An Eagles star who might have been even better last year than we thought, an odd comparison between Dallas Goedert and Travis Kelce, and my favorite memory of the Eagles’ historic 38-31 comeback win over the Giants in 2010.
With training camp just a week away, let’s take a look at this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations.
1. Looking at some of the analytics from last year, I feel like AJ Brown was actually even better than we all realized. A few of the numbers that stand out: Brown had a receiver passer rating of 112.3, which was 5th-highest in NFL (among WRs with 100 targets). That means when Jalen Hurts or Gardner Minshew targeted Brown, their passer rating was 112.3. More impressive was his yards-per-target of 10.3 per target. It was 2n.d-highest in the league (behind Jaylen Waddle’s 11.6) and 2ndn.d-highest in the 31 years Stathead has tracked yards per game. targets — trailing only DeSean Jackson’s 10.6 in 2013. And get this: the Browns’ 17.0 yards per carry. catch was 2n.d-highest in NFL history by a receiver with 88 or more catches – Calvin Johnson had 17.5 yards per catch catch on 96 catches with the Lions in 2011. And this: Brown’s drop percentage was 3.4 percent, 8th-best in NFL and best all-time (since 2018) by a receiver averaging 17 yards per carry catch. Finally, Brown was 3rdrd in the NFL among wide receivers with 948 yards Before the catch and 2n.d with 548 yards after the catch. The only other NFL player last year with at least 900 yards before the catch and 500 yards after the catch? Justin Jefferson. The eye test said Brown was one of the best wide receivers we’ve ever seen around these parts. But the more you really break it down, the more you realize just how remarkable his first season as an Eagle really was.
2. As a rookie tight end with the Eagles in 1996, Jason Dunn had catches of 34, 54, 58 yards in his first six career games. He played 156 more games — mostly with the Chiefs — and never had a catch longer than 32 yards.
3. When the 1999 season ended, the Eagles’ franchise record was 396-479-25. They were 83 games under .500 in their first 67 seasons with a .454 winning percentage. Since 2000, they are 66 games over .500 with 217-151-2, a .589 winning percentage. That has left them just 17 games under .500 in franchise history. A few more seasons like last year and the Eagles will have a winning record for the first time in the franchise’s 90-year history. The best record ever in franchise history? Seven games into the 1933 season, the Eagles were 3-3-1. They went on to lose to the Packers 10-0 the next week at the Baker Bowl in Broad and West Washington in North Philly, and have had a losing record ever since.
4. During the 1947 regular season, Chicago Cards running back Elmer Angsman did not have a rushing touchdown longer than three yards, and his 3.7 average was 3rd-worst in the NFL among backs with at least 100 carries. In the NFL Championship game against the Eagles at Comiskey Park? Angsman had two touchdown runs of 70 yards. Only 11 other players in history have ever had a 70-yard TD run in the postseason (including Marcus Allen, LeGarrette Blount, Charlie Garner and Fred Taylor). Angsman had two in one game. Only five players have had two 70-yard TD runs in a regular season game – John Fuqua, Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Grew, Lenny Moore and Barry Sanders. In that 1947 championship game, the Cards ran for 282 yards and beat the Eagles 28-21. The 282 yards remain the 7thth– most ever against the Eagles and 9thth– most ever in a playoff game. A year later, the Eagles faced the Cards again in an NFL Championship game at Shibe Park. This time, Angsman ran 10 times for 33 yards and the Eagles won 7-0.
5. From 2003 to 2008, Brian Westbrook had 4, 6, 4, 4, 5 and 5 touchdown catches. He is the only running back in NFL history with six consecutive seasons of four or more TD receptions. Frank Gifford had five seasons with four TD catches — not consecutive — and a bunch of guys had four, including Darren Sproles. The only other RBs with four straight seasons with four TD catches are Marshall Faulk and a guy named Ray Mathews who I’ve never heard of and played for the Steelers in the 1950s.
6. Not saying Dallas Goedert is better than Travis Kelce. That would be ridiculous. BUT … look at these 2022 stats:
Yards per catch: Goedert 12.8, Kelce 12.2
Yards per Goal: Goedert 10.2, Kelce 8.8
Yards after the catch per Goal: Goedert 7.6, Kelce 5.9
Drops: Goedert 1, Kelce 8
Judging the receiver’s pass: Goedert 123.6, Kelce 117.2
Catch rate: Goedert 79.7, Kelce 72.4
7. Surprised at how many people have tipped Britain Covey heading into training camp. Not sure what they expected from an undrafted rookie punt returner, but Covey’s 9.3 average last year ranked 9th in the NFL, and as of Week 6, he averaged 11.6 yards per carry. return, 5th-best in the NFL. Including the postseason, he averaged 12.3 yards per carry. return from Week 6. And don’t forget his 27-yard return in the Super Bowl to the Eagles’ 43-yard line that set up a Jake Elliott field goal just before halftime. It was the longest punt return in Eagles history in an NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl. Covey had a few early muffs but quickly cleaned up. Is he a future All-Pro? I do not know. Does he deserve another year of bringing back points? Of course.
8. Every few years, it’s important to remind ourselves that Hank Baskett is one of only three players in NFL history with three TD catches of at least 87 yards. He had an 87-yarder from Donovan McNabb against the Cowboys in 2006, an 89-yarder two months later from AJ Feeley vs. Falcons and a 90-yarder against the Rams from McNabb in 2008. Baskett — an undrafted receiver out of New Mexico — has three of the 13 TD receptions of at least 87 yards in Eagles history. DeSean Jackson, Mike Quick and Ben Hawkins each had two, and TO, Fred Barnett, Timmy Brown and Tim McDonald each had one. The only other players in NFL history with three 87-yard TDs are Wesley Walker, who played for the Jets in the late 1970s and 1980s, and Pennsauken’s John Taylor with the 49ers in the late 1980s ‘s and the early 1990s. The only other undrafted player who even had more than one is Steve Watson of Temple and St. Mark’s High in Wilmington, which had TD catches of 93 and 95 yards from Craig Morton a few weeks apart in 1981. Other than those three insanely long TDs, Baskett never had a touchdown longer than 10 yards in his career.
9. Only three players in NFL history have averaged 60 yards per carry. game and 17.5 yards per catches in their careers with at least 600 catches: Hall of Famer James Lofton, Hall of Famer Don Maynard and DeSean Jackson.
10. Our Eagles top-10 list on Friday was the 10 greatest comebacks in Eagles history, and the unanimous No. 1 was the 2010 game against the Giants, which the Eagles won 38-31 after trailing 31-10 with 7 ½ minutes left. One of my favorite memories from that day actually came right after the game when DeSean Jackson walked into a mobbed interview room at the old Giants Stadium to chat with the media. It was just a few minutes after Jackson ended the game with his historic, electrifying game-winning punt return, and he was still in full uniform, wearing his helmet and looking dazed. He walked up to the podium, stood there for a moment, then said, “Guys, hey, I need a minute to collect my thoughts.” D-Jack then stepped a few feet to the right of the podium for a moment of quiet reflection while everyone sat there waiting and watching. After maybe a minute and a half, he stepped back to the podium and talked about one of the greatest plays in Eagles history, and he didn’t stop for 10 minutes.