Eagles

Reps for Carson Wentz, the message for Nick Foles, and more nuggets from Mike Groh

Reps for Carson Wentz, the message for Nick Foles, and more nuggets from Mike Groh

Five nuggets from Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh's chat with the media Monday ...

Wentz will continue to get reps

Even though we don’t know when he’s playing, we do know that he’s practicing.

Groh said Carson Wentz will continue to get reps even now that Nick Foles has been named the opening-day starting quarterback

"We have to make sure we're getting him some reps, reps for Carson, so when the time comes that he's cleared, that he's gotten the work that he needs so that he can be ready to go," Groh said.

It’s unusual for a non-starter to get reps once the regular season begins, but this is an unusual situation. How many reps Wentz gets will vary depending on the day and the week, Groh said.

We’ll just take it on a day-to-day basis and make that determination based on the way practice is set up and the situations for the day.," Groh said. "He's certainly going to be involved with practice.”

Groh shrugs off Foles' shaky preseason 

Groh said the Eagles aren’t concerned with Foles’ lack of production during the preseason.

“I have really very positive feelings about Nick and the way that he's played," he said. "I can only relate it to my experience and being with him on the same team as Nick is on. A lot of confidence in Nick and the way that he studies and prepares himself to play and to play at a high level. And then certainly the way that he played last January, and even before that in December, to go in those circumstances in Los Angeles and to lead us to victory there in the second half of that game, go up to New York under difficult circumstances and rally the team there and throw four touchdown passes. We're very fortunate to have Nick Foles on this team.”

Groh's message for Nick Foles

Groh was asked what his message will be for Foles before the Falcons game:

“Just be Nick," Groh said. "He did a great job of distributing the football throughout the course of the playoffs and getting rid of the football and not holding the ball and putting the ball in our playmakers' hands and letting those guys do what they do best. He doesn't have to do anything extraordinary. He just has to continue to play like he did before and be the same guy.”

The offense without Alshon 

Alshon Jeffery was one of the Eagles’ biggest weapons last year, especially down the stretch. 

Foles threw 12 touchdowns last year in the regular season and playoffs combined and Jeffery caught four — twice as many as anyone else. He was Foles’ favorite red-zone target and he had 18 catches for 286 yards in 5 1/2 games with Foles.

So Foles will be missing one of his favorite weapons Thursday night, which Groh addressed.

"We feel like we've got a lot of weapons on our offense: Zach (Ertz), Nelson (Agholor), Darren Sproles, (we) added Dallas Goedert in the draft and anxious to see him play on Thursday night, and Mike Wallace," Groh said. "Our running backs, Corey Clement, guys like that have done a lot in the past in the passing game for us. We still feel like we have a lot of weapons that they have got to account for.”

Expectations for Gibson and Carter 

With Jeffery’s return date unknown, somebody is going to have to emerge as a productive wideout opposite Nelson Agholor.

Shelton Gibson has one career catch for nine yards and DeAndre Carter has no catches. Both had impressive preseasons, and Groh said he’s curious to see if they’re able to carry that success over to the regular season.

“That's the interesting thing that we all got to find out," Groh said, "I mean, preseason's preseason and the regular season is obviously a little bit different in the intensity and the competition level steps up. That will be the challenge for both those guys … can they sustain their performance?

“Obviously, they know they need to be more consistent in their approach and performance each and every day to be able to get that done.”

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Cross Eagles offensive coordinator candidates James Urban and Bobby Engram off the list

Cross Eagles offensive coordinator candidates James Urban and Bobby Engram off the list

On Thursday, we learned that the Eagles were interested in Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban for their vacant offensive coordinator opening.

The next day, we found out that isn’t happening. 

At his year-end press conference in Baltimore on Friday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the Eagles interviewed Urban and TEs coach Bobby Engram for openings but both candidates pulled their names out of contention within the last 24 hours.

While the Eagles were reportedly interested in Urban as an offensive coordinator candidate, they were also reportedly interested in Engram as a wide receivers coach candidate. Those are the two vacancies on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles. (They also have to fill the defensive backs coach spot left vacant by Cory Undlin, who went to Detroit as a defensive coordinator.)

Urban, 46, seemed like he’d be a good fit for the Eagles. He’s a hot name right now based on his success with likely MVP Lamar Jackson this year. And he has familiarity with the Eagles and head coach Doug Pederson. 

Urban and Pederson were on Andy Reid’s Eagles staff together in 2009 and 2010. In fact, when Urban left after the 2010 season, Pederson took over his role as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach. 

Urban spent the next seven seasons as the Bengals’ wide receivers coach and then the last two seasons in Baltimore coaching Jackson and their other quarterbacks. 

But now we can cross him off the list. 

Same goes for Engram, who was one of two former players of interest named in a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. The other was former NFL star Hines Ward, who spent this past season as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets. 

It has been over a week since the Eagles fired Mike Groh and they have been very quiet as they search for their next offensive coordinator. In fact, Urban was one of the first names even mentioned in reports. 

Some other names of interest still available are Chiefs OC Mike Kafka, Dolphins QBs coach (and former Colts HC) Jim Caldwell, former Redskins HC Jay Gruden and internal candidates Press Taylor and Duce Staley.

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Miles Sanders breaks down his case for Rookie of the Year

Miles Sanders breaks down his case for Rookie of the Year

Down the stretch of the 2019 season, Miles Sanders didn’t want to talk about his chances to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was focused on winning games. 

Now that the Eagles’ season is over, though, it’s a discussion worth having. Because Sanders should definitely be in the mix. 

On Thursday, the Eagles’ running back was on the FS1 show “Undisputed” and was asked about his chances to win the annual Associated Press award.

“I think I have a pretty good shot,” Sanders said. “With the other guys that's being nominated, there's Josh Jacobs, [he] had a good year too and Kyler Murray too. All had great rookie years. But I got a lot of confidence in myself based on the type of production that I gave, basically, I think, in half of a season, with (Darren) Sproles going down, going on IR, and Jordan Howard going down for the rest of the half of the season.”

While he didn’t want to talk about ROY late in the season, it’s pretty clear Sanders knows when he’s been slighted. 

The Eagles haven’t had a Rookie of the Year since tight end Charle Young won the award way back in 1973. But Sanders definitely has as strong case for his performance in 2019. 

After a pretty slow start, Sanders got better with every week and then he helped carry the Eagles once Howard went down and was a big reason why the Eagles got into the playoffs. He finished with 818 rushing yards, 509 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. 

Sanders set an Eagles rookie record and led all rookies this season with 1,327 yards from scrimmage. 

There’s plenty of competition, though. Jacobs was just named the PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year a couple days ago but that doesn’t always match the AP list, which is considered the real award. Jacobs, fair or not, might have an advantage as a first-round pick. 

And then there’s Murray, who might have an advantage as a quarterback. 

Why does Sanders think he has a chance over an impressive rookie QB? 

“I think you can say how important those last four games were, that run that we went on. And just knowing that we had to win those four games in order to get to the playoffs. … I think those four games were big and I stepped up pretty well. They asked me to do a lot, they like to find ways to get me the ball. And I’ve been doing well as far as each game just getting better and better at it.”

Sanders is right. He stepped up in those big games. In the final four games of the regular season, he averaged 4.73 yards per attempt and averaged 112 yards from scrimmage per game. And unlike Murray and Jacobs, Sanders helped get his team to the playoffs. He was sixth in the entire NFL in scrimmage yards in December. 

Let’s take a look at the top candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year and their respective cases: 

RB Miles Sanders (Eagles): Finished with 818 rushing yards, 509 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, led all rookies with 1,327 yards from scrimmage, added 314 return yards earlier in the season  

QB Kyler Murray (Cardinals): Led rookie quarterbacks with 3,722 passing yards and 544 rushing yards, threw for 20 touchdowns (12 INTs) and rushed for 4 more. Led bad Cardinals team to a 5-10-1 record.  

RB Josh Jacobs (Raiders): Led all rookies with 1,150 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, finished second with 1,316 scrimmage yards, had five 100-yard games 

WR A.J. Brown (Titans): Finished with 1,051 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns to lead all rookies, averaged 20.2 yards per reception, team is in AFC Championship Game

There’s definitely some stiff competition this year. Any of those four guys would be deserving but Sanders definitely has one of the strongest cases. And a running back has won in four of the last six years. 

So does Sanders think he’s going to win? 

“I could just say I feel confident in myself,” Sanders said. “I just pray to God I could be blessed with the opportunity. That would be a blessing and a dream come true.”

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