These are the things that keep me up at night. The things I get asked about more than anything else. The things I just can't figure out.
These are the 10 Greatest Eagles Mysteries.
Let's dive in!
1. Why can't Doug hire a good WRs coach?
By most measures, Doug Pederson is an excellent judge of talent. His football instincts are off the charts. The dude won a Super Bowl, toppling Belichick and Brady. But for the life of him he can't find a competent receivers coach. He's had four in four years and fired all four, although he didn't fire Mike Groh until after he spent two years as offensive coordinator. Andy Reid had one WRs coach in 14 years. Whoever Pederson hires this time around? He should keep that resume updated.
2. Why so many injuries?
This might be the biggest mystery surrounding the Eagles. How can an entire team be on IR? And why do so many of the injuries linger longer than expected? Or take strange unexpected twists and turns? And it's not just because this was an old roster. The young guys have gotten hurt just as much. They've changed trainers, they've changed doctors, they've changed the way they practice. They've changed everything but the strength and conditioning staff. Which very well could be next.
3. Why isn't Eric Allen in the Hall of Fame?
You'd think 58 interceptions and 9 pick-6's would be enough to get Eric Allen into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he's never even been a finalist. Aeneas Williams got in on his fourth try. Aeneas Williams was a very good cornerback. He wasn't in Allen's class. Why does the Hall keep snubbing E.A.? Maybe because those Eagles teams underachieved in the postseason. Maybe there's a perception that defense was just Reggie and nobody else. Whatever the reason, it's inexusable. We finally got Harold in. Now we gotta get Eric in.
4. What the heck is going on with Sidney Jones?
I'll be honest. When Sidney Jones had those late-game flashes late in the season, I really thought he was turning the corner. I did. He finally looked healthy and confident and just maybe that 2017 2nd-round pick wasn't going to be a waste. Then comes the playoffs and … Jones didn't play. Not a snap on defense. He's going into Year 4 and who is he? That guy who finally started making plays at the end of the season? Or the guy who got benched for the biggest game of his career?
5. Why did it take so long to cut Mack Hollins?
I'll never understand how the Eagles could keep sending Mack Hollins out there to catch zero passes while averaging 27 snaps over an eight-game span while Greg Ward – who's been here since 2017 – gathered dust on the practice squad. I get that Mack was mainly an outside guy and Greg is mainly a slot, but Hollins had no catches for two months. Ward finally gets a chance and catches 28 passes in his first six NFL games. How on Earth didn't they know Ward > Hollins?
6. Why does everybody call Mike Mamula a bust?
You know who was a bust? Jon Harris was a bust. He was a 1st-round pick and had two career sacks. Marcus Smith was a bust. He was a 1st-round pick and had 6 1/2 sacks. Mamula was a 1st-round pick and had 31 1/2 sacks in five seasons. He played hard, he played every down when he really should have been a 3rd-down pass rusher and to this day he has the 6th-most sacks ever by a DE the Eagles have drafted. He averaged one less sack per year for his career than Trent Cole. Mamula was never a star, but he wasn't a bust.
7. Why is the music at the Linc so bad?
The defense runs on the field in a pivotal situation. Game on the line. Players jumping up and down trying to work the crowd into a frenzy. And out of the massive speakers at the Linc comes … dance pop! Because what better way to fire up a crowd of drunken obsessive Eagles lunatics on a cold football Sunday than that "I drove my car into a bridge" song! It's 20-17 in the fourth quarter and the defense needs a stop! Give me some Sabbath! Give me some AC/DC. Give me some Zeppelin, Scorpions or Aerosmith! Don't give me Icona Pop.
8. What really happened to Nelson Agholor?
Nelly at his best is a good receiver whose whole game is incumbent on confidence. When he's confident? When he feels good about himself and his game? You get nine catches for 84 yards in a Super Bowl, three first-down catches on the game-winning drive. A solid guy. When the confidence goes? It really goes. He can't function. Then factor in a knee injury and you get what we saw this year.
9. Why did Doug announce Mike Groh would be back in 2020?
I still can't believe this happened. It's possible that when Doug spoke two weeks ago the decision to fire Groh hadn't been made, but I'm not buying it. I think Doug knew all along he was axing Groh and Carson Walch, but he felt like he needed to protect one of the victims at that point. Because Doug genuinely cares about the people he works with. Even the ones he's firing. Still, one of the more bizarre moments in Eagles press conference history. Even though we didn't know it till the next day.
10. Why don't the Eagles have an offensive coordinator yet?
And the current mystery. The Eagles are playing this close to the vest, so we really don't know what they're thinking. Maybe they have the perfect guy picked out and we just don't know it yet. But the impression we're getting is that a lot of top candidates don't want this job. In a way it's surprising. This is a stable organization, playoff team three straight years, franchise quarterback, elite young running back, offensive line stocked with Pro Bowlers. But it seems nobody wants the job, and it has to be more than just not having play calling duties. A lot of very good OCs work under offensive play-calling head coaches. But the whole situation is bizarre. And if the Eagles tweet out that Juan Castillo is the new offensive coordinator, would anybody really be surprised?
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