DeSean Jackson’s ridiculous opening-day track record, a wild Brandon Graham stat, what could have been in the 2017 draft and a look back at the 1988 Eagles season opener.
It’s all here and a lot more in this weekend’s Roob’s 10 random Eagles opening-day observations!
1. Jackson is one of the greatest opening-day receivers in NFL history. And it wasn’t just last year, when he caught two Carson Wentz bombs. D-Jack shares the NFL record of six career 100-yard games on opening day with Michael Irvin. He’s had four for the Eagles, one for the Bucs and one for Washington. The six opening-day 100-yard games is twice as many as Jerry Rice had in 20 season openers. The only other Eagles with more than one 100-yard game on opening day are Mike Quick, Pete Retzlaff, Ben Hawkins and Jordan Matthews. Don’t be surprised if Jackson goes for No. 7 on Sunday.
2. The Eagles have scored 20 points against Washington in 15 straight games dating back to a 31-6 loss in Landover in 2012. It’s the Eagles’ longest streak of 20-point games against another team in franchise history. Their only other double-digit streaks are 13 games against the Cards from 1957 through 1963, a current 12-game streak against the Giants since 2014 and a current 10-game streak against the 49ers dating back to 2002. In all, the Eagles have scored 20 points in 47 of their last 59 division games.
3. You know what’s really impressive? On a team where there are sometimes more players on Injured Reserve than on the actual roster, Graham hasn’t missed a game with an injury since 2010. Not trying to jinx the dude here, but what a warrior B.G. is. He’s missed only one game since 2012, and that was when he rested for the meaningless season finale against the Cowboys on the last day of the 2017 season. He played in only three games in 2011, but that was because Jim Washburn was a joke. He suffered a torn ACL late in the 2010 season and missed three games, but those are the only games he’s ever missed with an injury.
4. How good was Trent Cole? During the six-year period from 2006 through 2011, he averaged 10½ sacks per year. Since then? No Eagle defensive end has had 10½ sacks once.
5. The five players I’m most curious about this year are Derek Barnett, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Matt Pryor, Jalen Reagor and Jalen Mills. Can Barnett finally play like the 14th pick in the draft? Is JJAW really as improved as he looked in camp? Can Pryor hold it down over a full season at right guard? Can Reagor be the Eagles’ first big-time homegrown outside playmaker since Jeremy Maclin? Can Mills successfully make the conversion from corner to safety? Those are five guys I legitimately just don’t know what to expect from. When we look back in January at how those five guys did I think it’ll go a long way toward understanding how the Eagles as a team did.
6. Seven Eagles corners played at least 50 snaps last year: Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Orlando Scandrick and Cre’Von LeBlanc. They released Douglas, Jones, Scandrick and LeBlanc (and re-signed him), didn’t try to re-sign Darby and moved Mills to safety.
7. Here’s a list of Pro Bowlers who were drafted in 2017 after the Eagles took Jones at No. 43: Alvin Kamara, Eddie Jackson, George Kittle, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, Kareem Hunt, Shaquill Griffin, Kenny Golladay, James Conner and Tarik Cohen.
8. Was fascinating to hear DeSean talk about Marty Mornhinweg the other day. Marty was Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator the first five years of his career, when D-Jack averaged 957 yards per season, made two Pro Bowls and had an NFL-leading 19 catches of at least 50 yards.
Marty returned to the Eagles this year as a special offensive consultant, and nobody was happier to see him than DeSean: “Man, Marty Mornhinweg, I feel like we got a special person with him in the building. Not only me and him but Coach Reid, too, man, I tell these young guys all the time, they implemented the DeSean Jacksons of the world because my first three or four years in Philly, all the big plays that I scored on was a little bit of him and Andy Reid sitting in a meeting room just trying to figure out ways to get me the ball down the field. So a lot of my success, definitely, he gets credit for. It’s great to have a man like that in the building. Shoot, he got a lot of smartness in his head, man.”
9. This is the first time since 2008 the Eagles haven't had an undrafted rookie on the opening-day roster ... unless they bring one up on Sunday. Here’s a look at that group:
2009: DT Antonio Dixon
2010: OT Austin Howard
2011: P Chas Henry
2012: WR Damaris Johnson, RB Chris Polk
2013: OL Matt Tobin, LB Jake Knott, DT Damion Square
2014: TE Trey Burton, K Cody Parkey
2015: CB Denzel Rice
2016: DT Destiny Vaeao
2017: RB Corey Clement
2018: DT Bruce Hector
2019: LB T.J. Edwards
10. The first Eagles season opener I covered was in Tampa in 1988 and it was a game that had a little bit of everything. A 37-yard Randall Cunningham to Quick TD pass just 2½ minutes into the game. A 38-yard TD run by safety Terry Hoage on a fake punt on his only career rushing attempt. Five Eagles interceptions of Vinny Testaverde (two by Hoage and one each by Wes Hopkins, Seth Joyner and Eric Allen), and that’s happened only three times since. No sacks allowed by an offensive line that led the NFL with 72 the year before. A 34-0 Eagles halftime lead, the largest in franchise history and at the time the largest opening-day halftime lead in NFL history. The final score at Tampa Stadium was Eagles 41, Buccaneers 14. I had a blast. I figured I’d try to hang onto this job for a little while.