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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Howie Roseman says there's plenty of time for Eagles to add a RB

Dave Zangaro

Howie Roseman says there's plenty of time for Eagles to add a RB

PHOENIX — Howie Roseman’s attitude toward the running back position mirrored the shady patch of grass from which he spoke on Monday afternoon at the NFL’s annual meetings. 

The sun was scorching, but it was cool under the shade of a big ol’ tree in the lawn of the luxurious Arizona Biltmore. Similarly, heat from Eagles fans has risen about the lack of moves at the running back position. But Roseman is staying cool about that too. 

Roseman’s message was pretty simple: Relax. 

“The three running backs who played in the Super Bowl were guys we acquired after the 2017 draft,” he said. “The talent acquisition period continues to go; we want to have the best possible team. We’re going to look into everything, that’s our job. And at the same time, we’ve got to grow and develop our players.”

The Eagles have a need at running back and it would have made sense for them to make a play for one of the running backs in the free agent market, but they haven’t gotten any yet. Mark Ingram signed a three-year, $15 million deal and Tevin Coleman’s deal with the 49ers is two years for $8 million. Both of those backs signed relatively reasonable contracts and it was somewhat curious the Eagles weren’t more involved. 

But Roseman said the Eagles have simply stayed true to their internal philosophy. They wanted to first shore up the offensive and defensive lines and then get weapons for Carson Wentz. That includes all the skill position players. And other parts of the offseason were unforeseen; like how they were able to re-sign some of their own free agents, including Ronald Darby. 

So if running back got pushed to the back-burner, so be it. 

We’re pretty set in how we believe we should build this team and we’re going to be committed to that until something shows us that there’s a different way.

For now, the Eagles’ running back group includes Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Boston Scott. Some decent pieces for a rotation, but clearly missing a top guy. 

Jay Ajayi is still a free agent, but is coming off a torn ACL. Still, it’s possible he could return on a one-year deal if the price is right. But if that’s the case, it might behoove the Eagles to draft one in conjunction. The Eagles have kept those lines of communication open. 

Roseman praised the guys who are still on the roster and it didn’t seem like lip service. He likes them, but that also doesn’t mean he’s prepared to go into a season with the group he has. The Eagles’ de facto GM was quick to point out there’s a long way to go before the season. 

Roseman was asked if he doesn’t add a running back in the next month, if he’d feel obligated to use a high draft pick on a running back in late April. It doesn’t seem like he’s going to let a need force their hand. 

I just go back to our history over the last couple of years. We’ve been fortunate to win a lot of games with the running backs we have on the roster. And to have opportunities also to acquire backs, not just before the draft but after the draft process.

The Eagles haven’t used a first- or second-round pick on a running back in 10 years. The last time they did, they used a second-round pick on LeSean McCoy back in 2009. They haven’t drafted a running back in the first round since Keith Byars in 1986. 

This draft class offers one possibility in the first round at No. 25 in Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, but there are plenty of options in the second round, starting with Penn State’s Miles Sanders and Iowa State’s David Montgomery. With picks 53 and 57 in the second round, this could finally be the year the Eagles buck that trend. 

Or maybe they won’t. Either way, Roseman was quick to point out there’s still time to figure out what might be the last big piece to their offensive puzzle. 

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A look back at Jeremy Maclin's short but impressive career with Eagles

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A look back at Jeremy Maclin's short but impressive career with Eagles

Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he’s officially retiring after eight seasons in the NFL, five of them spent with the Eagles. 

Maclin’s stay in Philly wasn’t extremely long, but he did put up some big-time numbers in his five seasons. 

(He would have played six with the Eagles, but a torn ACL took his 2013.) 

Overall, in his eight NFL seasons, Maclin caught 514 passes for 6,835 yards and 49 touchdowns. Really solid numbers. 

In an Eagles uniform, Maclin caught 343 passes for 4,771 yards and 36 touchdowns. He played just 75 career games with the Eagles, but the former first-round pick in 2009 put himself in the record book. 

• Maclin’s 343 receptions rank 10th all-time in Eagles history. The only other player in the top 20 with fewer games played is Jordan Matthews, who is all the way at No. 20. 

• His 4,771 receiving yards also rank 10th. 

• His 36 touchdown catches rank seventh all-time in Eagles history. He actually has four more than DeSean Jackson. 

• During his time with the Eagles (2009-14), he was one of just 15 players in the NFL to put up his stats or better. And that includes the season he missed. 

• Maclin’s 2014 season is one of the best seasons an Eagles receiver has ever had. In that season, coming back from a torn ACL, he caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s the only 85/1,300/10 season in Eagles history. 

• The two best games of Maclin’s career came with the Eagles. On Oct. 26, 2014, he caught 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. On Sept. 18, 2011, he caught 13 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Those are two of the three 12/170/2 games in Eagles history. The other belongs to Harold Carmichael in 1973. 

Aside from the numbers, Maclin made some huge plays while with the Eagles. And even though he played for the Chiefs and Ravens after he left Philly, he’ll be remembered as an Eagle. 

Maclin signed a five-year, $55 million deal to join the Chiefs before the 2015 season, but played just two of those years. His first season, he went over 1,000 yards, but he was hampered by injuries in 2016 and had just 536 yards the next year. Maclin’s only season in Baltimore was 2017, when he caught 40 passes for 440 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens cut him a little over a year ago and Maclin wasn’t in the league during the 2018 season. 

Now, he’s retired. But even though he didn’t play for the Eagles very long, he definitely made his mark. 

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