

The 21-year-old has only been in Philadelphia since the summer of 2017 but has completely fallen in love with the city, the fans and more importantly, the Eagles. Not even a week into his time here, he was already watching the Eagles to make friends and share a common interest. 

Little did anyone know that just two years later, he’d be cheering for the team. What’s even crazier is that he had never done something to this degree before. 

“The biggest challenge was not really knowing what to expect,” Tanguay said. “I had never done professional cheerleading in my life, I had never even done a dance team in my high school and my college doesn’t have one.”

Pretty surprising to believe, especially when he shines during every performance. 

Philadelphia had taken to Tanguay essentially overnight and those who came to cheer on the birds every Sunday, also cheered for him. Not only was he welcomed with open arms, but an unbreakable bond was also created. 

“The fans of Philadelphia are the greatest fan base in the entire world,” Tanguay said. “I think the reason that the Philadelphia fans love us so much as a squad is because it’s very clear to see that we have the same amount of passion as them.

“One thing that I appreciated about them and something that they appreciated about me was that we both shared this intense love for the Eagles. Maybe we don’t look the same, maybe we don’t act the same, maybe we have different values, but at the end of the day I’m an Eagles fan and so are you so that’s what brings us together.”

Now, with the NFL offseason in full swing, there’s a new challenge for Tanguay to face —  ‘American Idol.’

Tanguay noted that he was a newly born singer but based off of videos he had posted on social media, it seemed like he had been doing this for a while. 

How long has it been since he started?

“I think I’ve been singing since October [2019],” Tanguay said with a laugh. 

“The first time I ever sang in front of anyone that wasn’t my roommates … was my audition.

“I did chorus in high school — I never wanted a solo, I always stood in the back and I always kept to myself. I would sing in the shower, I would sing in the living room, I would really only sing in front of my roommates if we were tired and had the sleepy ha-ha’s and so for me, this opportunity presented itself and I got to go down to Washington D.C. and try out for ‘American Idol.’ 

“It was the most craziest experience ever and it really allowed me to remind myself that it’s okay to step outside your comfort zone. The experience on the show was so awesome, so exciting and it’s something that I cannot wait for the world to see.”

It was mentioned before, but Tanguay is fearless. To make your mark in the NFL and step fully outside of your comfort zone to perform in front of the top artists in the music industry within the same year is nothing short of incredible. 

This field can be tough, competitive and even make some turn away from their goals. When asked about the best piece of advice Tanguay could give those who need to stay inspired or motivated, the most sincere answer was given. 

There’s a quote that was plastered in my middle school gymnasium that said ‘stand up for something you believe in, even if you’re standing alone.’ And that is something that I’ve always carried with me.

No is only two letters. It’s a small word if anyone tells you no there’s just another yes around the corner. I’ve heard no so many times in my life. So many times in my life. It has always made the most crazy, windy path … but it’s been my path. 

It’s a mindset that not many people have at such a young age. To thrive off of being told ‘no’ and instead of being knocked down, simply changing direction to get to where you want to be is a special thing. 

Being positive is infectious, and when Tanguay left for the day, I felt inspired. Inspired to just put a smile on my face, to do something kind for someone else, to push myself a little more than what I typically do. Not everyone can say they have that kind of power — he absolutely does. 

‘American Idol’ premieres this Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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