Eagles Observations: Can Howie Roseman keep defense together beyond 2022?

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In Roob's Observations: Can Roseman keep Eagles' defense together beyond 2022? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

An unprecedented achievement that three Eagles are approaching, a wild Rodney Peete stat and a unique accomplishment by an Eagles safety from the 1980s.

It’s a mid-July collection of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations!

1. The Eagles should be significantly better on defense this year. Take a unit that ranked second in the NFL in yards allowed per play, sixth in rush defense, third in fewest big plays allowed and nine in fewest 75-yard TD drives allowed, and add Haason Reddick, Kyzir White, Jordan Davis, James Bradberry and Nakobe Dean and a second year under Jonathan Gannon, and you’ve got a chance for something special. There’s one thing to keep in mind. A good chunk of this Eagles’ defense is not signed beyond this year. Bradberry, White and Anthony Harris are here on one-year deals, and Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, T.J. Edwards and Marcus Epps are all in the last year of their contracts. Graham could very well retire, Cox will likely play elsewhere and the rest, who knows? Hargrave is a priority, and it’s hard to imagine the Eagles not trying re-sign him, but it hasn’t happened yet. White and Bradberry are going to want to monster long-term deals and that could be elsewhere. Who knows what’s going to happen with Epps, Harris and Edwards? No lock that they’re back either. That’s a lot of unknowns, and continuity is huge. So, something to keep an eye on going into the season. The last thing the Eagles need is to rebuild the defense and then have to do it all over again next year.

2. A.J. Brown had 140 catches for 1st downs in his three years with the Titans. The most 1st down catches by an Eagles wide receiver over the last three years is Greg Ward’s 46.

3. Peete threw touchdowns of 43 yards to Rob Carpenter and 45 yards to Ricky Watters four passes apart in the Eagles’ 58-37 wild-card win over the Lions at the Vet in 1995. He remains the only Eagles QB in history with two TD passes of at least 43 yards in a playoff game. Not only were they Peete’s two-longest TD passes of the entire 1995 season, he never threw another TD pass of 43 yards again the rest of his career — and he played nine more years.

4. Nobody has ever played at least 170 games for the Eagles, made at least one Pro Bowl and never played for another team. Jason Kelce, Cox and Graham all have a chance to do it. B.G. has played 161 games, Kelce 159 and Cox 156. Cox could wind up playing for another team next year, but Kelce is a lock to finish his career with the Eagles and B.G. almost certainly will as well. Amazing that 10 years after Andy Reid coached his last game with the Eagles, three of his guys are still making history.

5. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Hurts produced 51 offensive plays of at least 20 yards last year — 44 passing and seven rushing. Only 12 players had more last year (Tom Brady 75, Derek Carr 68, Matt Stafford 65, Patrick Mahomes 62, Kirk Cousins 61, Josh Allen 60, Joe Burrow 60, Aaron Rodgers 55, Dak Prescott 55, Jimmy Garopollo 54, Justin Herbert 54, Mac Jones 52).

6. From 2000 through 2004, Donovan McNabb threw four pick-6s. Three were in the playoffs.

7. Terry Hoage is the only NFL player since 1950 (as far back as the Stathead game finder goes) with two interceptions and a touchdown run in the same game. In the 1988 opener against the Bucs at Tampa Stadium, Hoage picked off Vinny Testaverde twice and also scored on a 38-yard fake punt in the third quarter.

8. The Saints led the Eagles by as many as 13 points in the third quarter of their 1992 wild-card playoff game at the Superdome, and they still led by 10 four minutes into the fourth quarter when the Eagles proceeded to score an absurd 26 unanswered points in the span of 8 minutes, 20 seconds to win 36-20. That remains the most points scored in any NFL postseason fourth quarter since 1935. After the game, I was talking to right tackle Ron Heller and I said something profound like, “That had to be the craziest thing that’s ever happened.” He shook his head no and said, “Crazier things have happened.” I said: “Name one.” Without hesitating, he said, “Moses parted the Red Sea. There’s that.”

9. Josh Sweat has played 26 games against winning teams in his career and has 4.0 sacks.

10. Randall Cunningham is the only player in NFL history to record four straight seasons with 20 touchdown passes and 500 rushing yards. Cunningham did that from 1987 through 1990, his first four years as the Eagles’ regular starting quarterback. Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are the only other players who’ve had as many as two consecutive seasons with 20 TD passes and 500 rushing yards.