A Year Ago

Posted: June 18th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 43 Comments »

There is a lot of optimism with the Eagles right now. Carson Wentz just had his two best practices of the spring. The WRs have played well and look to be an incredibly improved unit. The defense has looked outstanding. Rookies Rasul Douglas and Derek Barnett might challenge for starting roles. And Donnie Jones is still around to carry the team on his back if needed.

Is this bogus hype?

That’s a fair question to ask. All 32 teams are feeling good right now. Players are running around in shorts and everyone looks fast. Teams are healthy and the players are happy. They aren’t worn down by long practices in the middle of summer. This is the time for optimism. Everyone sees the glass as half full right now.

I went back and re-read some posts from last June to offer perspective. Things were not ideal.

  • Carson Wentz, the #3 QB, was up and down. We were mainly excited that he threw deep more often than Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel.
  • Nelson Agholor was struggling. Drops were an issue already.
  • Reuben Randle, T.J. Graham and Chris Givens were a mess.
  • There was hope that Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll could be solid starters. Oops.
  • Eric Rowe was really struggling.
  • Josh Huff, like the rest of the receivers, was disappointing.
  • There was a buzz that TE Chris Pantale and LB Quentin Gause would make the roster. Neither did.
  • Taylor Hart was a DT.
  • Myke Tavarres potential existed. Sort of.
  • DGB was underachieving for a different team.

I’m not saying the team was a trainwreck last spring. There were some highlights. But there were also some real issues.

The 2017 Eagles are far from perfect, but do feel significantly improved, in terms of talent and performance. I would say Mike Groh has upgraded the coaching staff as well, but we need some more time before we know that for sure.

I think it is okay to feel good about this team right now.

*****

Jimmy Bama has listed five players who impressed him this spring.

Donnel Pumphrey

Spring practices in helmets and shorts are set up perfectly for players like Pumphrey, who is a small but shifty, elusive player. In spring practices, Pumphrey got more reps than any other back on the roster, and the Eagles moved him all around the formation. It seems pretty clear that they want to get him involved in the offense in a dynamic role.

Additionally, Pumphrey looked comfortable fielding kicks and punts. That’s not something he did much of in college games, since he essentially was San Diego State’s offense, and they didn’t want to risk getting him injured on special teams. However, it is something he worked on in practice every day at SDSU, which is already serving him well at the pro level.

This young man has really grown on me. The Eagles list him as a RB, but he really should be called ATH. Pumphrey is an athletic playmaker. They expect him to be a weapon. At this point, I’m not sure the comparisons to Darren Sproles make sense. Pumphrey is going to move around and do a lot of different things. He won’t get a ton of touches, but he can offer impact.

_


  • ColorSgt

    Awesome post Tommy. Great to look back at last year for reference/perspective.

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  • SteveH

    I feel good going into this season. Last year was a total mystery and I think most of us had resigned ourselves to a sort of lost season while we waited for Wentz to mature on the bench. Guess it goes to show that anything can happen, so maybe there will be some big surprises in store for us this year too.

    • Dave

      I feel similar to how I felt in 2000 when Donny started his 2nd season.

      I have confidence in the QB and I’m feeling pretty confident the coaches and front office will put him in a position to succeed.

      It’s a good time to be an Eagles fan and I welcome all future bandwagon fans.

    • CrackSammich

      I think you’re accurate to preseason feelings. Then we went 4-0 to start and people let themselves feel happy, which led to the inevitable Philadelphian cynicism taking over once the season we expected came to be.

  • A_T_G

    “Myke Tavarres potential existed. Sort of.”

    I had forgotten about last year’s fringe player who I doomed to failure by rooting for his success. I wonder who will get the kiss of death this year.

    • Tumtum

      You like bar fly untalented receivers? Would love to see a couple get the kiss of death.

  • Corry

    I’m optimistic about the season. Which means we’ll have all the injuries ever and finish at 1-15.

    • P_P_K

      I’m not the first to say it, but 2-14 will be a success as long as the two wins are over the Cowboys.

      • RogerPodacter

        bonus if either of those wins comes late in the season and keeps them from the playoffs!

        • P_P_K

          Last game of the regular season, 12/31, at home. NFL drama at its best.

    • SteveH

      I had a dream a couple nights ago that Blount pulled a hammy in our first game. Weird ass dream.

  • Gary Barnes

    I think it is fine to feel good now, but this team does have issues and those issues are not going away until they are effectively addressed by Roseman & Co.

    So, optimism is perfectly reasonable, but making sure to hold them accountable and staying realistic is as well. There is no one way to be a good Eagles fan.

  • SteveH

    Wow, sounds like Fultz to Sixers is happening. So now who do they take at #5?

    • FairOaks

      Last I saw we only have protection if its #1 overall. Boston gets protection if it falls out of the top 5, which is when they get the sac pick instead. Not sure it’s a fleecing — they only drop two spots in a deep draft. Especially if they decided they were not going to draft fultz anyways — they may well prefer trade chips to get an established veteran. This may let them keep the nets pick next year and still make a trade. There may also be salary cap complications for them — less sure on that but they have a player or two they want to re sign.

      Hopefully it’s just a deal which made sense for both sides. Ainge often gets much the better of trades and at least this isn’t that. I’m guessing Boston didn’t have many suitors if they wanted to trade down just a little which may have meant Ainge did not have a ton of leverage.

  • scratcherk

    Happy father’s day fellas!

    • daveH

      Happy Dads Day Dudes

  • Will Defence Win Championship

    Feel really good about changes to the D=Line, WR’s, RB’s positions…not crazy about the CB’s position but we’ll see time will tell. Overall if they keep working hard and stay healthy this team should be really really good…at least play offs, SB maybe but the Defense still needs tweaking to get there I think.

    • Ankerstjernen

      …still a lot of unknowns out there. Torrey Smith, Curry, Barnett, Jernigan, Mills, Douglas and Blount are all pretty much unknowns that may or may not be succesful here – and who really has to be good for us to even get into position for the playoffs. I think they might be. But, would you be very surprised if none of them had a good year?

  • Tumtum

    Can we definitively say that this team is more talented than any other team in the NFC East? Better coached?

    • Crus57

      Even if we could say that, none of it will matter it we’re not also healthier than our rivals.

    • Insomniac

      We’re better than the Redskins.

      • DJH

        Sure, but we need to show it by beating them. They’ve owned us the past couple years. We’ll have an opportunity to send a message week one!

      • Tumtum

        I would like to think so too. I would like to think that we are the best team in the division. I can’t say with any certainty that we are better than the Redskins. We haven’t shown it lately.

        • Insomniac

          It hasn’t shown recently (I blame Chip Kelly) in results but the games last year ended up being pretty close.

    • daveH

      Listened to Giants radio a week ago..they feel their biggest weakness is O Line. .and perhsps coaching

    • D3FB

      No but I also don’t think they’re definitively worse either.

      • Tumtum

        Right, and I wasn’t trying to imply that either. Just not sure anyone should be counting eggs before they are hatched.

        • D3FB

          I don’t think anyone is. I think there’s a general sense of optimism due to overall improvement headed into this year. I’d say most people expect playoffs but won’t be shocked if we just miss out.

          • Tumtum

            I think I am letting my disappointment in last year’s team cloud my judgment a little, to be honest. I just feel like I have no clue what this team is really gonna do. Could they sweep the division, well no, win it? Sure. Get swept? Heck yes. My thermometer feels broken. I dunno.

          • D3FB

            I think we’re roughly where the Giants were last year. 7 wins wouldn’t surprise me but neither would being an uninspiring 11 win team.

    • eagleyankfan

      definitive in June? lmfao……

      • Tumtum

        I guess you missed the point.

        • eagleyankfan

          Guess so..blanket comments tend to lose people…

  • CrackSammich

    Why are the #Jets considering Josh McCown?“Even when you go to kindergarten, someone has to be the teacher.” – Todd Bowles— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) June 13, 2017

  • kajomo

    I agree that we are a better team than last year, but I think our fan base has a lot of false optimism right now.

    1) We have a brutal schedule
    2) 2nd year QB.
    3) no dominant unit. A dominant unit can mask a lot of weaknesses (Dallas OL, Denver defense masked poor WB play 2 years ago, Aaron Rodgers, Falcons offense, etc)
    4) Glaring weakness at CB

    If you are someone who can enjoy the ride, be excited. This is going to be a fun season. This is a team in the upswing. We get to see Carson and the team grow and develop.

    If you expectation is playoffs or bust, I think you are in for some serious disappointment. We will be a much better team without a significant improvement in our W/L record.

    • Michael Folk

      Agree, I think we have a very solid team that will beat lesser teams almost always but it will be close (most of the time) against good or similar competition/opponents. If we had a good corner (or two) I would feel very good about making the playoffs.

    • Rellihcs

      DL is arguably dominant

      • kajomo

        We will have a good DL, but Im fairly confident we won’t look back at our 2017 DL 15 years from now and be like “that DL was unbelievable.” That is not dominance.

        Add in the fact that our CBs are so bad that we will again see teams employ a quick passing attack to minimize our DL’s effectiveness.

        • FairOaks

          If Barnett turns out well, and significantly improves on Barwin (who was not as good as anticipated in the 4-3), then yes we could be very very good there. Even with Barwin, they were good early before teams figured out how to attack the secondary.

          It’s the CB thing which has me most concerned, for sure.

        • Rellihcs

          We’re clearly talking in unknowns here but I’m not so sure that we won’t be saying that in 5 years.

    • FairOaks

      I think having Lane an entire season last year would have affected the W-L then (in a good way), even given last years’ WRs. And we had a 1st year QB then. I do think our offense will be substantially better than last year.

      The CB thing is still concerning to me. That (plus losing the slot corner) made the secondary bad enough to negate the DL last year, and there’s no guarantee we are even as good as we were last year there. There is hope, certainly (maybe Robinson bounces back and is better than McKelvin, and Douglas is better than Carroll, and Mills/Brooks can play the slot just fine.)

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