BYE WEEK MAILBAG!
If you want to ask a question for a future mailbag, you can tweet at me or email a question to bleedinggreeninfo (at) gmail (dotcom).
Gordon Huff (via email): Why isn’t Kenneth Gainwell given a shot at returning punts and kicks. He has good hands and is a good open field runner. Jalen Reagor has shown us nothing.
Gordon sent this email before Sunday’s game against the Jets. He knew something bad was going to happen! Jalen Reagor muffed a punt while also reading a kickoff terribly, assuming it was going to bounce into the end zone before it stayed in play, giving the Eagles the ball at their own six. Not great! Boston Scott received the opening kick of the second half following the mistakes:
#Eagles STs coordinator Michael Clay on Jalen Reagor’s kickoff return “mental lapse:” Can’t happen. On next kick, went with Boston Scott to take something off Reagor’s plate.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) December 7, 2021
I’m of two mindsets when it comes to Reagor’s involvement on special teams. My first is that when he fields a punt, I find myself screaming, “GO DOWN! JUST GO DOWN!” instead of dealing with the anxiety of him repeatedly running sideways and the fear that he’s going to fumble the ball or have some other gaff. The other is that they need something, ANYTHING, to give his flailing career a spark. Would a huge punt return leave him inspired and more engaged offensively? He’s made a few nice returns over the last two years, but the headaches are increasingly adding up and I’m sure they’re infuriating the team as much as they’re infuriating the fan base.
I like the idea of putting Kenny Gainwell back there. He’s already displayed more promise as an NFL player as a rookie than Reagor has through his sophomore campaign. It’s reasonable to believe that Reagor will never put it together. Let’s see if Gainwell can provide that boost, especially when he’s flashed as both a runner and receiver, totaling five touchdowns in his first pro season already. Can he be 2002 Brian Westbrook back there as the third running back who helps out when needed and is a special teams ace? I’m ready for it.
@ShwanMann: I’m going to my first Eagles game ever when we host WFT. What jersey should I wear out of: Dawkins (black), McNabb (black), Cunningham (Kelly green), Brown (Kelly green), Sanders (midnight green), and Cox (midnight green) ??
We don’t yet know what uniforms the Eagles will wear next week. They usually sport their all-black set twice per season. They’ve only used it once this season, so I’d imagine they pull them out for one of their two remaining home games. If they do for the Washington game next Sunday, I say go with the black Brian Dawkins jersey.
Actually... just wear the black Dawkins jersey no matter what.
The Eagles didn’t have much success against Washington during the Buddy Ryan era, so that plays into my decision not to immediately go with a throwback option like Randall Cunningham or Jerome Brown. Everyone in the NFC East was winning Super Bowls back then besides the Eagles.
Here’s how I’d rank your options:
1. black Dawkins jersey
2. midnight green Fletcher Cox jersey
3. black Donovan McNabb jersey
4. kelly green Brown jersey
5. kelly green Cunningham jersey
6. midnight green Miles Sanders jersey
@OcaptMyObvious: If we could get Jalen Hurts to improve one skill significantly, while keeping his other skills/flaws. What would you pick to elevate him to the next level?
I have two skills that come to mind for Jalen Hurts: accuracy, which is fairly straightforward, and “zip,” which is a bit of a undefined quality.
The accuracy issue speaks for itself. Hurts has started 16 games with the Eagles. He’s completed 57.7 percent of his passes. That’s, uh, rough to say the least. Hurts needs to improve throwing “catchable” balls in addition to pure ball placement, which, again, is an obvious issue. There was a huge discourse when it came to the differences between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz. Wentz’s pure arm talent is undeniable, but Foles threw a ball that was more “catchable,” which is why guys like Alshon Jeffery had differing opinions on the two signal-callers. Leading receivers correctly, not putting them into a position to catch hospital balls, having the right amount of arc on a deep ball, etc. That’s all important!
The other thought was “zip.” Watching other games around the NFL on Sundays (and Thursdays and Mondays...), some quarterbacks’ throws look effortless. Look at the way Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes throw darts with the simple flick of the rest. Look at how graceful Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert look stepping into throws. It takes a while for Hurts to load up on deep throws, which, combined with his accuracy issues, has rendered deep pass gains nonexistent for this Eagles offense in 2021. Balls seem to get to receivers late without the requisite “oomph” to get the ball exactly where it needs to be within a sliver of a second.
I’m going with “zip” because it’s a more innate quality that Hurts just doesn’t really have. There’s still a chance Hurts can improve his accuracy issues as he develops as an NFL passer.
@EaglesLiker: With our cap situation looking healthy for this upcoming offseason, what free agent receivers top your wish list?
It’s a great wide receiver free agent class this offseason. Some targets are more realistic than others. I assume, for example, that Davante Adams will re-up with the Packers, who will throw all the money in the world at arguably the league’s best wideout. To a lesser extent, I’m expecting that Mike Williams will stay with the Chargers.
Here are some other options:
Chris Godwin (age-26 season in 2022): I’d imagine he hits the market given that the Buccaneers have a roster filled with big-name and big-money players. Going elsewhere would leave him as the undisputed top option rather than being more so a 1B guy next to Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. He’s in his early prime. Do whatever it takes to get him.
Allen Robinson (age-29 season in 2022): This guy has all the talent in the world and has never played with a good quarterback in his career. He’s a bit older and has dealt with more injuries than Godwin, so he’d be my second option. Still, he’s going to make bank.
Michael Gallup (age-26 season in 2022): Dallas isn’t going to be able to afford to keep him. He’ll be cheaper than both Godwin and Robinson. There’s huge value here in a guy that won’t command as much money and could absolutely crush it as a top option instead of playing third fiddle to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
DJ Chark (age-26 season in 2022): I assume Jacksonville will try to keep him to grow alongside Trevor Lawrence, but he’s similarly a wideout who could excel in a better environment.
@NowWithGravy: Is Uncle Rico weird?
If you complete 80 percent of your passes and lead the Eagles to a win, you can be as weird as you want.