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October 07, 2019

What they're saying about the Eagles: Trade rumors, the DeSean Jackson effect and the future of cornerback position

It's only fitting that, a day after the Eagles' defense dominated the Jets (sacking them 10 times and scoring 14 defensive points), defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz found his name being mentioned among those up for the Redskins coaching job.

Early Monday morning, the lowly, winless Washington football team let Jay Gruden go, prompting betting websites to provide odds for the next man hired for the job. Schwartz comes in at 20-1, the ninth best odds to take the job. Some other Philly-centric names like Matt Rhule (former Temple coach), John DeFilippo (former Eagles QB coach) and Chip Kelly (former head coach) also appear on the list but with far longer odds. 

Washington will have plenty of time to stew over the decision, as it is just Week 5 and there doesn't seem to be much point in hiring a new head coach to coach a dreadful 0-5 team. 

The Eagles won't face the Skins again until December 15 — but it should be as dominating a win as Philly had Sunday over the equally pathetic Jets.

Here's a look around the Eagles media world at some takes on the club as it climbs to 3-2 with a trio of tough road games slated next on the schedule:

Deflated without D-Jax

DeSean Jackson, according to reports Monday, won't be back until Week 7 at the earliest, when the Eagles head to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. He is expected to resume more physical rehab for his abdominal injury over the coming weeks. You don't need a fancy info graphic to see the effect his absence has had on the offense — Carson Wentz was much more conservative with the football as the passing game looked less than stellar against New York — but NBC Sports Philly's Dave Zangaro had one from NFL Next Gen stats to hammer home the point.

The Eagles will surely miss Jackson's speed and ability to take the top off of the defense in Minnesota against a pretty solid secondary.

Oh, Nelly

Nelson Agholor was "demoted" back to the No. 2 spot at WR after the return of Alshon Jeffery, but he continues to be frustrating. Here's a snippet from Brandon Lee Gowton's 15 thoughts after the Birds' most recent win:

Agholor’s sole reception of the day was punched out of his control. He’s fortunate it went out of bounds this time unlike his Week 3 fumble against the Lions. 
Agholor had two opportunities for deep receptions but couldn’t come up with either. He was held on at least one of them, yes, but can we really say he did a great job of tracking those Wentz passes? 
With one reception for 20 yards in his last 117 snaps played, he’s just not coming close to justifying that $9.4 million salary. [Bleeding Green Nation]

Fighter's mentality

Wentz is one of the most exciting players to watch in the modern NFL because of his ability to extend plays and create something out of nothing. But according to the Inquirer's Marcus Hayes, every time he hangs on to the ball for a second or two extra in the pocket or welcomes would-be tacklers to take a shot at him, he is risking the Eagles' season and his own career.

With 44 seconds to play in the first quarter, the Jets’ Darryl Roberts sped into the backfield on a delayed cornerback blitz from the left end. Wentz faked a handoff, so his back was to Roberts, and when he turned Roberts was there, and he was unavoidable. Wentz should have thrown the ball away immediately. When Roberts wrapped himself around Wentz’s legs, Wentz should have simply fallen and taken the 5-yard sack. Instead, Wentz twisted his body against the torque of the tackle and threw the ball away -- weakly, and foolishly; it might have been an interception. 

Yes, Wentz saved 5 yards, but Wentz might have lost his season. Besides, the situation didn’t call for heroics. The Eagles held a 14-0 lead, had the ball at the Jets’ 41, and faced second-and-10. Third-and-15 against the NFL’s worst team wouldn’t have been so bad. Instead, their $128 million quarterback spent the next 15 seconds walking off what might have been a shredded left knee -- the same knee he shredded in 2017. [] 

Visiting Orlando

One of the biggest highlight's from Sunday's 31-6 win was Orlando Scandrick's strip sack touchdown, a play that saw the recently signed veteran cornerback rip the ball from Jets quarterback Luke Falk's hands and return it 44 yards for a touchdown. For a team with so many injuries and questions at cornerback, it may have been the perfect time for Scandrick to come onto the scene in Philly. Here's some thoughts on his future with the club as Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills and others start getting healthy from Andrew Kulp at NBCSP:

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks transpire at corner. Darby, Jones and Maddox are all expected back in the near future, plus Jalen Mills is eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list after Week 6, while Cre’Von LeBlanc can come off of IR after Week 8. 
But for all of their talent, Scandrick had a bigger impact on one game than any Eagles cornerback has had in what felt like a long time. If he plays well again in Minnesota next week and beyond, the front office and coaching staff will have difficult decisions to make. 
For now, Scandrick says he’s “so happy to be back” — but the next time you hear from him, he’ll be focusing on the Eagles’ next opponent, like the veteran he is. 
“I get 24 hours to enjoy it,” Scandrick said. “I’ll be back in on Tuesday at 8 o’clock. I’ll watch the film, I’ll put it behind me and then I’ll look forward to the Minnesota Vikings and do whatever I’ve gotta do to help this team win a game.” [NBC Sports Philadelphia]

Trade rumor mill

ESPN made a bevy of trade proposals for contending teams and the Eagles not surprisingly were included. Even after their stout defensive performance in Week 5, the Eagles have the sixth worst pass defense in the NFL having allowed 271 yards per game through the air thus far. ESPN believes they need some help in the secondary. However, they do not connect Philly to a player with a big name and reputation like Jalen Ramsey. Instead, they see the Eagles making minor moves for Jets veteran cornerback Trumaine Johnson or for Steelers veteran cornerback Artie Burns. Here's some of Bill Barnwell's reasoning:

The trade: Philadelphia Eagles send a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Jets for Johnson
Teams have torched the Philadelphia secondary this offseason. The Eagles have reportedly made offers to try to acquire Ramsey, which would be a surprising move given how Philly has typically deemphasized spending at cornerback to ramp up along the line of scrimmage and on the offensive side of the ball. 
Howie Roseman is arguably the most aggressive and creative general manager in the league when it comes to trades, though, and taking a flier on Johnson without having to give up anything more than a future seventh-round pick would give the Eagles another option as they try to find cornerback help. [ESPN]

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