In Roob's Observations: What kind of reception will Wentz get at the Linc?


What kind of reception will Carson Wentz get at the Linc? Who’s the only NFL player with more scrimmage yards than Boston Scott against the Giants since 2019? What’s the best way to use Fletcher Cox this year?

We have questions, and we have answers in this weekend’s Roob’s 10 random Eagles offseason observations.  

1. On our latest Eagle Eye podcast, Dave Zangaro and I went over the 2022 schedule and made early predictions of the Eagles’ won-loss record. I see a roster that’s significantly improved at wide receiver, linebacker and defensive line on top of the natural growth you expect from Nick Sirianni, Jonathan Gannon and Jalen Hurts. Looking at all that and the way the schedule falls, I went with 11 wins, and I believe that’s realistic.

What’s really important is that the Eagles close the gap on the Cowboys. Because until they do that, they’re going to be a wild-card team at best, and they’re going to have a hard time making a deep playoff run. The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011, they’ve won just 10 of the last 27 meetings (two were meaningless), they’re 4-9 in the last 13 games at the Linc (two meaningless), and they’ve lost by 20 the last two times they’ve played at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys have had the Eagles’ number lately, and if the Eagles can remedy that, they’ll have a chance to do some special things.

2. Sign James Bradberry today. Or sooner.

More: Could Giants castoff be answer to Eagles' cornerback need?

3. Over the last three seasons, only Ezekiel Elliott has more scrimmage yards against the Giants than Scott. Elliott has 552 and Scott has 547. Against all other teams, Elliott has 3,831 scrimmage yards and Scott has 944.

Scott’s eight TDs since 2019 are the most in the NFL against the Giants; Elliott has seven. Incredibly, only five players in Eagles history have scored more TDs against the Giants than Scott: Brian Westbrook [13], Timmy Brown [11], Tommy McDonald [11], Wilbert Montgomery [10] and Harold Carmichael [9].

4. I like the way the schedule falls this year. Those first four games — at Lions, Vikings home, at Commanders, Jaguars home — are going to give the Eagles a real opportunity to finally get off to a good start and build up some confidence going into the tougher portion of the season. Those first four teams were 21-46-1 last year and all four had losing records.

The Eagles always seem to be scrambling lately to overcome slow starts. In 2018, they opened 4-6, then finished 5-1. In 2019, they were 5-7 and finished 4-0. Last year they were 2-5, then went 7-2. You don't leave yourself much margin of error that way. A good start for a change would be huge.

More: A week-by-week look at the Eagles' 2022 schedule

5. It’s still six months away, but I really think Wentz will get a mixed reaction when he plays at the Linc in November. I know there’s a school of thought that he’ll be booed mercilessly by everybody. But I do think there is a significant percentage of Eagles fans that can appreciate what he did in 2017. Nine straight wins. An 11-2 record. A franchise-record 33 touchdowns to only seven INTs. A 101.9 passer rating.

Simply, if Wentz doesn’t have an MVP-caliber season there is no Super Bowl. There is no parade. There is no Nick Foles statue.

I know it got ugly at the end. I don’t like the way he behaved either. But to me what he did in 2017 takes precedence over everything, and Nov. 10 will be a chance for Eagles fans to show their appreciation. I hope they do. 

6. From 2010 through 2017, LeSean McCoy rushed for 70 or more yards 68 times. Nobody else in the league did that more than 55 times. 

7. Interesting to look at Cox’s snap counts over the last few years. They’ve dropped from 80 percent in 2018 to 78 percent, 72 percent and 70 percent last year. And after watching him in 2021, I think it makes sense for that trend to continue. I think somewhere around 60 to 65 percent makes sense for the 31-year-old Cox in 2022.

With Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams also at defensive tackle, Gannon will have the luxury of limiting Cox’s snaps so when he does get out there he can be effective.

I still believe Cox has something left, although he’s clearly not what he used to be. But as he and Gannon figure each other out he can still be a significant part of this deep interior rotation.

More: Is it time for Hargrave to get an extension?

8. How underrated was William Thomas? Had 27 interceptions and 37 sacks in his 11-year career, making him one of only four players in NFL history with at least 25 INTs and 35 sacks. The others are three Hall of Famers — Bobby Bell, who played for the Chiefs in the 1960s and early 1970s; Ted Hendricks, who spent most of his career in the 1970s and early 1980s with the Colts and Raiders; and Ray Lewis, who spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens.

That’s elite company.

9. It’s wild to think how much the Eagles’ wide receiver group has improved. Last year the top five in snap counts were DeVonta Smith [916], Quez Watkins [771], Jalen Reagor [750], Greg Ward [245] and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside [170].

So A.J. Brown presumably replaces Smith in the top spot (although they could be interchangeable), Smith replaces Watkins, Watkins replaces Reagor, Zach Pascal replaces Ward and Ward most likely replaces JJAW.

This is a legit group now.

10. Smith last year became the second Eagles rookie to catch a pass in every game of the season. The first was tight end Charle Young in 1973 in a 14-game season. 

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