Eagles

How long will the leash be for Isaac Seumalo this time around?

How long will the leash be for Isaac Seumalo this time around?

As if the Eagles didn’t have enough problems with injuries, a reasonably healthy offensive line sprung a leak in Atlanta on Sunday night.

Yet, despite Isaac Seumalo’s disappointing performance against the Falcons — disastrous, by some measures — Eagles players and coaches expressed confidence in the starting left guard.

“I have the utmost trust in him,” Doug Pederson said. “He'll make the corrections from the other night and he'll move on.

“He's a pro about it. He's a professional at practice and he'll correct it. I have no issues with him.”

Pederson seldom acknowledges an individual player’s struggles directly, but there was no dancing around this. According to Pro Football Focus, Seumalo was responsible for eight total pressures in pass protection — six hurries and two sacks — and of the 191 offensive lineman who appeared in an NFL game in Week 2, none graded out worse.

In particular, Seumalo had issues dealing with Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, one of the more disruptive interior pass rushers in the league.

 “Sometimes a player will get the better of you,” Lane Johnson said. “They get paid too.

“Jarrett is a good player. In the past, whenever I’ve gone against great players and I’ve made mistakes in a game, you just try to learn from them as much as you can. That’s what good players do, that’s what Isaac is and I have all the confidence in him in the world.”

Except, in the past, Seumalo hasn’t always been granted that opportunity. In 2017, he was benched for Stefen Wisniewski after a brutal Week 2 in Kansas City and didn’t reclaim the left guard job until Week 5 of last season, over a year later.

Will the Eagles show more patience with Seumalo this time around?

Halapoulivaati Vaitai is waiting in the wings after spending the offseason working at guard. Then again, the club did sign Seumalo to a three-year contract extension in March — hardly a deal so large it would cement his position, though certainly a vote of confidence for the 25-year-old.

“Isaac has played well here in the past and we expect that he'll continue to do that,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “He probably didn't play his best game on Sunday night and I think he'd probably say the same.”

It’s easy to forget Seumalo is still relatively inexperienced. While this is the former third-round draft pick’s fourth season, he’s started just 19 games as a pro including playoffs.

Naturally, he’s going to take some lumps. It’s part of the process.

“As an offensive lineman, you’re going to have your ups and downs,” Brandon Brooks said. “The biggest thing that I’ve always been most proud of Isaac about is no matter what happens, he comes the next day with a hard hat and ready to work.

“You either have good games or learning experiences. It was a learning experience for him. He’ll bounce back.”

Playing alongside four Pro Bowlers with 15 trips between them, Seumalo was already viewed as the unit’s weak link by default. Perhaps that statement in itself serves as a form of commentary about the expectations he faces with the Eagles.

Seumalo did not excel in Atlanta, and nobody inside the building or out is trying to claim otherwise. He also seemed to be on an upward trajectory until that point, with a string of solid outings dating back to last season.

To listen to the Eagles, the latter is the real Seumalo. The question is how long will the leash be this time around if his issues continue?



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Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

A few years ago, Rick Lovato was working in his family’s restaurant, Joyce’s Subs and Pizza, in Lincroft, New Jersey, just waiting for a chance.

He wasn’t the best at making pizza, but Lovato could make a mean breakfast sandwich. 

Maybe he still can, but Lovato won’t have to worry about picking up an apron again anytime soon. He’s in the middle of what might end up being a long and profitable NFL career. 

The Eagles on Tuesday signed the 27-year-old long snapper to a four-year extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2023 season. 

Lovato has been playing this season on a one-year deal he signed in February and was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. It’s worth noting that kicker Jake Elliott and punter Cameron Johnston are also in the final years of their contracts, so perhaps another move or two will be coming. 

While this deal won’t break the bank the way Brandon Brooks’ extension did last week, the Eagles seem interested right now in re-signing some players they want to keep around. 

The Eagles initially signed Lovato in December of 2016 after Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist. Lovato performed well enough that the Eagles traded Dorenbos the following August and made Lovato their full-time long snapper. 

Lovato has played in 45 regular-season games and five playoff games with the Eagles, including Super Bowl LII. He has a giant Lombardi Trophy tattooed on his side. 

Being a long snapper is kind of like being an offensive lineman in some ways. The less you hear about the long snapper, the more likely he’s performing well and not making mistakes. So, for Lovato’s sake, hopefully this is the last time you hear his name for a few years.  

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Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

We've got some overall defense, some Zach Ertz and some Miles Sanders in this week's edition of 10 Roob Stats.

Yes, we can always come up with positive stats even when the Eagles lose!

—> The Eagles have held three straight opponents to 17 or fewer points and fewer than 300 yards. This is only the second time that’s happened in the last 11 years. They also did it against the Steelers, Bears and Browns — the first three games of the Doug Pederson Era. Only the Patriots and 49ers have also had such streaks this year.

—> Carson Wentz’s current streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown pass is 3rd-longest in Eagles history, behind Wentz’s 22-game streak over the 2016 through 2018 seasons and Randall Cunningham’s 18-game streak in 1987 and 1988.

—> Wentz played his 50th career game Sunday. Among all QBs in NFL history in their first 50 games, he ranks 9th in most TD passes, 9th in passing yards, 12th in accuracy, second in completions and 3rd in interception percentage and has the 4th-highest passer rating.

—> Zach Ertz’s nine catches Sunday give him 55 this year. He’s the first player in Eagles history with six straight 50-catch seasons. Keith Byars [1988-92], Jeremy Maclin [2009-14], and Brian Westbrook [2004-08] had five.

—> Zach Ertz now has 17 career nine-catch games. Only Tony Gonzalez [25] and Jason Witten [20] have more in NFL history among tight ends. The last two games mark the fourth time in his career he’s had nine catches in consecutive games. The only other players in Eagles history to do that once are Pete Pihos in 1955 Terrell Owens in 2005.

—> One more Ertz: He’s increased his career total to 492 receptions, 20th-most in NFL history by a tight end. He only needs 14 to pass six more tight ends and move into 14th place. At his current rate, he’ll be in the all-time top-10 by Week 3 of next season.

—> The Eagles allowed 14 TD drives of 60 yards or more the first six games of the season. They’ve allowed 4 the last four games.

—> They’ve also held six straight home opponents under 100 rushing yards, the 6th-longest streak in franchise history and 3rd-longest since 1955.

—> The Eagles are on pace to allow fewer than 1,400 rushing yards ad fewer than 3.8 per carry in the same season for only the second time since 1991 and the sixth time since 1955.

—> He didn’t have a huge game Sunday, but Miles Sanders did add 47 scrimmage yards to his 2019 total and now ranks second among all rookie NFL running backs with 688 scrimmage yards, behind only Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, who has 1,067 (and 97 more touches).

—> Sanders’ 688 yards are most ever by an Eagles rookie running back after 10 games (35 more than Lee Bouggess in 1970) and second-most by any rookie, behind only DeSean Jackson (732). Sanders needs to average 52 yards from scrimmage the rest of the season for 1,000. The only Eagles rookie to reach 1,000 scrimmage yards was Jackson (1,008 in 2008). The most by a running back was LeSean McCoy’s 945 in 2009.

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