39 days until the Eagles kick things off in Atlanta.
I need it.
Time for this week’s mailbag questions...
@alex252: Is Howie a genius again?
Let’s pump the brakes. I’m assuming this is in regard to Carson Wentz getting surgery after suffering an injury in Colts training camp. Howie Roseman wisely traded away Wentz this offseason. I’m just not positive how much of that was his own singular decision rather than a bunch of factors jammed together.
Wentz no longer wanted to be in Philadelphia. Even if someone had no concerns about Wentz’s injury history going forward, he was gone.
Still, it was undeniably smart for the Eagles to part with Wentz. The North Dakota State product has been injured in five of his six seasons in the pros. The lone season he wasn’t injured resulted in one of the worst quarterback performances in the NFL, if not the worst.
People criticized the Wentz trade for selling low on him when the Eagles could’ve gotten a king’s ransom for the QB just a year or two prior. It was great value for a guy who was, again, terrible last year, didn’t want to be here with bad blood on both sides of the relationship with the organization and had just one or two possible suitors.
Give Roseman credit for that.
I’m also a huge fan of Roseman’s draft this year. DeVonta Smith and Milton Williams were my top choices for the Eagles in the first and third rounds, respectively. Landon Dickerson seems like a beast mauler. Zech McPhearson is already flashing in camp.
Eagles rookie CB Zach McPhearson making a lot of plays out here. Teammates got fired up when he laid the wood on Jason Huntley on running play. Two pass breakups that were near picks. Also had a pick yesterday.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 3, 2021
Still, this doesn’t remove the stink of the last handful of drafts the Eagles have had, killing the path to continued contention Eagles fans assumed the team would be on for years to come.
Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf. Andre Dillard over anyone else. These whiffs added up and the sum was a 4-11-1 campaign in 2020.
I can’t argue that Roseman has done his job well this offseason, but the thinking many had in 2017 and 2018 that he’s the best executive in the league is clearly off-base.
@knappattackk: Are you more upset that our flexibility to get a new QB if needed via trade or draft is now hurt by this Wentz news or glad that we got out from Wentz given its certainly fair to call him an injury prone player at this point
There are levels to this. I can only hope that the Texans no longer want to trade Deshaun Watson to the Eagles because one of the picks they would get back will likely be a second-round pick rather than a first-round selection. I’m not sure how much of a difference 20 or so picks makes in any deal, Watson or otherwise, but in this specific case, I’m glad the Eagles have less ammo.
Now, if this causes them to miss out on a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers deal in 2022, then I’d certainly have some different feelings given that they’re two of my three favorite non-Eagles ever. More importantly, those are two of the biggest difference-makers regardless of the roster around them in the NFL. That top tier may just include those two and Patrick Mahomes.
Going back to Wentz, to be honest, I’m fine not getting the first. Yes, no shit, I’d rather have a first-round pick than a second-round pick in a vacuum, but I truly did not want to deal with the “the Eagles should’ve never traded Carson!!!” discourse. The Eagles were smart to trade Wentz for a handful of reasons, one being the way he’s detonating physically after a career filled with serious injuries.
Even if the pick the Eagles get from the Colts in 2022 is in the 30s, the Eagles won the trade. That’s before even taking into consideration that the Eagles used the 2021 third-round pick they received from Indy to maneuver up and draft DeVonta Smith.
@eaglesburner_: Do you think we DeVonta smith before week one in Atlanta?
I doubt it.
The “week-to-week” billing is triggering for Eagles fans, but the team should be super-duper cautious with Smith. Reporters have said it’s a “two-to-three” week injury. I’d assume he’s out for the preseason and I’d be in favor of sitting him. Again, as I wrote yesterday, I don’t want him to fall behind in terms of getting up to speed in the NFL, but I want him to be as healthy as possible.
If he’s healthy and on the field for the Eagles’ opener, it’s a win and I’ll take that.
@TylerBoney: What’s your gut feeling about Davion Taylor this season? Went from not getting many snaps last season to getting 1st team reps this camp
I couldn’t have been lower on Davion Taylor this offseason, so I’m SHOCKED (pleasantly so) that he’s getting some buzz in training camp.
Davion Taylor says he feels “way more comfortable” heading into his second season. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 29, 2021
Davion Taylor with a nice PBU on a Hurts throw to Sanders in the front right corner of the end zone in 7 on 7. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 30, 2021
He’s dealing with a calf injury at the moment, which sucks because he needs all the reps he can get. When he has been on the field, he’s impressed. New defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has spoken highly of him as well.
What I find intriguing is the defense fronts Gannon has used during camp practices with more three down linemen looks than I anticipated with some 3-3-5 variations. Taylor, given his pure athleticism, could work there in a role not too dissimilar to the one Eric Kendricks filled in Mike Zimmer’s defenses in Minnesota.
I get hype about a lot of Eagles things, but I’m going to keep expectations low still for Taylor. Showcasing anything this season after a basically nonexistent rookie year would be great to me. The best-case scenario would be that he can carve out a starting role for the next couple of seasons.
@vroomrags: If you could steal any GM / front office from around the league who would you take?
My first thought would be to take Bill Belichick and also make him the Eagles’ coach. The issue there is that New England really hasn’t restocked their talent pipeline over the last handful of years and it may be a while before the Patriots return to true contention.
It would be a toss up between the Bills’ Brandon Beane and the Ravens’ Eric DeCosta.
Beane has done a tremendous job building around Josh Allen on offense the last couple of seasons, stealing Stefon Diggs from the Vikings, nabbing John Brown and Cole Beasley in free agency, etc.
DeCosta, even at just 50 years old, has been in the Ravens’ front office for 25 years. He’s the next figure in a long line of smart executives that have made the Ravens one of the few consistently great teams during my lifetime, working for two Super Bowl-winning teams and building a contender for the foreseeable future around Lamar Jackson.
I’ll say it like this: if I’m just taking one specific person, I want Beane. If I’m taking an entire front office staff, give me the Ravens’ crew.
@killakow: How good would someone named “Case Cookus” have to be before you considered signing them?
I would still draft Tyler Crisps over them.
@ndutton13: Are you a starter or a desert guy, assuming you can’t have both?
Apps all the way, man. I’ve gone out to dinner and only ordered appetizers and shared them with the table. Wings, sweet potato fries, mozz sticks, buffalo cauliflower, chips and guac, maybe some cheesesteak egg rolls? Sign me up.
Part of that I think is that when I’m consuming those types of food (be sure to read my Eagles food guide from a few weeks back), I’m usually watching sports and enjoying a couple cold ones, which I love to do more than anything. I’m not going to be crushing a pint of Halo Top oatmeal cookie ice cream during the second quarter of an Eagles game, ya know?