The Jalen Reagor-Justin Jefferson question, a legendary Jim McMahon performance in Cleveland and a look at Eagles jersey numbers that aren’t retired but really are.
All that and more in a Week 11 Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations!
1. No doubt Justin Jefferson is a flat-out stud. I don’t know if Jalen Reagor will ever be as productive as Jefferson. Doubt it. Dude's on pace for more than 1,300 yards. I wanted Jefferson. Everyone wanted Jefferson. (OK, almost everyone.) That said, it’s crazy to call Reagor a bust after four games. Despite not having an offseason, despite virtual meetings, despite two separate injuries, despite playing with a struggling quarterback, he still has 159 yards, 3rd-most in Eagles history by a WR in his first four games - behind only DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. This isn’t a J.J. Arcega-Whiteside / D.K. Metcalf situation. Not even close. That was catastrophic. Reagor may never match up to Jefferson, but he is going to be a solid WR for this team. Just because the Eagles drafted the wrong guy doesn't mean Reagor can't play.
2. There are 64 NFL cornerbacks who’ve had an interception since the last interception by an Eagles cornerback [Sidney Jones vs. the Giants last December]. One of them is Jones, who has two this year for the Jaguars.
3. I want to see more of Michael Jacquet. I like the way the kid battled when he was forced to replace injured Darius Slay in the Dallas game, with 30 solid snaps in his first career game as an undrafted rookie. This team has been looking for answers at cornerback since the days of Lito and Sheldon, and Jacquet earned a longer look.
4. With the Eagles in Cleveland Sunday, I was thinking about the 1991 Eagles-Browns game at the old Municipal Stadium. One of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen. The Browns were up 23-0 early in the second quarter and then 30-17 at halftime before the Eagles scored the game’s last 16 points on three Roger Ruzek field goals and a TD pass from Jim McMahon to Calvin Williams. The comeback from 23 points down remains the 3rd-largest in Eagles history and largest in the last 60 years. McMahon’s performance was one of the gutsiest I’ve ever seen. He threw for 341 yards – second-most of his career - with TD passes to Keith Jackson, Fred Barnett and Williams despite an elbow injury that was so bad Jeff Kemp was expected to play until five minutes before kickoff. I still remember Ron Heller telling us after the game that he had to comb McMahon’s hair after he showered because McMahon couldn’t lift his arm.
5. The Eagles lead the NFL with 40 3-and-outs this year. No other team has had more than 33.
6. It’s kind of cool that even though Randall Cunningham’s No. 12 isn’t officially retired, no Eagle has worn it since Cunningham in 1995. Shady’s No. 25 is unofficially retired, and I have a hunch nobody is ever going to wear No. 9 again, either.
7. The Eagles have been one of the best rushing teams in the NFL when Doug Pederson chooses to run the ball, but behind the glossy numbers and that 5.1 yards-per-carry average is a huge concern. They’re terrible running the ball late in games. The Eagles are averaging 5.8 rushing yards in the first quarter, 4.6 in the second quarter and 6.4 in the third. Their 5.6 mark the first 3Q is best in the NFL. But in the 4th quarter (and overtime) that number goes down to a dismal 3.2 yards per carry, and their running backs are at 2.7 with just 95 rushing yards after the third quarter in nine games. Is it fatigue? Does the offense become too predictable? Is it just the product of a patchwork and inconsistent offensive line struggling late in games? Probably all of the above. No matter what you do the first three quarters, you need to be able to the ball in the fourth quarter to keep the chains moving and run clock with a lead or maintain some balance if you’re trailing in a close game, and they haven’t been able to do that.
8. Duce Staley was made available to the media for 12 minutes Friday, and for the entire 12 minutes I couldn’t stop thinking, “This guy needs to be a head coach.”
9. Miles Sanders has three 60-yard runs in his first 22 career games. LeSean McCoy had one 60-yard run in 90 games as an Eagle. Since last year began, Sanders and Derrick Henry are the only NFL players with three 60-yard runs (Henry has 239 more carries). Sanders’ 5.1 rushing average is 10th-highest in NFL history through 22 games [minimum of 250 carries], behind Bo Jackson, Chris Johnson, Clinton Portis, Nick Chubb (who the Eagles face on Sunday) and Adrian Peterson.
10. If you think the Eagles’ offense is bad this year … yeah, you’re not wrong. But consider the Eagles’ 1998 offense. They averaged 10.1 points per game, had seven passing TDs all year, averaged 262 yards per game and scored 12 or fewer points 10 times. Only one team has ever scored fewer points in a 16-game season. The 1998 Eagles averaged 11.5 points through six games when offensive coordinator Dana Bible was replaced by Bill Musgrave. They then proceeded to average 9.2 points per game under Musgrave.
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