Eagles-Seahawks: Roob's 10 observations

Eagles-Seahawks: Roob's 10 observations

SEATTLE — I thought about making all 10 points about Nelson Agholor, but then nobody would read this.

So I stuck him in the middle.

Not a whole lot of positives Sunday out here at CenturyLink Field, which is the loudest place I’ve been to since I was in the fifth row for Black Sabbath at the Spectrum on the Sabotage tour.

It was 26-7 late in the fourth quarter and the Eagles did pile up a bunch of garbage yards and a late touchdown, but all in all, the Seahawks manhandled the Eagles in every phase Sunday, winning 26-15 and improving to 32-5 since opening day 2012 at home (see Instant Replay).

The Eagles are now 2-5 in their last seven games and have lost five straight road games for the first time since 2012 and the second time since 1999. 

They’re 4-0 at home and 1-5 on the road, and the best part of that is it means four of their last six games are at the Linc.

Ten Observations? We cover Agholor, the other wideouts, Carson Wentz, the defensive line, Jaylen Watkins’ attempt to tackle Jimmy Graham, Kenjon Barner and injuries.

Better dive in now. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish.

1. Just not at their level. No other way to put it, except it’s clear that the Eagles just aren’t on the same level as the Seahawks. After the other losses — Redskins, Cowboys, Giants, Lions — you felt that one play here, one play there, different outcome. This was different. This was the first time under Doug Pederson the Eagles have been manhandled, the first time they’ve been embarrassed. And, hey, this is what the Seahawks do to almost everybody. There’s a reason they’re 32-5 in this building since opening day of 2012. Yeah, you would have liked to have seen the Eagles acquit themselves better. But you’re talking about a team playing its 10th game under a new head coach and 10th game with a rookie quarterback playing in the most insanely loud and challenging environment in the NFL. It was ugly, and it was tough to watch, but this is what the Seahawks do to people. The Eagles are good enough to compete with most teams in the NFL, but the Seahawks in this building? They’re in a different league.

2. You kind of knew the offense would have a very rough time moving the ball against this Seattle defense. But I expected more from the defense. Right from the start and C.J. Prosise’s 72-yard touchdown run, the defense just seemed slow and out of position. Too many weak attempts at tackles, too many blown coverages, too many guys out of position. This is not an elite offense. The Seahawks are 19th in the NFL offensively, and several of the Eagles' defensive players spoke during the week about how they believed their play so far proved they were Seattle’s equal defensively. Instead, they weren’t able to keep the Eagles in the game. They did some good things defensively. Got decent pressure. Shut down the run after Prosise’s big run and injury. But they also gave up 418 yards, didn’t force any turnovers, let Russell Wilson catch a touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin, had just one sack (for no yards) and never made a big play when they needed to. After punting on their first drive, the Seahawks scored on five of their next 10 possessions. Let’s face it, you give up 26 points to the Seahawks, you’re not winning the game. I didn’t think the Eagles would win, but I did think the defense would play better than this.

3. Carson Wentz’s numbers weren’t very good — 23 for 45 for 218 yards with TD passes to Zach Ertz and Dorial Green-Beckham and two interceptions. But I don’t even care what the numbers are. The kid was out there getting absolutely zero help. His wide receivers had as many receiving yards as Russell Wilson until EARLY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER (15). More drops. Penalties. Inconsistent protection. He got belted way too many times. And the injuries to Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews certainly didn’t help. Wentz is the least of my worries. I feel like he did all he could. The kid’s effort never wanes, and it seems like he always stays positive in the face of extreme adversity. He had a long TD pass to Ertz called back because of a penalty on Agholor. He had a pass play that would have gone for 30 to 40 yards that Agholor dropped. Wentz will be fine. But my goodness, somebody get him some help.

4. OK, gotta do it. This Agholor thing just gets worse and worse. It’s hard to imagine two more damaging consecutive screw-ups by a wide receiver, but the Eagles’ non-performing former first-round pick lined up off the line of scrimmage to wipe out a 57-yard Ertz touchdown catch and then had an atrocious drop on a perfect Wentz spiral after getting wide open 20 yards down the field. If he catches the ball, he goes at least another 20 yards inside the Seattle 35. Oh, and he finished with no catches. That gives him seven yards in his last two games. I’ve run out of ways to describe how awful Agholor has been. He’s an embarrassment right now. On a team that has drafted its share of first-round disasters — Michael Haddix, Jon Harris, Jerome McDougle, Danny Watkins and so on — what the Eagles are getting from Agholor puts him in that conversation. He’s 23 games into his career now. When do the Eagles pull the plug and get somebody in there who can catch a football? Not to mention line up in the right place. Now would be a good time. Right now. 

5. The Eagles have been very healthy this year, but they got pretty banged up Sunday, losing Mathews (knee), Sproles (ribs), Leodis McKelvin (evaluated for concussion) and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) and Jason Peters for a couple drives. No sense yet how serious the injuries are but a few of them didn’t look good. The Eagles have tremendous depth at running back, and Wendell Smallwood (11-for-46) and Kenjon Barner (3-for-17) are capable backups, but losing Sproles for any amount of time would be devastating. He does so much for this team on offense and as a punt returner. Mathews has had an up-and-down season, but he’s still the most accomplished runner on the team. And we know how banged up the Eagles have been at cornerback, so as uneven as McKelvin’s play has been this year, they certainly can’t afford to lose him. Bad enough to lose the way the Eagles did. The injuries certainly make it worse.

6. Jaylen Watkins’ attempt to tackle Jimmy Graham on his 35-yard TD may have been the worst tackle attempt I’ve ever seen. I know it’s a tough matchup for Watkins, but that was just a lack of effort. That will be a rough piece of film for Watkins to watch. And Jalen Mills’ whiff on Prosise’s long run was almost as bad. Inexcusable.

7. We talked about Agholor, but I have to talk about the wide receivers as a group. Green-Beckham did catch a TD and a few passes in the final garbage minutes Sunday, but still has just four catches in the last three games. Agholor didn’t catch a pass Sunday and has seven receiving yards in his last two games (and 264 in 10 games this year). Bryce Treggs hasn’t done anything since his long catch against the Giants and appeared to stop running when targeted deep down the middle Sunday, a play that turned into a Richard Sherman interception. Jordan Matthews put up OK numbers Sunday — 5 for 59 — but he had only four yards going into the fourth quarter, and by then the game was over. Just think how much this horribly disappointing group is affecting Wentz. This is the worst group of wide receivers I’ve ever seen. Howie Roseman has some serious work to do to get them up to NFL caliber.

8. The Eagles need a lot more from their pass rushers. They managed just one sack Sunday — for zero yards — and they’ve recorded just five sacks in the last four games after picking up 20 in the first six. On paper, this is an elite group that should make life difficult for any NFL quarterback, but the last few weeks, they just haven’t gotten the production you want. This is the first time since 2013 the Eagles have gone four straight weeks without recording more than two sacks in a game. They have the players. They have the players with very expensive contracts. They need to make life tougher for opposing QBs. 

9. I’ll say this again, and I’ve said it before. I feel like Barner should be on the field more. In limited time, he sure seems to make a lot of plays. I would think if he played more he’d make more? Make sense?

10. With the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins all winning, this was a pretty costly day for the Eagles. But the schedule does get easier. The Packers at home. At Cincinnati. Then the Redskins, at Baltimore, and Giants and Cowboys home. The wild-card race is still muddled. There are worse places to be with a rookie coach and quarterback than 5-5. Don’t count this team out quite yet. 

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster after 2 preseason games

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster after 2 preseason games

We’ve seen all of spring practices, we’ve seen all of training camp and now, we’ve seen two preseason games. 

That’s enough to get a good guess at what the 53-man roster will look like. 

The Eagles have until 4 p.m. on Sept. 1 to cut nearly half of their players, from 90 to 53. Here’s my guess on how that goes: 

QB (3): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld 

Sorry, Christian Hackenberg fans. The fifth-string quarterback won’t make the team. Neither will fourth-stringer Joe Callahan. These three are locked in stone unless a quarterback on another team goes down between now and Sept. 1 and the Eagles are opportunistic. But that doesn’t happen all the time. 

RB (4): Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood

The top three are locks and the fourth guy keeps changing. Like almost every day. The four guys fighting for that job are Smallwood, Josh Adams, Donnel Pumphrey and Matt Jones. Right now I have Smallwood there because he’s been the best of a terrible race. At least he’s somehow managed to stay healthy. Pump and Adams are hurt right now and Jones is coming off a terrible performance in the second preseason game. 

If Sproles wasn’t 35 and coming off an ACL tear, I would have kept just three. 

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers

I’m concerned that Rodgers won’t be ready for the start of the season, but for now, I have him on the roster. Doug Pederson said Rodgers’ knee injury is “week to week,” which doesn’t sound good. If Rodgers isn’t ready for the opener, look for Billy Brown or Josh Perkins to sneak on the roster for a week or two. 

WR (6): Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward 

I know there was a report from NFL Network about the possibility of Jeffery starting the season on PUP, but I can’t see that happening. Even if he’s not ready for the opener, I really don’t think he’s going to be unavailable for six weeks, which is what would be the case on the PUP. Even if he can’t play Week 1 or 2, he’s worth that roster spot knowing he’ll come back before six weeks is up. 

Aside from that, I think the top five are locks. Gibson deserves to be called a lock at this point. Then it gets trickier. I know the team likes Kamar Aiken, but he hasn’t shown me a ton and now he’s hurt. Markus Wheaton is hurt too. I just like Greg Ward. We’ve seen him get first-team reps with Agholor out, so that lets me know what the team thinks of him. He gets the nod for now. If Bryce Treggs didn’t get hurt, he was pushing for a spot. 

OL (9): Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Isaac Seumalo, Jordan Mailata 

The big omission on the list is Chance Warmack. I think having Pryor and Seumalo gives the Eagles backups who are just as good at guard and more versatile. So the Warmack experiment might be over. I kept Mailata on the active roster because I think the team might worry about exposing him to waivers. Maybe he makes the team and then ends up on IR a little later, sort of like what happened with Pumphrey last year. 

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector

I’m pretty confident Tim Jernigan will start the season on NFI, which forces the Eagles to go a little light at DT. They have two DEs who can move inside, so they can afford it. You’ll notice I have undrafted Bruce Hector from South Florida beating out former sixth-rounder Elijah Qualls. I’ve seen Hector overtake Qualls on the depth chart and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. 

DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Michael Bennett Josh Sweat, Steven Means

The Eagles can afford to go heavier at DE because they have guys who can move inside on passing downs with Graham and Bennett. Means is the last guy in. He won’t get to play much — he might be better off getting cut and finding a team with some playing time to offer — but he’s a valuable member of the Eagles even if it’s only during the week. 

LB (5): Jordan Hicks, Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker, LaRoy Reynolds

You’ll notice no Nigel Bradham. We’ll get to him in a second. Those top three are locks. Walker was a guy I left off of previous predictions, but over the last few weeks, I’ve seen that the Eagles think a lot more of him than I thought. He’s their backup MIKE and a good special teamer. LaRoy Reynolds is a solid depth piece and special teamer. I think he makes the team over Corey Nelson, who has had a disappointing summer. 

CB (6): Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, De’Vante Bausby

A little heavy on corners, but the Eagles have depth here. I don’t think there are any surprises here. Maybe Bausby, after getting overtaken by Maddox, gets cut. But I like him as a depth piece. 

S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan

I had Graham on my last prediction too; he wasn’t on the team then. I think most of us were waiting for that to happen. He’ll be the third safety, but Sullivan has earned his roster spot too. 

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato, Cameron Johnston 

Johnston hasn’t been very good this summer, but he’s the only punter on the roster. So he’s on the team. 

NFI: Tim Jernigan; PUP: Chris Maragos 

Reserve/Suspended: Nigel Bradham 

Jernigan and Chris Maragos seem destined to be on the NFI and PUP lists, respectively. Neither have practiced all summer and it doesn’t appear they’ll be ready for the opener. 

Bradham is suspended for Week 1, so he actually won’t count toward the 53-man roster. The Eagles get to keep an extra player for a week. Hooray!

More on the Eagles

Surviving Camp Part 4: Jordan Mailata learning from all-time greats

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Surviving Camp Part 4: Jordan Mailata learning from all-time greats

Over the next few weeks of training camp, as the Eagles try to decide who to keep on their 53-man roster, we’ll be catching up weekly with former Australian rugby player and Eagles’ seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata to track his progress as he tries to defy the odds and make the Eagles’ roster less than a year after starting his quest to play American football. 

Surviving Camp Part 1: This is all new

Surviving Camp Part 2: More comfortable with guitar in hand

Surviving Camp Part 3: Staying relaxed before first game 

Jordan Mailata thought he had a good week of practice. He thought he was showing even more improvement. And he wanted the chance to show that against the Patriots last Thursday. 

Then he played just four snaps. 

“I had a lot of good highs and expected to carry that into the game,” Mailata said, “and got just four snaps. There’s nothing I can do about that; I don’t control that.” 

What Mailata can control, he does. Like well before Thursday’s game when he had a long training session with future Hall of Famer Jason Peters. Really, that was probably the most productive part of Mailata’s day. 

While most young offensive linemen in the NFL have probably worshipped Peters since they were in middle school, Mailata has known about Peters for several months. He learned about Peters watching film while he was in Florida training to try to make a career of American football. It makes sense: if you’re trying to teach a giant Aussie who has never played a snap of football in his life to play offensive tackle, watching Peters is a good start. 

When Mailata was at IMG Academy in the winter, he was shown videos of several top offensive linemen like Trent Williams, Tyron Smith, Lane Johnson, and, of course, Peters. 

“Then seeing JP in person, seeing him train, that’s another thing,” Mailata said. “He’s like an alien. He’s a freak. He really is.”

Peters has plenty on his plate. He’s been working his way back from a season-ending ACL injury and subsequent surgery but is committed to helping his rookie teammates, including a guy who has never played before. 

Mailata said during practice that after the first-team reps are done, the first- and third-teams watch the second stringers face off. That leaves some time for the perennial Pro Bowler and the former rugby player to chat. The former gives the latter plenty of tips. 

“Honestly, I’m so lucky to be where I am right now,” Mailata said. “I think recognizing that, the players that are in the locker room, especially the veterans, we as rookies are incredibly blessed. Because not only do the coaches go out of their way, the players do too. They give us little tips.”

But that advice doesn’t just come from his teammates on the offensive line. A few times during training camp, Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, who was acquired earlier this offseason, was seen spending some time working with Mailata after practice. 

The main area Bennett stressed to Mailata was about his hand placement and punching. The cool thing is, as camp went on, Bennett saw the progress and then went back to Mailata with more advice. Next time, he stressed the importance of staying balanced. 

“Michael B, he’s been a big help,” Mailata said. “He’s always encouraging me.” 

It seems pretty clear that despite how raw Mailata is, his veteran teammates see the potential and want desperately to help bring it out. 

His goal for the next week 
“I think I just need to keep working on the same stuff again. This week, keep my pad level low in the run game and in pass pro as well. Just keep playing with low hips. That’s the massive feedback I’ve gotten from Stout. Now that we get limited reps, it’s very critical in the training session.”

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