Donovan McNabb's Hall of Fame case, some thoughts on Press Taylor and a sensible backup for Carson Wentz.
It's all here in a Super Bowl Sunday edition of Roob's Offseason Random Eagles Observations!
1. I like the idea of Joe Flacco as Carson Wentz’s backup. Flacco is 35 now, six years removed from his last playoff appearance, and his days as a full-time starter are over. But the Audubon High School alum would bring tons of smarts and experience to the quarterback room and still be able to go out and win a game or two if he had to play. I still think the injuries Carson Wentz has suffered are flukey, but the reality is he hasn’t finished a season healthy since 2016, and the Eagles have to approach No. 2 QB as almost a 23rd starter. Nate Sudfeld has been here three years, but what do we really know about him? Can he win games? I don't know. Josh McCown played his heart out in the Seattle game, but he turns 41 this summer and is coming off a serious injury. If the Eagles lose Wentz again they need to be prepared with someone who can give them a realistic chance to win some football games. We all saw two years ago how important that is.
2. I’m not sure why fans are so down on Eagles QB coach Press Taylor. I wonder if some of it is simply a negative association with older brother Zac, who went 2-14 this past season in his first year as Bengals head coach. Has Wentz ever looked unprepared under Taylor? Taylor has been QBs coach for two years, and Eagles quarterbacks during that span — with a ragtag group of wide receivers — have completed 67 percent of their passes, thrown 56 TDs and 19 interceptions and have a composite 96.4 passer rating. I’ve seen no evidence that Taylor isn't very good at his job.
3. Let’s look at Miles Sanders’ last nine games of the season - once he had a full-time role in the rotation. Sanders had just 150 touches during that stretch but netted 877 scrimmage yards. Only 12 running backs in NFL history have had more net yards on 150 touches the last nine weeks of a season. Among them are Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Jim Taylor and LeSean McCoy. If you take Sanders’ last nine weeks and just increase his workload from 17 touches per game to 20 and then project that production over a full season? You’re looking at 1,244 rushing yards, 1,824 scrimmage yards and 70 catches. He is that good.
4. In case you were wondering - and I’m sure you were - Raheem Mostert’s 216 rushing yards in the NFC Championship Game are the most ever by an Eagles practice squad alum. The previous record was 163 by James Allen of the Bears against the Ravens in 1998. Allen spent all of 1997 on the Eagles’ practice squad.
5. Interesting to see Frank Reich hire Mike Groh in Indy. I still think Groh isn’t the worst coach in the world. He did a legit very good job with the Eagles’ receivers in 2017, and for that offense to be ranked No. 12 in the NFL last year with all the injuries was impressive. I don’t question Doug’s decision to part ways with him because Doug obviously saw something missing and feels like the offense will benefit from a new voice (if the Eagles ever get around to hiring one). But this kind of feels like Andy Reid firing Sean McDermott, who didn’t do a terrible job replacing Jim Johnson, but could just never live up to Jim and really needed a change of scenery. Groh similarly couldn’t live up to Reich. And because of that he’s now coaching with him.
6. I think the Super Bowl is going to come down to how well Steve Spagnuolo’s defense can slow down that explosive 49ers rushing attack. Pat Mahomes is playing at such an insane level right now I expect the Chiefs to score somewhere around 31 to 35 points. The 49ers want to win running the ball and controlling the clock, but the Chiefs’ run defense has improved so much. They’re only allowing 93 rushing yards in their last nine games, and the job that unit did on Derrick Henry was impressive. Can a running team match a Pat Mahomes offense TD for TD? The 49ers are going to have to make a significant number of plays in the passing game to keep up with Mahomes. Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressive, but I’m going to go with the best QB on the field, and that’s Mahomes. Chiefs 33, 49ers 26.
7. Nick Foles’ career stats with and without the Eagles are mind-blowing:
With the Eagles: 26-14 W-L, 58 TDs, 23 INTs, 93.2 passer rating
With Rams, Chiefs and Jaguars: 5-11 W-L, 13 TDs, 12 INTs, 76.6 passer rating
8. The four outside receivers the Eagles used in their playoff loss to the Seahawks — Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Shelton Gibson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside — have 27 career catches.
9. If Edgerrin James is a Hall of Famer, then LeSean McCoy is a Hall of Famer.
Edge: 11 years, 12,246 rushing yards, 4.0 average, 15,610 net yards, 433 catches, 91 TDs, 4.5 yards per touch, 4 Pro Bowls, 1 1st-team all-pros
Shady: 11 years, 11,071 rushing yards, 4.5 average, 14,868 net yards, 503 catches, 89 TDs, 5.0 yards per touch, 6 Pro Bowls, 2 1st-team all-pros
10. I never felt Donovan McNabb belonged in the Hall of Fame. I always thought he fell just a little bit short. The eye test just said no. But it’s interesting to note that of the 20 QBs in NFL history who are eligible for the Hall of Fame who made six or more Pro Bowls, McNabb is one of only three who aren’t Hall of Famers. The others are Jack Kemp and John Hadl. So McNabb is the only Hall-eligible QB who’s played since 1975 who’s made six or more Pro Bowls who’s not in the Hall of Fame. He’s also the only eligible QB to win nine playoff games who’s not in the Hall of Fame. He didn’t win a Super Bowl, but neither did Warren Moon, Dan Fouts or Jim Kelly. I still don’t think of Donovan as a Hall of Famer, but when you take the emotion out of the equation maybe you can make a case? Am I looking at his career wrong?
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