Eagles

Howie Roseman needs to avoid major mistake with Jason Peters

Howie Roseman needs to avoid major mistake with Jason Peters

If Reggie White had been an offensive lineman, he would have been Jason Peters.

J.P. was that good.

During that stretch from 2009 through 2016, no left tackle in the NFL was better. Very few have ever been better.

Unimaginably strong, impossibly agile. He seemed closer to a mythical superhero than just a big strong dude playing a game.

Now? Now Jason Peters is just an above-average left tackle. Maybe the 12th- or 13th-best left tackle in the game.

Which isn’t bad at all. But he’s not nearly the player he once was, and when the greatest of all begins that inevitable decline, that’s never easy to watch.

And it’s never easy saying good-bye.

But the Eagles HAVE to say good-bye to Jason Peters.

It’s time.

“Me personally, one of my weaknesses is getting attached to our players,” Howie Roseman, Jan. 8, 2020

Roseman and Doug Pederson both spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday about Peters, and neither sounded like they were ready to let go quite yet.

Pederson said simply he wants Peters back.

Howie said Peters is a “Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person, someone who’s very special to us, played at a very high level this year.”

One of the biggest mistakes a GM can make is basing decisions on emotion instead of on cool, level-headed analysis.

In the wake of a season in which the Eagles re-signed Peters, Darren Sproles and DeSean Jackson, Roseman conceded last month that he's tended to let emotions affect his decision making.

Andy Reid told me once that a head coach should never hire his friends as assistant coaches because you never want to have to fire your friends.

You can’t keep players just because of what they meant to the franchise in the past or how much you personally admire them or because of what kind of player they used to be. You’re not going to win if you build a team that way.

“We need to infuse youth in this team,” Howie Roseman, Jan. 8, 2020

Roseman said all the right stuff when he spoke just a few days after the playoff loss to the Seahawks.

He seemed to understand his own mis-steps in trying to build a post-Super Bowl roster, and he seemed determined not to make them again.

The Eagles began the 2019 season as the 3rd-oldest NFL team and finished it as the NFL’s most injured team, and Roseman was very clear last month about the challenge he faced shedding aging players, identifying young talent and building a younger, faster, healthier team.

There’s nobody those concepts apply to more than Peters.

You can’t stand up there and talk about infusing youth into the team and then re-sign a declining 38-year-old left tackle who’s missed all or a significant part of 23 games since the start of 2017.

If Howie Roseman is serious about getting younger and faster and healthier and building a team that can stay together for the next few years, Jason Peters can’t be this team’s left tackle in 2020.

“You have to let young players play,” Howie Roseman, Jan. 8, 2020

The Eagles just 10 months ago traded the 25th pick in the 1st round and 4th- and 6th-round picks to the Ravens to move up to No. 22 and draft Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard. He played three games in place of an injured Peters in 2019 and was very good. He tried to play right tackle after Lane Johnson got hurt, and it was a disaster.

But the worst thing you can do to the 24-year-old Dillard is bury him on the bench behind Peters and stunt his development.

Why trade up for the guy if you're not going to play him? Why invest the money and time and resources just to let him sit and watch the aging, injury-plagued Peters? You have Dillard’s rights for five years and you’re really going to spend (at least) 40 percent of that period letting him ride the bench?

That’s not how you build a football team, and Howie knows it.

You don't essentially trade up for a guy and then bench him for a 38-year-old fading superstar.

It’s time.

And when Howie says things like: “One of my weaknesses is getting attached to our players,” and, “We need to infuse this team with youth,” and, “You have to let young player play?”

That’s all terrific advice.

Howie needs to listen very closely to his own words.

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Ever wonder how many Philly natives played for the Eagles?

Ever wonder how many Philly natives played for the Eagles?

When the Eagles signed Will Parks, who grew up at 2nd and Allegheny and attended since-shuttered Germantown High School, it got me wondering how many Philadelphia natives have played for the Eagles.

The answer is not many. Especially recently.

Going back to 1940, we found 14 Philly natives who played in at least one regular-season game for the Eagles.

We’re not including players from the suburbs [Vince Papale, Josh Adams, Matt Bahr] or Philly natives the Eagles drafted who never got into a game [Raheem Brock, Steve Ebbeke].

Anybody missing?

SHAREEF MILLER [2019]: You don’t have to go very far back to find the last Philly native to play for the Eagles. Miller, their 4th-round pick last year, graduated from George Washington High up in Somerton, and he did play for the Eagles last year – two special teams snaps against the Bills.

BRUCE PERRY [2005-06]: Perry, also a George Washington graduate, was the Eagles’ 7th-round pick in 2004. He played five games with the Eagles and had 16 career carries. On the last day of the 2005 season, he ran 15 times for 70 yards against the Redskins, a 4.7 average. He never had another NFL carry.

UHURU HAMITER [2001-02]: Hamiter was a defensive end who played at Mastbaum High in Kensington, leading the Panthers to the 1996 Public League championship. After playing at Delaware State, he went undrafted in 1998, but he signed with the London Monarchs of the World League and had seven sacks. The Eagles brought him into training camp that summer, and although he didn’t make the roster, he did resurface in 1999 with the Saints and played five games. He returned to Philly and played in eight games.

CHUCK WEBER [1959-61]: Weber went to Abington High, but he grew up in Philly, so we’ll keep him in the Philly section. Weber was actually the Eagles’ middle linebacker in 1960, when Chuck Bednarik played outside. Weber had six INTs in 1960, most by an Eagles linebacker until William Thomas had seven in 1995. In a 1960 game against the Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl he became the first linebacker in NFL history with three INTs in a game. He remains one of only six Eagles with three interceptions in a game and the only linebacker. Kurt Coleman is the last to do it.

EDDIE BELL [1955-58]: Bell went to West Philadelphia High and played at Penn. The Eagles drafted him in the 5th-round in 1953, and Bell, one of the first African-Americans to play in the NFL, had nine INTs in four seasons with the Eagles before spending time in the CFL and then the AFL with the New York Titans, who eventually became the Jets.

JOHN MICHELS [1953]: Not to be confused with the John Michels who was once traded for Jon Harris, this John Michels was a guard who went to West Catholic and then played at Tennessee. He was a 25th-round draft pick in 1953 and played 11 games for the Eagles.

JESS RICHARDSON [1953-61]: Richardson was from East Falls and went to Roxborough High. He was the Eagles’ 8th-round pick in 1953 as a defensive tackle out of Alabama. Ray Didinger tells me Richardson grew up blocks away from the Kelly family and was friends with Grace Kelly, who became Princess of Monaco. He played nine of his 12 NFL seasons with the Eagles, made a Pro Bowl in 1959 and started on the 1960 NFL Championship team.

WALT STICKEL [1950-51]: Stickel went to Northeast High and played at both Tulsa and Penn before the Bears drafted him in the 21st round in 1945. He finished his career with the Eagles, playing in 11 games.

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Nate Sudfeld confident in his ability to be Eagles’ backup QB

Nate Sudfeld confident in his ability to be Eagles’ backup QB

Had Nate Sudfeld not fractured his non-throwing wrist last summer, there’s a very good chance it would have been him attempting to lead the Eagles to an improbable playoff win against the Seahawks instead of 40-year-old Josh McCown after Carson Wentz suffered a concussion. 

But Sudfeld’s injury in August forced the Eagles to go out and lure McCown out of retirement. And once they did, even when Sudfeld was healthy, McCown wasn’t going to be the Eagles’ third-string quarterback. 

It was literally a bad break for Sudfeld. 

The 26-year-old quarterback didn’t technically hit free agency this year but he got close. Sudfeld at least got to test the waters of free agency during the legal tampering period before agreeing to a one-year, $2 million contract the day before the start of the new league year. 

When asked if the Eagles offered him any assurances about being the No. 2 quarterback, Sudfeld did not answer directly. But it seems like there’s a really good chance he’ll finally be Wentz’s No. 2 in 2020. 

“I don’t want to get into specifics but I’m very excited about the opportunity to come back and feel really good about coming back to Philadelphia,” Sudfeld said on a conference call this week. “Really excited to get back to work.” 

Will the Eagles bring in another veteran quarterback or draft a rookie to compete with him? It’s unclear. 

I think the NFL is obviously a meritocracy,” Sudfeld said. “As people have said before, it’s really ‘What have you done for me lately?’ What are you doing at each step? You have to keep proving yourself and you have to keep proving. 

“I definitely have a ton of confidence if I’m ever in a situation where I’m head-on-head competing with somebody. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I haven’t ever really had that opportunity so I’m looking forward to that if that comes.

The debate about whether or not Wentz is an injury-prone player has become trite at this point and it’s really not worth getting caught up in. But the fact remains that the final snaps in each of the Eagles’ last three seasons have been taken by his backup. 

Because of that, maybe it would have made sense for the Eagles to go out and grab a backup quarterback with some significant experience, sort of like what they did when they were forced to last year, signing McCown. 

Sudfeld might be great. But we just don’t know. 

Even he admits that. 

“The crazy thing about quarterback, especially, is you never really know about a guy until they’re thrown in there,” Sudfeld said. “The only way to get experience is to get experience.”

The Redskins drafted Sudfeld in the sixth-round out of Indiana back in 2016, but he left after one year to join Doug Pederson and the Eagles. At every turn, the Eagles have shown faith in him. They brought him in from Washington, they promoted him to the active roster that season to avoid losing him, they left him as the backup to Nick Foles in 2017 and 2018 after Wentz went down. And now they’ve brought him back as a free agent. 

And there’s a lot to like about Sudfeld. He’s 6-6 with a big arm and the ability to move in and out of the pocket. He’s shown his skills in practices and in the preseason. 

But in four NFL seasons, he’s thrown a total of 25 passes in the regular season. 

General manager Howie Roseman said that with the unique challenges of this offseason — we still don’t know if there will be spring practices — it was important to bring back a guy who knows the offense. Roseman said they really like him as a player too. 

With the NFL’s open negotiation period last week, Sudfeld got a chance to gauge interest from other teams and learn what they value in his game. It was a good experience, he said. But, ultimately, he felt like there was more left to do in Philly, at least for 2020. 

“Obviously, I want to be a starter someday,” Sudfeld said. “I want to play in this league. But I understand that it’s a process to get there and you have to get on the field.”

In a few months, he might be one injury away. 

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