Eagles

Fletcher Cox, Brandon Brooks make Pro Bowl while other Eagles snubbed

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Fletcher Cox, Brandon Brooks make Pro Bowl while other Eagles snubbed

A year after the Eagles had six guys named to the Pro Bowl to lead all NFC teams, the 2018 team has just three. 

Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Brooks are the Eagles’ representatives for this year’s Pro Bowl. 

All three were among the group that was named to the Pro Bowl last season, along with Malcolm Jenkins, Lane Johnson and Carson Wentz. But this time last year, the Eagles had a 12-2 record through 14 games. This year, they are 7-7 and trying to claw their way into the playoffs. Team success matters when these teams come out. 

Ertz is having a record-setting season, so he gets his own space. Reuben Frank breaks down his Pro Bowl nod, along with his incredible stats this season here

As for the other two: 

Fletcher Cox (fourth Pro Bowl) 
He doesn’t put up monster sack numbers, but Cox is arguably the Eagles’ best player. He’s been just downright dominant at times this year, including his game against the Rams on Sunday night, when he battled through a hip injury to help the Eagles win the game and save their season. 

Before this season, Cox said his new goal was to win Defensive Player of the Year. With 7 1/2 sacks through 14 games, that’s not going to happen, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be mentioned with the best defensive linemen in football. He’s really good and is worth that $100 million contract. 

This is Cox’s fourth straight Pro Bowl nod, proving how consistent he’s been in recent seasons. 

Brandon Brooks (second Pro Bowl) 
Brooks has become one of the best free agent acquisitions in recent Eagles history. He didn’t make a Pro Bowl in his first four years in Houston but has now made the Pro Bowl roster in two of his three years in Philly. As long as he continues to play at this level, he has the chance to be a Pro Bowler for a long time on reputation. 

While the Eagles’ offensive line struggled for various reasons at different points this year, Brooks has easily been its most consistent player. There are no stats to quantify how good an offensive lineman is, but Brooks has been good and consistent this season. Brooks is now tied with Evan Mathis and Shawn Andrews for the most Pro Bowl selections for an offensive guard in franchise history. 

The snubs 

While it’s hard to argue that the Eagles should have six Pro Bowl players again because of the lack of team success, there are always players who probably deserve the nod but get snubbed. Happens every year to just about every team. 

Here are the players on this team who probably have a case: 

Jason Kelce (two Pro Bowls) 
After struggling through a bad MCL sprain earlier this season, Kelce has been getting better as he gets healthier. His ability to get into the second level to block is what makes him so unique and it allows the Eagles to pick up yards in chunks. Last season, Kelce was snubbed from the Pro Bowl but was named to the more prestigious All-Pro team. Sometimes honors for linemen come a year too late, but it didn’t happen here. 

Lane Johnson (one Pro Bowl)
Johnson had to battle through a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain this season, but he’s been getting healthier recently and has returned to his old dominant form. Incredibly, he missed just one game because of that MCL sprain but has started 13 of 14 games this season. 

Cameron Johnston (no Pro Bowls) 
It has probably been no easy task for Johnston to follow Donnie Jones, who was the greatest punter in Eagles history, but he’s doing it. In fact, Johnston is second in the NFL in gross punting average (48.53) and net punting average (43.4). His booming leg has become a huge weapon for the Eagles, especially as their offense has struggled earlier in the season. 

Malcolm Jenkins (two Pro Bowls) 
The nearly-31-year-old Jenkins is still criminally underrated throughout the NFL. It’s hard to imagine just where this Eagles team would be without him. He’s the only starter left standing in a battered secondary and has been the glue to hold that whole defense together, not to mention one of the most important leaders in that locker room. He has one interception, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, one recovery and one sack, but it’s hard to use stats to show how important Jenkins is to the Eagles. Cox is the better player, but Jenkins might be the heart. 

Michael Bennett (three Pro Bowls) 
It might have been a little slower of a start than some expected for Bennett, but the veteran defensive end has come on strong this season and has even been able to be productive recently while playing through a nagging foot injury. He has eight sacks to lead the Eagles and is closing in on his career-high 10 sacks. He’s really helped the Eagles get over the loss of Derek Barnett and the absence of Tim Jernigan. Bennett has been productive inside and outside.

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Randall Cunningham joining Las Vegas Raiders organization

Randall Cunningham joining Las Vegas Raiders organization

Former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham is reportedly joining the Las Vegas Raiders organization.

While Cunningham, 57, can still likely throw bombs to Raiders receivers, he'll be guiding them spiritually as the team chaplain, according to ESPN.

"I'm elated, flabbergasted," Cunningham told ESPN on Friday. "I've already been in on some [Zoom] meetings with the team. I plan on spending a lot of time with the guys when it's OK. I've talked with Marcus Mariota, Nelson Agholor. What an amazing group of people Mark Davis and Jon Gruden have put together."

Cunningham played his college ball at UNLV and coached high school football in Las Vegas for a couple of seasons a few years back.

Randall has spent much of the past few years working with daughter, Vashti, and son, Randall II, in their quest for Olympic dreams.

The former NFL MVP is highly regarded around the league and will be a solid addition to the Raiders organization. His Twitter account, which is mostly dormant, has the handle "PastorRandallC."

Randall worked with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden during his playing days in Philadelphia.

"He's going to take care of the guys in Las Vegas," Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com. "Jon had him address the team in a team Zoom [recently] and he did a really good job of setting the stage for the team in Las Vegas.

Just last week, NBC Sports Philadelphia ranked Randall as the second best quarterback in Eagles history.

If DeSean Jackson sits, Eagles have an intriguing but risky option

If DeSean Jackson sits, Eagles have an intriguing but risky option

If the Eagles are without DeSean Jackson for any or all of the next football season, which certainly seems within the realm of possibility at this point, there’s one person on their roster who has a similar skill set.

But he comes along with a ton of question marks.

Marquise Goodwin is definitely not DeSean Jackson, but at his best, when he’s healthy — which hasn’t been very often — he can do some of the same things as Jackson.

Over the past four years, Goodwin has only four fewer catches of at least 40 yards than Jackson, and in his one full season, he was among the league’s best big-play practitioners.

In their statement Friday, the Eagles made it clear that if Jackson doesn’t commit to showing genuine growth following what the team called “absolutely appalling” social media posts, he’s gone.

If the Eagles are forced to play regular-season games without Jackson, Goodwin could turn out to be a huge addition.

Jackson of course is one of the greatest deep threats in NFL history. His 31 career TDs of 50 yards or more are second only to Jerry Rice.

Over the last four years, Jackson has 13 catches of at least 40 yards — including two long TDs against the Redskins on opening day last year, his only significant action of the year. Goodwin during the same four-year span has nine 40-yard catches. Only 14 receivers have more during that stretch.

Jackson’s career average of 17.4 yards per catch is highest among active receivers and highest in the NFL over the last 35 years. But Goodwin is 5th on that list at 16.6, behind only Jackson, Josh Gordon (17.2), Mike Williams (17.1) and Kenny Golladay (16.8), with a minimum of 100 catches.

Goodwin, acquired for virtually nothing in a draft-weekend trade with the 49ers, is one of only 11 active players with more than one career 80-yard touchdown. He also has TDs of 67, 67, 59 and 55 yards.

So his resume is solid. He’s fast and he’s a deep threat. He can score from anywhere on the field.

And he’s an Eagle.

The problem is injuries.

Lots of them.

He missed four games in 2013 with a broken hand. He missed six games in 2014 with a concussion and hamstring and rib injuries. He missed 14 games in 2015 with a rib injury. He suffered three more concussions in 2016 and a fifth in 2017. He missed five games in 2018 with injuries and seven last year with a knee injury.

He’s only managed 30 or more snaps in 13 games the last two years.

The only time Goodwin played 16 games was in 2017 with the 49ers, and he had a career-high 962 yards, finished 3rd in the NFL at 17.2 yards per catch and had five 40-yard catches — 7th-most in the league.

But in his six other seasons he’s averaged 14 catches and 226 yards. He has only 35 catches for 581 yards over the last two seasons, although he does have 5 TDs.

So which Goodwin did the Eagles get? 

The one who is one of the NFL’s top deep threats or the one who’s often injured and can’t stay on the field?

The Eagles have had a hard time keeping anybody healthy lately, so relying heavily on a guy with such a long injury history is a risk.

But when it comes to stretching the field, there aren’t a lot of options.

Alshon Jeffery has 20 career receptions of at least 40 yards, but 17 were with the Bears, none since 2018. And we don’t even know when he’ll be healthy enough to play.

Greg Ward had a promising start last year but he’s an inside slot guy and had only had one catch longer than 15 yards last year, a 38-yarder against the Cowboys that set up a Miles Sanders TD.

Deontay Burnett only played 15 snaps last year and had a 41-yard catch against the Giants, but who knows if he’ll even make the team. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is more of a big-frame possession guy than a deep threat and of his 10 passes as a rookie none were longer than 30 yards. 

Jalen Reagor has the potential to be a big-play threat, but he’s still an unknown quantity, a rookie without offseason programs and perhaps without preseason games. Quez Watkins and John Hightower are speedy, but it’s never easy for late-round rookies to get on the field, more so this year.

The reality is the Eagles need Jackson on the field. A healthy Goodwin is the next-best option. But based on his recent history it’s not one they can depend on.

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