Eagles news and notes for 12/2
“I’m not here to rebuild. That’s Howie’s job,” Jenkins said, referencing Eagles executive Howie Roseman. “We’re here to play and to win. Everybody in this building has been paid and compensated not just to occupy a seat but to win. And so our mindset is that we’re trying to win with the guys we have here, the people we have in the building now. We’ll let the people upstairs figure out if we’re building or what we’re doing past this time.”
Coach Doug Pederson said the next five games would show who wants to be here next season. Pederson indicated that comment was made to make sure the players still play hard the rest of the season. But there was also talk from the coach about the plan the Eagles have for “down the road” – an outlook that does not include a number of players in the locker room.
Jenkins is one of those who will likely be in Philadelphia. He turns 29 next month and is under contract through 2020. But some other veterans might not be with the Eagles for the “down the road.” The Eagles have already started six rookies this year, although Pederson has not made any lineup changes this week to play rookies. For instance, Leodis McKelvin will still split time with Jalen Mills at cornerback, and Stefen Wisniewski will still start over Isaac Seumalo at guard.
“I think we’re fully committed,” Jenkins said. “Until we’re completely out of it, we’re giving everything we’ve got until we’re pushed to the postseason. I think obviously we know we have to win and probably need a little bit of help. But we’ve still got a shot. So all our resources and time is being put into winning.”
Perhaps the biggest criticism of Cox’s play this year stems from his sack total. He hasn’t had one in seven games, and the Eagles have just four as a team in their last five losses. Cox ranks ninth among defensive tackles in sacks and is well short of being on pace to match his 9.5 sacks last season, but he is also third at his position in pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
Cox has just one less sack than Brandon Graham, who has (deservedly) received high praise for his pass rush and plays a position that should get to the quarterback more than an interior lineman. It’s understandable to expect a highly paid player to rack up sacks, but it’s also important to look at those numbers in context.
Take the Eagles’ 27-13 loss to the Packers, for instance. Aaron Rodgers had a heck of a game, completing 30 of his 39 pass attempts for 313 yards, two touchdowns and a 116.7 passer rating. But much attention has been paid to the number of times Rodgers was sacked: zero. Naturally, the defensive line — and particularly Cox — was blamed.
But according to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers got the ball out of his hands in just 2.49 seconds on the average pass attempt, which is his quickest mark of the season by a wide margin. While Rodgers didn’t release the ball every snap as quickly as he did on this play, it’s a perfect example of the mindset with which he played.
Earlier in the game, Rodgers held onto the ball for a bit longer, but he still got it out quickly before Cox — who instantly beat the right guard — could get to him. Jim Schwartz likes to say “coverage goes hand-in-hand with the rush,” which the Green Bay game is a great example of.
The Eagles made their point to Agholor about his mental meltdown while playing against Seattle two weeks ago.
They deactivated him for Monday night’s game with the Green Bay Packers. Everyone knew this was an embarrassing healthy scratch.
There is nothing positive left to be gained by sitting out Agholor for a second straight game.
By being sat out against the Packers, Agholor was publicly humiliated but, more importantly, served notice that his career with the Eagles and possibly in the NFL is in jeopardy if he doesn’t get it together immediately.
This isn’t a strained hamstring that can improve with another week’s rest. This is about the mental wiring of a football player.
If the message already delivered to Agholor wasn’t enough to light a competitive fire, then he is already too far lost to ever salvage.
“The fact that I didn't get to play that day was an eye opener,” Agholor said on Wednesday. “You have to make sure you always have fun every opportunity you do have to play."
Along with a massive contract comes massive expectations.
Fans expected a huge year from Vinny Curry. His coaches expected a huge year. Definitely Curry expected a huge year as well.
Eleven games later, it just hasn’t happened for Curry, the fifth-year defensive end from Marshall.
Curry has just 1½ sacks this year and no full sacks since Week 4 in Detroit.
Since recording 9.0 sacks in his breakthrough 2014 season, Curry has just five sacks in 27 games in 2015 and 2016.
He says he’s not frustrated, but it’s been a rough stretch for the Central Jersey native, who grew up an Eagles fan and signed a five-year, $47.25 million contract this offseason that included a $10 million signing bonus and $23 million in guaranteed components.
With an average of $9.45 million per year, Curry is the 10th-highest-paid defensive end in the NFL.
That contract has landed a big, giant bullseye on Curry’s back, and he knows it.
He also believes the effort is there. Just not the results.
“End of the day, that bullseye, anybody in their right mind that understands football will understand the opportunities I’m receiving, I’m making the best of them,” Curry said at his locker after practice on Thursday.
Pederson was asked to have the team compete right away. Many new coaches love to change players and rebuild the roster right away. That let’s them find “their guys” and build the team how they want it. Pederson inherited a team that was too good to rebuild. He embraced the players that were already in Philly. Think about the starting lineup in the season opener of 2015 vs 2016. There weren’t many changes. The coaching staff kept an open mind, even with disappointing players like Marcus Smith and Josh Huff. Pederson and his assistants brought out the best in some players over the summer.
The other big item for Pederson was to draft and develop a QB. Obviously this is something Pederson probably already wanted to do, but with Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel in place you could see a coach possibly not wanting to use a lot of draft resources to add another QB. Pederson quickly fell in love with Carson Wentz as a prospect and was all-in on going up to get him.
If you simply focus on the W-L record, Pederson gets a C or something in that range. I think Lurie and Howie Roseman are looking at the big picture and all that was asked of Pederson. As much as they want him to win this year, they also know developing Wentz is the biggest thing that will help the Eagles to get back to being one of the best teams in the league. So let’s talk about that.
Wentz is on pace to throw 570 passes this year. Donovan McNabb only threw more than that once in his career, and that came when he threw 571 in his 10th season. It seems crazy to have Wentz throw that much when you consider that Eagles receivers are not having a great year and the offensive line has had four different starting lineups and we’re not even in December yet. Just run the ball, play good defense and try to keep games close, right? Not if you’re trying to test/teach/develop a QB.