Rob's Rants: Finding stuff to rant about after a big Eagles win

Rob's Rants: Finding stuff to rant about after a big Eagles win

Keep in mind, there was a lot of good to take away from the Eagles' season-opening win on the road at Washington. Division victories on the road are never easy and rarely pretty. This was neither. Who cares?

Carson Wentz showed you why he will be a franchise quarterback. Think about how many QBs in the NFL can make the Houdini play he made on the Nelson Agholor touchdown. Less than 10? He wasn’t perfect and showed his youth at times, but he is legit.

My key to the Eagles' season was the defensive line, and it delivered. Four sacks, three turnovers, 64 rushing yards allowed and a direct hand in 10 of the Birds' 30 points.  

Wentz. The D. Agholor. Zach Ertz. There was a lot of good.

But this is not Rob’s Rhapsody’s. ... It’s rant time.

Balancing act
Thirty-nine passes to 24 called runs. That includes Wentz's four rushes/scrambles. This was a fear going into the season after Wentz threw the ball a rookie-record 607 times last year despite having a woeful receiving corps. Early on, I thought the Eagles did a nice job mixing things up. But as our Reuben Frank pointed out (see story), that ratio was 36 passes to 13 runs in the final three quarters. Two to one in favor of the pass is far too predictable. It’s not like the Eagles were trailing big and had to throw to get back in it. Blaming the backs and the line is valid. But the head coach has to stay committed to the run and avoid predictability.
Come on, Alshon 
Alshon Jeffery is being paid far too handsomely to not make plays on contested balls. It’s one game and they were not easy catches by any stretch, but one of his greatest attributes is winning 50-50 balls. And he did not win them Sunday. 
Just say no, Doug
Repeat after me, Doug: No more wide receiver screens. Once again, no more wide receivers screens. The Birds have a lot of more weapons this year. And by the look of Pederson’s chart, there are plenty of other options on the voluminous menu. Use them. 

Upon further review
The last thing I need in my life is more officials. Check that, the last thing I need in my life is more Dean Blandino. You remember good ole Dean, the former NFL vice president of officiating. As well as the chief Jerry Jones Dallas party bus guy and part-time Twitter troll. The Deaner is now one of FOX Sports' rules analysts along with Mike Pereira. 

So we now get to have Blandino shoved down our throats during game broadcasts. Lucky us. I’m sure he will be completely objective when it comes to reviewable plays during Cowboys games. The national media needed another Dallas sympathizer because Troy, Tony, Deion, Moose, Michael, Jimmy, Woodson, Keyshawn, etc., weren’t quite enough.       

Darren Sproles plans to retire after 2018 season

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Darren Sproles plans to retire after 2018 season

The 2018 season will be the final one for Darren Sproles.

The Eagles' running back announced in a blog post Sunday that he plans to play just "one more year." In fact, Sproles wrote that he had originally planned for 2017 to be his final season in the NFL, but that changed after suffering a season-ending torn ACL and broken arm against the Giants in Week 3. 

"An injury is different; It’s something you don’t have any control over but I feel like I left a lot out there, and I couldn’t let my career end like that," Sproles wrote.

"Coming back from any injury is tough—especially a knee injury for a running back. I wondered if I was going to come back the same, if I would still have my quickness. That’s the main thing because I don’t want to go out there and start getting smacked. Once I started rehabbing and running again I could tell I was good and ready for one more healthy year."

The 35-year-old agreed to terms on a one-year deal to return to the Eagles back in April. This coming season, he will be part of a crowded Eagles backfield that's headlined by Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.

Over four seasons with the Birds, Sproles has compiled 2,420 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. He's also been a weapon on special teams, posting a 12.5 yards per return average and four touchdowns. Acquired in a trade from the Saints in 2014, Sproles has made the Pro Bowl three times as an Eagle and was named to Second Team All-Pro as a returner in his first season in Philly.

"I’m excited to come back and I am even more excited to come back to the defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles," Sproles wrote. "We have something special here with the team, the fans, and the city. We made history bringing the first Lombardi trophy to Philly and now we want to go back-to-back."

In the post, Sproles noted that he has his sights set on getting into the top five of the all-time leaders in all-purpose yards. Sproles currently sits eighth all-time with 19,155 yards. He should pass Steve Smith (19,180) and Marshall Faulk (19,190) with ease, but will have to leap Tim Brown (19,682) to get into the top five. The 13-year veteran wrote that it "will probably take until about mid-season (maybe a little longer)" to catch Brown.

The other players in the top five? Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton and Emmit Smith. Pretty good company.

Though, records weren't the thing that ultimately convinced Sproles to push his retirement back one more season.

"But I don’t do it for the records," Sproles wrote. "Yeah, it would be an honor to be mentioned in the same conversation as those guys—but that’s not what’s important. I love this game. I love what I do. When my daughter Devyn looked me in the eye and told me I have to play one more year—well, that was it."

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Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Training camp starts next week!

After a shorter-than-usual offseason, the Eagles will try to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs in over a decade. 

We answered half of your questions yesterday (see story). The rest today: 

To me, this has always been the most likely scenario if Nick Foles were to ever get traded for a few reasons. The first is that by training camp, the Eagles will have a much better idea of whether or not Carson Wentz is ready to play. They can decide to either keep the insurance policy or trade it away. And you’re right, desperation will raise Foles’ price. 

I remember asking Howie Roseman about this exact possibility back in March. 

“I’d say that’s a possibility of anyone on our team,” Roseman said. “We’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Eagles. I don’t want to make this about just Nick, but anything that can make us better at any time in the year, we have to look at.”

I think it would have to be a first-rounder. The Eagles already didn’t trade Foles for an early second-rounder this year and if Sam Bradford was worth a first-rounder, the Super Bowl MVP damn-well better be. Now, it’s rare to have a Teddy Bridgewater-type situation arise, but if it does, the Eagles will be waiting by their phones.  

(And side note: I don’t think Foles’ restructured contract changes anything.) 

My gut is that he’s ready for Week 1, but I don’t know. On one hand, it’s a really serious injury. On the other, I was incredibly impressed by how much he was able to do in the spring and how well he did it. 

The one thing I know is this: It won’t be a decision. Either Wentz is cleared and he plays or he isn’t cleared and he doesn’t. There can’t be any thought to resting him if he’s cleared to play. These games are too important and they’re going to need him in every one. 

The Rams improved their roster and should be one of the favorites to win the NFC. The Rams already had a quarterback and some key pieces around him and then they won the offseason. 

The brought in Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Now, putting a bunch of great players together isn’t enough — remember the Dream Team — but it’s a good start. And the Rams certainly added a lot of talent. 

This is a fair question after Nigel Bradham’s suspension, but the good news for the Eagles is that Bradham’s suspension is just one game. The Eagles should have had more depth but Paul Worrilow went down for the season in the spring on the same day they cut Mychal Kendricks. That leaves the Eagles with a depth problem. 

I think they’ll try to get a better sense of what depth they have during the first week or two of training camp. Let’s see what they have in Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson, Joe Walker and LaRoy Reynolds. But I’d imagine the Eagles at least have a couple veteran names in mind. Remember, they did add Dannell Ellerbe late last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have a short list of guys who would make sense. 

Hot dogs. Please don’t ask me if they’re a sandwich. 

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