Eagles

Zach Brown's trash talk, looking ahead at corner, more in Roob's random Eagles points

Zach Brown's trash talk, looking ahead at corner, more in Roob's random Eagles points

A critical matchup on Sunday, another insane Nate Gerry stat, running backs of yore and lots more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles points.

1. The matchup Sunday between Dalvin Cook and the Eagles’ top-ranked run defense is a huge one. If the Vikings can’t get Cook going, the Eagles win. If Cook gains big yards, I think it’ll one a long day for the Eagles. I do think the Eagles’ defensive line matches up well against the Vikings’ offensive line, but that Eagles’ No. 1 rushing ranking has come against Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Derrius Guice and Aaron Jones, all of whom are averaging under 4.0 yards per carry. Bell is at 2.9, Freeman 3.2, Johnson 3.4, Guice 2.5 (currently hurt) and Jones is at 3.9. Cook is at 5.9 (and rookie teammate Alex Mattison isn’t far back at 5.6). Cook is way better than any back the Eagles have faced. If they can shut him down, this run defense is legit.

2. The fact that Miles Sanders has the Eagles’ three-longest receptions over the last three games speaks volumes about Sanders’ receiving ability. Unfortunately, it also speaks volumes about the recent play of the Eagles’ wide receivers.

3. When (if?) all the Eagles’ corners are totally healthy, who starts? It’s a fascinating question with no easy answer. Rasul Douglas has earned one of the two outside spots, but I have a hunch they’re going to go with Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby. The slot will be interesting, and you can make a case for Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc or Orlando Scandrick. We’ll see how the next couple weeks go, and I’m a big LeBlanc fan, but if Scandrick holds it down these next few weeks it’s going to be tough to take him out of there.

4. The strangest team record in the Eagles record book is the one for lowest career interception percentage. Does Nick Foles have it? Nope. Carson Wentz? Nope. Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia or Michael Vick? Nope. It actually belongs to Bubby Brister, who threw 6 INTs in 385 attempts as an Eagle, or one every 64 pass attempts. Wentz is second but would need to throw 304 consecutive passes without an interception to break Brister’s record. Walter Andrew “Bubby” Brister. Of all people.

5. Zach Ertz is kind of the forgotten guy since his numbers are predictably down from last year’s record-setting 116-catch season. But Ertz is quietly having another huge year. He’s on pace for 93 catches for 998 yards, and he’s had at least 50 yards in all five games. Nobody else on the roster has had 50 yards more than twice. Ertz has really been the Eagles’ only consistent receiving threat, and he’s only 34 catches from becoming only the 19th tight end in NFL history with 500 career receptions. Only Jason Witten has done it in his first seven seasons. Can’t take this dude for granted.

6. Did you see Zach Brown called former Redskins teammate Kirk Cousins “the weakest part” of the Vikings’ offense? Cousins has actually been pretty good against the Eagles — 5-3 record, 66 completion percentage, four 300-yard games, 17 TDs, 5 INTs and a 101.2 passer rating that’s sixth-highest ever vs. the Eagles. He’s faced the Eagles eight times and has thrown for at least 230 yards in each game. No other QB in history has done that eight straight games against the Eagles. And he’s thrown at least one TD with one or fewer INTs in all eight games. I don’t think anybody on this defense is in any position to talk trash right now. Brown better make some plays against Cousins Sunday because Cousins has made plenty against the Eagles.

7. Nate Gerry stats are my new favorite stats. We told you earlier in the week that Gerry’s 51-yard INT return against the Jets Sunday was the longest ever by an Eagles linebacker in Philadelphia — at any stadium. Now, how about this: Gerry is the first player the Eagles have drafted in the fifth round with three career interceptions since cornerback Eric Everett in 1988 and 1989. The only other one since 1960 is a linebacker named Dick Absher, who the Eagles drafted in the fifth round in 1967 and had three INTs for the Saints and Eagles from 1969 through 1972. Hard to believe, Harry! 

8. The Eagles’ four leading rushers last year were Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi. Looks like none of them will have a carry as an Eagle this year. 

9. And isn’t it crazy that Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy are the only Eagles running backs in the last 20 years with consecutive 700-rushing yard seasons?

10. It’s going to be tough to sit in U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon and not think about what happened on Feb. 4, 2018. My most vivid memory of Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the Philly Special or Brandon Graham’s strip sack of Tom Brady or Zach Ertz’s game-winning touchdown catch. It’s standing on the field two hours after the game with D-Gunn, and just standing there atop an ocean of confetti and looking up at the scoreboard and just seeing a massive Eagles logo. And that’s when it really hit me what had just happened. I’ll never forget that moment.



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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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Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

You can still hear the giddiness in Darius Slay’s voice when he talks about Dec. 6, 2015. 

That was a special day for the Eagles’ new cornerback. 

That was the day he met the Kobe Bryant. 

The meeting between the late NBA superstar and the then-third-year NFL pro came after a Lakers-Pistons game at The Palace of Auburn Hills during the 2015 season. It’s a day and a moment Slay will never forget, getting the chance to meet his favorite basketball player and a personal idol. 

And now with the Eagles, Slay will honor Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, by wearing the No. 24 for the football team Bryant loved. 

“I was surprised that he even knew me,” Slay said. “I don’t know if the people told him, ‘You got Darius Slay out there waiting on you from the Detroit Lions’ or gave him a pre-talk about me or something. I don’t know. 

“But the fact that he came around the corner and (there) was like 20 to 30 reporters waiting on him, he kind of walked past all the reporters, everybody and came directly to me, like, ‘What’s up Slay? I love your game, man.’ He was talking about my style of play and we just chopped it up for a minute.”

Slay said he was so in shock that day he barely had any words to speak but he was able to hold a short conversation. Then Slay got Kobe’s autograph and they took a few photos together, including this one: 

Slay previously wore No. 23 in Detroit but that number is occupied by Rodney McLeod with the Eagles. And Jordan Howard, who wore 24 last year, left for Miami as a free agent. So things lined up perfectly for Slay to take the second of Kobe’s two retired numbers. 

When Bryant died in January, it became even more apparent how much he meant to his fellow athletes. When Bryant visited the Eagles in LA during the 2017 season, there was a similar giddiness with them. There’s a really good chance that Bryant was your favorite athlete’s favorite athlete. 

“I just love how much he competed,” Slay said. “He was a true competitor. He worked on his craft. I believe the work you put in is [what] you get out of it.” 

Slay said he also really admired that Bryant was always willing to seek out answers from others, most notably Michael Jordan. Even though Bryant was constantly being compared to Jordan, he was never hesitant to pick Jordan’s brain. 

Similarly, Slay said he loves talking to other cornerbacks and asking advice. He doesn’t care who that cornerback is; if he has a question about their technique or facing a particular receiver, he’s going to ask. 

“It’s just the part about doing anything and be willing to do anything to be good and be great,” Slay said. “That’s why I took out a lot of stuff that he did and that’s what I’ll continue to keep doing.”

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