A Donovan McNabb stat you won't believe, an empty open practice before the 1960 Championship Game and where did it go wrong for Rasul Douglas.
All that and more in a Monday morning edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles offseason observations!
1. There was a point where I was really high on Douglas. I really believed he had a chance to be a high-level starter at cornerback for the Eagles. He’s around the ball, he’s physical and aggressive, he gets interceptions, has great size, is durable. Now he’s going into Year 4 and he just took a pay cut down to minimum wage just to avoid getting cut.
What happened? I feel like Douglas' lack of high-end speed and what seemed at times to be a lack of focus just caught up with him. All those positive qualities are fine, but he ran a 4.59 at the combine, which was fifth slowest of the 31 corners who ran in 2017, and the more he played the more glaring his lack of speed became. But it wasn’t just that. Especially last year, there were plays where he just seemed to lose focus, and when you’re a cornerback and that happens, it’s a 50-yard touchdown.
The Eagles spent much of the offseason rebuilding the secondary, and while I think Sidney Jones — drafted a round earlier than Douglas in 2017 — will still be here, I don’t see where Douglas fits in. His skill set does seem to lend itself to playing safety, but obviously the Eagles believe Jalen Mills translates much better to that position switch. Will be interesting to see what happens down the road with Douglas, because his game does have some strengths. Just probably not enough to keep him here.
2. I don’t know what this means, but the last six Eagles head coaches won at least 10 games in their second season here (not counting the 1987 strike season):
1988: 10-6 under Buddy Ryan, won the NFC East
1992: 11-5 under Rich Kotite, won wild-card game
1996: 10-6 under Ray Rhodes, lost in wild-card round
2001: 11-5 under Andy Reid, lost in NFC Championship Game
2014: 10-6 under Chip Kelly
2017: 13-3 under Doug Pederson, won Super Bowl
3. The last Eagle to rank in the top 10 in the NFL in receiving yards per game was Terrell Owens, fifth in 2004 at 85.7 yards per game. Before that it was Mike Quick, fourth in 1985 at 77.9. So the Eagles have had one top-10 receiver in the last 34 years.
4. What would it mean if the Eagles had to play at the Linc with no fans? They could lose one of the biggest home-field advantages in the NFL. The Eagles are 23-9 at the Linc under Pederson (.719), tied with the Saints and Vikings for the fourth-best home record since 2016. They’re 15-17 on the road during the same span (.469), the 12th-best road record. The only teams with a larger home-road disparity during the last four years are the Packers and Dolphins. There are probably other factors that affect home-field advantage, but it’s hard to believe many teams would miss their fans as much as the Eagles would.
5. Only three players in Eagles history have had more receptions in their first eight career games than Greg Ward, who had 31. They're Keith Jackson (48), DeSean Jackson (34) and Jordan Matthews (32). The only active undrafted player with more catches in his first eight career games is Willie Snead, who had 35.
6. In 2006, there were 41 wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine. Only four ran slower than Jason Avant, who was timed in 4.62. Avant caught 346 passes in a 10-year NFL career, and only four of the 36 faster receivers caught more passes in their career.
7. McNabb is the only quarterback in Eagles history to win a playoff game before his 28th birthday, and he won five of them.
8. Doing some research on Saturday I stumbled across a story by Frank Dolson from the Dec. 24, 1960, Inquirer about the Eagles’ preparation for the Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, which was held two days later at Franklin Field. Incredibly, the Eagles’ practice at JFK Stadium — then still called Philadelphia Stadium — was open to the public. But nobody showed up.
“There wasn’t anybody watching,” coach Buck Shaw told Dolson. “It was too damn cold.”
Imagine an Eagles practice open to the public two days before the NFL Championship Game and nobody showing up? Things have changed a bit.
9. I’ll always wonder what would have happened if Nate Sudfeld had been No. 2 going into the Seattle playoff game. I kept saying that once he was healthy Sudfeld should have been No. 2. I admire Josh McCown and his tremendous effort in that game, but I’ll always believe the Eagles would have had a better shot to beat the Seahawks with Sudfeld.
10. Chase Daniel has a higher career completion percentage than every quarterback in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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