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Eagles mailbag: The backup QB situation, the improved defense, and more


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MAY 31, 2020

Eagles mailbag: The backup QB situation, the improved defense, and more

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BY JIMMY KEMPSKI
PhillyVoice Staff
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053120JavonHargravePHILIP G. PAVELY/USA TODAY SPORTS

Javon Hargrave should make the Eagles' defensive line more disruptive.

In our Eagles chat last Thursday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow, as well as some commonly asked questions on Twitter and via email.

Question from Matt: If Nate Sudfeld is the No. 2, will they have 3 quarterbacks active on game day?

 

 

I have never bought the "Taysom Hill" stuff, and don't believe that the Eagles will try to use Jalen Hurts similarly. Hurts is a quarterback, and they're going to develop him as one. 

That said, I do wonder if they'll keep Hurts active on gameday, even if not used in a gadget role, if Sud is the No. 2 to start the season. In the playoff loss to the Seahawks, the Eagles could have used their No. 3 quarterback, and I'll bet they've taken a closer look this offseason at the positives and negatives of keeping a third quarterback active, especially after drafting one in the second round. 

But if I have to guess, I would bet that Hurts will be inactive on game day if indeed Sud is the No. 2.

Question from Norm Snead: Is the Eagles defense better than last year?

Yes. Darius Slay is the best cover cornerback the team has had since Asante Samuel, and the addition of Javon Hargrave should make the defensive line more disruptive. The benefit of those additions outweigh the losses of Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham, though I do think Jenkins is a significant loss.

 

And then I think you have to factor in improvement from some players already on the roster:

• Fletcher Cox should head into 2020 fully healthy. He was not fully healthy heading into 2019.

• You can maybe expect improvement from some of the younger guys, like Derek Barnett, Nate Gerry, and Avonte Maddox, for example. I do think you have to worry about some regression from some of the older guys, like Brandon Graham, Rodney McLeod, and even Slay, but again, I think the potential of the younger guys breaking out to some degree outweighs the likelihood of substantial regression from the older players.

Question from RKotite: Give me a name of a high profile Eagle (not Alshon) that gets traded. Not will/should they trade him, but who would make sense to move now and why?

This is maybe a boring answer, but I still think it's Rasul Douglas. Previously, I had noted that there was no way the Eagles were going to keep him on the roster at his pay, after he received a "Proven Performance Escalator" bonus this offseason that raised his cap number to $2,309,572.

But then Douglas took a pay cut, and he'll now only count for $1,001,572 on the cap in 2020. Previously, I felt that the ceiling for Douglas in a trade would be some sort of low end player-for-player deal. With his new contract, maybe he's worth a draft pick to someone?

Question from John: Jimmy, What's your take on Dak Prescott? Is he being smart or selfish?

Smart. When you see the kind of money he is reportedly turning down, that often doesn't register with folks who aren't making millions. But the reality is that the Cowboys are trying to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak.

Prescott watched as Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, a couple of quarterbacks from his draft class, got paid during the 2019 offseason, and then he played the 2019 season on his crappy rookie fourth-round pick contract. He made it through to the other side having put up good numbers and staying healthy, and all leverage flipped to his side of the table.

The Cowboys had the benefit of having a legitimate starting quarterback on their cap at an extremely low number for four years, and all they have to show for it was one playoff win. Now they want him to take a team friendly contract with more years than Prescott should be expected to commit to, and at far less money than he can earn if he plays the franchise tag game that worked out incredibly well for Kirk Cousins.

Many in the Cowboys' fan base will view the player as being selfish, when their criticism should be aimed at the front office for mismanaging the situation. 

Question from Injecting Clorox is the idea of a genius: Best value pick this year, Prince Tega Wanogho or K'Von Wallace?

I would say Wallace. I think he'll contribute immediately, and he has long-term starter potential. I think he'll end up being great value in the fourth round. Wanogho was a good value pick in the sixth round, but we don't know what other teams around the league know in regard to his medicals, so it's a lot more difficult to project his success. If he's healthy, he has a chance to be a steal, but that's a big "if."

Question from Kephas: What was your favorite Eagles game that you covered? What was just the worst game you covered?

There are a lot of choices for favorite Eagles game to have covered. To give an idea of the timeframe we're talking about here, I've been covering games in person since 2010. My top 5:

 

  1. The Super Bowl: Duh.
  2. The NFC Championship Game vs. the Vikings: The energy from the crowd was just different, obviously. What I really remember was the craziness while driving out of Philly. The Eagles gave the city a reason for everyone to love one another in the streets.
  3. The Snow Bowl: A few hours before kickoff, there was a dusting of snow, and then bam, in no time there's two feet, lol. I've never seen anything like that, at all, much less leading up to a football game.
  4. Miracle at the Meadowlands III: That was actually the first road game I ever covered from the press box. There's a rule in the press box that you can't cheer, and this was the only game I've ever really seen that rule broken by more than just one or two people. The Eagles had won five straight against the Giants at the time, at a time when the Giants were still good. It was clear that their organization really wanted this win badly. After Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to Kevin Boss to go up three scores, the press box erupted with cheering, and no "There is no cheering in the press box" warning occurred thereafter. I don't know exactly who was doing the cheering, but my assumption was that it was people who actually worked for the team. Their happiness was short-lived.
  5. The Thanksgiving loss in Detroit in 2015: The Eagles were coming off consecutive home losses to a couple of bad teams in the Dolphins and Buccaneers (they got lit up by the Jameis Winston and the Bucs), and they had to go to Detroit to play on a short week on Thanksgiving. The Lions destroyed the Eagles, 45-14, and Chip Kelly got absolutely grilled in the post-game press conference. It was clear then, to me anyway, that there was no way he was returning in 2016 after that three-game stretch. I know this may sound like an odd choice among "favorite" games to cover, but I have found that the team is fun to cover when they're either really good or really bad, and this game sort of epitomized the "really bad." Then again, I went back to my hotel room and ordered a cheeseburger after this game while my family had Thanksgiving dinner back home, ha, so I may have to rethink this one. 

The worst game? I'd say pretty much every Eagles-Jets final preseason game. In recent years the media has a 53-man roster prediction pool that is due the night of that game. I spend more time working on that than actually watching the game.


 

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | @thePhillyVoice

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