Jason Witten

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Carson Wentz's remarkable consistency, expectations of Nate Gerry, questions at wideout, a Zach Ertz stat you absolutely won't believe and the rarity of Eagles Hall of Fame teammates.

Roob's 10 random Eagles observations don't get much more random than this!

1. Can we take a moment to talk about how insanely consistent Wentz was before he got hurt? Wentz’s lowest passer rating last year was an 83.0 in the loss to the Chiefs. He threw for 333 yards with two TDs and one INT and that was his worst game of the year. Wentz is one of just four quarterbacks in NFL history to open a season with a rating of 83 or higher in every game through the first 13 games of a season. Which of course is when his season ended. Including the last week of 2016, Wentz goes into 2018 on a streak of 14 straight games with a rating of 83 or higher. That’s seventh longest in NFL history, and the longest active streak. Wentz’s 21 career games with a passer rating of 83 or higher are tied for third most in NFL history by any QB after two seasons, behind only Dan Marino (23) and Russell Wilson (23). And he missed the last three games of the season. What a talent.

2. I’m curious to see Gerry this summer. With Mychal Kendricks off to the Browns and Paul Worrilow out for the season, there are roster spots to be won and playing time to be earned behind Nigel Bradham (out for the opener) and injury-plagued Jordan Hicks. After starting his rookie season on the practice squad, Gerry got an October promotion onto the 53 and got into 10 games and all three playoff games, almost all of it on special teams. He looked bigger and stronger in spring practices as he continues to transition from safety to linebacker. With a good summer, he can definitely find himself in the mix.

3. Ertz had nine third-down catches for first down in the 2017 playoffs. Jason Witten had eight playoff third-down catches for first down in his 15-year career.

4. And Ertz’s nine third-down catches in last year's postseason are the most by any tight end in a single postseason — and second most by any player — in the last 30 years.

5. The Eagles converted 61 percent of their third downs during the 2017 postseason, which is insane. That’s the fourth highest in NFL history by any team in a single postseason (among teams playing at least two playoff games). The Broncos converted 75 percent in 1997, the Rams 63 percent in 2004 and the Colts 62 percent in 1995.  

6. You thought Vaughn Hebron was fast? His daughter, Sanaa, won the AAU national title for the 400-meter dash this weekend in 55.31. That would have placed her fourth in the Big East championships this year. She’s 13 years old. Vaughn’s sons, competing in the 17-18 age group, are no slouches, either. Savion ran 10.78 and 21.68 for the 100 and 200, and Savaughn ran a 2:00 split on the Trenton Track club’s 3,200-meter relay team. So Vaughn right now is at best the fourth-fastest person in his own family. But he does have a couple Super Bowl rings.

7. So many questions at wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Will Mike Wallace slow down at 32? Can Mack Hollins make a big jump in Year 2? Will Shelton Gibson show enough in camp to work his way into the roster mix? Can Markus Wheaton regain the form that made him so dangerous with the Steelers in 2014 and 2015? Can speedy Bryce Treggs make any sort of impact in his third year? Potentially, an exceptional group.

8. Nick Foles is the third-youngest active quarterback in the NFL with at least three career playoff wins. Foles turns exactly 29 years, six months on Thursday. Cam Newton (29, 68 days) and Andrew Luck (who turns 29 in September) also have three postseason wins.

9. Interesting that during 2004 and part of 2005 the Eagles had two future Hall of Famers, Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens. What was the last Eagles team before 2004 with two Hall of Famers? It was actually 1997, when Dawkins and Richard Dent were briefly teammates. Before that, it was 1987 through 1989, with Reggie White and Cris Carter. Before that, you have to go back to 1968, with Bob Brown and Mike Ditka. So the 14 games that Dawkins and Dent played together during an otherwise forgotten 1997 season are the only Eagles games in the last 50 years where two future Hall of Famers played alongside each other on the same side of the ball.

10. Dawkins didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fourth season and didn’t make All-Pro until his sixth. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding that “so-and-so can't play” two weeks into his rookie training camp.

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More on the Eagles

Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

For a long time, Zach Ertz has always said that he’s emulated future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Ertz loved the way he played and the way he handled himself on and off the field. 

Turns out it’s mutual. 

Because after Ertz went on social media to say goodbye to Witten after the longtime Dallas Cowboy retired recently, Witten returned the favor and praised Ertz. 

That’s pretty crazy. Witten played 15 years, a total of 247 games including the playoffs. And, according to him, the only other person to ever leave the field with his jersey is Ertz. It's become commonplace for players in the league to trade jerseys after games. During an NFL season, a peek into someone's locker will reveal a few jerseys of different colors. Witten's was probably be in demand, but Ertz is the only player to ever get one. 

It’s clear that Ertz gained Witten’s respect and Witten has probably heard the praise from Ertz before. He heard it again when Ertz tweeted earlier in May. 

“First off, I want to say congratulations to someone that had a profound impact on my career, by just being the man he is!” Ertz wrote. “At 17 years old when I was trying to figure out what a tight end meant and what they embodies I started following the tight end for the Cowboys. Everything he did on the field and off, I tried to emulate.” 

Oddly enough, this season Ertz made his first Pro Bowl, but couldn’t go because the Eagles were in the Super Bowl. Guess who took his place? Yup, Witten. 

Earlier this spring, Ertz said it’s strange to think that other tight ends are now growing up and trying to emulate him. He’s just trying to set as good an example as Witten did. 

Jason Witten put up ridiculous numbers against Eagles in his career

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AP Images

Jason Witten put up ridiculous numbers against Eagles in his career

Updated: May 3, 2:51 p.m.

Nobody has ever done against the Eagles what Jason Witten has done.

Witten’s retirment to head into the broadcast booth after 15 years with the Cowboys means the end of the line for the person who had more catches and receiving yards against the Eagles than anybody in NFL history.

Witten caught 152 passes for 1,642 yards in 29 career regular-season games against the Eagles.

Nobody is close to those numbers.

The only other players with 100 receptions in their career against the Eagles are a couple Redskins. Hall of Famer Art Monk had 101 catches in the 1980s and early 1990s (before finishing his career with the Eagles), and flanker Bobby Mitchell had 100 in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Mitchell (1,311) and Monk (1,299) also rank second and third in yards vs. the Eagles, followed by Charley Taylor (1,274) and Gary Clark (1,210).

Among tight ends, nobody is close to Witten when it comes to piling up numbers against the Eagles.

Hall of Famer Jackie Smith is the No. 2 tight end all-time against the Eagles in terms of yards. Smith, who played against the Eagles twice a year his entire career when the Cards were in the NFC East, had 62 catches for 900 yards against the Eagles. Bob Tucker is No. 2 in catches with 64 for 834 yards.

Then you have to go to Mark Bavaro, with 41-for-592. Bavaro, like Monk, finished his career with the Eagles in the mid-1990s.

Witten’s 1,642 yards against the Eagles are actually the most yards by any tight end in NFL history against any team. Second are his 1,568 yards against the Giants and then Tony Gonzalez’s 1,515 yards against the Raiders.

Witten’s 152 catches against the Eagles are the seventh-most catches in NFL history by any player against any team and the second-most by a tight end. Witten had 154 catches vs. the Giants.

Larry Fitzgerald has the most catches by any player against a specific team – 176 vs. the Rams. Jerry Rice is next with 175 against the Falcons.

Rice is atop the list of most yards by a player vs. a specific team with 2,731 against the Falcons and 2,551 against the Rams.

Witten had five 100-yard games against the Eagles, most ever. Dez Bryant, Plaxico Burress, Gary Clark, Bobby Hayes, Bobby Mitchell and Lance Rentzel are next with four.

His 16 games with at least six receptions against the Eagles are twice as many as any other player in history. Charley Taylor had eight, and Pierre Garcon, Bobby Mitchell and mari Toomer had seven.

Witten was 3-for-35 in his first game against the Eagles, at the Linc in 2003. He was 2-for-17 in his last game against the Eagles, at the Linc on the final day of the 2017 regular season.

In his final four games against the Eagles, Witten had only six catches for 50 yards.

In his only postseason appearance against the Eagles, Witten caught four passes for 27 yards in a 2009 wild-card game – the last game Donovan McNabb ever started for the Eagles.

The only players to play more games against the Eagles are Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, who played 38, and long-time Cards defensive lineman Dave Butz, who played in 31.

The stats in this story are from Pro Football Reference.