Eagles

Returns of Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles a great sign for Eagles

Returns of Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles a great sign for Eagles

The Eagles kicked off their 2018 season Thursday night against the Falcons with a big 18-12 win and they did it without starting quarterback Carson Wentz. 

While they’re obviously missing Wentz, the Eagles did get back three big pieces of their team Thursday night. 

Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles all returned and had really good games. 

That’s a great sign for the 2018 Eagles. 

Jason Peters 

Peters played 71 of 72 snaps, leaving for one play at the very end of the game. He might be 36 but Peters certainly didn’t look like it against the Falcons. And it also didn’t look like he was coming off a season that ended with an ACL tear. 

He was really good Thursday night. If he keeps this up all season, he’ll be on his way back to the Pro Bowl for the 10th time in his Hall of Fame career. 

Yeah, that’s pretty good. 

No matter who is starting at quarterback, the guy protecting the blindside is a big deal. Even though Halapoulivaati Vaitai did a nice job filling in last year, the offense isn’t the same without Peters. That’s why I considered him the third-most important player on the team for the 2018 season. 

He’s off to a good start. Just check out what Doug Pederson said about him: 

“Really good. Really good. He obviously prepared himself for that day and for opening day and did some really nice things. It was hot and it was humid out there, and for him to battle like he did, he did some — he was quick off the ball. He was right on track there. Pass protection was good. Run game was good. You know, it was good to get him back out there and get him going with the offense again and get him in the mix.” 

Jordan Hicks 

That injury-prone label probably won’t go away even if Hicks stays healthy all season. He’s going to have to prove that he can stay healthy over the course of a few seasons. But when Hicks is on the field, he’s hugely important to the Eagles’ defense. 

One game into the 2018 season, Hicks is already proving it. He filled up the stat sheet Thursday night. 

He played all 70 snaps in his return. Hicks had seven tackles, 1½ sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits and one pass defensed. Coming into the game, Hicks had just two career sacks, so he almost doubled his career number. 

While Hicks has dealt with several injuries during his short career, whenever he’s on the field, he’s been a dynamic playmaker. This is a contract year for him, so he stands to make a lot of money with a big season. 

Darren Sproles 

Is this guy really 35? It seems impossible. 

No, Sproles didn’t have huge offensive numbers against the Falcons — five carries for 10 yards and four catches for 22. But he had a couple nice punt returns and will eventually get cooking on offense. Pederson might have overused him on offense, but Sproles is going to have an important role even if Pederson dials him back. 

Sproles is ageless just like Peters. Their teammates always call them “freaks” in a good way. That’s fitting. Age and injuries don’t seem to be slowing down either of them. 

More on the Eagles

Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael: 'I didn't know if I was good enough'

Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael: 'I didn't know if I was good enough'

Harold Carmichael learned back on Monday that he had finally made it into the Hall of Fame, but for logistical reasons he wasn’t allowed to tell anybody until after the official announcement on Wednesday.
 
As it happened, on Tuesday night, Harold found himself sitting next to his close friend and long-time coach Dick Vermeil at a dinner at NaBrasa Brazlian Steakhouse in Horsham.
 
For three hours.

Vermeil had just learned he didn't make it into the Hall of Fame. Carmichael had just learned he had.

And he couldn't say a word.
 
“It was killing me,” Carmichael said. “We talked about being disappointed that he didn’t get in, but I couldn’t say anything to him. He was promoting Dick Vermeil wines and we had about 160 people and they were asking me if I’d heard anything yet and I would just get off the subject. I really didn’t want to lie to anybody. I just couldn’t say anything about it. It was very, very tough for me. It’s still tough for me right now because I’m still trying to answer a lot of the texts. Got over 400 just in the past 24 hours and phone messages. My mailbox is full. They just gotta have patience. Like I did for 36 years.”
 
Carmichael’s wait is over.
 
This fall, he’ll be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside more than 300 other all-time greats.
 
Carmichael retired after the 1984 season, so he’s been eligible since 1989. Despite ranking 5th in NFL history in receptions when he retired, he was never even a finalist until this year.
 
“I didn’t know if I deserved to be in there,” Carmichael said Thursday. “I’ve been hearing I should be in there for the past 30-some years. It was not a lock for me. I didn’t know if I was good enough. I tried to do my best, but it was not for me to say I should be in the Hall of Fame. It was for me to try to put the numbers up and try to be the type of person they would want to represent the Hall of Fame.”
 
From 1973 through 1983, Carmichael led the NFL in yards (8,414), touchdowns (77) and catches (549). 
 
When he retired after playing two games with the Cowboys in 1984, Carmichael ranked 5th in NFL history in catches, 7th in yards and 7th in TD catches.
 
Today, 36 years after his last touchdown, Carmichael still ranks 24th in NFL history in TD catches.
 
This is all from a kid who didn’t get recruited to play major-college football, was a walk-on at Southern University in Baton Rouge and was drafted in the 7th round.
 
“When I got here, Harold Jackson and Ben Hawkins were the starting receivers,” Carmichael said. “They were veterans and I was trying to learn how to be a football player and questioning whether I could play in the National Football League.”
 
Now, nearly half a century later, Carmichael has been recognized as one of the greatest of all time. 
 
He’s only the 8th receiver drafted in the 7th round or later to make it into the Hall of Fame and the first whose career began in the 1970s or later.
 
Carmichael, 70, said the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind as congratulations have come in from 50 years worth of friends, teammates, coaches and associates.
 
“My son said to my wife, ‘Mom, I didn’t know so many people loved dad like this,’” Carmichael said.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye podcast: What’s taking so long, Doug?

us_ee_pederson.png
USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: What’s taking so long, Doug?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro try to figure out what’s taking Doug Pederson so long to hire an offensive coordinator. 

Some top names have already found jobs. The guys update the remaining vacancies and speculate about the Eagles’ plan and toss out one new theory. 

They also look back at the biggest lessons from the 2019 season. 

• Coaches are getting hired all over the NFL 
• Updating offensive coordinator opening
• What are the Eagles’ waiting for? 
• Lessons from the 2019 season 
• Will Jordan Howard be back in 2020? 
• Figuring out which DEs are on the bubble 
• Our championship weekend predictions 
• Harold Carmichael is finally Hall-bound
• Which Eagles player is next? 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles