Roob's Observations

Roob's Observations: Examining just how rare it is to have a trio like Smith, Brown and Hurts

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The miracle of DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, a mind-blowing Rashaad Penny stat and the only WR in Eagles history to catch two touchdown passes in the last three minutes of a game.

With a little over a month to go till training camp, here's this week's batch of Roob's 10 More Random than Ever Eagles Offseason Observations! 

1. The Eagles have been so bad for so long at finding and developing wide receivers that it’s almost surreal that they now find themselves with two elite receivers on the roster at the same time. What A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith did last year is unprecedented in Eagles history and actually rare in NFL history. Before last year, no Eagles WR had ever had 70 catches and 1,150 yards in a season before his 26th birthday. Not one. Then Brown and Smith both did it at the same time. If you take their numbers and convert to a 16-game season, they’re both at 82 catches, 1,125 yards and 6 ½ TDs. The only other team that’s ever had two wide receivers 25 or under with 82-1,125-6 is the 2005 Cards, with 25-year-old Anquan Boldin (102-1,402-7) and 22-year-old Larry Fitzgerald (103-for-1,409-10), two future Hall of Famers. But their QB was 34-year-old Kurt Warner. Jalen Hurts is 24, soon to be 25. I searched for two WRs 25 or under on the same team just with 75-for-1,000 with a QB who was also 25 or younger, but every other combination had a veteran QB: Steve Breaston and Fitz with a 37-year-old Warner in 2008, Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in 2012 with 36-year-old Peyton Manning, the Saints’ Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks with 37-year-old Drew Brees, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz with the Giants in 2011 with 30-year-old Eli Manning. We all knew just how special Brown, Smith and Hurts are. When you break it down in the context of NFL history, you realize just how special.

2. Josh Sweat, who turned 26 in March, had 28 ½ sacks before his 26th birthday. Only Clyde Simmons (31 ½) and Reggie White (31) have had more in Eagles history. With just seven more sacks, Sweat would pass Jerome Brown (29 ½), Vinny Curry (30), Juqua Parker (31 ½), Mike Mamula (31 ½), Connor Barwin (31 ½), Corey Simon (32), Kenny Clarke (32 ½), William Thomas (33) and Dennis Harrison (34) and match William Fuller (35 ½) in the No. 10 spot in franchise history.

3. Sweat, Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham all have a chance to record a second consecutive 11-sack season in 2023. The last Eagle with 11 sacks in two straight seasons was Fuller in 1995 and 1996. 

4. There was a lot of outrage after Carson Wentz tweeted out that photo of him gleefully celebrating killing a bear on a recent hunting trip to Alaska. Now, a lot of NFL players are avid hunters. Trent Cole, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and many more Eagles and former Eagles have also shared social media posts showing them with their prey without this sort of reaction. But I think what makes Wentz look so bad and why this photo sparked so much outrage is the timing of it and the current circumstances of his career. He should be in the prime of his career, but he’s out of work at 30, looking (unsuccessfully so far) for his fourth team in four years, 28-34 in 62 starts since he got hurt in L.A. in 2017, with three career postseason passing yards, and he's never seemed too upset or accountable about all of it. And this photo just adds to the whole tone-deaf nature of his recent career. Wentz didn’t break any laws, he didn’t violate any local customs, he didn’t do anything tons of other people haven’t done. It’s just that Wentz should have had a better sense of how this photo was going to come across considering everything else going on in his world. Just a bad look.

5. Only one Eagle in franchise history has caught two touchdown passes in the final three minutes of a game. That was Dameane “D-1” Douglas in a season-ending game against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in 2001. The Eagles, having clinched the No. 3 seed and facing a rematch with the Bucs at the Vet a week later, played subs the entire game, and in the fourth quarter – with the Eagles trailing 13-3, A.J. Feeley replaced starter Koy Detmer. His 2-yard TD to Douglas with 2:12 left brought the Eagles within three points, and after Bucs receiver Karl Williams fumbled the ensuing kickoff – forced by Rashard Cook, recovered by Tim Hauck – the Eagles got the ball back on the Bucs’ 24-yard-line. After throwing incomplete to Gari Scott on 1st down, Feeley connected again with Douglas, this time on a 24-yard TD with 1:46 left, to give the Eagles a 17-13 win. Six days later, the Eagles beat the Bucs 31-9 in their wild-card game. Douglas scored three total TDs in his career, two in the span of 26 seconds.

6. Why was Douglas nicknamed D-1? When he was playing for Hanford (Calif.) High School outside Fresno, he caught a deep pass down the right sideline, and as he was racing toward the end zone he yelled to the overmatched cornerback, “I’m going D-1!” His teammates heard it and the nickname stuck. Douglas played college football at Cal, so he really did go D-1.

7. Did you see J.J. Arcega-Whiteside signed with the Falcons? JJAW is still only 26 as he tries to resurrect his career in Year 5. Man, when the Eagles drafted him out of Stanford in the second round back in 2019? I thought they got a big, athletic receiver with great hands and a huge wingspan who wasn’t a burner but was fast enough and was going to make an impact immediately in the red zone as he grew into a larger role on a team desperate for a young playmaking receiver. I was quite wrong. He’s got 16 catches to show for four NFL seasons, and he hasn’t caught a pass since Week 12 of the 2021 season. Maybe he’ll be able to reinvent himself in Arthur Smith’s offense, but JJAW’s lack of production since he was drafted is historic. Here’s the thing about JJAW: He’s a great kid, he’s always worked hard, he’s been accountable, he’s coachable, he really wants to do well. It just hasn’t happened. JJAW’s 290 career receiving yards are the fewest in NFL history by a wide receiver drafted in the second round who played at least 40 games in his first four seasons. I guess the odds of Arcega-Whiteside becoming a productive player at this stage of his career or even making the Falcons’ roster are microscopic, but I give the kid credit for not giving up. 

8. Since he entered the league in 2018, Rashaad Penny has 13 carries of at least 30 yards. Only five players have more during that span: Derrick Henry 22, Nick Chubb 21, Saquon Barkley 18, Dalvin Cook 15 and Aaron Jones 14. During that same five-year stretch, Penny has the 65th-most rushing attempts in the NFL.

9. The biggest age difference between an Eagles passer and receiver on a touchdown pass is 16 years, 255 days. It happened against the Cowboys on Oct. 13, 1968, at the Cotton Bowl. Sam Baker – on a fake punt – threw a 58-yard TD to cornerback John Mallory to bring the Eagles within seven points in a game they eventually lost 34-14. Baker was 38 years, 336 days old, and Mallory was 22 years, 81 days. It was the only completion of Baker’s career and the only catch of Mallory’s career. (The biggest age difference between a legit QB and receiver is 10 years, 323 days between Jeff Garcia and Reggie Brown in 2006). The biggest difference the other way – young QB, old receiver – is 10 years, 85 days on a 26-yard TD from Koy Detmer to Irving Fryar against the Cards in 1998.

10. The Eagles last year faced two quarterbacks from the Giants, Cowboys and Commanders: Daniel Jones and Davis Webb of the Giants, Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush of the Cowboys and Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke of the Commanders. That made 2022 the first time since the inception of the NFC East in 1970 that the Eagles didn’t face any quarterback twice during the regular season. They obviously faced Daniel Jones in the regular season and postseason, but that doesn’t count. Here’s a glance at the quarterbacks from the Giants, Cowboys and Washington Football Team since 1970 (and Cards while they were in the NFC East from 1970 through 2001) who faced the Eagles twice in a season:

2021: DAL-Dak Prescott
2020: DAL-Dak Prescott, NYG-Daniel Jones
2019: DAL-Dak Prescott
2018: DAL-Dak Prescott, NYG-Eli Manning
2017: DAL-Dak Prescott, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Kirk Cousins
2016: DAL-Dak Prescott, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Kirk Cousins
2015: NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Kirk Cousins
2014: DAL-Tony Romo, NYG-Eli Manning
2013: NYG-Eli Manning
2012: DAL-Tony Romo, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Robert Griffin III
2011: NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Robert Griffin III
2010: NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Donovan McNabb
2009: DAL-Tony Romo, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Jason Campbell
2008: DAL-Tony Romo, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Jason Campbell
2007: DAL-Tony Romo, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Jason Campbell
2006: NYG-Eli Manning
2005: DAL-Drew Bledsoe, NYG-Eli Manning, WAS-Mark Brunell
2004: DAL-Vinny Testaverde, WAS-Patrick Ramsey
2003: DAL-Quincy Carter, NYG-Kerry Collins 
2002: NYG-Kerry Collins
2001: ARI-Jake Plummer, NYG-Kerry Collins, WAS-Tony Banks
2000: ARI-Jake Plummer, NYG-Kerry Collins
1999: ARI-Jake Plummer, DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Kent Graham, WAS-Brad Johnson
1998: ARI-Jake Plummer, DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Kent Graham, WAS-Trent Green
1997: DAL-Troy Aikman
1996: DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Dave Brown, WAS-Gus Frerotte
1995: ARI-Dave Krieg, DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Dave Brown
1994: NYG-Dave Brown
1993: DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Phil Simms
1992: DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Jeff Hostetler, WAS-Mark Rypien
1991:  WAS-Mark Rypien
1990: ARI-Timm Rosenbach, NYG-Phil Simms
1989: DAL-Troy Aikman, NYG-Phil Simms
1988: DAL-Steve Pelluer, NYG-Phil Simms
1987: ARI-Neil Lomax
1986: NYG-Phil Simms, WAS-Jay Schroeder, ARI-Neil Lomax
1985: ARI-Neil Lomax, NYG-Phil Simms
1984: ARI-Neil Lomax, NYG-Phil Simms, WAS-Joe Theismann
1983: DAL-Danny White, NYG-Scott Brunner, WAS-Joe Theismann
1982: DAL-Danny White, NYG-Scott Brunner, WAS-Joe Theismann
1981: DAL-Danny White, WAS-Joe Theismann
1980: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Danny White, NYG-Phil Simms, WAS-Joe Theismann
1979: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach, WAS-Joe Theismann
1978: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach, WAS-Joe Theismann
1977: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach, NYG-Joe Pisarcik, WAS-Joe Theismann
1976: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach, NYG-Craig Morton, WAS-Billy Kilmer 
1975: ARI-Jim Hart DAL-Roger Staubach, NYG-Craig Morton
1974: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach, WAS-Billy Kilmer
1973: ARI-Jim Hart, DAL-Roger Staubach
1972: DAL-Craig Morton, NYG-Norm Snead
1971: ARI-Jim Hart
1970: ARI-Jim Hart, NYG-Fran Tarkenton, WAS-Sonny Jurgensen 

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