Eagles

Roob's 10 week-after Super Bowl observations

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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!

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Eagles on Thursday night selected Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard.

They couldn’t wait to take him. The Eagles traded up three spots to take Dillard. They gave up a fourth-rounder (127) and a sixth-rounder (197) to make the move from 25 to 22. 

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Dillard gives the Eagles an NFL-ready offensive lineman who can back up Lane Johnson and Jason Peters this year and presumably compete for a starting job next year assuming Peters retires.

Dillard is a smooth, polished three-year starter with terrific footwork and strength. Any question about whether he was a top-20 pick went out the window when he crushed it at the Combine, where he ran 4.96, had the second-fastest cone drill and the fastest short-shuttle drill among linemen.

The biggest question about Dillard is his run blocking ability, since Washington State basically throws every down – the Huskies had 4,859 passing yards and just 1,096 rushing yards last year. But he’s athletic enough that getting up to par shouldn’t be a problem. And the way the NFL is these days, pass blocking is far more important.

The Eagles have some questions along the offensive line, with left tackle Jason Peters nearing the end, Steve Wisniewski gone, Jason Kelce openly mulling retirement on an annual basis and Brandon Brooks coming back from an Achilles injury.

Jordan Mailata is an intriguing prospect but remains untested, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been a Super Bowl starter but has been very inconsistent as he moves into his fourth season and Matt Pryor hasn’t played.

Dillard is the third offensive lineman the Eagles have drafted in the first round since 2011 and the first Washington State player the Eagles have drafted since receiver Brandon Gibson in the sixth round in 2009.

The only Washington State player the Eagles have ever taken in the first three rounds is linebacker James Darling, a second-round pick in 1997. Darling spent 10 years in the NFL, the first four with the Eagles.

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Social media reacts to Giants taking Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 6 in 2019 NFL draft

Social media reacts to Giants taking Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 6 in 2019 NFL draft

Everything was falling in line for the Giants to draft an elite pass rusher at No. 6 who was supposed to be a top-three player.

Then Dave Gettleman did Dave Gettleman things.

The Giants reached for their quarterback of the future, taking Daniel Jones out of Duke. The G-men tabbed Jones as Eli Manning’s eventual successor when he’s done, whenever that finally happens. (If it ever happens.)

It also means that the Giants are one team now out of the Josh Rosen sweepstakes. Washington would be a prime landing spot for him.

Anyway, Giants fans this offseason have watched their franchise ship away talented players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon. Now, they watched their team take a QB too early.

They weren’t happy about it, but the rest of the internet was:

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