Eagles

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Terrell Owens' Hall of Fame chances, Eagles rookies during Super Bowl week, lots of rushing stats that fascinate me and a Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day that includes Chad Pennington.

That's just a taste of what's to come in our Thursday night edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles Super Bowl observations!

Sit down, relax and let the observations come to you!

1. I don't like Owens. I don't like him at all. He didn't strike me as a particularly good person during his brief stop in Philly. But the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn't have a word in its bylaws about whether a candidate is a good person or not. It's all about production, and you just can't deny that T.O. is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history. They put Cris Carter in the Hall of Fame, and T.O. has 2,000 more yards, 23 more touchdowns and three more first-team All-Pro seasons than Carter. Not to mention nearly 2½ yards more per catch. He's No. 2 behind Jerry Rice in receiving yards. No. 2. And you want to talk character … Carter is a convicted felon. T.O. has never been arrested. The Hall of Fame is a sham if T.O. doesn't get in. 

2. I have no idea what this means, but there have been only seven rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more in 51 Super Bowls and only two in the last 26 Super Bowls — DeShaun Foster's 33-yarder for the Panthers against the Patriots in 2003 and Willie Parker's 75-yarder for the Steelers against the Seahawks in 2005. Two in 26 years seems really, really low. I guess that just shows that the Super Bowl is all about quarterbacks and defense. So maybe most Super Bowl teams are built around an elite quarterback and an elite defense, both of which could neutralize big-time running back play.

3. No Eagle rushed for more than 44 rushing yards in either of their Super Bowls. Brian Westbrook and Wilbert Montgomery both ran for 44. Jay Ajayi is going to double that Sunday.

4. Interesting also that the Patriots haven't had anybody rush for more than 44 yards in their last four Super Bowls. In fact, their pass-run ratio in their seven Super Bowls under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is 334 pass plays and 162 runs. That's a 67-33 ratio. I wouldn't be surprised if Dion Lewis and James White are more involved in the passing game Sunday than the running game. 

5. I don't know what Chris Long's future is or how long he wants to play. He hasn't speculated about it. He turns 33 in March and is in his 11th year in the NFL and his second Super Bowl in a row. I do know that I've never seen a veteran player make as much of an impact as Long has both on the field and off the field in such a short time. The Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP Award that Long received Thursday is an extraordinary honor, and I can't think of anybody more deserving (see story).

6. I was really impressed by the way all the Eagles handled the Super Bowl media the last four days but in particular the rookies. Guys like Mack Hollins, Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas and Corey Clement are kids, and I can't imagine being 21, 22, 23 and all of a sudden being thrust into the middle of the most hyped sports event in the world. It speaks volumes about their character and also speaks volumes about the Eagles' veteran leaders who got them ready for all this. Those guys spent a lot of time last week really preparing the younger guys on the team for what they were about to experience. And it definitely paid off. I've always felt this was a really smart, focused, mature team. They played that way all year and behaved that way this week.

7. I find it fascinating that Doug Pederson never mentions Andy Reid. 

8. What do you guys think the odds are that the Replacements will make a surprise halftime appearance backing Justin Timberlake Sunday? This is Minneapolis. How about a halftime All-Star jam with Timberlake singing "Cry me a River" backed by the Replacements, Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Nelly Furtado, Bob Mould, Ringo Starr, Soul Asylum, Christina Aguilera and Rick Aguilera? Maybe?

9. Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day: Foles is the only quarterback in NFL history to have three playoff games with a 69 percent completion percentage or higher and no interceptions before his 30th birthday. Only five others even had two — Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Pennington. (Pennington?) And only 13 others even had one. So there have been a total of 26 such performances in NFL history by quarterbacks in their 20s and Foles has three of them.

10. Here's a fascinating stat that is certainly relevant this year, considering the Eagles' running back rotation: There have been 25 teams in history that had two different running backs with 10 or more carries in a Super Bowl. Those 25 teams went 22-3 — and two of the teams that lost faced a team that also had two double-digit ball-carriers. Here's the full list, with losing teams in italics:

1966 Packers: Jim Taylor (17-56), Elijah Pitts (11-45)
1967 Packers: Ben Wilson (17-62), Donny Anderson (14-48)
1968 Jets: Matt Snell (30-121), Emerson Boozer (10-19)
1969 Chiefs: Warren McVea (12-26), Mike Garrett (11-39)
1970 Colts: Norm Bulaich (18-28), Tom Nowatzke (10-33)
1970 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (18-35), Walt Garrison (12-65)
1971 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (19-95), Walt Garrison (14-74)
1972 Dolphins: Jim Kiick (12-38), Mercury Morris (10-34), Larry Csonka (15-112)
1972 Redskins: Larry Brown (22-72), Charlie Harraway (10-37)
1973 Dolphins: Larry Csonka (33-145), Mercury Morris (11-34)
1974 Steelers: Franco Harris (34-158), Rocky Bleier (17-65)
1975 Steelers: Franco Harris (27-82), Rocky Bleier (15-51)
1976 Raiders: Mark van Eeghen (18-73), Clarence Davis (16-138), Pete Banaszak (10-19)
1977 Cowboys: Tony Dorsett (15-66), Robert Newhouse (14-55)
1979 Steelers: Franco Harris (20-46), Rocky Bleier (10-25)
1984 49ers: Roger Craig (15-58), Wendell Tyler (13-65)
1985 Bears: Walter Payton (22-61), Matt Suhey (11-52)
1989 49ers: Roger Craig (20-69), Tom Rathman (11-38)
1991 Redskins: Earnest Byner (14-49), Ricky Ervins (13-72)
1992 Bills: Kenneth Davis (15-86), Thurman Thomas (11-19)
1996 Packers: Edgar Bennett (17-40), Dorsey Levens (14-61)
2002 Buccaneers: Mike Alstott (10-15), Michael Pittman (29-124) 
2005 Steelers: Jerome Bettis (14-43), Willie Parker (10-93)
2007 Colts: Dominic Rhodes (21-113), Joseph Addai (19-77)
2012 Ravens: Ray Rice (20-59), Bernard Pierce (12-33)

Eagles Mailbag: Sidney Jones, rookies, ice cream

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AP Images

Eagles Mailbag: Sidney Jones, rookies, ice cream

We answered half of your questions in yesterday’s mailbag (see story), but there were plenty more. 

So in between scarfing down hot dogs and burgers, take some time to check out these answers. 

To give some background on this question, cornerback Sidney Jones has been working in the slot during OTAs. Last year’s second-round pick, who missed most of his rookie season with that Achilles injury, looks good and is ready to be a real player in this league. 

It seems like the Eagles really want to give Jones a chance to learn the nickel corner position and take control of it. It’s a new spot for him, but he should be talented enough to handle it. If he doesn’t look good in the slot, they could always move him outside on those downs and slide Jalen Mills inside. 

As far as Jones simply being a starter … it seems unlikely now, just because Mills and Ronald Darby are still ahead of him. As long as they’re both there, Jones is the third guy in. Either way, he’s going to play a ton this year and I’m on the record predicting a big year for Jones. 

Nah. Gotta trust the doctors and trainers. As I understand it, the stuff Carson Wentz is doing right now is just a part of his rehab. He hasn’t done any work outside of individual drills and has to start throwing and working on footwork at some point. It seems like he’s doing a lot, but he really isn’t yet. Although what we’ve seen is a good sign. 

The Eagles aren’t rushing Wentz. They’re making sure he doesn’t rush himself. If anything, they’re going to end up being too cautious.  

I have seen just one practice, so I don’t have a ton to work off of. I like the look of defensive end Josh Sweat. He’s long and slender and could get on the field in pass rush situations this year. It’s way too early, but if Sweat ever lives up to his potential, we might look back at him as a steal. 

As far as guys under the radar, I don’t think anyone is making a big enough deal about Mike Wallace. Most people know he’s an upgrade, but he should be a significant upgrade over Torrey Smith and it should really help the Eagles’ offense be more dynamic. 

If I had to guess now — and, again, I’ve seen one practice — I’d say, Jones. Doug Pederson talked about Jones like he actually has some plans for him this season. We’ve already seen him have success in the NFL and he’s not that far removed from it. 

Adams had a good college career, but there are some clear flaws in his game, which is why he went undrafted. I know everyone looks at Corey Clement from last year, but that’s rare. Adams might be a better fit on the practice squad this year, if they can sneak him there. 

I’ll revisit this in the summer once the pads go on. 

Well, those smoothies are still around. Pederson kept a lot of that stuff but made it more voluntary. Players still get personalized drinks. 

The easy answer here is ice cream. Doug likes his ice cream. Plain vanilla. Can’t believe Häagen-Dazs hasn’t found a way to get Pederson in some ads. 

Aside from that, I know wings in the cafeteria have been a big hit on Fridays. The cooks — who are great, by the way — make non-fried wings with plenty of different sauces to choose from. A couple years ago, a player from Rochester, New York, introduced Boss Sauce and it became a hit among the players. I think the wings are still around. 

Eagles Mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

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USA Today Images

Eagles Mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. The Eagles are probably enjoying it too — because Tuesday, they’re back to work. 

That’s when the team’s second round of OTAs begin. The Eagles will have a few more weeks of the voluntary offseason program before the mandatory minicamp June 12-14. 

Let’s take a dip into the mailbag: 

Yeah, I’d consider Jay Ajayi the lead back for this coming season. I really think the Eagles are going to ride him a little more than they did last year now that he’s had plenty of time in the offense. But I still don’t see Doug Pederson or Duce Staley abandoning the running back-by-committee approach. So while I think Ajayi will get the bulk of the carries, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will still play plenty. 

Ajayi will be the feature back, but Pederson will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs too. Sure, the Eagles want to use him up on the final year of his deal, but they shouldn’t do it before they really need him. 

The Eagles really like Mack Hollins and it’s not hard to figure out why. He’s a nice, humble kid who works extremely hard. As a rookie, Hollins played in all 16 games and had just 16 receptions for 226 yards and one touchdown. He was even less productive in the postseason, when he caught one pass for nine yards. 

To answer your question, yes, I think Hollins will be more involved. It also can’t hurt that the Eagles brought in his college position coach, Gunter Brewer. The problem is that as long as everyone’s healthy, he’s still behind Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor. He’ll get snaps, but they’ll be limited. He’ll have to make the most of them. 

Quick Hollins story: Late in the season, I asked him about his lack of offensive production and he looked me dead in the eyes and said his job isn’t to catch passes. I probably looked confused. “My job is to help us win,” he said. “And I’ve been doing that.” 

Got a few questions about bringing in a linebacker and I understand why. On the first day of OTAs, the Eagles cut Mychal Kendricks and lost Paul Worrilow for the season. Earlier this week, I looked at the depth the Eagles have. I still wouldn’t worry about the position. 

I think it’s very possible the Eagles bring in another veteran linebacker, but I’m not sure there’s a huge rush. What might have been lost this week is that to cut Kendricks, the Eagles must feel really good about Jordan Hicks’ recovery. And remember, the Eagles are in two-linebacker sets most of the time. Corey Nelson will have a chance to be the weakside guy with Kendricks gone. And there's still decent depth. 

Maybe the Eagles add a player this summer, but it’s also possible they wait a bit to see what they have. For what it’s worth, I’d at least take a look at Bowman to see if there’s anything left.  

Corey Graham is still available and Pederson seemed more than open to bringing him back, so that’s very possible. Graham was a really important addition last offseason because, like you said, it allowed Jenkins to move closer to the line.

A lot of Jenkins playing that hybrid LB position was out of necessity with Hicks gone. According to ProFootballFocus, he played 42 percent of his snaps at LB, so it’s hard to imagine him doing it more in 2018. Still, Jenkins' versatility and his importance to the team can’t be overstated.