Roob's 10 Random Bye Week Eagles Observations

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Roob's 10 Random Bye Week Eagles Observations

A sign of progress, a big surprise and tons more pop up in this week's bye week edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations.
1. They’re 4-4. Their losses have been by a total of 15 points. They have five division games left. They just added Golden Tate. They have one of the most gifted quarterbacks in football. The second-half schedule is brutal, with five games against teams that went into this Sunday with a winning record, including the unbeaten Rams and red-hot Saints, both on the road. It's been a rough first half, but I don’t see an 8-8 team. I see a talented team that’s underachieved, a team that’s given games away. But to get to the playoffs the Eagles' margin for error is slim. The Redskins only have to go 5-4 to get to 10-6, so the Eagles’ route to winning the division might have to be, sweep the Redskins and go 4-2 in the rest of their games. That means if they lose to the Rams and Saints, they’ll have to sweep the Cowboys and beat the Texans and Giants at home. The season could very well come down to Washington the last day of the season, and considering how bad the Eagles have been the first half, it’s a lot to ask. But I think they’re good enough to do it. So my second-half prediction is 6-2 to get to 10-6 and win the NFC East on a tiebreaker with the Redskins.

2. I’ve just about had it with Big V. If he continues struggling in the first half of the Dallas game Sunday night, I’m getting Jordan Mailata in there. I know he’s inexperienced, I know he’s raw, I know he’s untested. I don't care. I know he'd be an upgrade over Big V.
3. The Eagles’ last regular-season run from scrimmage of 22 yards or more was by Nate Sudfeld. It was his only career rushing attempt.
4. In 1995, the Eagles’ starting offensive line was Ron Heller, Dennis McKnight, Dave Alexander, Ron Solt and Antone Davis. And the Eagles are on pace to allow more sacks this year than that year.
5. Wendell Smallwood is on pace to be the Eagles’ leading rusher this year with 514 yards. The last time the Eagles didn’t have a 600-yard rusher was 1991, when James Joseph was their leading ground gainer with 440 yards.
6. The Eagles are riding a remarkable streak that has seen their quarterbacks — mainly Carson Wentz with a bunch of Nick Foles and one Sudfeld appearance — go 31 straight games without throwing more than one interception. That’s the fifth-longest streak in NFL history and five off the record set by the Vikings over the 2015 through 2017 seasons.
7. The most surprising thing in a first half full of surprises is the Eagles’ astounding lack of takeaways. Last year, with a lot of the same personnel, they were fourth in the NFL with 31. This year they’re tied for 27th with seven. They’ve never had fewer than seven takeaways after eight weeks in franchise history. It’s incredible really that the Eagles go into Week 9 ranked fifth in the NFL in fewest points allowed considering the lack of takeaways. They’re only the seventh defense in NFL history to allow fewer than 150 points through eight games despite seven or fewer takeaways. Just imagine a few INTs or fumbles here and there? This really could be very good defense and help the offense tremendously if they could just find a way to record some takeaways.
8. A sign of progress: In the Eagles’ first five games, they committed 43 penalties for 395 yards and nine first downs. In the last three, it’s been just 12 for 96 with two first downs.
9. The absence of a mid-range passing game has been a real issue for the Eagles this year, but Carson Wentz on Sunday hit five passes of 30 yards or more after hitting just seven in his first five starts this year. Better yet, none of the five were to Zach Ertz or Alshon Jeffery. He connected with Jordan Matthews twice (31, 36), Nelson Agholor (39), Dallas Goedert (32) and Wendell Smallwood (36). He became the first Eagles QB in 14 years to complete five passes of at least 30 yards in the same game. Donovan McNabb did it against the Packers in 2004 to T.O. (41, 45), Brian Westbrook (41, 50) and Freddie Mitchell (30).
10. Tate had more career 90-catch seasons before his 27th birthday than everybody who’s ever played for the Eagles combined.

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Maybe Daeshon Hall can live up to NFL draft status with Eagles

Maybe Daeshon Hall can live up to NFL draft status with Eagles

It’s safe to say Daeshon Hall’s professional football career hasn’t gone to plan so far. 

Hall, 23, was a third-round pick last year, but played just one game for the Panthers before a knee injury ended his rookie season. Then Carolina cut him before his second season. From there, he bounced from San Francisco to Houston and bounced to the Eagles earlier this week. 

Now he’ll have these final three games to prove to the Eagles that he deserves to stick around in Philadelphia as he tries to turn around an inauspicious start to his once-promising career. 

“I’m not surprised,” Hall said this week about the way his career has gone. “Everybody’s journey is different. My journey is clearly different from other guys’. My journey is not over.” 

Hall is a 6-5, 265-pound defensive end, who is happy to be back in a 4-3 scheme. He said that’s where he feels most comfortable and where he’s played for most of his football career. And he might just have a chance to stick in Philly. 

“Of course,” he said. “I love Philly, I love the opportunity. I’m just going to keep working from here.” 

The Eagles certainly have some question marks at the defensive end position moving forward. Michael Bennett and Derek Barnett will probably be back next season, but Barnett will be coming off a shoulder injury. Chris Long might retire. Brandon Graham might leave in free agency. And Josh Sweat will probably be back, but have we seen enough to rely on him? 

The reality is the Eagles might need to draft one or two defensive ends in the upcoming draft, but the team’s status at the position means maybe Hall will be able to carve out a spot going forward. Obviously, a lot of that will be up to him. 

During his time in college, he was a pretty healthy player too. He played in 52 games over his four years at Texas A&M and finished his career with 14 sacks.

Here was the scouting report from NFL.com’s Lane Zierlein before the 2017 draft: 

Possesses the physical traits, versatility and effort to become an intriguing Day 2 selection, but teams might have to wait on Hall as he is still learning to play with a hand on the ground and needs to continue adding mass to his frame. Hall is nothing special as an edge rusher but has the talent to become an interesting interior rusher as a 3-4 defensive end. If he has enough ruggedness to handle full-time work in the trenches, he could become an eventual starter. The arrow is pointed up, but overdrafting the traits could prove to be a mistake.

Hall obviously had a tough rookie season. He played just nine snaps in the Panthers’ opener last year before he landed on IR. He said the toughest part of his rookie season was going through all of OTAs and training camp, working to be a contributor, and then never getting that chance. 

Since getting cut by the Panthers, Hall said he’s just been trying to learn from his teammates, first from DeForest Buckner in San Francisco and then from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney during his stint in Houston. 

Despite the tough start to his career, Hall has been able to stay encouraged. 

“Man, just keep pushing. I’m not a quitter,” Hall said. “I’m never going to be a quitter … when I can’t play anymore, that’s when I’ll stop playing. But if it’s up to me, I’ll just keep playing, playing hard.”

It won’t be easy, but who knows, maybe Hall can make Philly a home. He has some talent and the Eagles will be able to see what they can get out of that talent over these last three games.

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Eagles at Rams live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 15 game

Eagles at Rams live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 15 game

8 a.m.: Good morning from Los Angeles. After a week of (not so much) mystery, the Eagles finally ruled out Carson Wentz (back) Saturday. That officially means Nick Foles is the starter as the Eagles take on the Rams at the LA Coliseum.

The fact that Foles took over at the Coliseum for Wentz last year isn’t lost on his teammates. It’s a weird coincidence. 

As for the game itself, it’s a tough one to expect the Eagles to win (see predictions). At 11-2, the Rams are one of the best teams in the NFL and they’re coming off a rare loss to the Bears last week. Them losing last week was clearly bad news for the Birds. 

Follow along all day. The live blog will be updated throughout the day as we wait for the Sunday Night Football kickoff. 

Be sure to watch Eagles Pregame Live at 7 p.m. and tune in after the game for our complete breakdown on Eagles Postgame Live.