Why the odds are against the Eagles making a blockbuster trade, a young defensive tackle who just might help out, a bizarre NFC East stat and a whole lot more in this week's edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles observations!
It starts now!
1. Everybody’s clamoring for the Eagles to make a trade. Get this guy, get that guy, get rid of this guy, get rid of that guy. And fans seem to be getting frustrated that Howie Roseman hasn’t made a deal yet. But here’s the thing. In-season trades are extremely rare in the NFL. In the last 25 years, the Eagles have made four of them, and two of them involved Jerome Harrison, and one of them was voided. There was the Jay Ajayi trade with the Dolphins last year, there was Ronnie Brown to the Lions for Harrison in 2012, a deal that was voided after Eagles team physicians saved Harrison’s life by discovering that he had a brain tumor, there was a deal in 2010 in which the Eagles traded Harrison to the Browns for Mike Bell and there was wideout Brandon Gibson going to the Rams for linebacker Will Witherspoon in 2009.
That’s it. It’s really hard to make trades in the NFL. You can’t just plug a guy in like in baseball. He has to come in and learn the system and get acclimated to his coaches and teammates. And you have to make it work from a salary cap standpoint while also not giving up too much in terms of draft picks. Roseman hates giving up draft picks, and I don’t blame him. They’re the building blocks of your future. Sometimes, trades do make sense. Like the Ajayi deal. But most of the time, the best way to get better at a position of need is taking your young draft picks and coaching them up and watching them grow and evolve as players.
2. In just four games, Carson Wentz has moved up from eighth to fourth in NFL history in interception ratio (minimum 1,000 attempts). He began the year trailing Tyrod Taylor, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, Derek Carr, Sam Bradford and Russell Wilson at one INT every 49.9 attempts, but he’s already passed Brady, Carr, Wilson and Bradford and moved into fourth place at one INT every 54.8 passes.
3. It was only 15 snaps, but I liked what I saw from Treyvon Hester last Thursday night. The second-year defensive tackle was active and productive with two solo tackles and a QB hurry in his cameo. Who knows if he’ll pan out long term, but that was a good start. Potentially another scrap-heap signing by Roseman that could pay dividends.
4. Of the 21 active quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 50 passes against the Eagles in their career, Cam Newton has the second-lowest passer rating against the Eagles at 69.4. Here’s the top five and the bottom five:
Top-five active QBs vs. Eagles
• 120.2 — Philip Rivers
• 113.4 — Matt Cassel
• 104.9 — Russell Wilson
• 104.4 — Aaron Rodgers
• 104.0 — Andy Dalton
Bottom-five active QBs vs. Eagles
• 65.7 — Dak Prescott
• 69.4 — Cam Newton
• 73.1 — Ben Roethlisberger
• 73.2 — Sam Bradford
• 79.5 — Joe Flacco
5. There isn’t one NFC East team ranked in the top half of the league in total offense. The Eagles are 18th, Giants 24th, Redskins 25th, Cowboys 29th. Yet all four teams are in the top half in defense: The Cowboys are fourth, Redskins fifth, Eagles 12th and Giants 14th. That’s flat-out bizarre.
6. I feel like Brandon Graham the last two games has finally shaken off the rust after missing virtually all of the preseason and has gotten back to the Pro Bowl-caliber guy we’re used to seeing. But defensive ends are measured solely on sacks and right now he has one in six games. He’ll be 31 going into this offseason, and if the sack numbers don’t pick up, he’s not going to get the type of blockbuster contract he wants. The irony is the fewer sacks he gets the lower his value and the more likely he is to come back to the Eagles. There’s no way the Eagles are going to get into a bidding war for a defensive end in his 30s coming off a 12-sack season. But if Graham doesn’t produce this year and languishes on the open market, I could see a scenario in which he returns at a drastically reduced salary for one more season.
7. Remember how good undrafted rookie Raheem Mostert looked in Eagles camp in 2015? The Eagles released Mostert after he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage during the 2015 preseason, and Mostert then spent time with the Dolphins, Ravens, Browns, Jets and Bears before landing with the 49ers. On Monday night, in the first extended playing time of his NFL career, he ran 12 times for 87 yards for the Niners in their loss to the Packers. My favorite kind of NFL story. Teams just kept giving up on Mostert and he kept refusing to give up on himself. It’s impossible not to root for a kid like that.
8. Speaking of undrafted running backs, Corey Clement is only 23 and has played in only 20 NFL games. But he already has the sixth-most career yards from scrimmage as an Eagle by an undrafted running back who began his career here. Here’s where he stands:
• 1,735 — Hal Giancanelli (1953-56)
• 1,227 — Toy Ledbetter (1950-55)
• 1,095 — Dave Smukler (1936-39)
• 841 — Vaughn Hebron (1993-94)
• 835 — Mel Bleeker (1944-46)
• 699 — Corey Clement (2017-18)
9. Here are the top-two third-down passers in the NFL since opening day last year:
• 120.1 — Carson Wentz (106-165, 1,493 yards, 17 TDs, 3 INTs); 108.9 — Nick Foles (51-79, 606 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs)
10. I ran into Foles in the hallway of the NovaCare Complex on Thursday. We talked for a few minutes about his daughter, who’s now 16 months old, and then I headed out into the parking lot and it wasn’t until I was walking toward my car did it strike me that I was just talking to the Super Bowl MVP. Because Foles acts about as un-superstar as possible. He’s the single-most humble, unassuming, down-to-earth person I’ve ever met, and he’s exactly the same now as when he was an unknown rookie backing up Michael Vick in 2012. Every time I talk to Foles I feel just a little bit better about the world.
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