Solving the mystery surrounding Travis Fulgham, a crazy Carson Wentz stat and the brilliance of LeGarrette Blount.
That's just a small dollop of what we have in today's Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!
1. Something weird is happening with Travis Fulgham. In his first five games as an Eagle, he was the most productive wide receiver in the NFL, averaging 87 yards per game. Since then, he has four catches for 32 yards in three games, he’s losing playing time to Alshon Jeffery (2-for-15 in his first three games in a year) and on Monday night — with the offense stumbling as usual — he played only 52 percent of the Eagles’ snaps against the Seahawks.
How can a team so desperate for playmaking leave its top playmaker of the year on the bench half the game? We might be able to find the answer buried in some recent Doug Pederson quotes. On Nov. 23, Pederson said: “I'm not worried about Alshon's presence right now. I'm concerned about Travis' production and getting him better and helping him get better. He needs to get better.” On Nov. 25, Pederson said Fulgham is being covered by No. 1 cornerbacks “and he really has to focus in and detail his work and practice hard and fast and just prepare himself for that.” And Nov. 30: “He’s got to continue to work hard each week.”
Definitely a recurring theme there from Doug. Fulgham has to work harder. Has to get better. Sounds like he's in the doghouse a little bit, and he's got to earn back his playing time. Not an ideal situation when your best receiver is losing snaps to a guy who’s barely played in a year.
2. One reason for the Eagles to play as many rookies as possible the rest of this year is that their cap situation is going to force them to cut ties with a lot of veterans and force a lot of low-priced young players into significant roles next year. So whether it’s K’Von Wallace, Shaun Bradley, Michael Jacquet, Davion Taylor, Grayland Arnold, Jason Huntley, Raequan Williams or whoever, these next five games are an important chance to get young guys meaningful reps that could make a difference when 2021 rolls around.
3. Carson Wentz has had a passer rating below 80 in four straight games. Pat Mahomes has had a passer rating below 80 three times in his career.
4. I had to check this and double-check this and triple-check this because it didn’t seem possible, but it’s true: The Eagles have drafted two defensive Pro Bowlers since 2003. The 2002 draft produced three: Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Michael Lewis. Since then, the Eagles have drafted 74 defensive players (not including four this year) and the only Pro Bowlers in the bunch are Trent Cole and Fletcher Cox. Two. In 17 years. Soon to be 18 years. I don’t know how that’s even possible.
5. You know who’s pretty good? Boston Scott. Over the last five weeks, Scott is 15th among all NFL running backs in scrimmage yards with 68 per game. During the same span, he’s 35th in offensive touches. He definitely is making the most of his limited opportunities. He also leads the Eagles in scrimmage yards during that span.
6. If Carson Wentz threw a 10-yard touchdown on each of his next 50 pass attempts, he’d still have a lower passer rating than Aaron Rodgers.
7. Giving Jalen Hurts one snap here and one snap there isn’t helping anybody. It’s not helping the offense, it’s not helping Wentz and it's definitely not helping Hurts. The only way to really learn about Hurts is to give him some extended playing time.
8. With LeGarrette Blount announcing his retirement, a reminder just how good he was in the Super Bowl. Blount ran 14 times for 90 yards in the Eagles' historic win over the Patriots, and his 6.4 average that day in Minneapolis is second-highest in the last 28 Super Bowls. He had a 21-yard TD run and a 36-yard run two plays before another TD. He's one of only eight backs ever with two 20-yard runs in a Super Bowl. And he did all that after averaging 2.9 yards per carry in his previous seven games (and 2.7 yards per carry the rest of his career). But the most impressive thing Blount did in 2017 was take a team-first attitude when the Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi in late October. He embraced the two-back attack, even though it meant fewer carries for him, and that unstoppable tandem helped carry the Eagles all the way to Broad Street.
9. Brandon Graham has two more games to build up his resume for the Pro Bowl voters. Graham has 7.0 sacks but has been held without a sack the last three games and has dropped from first among NFC defensive ends after eight weeks to fourth. Coaches and players vote on Dec. 18, so Graham has the Packers and Saints games to try to make up some ground on the Saints’ Trey Hendrickson (9.5), Tampa’s Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5) and the 49ers’ Kerry Hyder (7.5). Hendrickson gets to face the Eagles’ offensive line, so that doesn’t help B.G.’s cause. Graham has never made a Pro Bowl. Fletcher Cox, meanwhile, has a sack in four straight games and is now third among all NFL interior linemen with 5 1/2 sacks. Cox is bidding for a sixth straight Pro Bowl, something only Reggie White (7 straight) and Pete Pihos (6) have done in Eagles history.
10. The Eagles have gone seven straight games without more than 26 rushing attempts. That ties the longest streak in franchise history. They have the 2nd-fewest rushing attempts in the NFL during that span (148). During the same seven-game period, they lead the NFL with 5.6 yards per carry.
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