An unbelievable Eagles draft stat, my thoughts on Orlando Scandrick, Boston Scott, the one that got away and tons more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles points!
1. We’ll learn a lot about Doug Pederson Sunday in Buffalo. His strength has always been getting his players to navigate their way through adversity, and back-to-back blowout losses and plenty of off-field distractions certainly qualify as adversity. Is his message still getting through? Will his motivational techniques still work on an older team that doesn’t seem as hungry or have as much emotionally invested as the 2017 group? Are his players still listening? I think by 4:30 p.m. Sunday, we’ll have a pretty good answer.
2. One quick word about the Orlando Scandrick deal: The video the Eagles tweeted out can’t make it any clearer that Scandrick is a fraud. He’s 32. His playing career is over. He wants a TV job. And I’m sure he saw Thursday’s appearance as some sort of audition. That video is damning evidence that Scandrick was more interested in making a splash and making a name for himself than providing any sort of thoughtful analysis of what was happening with the Eagles. “That’s exactly why you the captain of this defense, bro,” Scandrick tells Malcolm after he forced a fumble against the Vikings. “The way that you f***ing conduct yourself, first snap to the last.” And two weeks later Malcolm is selfish and not really a leader? Either Scandrick was full of it two weeks ago or he was full of it Thursday. Either way, it calls into question everything he said.
3. This is mind-blowing: The Eagles have trailed by 8 or more points at halftime NINE TIMES since last year. That’s 39 percent of their games. Only the Cards have trailed by at least eight points at halftime more during that span (10 times). Conversely, the Eagles have led by eight points at halftime only four times. They’re a pretty good second-half team. They’ve outscored their opponents by 73 points in the second half since last year started, 6th-best in the league. They’re a dreadful first-half team — minus-60 in the first half the last two years. That points to one thing. They’re just not ready. That’s on Pederson.
4. Fletcher Cox is the only Pro Bowl defensive player the Eagles have drafted since 2006.
4a. I simply can't believe No. 4.
5. Keep an eye on No. 21 in a Bills uniform Sunday. That’s Jordan Poyer, who's developed into one of the better safeties in the league. He’s now in his seventh season and third with the Bills, where he has 10 interceptions since the start of 2017. He’s a smart, tough, physical player on one of the NFL’s best defenses. What’s interesting about Poyer is that he was a 2013 Eagles draft pick. The Eagles took him out of Oregon State in the seventh round, and he initially made the roster. He played 17 snaps on defense and 15 on special teams in three games before the Eagles released him to make roster space for a running back named Matthew Tucker, who was out of the league after two games and five special teams snaps. Poyer? The Browns claimed him on waivers, converted him to safety, and the rest is history. Sometimes it’s not about who you draft but your willingness to be patient and develop players over time. Turns out Poyer was a great draft pick. The Eagles just didn’t know it.
6. The last five running backs to rush for 500 yards in a season for the Eagles are Josh Adams, Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Ryan Matthews and DeMarco Murray. None are currently on a 53-man roster.
7. What if Boston Scott is a better runner than Miles Sanders? Granted it’s been garbage time, but Scott has run the ball well in both the Vikings and Cowboys games. In limited work, he’s 11-for-62 rushing, a 5.6 average. Sanders is at 3.5 in his first seven career games, just 18-for-42 the last three (2.3). It’s a limited sample size, and I definitely haven't given up on Sanders. But Scott, who the Eagles promoted from the practice squad two weeks ago, seems shifty, gets up to full speed quickly and hits the hole hard and decisively. All qualities we're waiting to see consistently from the rookie second-round pick.
8. The Eagles’ NFL-high streak of games without a 100-yard rusher is up to 40 straight games. That’s the Eagles’ longest since a 43-game streak over the 1970 through 1973 seasons.
9. Ted Williams was in the Eagles’ locker room after practice Thursday, which was pretty cool. If you don’t know the name, Williams spent more time on the Eagles’ coaching staff than anybody in history — 20 years. Ray Rhodes brought him in as tight ends coach in 1995 and 1996, and then he coached running backs from 1997 through 2012 under Rhodes and Andy Reid, then he went back to tight ends in 2013 and 2014 under Chip Kelly. What’s really cool is that Williams coached Duce Staley, who succeeded him as running backs coach. Williams and Staley are the only running backs coaches the Eagles have had since 1997!
10. How big is Sunday? How big is the difference between 3-5 and 4-4? Since 1990, when the NFL’s current playoff format was introduced, 32 percent of teams that started out 4-4 have reached the playoffs (57 of 177), according to Pro-Football-Reference’s database. During the same span, only 9 percent of 3-5 teams have reached the playoffs (15 of 170).
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