Eagles news and notes for 11/17
Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are one step closer to Canton.
On Wednesday evening, the two former Eagles were named semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2017. Dawkins is in his first year of eligibility, while Owens was a finalist last year.
"This is all very humbling to me. Extremely humbling," Dawkins said. "It's a blessing just to have an opportunity like this in the first place. Growing up in Florida, I never thought there would be a day when I would have a conversation with anybody about any Hall of Fame, let along the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
The finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced in early January. The Class of 2017 will be unveiled on Saturday, February 4.
The numbers – well, lack thereof – are eye-popping.
In the last two games, Eagles receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has played a total of 93 snaps without hauling in a catch. He was at least targeted five times against the Giants. In the Atlanta game on Sunday, not one pass went his way.
Does he feel like he’s playing as well as he should be right now?
“Yeah, I’m doing everything that I should be doing,” Green-Beckham said to CSNPhilly.com on Wednesday. “Coaches see that; we all see that. I just need more opportunities and more passes thrown my way in each game. I feel like there shouldn’t be a game where I have no passes, no targets.
“That should be a game where … I’m a big receiver. I should have catches and stuff like that. I’m not saying that just because I’m frustrated. I’m just saying in reality, you would know, like, ‘Why doesn’t he have any catches?’ That’s just something that we have to continue to do at practice. We just have to continue to work and stay on the same page as the quarterback.”
Green-Beckham said the reason he didn’t have any catches (or targets) on Sunday was not because he wasn’t doing his job, but because quarterback Carson Wentz wasn’t looking his way. And he said Wentz agreed.
This week, as the team reconvened at the NovaCare Complex, the offense reviewed the tape against Atlanta and, according to Green-Beckham, “everybody agreed that the ball should have been here for easy completions.”
"Sitting on Capitol Hill and I'm thinking, 'Yeah, if you had asked me in high school if I would be here saying the kind of stuff I'm saying, the answer would be no.' But it's funny how life works," Jenkins, the Eagles starting safety, said after practice on Wednesday.
Through those years at Piscataway High, through Ohio State and then seven previous seasons in the NFL, Jenkins was always respected, but he never turned himself into the nail that sticks up as he has this season. He added his voice, and the action of raising a fist during the national anthem, to the voices of others who have protested the state of race relations, and particularly recent confrontations between police and the African American community.
Agree or disagree with the politics of the matter, there's nothing easy about being the only one and that is what Jenkins chose. Since cornerback Ron Brooks was lost to injury, Jenkins is the lone protester before games. He always makes a point to shake hands with whatever color guard or military veterans are part of the pregame ceremony, but he also makes his own point.
This is all a departure for Jenkins, different from any other year in the NFL.
"Any other year in my life," he said. "I am [comfortable], as much as this is an unknown realm for me. I'm learning as I go. I'm reading, I'm listening. When I have any doubt, it's usually followed by reassurance that I'm doing the right thing, whether someone encouraging me or an opportunity to speak up. I understand that, whatever track this is, I'm on the right one."
On Friday, the Eagles will board a plane bound for the Pacific Northwest, where on Sunday they will play a game in which they will either re-establish themselves as legitimate contenders for the NFC crown or confirm the suspicion most of the folks back east have harbored since the start of training camp. On Wednesday, they wrapped up their first official day of preparation for the 6-2-1 Seahawks, who will welcome them to a field where only two nondivision foes have escaped with a win since Russell Wilson took the reins at quarterback in 2012. They did so without entertaining any of the questions that confronted McNabb and his teammates with increasing intensity as the seasons piled up on the memory of that first NFC Championship Game loss. Nobody asked about the pressure, about the previous failures, about the magnitude of the moment.
And yet the question is worth asking: In a year that has yet to yield an undisputed favorite for King of the NFC, is it really that far-fetched to think the Eagles could be that team? Maybe the answer is as obvious as many assume, that it has been and will remain the Seahawks, regardless of the uncommon mortality they've shown at varying stretches this season. If so, we will find out shortly.
Eagles RBs combined for 44 touches, 34 runs and 10 receptions. I loved what I saw on Sunday. Throwing the ball to WRs generates bigger plays, but feeding your RBs can work as well. You are going to be more physical and you can wear down an opposing defense with that style of football. You can’t solely feed the backs. Carson Wentz got the ball to his TEs, 7 catches for 64 yards. That is a total of 51 touches for RBs and TEs. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for the WRs because of that.
This isn’t a case for defending the WRs. Clearly they are the weak spot of this team. Rather, I’m just trying to point out that Doug Pederson built a smart gameplan on Sunday and it worked. His WRs are struggling. How do you deal with that? Feed the other guys. Sounds obvious. Simple. But sometimes coaches are their own worst enemy and they keep trying to make something work.
I’m interested to see if Pederson continues to feed the RBs. It can work. Back in 2003 James Thrash, Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell were really struggling. None of them finished the season with more than 575 yards and they combined for 5 TDs for the whole season. Yikes. Andy Reid decided to feed his backs (feel free to insert fat guy joke here). Brian Westbrook, Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Jon Ritchie averaged 27 touches per game for the year. It actually was lower early in the year, but over the final 10 games the offense went through the RBs and thrived, averaging 28 points a game.
I would love to see Pederson continue to run the offense like he did on Sunday. No one thinks Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood are great players who can carry a team to the Super Bowl, but they are a talented trio that complements each other well.