Down Goes Dallas

Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 464 Comments »

The Eagles wrapped up the 2016 season with a 27-13 win over the Cowboys. The Eagles wrapped up the game with a late TD run by rookie Terrell Watson and that put a smile on my face.

This has been a frustrating season. Finishing with a 2-game winning streak and a win over Dallas is a good way to end on a high note. The Watson TD was sweet because this was his first NFL game, his family was in attendance and he’s got such a compelling background story. That TD will mean something to Watson, his friends and his family.

People will point out that Dallas was missing some starters and used 3 QBs. That’s absolutely true. But don’t overlook the fact the Eagles had UDFA skill players all over the place. Beyond that, there were 12 first or second year players getting regular snaps in the game. I don’t think the Eagles need to apologize at all for winning that game.

Jordan Hicks was terrific, coming up with a pair of INTs (courtesy of Mark Sanchez). He also had 5 solo tackles. Brandon Graham did not have a sack, but he was disruptive all game long. He did have 2 TFLs. Nolan Carroll is the one defender who struggled. He was hit with a couple of PI’s and gave up the lone TD of the game. Not a great way to close out a season where you are looking for a new contract.

It was fun to watch Byron Marshall (10-42) and Watson (9-28-1) run the ball. Marshall has come a long way since the first couple of carries in the Ravens game. He looked so lost on those. Now he runs with confidence. He’s proven to be stronger and more physical than I anticipated. Marshall also has a good burst. Watson showed his physicality as he ran over tacklers a couple of times. He has good speed for a big man. Marshall could be part of long range plans. Watson is more of a developmental player.

The biggest takeaway from the game is that Carson Wentz played pretty well and came away healthy. He started the game well, went into a lull and then finished pretty strong. He was 27-43-245 with a pair of TDs and no turnovers. Wentz didn’t have Jordan Matthews to throw to and then Nelson Agholor got hurt early on. That meant a ton of work for Zach Ertz, who had a huge day. Ertz was 13-139 with 2 TDs. He actually did a good job of adding RAC yards as well. It will be interesting to see how Wentz plays when he has skill players he can rely on every week.

There is a lot more to the 2-8 stretch than just Johnson’s absence, but you cannot ignore the fact he makes this team better.

We’ll quickly shift the conversation from this game to the offseason.

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Halftime – PHI 10, DAL 10

Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 157 Comments »

Weird game because Dallas is has already used all 3 of their QBs. And because the 2016 Eagles are just a very weird team.

What have we learned?

  • Jordan Hicks is good.
  • Carson Wentz is talented, but very inconsistent.
  • Mark Sanchez is awful.
  • The Eagles need WRs in a big way.
  • Nolan Carroll is not an elite shutdown corner.

That’s about it.

Can’t wait for the 2nd half.

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Gameday – The Boys Are Back in Town

Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 128 Comments »

I hate Dallas. You hate Dallas. Every respectable living creature on the planet hates Dallas.

Losing to them is a miserable experience. Losing to them at home is even worse. The Eagles have not beaten Dallas at The Linc since 2011. That’s crazy and depressing at the same time. The Eagles have been a good home team this year, going 5-2. The Eagles have played outstanding defense at home.

Let’s hope that trend continues today. I don’t care that this game doesn’t affect the standings. I want to beat the Boys and end this annoying home losing streak to them. Let’s get 2017 off to a good start.

The biggest surprise is Kendricks. If Dallas goes out of a standard set, that will mean reps at LB for Najee Goode. He had a very good preseason, but hasn’t played much LB, if any, this year.

Keep Carson Wentz healthy beyond all else. We want him focusing on his game in the offseason and not rehab or some surgery, even a minor one.

I am happy about this.

Seumalo has shown real talent and potential. The more experience he gets, the better.

Win or lose, give us a fun game. This hasn’t been a great year to be sure, but let’s hope the finale is fun and sends us off with a smile on our face. This is the final Eagles football for the next 7 months.

Go Eagles.

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Season Finale Eve

Posted: December 31st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 29 Comments »

The 2016 season is over on Sunday. We get to see Dallas come to town. The game doesn’t mean anything in the standings, but you always want to beat Dallas. You never want to see a smile on Jerry Jones face.

I wrote a piece for PE.com on the game, but also about how the Eagles can learn from Dallas. A year ago they were a 4-12 team that finished 31st in the league in scoring points. This year they are going to win at least 13 games and are 4th in points and yards. What a difference a year makes. The Eagles can learn from Dallas and find themselves greatly improved next year.

It sounds like the Eagles will be without WR Jordan Matthews on Sunday. That will make things more difficult for Carson Wentz, but it gives Paul Turner another chance to show what he can do.

*****

Not much sympathy for Chip in Philly.

I’m not on the anti-Chip bandwagon. He was a great coach at New Hampshire and at Oregon. He did some impressive things with the Eagles. Chip is a very flawed coach, but he’s had a significant impact on the game of football and I hope he finds a spot where he can get back to being fun to follow.

*****

Happy New Year!!!

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New RB

Posted: December 30th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Ryan Mathews is out. So is Wendell Smallwood. And Kenjon Barner. And even Darnell Autry and Eric McCoo. Les Bowen turned down the Eagles offer to suit up and play RB so they turned to practice squad player Terrell Watson. He’s now on the roster and will be active on Sunday.

Watson has been here long enough to know the playbook…exists. He doesn’t know a whole lot more than that. Doug Pedreson said the plan is to only use Watson in an emergency situation.

Darren Sproles and Byron Marshall will be the workhorse RBs. Pederson specifically said the team wants to get an extended look at Marshall. With the Eagles having no specific goal to play for and Dallas already thinking about the playoffs, this is a game both teams will want to get over as fast as possible. Neither team wants injuries, Dallas for the postseason and the Eagles for the offseason.

If the Eagles somehow get a big lead, it would be cool to see Watson play. He seems like a terrific kid and it would be fun to watch a 240-pound RB in this offense. Watson has good size and speed. He’s powerful. The issue that he has is that he’s stiff. He’s not going to make many dynamic cuts and he’s not going to make defenders miss in space. I also have questions on his vision, but haven’t seen enough of him to know for sure if that’s an issue or not.

PE.com has a piece on him. Watson has an amazing background story.

Watson was 25-130 for 5.2 ypc for the Bengals in the 2015 preseason. He had some impressive runs, including this one. He wasn’t as good this year behind the Browns mediocre OL and was eventually let go. He went to Denver and then found his way to Philly.

At his best, Watson is a role player. We’ll see if he gets on the field Sunday.

*****

If you are watching the Orange Bowl, you have to be thinking at least a little bit about how good a fit Florida State RB would be in the Eagles offense. He is a big play machine, generating a ton of 20-yard runs in his career. Cook has some character issues, but is a 1st round talent. The Eagles gave serious consideration to Ezekiel Elliott last year before focusing elsewhere. I don’t know that the team will invest a 1st round pick on a RB this year, but this isn’t the Andy Reid era where it is not even up for discussion.

*****

Interesting piece here on Darren Sproles.

His hope is to remain in Philadelphia for the swan song — he has grown close to many of his teammates and is fond of the coaching staff — but noted that whether he’s back in an Eagles uniform next season is out of his hands.

“That’s not up to me. That’s up to the people upstairs. I’ve got nothing to do with that,” Sproles said. “But that’s the plan.”

Sproles is scheduled to make a base salary of $4 million next season. There is certainly an argument to be made for why that is a worthwhile investment. For one, he remains productive. His 406 rushing yards (4.8 ypc) is the second-highest total of his career. He has an additional 423 receiving yards on the season, has found the end zone four times in all and remains a threat in the return game.

Second, the running back cupboard might be pretty bare without him. Ryan Mathews suffered a neck injury in Week 16 against the New York Giants, further clouding his future with the team. Little proven depth lies beyond that.

Sproles responded “yeah” when asked if he would return to the NFL for one final season whether the Eagles decide to keep him or not.

“[My family] wanted me to [retire] this year. I was like, ‘Nah, I can’t. I can’t.’ The thing is, when you’re chasing that ring … you really want to get that ring.”

Great stuff from Tim McManus, as always.

Pederson loves Sproles so I doubt the team lets him go, but business is business and you never know what will happen in the offseason.

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