Clyde Simmons

Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

Something to watch with Carson Wentz in Year 3, the Eagles' recent domination at the Linc, one bad play doesn't define Jalen Mills and much more in Roob's 10 random Eagles observations. 

1. The Eagles’ defense needs to bounce back from that loss Sunday with a vintage Jim Schwartz performance, and I think they will. At the Linc? The Eagles have allowed just 48 points in their last six games and only 11.7 per game since the start of last year, lowest in the league. Andrew Luck looks healthy and efficient again and should thrive in Frank Reich’s system. T.Y. Hilton hasn’t hit a big one yet but might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL over the last six years. The Colts can come in here and win if the Eagles aren’t careful. The defense needs to really take command and pressure Luck, stuff the run, force a couple turnovers and take some pressure off an offense that has a new quarterback, a shaky lineup of receivers and a banged-up running back corps. I’d really like to see something like a 13 on the scoreboard under “Colts” by 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

2. Nick Foles impresses me every time he speaks.

3. The biggest misconception about Clyde Simmons is that his production was simply the product of Reggie White getting doubled. Simmons was a flat-out beast in his own right. Simmons had some very good seasons after he left the Eagles, adding 45 sacks post-Eagles to the 76 he had here. When he retired after the 2000 season, he had the 10th-most sacks in NFL history. But he was also an absolute monster against the run. During his seven years as a starter here, the Eagles allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, and Simmons was a big reason why. So few defensive ends are this skilled at rushing the passer but also so stout against the run. The Eagles happen to have two of them at once. It’ll be great to see Simmons and Seth Joyner go into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame Sunday. They came in together in 1986, and 32 years later, they’ll finally take their rightful place together among the best in franchise history.

4. Something to watch these next 14 weeks: Carson Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 21st out of 25 QBs who threw 400 passes. After the season, Wentz identified accuracy as his biggest area he needed to improve. The NFL average is 62.1 percent, and Wentz was at 62.4 as a rookie. Obviously, he needs help from his receivers, but I’d be surprised if Wentz isn’t in the 63-64 percent range this year.

5. The disdain for Jordan Matthews that I’ve been reading and hearing the last few days is truly baffling. Matthew's biggest crime is that he isn’t a superstar. He’s a decent receiver when healthy, a good person and a natural leader. Maybe if he was one of those prima donna WRs who demands the ball, gets himself suspended for drug violations, quits on his team and screams at his coaches people would like him more. I don’t know if he’ll help the Eagles’ depleted wide receiver position right now, but I do know he made the most sense out of all the available wideouts.

6. Trivia question: Who’s the last Eagle with six or more interceptions in a season? The answer is below.

7. Not sure how it’s possible to watch how Jalen Mills played last year as a 23-year-old second-year pro starting for a Super Bowl team with the No. 4 defense in the NFL and then give up on him because of one play against one of the most dangerous deep threats in NFL history that wasn’t even totally his fault. Mills is a good cornerback. One play doesn’t define him, just like it doesn’t define Malcolm Jenkins, who abandoned his assignment in the middle of the field. Mills is fine.

8. In his first 46 games, Nelson Agholor caught eight or more passes once. In his last three games, he’s caught eight or more passes three times.

9. The Linc is exactly half as old as the Vet was when it was demolished.

10. The Eagles are 16-3 at home under Doug Pederson, and of those 19 games there’s only one that the Eagles weren’t in until the final minutes, and that was the 27-13 loss to the Packers in 2016. But even that was a four-point game in the fourth quarter. They’re in every game at the Linc and they win most of them. You can talk about the Packers or Chiefs, but I don’t think there’s a team with as strong a home-field advantage as the Eagles.

Trivia Answer: Brandon Boykin had six interceptions in 2013. He had only two more the rest of his career as he battled injuries.      

More on the Eagles

Defensive greats Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons to be inducted into Eagles Hall of Fame on Sept. 23

Defensive greats Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons to be inducted into Eagles Hall of Fame on Sept. 23

Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons, late-round draft picks in 1986 who grew into first-team All-Pros and key figures on the great Eagles defenses of the late 1980s and early 1990s, will be this year’s Eagles Hall of Fame inductees, owner Jeff Lurie announced Thursday evening at halftime of the Eagles’ preseason opener.

They will be formally inducted into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame during halftime of the Colts game at the Linc on Sept. 23.

Here’s a complete list of everybody already in the Eagles’ Hall of Fame.

Joyner, an eighth-round pick, played the first eight of his 13 NFL seasons with the Eagles, piling up 37 sacks and 17 interceptions and earning the first two of his three Pro Bowl honors.

He also played with the Cardinals, Packers and Broncos and finished with 52 sacks and 24 interceptions, making him the only player in NFL history with 50 sacks and 20 interceptions.

Joyner, now an analyst with NBC Sports Philadelphia, was actually released by the Eagles as part of the 1986 final cut, only to be re-signed several days later.

“Seth Joyner was one of the most talented and fearless outside linebackers of his era, and the way he committed his heart and soul on every play spoke volumes about his love for the game," Lurie said in a release by the team. "Seth epitomized the complete defensive player — dominant against the run, extremely skilled in coverage and relentless in how he blitzed. Seth is one of the all-time greats in our franchise’s history and he set a powerful example for the generations of players that followed him at his position.”

Simmons, a ninth-round pick in 1986, piled up 121½ sacks in his career. His best season was 1992, when he led the NFL with 19 sacks and earned his second straight first-team All-Pro honors.

During the four-year span from 1989 through 1992, Simmons had more sacks than any other NFL defensive lineman with 55. Only Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs’ linebacker, had more (58).

Simmons had more sacks than even his more famous teammate, Reggie White, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, during those four years.

When he retired, Simmons ranked 10th in NFL history in sacks. Eight of the nine ahead of him eventually made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Clyde Simmons was one of the most feared pass rushers ever to play in Philadelphia, but he was also ferocious against the run and made his presence felt each and every week in the trenches," Lurie said. "He was a pillar on one of the best defenses in NFL history and an integral part of the team’s success for many years. Clyde’s explosive and aggressive style of play resonated with our fans and also allowed him to become a dominant defensive lineman over the course of his career.”

Among all players in NFL history drafted in the eighth round or later, Simmons and Joyner rank second and fifth in career sacks behind only another former Eagle, Hall of Famer Richard Dent, who had 137½ sacks in his 15-year career.

Joyner and Simmons join Eric Allen and Jerome Brown as the third and fourth players drafted during the Buddy Ryan era named to the Eagles’ Hall of Fame. All four were drafted between 1986 and 1988.

More on the Eagles

Best and worst Eagles draft picks ever at each defensive position

Best and worst Eagles draft picks ever at each defensive position

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

We continue our look at the best and worst Eagles draft picks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 with a look at the defense.
 
Click here for the best and worst Eagles draft picks on offense.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Best: Jerome Brown, 1st round, 1987
This comes down to Jerome Brown and Fletcher Cox. Their numbers are pretty similar through five years, which tragically is how long Brown played before he was killed at the age of 27 in a one-car crash in his hometown of Brooksville, Florida. As good as Cox is, Brown was as dominating as any defensive tackle I ever saw, both rushing the passer and stopping the run. In a few years, Cox might get the edge, but for now, I have to go with Brown. 
 
Worst: Leonard Renfro, 1st round, 1993
Rich Kotite was not very good at this drafting thing. In 1993, the Eagles took defensive tackle Leonard Renfro in the first round. In 1994, they took defensive tackle Bruce Walker in the second round. Those two busts go head-to-head here, and it's not an easy call. Renfro was the 24th player taken overall in 1993. How bad was he? Defensive coordinator Bud Carson refused to play him, but owner Norman Braman — upset that he was getting no return out of a first-round pick — overruled the legendary Carson and forced his hand. Renfro wound up starting two games in the middle of 1993 — against the Cowboys and Cards. Both teams ran right at Renfro, and the Cowboys amassed 271 rushing yards, including a career-high 237 from Emmitt Smith, and a week later the Cards netted 243 rushing yards, including a career-high 160 from Ron Moore. Renfro never started another game and was out of football a year later. But Walker may have been worse. He never played a snap for the Eagles, spent part of 1995 with the Patriots, and was out of football by 1996. But we'll go with Renfro because he was a first-round pick and the Eagles' opponents averaged 257 rushing yards per game that he started. One of the worst draft picks in franchise history.

DEFENSIVE END

Best: Clyde Simmons, 9th round, 1986
This is really a two-man race between Trent Cole, a fifth-round pick, and Clyde Simmons, a ninth-round pick. (Remember, Reggie White was a supplemental pick who had played in the USFL, so he's not eligible.) Cole had 85½ sacks in 10 years with the Eagles, and Simmons had 76 sacks in eight years, so those numbers are fairly close, with Simmons averaging one sack more per season. The big difference is that Simmons was as good as anyone against the run. Now, Cole, despite his lack of size, always gave a tremendous effort against the run. But Simmons was just one notch above.
 
Worst: Jon Harris, 1st round, 1997
OK, good luck sorting this one out. The Eagles have drafted no fewer than six defensive ends in the first three rounds who averaged fewer than three sacks per season while wearing an Eagles uniform: Greg Jefferson, Victor Abiamiri, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Jerome McDougle, Jon Harris and Marcus Smith. They're the only team in NFL history to draft three defensive ends in the first round, none of whom recorded more than four sacks. It really comes down to those three — McDougle, Harris and Smith. The jury is still out on Smith, and as unproductive as McDougle was, it has to be Harris, who was out of football before his 25th birthday. He had two career sacks, and only two first-round defensive ends since sacks became an official stat in 1982 have had fewer.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Best: Seth Joyner, 8th round, 1986
A no-brainer, not only because Joyner was such a brilliant player — the only player in NFL history with 50 sacks and 25 interceptions — but because the Eagles have drafted so poorly at outside linebacker over the years. William Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 1991, had a terrific Pro Bowl career, but Joyner was a unique outside linebacker who played like an inside linebacker against the run and a safety against the pass. It's a travesty he has not yet been enshrined in the Eagles Hall of Fame. Heck, you can make a pretty good case that he belongs in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
 
Worst: Alonzo Johnson, 2nd round, 1986
Same draft. Different result. Johnson, taken 160 picks before Joyner, started nine games as a rookie in 1986, played in three games in 1987, went into drug rehab and never played again. He was out of football soon after his 24th birthday.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Best: Jeremiah Trotter, 3rd round, 1998
If we went back to 1949, it would be Chuck Bednarik, maybe the greatest Eagle of all-time. But we're starting in 1970, so it's gotta be Trott. He made four Pro Bowls as an Eagle — two in his first stint and two in his second stint, following two unremarkable seasons with the Redskins — and along with Brian Dawkins was truly the heart of the Jim Johnson defense. The only defensive players the Eagles have drafted since 1970 picked to more Pro Bowls are Dawk and Eric Allen. Pretty darn good company.
 
Worst: Barry Gardner, 2nd round, 1999
Donovan McNabb wasn't the only Chicago native the Eagles took early in the 1999 draft. Barry Gardner, who had played Pop Warner football against McNabb as a kid, was the 35th pick overall, an early second-round choice. But their careers took divergent paths. McNabb became a perennial All-Pro quarterback, but Gardner started only 18 games as an Eagle before bouncing around to the Browns, Jets and Patriots and drifting out of the league.

CORNERBACK

Best: Eric Allen, 2nd round, 1988
There've been a lot of good ones. Bobby Taylor. Lito Sheppard. Sheldon Brown. But E.A. is in a class by himself and should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Heck, if you're going to put Aeneas Williams in, you have to put Eric Allen in. During his seven years with the Eagles, he led the entire NFL with 34 interceptions, four more than Deion Sanders, who had the second most. Including playoffs, Allen had nine INT returns for touchdowns — only five players in NFL history (including Asante Samuel) had more. Only three second-round picks in NFL history had more interceptions. The best cornerback in Eagles history.
 
Worst: Curtis Marsh, 3rd round, 2011
Not a lot to choose from on this side of the ledger. The Eagles have done well for themselves over the years drafting cornerbacks. But Marsh was a huge disappointment. He was the 90th pick overall but lasted only two years plus a few games in the NFL. He's one of only 23 cornerbacks taken in the first three rounds since 1970 to never start a game in the NFL.

SAFETY

Best: Duh
Not much we can say about Dawk that hasn't already been said. The greatest safety in Eagles history and a Hall of Fame hopeful, Dawk roamed the deep secondary with class and distinction for a decade. He combined ferocious physical skills with an incredible football mind and the product was simply one of the best safeties in NFL history. Hard to imagine 60 players being drafted ahead of Dawkins in 1996, but they were. Including people such as Lawrence Phillips, Alex Molden, Cedric Jones, Reggie Brown (not that one), John Michels, Andre Johnson, Alex Van Dyke, Leeland McElroy, Bryant Mix, Israel Ifeanyi, James Manley, Dedric Mathis and Michael Cheever. See you in Canton, Dawk!
 
Worst: Jaiquawn Jarrett, 2nd round, 2011
Yes, that 2011 draft strikes again. Jarrett was the 54th player taken in the 2011 draft, and the fact that he played college ball at Temple made it a popular pick. Then he started to play, and all of a sudden it wasn't that popular a pick. Jarrett struggled from the get-go both against the run and in coverage and after starting two games as a rookie, the Eagles released him one week into his second year to make room on the roster for … yes, Mardy Gilyard. Jarrett hung on three years with the Jets and was even named AFC Defensive Player of the Week once. But he was only 26 when he played his last NFL game.