Is Miles Sanders the best rookie in Eagles history?

Is Miles Sanders the best rookie in Eagles history?

He's already shattered every Eagles rookie rushing record, every scrimmage yards record, every total yardage record, and there's still one game to go.

Miles Sanders is in the mix for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with 766 rushing yards and a 4.5 average, 47 catches for 510 more yards, six touchdowns and nearly 1,300 yards from scrimmage.

He's the only NFL player with four runs and four catches of at least 30 yards, and over the last eight weeks, he's averaged over 100 scrimmage yards per week.

The Eagles have been around since 1933, but is Sanders having the greatest season in franchise history by a rookie?

He very well may be.

I picked out the best rookie seasons in Eagles history. It's not always easy comparing positions and eras, but let's take a look at the kind of history Sanders is chasing:

End Don Looney, 1940: Looney led the NFL in both catches (58) and yards (707) as a rookie 8th-round pick. That was 17 more catches than anybody had ever had up to that point, and it remains the 4th-most receptions any Eagles rookie has ever had.

End Bobby Walston, 1951: Walston was 1951 Rookie of the Year after catching 31 passes for 512 yards and 8 touchdowns and also scoring 46 points as a kicker. His 94 total points remain 6th-most ever by an Eagles rookie.

S Bibbles Bawel, 1952: Bawel (real name Edward Raymond Bawel) had 8 interceptions in 1952, 4th-most in the league, as an undrafted rookie out of Evansville. That remains tied for most in Eagles history by a rookie.

CB Tom Brookshier, 1953: Brookie began his career with a splash, matching Bibbles with 8 interceptions, which remains tied for the most in Eagles history by a rookie.  

DT Jim Weatherall, 1955: Second-round pick out of Oklahoma made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He remains one of only 10 rookies in franchise history to make a Pro Bowl team as a rookie.

RB Billy Ray Barnes, 1957: Barnes was also a Pro Bowler as a rookie, recording 741 scrimmage yards, 529 rushing and 212 receiving. 

LB Maxie Baughan, 1960: Baughan was the only rookie starter on the 1960 Eagles NFL Championship team. He had 3 interceptions and made his first of nine Pro Bowls.

TE Charle Young, 1973: Young burst onto the scene with 55 catches, 854 yards and six touchdowns, leading all tight ends in all three categories. He was 4thoverall in catches and yards and made the Pro Bowl and first-team all-pro.

CB Eric Allen, 1988: Allen began his brilliant career with five interceptions for the 1988 NFC East champs. He was the only rookie starter on a defense packed with stars like Reggie White, Andre Waters, Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons, Wes Hopkins and Jerome Brown.

TE Keith Jackson, 1988: Jackson had the best year of his career as a rookie, with 81 catches for 869 yards with six touchdowns. That remains 10th-most catches ever by a rookie, most ever by a rookie tight end and most ever by an Eagles rookie.

WR Calvin Williams, 1990: Williams was the third receiver the Eagles drafted in 1990, after Fred Barnett and Mike Bellamy, but he made quite an impact. Williams was 3rd in the NFL with 9 TD catches (Barnett was 4th with 8), fourth-most in NFL history by a rookie drafted in the 5th round or later and still most ever by an Eagles rookie. 

OT Tra Thomas, 1998: Thomas didn't make his first Pro Bowl until his third season, but he established himself as a franchise left tackle from the jump and protected Donovan McNabb's blind side for virtually his entire career.

DT Corey Simon, 2000: Simon never quite matched his rookie numbers, but his 9 ½ sacks in 2000 remain 5th-most ever by a rookie defensive tackle and by far the most ever by an Eagles rookie.

WR DeSean Jackson, 2008: D-Jack went over 100 yards in his first two games and finished second among rookies with 912 receiving yards, breaking Keith Jackson's franchise rookie record. He added 211 yards in the three playoff games, including a 62-yard TD catch in the 4th quarter of the NFC Championship Game.

PK Cody Parkey, 2014: Long before Parkey gave the Eagles a huge win with his double-doink miss at the end of the Eagles-Bears playoff game in January he set an NFL rookie scoring record of 150 points that still stands. He made 32 of his 36 field goal attempts that year and became the first Eagles rookie since Keith Jackson in 1988 to make a Pro Bowl.

WR Jordan Matthews, 2014: Matthews had 67-for-872 with 8 TDs as a rookie, falling just 40 yards shy of DeSean Jackson's franchise rookie receiving yardage record. 

QB Carson Wentz, 2016: Wentz threw for 3,782 yards as a rookie, 4th-most in NFL history, and his 379 completions remain the most ever by a rookie. He became the only Eagles rookie to start every game of a season at quarterback.

•  RB Miles Sanders, 2019: Sanders goes into the final day of the regular season just 40 yards behind Josh Jacobs of the Raiders for the NFL total yardage title. Sanders already has the most receiving yards by an Eagles rookie running back and needs four catches Sunday to break that record. He'll finish as one of only four rookies in history with 750 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and at least a 4.4 rushing average. He's the first Eagles rookie in 75 years with three TDs receiving and three rushing.

Who's the best rookie in Eagles history?

I would narrow it down to Young, Walston, Baughan and Sanders.

Young was a first-team All-Pro. Walston was Rookie of the Year. Baughan was a Pro Bowler on an NFL Championship team.

All had tremendous first seasons.

But Young played on a team where Harold Carmichael was a Pro Bowler and Tom Sullivan rushed for nearly 1,000 yards.

Walston played in the shadow of Hall of Famer Pete Pihos and alongside a capable receiver in Jerry Williams.

Baughan was part of a defense with Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik and Tom Brookshier and Pro Bowlers Marion Campbell and Jess Richardson.

Sanders? He's carried this team down the stretch, and over the last four weeks, he has the 3rd-most scrimmage yards of all NFL running backs, behind only Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey.

The Eagles have had a lot of really good rookies in their 87 years of existence. They've never been so dependent on any of them. And he's responded brilliantly.

Miles Sanders is the greatest rookie in Eagles history.

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A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones, an unbelievable Sam Bradford stat and the continuing saga of Reb Russell.

It's all right here in this weekend's Roob's 10 Eagles Observations! 

1. I keep trying to convince myself, "This will be the year we see the real Sidney Jones." And coming out of last year, I really believed Jones, going into Year 4, had a chance to really get his legs healthy this spring and then show everybody in minicamps, OTAs, training camp and the preseason games that he could hold down the CB2 opposite Darius Slay. But if the curtailed offseason and preseason hurts anybody the most, it's Jones. The Eagles have made it clear Avonte Maddox is the projected starter, and as long Maddox stays healthy I don't see how Sidney can win the job. Without any spring workouts or preseason games? Can Jones do enough just in a few weeks of training camp practice to beat out Maddox? I don't think so.

2. Who has the highest 4th-quarter passer rating among Eagles quarterbacks? Going back to 1994, as far back as the Pro Football Reference database logs quarter-by-quarter stats, here's the surprising answer (minimum of 100 4th-quarter attempts):

95.9 ... Sam Bradford

88.4 ... Michael Vick

84.5 ... Carson Wentz

83.6 ... Donovan McNabb

81.9 ... Nick Foles

76.9 ... Rodney Peele

76.7 ... Mark Sanchez

70.3 ... Ty Detmer

64.1 ... Bobby Hoying

62.7 ... Randall Cunningham

59.0 ... Koy Detmer 

(Remember, this only includes Randall's last two years with the Eagles) 

3. As good as T.O. was in 2004, he was on his way to an even bigger season in 2005 before he imploded and got himself suspended. Owens was 47-for-763 with 6 TDs after seven games, which put him on pace for 107 catches and 1,744 yards with 13 TDs. The only players in NFL history to reach those plateaus in a season are Jerry Rice and Isaac Bruce. T.O.'s 93.5 yards per game as an Eagle is 23 yards per game more than any other WR in franchise history. DeSean Jackson (69.7), Mike Quick (64.0), Irving Fryar (63.9) and Jeremy Maclin (63.6) are next.

4. If the NFL does wind up reducing rosters from 90 to 75 because of the curtailed or eliminated preseason and for social distancing purposes, the league needs to give each team the opportunity to retain the rights of some or all of the players they're forced to release. Maybe pay them a weekly reduced salary and let them participate in virtual meetings and remain part of the team without actually being at practice. It would be a shame to see the Eagles forced to cut ties with promising kids like Adrian Killians Jr., Grayland Arnold, Raequan Williams, Mike Warren, Sua Opeta or Deontay Burnett because of the current circumstances. The league and the NFLPA need to find a way to make sure that doesn't happen.

5. I just remembered the Eagles paid Nelson Agholor $9.387 million last year.

6. The Frankford Yellow Jackets won the 1926 NFL Championship, but by the early 1930s, they may have been the worst professional sports team in Philadelphia history. They won only 3 of their last 24 games and scored 7 or fewer points in 20 of those 24 games. 

7. What are the odds that the Eagles' two recent Hall of Famers — Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael — went to the same high school? Both graduated from Raines High in Jacksonville. Raines has produced numerous other NFL players, including Lito Sheppard, Shawn Jefferson and Ken Burrough, along with baseball's Vince Coleman. Surprisingly, 16 high schools produced multiple Hall of Famers, including one — George Washington in L.A. — that produced three (James Lofton, Hugh McElhenny, Bill Walsh). 

8. Carson Wentz's 32 wins are 15th-most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first four seasons. He's also one of only five of the top 20 that didn't win a playoff game during those four years. The others are Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Steve Grogan, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer. Ryan won one in his 5th season, Manning in his 6th and Palmer in his 14th. Dalton and Grogan never did win one. One of these years, Wentz will win one. Right?

9. Donovan McNabb had already won four playoff games and reached two NFC Championship Games by the end of his fourth season.

10. Everyone seemed to enjoy last week's excerpt from newspaper coverage of the Eagles' first game in franchise history in 1933, so here's an excerpt from the Inquirer story reporting the first win in franchise history, 6-0 over the Reds later in 1933: 

"Tall, slab-sided, loose-limbed Swede Hanson, the new Galloping Ghost of the commercial gridiron, raced over the last white stripe today, as the Philadelphia Eagles achieved their first conquest of the season, 6-0. Hanson, lean and lank and lantern jawed, was the hero of this game, as he has starred in all of the frays in which the Eagles have been a part. For two periods, the Birds and their Red foes battered away at the line or sought the air but all in vain. In the third quarter, however, the Wraymen turned into a devastating horde." 

The story goes on to describe Hanson's touchdown, the game's only score: 

"It was fourth down now and the goal line beckoning in tantalizing fashion straight ahead. Then Hanson and (Reb) Russell outwtitted their foes. Reb came tearing in as if to shoot off tackle. The Reds tumbled through upon the former Purple hero, however, who was ready for this emergency. As the gang tried to pile up, Russell flipped a lateral, straight and unerring, right into Hanson's arms. Like a flash, the Swede lighted out for the end, slipped past two tackles and went over the line."

Wraymen? Really? Remember, that team's coach was Lud Wray. Guess I should start calling the Eagles the Dougmen?

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Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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