Roob's 10 observations: Eagles playing hurt, Lurie's anniversary, Foles stats

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Roob's 10 observations: Eagles playing hurt, Lurie's anniversary, Foles stats

Jay Ajayi’s workload, Jeff Lurie’s legacy, some more Nick Foles stats and some other random Eagles observations as we wait for Jordan Mailata to learn what an offensive lineman does. 

1. Alshon Jeffery catches 12 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason with a shoulder injury that would require surgery. Carson Wentz throws a touchdown against the Rams a few plays after suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Brandon Graham makes the defensive play of the year on an ankle injury that would require surgery. Everybody in the NFL plays hurt and everybody in the NFL is tough, but these guys – and probably several others we don’t even know about – played and played well on really serious injuries simply because that’s what the team needed. They deserve tremendous credit for putting team goals ahead of individual needs. Really, that’s what this 2017 Eagles team was all about.

2. It’s been 24 years this month since Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles from Norman Braman for $190 million, and it’s been nice to see Lurie finally appreciated by fans for his stewardship of the franchise. But Lurie has always been an exceptional owner, always willing to do what it takes financially to field the best possible team. When Lurie bought the Eagles, they had won FOUR playoff games since the 1960 NFL Championship Game. Since then they’ve won 14. And obviously the playoffs have expanded, but since Lurie took complete control of the franchise after the 1994 season, the Eagles are 206-160-2, the sixth-best record in the NFL and second-best in the NFC. They have been a consistently competitive team during that span, with only seven losing seasons since 1995. They’ve made the playoffs 13 times since 1995, and only the Patriots, Packers, Colts and Steelers have gotten their more. There’s the NovaCare Complex, the Linc, the Eagles Youth Partnership, the Eyemobile, the annual playground build. No franchise in sports is as connected to the community the way the Eagles are. And there’s the way Lurie has embraced the franchise’s history, something Braman went to great lengths not to do. Whether it’s the revived Eagles Hall of Fame, the extensive historical displays at the Linc’s Headhouse entrance or the halftime ceremonies honoring various former stars, Lurie has connected the current franchise with its remarkable past. Bottom line is that Lurie has made this an attractive franchise with a culture of success. People want to be here. People want to win here. It took a quarter of a century, but Lurie really has made this the gold standard.

3. I hope Lane Johnson never stops talking trash.

4. Here’s a ridiculous stat: Jordan Matthews’ 225 catches are 10th-most in NFL history by a wide receiver in his first three seasons. The only wide receiver in the Hall of Fame who had more catches in his first three seasons was Randy Moss, who had 226.

5. I think the Eagles are going to be very careful with Jay Ajayi’s workload, both during training camp and the season. Ajayi averaged only 10 carries per game after joining the Eagles in November, and that number jumped to 14 per game in the playoffs, and he was healthy and productive when the Eagles needed him the most. Ajayi is only 24, but obviously the Eagles are concerned about his knees. I love Ajayi’s ability, but I don’t think he gets more than 200 carries during the regular season (12 ½ per game), and it’s clear the Eagles want to add as much talent as possible around him — Matt Jones, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, perhaps Wendell Smallwood, perhaps Josh Adams, perhaps even Donnel Pumphrey — so the Eagles can rotate guys and keep Ajayi’s workload down. Pederson loves rotating backs anyway, and even without LeGarrette Blount, you’ll continue to see that.

6. Watching one 30-minute stretch of Jordan Mailata running drills was enough to make me think he at least has a chance to one day be a football player. He’s definitely a long-term project, but seeing that size, power and athleticism in person is definitely eye-opening.

7. Nick Foles threw 101 passes last year in the regular season and 106 in the postseason. But his five longest completions were in the postseason (and 17 of his 23 longest). How does that happen?

7a. I just realized Foles and Carson Wentz both threw touchdowns on their last pass of 2017.

8. The Eagles played at the Vet for 32 years. They’ve already played at the Linc for 16 years. Doesn’t seem possible they’ve played half as long at the Linc already as the Vet.

9. Just a reminder that from Week 3 through Week 14 last year, Wentz threw 29 touchdowns and five interceptions, and the Eagles went 10-1. The only other quarterbacks in NFL history with 29 or more TDs and five or fewer interceptions in any 11-game stretch are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

10. James Thrash actually had a pretty good season in 2001. Caught 63 for 833 and eight touchdowns. What’s amazing is that from 1997 through 2003, he’s the only Eagles WR who did that!

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Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

In our latest installment of Ever Wonder, we’re taking a look at one of the most puzzling questions for all Eagles fans: 

Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green? 

It’s not for lack of effort. While the Eagles haven’t worn kelly green as their primary uniform since they switched to midnight green in the mid-90s, owner Jeff Lurie has been on a mission to bring back kelly green jerseys as an alternate. It’s a mission many Eagles fans and even players support. 

So far, no luck. 

The basic reason is an NFL rule that allows just one helmet per player for safety and quality control reasons. It’s an antiquated rule but it’s the main holdup for the Eagles. 

The Eagles’ helmets are midnight green and Lurie doesn’t want midnight green helmets and kelly green jerseys. 

“To make it look really right, you should have matching helmets,” Lurie said once said. 

The Eagles even went as far as to propose a rule change during the 2017 offseason. But they withdrew the proposal before owners could vote on it because of advice from the NFL’s competition committee. It wasn’t going to pass. 

During those owners meetings, competition committee chairman Rich McKay told me he was hopeful that the rule would eventually get changed. 

A possible workaround would be for the Eagles to use decals on their existing helmets like some other teams, but Lurie doesn’t like that idea. For him, it’s kelly green helmet or bust. 

“We want a kelly green helmet to go with the kelly green jerseys,” he said. 

So, for now, the Eagles wait. 

And they’ll have to wait at least one more year. But there’s some hope for the 2021 season. 

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Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

The folks over at ProFootballFocus recently put together a list of the most underrated player on each of the 32 NFL rosters and the choice for the Eagles wasn’t a very surprising one. 

For the Eagles, they listed tight end Dallas Goedert, the former second-round pick who will enter Year 3 of his career in 2020. 

Here’s what PFF said about Goedert: 

When you enter the NFL in the shadow of one of the league’s best tight ends, it’s easy to be somewhat overlooked. That is the case with Goedert, who was immediately thrust into a role as TE2 despite being taken in the second round out of South Dakota State. The Eagles have run a heavy dose of two tight end sets to get both him and Zach Ertz on the field, and it’s pretty clear from those snaps that Goedert is a top-end TE in the NFL.

“Since 2018, Goedert actually ranks fifth among qualifying tight ends in overall grade, ahead of Ertz. A big reason — outside of the obvious mismatch threats he poses as a receiver — is his elite play as a blocker for the position. Goedert’s 81.4 run-blocking grade sits sandwiched between Maxx Williams and George Kittle for second at the position over that same span. He is a complete tight end who would be a high-level primary option on most rosters in the NFL.

All of that is fair. And from a national perspective, I’m sure Goedert is very underrated. I don’t think he’s as underrated in Philadelphia, where Eagles fans get to watch him every weekend. 

In his first two seasons, Goedert has 91 catches for 941 yards and nine touchdowns. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. So he’s a really well-rounded tight end. 

And his numbers aren’t that far off from what Zach Ertz did in his first two NFL seasons: 

Ertz: 94 catches, 1,171 yards, 7 touchdowns

Goedert: 91 catches, 941 yards, 9 touchdowns 

Heck, Goedert has been so good that he has some fans wondering if the Eagles should move on from Ertz at some point. 

So maybe from a national perspective, Goedert is underrated. But here in Philly, I don’t think he is. 

The two players I think are underrated locally are Isaac Seumalo and Derek Barnett. Neither guy is a star but both are better players than they get for. 

Seumalo has had two horrendous games in his career and it has really tainted the perception of his play. But aside from those games, he’s been a solid player. He’s still  just 26 and has become a pretty good starting left guard. 

And Barnett hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the 14th pick but he’s been better than you think when he’s on the field. The injuries are a concern, but since Barnett was drafted in 2017 he’s third on the team in sacks (14) behind Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and second in QB hits (49) behind just Cox. And he is still just 23!

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