Dave Zangaro

Guessing the next Eagles player to make the Pro Bowl

Guessing the next Eagles player to make the Pro Bowl

This weekend, the NFL will hold it’s annual Pro Bowl. The game itself doesn’t really matter, but getting named a Pro Bowler still does.

The Eagles’ Pro Bowlers this season: Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, Rick Lovato and Lane Johnson.

In the hallway of the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles put up large images of every Eagles player who makes the Pro Bowl. I always like to take guesses about the next guy to go up on that wall.

I didn’t have Lovato on my list last year but he will be up on that wall soon because Lovato was named to his first Pro Bowl this season.

By my count, there are 11 current Eagles who have made a Pro Bowl and have a spot on the hallway wall: Brooks, Cox, Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins, Johnson, Kelce, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Carson Wentz, DeSean Jackson and Lovato.

So those guys don’t count as I try to guess the next player to get added:

Miles Sanders: He’s coming off a very impressive rookie season and there’s no reason to think he won’t keep getting better. He seemed to get better every week in 2019. He had 1,327 yards from scrimmage, setting an Eagles franchise record and leading all rookies. And now he’s going to be the feature guy to start the 2020 season. The hurdle here is that guys like Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley all play in the NFC.

Derek Barnett: In his three NFL seasons, Barnett has become a pretty solid player. He just hasn’t lived up to his first-round status. But we’ve seen flashes of how good he can be as a pass rusher. If he ever shows more consistency and gets those sack numbers up (6.5 in 2019 won’t get it done) he has a shot. He has some talent and had 22 QB hits and 2 FF this year.

Brandon Graham: I thought 2019 was the year Graham reached double digits in sacks. He finished with 8.5 and will probably never get the credit he deserves for being a disrupter and run stopper. He’ll be 32 soon so he’s running out of chances.

Malik Jackson: Jackson was a Pro Bowler in 2017 but he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler with the Eagles, so he qualifies for this list. He suffered a Lisfranc injury early in the last season and is 30 now but he has a chance to have a big 2020 season playing next to Fletcher Cox.

Cam Johnston: The young punter is coming off a pretty good season, averaging 46.4 yards per punt and 42.3 net average. He’s first all-time for the Eagles in gross and net averages and he’s getting better with directional punting. The guy who stands in his way is … well … Tress Way, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2019 but has been good for a while now.

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Eagles reportedly had interest in Josh McCown as coach, maybe coordinator

Eagles reportedly had interest in Josh McCown as coach, maybe coordinator

Josh McCown clearly made a great impression during his one year as the Eagles’ backup quarterback. He made such a great impression the Eagles were reportedly interested in keeping him as a coach. 

During his exit interview earlier this month, the Eagles brought up the topic of a coaching position, “possibly as offensive coordinator,” according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. McCown even met with owner Jeff Lurie, which is rare for player exit interviews.

According to the report, McCown told the Eagles he wasn’t ready to announce his second retirement. 

This is interesting. And the timing of it is interesting. Because if McCown’s exit interview came at the same time as everyone else’s, Mike Groh had not yet been fired and Doug Pederson yet hadn’t even given Groh that strange vote of confidence. 

Anyway, it’s probably not that surprising that the Eagles would be interested in McCown on their coaching staff. Everyone seemed to like him, he’s a smart guy with a great understanding of the game and he was a really positive influence on Carson Wentz. 

Just listen to what Pederson said about McCown in his year-end interview with reporters: 

First of all, I appreciate everything that Josh McCown did and brought to this team and this organization. His mentoring with Carson [Wentz] was second-to-none. Sometimes you have relationships where the coach-to-player relationship is different than the player-to-player relationship, and I think he and Carson had a tremendous relationship all season and it really helped [Carson] perform at a high level.

We’ve talked about this coming offensive coordinator hire a ton over the last two weeks. And one main theme we keep coming back to is that whoever takes the job is probably going to be a QB guy. The Eagles have their franchise quarterback (and $100 million quarterback) entering what should be the prime of his career. They need to maximize his potential. 

And if hiring a 40-year-old with no NFL coaching experience as their offensive coordinator is what gets it done, so be it. 

If McCown wants to get into coaching, he’ll have a job somewhere. The Jets were also very impressed last year with his tutelage of Sam Darnold. And it seems like McCown does have an interest in coaching. This past season, he was flying back to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday nights to coach the quarterbacks, his son included, for Myers Park High School. 

The jump from Myers Park High School quarterbacks coach to Eagles offensive coordinator might seem like a huge jump — OK, it is — but if anyone could handle it, it would probably be McCown. 

But the Eagles have other options too. Press Taylor is still on staff as the quarterbacks coach. And if the Eagles wanted, they could promote Taylor to their offensive coordinator position while hiring McCown as their quarterbacks coach. That way they’d have him on staff but he wouldn’t have such an important position. 

It seems like eventually McCown will be coaching in the NFL. The question is just if that comes this year and with the Eagles. 

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Eagles reportedly interviewing new candidate with impressive resume for defensive backs coach

Eagles reportedly interviewing new candidate with impressive resume for defensive backs coach

The Eagles are interviewing Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker today for the vacancy left by Cory Undlin, according to Cleveland.com.

CBS Sports first reported the expected interview.

Defensive backs coach is one of four openings — the others are offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and defensive line coach — that the Eagles still need to fill this offseason. DBs coach became vacant when Cory Undlin left after five seasons to become the defensive coordinator under his buddy Matt Patricia in Detroit.

Walker, 59, has been with the Browns since 2017 and, according to Cleveland.com, was “under consideration,” to remain on new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s staff. It’s unclear if he’s still under consideration.

If Walker joins the Eagles, he would bring with him a lengthy resume. He has been a defensive backs coach for five different NFL teams (Browns, Jaguars, Redskins, Giants, Patriots), was once the DC at UCLA and the head coach at New Mexico State from 2009-12.

But let’s focus on his NFL coaching career. In his last two stops with the Jaguars and Browns, he’s helped develop first-round picks Jalen Ramsey and Denzel Ward, who have both been Pro Bowlers within their first two seasons. There’s a good chance the Eagles will draft a cornerback pretty high in April and it’ll be important to have a coach ready to develop that talent.

And if the Eagles go the free agency route to get corners, Walker has worked with plenty of veterans too. In previous stops, Walker has coached Shawn Springs, Lawyer Milloy and Hall of Famer Ty Law.

While the receivers coach and defensive line coach positions have had some turnover in recent years, this will be the first new DBs coach since Undlin was hired back in 2015.

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