DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson's future and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

DeSean Jackson's future and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Ominous signs from Jeff Lurie, the search for elite defensive backs, DeSean Jackson's future and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations!

And only 35 weeks until opening day!

1. One of the things that’s always set Jeff Lurie apart from owners like Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones has been the distance he keeps from football operations. He’s always left all that up to his coaches, front-office execs and scouts. Hire good people and let them do their jobs. The fact that Lurie appears to now be meddling in stuff that’s outside his bailiwick is troubling. Lurie needs to focus on owner stuff — The Eagles Charitable Foundation, the Go Green initiative, the Eagles Autism Challenge. All worthy causes that have nothing to do with football. If you don’t think your GM and head coach are doing a good enough job making decisions on their own? Then find better people.

2. Howie Roseman kept emphasizing the other day how the Eagles need to get younger, and of course he’s right. And it’s good to hear him acknowledge it. The Eagles have one young player who I would say is elite, and that’s Miles Sanders. You can make a case for Dallas Goedert. To put this in perspective: 31 NFL players 25 or younger made the Pro Bowl this year, 39 last year. None were Eagles. The Eagles’ only Pro Bowlers 25 and under since the days of Shady and DeSean are Nick Foles in 2013, Fletcher Cox in 2014, Cody Parkey in 2015 and Carson Wentz in 2017. The Eagles don’t just need young players. They need elite young players.

3. Along those lines … there’ve been 88 Pro Bowl defensive backs drafted since the last time the Eagles drafted one. Those 88 draft picks have been selected to a combined 205 Pro Bowls. The Eagles are the only NFL team that hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowl d-back since 2003.

4. Nothing truly capsulizes the current state of the Eagles’ wide receiver situation more than the fact that their biggest play against the Seahawks was a DPI drawn by Shelton Gibson, who was on the Browns’ practice squad all year, hasn’t played a regular-season NFL snap since Week 13 of 2018 and only played one other snap on Sunday. Josh McCown to Shelton Gibson. Just how the Eagles drew it up in training camp.

5. Interesting that WR coach Carson Walch was fired but assistant WR coach Matt Harper — as far as we know — hasn’t been. Harper coached under Chip Kelly at Oregon, and Chip brought him here in 2013. And he’s still here. Wonder if he’ll be your 6th WRs coach in six years. When you keep changing receivers coaches every year I’d think a little consistency might be important.

6. Gotta say I’m pretty intrigued by what Boston Scott will be able to do over a full season. If you take his last five games - once he got a role on offense - and project them over a full season you have 483 rushing yards, 636 receiving yards, 1,119 total yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s a little much, especially projecting Miles Sanders’ full-season workload. But I could see him in the 350 / 350 range. The Eagles have never had two backs the same season with 350 yards both rushing and receiving. The versatility and explosiveness that duo gives you is fun to think about.

7. I expect Nelly to be elsewhere next year. I expect Howie to figure out a way to unload Alshon. But I want DeSean back. I know he turns 34 during the 2020 season. I know he only had one healthy game all year. But you can’t replace an entire wide receiver corps in one offseason. And for some reason I just don’t trust this front office to draft or sign the right guys when it comes to receivers. The Eagles’ best chance to get a game-breaking wideout on the roster next year is to keep the one they already have.

8. A lot of people have asked about Zach Ertz’s future in light of his contract situation — he’s up after 2021 — and Dallas Goedert’s rise to prominence. Ertz will no doubt be looking for huge money at some point fairly soon. And when you look at what Goedert has done — from Week 6 through wild-card weekend he had 60 catches, 3rd-most among all NFL tight ends, behind Travis Kelce and Ertz — it’s an understandable question. But there’s absolutely no reason the Eagles can’t and won’t keep both. It makes sense from both a financial and a football standpoint. Even when (if?) they actually put together a legit wide receiver corps, there’ll always be a place in this offense for two big-time receiving tight ends. Especially as much as Doug Pederson likes two-TE sets. More weapons means more options. And that means a more dangerous offense.

9. Crazy that Goedert actually has more catches in his first two seasons than Ertz (100 to 97). He’s one of only 21 tight ends in NFL history with 100 catches in his first two years. The only team that ever had two of them playing together was the Patriots with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

10. You know what’s a hell of an effective formula to win a playoff game? Move the chains on offense and limit points on defense. Coming into this year, NFL teams were 182-10 all-time in postseason history when they recorded 20 or more first downs and held the opposing team to 17 or fewer points. That's a .948 winning percentage. Not bad. That’s now 183-11. Because the Eagles picked up 20 first downs, gave up 17 points and lost. That’s not easy to do. But that’s what happens when you have drives to the 28, 20 and 8 and get field goals and drives to the 24 and 10 and don’t score. Excrutiating way for a season to end. Because even with all the injuries and with 40-year-old Josh McCown out there playing quarterback with a torn hamstring, if they convert that 4th-and-4 where McCown underthrew Miles Sanders and Sanders couldn't make the catch ... I think they win that game.

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The 10 (or so) Greatest Eagles Plays of the Decade

The 10 (or so) Greatest Eagles Plays of the Decade

The decade of the 2000s for the Eagles featured four playoff runs, a Super Bowl championship, the 10th-best record in the NFL and three NFC East titles (so far). So it’s been a good decade for the Eagles. They ran 10,660 offensive plays (6,217 passes, 4,443 runs), punted 715 times, attempted 317 field goals, returned 340 punts and onside kicked 16 times. What were the 10 (or so) best plays of the decade? We found them!

1. Philly Special
Feb. 4, 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Eagles 41, Patriots 33

An undrafted rookie running back flips the ball to an undrafted backup tight end who lobs it into the end zone to the backup quarterback for a Super Bowl touchdown just before halftime. Doesn’t get any better than that. There have been other unforgettable plays in Eagles history – 4th and 26, Chuck Bednarik stopping Jim Taylor on the final play of the 1960 NFL Championship Game, Randall Cunningham throwing a TD pass to Jimmie Giles after getting flattened by Carl Banks – but the Philly Special stands alone.

2. Graham Brady strip sack
Feb. 4, 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Eagles 41, Patriots 33

Tom Brady dropped back 50 times in the Super Bowl and was sacked once. But what a sack. Brandon Graham, playing with an ankle injury that required surgery, strip-sacked Brady at the Partriots’ 33-yard-line with 2:16 to go. Derek Barnett recovered, and four plays later Jake Elliott’s field goal gave the Eagles an eight-point lead. One Hail Mary scare later the Eagles were champions.

3. DeSean game-winning punt return TD as time expired
Dec. 19, 2010, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Eagles 38, Giants 31

The Eagles had already rallied to tie the game at 31 after trailing 31-10 six minutes into the fourth quarter. With 14 seconds left the Eagles forced the Giants to punt from their own 29-yard-line. DeSean Jackson muffed Matt Dodge’s punt at the 35, ran back and scooped the ball back up, then ran 65 yards through traffic, jig-jagging along the 1-yard-line as the clock ran down to 0:00 before eventually making his way into the end zone as the game ended. It remains the greatest 4th-quarter comeback in franchise history.

4. Zach Ertz Super Bowl game-winner
Feb. 4, 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Eagles 41, Patriots 33

Back to the Super Bowl. Patriots up 33-32 with 9:22 left. Eagles take over at their own 25. They face a 4th-and-1 near midfield and convert it on a short Foles-to-Ertz pass, then, with 2:25 left on 3rd-and-7 from the 11, Foles connects again with Ertz for the game-winner. Not until a booth review confirmed the touchdown did the Eagles officially have the lead for good. It was the latest game-winning 3rd-down TD pass in Super Bowl history.

5. Corey Clement miracle TD
Feb. 4, 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Eagles 41, Patriots 33

Four Super Bowl plays? Yup. Could have picked more! Like the Ertz TD Clement’s miracle touchdown catch in the back of the end zone was challenged by a booth review and upheld. Clement, a rookie running back, beat double coverage and caught Foles’ perfect pass in the extreme rear of the end zone. It remains the longest TD catch ever by a rookie running back in a Super Bowl.

6. Shady 57-yard go-ahead TD in 4Q for lead in snow vs. Lions
Dec. 8, 2013, Lincoln Financial Field
Eagles 34, Lions 20

The Eagles trailed the Lions 20-14 early in the fourth quarter and were having all kinds of trouble moving the ball in the snow that fell all day at the Linc. Then, on a 1st-and-10 from the Eagles’ 43, LeSean McCoy blasted behind left tackle and trampled 57 yards through the snow for the go-ahead touchdown on the way to a 34-20 win. McCoy has more 4th-quarter rushing touchdowns of 40 yards or more than anybody in NFL history (8) and none were more fun to watch than that one.

7. Vick to DeSean, 88 yard TD, first play of game
Nov. 15, 2010, FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Eagles 59, Redskins 28

The Redskins had beaten the Eagles six weeks earlier at the Linc despite a poor performance from Donovan McNabb. That didn’t stop McNabb from cackling after the game about how the Eagles had made a mistake trading him. In the rematch, it only took 18 seconds for the Eagles to take a 7-0 lead on Michael Vick’s spectacular 88-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson. The Eagles were up 28-0 before the first quarter was over. That remains the longest TD pass on the first play of a game in the last 25 years.

8. Jake Elliott 61-yard game-winning FG vs. Giants
Sept. 24, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field
Eagles 27, Giants 24

It was early in the Super Bowl season, and the Eagles were 1-1 and coming off a loss in Kansas City when they found themselves tied with the Giants and on their own 38-yard-line with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz fired a 19-yard strike to Alshon Jeffery, setting up Jake Elliott for a 61-yard field goal attempt with one second on the clock. Elliott crushed the kick, the longest in Eagles history, 3rd-longest walkoff FG in history and longest ever by an NFL rookie.

9. Patrick Robinson pick-6 in 2017 NFC Championship Game
Jan. 21, 2018, Lincoln Financial Field
Eagles 38, Vikings 7

The Eagles desperately needed a big play to turn the momentum in their favor in the 2017 NFC Championship Game, and they got it from slot corner Patrick Robinson. The Vikings took a quick 7-0 lead and were driving again when Case Keenum dropped back to pass, Chris Long tipped his arm and Robinson stepped in front of his errant pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. By halftime the Eagles were up 24-7 on their way to a historic 38-7 win that propelled them to the Super Bowl.

10. Carson 4th-down TD pass to Alshon vs. Rams after ACL
Dec. 10, 2017, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
Eagles 43, Rams 35

The Eagles trailed the Rams 28-24 in the third quarter but had a 1st-and-goal on the Rams’ 2-yard-line. Carson Wentz scrambled for the go-ahead touchdown, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty on Lane Johnson. That’s when we all noticed Wentz limping. But he stayed in the game and after two Corey Clement runs got the Eagles back to the 2-yard-line, Wentz threw a TD pass to Alshon Jeffery on a 4th-and-goal. Turns out he had suffered a knee injury, and his season was over. But not before he threw a huge 4th-down touchdown in a pivotal game over an 11-win team on the road with a torn ACL.

11. Nick Foles to Golden Tate in Chicago
Jan. 6, 2019, Soldier Field, Chicago
Eagles 16, Bears 15

On Sunday, Golden Tate will be trying to keep the Eagles out of the playoffs. Last year, he helped the Eagles advance in the playoffs. Tate didn’t do much after he joined the Eagles in the middle of the season, but with the Eagles trailing the Bears 15-10 and facing a 4th-and-2 with a minute left in the Eagles-Bears wild-card game, Tate caught a 2-yard TD pass from Nick Foles. It was the go-ahead score, and it turned out to be the game-winning score when Cody Parkey double-doinked his 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

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Eagles should get DeSean Jackson back, if they can win next 2 games

Eagles should get DeSean Jackson back, if they can win next 2 games

Will we see DeSean Jackson play football again this year?

It’s possible.

If the Eagles can get past the Giants Sunday and then win their home wild-card round playoff game at the Linc, they should get Jackson back for a conference semifinal round playoff game the weekend of Jan. 11-12.

Jackson popped in on John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia and all-time great Eagle Mike Quick, the team’s radio color commentator, during Eagles GameDay Final Sunday evening, and Clark reported that Jackson will be ready to play in a possible conference semifinal playoff game, which would be about two months after he underwent a core muscle surgery.  

Players on Injured Reserve must miss eight games before they’re eligible to return. The Eagles placed Jackson on IR on Nov . 5, and he missed the Eagles' last six games. The Giants game Sunday will be his seventh, and the potential wild-card game would be his eighth. That would allow the Eagles to activate him in time for the conference semifinals.

Jackson had two 50-yard touchdown catches in the Eagles’ season opener against the Redskins, and those remain the only pass plays of 50 yards or more the Eagles have hit on this year.

The Eagles have also lost Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery to injuries this year, and they released Mack Hollins.

For the first time in franchise history, the Eagles will finish a season without a receiver with 500 yards.

He suffered an abdominal injury in the opening minutes of the Eagles’ Week 2 game in Atlanta and elected not to have surgery. He returned for the Bears game in Week 9 but after a five-yard reception he left the game after aggravating the injury and suffering a complete tear of the abdominal muscle.

The Eagles issued a statement the next day saying Jackson had consulted a specialist, who recommended surgery. Noted sports hernia specialist William Meyers performed procedure place on Nov. 5.

Jackson is in his first season back with the Eagles after spending the 2008 through 2013 seasons here and making three Pro Bowls. 

He has 365 catches for 6,276 yards and 34 touchdown catches as an Eagle. He trails only Harold Carmichael, Pete Retzlaff and Quick in Eagles history in receiving yards.

Including his years with the Redskins and Buccaneers, Jackson has 598 catches for 10,420 yards and 55 touchdowns. 

He ranks 41st in NFL history in receiving yards and 10th with 17.4 yards per catch.

Including returns and running plays, Jackson has 31 career touchdowns of 50 yards or more, second-most in NFL history behind only Jerry Rice’s 36. Jackson’s 24 TDs of 60 yards or more are most ever.

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