Eagles

Roob's 10 week-after Super Bowl observations

usa-zach-ertz-jake-elliott-legarrette-blount.jpg
USA Today Images

Roob's 10 week-after Super Bowl observations

You thought the offseason meant the end of 10 Observations? No way! We'll keep it going as long as there are random observations to be made! 

In this edition, we check in on LeGarrette Blount, Joe Douglas, Zach Ertz, the Eagles' coaching staff and much more! 

1. LeGarrette Blount’s performance Sunday has kind of gone under the radar, but he had a brilliant Super Bowl, with 90 rushing yards on 14 carries, including a 36-yard run and a 21-yard touchdown. Blount averaged 6.4 yards per carry, highest in Super Bowl history by a back in his 30s (breaking the mark of 5.7 by the Bills’ Kenneth Davis in 1992). Blount is only the eighth back in history with two 20-yard runs in a Super Bowl and the third in the last 30 years. His 21-yard TD is seventh-longest in Super Bowl history and third-longest in the last 27 years. Blount had a rushing touchdown in all three postseason games and now has 11 career postseason rushing TDs, sixth-most in NFL history (behind five Hall of Famers). He’s the first player in Eagles history with a rushing TD in three straight playoff games. Blount’s 6.4 yards per carry average was also sixth-highest in Eagles history in any playoff game. I don’t know what Blount’s future is, but he was a beast this year. 

2. And I probably also haven’t written enough about how dominating the Eagles’ offensive line was in the Super Bowl and, really, the entire postseason. They just demolished people. Did Nick Foles even get touched last Sunday? Everything the Eagles wanted to do offensively, they were able to do. Run the ball. Throw deep. Move the chains. Convert on 3rd and 4th down. Foles dropped back 43 times and wasn’t sacked. That’s the third-most pass attempts in Super Bowl history without a sack. He dropped back 108 times in the postseason and was sacked twice — that’s the fourth-most pass attempts in postseason history without being sacked more than twice. The Eagles averaged 442 yards of offense in the playoffs, sixth-highest in NFL history. They’re the first team ever to average 300 passing yards and 120 rushing yards in a postseason. What the Eagles did on offense this postseason is nothing short of historic, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson as a group were one of the biggest reasons why.

3. There were 28 running backs drafted this year, but none of them was Corey Clement. There were 17 running backs drafted in 2010, but none of them was LeGarrette Blount. There were 12 running backs drafted in the first 148 picks in 2015, but none of them was Jay Ajayi. Those two undrafted running backs and a fifth-round pick combined for 255 yards of offense in the Super Bowl. Keep that in mind next time somebody tells you a kid won’t be a good NFL player because he had a bad combine or some nonsense.

4. I know he misses too many PATs but, man, those were a couple clutch field goals Jake Elliott made Sunday, especially the 46-yarder to make it an eight-point game with 1:05 left. Did you know Elliott — a rookie who began the year on the Bengals’ practice squad — became the first kicker in Super Bowl history to make two 40-yarders in a fourth quarter? And that he’s now responsible for two of the four-longest 40-yarders ever made in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl? In fact, Elliott is only the third kicker to make two 40-yarders in any Super Bowl (along with Jim Breech of the Bengals in 1988 and Garrett Hartley of the Saints in 2009). He may not be the most accurate kicker ever, but his mental toughness is off the charts. 

5. This time last year, the Eagles’ running backs were Wendell Smallwood, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, and their receivers were Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner, Bryce Treggs and Nelson Agholor.

6. It happened much later in his coaching career than Year 2, but a big part of Andy Reid’s downfall here was his inability to replace good assistant coaches as they left. That’s the challenge facing Doug Pederson right now. With John DeFilippo now running the Vikings’ offense and Frank Reich hired as the head coach of the Colts, I hope Duce Staley finally gets his chance at offensive coordinator — he’s been an assistant under Andy, Chip and Doug — and I would look for wide receivers coach Mike Groh to move over to quarterbacks, with Press Taylor moving up to wide receivers coach. Pederson has always been big on promoting from within, since it really helps develop a healthy culture. He may go outside on this one, but promoting Duce, Groh and Taylor makes sense.

7. People laughed at me when I said before the season that Zach Ertz was a top-five tight end in the NFL. Now I think he might be No. 2 behind Gronk, although it’s very close between Ertz and Travis Kelce. Including the postseason, Ertz had 92 catches, 1,016 yards and nine TDs this year. When the Eagles needed him most, on a game-winning drive in the Super Bowl, he was unstoppable. 

8. I wanted to try to put that Foles-to-Ertz fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive into perspective, so I turned to the Pro Football Reference Super Bowl play finder and learned that there have been 54 fourth-down conversion attempts in Super Bowl history, but only 13 have been successful. Of those 13, six came with the game long decided. Of the remaining seven, only one was converted by a team that was trailing inside the 50. That was Brandon Jacobs’ two-yard run on a 4th-and-1 with 1:34 left and the Giants on their own 37-yard-line in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. Seven plays later, Eli Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, and the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14. The "Philly Special" may be the greatest play in Super Bowl history, but this one — coming with the Eagles losing, inside midfield, with less than six minutes left — was the biggest play of the season. And Foles and Ertz were flat-out money.  

9. A quick Joe Douglas story: During last year's five-game losing streak, I ran into Joe on the field before a game and said something profound like, “Hey, Joe, wassup?” His answer: "The bleepity-bleep losing. I'm sick of the bleepity-bleep losing. I hate bleeping losing. BLEEP losing. I PROMISE we're going to get this turned around." I believed him.

10. I really hope the Eagles play in the Hall of Fame Game this summer, and with Dawk and T.O. both going in, I assume they will. It will make an already short offseason a week shorter, but Eagles fans deserve a Canton, Ohio, takeover weekend. It would also mean only … 174 days until the preseason opener!

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

us_wrs.jpg
USA Today Images

Breaking down 6 young Eagles Doug Pederson is impressed with

On Thursday, before the final practice of the long spring, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked if there were any players lower on the depth chart who have stood out over the last few weeks. 

Pederson started by mentioning some players who came into the league last year. Eventually, he named six guys. 

Let’s take a look at each of them. 

Rashard Davis
The first name to come out of his mouth. Not bad for a first-year player from James Madison. Davis is 5-foot-9, 175. The receiver also has the ability to return, something we’ve seen him do since he’s been with the Eagles. 

Davis was signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago and spent most of the 2017 season on the practice squad. He was signed to a futures deal after the completion of the season. 

At JMU, Davis was a standout receiver and returner, on his way to being named an FCS All-American. Davis returned four punts for touchdowns and had 42 catches for 530 yards and three more touchdowns as a receiver. 

With the Eagles, he faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but they seem to like his versatility. 

Greg Ward
Pederson mentioned Davis and Ward in the same breath and it’s easy to see why. Both are smallish slot receivers who were a part of the same undrafted class. Ward’s story is slightly different though. At 5-11, 186, Ward was a prolific quarterback at the University of Houston but is making the transition to receiver at the NFL level. 

He was signed as an undrafted player last year and spent the season on the Eagles’ practice squad, at times taking over scout-team QB reps to imitate mobile quarterbacks. 

While at Houston, he proved to be a dual threat. He was a good passer, but his legs made him dangerous. This spring, Ward got some run with the first-team offense and the Eagles seemed to like his trick-play potential. This past week, we saw the offense run some trick plays with him, where he became the passer. On one, he even threw the ball to Nick Foles, sort of like the Philly Special. 

Shelton Gibson 
Last year, Gibson was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, but he didn't get to play a ton. He caught just two passes all season and they came in that regular-season finale against the Cowboys. 

But Gibson has looked good this spring (see story). That's a really good sign because he had a terrible spring and terrible summer as a rookie. It was probably in part because he came from a really simple college offense and had to pick up the Eagles' complex scheme. 

This year, he's thinking less and making more plays. 

Rasul Douglas 
It seems a little weird to put Douglas on this list after he was a third-round pick a year ago and then started five games in the Super Bowl season, but he’s buried on the depth chart. 

The thing that hurts Douglas is his body type. He’s strictly an outside cornerback. So while Sidney Jones, De’Vante Bausby and D.J. Killings have gotten first-team reps in the slot, Douglas is planted firmly behind Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby at outside corner. He’s probably behind Jones either way. 

That’s gotta be tough for Douglas, going from starter to being back on the bench. But he’s the perfect example of the depth this team has at the position. Pederson says Douglas has “emerged” this spring. 

Dallas Goedert
It’s no surprise Pederson is bullish on Goedert, whom he said is “going to be a nice fit for us as a tight end.” The rookie from South Dakota State had a great spring. He caught everything and is an athletic specimen. 

There’s a really good chance Goedert can be a monster in the red zone (see story).

Still, a long way to go, and we’ll see what happens when the pads go on, but there’s no reason to think Goedert can’t be a huge contributor as a rookie. 

Aziz Shittu
Probably a name you haven’t heard in a while, but Shittu has stood out as much as any defensive tackle can in non-padded practices. 

Shittu came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2016. But thanks to that stupid college graduation rule he missed all those spring practices. That allowed another undrafted rookie (Destiny Vaeao) to get in front of him and Shittu never recovered. He was brought back to the practice squad in 2016 and then signed a futures contract before last season, but then suffered a knee injury in May and was placed on IR. 

It appears he’s healthy now and is showing some of that burst that made him intriguing to the Eagles in the first place. 

Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings

ee_ring.jpg
Eagles

Eagle Eye: The Eagles got some really big rings

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss the Eagles' Super Bowl rings. How does it compare to what Barrett got with the Steelers championship winning team in 2006? How will the players spend these coming weeks off? And the guys get you ready for the weekend.

1:00 - Eagles get their rings.
5:00 - Should Gunner and Barrett have gotten rings?
8:30 - What are those parties like?
11:00 - How hard is it to move on from last year and look ahead?
13:00 - This is when Super Bowls are won.
15:00 - Guys get you ready for the weekend with some weird news stories over this week.

Subscribe and rate Eagle Eye: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19