Monday marked one of the infrequent occasions that the Philadelphia Eagles made their assistant coaches available to the media. Here are some noteworthy takeaways from what was said.
The Eagles’ wide receiver coach isn’t incredibly inspiring
One could’ve already gleaned as much from the way the Eagles’ wide receivers are struggling to produce on the field but Carson Walch did himself no favors while talking to reporters.
Walch’s quotes about Mack Hollins were especially frustrating. Via NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt:
“Yes, he does not have the catches. But at the end of the day when Mack Hollins grades out for us, he’s one of our top graders every week because he aligns right, he assigns right and he plays with great effort. We believe when the ball comes Mack’s way he’s going to make the play for us.”
Well, actually, this guy who doesn’t have a catch since September is one of our best players!
Please do spare me the ‘What’s he supposed to say?’ line. Sure, it’s not like Walch should be realistically expected to publicly rip Hollins and say that he sucks. But how about giving an answer that doesn’t blatantly insult everyone’s intelligence? I mean, Hollins has more penalty yards than receiving yards this season.
One can only hope Walch’s public praise for Hollins doesn’t reflect how the team truly feels about him. Hollins should see a decrease in playing time over the final seven games with Jordan Matthews back and JJ Arcega-Whiteside hopefully poised to take on a bigger role. On that note ...
Carson Walch said JJ Arcega-Whiteside has learned all the receiver positions and he’s confident he can play all of them if called upon. #Eagles— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 11, 2019
Doug Pederson and Mike Groh have previously suggested that JJAW hasn’t been able to get on the field much because he’s only been trained to play Alshon Jeffery’s role. They also said the coaching staff was working on cross-training him. The feeling here is that those are weak excuses for a second-round pick to not be providing ANY kind of positive impact. But, assuming those excuses are true, the time is running out on them. It’s Week 10. JJAW needs to be contributing something to this team. If JJAW doesn’t end up helping, well, that’s some kind of indictment on his position coach.
Here are some more uninspiring Walch quotes for you to chew on:
WR coach Carson Walch on Nelson Agholor: “I don’t think Nellie is plagued by the deep ball at all.”— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 11, 2019
Says he’s confident he can make those plays. #Eagles
Update: WR coach Carson Walch also accidentally called Nelson Agholor “Nelson Aguilera”. #Eagles— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 11, 2019
The Eagles have had a new wide receivers coach every season since 2016. I’m willing to wager that Walch won’t be back for the 2020 campaign.
It’d be nice if the Eagles went out and made an external hire instead of automatically promoting from within as they’re wont to do.
Jason Peters is still the Eagles’ starting left tackle when healthy
Pederson was recently asked about the possibility of 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard replacing Peters in the starting lineup. Pederson said Peters is the starter when healthy. Offensive coach Jeff Stoutland left no ambiguity when discussing the same topic.
“Oh, I think if you walked into our [offensive line] meeting room right now — I’m not in the room, the players are in the room — you say, hey … I mean, Jason Peters is unbelievable. And since I’ve been here, since 2013, all I’ve ever heard is ‘Ah, he’s too old, he can’t do it, he’s not gonna make it.’ And he’s proved everybody wrong, every single year, every single year. This is an unbelievable … you may never see another Jason Peters again! I’m being honest with you, now. This man is an absolute, incredible, incredible player who still shows — before he got hurt, okay? And he actually played a little bit while he was hurt, playing at an extremely high level. Now that he got that thing taken care of, I expect him to be back playing at an even better level. And so I’m excited about that. When is that time? I don’t know. I can’t tell you that.”
These are not empty words. Just look at the passion with which Stout speaks with:
Peters has the most clout of any player (and/or person?) in the organization. The future Hall of Famer is not getting benched, for better or worse.
Praise for Brandon Brooks
It’s easy to take Brooks for granted. His contract extension is incredibly well deserved.
Jeff Stoutland said Brandon Brooks is “having the best season of his life” and the extension was “well-deserved.” #Eagles— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 11, 2019
The Nate Gerry disconnect
Gerry is hardly a fan-favorite but the coaching staff really loves him. Recall this nugget from June:
The Athletic’s Bo Wulf noted that Eagles linebacker coach Ken Flajole was really talking up Gerry. Flajole even said something along the lines of: ‘It feels like [Gerry] knows more than I do.”
Flajole further explained Gerry’s value on Monday:
LB coach Ken Flajole said something fans don’t see with Nate Gerry is that he has high football IQ and does a great job of getting the defense set up. “There’s value in that that people maybe don’t understand or realize.” #Eagles— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 11, 2019
There’s just one problem:
I actually agree w/this. Presnap you can see it on film. It's a real plus.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) November 11, 2019
And then the ball is snapped...... https://t.co/Dc6ce5GqUx
BGN’s Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak have previously noted how Gerry is slow to react after the snap. Kind of an issue.
Gerry has been the Eagles’ top linebacker with Nigel Bradham out and it’ll likely remain that way.