Out in Minnesota, should Eagles bring back John DeFilippo?

Out in Minnesota, should Eagles bring back John DeFilippo?

The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo Tuesday afternoon and we’re all thinking the same thing. 

Come on back, Flip. 

And it would obviously make some sense. The Eagles’ offense has struggled this year and we’ve sort of reasoned for weeks now that the Eagles have missed former OC Frank Reich and former QB coach DeFilippo. Now one of those guys is available. And the Eagles have always had a very high opinion of DeFilippo. 

So should the Eagles bring him back?

That seems like a totally reasonable course of action, but first, we have to figure out if he’ll be available to bring back. 

It isn’t exactly a surprise that Flip was fired in Minnesota; it didn’t seem like he and head coach Mike Zimmer had a great working relationship. I wonder how much damage Flip’s relatively short stay in Minnesota has done to the perception about him around the rest of the league. 

Because DeFilippo is still just 40 years old and had been seen as an up-and-coming offensive mind in the NFL. But his offense in Minnesota has floundered, especially recently, putting up just 17 points in the last two games after bringing in Kirk Cousins on a mega contract this offseason. 

The real question then circles around whether or not other teams are going to be calling for DeFilippo. As an offensive coach, it’s likely his desire is to continue to be a play caller. If he gets that opportunity elsewhere, he probably wouldn’t be too keen on returning to Philly to take a backseat to Doug Pederson. 

But if that opportunity to become an OC and play-caller doesn’t present itself, it would make sense for the Radnor High School product to be open to a return to Philadelphia in some capacity. Hey, maybe the Eagles could even bring him back this season in a Hue Jackson sort of role in Cincinnati. Although, that might not sit well with the guy currently in the OC chair. 

It is pretty telling that Eagles fans are calling for DeFilippo, a guy who has been running a meager offense that’s scored 21.7 points per game. That sort of shows how bad things have been in Philly this year with Groh as offensive coordinator.

While Doug Pederson deserves the brunt of criticism for the problems on offense this season, Groh is the OC and deserves his share too. Over these last three games, barring a huge offensive turnaround, there are going to be calls for Groh’s job. 

“I just come to work,” Groh said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t really get involved with any of that stuff. Just trying to put a great plan together and try to win one game this week.”

Groh heard the news about DeFilippo’s getting fired shortly before his weekly press conference. Groh classified his former coworker as a good friend and said he feels for him, calling this an unfortunate part of the business. 

It might end up being unfortunate for Groh too. Because you have to think the Eagles would have at least some level of interest in bringing Flip back as a replacement.

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The Eli Manning Hall of Fame debate has one obvious answer

The Eli Manning Hall of Fame debate has one obvious answer

Eli Manning is one of only 12 quarterbacks in NFL history to win more than one Super Bowl.

Is that enough to get him into the Hall of Fame?

Manning was benched by Giants coach Pat Shurmur Tuesday in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. 

Manning is 38 and in his 16th season. He's faced the Eagles more than any quarterback in NFL history.

Maybe he’ll get another chance to start somewhere, but most likely the body of work that he’s put out in 246 games so far is essentially what he’ll be judged on when the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters start considering his candidacy five years after he retires.

Let’s take a look!

The case for Eli Manning 

Manning is one of only 12 quarterbacks in NFL history to win more than one Super Bowl, and of the eight QBs who are already eligible for the Hall, seven have been enshrined. 

The exception is Jim Plunkett, who beat the Eagles in 1980 and the Redskins 1983.

But it’s tough to make any sort of case for Plunkett, who played 16 seasons, was a full-time starter eight years, had a winning record twice, never made a Pro Bowl, threw 34 more interceptions than touchdowns and has the 8th-lowest passer rating since 1970 among QBs who played at least 100 games.

You can definitely make a case for Manning.

• He didn’t only win two Super Bowls, he was MVP of both and he toppled the greatest dynasty in NFL history, the Bill Belichick Patriots, in both. He's one of only six multiple Super Bowl MVPs in history.

• Manning never missed a game because of an injury, starting 210 straight games — second-longest QB streak ever — before sitting for one week in 2017. 

• Manning ranks seventh in NFL history with 56,537 passing yards and eight with 362 touchdown passes. Every eligible QB who’s reached either 50,000 passing yards or 300 TD passes is in the Hall of Fame.

• From 2005 through 2012 — his first eight seasons as a full-time starting quarterback — the Giants never had a losing season. Manning made his first three Pro Bowls during that eight-year stretch, and only three QBs won more games during that span — Tom Brady, older brother Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. 

The case against Eli Manning 

• I start with this: When I’m judging a player for Hall of Fame consideration, I ask whether he was ever the best in the NFL at his position for any five-year span. Manning never even came close close. His best five-year span was probably 2011 through 2015, and during that span he ranked 19th in the NFL in passer rating, 20th in completion percentage and 15th in wins. He was seventh in TD passes but first in interceptions.

• He was never great over a full season. Manning played 14 full seasons and finished in the top 10 in passer rating once — he was seventh in 2011. He also ranked 20th or worse six times. He never had a passer rating over 93.6. Sure-fire Hall of Famers like Drew Brees, Brady, Peyton, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger have each had a passer rating over 93.6 at least eight times.

• He never led the NFL in completion percentage, touchdowns, passing yards, yards per game, passer rating or any other major category except interceptions. He led the NFL in interceptions three times.

• Manning’s 3.09 interception percentage ranks closer to the bottom since he entered the NFL than the top. It’s 49th-best out of 73 QBs who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes since 2004.  

• How many of those 246 games was Eli Manning truly great? He has five career games with 300 passing yards, 3 TD passes and 0 interceptions. That’s the same number as Jared Goff, who’s played 206 fewer games.

The verdict 

On Feb. 3, 2008, and Feb. 5, 2012, Eli Manning was the best quarterback in the world. For nearly all of the other 244 football Sundays since his career began he not only wasn’t the best QB in the world he was remarkably average.

He has a .500 career record, and in 12 of the 14 seasons he was a full-time starter the Giants failed to win a playoff game.

Even Manning’s Super Bowl performances weren’t off the charts. 

In the first one — after the 2007 season — he had a modest passer rating of 82.5, which is 13th-worst of any winning quarterback in Super Bowl history, and he put up just 17 points. In the other, he was very good but still only threw one TD pass.

A lot of people will tell you when talking about Manning that he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, he should be in the Hall of Very Good. 

Honestly, I’m not so sure he belongs in that one either.

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With two injuries at WR, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside ready for expanded role

With two injuries at WR, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside ready for expanded role

Rookie receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside spent most of last week on scout team, helping the Eagles’ defense prepare for Julio Jones.

He didn’t expect to have a huge role in the offensive game plan.

That changed in a hurry.

With Alshon Jeffery (calf), DeSean Jackson (groin) and Dallas Goedert (calf) knocked out of the Falcons game early, the Eagles told Arcega-Whiteside pretty early, “you’re going to play the rest of the game.” He ended up playing 75 offensive snaps in the Eagles’ 24-20 loss after basically no practice reps during the week.

This week, with Jeffery and Jackson still nursing their injuries, the Eagles will spend their upcoming practices getting Arceaga-Whiteside prepared for an expanded role Sunday. Mike Groh said he expects the rookie to take more of a “primary role” in practice until they learn more about Jeffery’s status.

“I mean, I’m ready,” the second-round pick said. “That’s what I dream about. That’s why I’m here, to help this team win.”

With little practice time last week, Arcega-Whiteside’s expanded role didn’t go extremely well in Week 1. While he played 75 snaps, more than any receiver other than Nelson Agholor, his production lacked. He had just one catch on four targets and it went for four yards.

Remember, there was a point on Sunday — when Agholor was getting checked for a concussion — that Arcega-Whiteside was the top receiver on the depth chart.

So what happened on the passes his way that weren’t complete?

“Me and Carson haven’t ran those (plays), like, ever, together,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “So that kind of showed a little bit. … That’s just going out to practice and working it. We’re not even worried about it because we know once we get that timing down, it’s over.”

Groh called this play from late in the second quarter a “very good example” of how timing between a QB and receiver can be off without enough practice time together.

Groh said he wasn’t sure how many times Arcega-Whiteside had gotten practice reps in that play, but knows he wouldn’t have been their primary player for that route. This week, Wentz will get a chance to work with Arcega-Whiteside and they can tailor a game plan with the understanding that they’ll be shorthanded.

The production wasn’t great from Arcega-Whiteside, but he said he did feel the game slow down for him as it went on and he thinks those game reps will be valuable. And Jeffery was with him every step of the way. He said his veteran teammate, who he’ll likely replace Sunday, was the first one to greet him after drives and even coached him during the game when Arcega-Whiteside lined on the Eagles’ side of the field.

“Going into this weekend now, it depends on what the game plan is,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “They haven’t given us the game plan yet. Once we know what that is, we can start focusing more on that and individually how we’re going to handle it.”

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