Eagles

Howie Roseman has achieved one of his offseason goals

Howie Roseman has achieved one of his offseason goals

Are the Eagles a better team than they were last year? Who knows. We'll answer that in December.

But one thing is definite. They're a heck of a lot younger.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman made it clear as soon as last year ended that the 2020 Eagles had to be dramatically younger than the veteran-laden 2019 team.

The verdict?

The Eagles began last year as the third-oldest team in the NFL. 

They're now the ninth-youngest team in the NFL.

According to figures on Spotrac.com, the Eagles’ opening-day roster last year averaged 26.7 years old, and only the Patriots and Falcons were older. Not coincidentally, all three teams had disappointing seasons, the Patriots losing a home wild-card game a year after winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles losing a home wild-card game two years after winning the Super Bowl and the Falcons going 7-9.

Today, according to Spotrac, that figure is down to 25.3, which means the average Eagle is about a year and five months younger now than eight months ago.

That figure is a little exaggerated because your 90-man roster is always going to be somewhat younger than your 53-man roster simply because of the number of rookies a team adds for the offseason.

But what’s significant is going from third-oldest to ninth-youngest.

And of the nine other teams in the top-10 in terms of lowest average age — the Rams, Jaguars, Vikings, Dolphins, Giants, Browns, Broncos, Packers and Bengals — most are in full rebuilding mode.

Only the Eagles, Vikings and Packers are among the NFL’s 10 youngest teams but also coming off a playoff season.

That’s a good sign for a team trying to walk the tightrope of getting younger almost overnight while remaining competitive.

Roseman started the process of getting younger during last season, shedding older, overpaid, underperforming talent like Andrew Sendejo and Zach Brown during the season, and the process has continued full bore the past few months.

The Eagles had 13 players 30 or older on the roster at some point last year and only four of them remain — DeSean Jackson, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks.

All this could obviously change if the Eagles bring back Jason Peters or someone like Vinny Curry.

But Roseman’s goal for this offseason was to reshape the Eagles as a younger, faster, healthier team, and all three of those goals go together.

The Eagles believe there was a direct correlation between the advanced age of last year’s roster and the constant barrage of injuries that decimated the team.

And the idea is that a new, improved medical staff and a younger roster will translate to a healthier team.

Which will translate to more wins and a deeper playoff run.

As of now, the only players on the roster over 30 are Jackson (33) and Graham and Kelce (32). 

That’s 3 of 90.

Brooks, Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson are 30, as is Lane Johnson, who turned 30 last week.

Of course being younger doesn’t mean anything if the young guys can’t play.

And that’s really the key to all of this.

We know what 23-year-old Miles Sanders and 25-year-old Dallas Goedert can do, and you can throw 25-year-old Jake Elliott in there as well.

We’ve seen good things at times from Avonte Maddox, Derek Barnett, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Andre Dillard, Boston Scott and Greg Ward, who are all between 23 and 25. 

And getting younger means you have to get contributions from your rookies, so Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts have to show up. Same with JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

Getting younger is certainly a risk when it means moving on from proven players like Peters, Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham to unproven kids with potential.

But it's a step this franchise had to make.

Roseman set out to build a younger team and he’s done that. But the biggest challenge remains:

Getting that younger version of the Eagles to win.

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Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Eagles' Jalen Reagor has perfect response for Skip Bayless criticism

Jalen Reagor hasn't yet set foot on a football field wearing midnight green, but the Eagles' first-round pick is already a pro at comebacks.

Professional Talker Skip Bayless popped off about Reagor's (admittedly unexpected) draft slot late last week, making fun of the Eagles for taking Reagor at No. 21 overall.

Here's what Bayless had to say:

I about fell out of my chair over that, for the wrong reason. Jalen Reagor went way higher than any draft expert had mocked him. I'm mocking that pick right now, because I thought it was a silly pick, because there were four, five other receivers I would've taken over Jalen Reagor.

There are, of course, different ways to responds when a person like Bayless (loud, looking for attention) singles out a player.

You can try to argue the points made, and point out that while Reagor going at No. 21 overall may have been a surprise, you'd be hard pressed to name four wideouts who went after Reagor and are widely seen as better players.

Justin Jefferson at No. 22? Fine. Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25 is a pick 'em, as is Tee Higgins at No. 33, and most basically everyone would give Reagor the edge over guys like Laviska Shenault, K.J. Hamler, and Chase Claypool.

You can take the petty angle and remind Bayless, a noted Cowboys fan, which team is the reigning NFC East champion. (It's the Eagles.)

Or you can be Reagor, and simply tell Bayless that you heard what he thinks, and keep it moving:

Nice and subtle. Reagor is keeping a list, but he's unbothered. Perfect.

Something tells me this clip will be re-shared plenty when Reagor scores his first touchdown against the Cowboys.

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How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

How Tom Brady says the Eagles helped create the 'Patriot Way' in New England

ESPN's decision to seize on the success of "The Last Dance" by teasing a similar documentary about Tom Brady has grabbed sports fans' attention, even if the doc doesn't come out until 2021.

And while reliving Brady's greatest accomplishments isn't an ideal way to spend several hours, the way the Eagles are intertwined with Brady's Patriots legacy certainly suggests there will be tons of insights for Philly fans in the final product.

Like, maybe, Brady saying he feels the fabled 'Patriot Way' began because of the Eagles.

Here's the doc's producer Gotham Chopra, talking to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, on the way Brady viewed his time in New England:

CHOPRA: There was something we recently did on that 2004 Super Bowl, where he talked about the culture of that team. All this stuff you hear about Patriot Way, and Do Your Job, stuff that Bill has created over the years, the philosophies, this is the year that really happened.

He’s like, ‘First year, kind of a miracle. The next Super Bowl, O.K., now we’re getting our feel. And that first Eagles Super Bowl, this is where the Patriot Way was born.’

Welp.

Odds are good the Patriots would've been great for the last 15 years no matter what, but it's sort of frustrating to know the Eagles losing to Brady helped, at least in Brady's mind, establish New England's brand of success.

Who knows: If Donovan McNabb & Co. managed to pull out the win, maybe we would've had a very different last 15 years.

One thing Eagles fans can get excited for, at least, is Brady's reaction to losing Super Bowl LII to the Eagles.

It's unclear how much behind-the-scenes stuff we'll see from the game - Chopra said Brady suddenly got cold feet about filming in Minneapolis that week - but It sounds like it really changed him as a person:

CHOPRA: What he told me about that Eagles loss, it was dealing with it as a father, dealing with it as a husband. He was a very different person than with the Giants losses, he had a different perspective that I think poised him for that game. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s really interesting how a guy who’s still at it is learning like that.’ Because he’s like [Michael] Jordan, he’s incomparable. There’s no one else who has that story, has that perspective.

It's so strange to think how, despite playing in a different conference, the Eagles have played a pretty significant role in shaping the way the world sees Brady and the Patriots.

For better, and for worse.

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