Eagles news and notes for 1/12
Numbers: 287 snaps, 155 attempts, 661 yards, 4.3 yards per attempt, 8 rushing touchdowns, 13 receptions, 115 receiving yards, 8.8 yards per reception, 1 receiving touchdown, 3 fumbles
Review: The 2016 season did nothing to shake the book on Mathews. The former first-round pick is a talented player who runs hard, gets hurt a lot, and has trouble protecting the football. Mathews’ biggest mistake of the season cost the Eagles a win to the Lions in Week 4. His fumble late in the game against Detroit blew a win that Philadelphia virtually had wrapped up.
Mathews also had an egregiously bad fumble against the Vikings late in the game. Fortunately for the Eagles, the game was already out of reach for their opponent. Still, there was no reason for Mathews to be so reckless with the ball at that point in the game. It showed he couldn’t be trusted and the Eagles only gave him a combined nine carries in their next two games.
The Eagles went back to relying on Mathews and his big performance helped Philadelphia earn a victory over the Falcons. But then he got hurt again and missed a few weeks. He came back and put up his best rushing game of the season against the Ravens’ top-ranked run defense: 20 attempts for 128 yards (6.4 yards/attempt) and one rushing touchdown.
But then Mathews got hurt again. The veteran running back finished the season with a herniated disc in his neck. Pederson said it’s not career-threatening, but surgery was needed.
“who do YOU realistically want in 1st rd. Not who u think or what howie wants, but who do u want?”
OK, I'll play. I guess I'll try to put myself in the shoes of the GM. It's my team and I need to make sure I hit on this first-round pick. The problem is, it's not that easy. If it were me, I wouldn't just simply go best player available, but I would go BPA at several positions. So if the best player on the board is a corner, receiver or defensive lineman, that's what I'd do. I know by not going BPA with all positions might lead to a reach, but it won't be a Marcus Smith-type reach. There will be a player at one of those positions worthy of the 14th or 15th pick.
Who? Well, that's where it gets trickier. We're so early in the process, so things could change. But right now, most people think there are clearly three receivers at the top: Mike Williams, Corey Davis and John Ross.
There are also a few first-round type cornerbacks right now. Marlon Humphrey and Teez Tabor are probably the top two at the position. From what I've seen, I really like Tabor, but either one would be worth that first-round pick. Keep in mind, this draft is considered to be pretty deep at corner, so it's possible the Eagles could get great value in the second round. Then at defensive end, there are a few options and the Eagles could certainly use help from an edge rusher. If they lose Bennie Logan, they'll need a replacement there too.
And then don't forget about running back Dalvin Cook.
But if you're asking me to pick one right now. I'm saying Tabor. He's a top corner who's really aggressive, which means I think Jim Schwartz will like him a lot.
Lal has had success with a variety of WRs, with most of them not being elite talents. He was able to get the most out of his players that he could. That’s exactly what Greg Lewis didn’t do.
Lal had success with big guys. He also had success with small, fast guys. He was able to cobble together a solid set of WRs when injuries hit and he had to play guys that had limited talent. Lal had success with rookies, young players and a couple of veterans as well. He doesn’t need one specific type of player or receiver to make things work.
Lal isn’t the best WRs coach in the NFL. He’s not a magician. If the Eagles do bring him in, he would help the current group, but clearly only a talent infusion will get the Eagles the kind of help they need at WR.
That said, I still do think the Eagles would like to see what Nelson Agholor and DGB could do with better coaching and better QB play. Doug Pederson already started the process of changing position coaches. Carson Wentz should take a step forward in 2017 and that will help his receivers out. A smart, accurate, experienced QB can be a big help to less than great WRs.
The realistic goal at this point is to see if Agholor and DGB can be good role players. Ted Ginn was a 1st round pick who failed initially, but has since found a way to stay in the league as a productive role player. Agholor and DGB do have some talent. Agholor needs confidence and a lot of help. We can’t really evaluate DGB fairly since he had very little time with the team before the season. 2017 will tell us if he’s a tease or if someone can coach him up and get him to play well.
Stay tuned to see if Lal is the new WRs coach or if the team is looking around at other targets.
HOWIE'S GOTTA do it. The crowd will love it.
The draft comes to Philadelphia this spring. On April 27, Roger Goodell simply has to approach the dais and announce, "With the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Mike Williams, wide receiver, Clemson."
If Goodell doesn't say those words then Eagles general manager Howie Roseman should be fired right there, on the spot. Jeffrey Lurie should be forced to relinquish control of the team to his ex-wife, Christina. Don Smolenski should be unseated as president and go back to minor league hockey, or at least be sent to the Union (he loves soccer).
Mike Williams represents everything franchise quarterback Carson Wentz deserves: size, speed, athleticism, good hands and a desire to play football. The current crop lacks at least one of those elements: Jordan Matthews, speed and athleticism; Dorial Green-Beckham, the will; Nelson Agholor, all of the above.
Of course, the Birds, who draft 14th or 15th (wherever next month's combine coin flip lands them) would have to trade up . . . but they really have no choice, do they?