AFTER weeks of speculation over whether we would, the Philadelphia Eagles have finally signed free agent CB Steve Nelson, formerly of the Steelers and the Chiefs. One of the loudest voices trying to lure him here, was CB Darius Slay. By most peoples calculations (and Slay’s), this should give the Eagles a shutdown duo. Especially with the coming changes to the defensive scheme.
I do however, have a couple of questions. Why were we able sign him? Why only a 1 year, 4M$ deal? Many Eagles fans will say “Shut up! Just take the gift!”, but I’m not wired like that. I crave knowledge. I didn’t see any stories about him being arrested or anything like that. So maybe he’s not a great locker room guy? I dunno.
Nelson is just 28, has been durable, and started a ton. He’s also been moved on from, twice in his career. The two coaches to do so, were Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin, respectively. Those are not coaches known for giving up on players. Especially promising ones.
For some reason though, he’d just been sitting in free agency limbo since March. While a few teams were kicking the tires, it was reported that they (and the Eagles), had reservations about paying him north of 3M$ per year.
Honestly, 3M per year for CB with Nelson’s resume, doesn’t seem that expensive to me. The idea of being able to negate a 20M$ WR with a 3M$ CB, strikes me as a win. What confuses me, is now that the leap has been made, why only one year? Why the lack of commitment? Why are we still not sold on him?
When General Manager Howie Roseman inked Slay last year, it was for 3 years, 50M$, with 26M guaranteed. Slay was 29, had been durable, and started a ton.
Despite Nelson ticking those same boxes, his deal has me wondering why the Eagles didn’t try to lock him down, before he plays his way into a more lucrative deal.
It’s not like there’s going to be an open competition for the spot, because he’ll plenty of opportunity to shine. Nelson and Slay (barring injury), are your starters at CB in 2021. This is the reality. The Eagles aren’t spending 4 mil on a guy, to watch him ride pine.
Rookie CB Zech MacPherson may get to challenge for the spot in 2022, but any fantasies he entertained of winning a starting role in 2021, are officially dead. Still, I’ll be keeping an eye on how Nelson gels with his teammates. Especially with everyone predicting that we’ll have a rough season.
RIGHTS were not trampled. No freedoms were infringed. The NFL simply said that if an outbreak costs the league, it will also cost the players. That was me paraphrasing, but that’s essentially the jist of it. Yet over these last two days, the amount of arguing this has generated has been insane. So here’s my two cents.
The players have every right to choose whether or not they’ll be vaccinated against Covid-19. Over the last few months, the NFL as an organization has made it abundantly clear that they understand the players right to choose. That said, the NFL has also made it clear that in the event of a team-wide outbreak of the virus, games may have to be forfeited.
While no player’s right to choose was in any way infringed, each NFL owner is telling his roster:
And that is THEIR right.
If players choosing not get vaccinated leads to a team-wide outbreak, the players may have to eat not only the loss of those game-checks, but also a game loss, which will affect playoff positioning eventually.
It’s entirely possible that your favorite team could go, let’s say 8 – 9 instead of 10 – 7, due to a two week shutdown for Covid. Now imagine that just one of those forfeits was to a division rival. If your team finished second (again 8 – 9) behind a 9 – 8 division rival, and missed a playoff berth, as a fan you’d be angry. Teammates however, would be at each other’s throats. In some cases literally.
It makes me wonder how many “on the bubble” situations will come down to a vaccinated player being prioritized, over a slightly more talented player, who isn’t vaccinated. I’m of course talking back-ups, not starters. But every unvaccinated player is one who could help generate one or more automatic losses. Imagine losing games without even getting to try. That’s what this is!
This edict from the NFL will not automatically get vaccines into players arms. What it will do is call their commitment to winning into question. Not just by teammates, but when contracts have to be negotiated. When sponsors are looking for a face to endorse their offerings. When votes are cast for Canton.
The NFL recognizes that the players have the freedom to choose. However, they are also recognizing a seldom acknowledged truth about freedom. Like the coin flipped before every game, freedom is on one side and consequence is on the other. Whenever you can only see one side of the coin, it is being rested on, it is being propped up by, the side that you don’t.
I for one, am happy about this. In recent years, far too many Americans have been screaming about freedom, without really giving any thought to the responsibility that comes with wielding it. Perhaps this will help spark some well overdue conversations about it.
LOOK at that! The Bengals have converted their field from grass to mattresses. Not only has it already improved the look of their stadium, but their owner thinks it will extend, or at least not keep shortening, the lifespan of QB Joe Burrow. The team is also asking the league to allow Burrow to wear several pillows duct taped to his helmet. It’s either that or spend the money to protect him.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt increased his sack total for the third straight year in a row. Due to notching 16.5 sacks, he continues to be above criticism. This is despite sporting a missed tackle percentage of over 10 percent, in every season of his career. If only there were some sort of clue about how to fix the defense…
The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and the horses turned back into rats, as the Browns returned to reality and went 3 – 14 this year.
Somewhere out there is a desperate Browns fan, carrying a clear, platform shoe, and searching for Princess Odell.
Ravens K Justin Tucker’s rap/opera album “Come Kick It Wit’ Me” shot to the top of the Italian pop music charts this year. Sighting how he didn’t need this “NFL boll sheed no mo’ ”, Tucker announced his retirement. After which he flipped the double-bird, as he rode away barefoot in a kiddie pool, which was situated in the bed of an El Camino. There was no water in the pool.
Raise your hand if you predicted the Lions going 14 – 3, getting a first round bye, and winning it all.
“It’s better than drinkable water!” was how one fan described the Detroit Lions Super Bowl parade. Thousands of fans came out to celebrate and cheer their team, not long before tens of thousands of muggers descended on both the fans and the players. The car-jacking of a parade float would be the low-point of the day, and perhaps the lowest in all of American history.
After a just barely failing to qualify for a wild card berth, a 9 – 8 Minnesota team is still unsure if they’re a bad team that frequently overachieves, or a good team that chokes at the slightest sign of true relevance.
As Chicago continues their search for a passer, Bears QB Justin Fields was traded to Buffalo for QB Mitch Trubisky. One Chicago football fan said “Eh, it’s good we went an’got a veteran quarterback now, ‘cause Fields played like a rookie. I mean, why din’t he just look at what Tommy Bradley does in Tampa, then come right out and copy exactly what he saw?How hard could dat be, right?? Anyways, Trubisky sounds like a good Polish name. It feels familiar. I like it.”
After another implosion in the second round of the playoffs, QB Aaron Rodgers is continuing to act like he’s doing Packers fans a favor, by allowing them to overpay him millions more than he’s ever truly deserved. Perhaps Green Bay should have double checked for a discount.
After not allowing fans in to SoFi Stadium at all in 2020, the LA Chargers opened their arms to their loyal, fickle, frequently disinterested fan base. In a stadium that seats 70,000, the Chargers drew an average of 28,000 to their games. Somewhere the ghost of Al Davis is laughing so hard, that he’s gasping for air.
Despite being heavily favored by odds-makers, the Raiders Super Bowl loss continues to confound people. Suddenly retired Raider QB Derek Carr, could not be reached for comment as he was out on his yacht. The gold one, not the one made entirely out of stacks of money. His agent Pete Rose also declined comment.
The Chiefs were expected to have a more difficult road, but no one thought they’d miss the playoffs. As a disciplinary measure for yet another violation of team player conduct policy, Andy Reid ate WR Tyreek Hill, prior to the final game of the preseason. When asked if he regretted having eaten the WR, coach Reid responded “Listen, you’d expect athlete meat to be tough, but Tyreek, he was something special. Didn’t even need a marinade. Wait. What was the question?”
The Denver Broncos are trying to decide whether to screw over either another old RB, or another young QB, during this offseason. Either way, it will most certainly cripple the team’s offense next year. Their fans of course, will again feel like they’ve been stabbed directly in the face, when the team spends their top pick on a WR.
The 49ers, who paid QB Jimmy Garoppolo 26M$ to sit and watch rookie QB Trey Lance have an up and down year, will still owe Garoppolo 27M$ next year. Worse yet, they likely have to endure at least one more year with him on the roster, as he won’t waive his no-trade clause. That is, unless he gets an offer he likes, from a team that won’t mind him throwing with his eyes closed. Still, the defense was good enough for the team to post a 10 – 7 record.
Seattle RB Rashaad Penny was surprised to learn that the team is declining to pick up his 5th year option. Penny was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but didn’t get his first start until 2021. In that game, he had one carry for 8 broken tackles, and a 63 yard touchdown. It also resulted in a torn hamstring which ended his season. Tore it right off the bone! When asked whether Penny is “a bust”, GM John Schneider, shrieked, burst into tears, and attempted to answer questions. He however, couldn’t be understood through his high-pitched, racking sobs. Seattle predictably bowed out in the second round of the playoffs.
No matter how much talent Arizona adds, sub .500 is the best God will allow. In other news, QB Kyler Murray married the dancing hula girl on the dash board of J.J. Watt’s car.
It was a beautiful ceremony. When Murray stood on a chair to kiss his bride, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen, according to Stevie Wonder, who was told that he was in attendance.
The Rams added a ton of weapons in the offseason, but neglected to help their offensive line. This led to QB Matt Stafford being lost for the year in Week Two, and also left the run game stuck in neutral since the preseason. Give you one guess what they’ll be taking with their first round pick this year. Oh wait! They won’t have a first rounder this year. Or next year. Dopes.
After partially tearing the meniscus in his right knee in training camp, it was quickly thought by both QB Carson Wentz and the Colts front office, that the smartest thing would be for Carson to just rest, relax and let that tear take 3 to 5 months to heal on its own. While the Eagles paid him 34 million dollars.
Though Wentz played only half the season, taking just under 50% of the snaps, the Colts almost rallied to make the playoffs, going 7 – 1 with Wentz starting. Pretty smart trade. Especially since Wentz didn’t count against the Colts 2021 salary cap.
On a roster that features RB’s David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Phillip Lindsay, you probably would never guess who led the team in rushing yards. It was Texans QB Tyrod Taylor, who spent the season running for his goddamned life. In the hopes of not suffering another punctured lung, Taylor racked up a career best 836 yards. Meanwhile, R. Kelly is alleging that QB Deshaun Watson inappropriately… (No. I’m going to draw a line here. Gotta preserve a little class.)
WE WILL SUCK YOUR DICK!!!! That’s the Jaguars latest promotion to get people to come to the stadium. Lord knows no one wants to watch them play football. Look at all the upgrades! Super-fast WiFi, an impressive sound system, they put in a party deck, a pool… They’ve done everything they can to avoid improving the team. Now the team has executives slobbing knobs. And they’re all so bad at it! C’mon folks! More spit, less teeth. This is basic stuff!
The Titans were the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, until QB Ryan Tannehill tore his Achilles in Week One, and QB DeShone Kizer “Soze” stepped in and killed the whole team. Kizer continued the 0 – 15 magic that he had in Cleveland, going 0 – 7 before being benched for QB Logan Woodside… who then promptly tore his ACL, meaning that Kizer would come back out, and finish the season. Kizer went 0 – 15 (again), even though he also lost the two games started by other QB’s.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have increased their reward for information about head coach Bruce Arian’s whereabouts. Police are looking at DT Ndamukong Suh as a person of interest because, well… Because he’s fucking Ndamukong Suh! I mean come on!
With the retirement of QB Drew Brees last year, the Saints 6 – 11 season shows that they have gone back to being the hapless, talent squandering, afterthoughts that have historically always been. Fans are taking it well, saying that their relevance was nice while it lasted.
The Falcons 5 – 12 record was predicted immediately after they traded WR Julio Jones to Tennessee last year. For a team with no defense, keeping Jones to go with their other weapons, would have made outscoring opponents easy. But Atlanta said “Fuck that!” and thew their easy button out of a tenth floor window. Nowwww look at them. Just look. SMDH.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey spent this season being 25 going on 35. Bouncing back from an injury, while being the focal point of an offense, with a QB trying to re-hab himself from having been a Jet, did no favors for McCaffrey. His 663 yards in 10 starts, will likely have the Panthers spending yet another late round draft pick on a RB, who is ill-suited to ever being a starter. Or a contributor. These guys just can’t learn.
The NFL finally made good on its threat to banish the Jets, who can no longer be referred to, as a “professional” football team. As the NCAA has not yet agreed to take them, the Jets have no official league designation yet. The CFL hasn’t offered a verbal or written response as to whether the Jets can seek asylum in Canada. However, the CFL’s pursed lips and side-eye, have offered a very strong hint about where they stand on the issue.
Bill Belichick has coached his last game for the Patriots. He is expected to take the job in Tampa Bay, after coach Bruce Arians suddenly went missing. QB Tom Brady is telling Congress that they cannot search his house.
Buffalo WR and anti-vaxxer Cole Beasley is recovering from the Delta variant of Covid-19. Luckily his access to the best medical treatment that NFL money can buy, put the odds for a full recovery, heavily in his favor. His wife Krystin however, was not an NFL employee. Get vaccinated.
After having changed his name from Jomal Wiltz to Jamal Perry in 2020, the IRS caught up with the Dolphins CB anyway. This goes to show, if you’re going to change your name, do it before you’re on television at least 17 times a year.
For the second year in a row, Washington won 7 games! While their 8 losses are fewer than the 9 from a year ago, their 2 ties offer little in the way of optimism. Because of that, there is currently a split in their fan base. Half of their fans argue that the 7 – 8 – 2 team, is an 8 – 8 team (“Because two half wins, equals one whole one. Dummy!”). Meanwhile, other half of their fan base sees the team as 7 – 8, and thus improved over 7 – 9 (“Because thems two ties cancels theyselves out. Stupid!”). Either way, the rest of us just see a degenerate, losing team that missed the playoffs.
The giants didn’t have to depend on a division rival to get to the playoffs this year, because they used StubHub! They got a great price, on great seats, and watched the Lions model the sort of franchise New York hopes to become. Maybe next year the giants won’t go 5 – 12, and they’ll qualify for a playoff berth on their own. Hey! The giants in the playoffs! Look at me! I got jokes!
The Cowboys went 12 – 5 and easily won their division. With a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,700 yard rusher, and THREE 1,000 yard receivers, right out of the gate, Dallas took the NFL by storm. Which is why their first round dismantling in the playoffs was so surprising. The 41 – 6 walloping at the hands of QB Joe Flacco, will forever be known in NFL circles as “The Dall-Ass Whipping”.
The Carson Wentz trade didn’t yield the Eagles a first round pick, and QB Jalen Hurtswas so bad that he was benched by Week Nine. Also, Head Coach Nick Sirianni retiring mid-season to join a professional Rochambeau league, didn’t surprise as many people as you’d think.
After which the hapless Eagles managed to rally and stumble into the playoffs as a wild card. At which point they utterly shelled the Cowboys 41 – 6, before losing to Detroit in the second round.
DISCLAIMER: If you use this article for gambling or betting purposes, you’re an idiot and your money is safer with other people. Don’t be dunce. Stop gambling on sports.
HOWIE is likely going to be fired, if QB Jalen Hurts doesn’t play like a potential star in 2021. Despite what some fans thought about QB Carson Wentz, Owner Jeff Lurie knew he had a bonafide Franchise QB, and that those are difficult to find. Still, General ManagerHowie Roseman, convinced Lurie to trade the bird in his hand, for a QB factory in the bush.
There’s a high-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t miss the real action.
This isn’t about Hurts or Wentz. It never was. It’s about the “QB factory” that Howie later regretted mentioning: “Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”
Notice that he didn’t say that he regrets the idea, or the concept. He said that he regrets the comment. He regrets that he slipped and revealed to us, what was really on his mind. He regrets that we know. This was never about one player over another. It’s about a philosophy.
The Hurts pick is about transforming the QB position into just another position.
By default of how long it takes to develop a QB, they are a huge investment. So the ones with the best raw traits, come at a premium at the top of drafts. Few of those pan out, so it naturally skyrockets the price when a proven, young, veteran QB hits the open market. It’s why teams do everything they can, to keep those proven, young, veteran QB’s from hitting the open market. Often overpaying them.
The NFL was able to control other positions by killing off the idea of star players, who are true specialists:
Star RB’s became RB by committee.
The FB, H-Back, and blocking TE positions are practically extinct.
True #1 WR’s became more expendable with the adoption of Spread concepts.
On defense, players without a hard designation are becoming the norm. Whether it’s all of these CB/S, or those 215 – 220 pound LB/S tweeners, or the Edge players… None of that used to be how football worked, even 10 years ago. None of it.
The QB position is harder to redefine and control, but it must be done. And it must happen SOON.
The NFL needs to find a way to quickly develop QB’s who can be productive, not just to control investment costs (like draft capital), and operating costs (like contract terms), but so that the QB position can be platooned. Yes, platooned. Think about Hurts and Wentz. Or Drew Brees and QB Taysom Hill. Think about Tim Tebow now back in the NFL, at 33.
This is an experiment to figure out how best to phase out the “every game” starter. Instead, coming up with something more akin to a baseball starting pitcher. A guy who’s relied on only to start a percentage of the games, instead of all of them. Sure you’ll have an Ace, but he won’t be your Franchise.
If the NFL doesn’t do this, there is no way that they can expand beyond 18 regular season games in a season. Also, do you see the contract that QB Pat Mahomes signed? Or the one that QB Dak Prescott signed, despite owner Jerry Jones admitted to overpaying? Platooned QB’s would have far less leverage at the bargaining table.
That’s where Hurts comes in. Hurts was drafted “sort of” high. Right on the heels of Wentz winning a division, after having put practice squanders on his back. With a franchise QB like Wentz, drafting Hurts made no sense.
Then packages were added to get Hurts on the field early in his career, despite that fact that it ruins a starting QB’s rhythm. Disrupting our Franchise QB’s rhythm made no sense.
Suddenly Wentz became a turnover machine, when taking care of the ball had been the absolute cornerstone of his career. Yet no serious adjustments were ever made to help him. (I even wrote about it back in November of 2020.) That also made no sense.
Except in hindsight, all of it makes perfect sense. It’s an experiment. The Eagles made sure they started with a good, but not franchise quality QB (lower draft capital). The speed of the game is what young players say takes the most time to adapt to. So Hurts was spoon-fed a little time here and a little time there, until the game slowed down for him.
Understand, this is the Eagles version of the experiment, but the entire league has a stake in it. Trust and believe that many eyes follow this. Roseman’s experiment requires Hurts to not just play, but start. So, Wentz was removed from the equation. He had to be. Now Hurts is front and center, and barring a preseason injury, he will start.
That all being said, if Hurts turns out to be the formula, and the QB factory opens in Philadelphia, Jeff Lurie will be the guy who hired the inventor of “The (NFL) Process”. However, if Hurts fails, Lurie will have been talked into spending years of investment money, on a single spin of Roulette. That likely means Roseman would be fired.
High-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t get caught missing the real action.
WASHINGTON Football Team head coach, Riverboat Ron Rivera, announced that Washington’s training camp will feature an open competition for starting QB. This is HILARIOUS, and once again proof that you can take the ‘R’ off the helmet, but you can’t take it outta the team.
Let’s get a look at the competitors in this competition.
Their big free agent addition was QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, to whom they gave a 1 year, 10M$ deal. (The numbers matter, so keep an eye on them. Don’t just glaze over them.) The press has spent the last couple of months, lathering up over the idea of “Fitzmagic” teaming with WR Terry McLaurin. McLaurin himself has also expressed a great deal of exci-
Well fuck all that! It’s a competition, bitches! Ya heard?!
Our next competitor, is Taylor Heinicke. His claim to fame? Not getting blown-out, while losing in the first round of the playoffs. Heinicke has a 2 year deal worth 4.7M$.
Last and certainly least, is Kyle Allen. You may remember him from such disasters as: Trying to replace Cam Newton in Carolina; or trying to steal the starting job from Dwayne Haskins in Washington; or Karma paying his ankle a visit in 2020. He’s been handsomely rewarded for those exploits, with a 1 year, 850K$ deal. And he has a chance to start!
So let me get this straight. Washington is going to give Fitzpatrick 10 mill this year, just so they can start a guy making 8.5% that??! No. Stop. Just… just stop. First of all, that level of stupidity can’t be possible. Even in Washington. Secondly, illegal immigrants are protesting the wage disparity between Fitz and Allen. Many of them think that Allen should sneak into Mexico, to find better opportunities.
This “QB competition” is as bogus as the one in Philadelphia, between QB Jalen Hurts and his back-up Joe Flacco. If Philly finds a way to trade for QB DeShaun Watson, then sure, things could change. Otherwise, unless Jalen hurts, he’s the starter.
Washington is Fitzpatrick’s NINTH team, and he doesn’t have a winning record as the starter of any of the previous eight. His best run was 6 – 6 with Houston, and still, currently he is the best option Washington has.
After last season, Washington fans have had a taste of hope. Now they have expectations. To start Heinicke or Allen at this point, would be inhumane. It would be the equivalent of giving a toddler $500, lighting him on fire, and sending him into Walmart alone, on Black Friday. You’d have no right to expect anything good to come of it.
There is no QB competition. There can’t be. There isn’t a large enough worldwide supply of stupidity, for Washington to fuck up that badly. I hate the Redsk- Football Team, and even I think more of them than that. They gotta make it Fitz. Because nothing else does.
TRADING TE Zach Ertz is stupid. Let me get that on the record right now. I don’t want anybody saying later this season, that I was ever unclear in my language about the move. Trading him, cutting him, doesn’t matter. Ertz being removed from this roster, this year is unwise. Some will argue that 12M$ is too much to spend on an aging player, with diminishing skills.
Okay. Let’s look at that.
His 12M$ cap hit is a large one. That said, the Front Office has already found a way to fit it under our 2021 salary cap. In fact, according to Over The Cap the Eagles are currently 6.4M$ under the cap. So affording Ertz has already been done. That means we can stop trying to make this about money. How about age?
Ertz turns 31 in November. While that is an advanced age for this position, it’s not ancient or even the most advanced age. Current TE’s Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Kyle Rudolph are all older than Ertz, (and most Eagles fans would be happy to add any of those).
People bring up age, because they want to either infer, or say outright, that older players will be less durable, miss more games, and thus be less reliable. Last season at age 30, Ertz missed 5 games, due to injury. It was the first time he ever played in fewer than 14 games in a season.
Before suggesting that the misses are tied to Ertz’s age, consider the following: Back-up TE Dallas Goedert, whom the Front Office (and fans) expect to replace Ertz, also missed 5 games with injury. Goedert is 26 years old. Injuries, not age, determines injuries. So quit letting yourself be told, that one means the other.
Well what about Ertz’s diminishing skills? What diminishing skills? Based off of what, the 2020 season?? You go and point out even one, just one, Eagles starter who didn’t take a step backwards in 2020.
Don’t say RB Miles Sanders. He ran for more yards, but his receiving production took a nose dive, and his yards from scrimmage were dramatically down in 2020. Yes, WR Travis Fulgham emerged, but A) He wasn’t a 2019 Eagles starter, and B) He faded badly, down 2020’s stretch. A pandemic of bad offense infected the whole roster. Including Goedert. Including Ertz.
Finally, what on Earth would we be replacing him with? Aside from Ertz and Goedert, the Eagles have five TE’s on the roster. Only one has ever caught a ball in an actual NFL game. One is converting from WR. Another one is converting from QB.
TE Caleb Wilson shows a little promise, and Jason Croom would be a decent #3, but the step down at TE would be huge, if Ertz goes in 2021.
Then again, Head Coach Nick Sirianni isn’t Doug Pederson. He may not like using 12 Personnel (1RB, 2TE), as much as the guy who won a Super Bowl with it, while playing 32 year old TE Brent Celekfor a third of the offensive snaps. (Hey! Isn’t 32 older than 31?)
If Sirianni is looking to feature a Slot WR more, then he won’t be using two TE’s very much, and won’t need to have two good ones. That doesn’t help us with talented depth for red zone situations, or insurance vs injury, but you can’t have it all right?
Except right now, we still have Ertz, and his presence is a luxury. Moving him now would be stupid. Just stupid.
WHICH Eagles players are poised to have a breakout season? Before we can say that a player had one, first we need to define exactly what a breakout season looks like. Better still, we fans need to declare what our standard is, well ahead of time. Let’s start by setting the bar, high.
First, let’s rule out rookies. While rookie WR Devonta Smithcould have a huge year, it would be unfair before Training Camp, to expect the Moon and stars from him. Especially with this team’s history of developing WR’s.
So now let’s start with QB Jalen Hurts. In 2020, during his four starts (just those four), he put up 148 attempts, 77 completions (52%), for 1061 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He also posted 46 rushes, 272 yards, 5.9 yards per carry, and 3 scores. These numbers led to his 1 – 3 record, and for good reason.
In Hurts four starts, his completion percentage fell each week (56.6, 54.5, 53.8, and 35.0%, respectively.) Teams quickly caught onto him bootlegging right, as if he were in an Option offense, and they made it harder and harder for him to use that, to set up passes. In 2021 he’s going to have to demonstrate an ability to take advantage of containment based strategies against him.
A breakout season from Hurts would look something like 493 attempts, 316 completions (64%), for 4,300 yards, 29 touchdowns and fewer than 15 interceptions. Adding 102 rushes for 595 yards (5.8) and say… 5 scores, would put him in the conversation for greatest season ever by an Eagles QB.
Again. Set that bar, high.
Now onto last year’s first round flop, WR Jalen Reagor. No, I won’t compare him to Vikings WR “Justin Jefferson”. This isn’t about comparing players. This is about individual accomplishment. This is about Reagor, how he spent the downs he played, and no one else. The focus, is on Reagor.
In 2020, our first round pick played in 9 games. He was targeted 54 times, made 31 catches for a catch rate of 57.4%, 396 yards (at 12.7 per), and caught one touchdown. (For those who want to know: His catch rate was 57.5% for QB Carson Wentz, and 57.1 % for Hurts. Wentz threw him his lone TD catch, in our win over Dallas.)
In the 9 games Reagor played, he averaged 3 catches for 44 yards per game. That hardly cuts it for a first rounder. With him playing in the Slot now, 15 yards per quarter shouldn’t be too much to ask. He’d average 60 yards per game, for 960 yards on the year. So let’s call it 960, and a score in at least half the games for breakout consideration. So 960 and 8. That’s the bar. Anything below that, isn’t even a conversation. That’s the kind of energy we need to keep.
I don’t think RB Miles Sanders counts here. He’s twice rushed for 800+ yards, so even 1,000 – 1,200 rushing yards will just seem like a great year, not a breakout. If TE Dallas Goedert sees 900 yards, or 12 scores, sure that would be breakout. But I don’t see him doing that.
On Defense, we’re hardly starting anyone who isn’t already an established veteran. Nobody can say that DE Brandon Graham, DT Fletcher Cox or CB Darius Slay are just now making their mark on the league, and LB Alex Singleton had his, last year.
Barring a situation where a starter’s hurt and a back-up comes from nowhere, no one on D is having a breakout year.
Summing up! On Offense, Hurts and Reagor are poised to have breakout seasons. On Defense, without a major injury, no one is on deck to do so. Sorry, but that’s the bottom line.
LAST year the NFC East was the laughingstock of the NFL. Aggressive moves have been made to ensure that history will not be repeating itself anytime soon. While every team in the division ranks #21 or lower in the NFL power rankings, the rosters in this division are telling a different story.
Alright. So yeah, Washington is Washington. Their power moves were to sign a pair of slot receivers (Curtis Samuels and Adam Humphries), and Dr. Jekyll (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to play QB. Adding G Ereck Flowers was a sneaky good move, but hardly a transcendent one. Adding an OT and then subtracting another, was definitely not a step forward. While Washington is the early favorite to win the East, they seem to be back in self-sabotage mode.
As for the other three teams:
Dallas fans made it clear to the owner, that they were done quietly waiting for their team’s defense to improve.
In response, the Cowboys cleaned house in terms of both coaches and players. They then leaned heavy on defense in the Draft. While they may not have added free agents who are household names, they’ve sent a message from the top-down, that they are serious about getting results.
The giants took a risk adding CB Adoree Jackson, but if he can stay healthy, they have probably the best CB duo in the division. Signing Kelvin Benjamin to play TE, was a magnificent piece of outside the box thinking. Benjamin had trouble getting reliable separation from DB’s. However, if he can (very likely) gain separation on LB’s, then a Safety will have to be cheated away from a WR to help cover him. Benjamin may all at once, make the giants more explosive and help them challenge for the best TE duo in the division.
The Eagles made no fewer than FOUR non-Draft related moves. All of which look low-key at a glance. However, upon further inspection… For new DC Jonathan Gannon, signing former Vikings OLB Eric Wilson and S Anthony Harris, gives him two guys who can help quickly install his system, because they’ve played together while under Gannon. Slick move. Signing RB Kerryon Johnson was a stroke of pure genius, which I discussed in my last article (The Eagles RB’s). Then of course, there’s the addition of OLB Ryan Kerrigan.
One of my brothers speculated that Kerrigan could be Chris Long 2.0 for the Eagles. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think his real value, will be in getting young players to realize, they will have to out-produce Kerrigan, to take his spot in the rotation. He either forces them to step up, or it tells the Eagles that next year’s Draft, will be heavily spent re-arming the Defensive Line.
Getting QB Jalen Hurts a WR (Devonta Smith) that he already has chemistry with, was also a boss level move.
Nobody in the NFC East was okay with how 2020 ended. Well… I guess Washington seems to be. Honestly, watching their fans practically give each other handjobs over a 7 – 9 season, just to be bounced in the first round of the playoffs… Their “bragging” has been really hard to watch.
As for the rest of the division, none of us is looking for a repeat of 2020. The NFL had better not get caught sleeping.
LIKE the 2020 Draft, this wasn’t a draft that was meant to produce a bunch of immediate starters. Most of the picks here were made with an eye towards restocking the shelves, in order to avoid desperation down the road. That being said, an upper-tier CB would have been great.
Round 1 (12th overall): WR DeVonta Smith (H)
Remember when I told you “Ignore all this nonsense about “guys competing for the starting job”. Jalen Hurts is the guy.” With their first pick in this draft, The Front Office put the entire farcical notion of an honest competition to bed, and then killed it with a shovel in it’s sleep.
Smith comes in as a rookie who doesn’t have to win over the confidence of the starting QB. In fact, his very presence does something unheard of among rookies: His history and chemistry with QB Jalen Hurts, actually helps legitimize the notion of Hurts as the starter, despite all the question marks about Hurts himself.
Whether stemming his route, running the route, or running after the catch, he has an easy, graceful, long stride that is damned near hypnotic. He has reliable hands, and is willing to block despite not being very good at it. I expect him to start, and have a 1,000 yard, 8 TD season.
Round 2 (37th overall): CLandon Dickerson (H)
I love everything about the way he plays, but I hate his injury history:
ACL tear ended his freshman year.
Ankle injury ended his sophomore year.
Another ankle injury ended his first junior year. He then red-shirted.
He completed his second junior year.
ACL injury ended his senior season.
Dickerson is the post-Jason Kelce plan. Again, I love his play. He’s powerful and mean. He’s also bigger than Kelce and appears to have a better anchor. While Kelce will no doubt be a Hall of Famer, we have watched him for a over a decade be ridden back into QB’s from Michael Vick to Jalen Hurts. I don’t see that being an issue with Dickerson.
This pick is the primary example of what I meant when I said restocking. Having to rehab, he’s clearly not meant to contribute in 2021, but that high pick means that his contribution is expected soon.
Round 3 (73rd overall): DT Milton Williams (Q)
At 284 pounds, and possessing an average college first step, he will be a liability against the run in the NFL. If he’s exclusively played as a 3rd down interior pass rusher, he might find a role. If he’s moved to weak-side DE, he may even find a way to start some games. Otherwise, this just seems like a bad pick.
Round 4 (123rd overall): CB Zech McPhearson (Q)
I can’t offer a solid opinion on him, because all I could find was highlight videos. There was no video that showed who he is down-in and down-out. In the limited bits that I can piece together (from other player’s videos), he looks more like a FS than CB. I’m at a loss for why we waited until 123 to grab a CB.
Round 5 (150th overall): RB Kenneth Gainwell (H)
Last year I wanted WR/RB Antonio Gibson out of Memphis, but Washington got him. This year the Eagles went and got us RB/WR Kenneth Gainwell out of Memphis. While Gainwell is smaller, between the two players, at this stage of their college career, Gainwell is clearly the more natural receiver, and a better blocker. (Just ask Micah Parsons.) Neither runs very hard
Gainwell is an immediate upgrade over RB Boston Scott, though neither of them have that “take it to the house” type speed. His ability to be split out, and run routes like a WR, allows the Eagles to move him around the formation, even while RB Miles Sanders is on the field. We could line up in the I Formation, and audible to Empty, and every bit of that would have to be respected. Look. I’ve got goosebumps!
Round 6 (189th overall): DT Marlon Tuipulotu(M)
Heavy footed and doesn’t gain penetration. Even when the play is run away from him. He may have been good enough to start at his college, but he’ll likely be out of here before training camp is over.
Round 6 (191st overall): DE Tarron Jackson (Q)
Lacks decent first step, because he never really gets into a three point stance. Lines up almost sitting on his heels. When he plays out of two point stance, he gets a much better jump. That however, basically makes him a situational player, who offers nothing vs the run. Again, his biggest flaw can be fixed with coaching, but he still doesn’t seem to have a high ceiling beyond that.
Round 6 (224th overall) : S JaCoby Stevens (M)
Early word has the Eagles wanting to move this 212 pound S to LB. Either move would be a mistake. He lacks a feel for pass coverage as a S, but he doesn’t shed blocks or tackle well enough to be a LB. He also doesn’t initiate contact, and ends up watching more football than he plays. Honestly, it looks like he gets stuck trying to read where the play is going, instead of locking down his area, and forcing plays into the shark tank.
Round 7 (234th overall): EDGEPatrick Johnson (H)
I hate seeing the term “Edge”. Is he lining up at DE or OLB? The responsibilities are very different. Their techniques are very different. Usually “Edge” means either LB who can’t cover, or undersized DE. At 240 pounds, Johnson looks to be the latter.
Despite my bitching about a title, I like what I see on tape. The guy sets the edge before pass rushing, or chasing a tackle. He is nimble enough for stunts, uses his hands to shed blocks, and can cover in an underneath zone. Unfortunately he lines up at DE in a two point stance, which almost eliminates him as being useful vs the run. If he’s going to do that, he needs to move to OLB.
Otherwise, he needs to add 12 pounds and put his hand on the ground.
For this year’s haul, I’d have to say we had four hits, two misses, and three that we’re waiting to see about. Let’s math!
With 9 players drafted, (H)its being worth 2, (M)isses 0, and (Q)uestionables 1, we had a possible score of 18, and scored 11. As a grade, that’s a 61% out of 100. If you recall, 65 was a ‘D’ in school. Not a great haul, Howie. Then again, it is just a restocking.
WHAT I really want the Eagles to get out of the 2021 NFL Draft is: Clarity.
In the Eagles last game of the 2020 season, they deliberately tanked against Washington. We came into that game slotted in the #9 position for the 2021 Draft, but tanking the game moved us into the #6 position. The 2020 season was a burning heap, and so already the Eagles had turned their attention to arming for the 2021 season.
That indicates that the organization was planning ahead. Which says plainly: We have a plan.
Then Owner Jeffrey Lurie, fired head coach Doug Pederson, and replaced him with Nick Sirianni, who is green enough to have been Reggie White’s jersey. Then General Manager Howie Roseman traded franchise QB Carson Wentz to Indianapolis, and signed QB Joe Flacco to compete with QB Jalen Hurts for the starting job. Man, I wish I were joking about that.
After that, the Eagles traded down in the Draft from #6 to #12, picking up a first rounder in 2022 for their trouble. Shrewd move if the guy they want this year, is likely to be at 12 or lower. However, now the Eagles want to move back up. But that is a move that will likely cost them a first rounder next year. So what was the point of trading the #6 spot, in the first place?!
All indications are that this team is in a tailspin, because the pilot is incompetent.
The team that used to be The Gold Standard, seems to lack the clarity of vision, which has more or less defined them since the turn of the millennium.
Or perhaps this Draft will bring it all home for us. Maybe those 11 picks we have, will be used to complete a puzzle that we just can’t make out right now. That’s extremely doubtful, but I want to put it out there. I WANT to be wrong about my team being rudderless. I WANT the Eagles to show me that they’ve had it under control the whole time.
When this Draft is done, I want us Eagles fans to be able to sit back and say, “Ahhhh. Now I get it. Now it makes sense.” Because right now, it seems like incompetence is in charge. As of right now, it seems like if Howie counted his balls 10 times, he’d never get the same number twice.