Who's the fastest Eagle? What 2019 draft pick has been a huge training camp disappointment? And an unbelievable fact about a former Eagles head coach. In fact, I don't even believe it.
It's all here in this week's Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!
1. As of Monday evening, the NFL had two players on the COVID list, and that’s a truly remarkable accomplishment. Speaks volumes not only for the protocols each team has followed at their facilities but also of the players for having the discipline to be careful and use common sense when they’re not at the facility. My biggest concern was what would happen once teams started going live at practice because of the unavoidable close contact that blocking and tackling require. But all 32 teams have been practicing live for two weeks now and there hasn’t been an outbreak anywhere. Barely any positive tests. For the first time, I’m confident there will be football in September. And maybe even in January and February as well.
2. Everybody’s talking about fast Adrian Killins, John Hightower and Quez Watkins are. And they really are. But I’d take 33-year-old DeSean Jackson in a race with any of them.
3. Remember this name: Deontay Burnett. The 22-year-old receiver has been very good in camp and deserves a roster spot, especially with Jalen Reagor out the first couple games. Burnett is 6-0, 185, can run and has great hands. Burnett was with the Eagles the last month of last season after stints with the Jets and 49ers. In his first game in an Eagles uniform, the season-ender against the Giants, he had a 41-yard catch from Carson Wentz that was actually the Eagles’ longest reception by a wide WR the last 15 games of the season. Burnett can play.
4. I wouldn’t bet against Howie Roseman figuring out a way to keep both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Especially if DeSean and Alshon are both off the books by 2022, which is likely. That’s a lot of resources to allocate on tight ends, but the Eagles won’t have to worry about any big-money WR contracts for the forseeable future, so that gives them the luxury of over-spending on TEs. Ertz is an all-timer and Goedert is a potential Pro Bowler. Did you know he had the 2nd most catches of all NFL tight ends under 25 last year (six fewer than Mark Andrews)? When Howie really wants to keep a player, he keeps that player.
5. Since 2009, only 13 tight ends have caught 58 passes in a season before their 25th birthday. Three of them are Brent Celek, Goedert and Ertz.
6. One of the bigger disappointments of training camp was Shareef Miller, the 2019 4th-round pick out of Penn State and George Washington High in Somerton. Miller got into one game as a rookie and played only two special teams snaps. You hoped to see a big jump in Year 2, but Miller never really flashed. Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat have the team made, and Genard Avery and Vinny Curry seem to be next. Maybe the Eagles will keep six and keep Miller around, but I don’t see where he fits in. The Eagles’ 4th-round jinx continues. The last Eagles 4th-round pick to start 10 games in a season for the Eagles? How about that Casey Matthews!
7. Did you know Greasy Neale, the Eagles’ head coach when they won the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championships, played major-league baseball from 1916 through 1924? He actually played in 22 games for the Phillies in 1921 but spent most of his career with the Reds. He was on the Reds team that beat the White Sox in the tainted 1919 Black Sox Scandal World Series, and his .357 career postseason average is 3rd-highest in Reds history, behind Billy Hatcher (.519) and Chris Sabo (.368).
8. And how about this? In 1921, Neale and Casey Stengel were teammates on the Phillies. In 1949, some 28 years later, both led pro teams to championships, Stengel’s Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series and Neale’s Eagles beat the Rams in the NFL Championship Game. Both became Hall of Famers, Casey in Cooperstown in 1966, Greasy in Canton in 1969.
9. I think the Eagles are going to cut Sidney Jones.
10. Love this quote from Eagles rookie Davion Taylor about his evenings in the hotel: “I try to go to sleep just thinking about the plays, so that when I go to sleep maybe I’m dreaming about the playbook.”