Eagles

Imagine if Carson Wentz had real wide receivers?

Imagine if Carson Wentz had real wide receivers?

There’s ageless Larry Fitzgerald making a ridiculous one-handed catch on a 4th-and-5 against the Bucs. There’s Golden Tate taking a short pass from Daniel Jones and running 61 yards through traffic for a touchdown against the Jets. There’s Amari Cooper in the third quarter against the Vikings catching a pass five yards out of bounds while somehow dragging his feet in bounds … then doing it again in the end zone a few minutes later.

It was impossible to watch football Sunday without watching incredible catch after incredible catch and wondering what it would be like if just one of those guys was an Eagle.

Eagles wideouts can’t make the routine catches. Other teams have guys who make impossible ones.

Watching other teams play football during the bye week really reinforced what we already knew: The Eagles’ wideouts are the worst in the league.

They don’t make plays.

And it really makes you appreciate what Carson Wentz has been able to do despite being hamstrung by this horribly underachieving group.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Donovan McNabb had — by far — his best NFL year in his one full season with T.O. 

Wentz had one game with DeSean Jackson and chucked two 50-yard TDs, completed 72 percent of his passes and passed for 313 yards.

For Wentz to be playing at the level he is — 15 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 63 percent completion percentage — is remarkable considering that since Week 2, the Eagles have been trotting out a group of wide receivers that includes a one-time Pro Bowler who suddenly looks old and slow and is struggling terribly to catch the most routine passes, a $9.4 million former first-round pick who keeps whiffing on deep balls and has been a non-factor for two months, a third wideout who hasn’t had a catch since September and a second-round pick who hasn’t had a catch since earlier in September.

Imagine trying to play quarterback in the NFL without wide receivers?

Imagine what Wentz’s numbers would look like if Nelly had caught a couple of those easy deep balls, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside brought in that potential game-winner against the Lions and Alshon Jeffery had just caught half the balls he's dropped?

The Eagles would likely be 7-2 and he’d have Pro Bowl numbers.

Now just imagine if he had Amari Cooper or Larry Fitz or even Tate. Or any legit NFL receiver. Or a couple of them. 

He has none of them.

Wentz has made the passing game work to some extent with a Pro Bowl tight end, a rapidly improving rookie running back and a capable second tight end as his main weapons.

But the most impressive thing he’s done is play within himself, not get frustrated — at least not outwardly — and stay positive throughout this nightmarish stretch by his wide receivers.

That’s leadership, and anybody who’s watched the Eagles play football this year knows that Wentz is doing absolutely the best he can with what he has.

You never see him shaking his head or slamming his helmet down on the sideline after a bad drop. You never see him barking at one of his receivers after another hapless third down when nobody's open. You never see him lose his cool when a perfect deep ball flies through someone's hands.

The Eagles are 5-4 coming out of the bye week with a wide receiver crew that, since Jackson went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury, has averaged — as a group — 89 yards per game. Over the last six weeks, that number is down to 72.

That’s all of them combined.

Eagles wide receivers don’t have a touchdown catch longer than six yards over the last six games. They don't have any catches of 40 yards since Week 2.

Through it all, Wentz remains efficient, positive and confident.

People always joke about how bad James Thrash and Todd Pinkston were. Thrash averaged 55 catches, 675 yards and 5 TDs in three seasons as an Eagle. Pinkston from 2001 through 2004 had 19 catches of at least 40 yards — third-most in the NFL behind T.O. and Randy Moss.

Wentz is essentially out there playing with a wide receiving crew that’s significantly worse than Thrash and Pinkston, and he has the Eagles in a virtual tie for first place in the NFC, and that tells you everything you need to know about the season Carson Wentz is having.



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Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Snubbed Eagle Lane Johnson added to Pro Bowl team as alternate

Lane Johnson is a Pro Bowler after all.

Johnson, snubbed in the original Pro Bowl announcement, has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl team as an alternate, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio.

This is Johnson’s third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. There was no word on which offensive lineman dropped out of the game.

It was a little surprising that Johnson didn't make the team initially. He's considered one of the NFL's most dominating right tackles and was a first-team all-pro in 2017.

He didn't seem thrilled when the original team was announced a month ago:

Johnson missed the last three games of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Seahawks with a high ankle sprain, and it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando.

But for the purposes of bonuses and status, he’s now officially a three-time Pro Bowler.

Johnson becomes the seventh offensive lineman in Eagles history selected to three or more Pro Bowls.

Jason Peters was picked to seven between the 2009 and 2016 seasons. Tra Thomas, Bob Brown, Bucko Kilroy, Jason Kelce, Jim Ringo and Brandon Brooks have all been picked to three.

The 29-year-old Johnson becomes the Eagles’ sixth Pro Bowler, joining Brooks, Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz and Rick Lovato.

Johnson, the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, recently signed a contract extension that runs through 2025.

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Jim Caldwell out as Dolphins QBs coach, possible OC candidate for Eagles

Jim Caldwell out as Dolphins QBs coach, possible OC candidate for Eagles

On Monday night, the Dolphins announced their 2020 coaching staff and there was a notable omission.

No Jim Caldwell.

So now the 65-year-old former head coach, OC and quarterbacks coach has plenty of free time if the Eagles want to interview him for their offensive coordinator opening (if they haven’t already).

According to ESPN, Caldwell is interested in coaching after missing the 2019 season for health reasons.

Shortly after the Eagles fired Mike Groh earlier this month, ESPN’s Tim McManus mentioned Caldwell and Kevin O’Connell as candidates. O’Connell has since joined the Los Angeles Rams as their offensive coordinator, a position that is somewhat like the one in Philly because the head coach is the primary play-caller.

Earlier on Monday, we learned that USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who interviewed with the Eagles, is expected to return to Southern California for next season. So cross him off the list.

Caldwell is an intriguing name because of his history with quarterbacks. It would make sense for the next offensive coordinator to be someone who could have a positive influence on Carson Wentz as he enters what should be the prime of his career.

While candidates like Harrell and Chiefs offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are fast-risers in the coaching world, Caldwell has been coaching longer they’ve been alive. He has an impressive resume.

Caldwell has been an NFL head coach twice (Colts and Lions) and was the quarterbacks coach with the Colts from 2002-08. Peyton Manning went to nine straight Pro Bowls with Caldwell coaching him.

The Eagles are taking their time choosing a coach but their brass is in Mobile, Alabama, this week for the Senior Bowl and that can often be an opportunity to meet with several coaches within a few days. It would make plenty of sense if Caldwell is on their list; and now his schedule should be wide open.

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