Ya, that’s right. Another Super Bowl article. Like I said on yesterday’s podcast, we are in the middle of the dead period around the NFL. The “grind” between mini-camps and OTA’s that drive NFL media and fans bonkers.
Doug Pederson may have turned the page from the Super Bowl win against the Patriots in February but while we have some time, let us take another trip down memory lane to February 4th in Minnesota.
Only this time with a look at some of the plays you may have forgotten about in the big game that was more important than one might think, and were over-shined by the likes of the Philly Special, Brandon Graham’s strip sack, Zach Ertz’s game-winning touchdown, and other famous moments from the Eagles first ever Lombardy Trophy.
Torrey Smith’s reenactment of the David Tyree’s helmet catch
It was only a third-down conversion early in the first quarter in a scoreless ball game but Patriots fans around the country had to be getting deja vu from seeing this right? Let us go back 10 years ago to when David Tyree made a similar catch to keep the Giants alive and eventually go on to end the Patriots perfect season.
— Louie DiBiase (@DiBiaseLOE) July 6, 2018
Smith’s catch wasn’t a super important one but the resemblance here is just so awesome. Best unintentional troll job in sports.
Nelson Agholor does his impression of Randall Cunningham
Another early play in the game that wasn’t extremely important. However like the Torrey Smith helmet catch, this reception by Agholor, taking a hit, spinning around and staying on his feet looks like something Randall Cunningham did back in the day.
Foles drops it in a bucket to Alshon along the sidelines
Foles made some pretty beautiful touch passes along the sidelines including this one to Alshon Jeffery. This ball couldn’t have been placed better. Over the heads of Stephon Gilmore and Patrick Chung, far enough away from Harmon to make sure Jeffery doesn’t get leveled while making the catch.
Rodney McLeod bodies Brandin Cooks
Brian Dawkins is that you? The Eagles defense was gashed by Brady throughout the game but repeatedly in the first half the defense tightened up in the red zone and forced New England to kick field goals.
Although Malcolm Jenkins knocking out Brandin Cooks is the go-to highlight for big hits in this game, Rodney McLeod body slamming Cooks before he exited the game was a gem.
Brandin Cooks did not have a great experience in his first Super Bowl.
Gostowski misses the extra point
Love this one. Mr. Perfect finally caved on the biggest stage. There might not be a more automatic kicker in the NFL than Gostowski but on this day…..this was our day.
Back shoulder perfection to Nelson Agholor
Agholor made some pretty important plays in the Super Bowl but this one is the most impressive. It might be a better throw from Foles than it is a catch from Agholor but it was a play of perfection from both sides. Back shoulder throws might be the most difficult to make consistently in the NFL but Foles in the clutch places this one right on the money.
Agholor gets tough on a reverse
Another smaller play on the big scheme of things but is another example of how far along Nelson Agholor has come since being labeled a bust after two of the worst seasons a receiver has had to start off his career.
Pederson implemented reverse plays to Agholor on a number of occasions throughout the playoffs now that the speed we saw at USC was showcased on the field.
Agholor got tough on this one, lowering the shoulder and running through two defenders to get the first down.
Foles hits Agholor on the run
Everytime you thought “ok this is when the Patriots start pulling away” Nick Foles would make another tough play to keep the Eagles drive alive. He isn’t the most athleticly gifted quarterback in the league but Foles was able to evade the rush by rolling to his right and delivered a perfectly placed ball to Agholor.
Jake Elliott has ice in his veins
Jake Elliott. Off a pracitce squad. Hit a 46-Yard FG to put the Eagles up by 8 with only a minute left in the Super Bowl. Ice. In. His. Veins.
Special teams set up the defense to finish the job
The last drive that resulted in a failed hail mary attempt by the Patriots could have been a lot easier if the Eagles special teams didn’t set them up with horrible field position.
New England tries a reverse but Bryan Braman and Najee Goode were having none of it.
Each and every one of these plays was crucial to the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. With so many incredible moments from the game, a lot of these plays went unnoticed until now.
Bell over Brown is an obvious choice for the Eagles
It’s almost fishing season in the NFL as all 32 teams look to catch some nice pieces for their roster through free agency, the draft, and the trade market. While the biggest fish don’t always tend to swim in those waters, every year a few big names suddenly become available for a team looking to spend.
This year, it just so happens two of the best at their position are up for grabs, and they both are coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Star offensive weapons in RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown will both be in different jerseys next year for the first time in their careers. Bell is set to become a free agent, while Pittsburgh and Brown agreed a trade is in the best interest for both sides.
On paper, the Eagles could make sense for both. Adding weapons around Carson Wentz will always be a priority. However if Howie Roseman and the front office decide they want to go after one of these expensive play-makers, Bell makes much more sense for a number of reasons.
Bell doesn’t come with the baggage Brown does
Don’t let this fool you. Talent beats culture. It is why the Steelers were consistently atop the AFC despite a chaotic locker room. Coaches like Chip Kelly flamed out because they prioritized scheme and a robotic culture.
Despite that, Brown’s antics off the field are a real concern. He quit on his team with the season on the line. Pittsburgh needed a win and a Baltimore loss to make the postseason in Week 17 but Brown was MIA.
The temper tantrums on the sidelines, ghosting your team with the season on the line, that kind of behavior despite six straight seasons of 100+ receptions is eye opening.
Bell doesn’t have that stench to him. While Steelers fans will tell you Bell was selfish and uncommitted to football, it is unfair to say he has character concerns because he didn’t want to risk his long term health in a contract year. He wanted to be paid like the star he is and Pittsburgh wanted to pay the position not the player. Can’t blame either side.
Brown would require trade assets AND a big contract
Some people love to scoff at the idea of paying any significant resource for a star RB like Bell. While it wouldn’t be smart to kill the salary cap for the do-it-all weapon, it is far more reasonable to pay Bell rather than pay Brown big money and give up the trade assets it would take to get him from Pittsburgh.
What sounds better to you? $14+ million a year for Bell or $14+ million a year for Brown and perhaps a 2nd round pick + Nelson Agholor?
Bell, Agholor, and the rookie taken with that 2nd round pick sounds a lot better than just Brown.
The report Bell wants $50 million in the first two years is scary. He turned down a 5 year $70 million deal with the Steelers but perhaps when the market develops Bell will have to temper his expectations.
Bell’s age and position is more attractive to the Eagles
Two other major elements in deciding between Bell and Brown would be age and position.
By the start of next season, Brown will be 31. Bell will be be 27. Bell has four years on Brown.
If Bell could maintain his productivity into his early 30’s, the Eagles could be set at RB for 5-6 years.
Being a running back also makes him a more attractive option. Doug Pederson’s offense is in desperate need of a talented RB.
Having a weapon like Bell in the backfield that can be your top runner, a top receiver, and efficient pass blocker puts this Eagles offense on a level only the Saints and Rams can match in the NFC.
It also makes the offense less predictable. Using a committee with featured grinders like Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajay, and Josh Adams to go along with the clear pass catchers in Darren Sproles and Corey Clement can be a good way to keep your backs fresh, but it is clear what the offense plans to do on 3rd and 4 when Sproles is out there.
It is easier to predict what Pederson will do on 3rd and 2 when Blount was out there. Someone like Bell keeps the defense guessing in any situation.
While the Eagles could use more speed on offense, Brown would be a luxury. A luxury that could cost high draft picks, players, a high cap hit, and potential baggage.
Is that worth it for a team that already has at least four quality receiving options? Can’t imagine Brown would be happy not seeing 13+ targets a game.
History tells us the Eagles won’t go after either Bell or Brown. However with an aggressive front office that has shown a commitment in surrounding their franchise QB with weapons, it wouldn’t be suprising to see one of these two in midnight green. Especially with Roseman’s ability to perform magic on the salary cap.
If they decide to pursue one, it should be Le’Veon Bell.
Offseason Options: Wide Receiver
The Eagles have plenty of weapons for Carson Wentz to throw to in 2019. The WR position, however, could use more speed to compliment the bigger weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert.
If Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, and/or Jordan Matthews leave the Eagles this offseason, what options does Howie Roseman have in free agency and the draft when it comes to pass catchers?
Louie and Gino give some big name options in the draft and free agency, as well as some receivers that could fly under the radar in both offseason periods.
Offseason Options: Running Back
It is time for the Eagles to add some serious talent in the backfield. What are their options if they want to add a big name free agent? What about a high draft pick?
If Howie Roseman sticks to his strategy of lower-priced free agents or draft picks, who could be a diamond in the rough?
Our “Offseason options’ series begins with RB on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
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