Eagles

Roob's 10 Observations: Crazily underrated Eagles LB, Matthews' future and more

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Roob's 10 Observations: Crazily underrated Eagles LB, Matthews' future and more

Comparing the Eagles' 2004 and 2017 Super Bowl offensive lines, a drastically underrated Eagles linebacker, Jordan Matthews' future and more in the neverending parade of Nick Foles stats!

Somebody must have ordered Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations! 

1. One of the biggest differences between the 2004 Super Bowl and the 2017 Super Bowl was the performance of the Eagles' offensive line. The Eagles' line in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville got brutalized. The interior of the line in particular — guards Jermane Mayberry and Artis Hicks and center Hank Fraley — was destroyed by Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel, who hit Donovan McNabb repeatedly, forced him to rush throws, sacked him four times, recorded eight tackles for loss and limited the Eagles to 2.6 yards per rush.

Compare that to the performance of Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks, the interior of the 2017 O-line this time around against the Patriots. The line was monstrous, controlling the line of scrimmage, keeping Foles clean (no sacks on 44 pass attempts) and paving the way for the Eagles to average 6.1 yards per carry. That 2004 O-line was a pretty good one, with three Pro Bowlers (Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Mayberry), but they just got destroyed in Jacksonville.

The 2017 group? Their play was superhuman despite losing a Hall of Fame left tackle. Lane Johnson, Brooks and Kelce all showed they're as good as anyone in the game. And Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Wisniewski, two guys that didn't even start the season in the starting lineup, were beasts down the stretch and in the playoffs. It's a group that's smart, physical and athletic and plays so well together. Best of all? They're all back. The team that brought you Ben Tamburello, Mike Schad, Steve Everitt, Ron Solt, Ian Beckles, Max Jean-Gilles, Jeff Dellenbach, Lonnie Palelei and a freaking 26-year-old rookie who wanted to ride around tooting the horn on a firetruck has the best O-line in football, and they're not going away any time soon.

2. I know Doug Pederson said Jay Ajayi will be the Eagles' lead back this year, but I still don't expect him to get more than 200 carries. The Eagles have been clear about their concern with his chronic knee issues, and with the talent they have at running back there's no reason to give Ajayi 20 carries a game. But, man, he can make a huge impact — and stay healthy — with 13 or 14 carries and two or three catches.

3. William Thomas was so underrated. Maybe it's because he was drafted in 1991, as the whole Reggie / Clyde / Seth / Jerome / Wes / Andre defense was unraveling. But Willie T. had 27 interceptions and 37 sacks in his career, and only five others in NFL history had 25 sacks and 25 INTs — including Dawk, Ray Lewis and Rodney Harrison. In fact, Willie T. and Lewis are the only linebackers ever with 25 and 25.  

4. I know everybody disagrees, but I still think Jordan Matthews is pretty good, and I expect him to have a solid season in New England.

5. Another reason to love Doug Pederson: The Eagles' 29 fourth-down attempts last year are the most on record (the NFL began tracking fourth-down attempts in 1991). The Eagles were an insane 20-for-29 on fourth down, including some fairly important ones. It was amazing watching Doug evolve last year into such a fearless play-caller. 

6. Nick Foles' stats on third down in the 2017 postseason are so ridiculous I double-checked them three times because I didn't think they could possibly be correct. But they're correct: 27-for-33 for 400 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 156.8 passer rating. Yep, only two more incomplete passes than touchdowns. This is insanity.

7. The more time goes by, the more astonishing Foles' postseason seems to me. 

8. Only three players in Super Bowl history have caught a touchdown pass on fourth down: Irving Fryar when the Patriots were trailing the Bears 44-3 late in the fourth quarter in 1985, Don Beebe when the Bills were trailing the Redskins by 20 late in the fourth quarter in 1991 and Foles just before halftime of a three-point game. Conclusion: Foles is the only player in NFL history to catch a meaningful fourth-down touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

9. I have no idea what really happened at NRG Stadium after Super Bowl LI. But I find it extremely difficult to believe that in this day and age when every single thing anybody does is caught on videotape, that not one video camera picked up the incident Michael Bennett is alleged to have been involved in. With all the security at major events these days? There was no video camera? At an entrance to the field? After a Super Bowl? Not buying it.

10. We haven't had a Zach Ertz stat in a while, so here ya go: Ertz is the only player in Eagles history with three straight seasons with 70 or more catches and 800 yards. Only two others have had two straight: Fryar and Matthews.

More on the Eagles

•​ Michael Bennett has arraignment postponed again

•​ Carson Wentz's odds to win 2018 NFL MVP

•​ The behind-the-scenes story of Eagles’ Super Bowl rings

•​ Is Eagles’ WR trio best group in team history?

•​ Foles is a legend, but Eagles still need Wentz

Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay embraces Philly mentality in American Idol experience

Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay embraces Philly mentality in American Idol experience

The Eagles cheerleading squad looked a little different in 2019 thanks to rookie Kyle Tanguay. Not only because he was the first male cheerleader the organization has had in decades, but because of his bright, contagious personality and being completely fearless in everything he does. 

The 21-year-old has only been in Philadelphia since the summer of 2017 but has completely fallen in love with the city, the fans and more importantly, the Eagles. Not even a week into his time here, he was already watching the Eagles to make friends and share a common interest. 

Little did anyone know that just two years later, he’d be cheering for the team. What’s even crazier is that he had never done something to this degree before. 

“The biggest challenge was not really knowing what to expect,” Tanguay said. “I had never done professional cheerleading in my life, I had never even done a dance team in my high school and my college doesn’t have one.”

Pretty surprising to believe, especially when he shines during every performance. 

Philadelphia had taken to Tanguay essentially overnight and those who came to cheer on the birds every Sunday, also cheered for him. Not only was he welcomed with open arms, but an unbreakable bond was also created. 

“The fans of Philadelphia are the greatest fan base in the entire world,” Tanguay said. “I think the reason that the Philadelphia fans love us so much as a squad is because it’s very clear to see that we have the same amount of passion as them.

“One thing that I appreciated about them and something that they appreciated about me was that we both shared this intense love for the Eagles. Maybe we don’t look the same, maybe we don’t act the same, maybe we have different values, but at the end of the day I’m an Eagles fan and so are you so that’s what brings us together.”

Now, with the NFL offseason in full swing, there’s a new challenge for Tanguay to face —  ‘American Idol.’

Tanguay noted that he was a newly born singer but based off of videos he had posted on social media, it seemed like he had been doing this for a while. 

How long has it been since he started?

“I think I’ve been singing since October [2019],” Tanguay said with a laugh. 

“The first time I ever sang in front of anyone that wasn’t my roommates … was my audition.

“I did chorus in high school — I never wanted a solo, I always stood in the back and I always kept to myself. I would sing in the shower, I would sing in the living room, I would really only sing in front of my roommates if we were tired and had the sleepy ha-ha’s and so for me, this opportunity presented itself and I got to go down to Washington D.C. and try out for ‘American Idol.’ 

“It was the most craziest experience ever and it really allowed me to remind myself that it’s okay to step outside your comfort zone. The experience on the show was so awesome, so exciting and it’s something that I cannot wait for the world to see.”

It was mentioned before, but Tanguay is fearless. To make your mark in the NFL and step fully outside of your comfort zone to perform in front of the top artists in the music industry within the same year is nothing short of incredible. 

This field can be tough, competitive and even make some turn away from their goals. When asked about the best piece of advice Tanguay could give those who need to stay inspired or motivated, the most sincere answer was given. 

There’s a quote that was plastered in my middle school gymnasium that said ‘stand up for something you believe in, even if you’re standing alone.’ And that is something that I’ve always carried with me.

No is only two letters. It’s a small word if anyone tells you no there’s just another yes around the corner. I’ve heard no so many times in my life. So many times in my life. It has always made the most crazy, windy path … but it’s been my path. 

It’s a mindset that not many people have at such a young age. To thrive off of being told ‘no’ and instead of being knocked down, simply changing direction to get to where you want to be is a special thing. 

Being positive is infectious, and when Tanguay left for the day, I felt inspired. Inspired to just put a smile on my face, to do something kind for someone else, to push myself a little more than what I typically do. Not everyone can say they have that kind of power — he absolutely does. 

‘American Idol’ premieres this Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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More on the Eagles

Hilarious Valentine's Day cards celebrate Philly's most passionate fans

Hilarious Valentine's Day cards celebrate Philly's most passionate fans

Valentine's Day is a great time to tell the people you love how you feel: put your heart on your sleeve, don't hold back, and let your truth loose.

Luckily for Philly sports fans, this concept is not new. They express their purest feelings without fail.

So, to honor some of the most passionate sports fans this city has to offer, we drew up a few Valentine's Day cards to help you, and those you love (and sometimes yell at the top of your lungs about), celebrate the holiday.

First, we remember the great Jigar Desai, who ran into a dang subway pole because he loves the Eagles:

Next, we honor Hakim Laws, the greatest embodiment of a Philadelphian you will ever see:

Next up, Penn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda, who can... um... express his passion with the best of the city's fans:

Then we have Rob Dunphy, who loves Philly sports so much he tattooed them on his body:

And finally, we celebrate Larry Poff, who has loved Philadelphia's sports teams for ages:

We love you, Philly. Be our Valentine?