10 observations from Eagles-Cardinals

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10 observations from Eagles-Cardinals

BOX SCORE

Can't tackle. Can't catch. Can't block. Can't run. Can't throw. Can't do anything.

After two encouraging weeks, the Eagles were back to embarrassing themselves Sunday night. 

They've now allowed 40 or more points in three of their last five games and lost by at least 23 points in those three games.

The Eagles got humiliated Sunday night on national TV, dropping a 40-17 decision to an Arizona Cardinals team that seemed to be just toying with the Eagles much of the game (see Instant Replay).

We've definitely had more than our share of this sort of 10 observations this year, haven't we?

1. Monday, the Eagles can get back to pretending they’re in a playoff race. And I guess technically they are, considering the current state of the NFC East. But nobody should confuse being in a playoff race with being a true playoff team. On Sunday, the Cards demonstrated just how big a gap there is between the Eagles and a true upper-echelon NFC team. They came in and manhandled the Eagles on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and they did it in the Eagles’ own building. Yeah, the Eagles can still back their way into the playoffs with wins over the Redskins and Giants (see Mychal Kendricks' take here), but they have a long way to go to be able to compete on a regular basis with a team like Arizona. The Eagles just looked overmatched Sunday. Missed tackles, blown coverages, fumbles. The kind of stuff that should have been cleaned up in training camp. The Cards have drafted better, signed better free agents and they’re better coached. They’re just on a different level right now, and they made sure everybody knew it.

2. I get giving DeMarco Murray a diminishing workload since he hasn’t been producing. I get playing Ryan Mathews more than Murray. But one thing Murray has done awfully well this year is convert on 3rd-and-short. In fact, going into Sunday’s game, Murray was 12 for 12 this year on 3rd- or-4th-and-1, and Mathews was 2 for 5. So why did Mathews get the ball on 4th-and-1 in the closing minutes of the second quarter? While Murray watched from the sidelines (see story), Mathews was stuffed for no gain. One guy is perfect on short yardage, the other guy is at 40 percent. I get using Murray less, but I don’t get not letting him do the one thing he’s still doing well (see Chip Kelly's take here).

3. We have to address David Johnson’s 47-yard touchdown run. Johnson is a talented kid, tough to tackle. But goodness gracious, that was embarrassing. There were five different times that play should have been over. I don’t care how many backups are on the field, how many guys are missing with injuries. That was a shameful effort. Johnson’s TD was the longest against the Eagles in six years and the longest at the Linc in nine years. That’s not talent. That’s not ability. That’s just want-to. Toughness. Will. When that’s missing, you really have a problem.

4. What a colossal embarrassment Chip Kelly’s three biggest offseason moves have turned out to be. Murray, last year’s NFL rushing leader, rides the bench. Kiko Alonso, traded for LeSean McCoy, can’t tackle anybody and doesn’t even look like he’s trying half the time. Byron Maxwell has had a few decent games this year but certainly has overall been a major disappointment. These are the kind of moves that can set a franchise back years when they fail. And when they all fail this miserably? This is what you get. Owner Jeff Lurie really has to think long and hard about making more changes in the front office this offseason and at least giving Kelly a respected NFL general manager to work with. Not Howie. A new voice, a respected voice, a reliable voice. Gotta do something. Gotta get players.

5. Note to Jordan Matthews: Do not celebrate a touchdown down 20 points in the fourth quarter. I don’t care how long it was, how don’t care how far it was. Hand the ball to the ref and go back to the bench. You are getting embarrassed on national TV in your own stadium. Understand the moment.

6. It’s understandable if you had no idea who No. 31 on the Cards was. He began the season as the Cards’ third-string running back. He only had 35 career carries until the Rams game two weeks ago. He’s started three games in his career. He’s David Johnson, a rookie third-round pick from Northern Iowa, and he pounded the Eagles for 187 yards Sunday. Yeah, he’s a talented kid. But to let him run up and down the field in your own stadium like that? Just embarrassing. Inexcusable. I don’t know what else to say about the Eagles’ run defense. I thought maybe they had turned the corner with a terrific second half against Shady, but this was just pathetic.

7. Just to put all this in context: From 1977 through 2014, a span of 36 years, one opposing running back ran for 185 yards or more in Philly — Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in 1993. Then Doug Martin ran for 235 in Week 11 and Johnson ran for 187 Sunday. That means more backs have rushed for 185 or more yards in Philly in the Eagles’ last three home games than in the previous 36 years. Now that is bad run defense (see story).

8. I should probably say something about Sam Bradford. He did throw for 361 yards and he did make some big throws along the way. But he also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and he only put 17 points on the scoreboard. I still don’t see the future when I watch him play football. Will the Eagles have a better option? I’m not sure. But I’m not straying from my belief that until they draft a young stud QB and grow with him, they’re not going to be an elite team.

9. One more note on the defense. The Cards racked up 493 yards Sunday. This is the second time this year they’ve given up 490 or more and the sixth time in three years under Bill Davis. The Eagles gave up 490 or more yards once under Jim Johnson. In fact, they’ve allowed at least 490 yards as much in the last three years as in the previous 40 years. The Eagles have now allowed at least 400 yards in five straight games, which ties the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.

10. As bad as the defense has been, the offense hasn’t been a whole lot better. The Eagles have now gone six straight games without scoring more than two offensive touchdowns. Now, two of those games were with Mark Sanchez and one was split between Bradford and Sanchez. Still. The second Dallas game is the only game since Week 6 in which the Eagles have scored more than two TDs on offense. And the last time they scored more than three was the Saints. And get this: The last Eagles wide receiver other than Matthews with 80 receiving yards in a game? Jeremy Maclin. That just about says it all.

5 Minutes with Roob: Dane Evans talks Texas, career at Tulsa and hair

5 Minutes with Roob: Dane Evans talks Texas, career at Tulsa and hair

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles rookie quarterback Dane Evans:
 
Roob: Hey everybody, welcome to today’s Camp Central. We’re here with quarterback Dane Evans. Welcome to Philadelphia. I’m sure Philly’s a lot like your hometown of Sanger, Texas, just south of the Oklahoma border. I did a lot of research on Sanger. It looks like in the 1800s it was an old cattle town and it looks like it still is. So, what’s life like in Sanger?
 
Evans: Well, there’s really not much to do like you said. It’s a small cattle town. It actually got really big when railroads started connecting the country — they teach us this at Sanger High School — and there’s really not much there. It’s the typical Small Town, U.S.A. There's one side of the railroad tracks, there’s the other side of the railroad tracks. We’ve got two stoplights in the town and eight stop signs, not counting the neighborhood stops. There’s not really much to do except for football on Friday nights, and Lake Ray Roberts is just north of us, so a lot of people go out to the lake in good summertime weather.
 
Roob: I saw somewhere that when you were 12 years old, you were on the Pop Warner team that won the state title and you were on the baseball team that won the age-group World Series, and you won the Texas state wrestling title at 92 pounds, all in the same year. That’s a pretty good year.
 
Evans: Yeah, it was a good year. I still haven’t topped it. But, yeah, it was kind of crazy. That was when we lived in Arlington — my dad’s a coach, so we’ve moved around. We went to Florida and played at the Wide World of Sports in Orlando for football. We won that, and that summer — it was a bunch of the same guys, too — we went down to Beaumont, Texas, and won a baseball national championship. And then in the winter going into the next year, I won a wrestling championship. Wrestling was always one of my first loves. It was the first sport I did. My family’s from Oklahoma so a lot of people wrestle there. It’s kind of how everyone plays basketball around here — everyone down there wrestles, so it’s a very easy sport to get into.
 
Roob: So was that real wrestling or fake wrestling?
 
Evans: No, we weren’t dropping elbows and hitting people with chairs. It was the real deal.
 
Roob: You go to Tulsa and I think one of the most impressive things about you is that your freshman year, you had four touchdowns and 10 interceptions, you completed 42 percent of your passes, the team wasn’t great. But every year you got better and then by your senior year, you guys won a bowl game down in Miami, you went 10-3 and put up some good numbers. How tough was that freshman year all around and what kind of a process was it to get to where you were by your senior year?
 
Evans: It wasn’t easy, like you said. Freshman year, I went into the season as the backup and the starter got hurt halfway through, so they threw me in and I didn’t know I was starting until the day before I got my first start. I got no reps in practice and like you said, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions is not very good. But every year I kept growing from that and every season, we actually had a new offensive coordinator, too, so it wasn’t just trying to get better to keep your job, it was also learning a new offense. At the end of my career we finally won a bowl game, went 10-3 and we had some close finishes. It could have been a lot more wins and a bigger bowl game, but you know, my career — when you look back on those numbers, it kind of sums up what I’m trying to do. Sometimes it’s not the best but if you keep working at it, keep grinding away, it’ll get better and better.
 
Roob: You actually had more touchdowns in the bowl game than your whole freshman year. You had five touchdowns that game — that’s not bad. You completed 74 percent of your passes, threw for 304 yards. But despite a really good senior year, you didn’t get invited to the combine. How tough of a blow was that? I guess it put a lot of pressure on you going into your pro day.
 
Evans: It wasn’t fun. But yeah, it put an even bigger chip on my shoulder going into pro day, because I knew I belonged there and not that I was the best coming out, but I knew I belonged in the group of guys that got to go up there. I think I showed that on my pro day and I knew it was going to be an uphill battle this whole way. I’m just very lucky that a team gave me an opportunity like this to come in and show what I can do.
 
Roob: For people who don’t know, you were with the Jets. You had a tryout during OTAs and then came down here to Philly for a tryout, so you weren’t even technically on the roster and you went out during OTAs and threw the ball really well. That’s a lot of pressure because it’s basically a tryout. Did you feel like you acquitted yourself pretty well?
 
Evans: So the Jets was just a straight tryout, and their OTAs were the weekend before the Eagles'. I was super nervous going into that because I didn’t know what to expect and I couldn’t really play up there because I was so nervous and y’all will come to find out that I’m very hard on myself. I was so uptight I couldn’t play, and then when I came here for the Eagles' tryout, I just relaxed and had fun and played ball. I think it showed because they invited me back and I’m getting to learn from some really good guys, talking both player-wise and in the coaches’ office.
 
Roob: You look at the lockers right across from you — Matt McGloin, Nick Foles and Carson Wentz are all guys who have played a lot in the league and are veteran guys who have won games in the league. How much of a learning experience can this be for you?
 
Evans: It’s exactly what I want. I’m a rookie who ran a completely different offense in college. We ran the Baylor offense, and our plays were like three-word plays. That’s not how it is here, so really, all three of those guys have helped me. In my first minicamp, Matt was huge in my success. Every question I had, he answered it. And now with Nick and Matt and Carson being back, I can ask any one of them a question. And I don’t want to bug them with questions because they have a job to do, but when I have one, I ask them and they take their time and sincerely answer it.
 
Roob: All right, I’ve got to finish up by asking this. If people Google your name, they’re going to find photos of you with a lot of hair. I mean, I’m talking like you could have been a member of the Grateful Dead or something. What’s the story with that? Was that how people wore their hair in Texas?
 
Evans: No, no it’s not that. When I was in high school at Sanger, we were a public high school, but it’s a small town so we had a dress code and guys' hair couldn’t touch your ears or your shirt collar. When I committed to Tulsa, I knew I was going up there a semester early so I started growing my hair out, and I told the principal, ‘Look, I’m getting out of here, so I’m going to start letting it grow.’ She let me do it and for my first three years, I didn’t cut my hair at Tulsa. Like you said, it was down to (my shoulders) and it was flopping out of the helmet and now I’m bald. I grew out of it at the right time."

NFL Notes: Ex-Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead misidentified by police in robbery

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NFL Notes: Ex-Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead misidentified by police in robbery

OXNARD, Calif. — Police in Lucky Whitehead's home state of Virginia say the former Dallas Cowboys receiver's identity was falsely used in a shoplifting arrest.

Prince William County police said Tuesday they were confident the man charged in a case involving $40 worth of stolen food and drink from a convenience store in June wasn't Whitehead. The Cowboys released him Monday after reports that he was arrested and subsequently cited for missing a court hearing.

Whitehead's agent, Dave Rich, contended that his client wasn't in Virginia at the time of the reported arrest. Police said they are seeking the person who used the identity of Whitehead, whose given name is Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr.

The release of Whitehead came on the first day of training camp after a tumultuous offseason for the Cowboys, including the arrests of two defensive players (see full story).

Panthers: Olsen says holding out 'wasn't the right thing to do'
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Panthers star tight end Greg Olsen chose team over himself.

Olsen reported to training camp on time Tuesday, saying he didn't want to hold out and be a distraction to an organization aiming to win its first Super Bowl.

The 32-year-old Olsen has two years left on his contract, but has outplayed his current deal, becoming the first tight end in NFL history with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He was voted second-team All-Pro in 2015 and 2016.

Olsen contemplated holding out for more money, but ultimately decided against it.

"I just didn't feel it was right for me to put my situation and my own personal interests above that of the team," Olsen said as players checked into their dorm rooms at Wofford College. "If I don't show up today and cause a big stink, what would have come of that was just not fair to everybody, from ownership to the last guy on the roster. It's not something I wanted to be a part of when it came down to it. It's not who I am," (see full story).

Colts: Hooker, Luck to start training camp on PUP
INDIANAPOLIS — Safety Malik Hooker, the Indianapolis Colts' top draft pick, will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

As expected, Indy also put safety Clayton Geathers and quarterback Andrew Luck on the PUP list Tuesday. General manager Chris Ballard already has said defensive end Kendall Langford will go on the list when veterans report Saturday.

Hooker's appearance on the list came as a surprise. One day earlier, Ballard told reporters the Ohio State product would be available when the team opens practice Sunday. Instead, Hooker hurt his hamstring during a conditioning test Monday afternoon.

Hooker missed all of the team's offseason workouts while recovering from shoulder surgery and surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Broncos: Gary Kubiak coming back in scouting role
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Gary Kubiak's separation from the NFL is over.

Kubiak is returning to the Denver Broncos in a scouting capacity seven months after stepping down as their head coach over health concerns .

Kubiak will serve as a senior personnel adviser, scouting college and pro players. He'll be based out of his Houston home and make periodic trips to Broncos headquarters for personnel meetings, general manager John Elway said Tuesday.

"With as much experience as he has evaluating players, Gary's going to be a tremendous resource for our personnel department," Elway said. "He'll primarily help on the college side and assist us in free agency as well," (see full story).