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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