Why Travis Fulgham is the real deal, the Brandon Graham Pro Bowl campaign and an unbelievable Zach Ertz stat.
We start there in our Monday morning edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles observations!
1. We can all stop asking whether Travis Fulgham is a fluke. I’ve seen enough. I’m sold. The kid’s a baller. Think about what 357 yards in four games means. T.O. is the only WR in franchise history with more yards in his first four games here, and he was already a four-time Pro Bowler when he got here. Fulgham has good enough speed, tremendous body control and strength, he’s aggressive to the ball, has terrific hands and has some real swagger to his game. He doesn’t back down and isn’t afraid of the moment. And he already has incredible chemistry with Carson Wentz, who quickly developed tremendous trust in Fulgham to go up and get the football. This is without a training camp, OTAs or preseason games. The kid first walked into the NovaCare Complex two months ago. Imagine when he has a full offseason with Wentz and in this scheme? He’s only going to get better.
2. I saw a lot of people blasting the Eagles for letting Nelson Agholor walk after his 107-yard game for the Raiders against Tampa on Sunday. There's a lot you can criticize the Eagles for but not this. And while he did catch his fourth TD of the season, if you just look at the stats you won't see that he also had two drops Sunday and a deflection that led directly to a Tampa Bay interception. Agholor is playing well, and every Eagles fan should be happy for him. But no matter what he does in Vegas, he's clearly a guy who needed a change of scenery.
3. I’d say Nickell Robey-Coleman has been the most disappointing player on the Eagles’ defense this year. Nate Gerry may be the worst, but NRC came here with the reputation of being one of the NFL’s top slot corners, and he just really hasn’t played well at all.
4. Maybe it’s a little early to start up the Brandon Graham Pro Bowl conversation, but if he keeps playing the way he’s playing, he’s going. Right now he leads all NFC edge rushers with 6.0 sacks, and the only NFL players with more are Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (7.5) and Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett (7.0), who Graham won’t be competing with for Pro Bowl votes. B.G. has plenty of name recognition, he’s well-liked around the league (and everywhere else), he’s been around forever and you never know with these things but I feel like if he’s up there with sack, he’s going. Which would be so sweet for a guy in his 11th season without a Pro Bowl on his resume. At 32, Graham would be the Eagles’ oldest first-time Pro Bowl position player since linebacker Dave Lloyd, who was 33 when he made the team after the 1976 season. Long snapper Mike Bartrum was 35 when he went in 2005. I can’t imagine there’s one person who’s ever met B.G. or spoken to him who’d be rooting against him.
5. One more on Fulgham. Get this: Fulgham already has the fourth-most games since 2016 by an Eagles WR with at least 70 receiving yards. Alshon Jeffery has had 10 games with 70 yards, Agholor eight, Jordan Matthews seven and Fulgham four. He's played four games.
6. Aaron Moorehead, the Eagles’ fifth wide receivers coach in five years, deserves a ton of credit for the work he’s done with this young group of receivers. To get this kind of production from Fulgham, Greg Ward and John Hightower, all in their first full NFL seasons, all either late-round picks or undrafted? Without an offseason or preseason games? With Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor sidelined most or all of the season? The Eagles have been looking for the right WR coach for a long time, and they’ve got him.
7. Speaking of Ward, he’s really one of the most underrated players on the Eagles. He doesn’t have blazing speed like Hightower. He doesn’t have great size like Fulgham. But he gets open, he catches almost everything, he moves the sticks and he’s got a nose for the end zone. It feels like Ward’s been around forever, but he’s only played 14 games in his career. But he’s got 57 catches and four TDs in those 14 games. The only player in franchise history with more catches and TDs in his first 14 games is all-pro tight end Keith Jackson in 1988.
8. This is hard to believe, but Zach Ertz has played 372 snaps and has 178 yards, and Richard Rodgers has played 188 snaps and has 184 yards.
9. The Eagles have done a great job shutting down opposing running backs this year. The only RBs that have really hurt the Eagles this year are both from the Rams — Darrell Henderson (12-for-81) and Malcolm Brown (11-for-47) back in Week 2. No other opposing back has averaged over 4.0 yards per carry. But still the Eagles are 24th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 19th in yards per rush allowed. How’s that possible? Because opposing QBs are averaging 13.4 yards per carry (not including kneel downs) and opposing WRs are averaging 11.9 yards per carry. Opposing RBs are averaging just 3.3 YPC. But QBs and WRs combined have 31 carries for 396 yards and three TDs against the Eagles. That’s 43 percent of the rushing yards against the Eagles on 16 percent of the carries by non-RBs. Obviously an 80-yard run skews the numbers. But until the Eagles prove they can stop opposing QBs and WRs from killing them on the ground, teams are going to keep calling running plays if they have a mobile quarterback and they’re going to keep calling end arounds and reverses until the Eagles figure out how to stop them.
10. The Eagles allowed three quarterbacks to rush for at least 90 yards in their first 87 years — M.C. Reynolds of the Chicago Cardinals gained 99 in 1958, Roger Staubach 90 in 1971 and Terrelle Pryor 94 in the Nick Foles 7-TD game in 2013. Then they allowed two QBs to rush for at least 90 yards in five days — Lamar Jackson had 108 and Daniel Jones 92. No NFL team has ever allowed three QBs to rush for 90 yards in a season, but Kyler Murray is looming on the Eagles’ schedule in December.