Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens among 15 finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens among 15 finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Eagles great Brian Dawkins is one step closer to being immortalized in Canton.

Dawkins has made the cut from 26 semifinalists to 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be voted on by the Hall of Fame committee the day before Super Bowl LI in February. These Hall of Famers will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, in August.

"It's a blessing to be mentioned among the names of so many other guys who have made it this far, let alone to be hopefully in the Hall of Fame someday," Dawkins said in a statement released by the Eagles on Tuesday.

In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Dawkins is a finalist, along with former Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, who is a finalist for the second straight year.

"I don't take these things for granted," Dawkins said. "I understand the plight of safety [in the Hall of Fame]. To make it this far in my first year, it's a tremendous, tremendous honor."

Dawkins, now 43, was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 1996 draft and went on to become an all-time great and fan favorite over the next 13 years. After making seven Pro Bowls with the Eagles, Dawkins made two more with the Broncos during his 16-year career.

Dawkins is now a full-time employee with the Eagles, acting as a football operations executive.

A truly unique player, Dawkins is one of just six players in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions. As an Eagle, he had 34 interceptions, recovered 15 fumbles, forced 36 and had 26 sacks.

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Owens, 43, played just 21 regular-season games with the Eagles but has had a lasting impact on the city, largely because he was the piece that nearly brought a championship to Philadelphia.

In 2004, he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns before an injury kept him out until the Super Bowl. But Owens returned in time for Super Bowl XXXIX and caught nine passes for 122 yards in the loss to New England.

Owens made six Pro Bowls in his career and is second all-time in receiving yards with 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns with 153.

Joining Dawkins and Owens among the finalists are: offensive linemen Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Kevin Mawae and Joe Jacoby, running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, defensive end Jason Taylor, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, defensive backs Ty Law and John Lynch, kicker Morten Andersen and coach Don Coryell.

Eagles mailbag: 1 open practice, breakout player, Mack Hollins

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Eagles mailbag: 1 open practice, breakout player, Mack Hollins

We have officially entered the NFL’s dead period. It’s really one of the only times during the year when there’s not much NFL action. Sure, there are some signings and some news breaks, but teams are off until training camps begin. 

The Eagles will report to training camp on July 24 before their first practice on July 25. 

With some time to spare, let’s answer your questions: 

First, I want to make sure everyone knows I do not run the Philadelphia Eagles and this was not MY decision. Because if I ran the Eagles, there’s no way I’d do this. 

If you haven’t heard, the Eagles will have just one open training camp practice for fans at the Linc this summer. They are charging $10 per ticket and that money goes to the Eagles Autism Challenge, which is an absolutely great cause. But this isn’t the way to raise money for that great cause. 

I totally understand the outrage and frustration for fans. For me, the biggest issue isn’t the $10, it’s limiting the amount of open practices. It wasn’t that long ago that you could watch nearly 20 practices for free at Lehigh and the first year they held camp back in Philly, they still at least had four. To have one open practice is just unforgivable. It’s hard to get to an NFL game and it’s equally as hard to pay for it. So training camp has offered a way for fans to get close to their favorite football team for decades. How many people do you know who have a special story from Lehigh or West Chester? I get those days are long gone and I understand why. The positives of having camp at your own facilities outweigh the positives of the team-bonding experience away from the city. 

But why can’t the Eagles at least have one more open practice? We haven’t gotten a good reason yet. 

My biggest issue with the news is the limited access, but the $10 isn’t great either. I know it’s for charity, but a free family event has now turned into something that will cost over $50 for a family of five. It’s so hard for families to afford anything involved with the NFL and training camp was, to me, kind of like a sacred thing. It sort of feels like the Eagles knew they wouldn’t face as much backlash by making it for charity, but this still isn’t right. 

I don’t believe Gibson’s injury is serious. He was healthy enough to watch practice on the sideline and didn’t appear to be very hurt. I’d expect him to be ready for training camp. 

But has he really made great strides? I haven’t seen that. I know he had a good spring and summer last year, but that success didn’t really translate into the season in 2018. He had one catch last year. It was a 48-yarder, but just one. In his first two years, he has three catches for 59 yards. That’s almost nonexistent offensive production. And think about how desperately the Eagles needed a deep threat last year after Mike Wallace went down early. And still, Gibson played double digits in snaps just once all season. 

The biggest thing Gibson has going for him is his ability as a gunner on special teams. He’s been able to carve out a niche there, but he’s definitely fighting for a roster spot this summer. I don’t think he has one locked up. 

He is! And I captured proof during minicamp! 

I guess I’ll use this space to talk about Hollins. It was a good sign to see Hollins return to practice, even if he was just limited during minicamp. If he is trending the right way, he’ll be able to be a full participant at camp and then theoretically make the roster as the fifth receiver. He needs to stay healthy, but that should be his job to lose. Unlike Gibson, we’ve actually seen Hollins have some success. He had 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown as a rookie and it’s a shame he lost his entire second season. Aside from his ability as a receiver, he’s a good special teamer, which is important for those last couple receivers on the depth chart. 

Hollins hasn’t talked to reporters — at least in an official capacity — since about a week before the 2018 season, when he said he was ready to go. Then he missed the entire season. The mystery around his injuries has made his name a joke over the last year and that’s a shame too, because if he can stay healthy, I think he could have a role on this team. 

My pick is Derek Barnett. And the Eagles could really use it. 

One thing we know is as long as Barnett is healthy, he’s going to have a ton of opportunity. He’s going to be a starter and with the addition of Malik Jackson as a pass-rushing DT and the loss of Chris Long and Michael Bennett, it looks like Barnett could really be a three-down player. 

I actually think there was a good chance Barnett was on his way to a breakout season last year before injury. His stats don’t look great; he had just 2 1/2 sacks in six games, but he suffered his shoulder injury in the Tennessee game and tried to play through it in the next two games. So, really, he had 2 1/2 sacks in his first four games. Actually, he had 2 1/2 sacks in back-to-back games against the Colts and Titans, so it seemed like he was getting hot. It’s Year 3 for Barnett in 2019 and the Eagles are expecting — and really need — him to have a big season. 

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Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

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Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

Little has changed for the Eagles’ tight ends from this year to last, but rarely does anything truly remain the same in the NFL. Will the unit be better or worse or 2019 after a stationary offseason?

Key additions: None

Key departures: None 

Why they could be better: Dallas Goedert entering Year 2

Goedert showed a lot of promise his rookie year. His 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame was a weapon in the red zone, where he scored four of his five touchdowns (including playoffs), while his sub-4.7 speed created four catches of 20-plus yards – three of those over the Eagles’ last four regular season games. He was even a more polished blocker than anticipated.

Yet, there’s a feeling Goedert was only scratching the surface. His counting totals of 35 receptions, 354 yards in 18 games don’t seem very impressive. Yet, 75 percent of the passes thrown his way were catches, which was good for seventh in the entire league. Goedert played a more consistent role in the Eagles’ offense in general down the stretch, and only figures to see more opportunities in ’19. After a full year in an NFL offense and conditioning program, he could be downright scary.

Why they could be worse: Zach Ertz can’t possibly repeat 2018 volume, can he?

Ertz had 116 receptions – 126 if you count the postseason. The previous record for a tight end was 110, and only four other tight ends have eclipsed 100. Ertz’s previous best: 76. Plus, Goedert’s role will expand. And DeSean Jackson is back with the club. And Alshon Jeffery is entering the season healthy. So whether because Ertz would have to make even more history to match last year’s output, or simply because there are more mouths to feed, his numbers figure to dip.

On the bright side, Ertz could fail to reach 100-plus catches again, yet improve in other areas. His 10.0 yards per reception was the lowest figure for his career, which suggests a lot of those were check downs, or defenses were focused on the tight end. With a better supporting cast surrounding him, Ertz may be more effective at stretching the field and less of a security blanket. Still, overall production is likely to decline.

The X-factor: How much 12 personnel will Eagles use?

The biggest issue with having a proven top-five tight end in Ertz and a potential top-five tight end in Goedert is getting them both on the field. It’s a great problem to have in theory, though one not easily solved. In 2018, the Eagles simply limited Goedert’s snaps – he played just under 50 percent of the time. That also made sense to a degree, as he was still learning the game. What’s the excuse going to be now?

The bottom line is the Eagles may need to employ even more two-tight end packages to get the most out of both players. Of course, they also have three excellent wide receivers, and usually there’s a running back out there, too. It’s a delicate balancing act, and the offense stands to be explosive no matter the exact percentages. Yet, for the purposes of determining where the Eagles’ tight ends will be better or worse, the answer may very well boil down to just how much Ertz and Goedert are out there together.

Are the Eagles’ wide receivers better or worse?

Some folks were peeved Ertz didn’t garner All-Pro honors after a record-setting season. Sure, the catches were great, but is that really who he is? A guy that catches 116 10-yard passes? Ertz is better than that, and while his volume will decrease, the impact stands to grow. Goedert is an ascending talent, and there are options for that third tight end spot, either Josh Perkins, Richard Rodgers or Will Tye . 


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