Eagles

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on newest Eagles coach Marquand Manuel, LeSean McCoy's Hall of Fame case, more in Roob's 10 observations

Thoughts on the Eagles’ new secondary coach, LeSean McCoy’s Hall of Fame case and an unbelievable stat about Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis.

All that and so much more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random offseason Eagles observations! 

1. OK, it’s been 18 days since the Eagles fired Mike Groh, and they still don’t have an offensive coordinator. Senior Bowl week is over, the combine is only a few weeks away and free agency starts in less than two months. Of the 10 teams with an OC vacancy, the Eagles are the only one that hasn’t hired anybody. A couple thoughts: 1) Maybe the guy Doug Pederson is going to hire is already in place. Internal candidates Duce Staley and Press Taylor were both at the Senior Bowl practices. Maybe the Eagles are just waiting until the entire staff is complete to announce everything. I doubt it, but it’s possible. 2) Maybe Doug has decided not to hire an offensive coordinator and just do the job himself with his position coaches. I doubt that too, but it’s possible. 3) Otherwise, it has to be Jim Caldwell, right? As long as he’s healthy. By far the most impressive remaining outside candidate. Caldwell was QBs coach of the Colts when they won the Super Bowl and offensive coordinator of the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. If Doug wants a veteran QB guru for the job, this is a no-brainer. Get it done.

2. I do like the Marquand Manuel hire. I like that he’s been a defensive coordinator on the NFL level, I like that he’s coached in a Super Bowl, I like that he played in the NFL for eight years and I like that he’s got a little background with Jim Schwartz — he played for Schwartz in Detroit in 2009 — but still brings a fresh voice to the coach’s room. He’s got his work cut out for him. Getting Sidney Jones on track is priority No. 1. But the Eagles’ secondary as a whole is going to look very different in 2020, and the Eagles needed a capable veteran voice to bring it all together and make it work. He looks like the guy to do it.

3. The last Eagles defensive players to make a Pro Bowl before their 25th birthday were Lewis and Sheppard in 2004. Since then, 94 defensive players league-wide have made a Pro Bowl before they turned 25. 

4. How many QBs would you rather have right now than Carson Wentz? First I’m going to eliminate anybody in their 30s — Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, all those guys. Who does that leave? You’d rather have Pat Mahomes than anybody, but beyond that? Lamar Jackson? Brilliant talent but I wonder how sustainable his style of play is. Dak Prescott? No thanks. Jimmy Garoppolo? Nope. Deshaun Watson? You can make a case, but I’d take Wentz. Jared Goff? Kyler Murray? Daniel Jones? Nah. The injuries are frustrating but no doubt in my mind that despite everything the Eagles have the right QB to build around. 

5. I wonder if the Super Bowl will be McCoy’s final game. He had a nice first half of the season and showed he has something left, but since Damien Williams’ emergence, he’s barely played and doesn’t even have a carry since mid-December. Shady’s a free agent after the Super Bowl and turns 32 this summer, an age where few running backs are still going. Shady’s the only player in NFL history with 11,000 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average and 500 catches. Hall of Famer if he retires now? Probably not quite. But one hell of a career.

6. Curious note about McCoy: He’s never had a carry in a postseason victory. The Eagles were 0-3 in the playoffs with McCoy in uniform and the Bills were 0-1. He didn’t have a carry in the Chiefs’ win over the Texans and was inactive for the win over the Titans. 

7. In Eagles history, Jordan Matthews has the most receiving yards after three seasons and Shady has the most rushing yards after three seasons. One of them will win a Super Bowl ring next Sunday. Both will probably be inactive.

8. Chiefs GM Brett Veach is a remarkable story. He grew up in Mt. Carmel, between Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre, starred at Mt. Carmel High School, played with Matt Nagy at Delaware and was on track to work in Delaware’s athletic department after college when he landed an internship with the Eagles in the summer of 2004. With his work ethic and uncanny eye for talent, he worked his way up the ladder. When Andy Reid asked him to find a wide receiver the Eagles could take in the second round in 2008, Veach recommended DeSean Jackson, even though he was coming off a poor season. When Reid was hired by the Chiefs in 2013, he brought Veach with him. In 2015, Veach was watching film of Texas Tech offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Tech’s unheralded QB kept jumping out at him, and Veach knew even then Mahomes was something special, and in 2017 they traded up for him. Mahomes is now the best QB in the NFL, an MVP and one win from a Super Bowl. In span of 10 years, Veach went from interning in the Eagles’ scouting office to drafting Pat Mahomes.  

9. This is kind of a strange one, but Boston Scott this year became only the seventh player in NFL history with 85 or fewer touches but at least five rushing TDs and 20 catches. The dude definitely made the most of his limited workload.

10. I used to think Harold Carmichael’s franchise record of 589 catches was untouchable. Only seven Eagles even reached 300 during the 30-year period from 1985 through 2015, and only Brian Westbrook got over 400. But Zach Ertz will go into 2020 just 64 catches behind Harold, and at his rate of 5.8 catches per game over the last five years he’ll pass him somewhere around Week 12 if he stays healthy. Harold will go into the Hall of Fame in September and have his most hallowed record broken in November. And knowing Harold, nobody will be happier for Ertz.

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Eagles 2020 breakout candidate: K’Von Wallace primed for a big rookie year

Eagles 2020 breakout candidate: K’Von Wallace primed for a big rookie year

Over the next two weeks, I’m taking a look at 10 Eagles players who might be primed for a breakout season in 2020. I looked at Boston Scott yesterday. 

Up today: K’Von Wallace 

Age: 22

How acquired: Drafted in 4th round (No. 127)

Entering: Year 1 

It might seem overly ambitious to name a fourth-round rookie as a breakout candidate but there are reasons it isn’t crazy. 

While Wallace was the 127th selection in this year’s draft, he’s considered by many to be be a steal in the fourth round. In fact, ProFootballFocus named Wallace one of the biggest steals in the entire 2020 draft class.

At Clemson, Wallace was a three-year starter and played 59 games for the Tigers. He was a versatile player at Clemson, playing strong safety, free safety and some as the nickel corner. That type of versatility is likely one of the attributes that really attracted the Eagles to him. 

Another huge part of Wallace’s game is his physicality. 

Check out what VP of player personnel Andy Weidl said about Wallace after the Eagles drafted him: 

“You know, the thing about K'Von Wallace is his tape, and what stuck out was his physicality, his tackling, his ability to play around the line of scrimmage. The mentality he played with, the motor he played with. He's a guy that likes contact. He gets to the ball. He passes people to the ball, and when he gets there, he strikes. We saw that. It was consistent with the motor that he played with, the mentality he played with, and we really enjoyed it and thought he fit what we were doing and what we're putting together here.”

At 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, Wallace isn’t the biggest player and he’s not a speed demon. His 4.53 time in the 40 put him in the 65th percentile among safeties. 

But it’s not like Wallace isn’t athletic. He is. 

During the pre-draft process, Wallace became one of my favorite players and I actually mocked him to the Eagles several times. He seems to check a lot of their boxes for defensive backs. He’s instinctive, competitive and versatile. 

And a reason he has a chance to break out, perhaps more than many of his fellow rookies, is opportunity. The Eagles will be able to get him into the rotation and the only players in front of him are Jalen Mills and Will Parks, who are both on one-year deals. 

While Mills knows the Eagles’ defense, he’s switching positions this offseason from corner to safety. And while Parks knows the position, he’s switching teams this offseason from Denver to Philly. 

Maybe Mills or Parks becomes a long-term solution — it’s certainly possible — but the Eagles drafted Wallace and if he impresses enough early, he should be at least given a chance to win the safety job next to Rodney McLeod, not just for this season but for the future too. 

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Jason Kelce inspired to speak out about George Floyd after listening to DeSean Jackson

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USA Today Images

Jason Kelce inspired to speak out about George Floyd after listening to DeSean Jackson

Eagles center Jason Kelce on Monday night was inspired to post about the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests after hearing discussion during the Eagles’ team meeting today. 

In particular, Kelce said he felt an obligation to speak out after hearing DeSean Jackson’s speech to the team. 

Here are Kelce’s full comments: 

Kelce, 32, is one of the longest-tenured players on the team and an established team leader. He does not often post on social media but felt an obligation in the wake of Floyd’s death. 

Kelce was not the only Eagles player moved by the Eagles’ team meeting on Monday. Kicker Jake Elliott also posted about it: 

It’s important during these times for white players to speak up against racism and several white Eagles have done so in the last few days. Most notably, franchise quarterback Carson Wentz spoke out against “institutional racism” on Thursday. 

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