Eagles

Roob's observations after Eagles lose Carson Wentz to injury, can't pull off improbable playoff win over Seahawks

Roob's observations after Eagles lose Carson Wentz to injury, can't pull off improbable playoff win over Seahawks

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The Eagles must have just been cursed this year. I don’t know how else you explain virtually the entire team getting hurt.

They overcame all of it during one riveting undefeated month and an improbable run to the NFC East title and the playoffs.

Losing Carson Wentz was just too much to overcome.

The Eagles battled gallantly and they made it closer than it should have been, but the season ended Sunday with a 17-9 wild-card loss to the Seahawks at the Linc.  

Here are our 10 instant observations from a gut-wrenching end to the 2019 season:

1. It’s just a cruel joke that after missing the 2017 and 2018 playoff runs and finally getting through a season healthy and playing at such a high level going into the postseason, Wentz’s season ended early again, this time with a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet shot by Jadeveon Clowney. It should have been a personal foul, but even if the refs called it, Wentz still misses the game. Three years in a row. It’s hard to even fathom what he’s going through. And I don’t want to hear that he’s injury prone because that blow to the side of his helmet would have knocked any QB out of the game.

It’s unthinkable right now that after everything Wentz has been through — a run at the MVP, the torn ACL in L.A., missing the Super Bowl, rehab, the back fracture, more rehab, a terrific 2019 season and tremendous finish — his first postseason lasted eight snaps. But he will stay healthy and he will get past this and he will win a lot of games for this football team. None of which is any consolation today. For this season to end with Wentz on the bench? It’s just unthinkable.

2. There’s plenty of time to talk about what the Eagles need to do this offseason, but watching D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and David Moore make play after play after play — that trio combined for 12 catches for 279 yards — really magnifies just how desperately the Eagles need weapons at wide receiver. Eagles wide receivers had four catches for 29 yards. Even if DeSean Jackson comes back, you can’t count on a 33-year-old wide receiver. Greg Ward is a nice story and a capable slot, but the Eagles have to find some legit firepower. Practice squad guys can only get you so far.

3. My initial thought when the Eagles came up short on that 4th-and-4 down eight with 6½ minutes left from the Seattle 24-yard line was … what are you doing Doug? Kick the field goal! It's 4th-and-4! But you know what? I can’t complain about Doug Pederson being aggressive. That’s what makes him one of the best coaches in the NFL. And he had a great play call. Miles Sanders will tell you he should have caught it, even though Josh McCown threw it a little behind him. This is who Doug is. I’ll take it every time. 

4. McCown did some good things, ran around, made some plays, made it interesting. But … 4th-and-7 on the 10-yard line down eight with two minutes left? A one-possession game? In the playoffs? If you’re in your 18th season in the NFL — heck, if you’re in your 18th day in the NFL — you simply can’t take a sack. Do something. If you get sacked, the season is over. You just can’t let that happen in that situation.

5. I don’t think I’ve ever written about the refs in my 10 obs, but they let the Seahawks get away with so many cheap shots and late hits, it’s got to be mentioned. Not just Clowney’s hit on Carson, but it was open season on McCown as well. He was hit late at least three times. Nothing. And then in the third quarter somebody on the Seahawks actually tackled Ward by the back of his helmet and threw him down. No flag. Then Derek Barnett basically tries to hold Russell Wilson up so he doesn’t get hurt and … personal foul. You just want it called the same for both teams, and it wasn’t even close to happening. That was bad.

6. The Eagles’ corners have played well down the stretch, but this game, against an elite QB, was a sobering example of how much work there still is to do. Cre’Von LeBlanc’s missed tackle just before halftime turned what should have been a third-down stop into a 38-yard gain that led to a touchdown. Avonte Maddox was nowhere close to Metcalf on his 53-yard touchdown. And second- and third-round picks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas sat and watched. Lots of questions for Howie Roseman to answer this offseason with these corners.

7. I better never hear anybody again talk about Zach Ertz not being tough. For him just to play 14 days after breaking a rib and suffering a small tear on his kidney is impressive enough. For him to catch two passes for 44 yards. Gamer. Don’t ever doubt it. While we’re at it, for Miles Sanders to play the way he did a week after suffering a sprained ankle? Just a bunch of tough guys on this team.  

8. Hats off to the defense for keeping the Eagles in this game. It wasn’t always pretty. It missed tackles, gave up big plays, kept losing contain on Wilson, gave up too many 3rd-and-longs. But it still held the Seahawks to 17 points. If you told me before the game Seattle would score 17, I wouldn’t have thought there was a chance it would win.

9. There will be a lot of changes this offseason, but with Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Sanders, Boston Scott and Ward, along with Wentz, the Eagles do have the makings of a dynamic offense. Those guys did all they could do Sunday playing with a 40-year-old quarterback making his playoff debut. Like we said, they need outside weapons, but with Wentz at the helm, this is going to be an elite offense for the foreseeable future.

10. During the two-minute warning I found myself thinking how the Eagles were 10 yards from the end zone down eight points in a playoff game with their entire team hurt. Without Wentz, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement and essentially Jordan Howard. Not to mention Malik Jackson, Ronald Darby and Kamu Grugier-Hill on defense. Disappointing loss.

But I’ll remember how this team battled to the end. How it never stopped fighting. How it rallied so improbably around a bunch of practice squad guys and won four straight. How it gave the Seahawks a hell of a scare with Shelton Gibson drawing penalties a week after being on the Browns’ practice squad, for crying out loud. It wasn’t the season we expected and it wasn’t the ending we expected, but the Eagles made things a lot more interesting and a lot more fun than anybody could have expected coming out of Miami 5-7.

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1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

Inflated Super Bowl ticket prices, your favorite Eagle who wore No. 21, an Eagles draft trend and much more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Points!

1. Maybe he’ll be another Byron Maxwell, another Nnamdi, another DRC. I have a good feeling about Darius Slay, though. I think the Eagles may have nailed this one. The price in draft picks wasn’t too high, and his contract is big but it’s also smart and along the lines of what top corners are getting and has an out after three years. Maybe he’ll be another cornerback bust. There’ve been enough of those. But with his personality and his confidence and his playmaking ability, he reminds me of Asante Samuel, who was the last elite corner the Eagles have had. I remember the day the Eagles drafted Tra Thomas in 1998, he shouted into the phone during a conference call, “I’m not going to be another Eagles first-round bust!” Slay all but guaranteed the same thing. I could be wrong, but I think this time they got it right.

2. Doing some research this week I found a preview story on Super Bowl XV between the Eagles and Raiders from Jan. 25, 1981, by a legendary sports writer and cartoonist Murray Olderman that included this line: “Defense makes all coaches salivate but doesn’t do much to excite the guy paying that inflated $40 ticket (up from $10 last year).” Imaging having to pay an inflated $40 for a Super Bowl ticket! Outrageous.

3. Zero interest in Brandin Cooks. 

4. The last Eagles quarterback to throw the first pass of the regular season and the last pass of the postseason was Michael Vick in 2010. The last Eagles quarterback to start and finish 16 regular-season games and finish a playoff game was Donovan McNabb in 2003. Only 17 years ago.

5. It’s just weird to me that Halapoulivaati Vaitai gets a five-year, $45 million contract just a few hours into free agency, and here we are three weeks later and Jason Peters is still unsigned. I get that Big V is younger, but he’s started four games over the last two years and as we’ve all seen, he isn’t the world’s most consistent lineman. J.P. has been banged up, and he’s 38, but he has started 32 of 35 game the last two years. And let’s be honest: Even at 38 he’s way better than Big V. I wrote the other day about some of the reasons Peters is still on the street. But I’m still surprised. It might not be till after the draft till he finds a home, but I still feel like he’ll be playing somewhere next season.

6. The Eagles have drafted nine Pro Bowlers in the first round since 1990, and six of them were linemen — Fletcher Cox and Corey Simon on defense, and Lane Johnson, Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry and Shawn Andrews on offense. The exceptions are Lito Sheppard, Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz.  

7. I’m fine with the Eagles not landing a receiver in free agency. But, man, they better land the right guy in the first round of the draft. And the second or third round. They simply can't afford to mess this up.

8. The first-round running back trend really tells you a lot about the way the NFL game is changing. As more and more running backs fail to be productive over a number of years and limp out of the game at a young age, first-round running backs have become more and more rare. Only 16 were drafted in the first round this past decade, less than a third of the number taken in the first round during the 1980s and half as many as the previous decade. In the last seven drafts, only nine of 223 first-round picks were running backs.  


2010-2019: 16

2000-2009: 32

1990-1999: 34

1980-1989: 50

9. Interesting to compare Dallas Goedert’s first two seasons in the NFL with Zach Ertz’s:

Ertz: 94-for-1,171, 7 TDs

Goedert: 91-for-941, 9 TDs

10. On our last Eagle Eye podcast, Dave Zangaro and I were talking about Ronald Darby, and Dave asked what player I think of when I see jersey No. 21. I immediately answered … Joselio Hanson. But in all seriousness, it’s Eric Allen. My theory is that we associated jersey numbers with the first player that stuck out to us when we first started watching the Eagles. I think of 55 as Mike Reichenbach, not Brandon Graham. I think of 96 as Clyde and not Derek Barnett. And I even see No. 20 and think of Andre Waters and not Dawk. If there’s nobody significant that wore that number in the 1980s, it’s different. No. 36 is definitely Brian Westbrook (and not Robert Drummond, Stanley Pritchett or Michael Zordich). And No. 27 will always be Malcolm Jenkins (and not Siran Stacy, Eric Zomalt or Norman LeJeune. But for all the numbers that were worn by key guys the last few years of the Buddy Era, that’s where my brain goes. I can’t help it.

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Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey died on Saturday of complications from the coronavirus. Dempsey was 73.

Dempsey contracted the coronavirus in March at the Lambeth House, a retirement home in New Orleans, and is one of at least 15 residents to die from the virus, according to The Times-Picayune.

Dempsey was an Eagle from 1971-1974, but also played for the Saints, Rams, Oilers and Bills.

Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey was known for his small flat kicking shoe. That shoe now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

The year before he joined the Eagles, Dempsey gained fame by kicking a 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a last-second 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in 1970. It broke the previous NFL record for longest field goal by 7 yards.

That was the NFL record for 43 years until Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. Others had tied the record but it took over four decades to beat it.

In his four seasons with the Eagles, for whom he played the longest, Dempsey kicked in 47 games and made 66 of 108 field goals (61.1%). He also made 84 of 90 point-after attempts. Dempsey is 18th on the Eagles’ list of all-time scorers with 282 points.

Dempsey retired to New Orleans where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 1969. He had been battling dementia since 2012. 

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