Eagles news and links for 9/8
4. Carson Wentz Will Be the Offensive Rookie of the Year
What can I say? I’m a sucker for Wentz and have been since I saw him torch Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the 2014 Division I-AA playoffs. He’s like one of those Pecos Bill tall tales. Here’s this kid who was 5-foot-10 in high school and had a 7-inch growth spurt in college. He apparently never has gotten a B at any level of school, and he graduated with a 4.0 GPA from NDSU.
Add in the fact that he has a rocket for an arm, reportedly was well ahead of Sam Bradford in learning the playbook over the summer and was lying in a cornfield hunting geese when he found out the Eagles got rid of Bradford over the weekend and, well, that’s Sidd Finch-type stuff. But I’ve seen him. In the flesh. At the Senior Bowl. At the Combine. And at Eagles camp. He’s the real deal. And if he can learn to avoid big hits, Wentz can do big things in Philly right from go. All bets are on Ezekiel Elliott. Give me Wentz.
One reason Griffin III experienced his extreme highs and lows is because of his mobility. He burned the Birds on the ground in his first game against the Eagles, rushing 12 times for 84 yards, which wasn’t a particularly unusual feat for him in 2012. But he also hurt himself by taking shots in the run game, which is something the Eagles want Wentz to avoid.
“It just comes with experience. Getting down and getting out of bounds and what they call, ‘Living for the next play,’ or ‘Calling Uncle,’ it’s just something that comes with experience,” Griffin III said. “I was a rookie once, too, and I tried to run over linebackers and safeties, as well, so I know how that feels. It’s just something that you know as a quarterback, you have to be available for your team.”
As Griffin III’s time in Washington extended, various coaches tried adjusting his mechanics — to varying degrees of success. While Griffin III was widely considered to be a better prospect coming out of college than Wentz was, some still wondered if he could thrive in the pocket. Wentz isn’t the same type of player and the two quarterbacks face several different criticisms of their game, but Doug Pederson is also working with Wentz to improve his mechanics.
The Eagles’ head coach aims to improve his quarterback’s footwork, including keeping his feet tighter together, among other things.
“You just got to make sure everything that the coaches are asking you to do, you buy into and you make that your habit. When the pressure is on, guys revert back to their habits,” Griffin III said. “You have to make sure you train yourself so diligently that your habits are what you’ve been training, not what you did before. I think that’s a big point.”
A rebuilding team that has an insatiable appetite for draft picks right now. A struggling young second-round cornerback who had fallen to the bottom of the depth chart, but still had trade value.
That, in a nutshell, is why the Eagles sent Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots earlier this week for a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick that could become a third if the kid plays 50 percent of the defensive snaps this season or next in Foxboro.
Rowe, who started the final five games last season after Nolan Carroll broke his leg, was the fifth corner on a team that plans to activate just four on game day.
“I think the development of Jalen Mills had a lot to do with it,’’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Thursday morning. “Jalen was a seventh-round pick and really exceeded our expectations, and probably everybody’s expectations for him.
“We’re looking at a situation where we’re going to have four corners active. Jalen has also played some nickel for us. That really wasn’t on Eric’s plate.
The path: I don't think there's a Super Bowl winner to have traded their starting quarterback a week before the season starts, but the Eagles may not actually be any worse at quarterback after dealing Sam Bradford given that Chase Daniel has spent years in the offense and can jump in if rookie starter Carson Wentz can't settle in. Philly's defense is also likely to improve with the arrival of Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator, given how quickly he turned around the defenses in Detroit and Buffalo in years past. And god knows the NFC East is ripe for the taking ...
The comparable champion: 2007 Giants. I know both Giants and Eagles fans recoil at the horror of being compared to one another, but that Giants team was built around a dominant front four getting pressure on defense, and that's exactly what Schwartz is likely to do with Fletcher Cox & Co. The comparison admittedly worked better when I was comparing quarterbacks who appeared to have stagnated and didn't have "it" -- in Eli Manning to Bradford -- but let's just change the comparison instead to one of passers with low expectations. I guess Plaxico Burress is Jordan Matthews in this scenario?
2. The Eagles' defensive line vs Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III sat out the entirety of 2015, marooned on the Washington Redskins' inactive list. In games RG3 played the majority of the snaps in 2014, the Redskins went 1-6. He threw four TD passes on the season, was picked off 6 times, fumbled 9 times and was sacked 33 times. (Of course, that one win was the final nail in the Eagles' 2014 coffin).
Still... 33 sacks and nine fumbles in seven games! That's otherworldly awfulness.
When asked why he was sacked so often, Griffin said, "Just not getting the ball out. I've really focused on making sure I get the ball out. Protect your linemen, protect your team, don't get in negative down and distances, and everything else will take care of itself."
In Jim Schwartz's highly anticipated attack scheme, the Eagles' front four will get their first opportunity to get after one of the slowest decision-making quarterbacks in the NFL, although one rare area where the Browns do have quality talent is along their offensive line.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Tipster Ed sent us this video of a young Carson Wentz and his friends fucking around and creating a proto-“Haters gonna say it’s fake” video of themselves throwing paper into the trash. It was uploaded in 2011. It made me laugh much more than I thought it would. The best part is when Wentz sends an email to TRASH@TRASH.COM.