Eagles’ Youth Provides Ray Of Hope

Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce BrownIf you are looking to take something positive out of this season (or at least for a way to ease your despair), focus on the Eagles’ youth.

An improbable 16 players have made their NFL debuts this season and nine have made their first NFL starts. Whether earning their position outright or forced into action by injury, eight rookies — Brandon Boykin, Bryce Brown, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles,  Damaris Johnson, Dennis Kelly and Mychal Ke ndricks — have all played meaningful snaps. A few others (Chris Polk, Marvin McNutt, Ryan Rau) have had at least a taste of the action.

Here is a look at what some of them are in the process of accomplishing:

— Foles’ 1,356 passing yards ranks as the second-highest ever by an Eagles rookie (John Reaves, 1,508 in 1972). He set team rookie passing records against Tampa with 32 completions and 381 yards and already holds the record for most completions in a season (129).

— Cox is tied for the team lead in sacks with 5.5. Only Corey Simon (9.5) and Derrick Burgess (6) have recorded more sacks as rookies. He has 4.5 sacks over his last six games.

— Johnson set a new franchise record with a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown against Dallas, besting Vai Sikahema‘s 87-yarder against the Giants in 1992.

— Brown’s 347 yards in his first two starts was the second most rushing yards in consecutive games in team history, behind only Steve Van Buren‘s mark of 379 yards back in 1949. He needs 110 yards over the final two games to break LeSean McCoy‘s record for most rushing yards as a rookie. He will also hold the rookie touchdown mark with two more scores.

— Kendricks is fourth on the team in tackles (68). His nine passes defensed are more than Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen combined, and trails only Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the team lead.

Throw in the recent surge by Brandon Graham, and there is reason to believe that the Eagles might just have a few building blocks on this roster.

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  • Graham

    This is definitely something very positive to bring out of the season. Shows that really we just need to get a QB in place and everything will work out. The Defensive line is obviously above average. Linebackers are above average. RB and WR groups are stellar. All we need is a stiffened up secondary and a reliable QB (Foles, if not someone else)… and things will be looking up again.

    • Myke Lowery

      and I’ll take a healthy offensive line that can actually block and be physically dominant.

      • Graham

        Yup exactly…. With Peters, Kelce, Herremans, Possibly Jake Scott, this OLine might be back to tip top shape next year

        • asasson

          Who says they’re all going to come back healthy? This draft we need to prioritize our Oline and then go for DBs. We should NOT get rid of our whole backfield as some here have suggested, under-estimating how difficult that would be to fully replace.
          Also, graham, I agree you are over-stating what we’ve got. Jackson has not completely shown he’s a number 1 receiver and going out and getting ourselves a solid number 1 who can MAKE plays, not just run fast (especially considering Foles’ problem with long-ball accuracy), would be very smart for us to do. If we can manage to pick up another solid TE that wouldn’t hirt either, Celek certainly isn’t known for his consistency.

          • Graham

            Agreed. Jackson and Maclin show potential but neither seem to be that vincent jackson or andre johnson type player we need. Oline, I think they all should come back healthy.. Peters has had more than enough rehab time and Kelce as well. But yes, this draft Oline depth should be priority given that 3 of the starting OLmen were seriously injured this season… who knows how they will come back. As for WRs, I think Riley Cooper could develop into that go-to guy, he’s big and has great hands… I dono we’ll see! TE I agree Celek is on his decline, need to pick up someone new. Like another Aaron Hernandez taken in the 4th round..

    • GoBirds1

      Typical Eagle fan. Here we go again, over valuing our talent. Needs for starters only for 2013: SS FS CB(2) SAM TE WR OT G and maybe QB. Did I forget any? Dont worry, we will be fine, we have Howie on the job to rebuild this disaster.

      • Graham

        Riley Cooper, Desean, Maclin and demaris are a pretty solid WR corp… I wouldn’t say I over valued talent it by too much. Just stating what has been shown this year. LBs are looking good, SAM is only thats needed. Kendricks and Ryans are great where they are, especially Kendricks on weak side now. SS FS CB yes is in dire need, as I stated. OT and G I guess so. Although I could see Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herreman, Jake Scott (possibly) forming a really nice Oline come 2013… Let’s see what the offseason brings us as that is all we have to look forward to :(…. what a terrible disappointment this year.
        I think in preseason we all believed this Eagles team was going to go all the way, the coaches and players convinced us and we would have never thought they’d F*CK it up again… welll what do you know they DID

        • Run Eagles Run

          I agree with you on the wrs. What Cooper lacks in some areas, he makes up for with toughness. Also, if we finally get a coach that with run the ball, I love Coopers blocking and shady and brown will hopefully take advantage. But I would trade maclin , and draft a WR. People say trade desean, but if we get a coach that can use him sorta like wes welker he can be destructive. Still need to strengthen the Oline though. As someone else mentioned you cant count on peters being the same animal, and they have to learn from this years mistakes with depth.

          • Graham

            if Peters can do what AP did… that’s all we can hope for lol.. AP had ther ACL (and MCL?) completely busted and Peters 2 achilles ruptures.. hmmm… I dono I don’t see it happening

          • Run Eagles Run

            I will be praying for peters knee… who by the way is another guy fans bagged on and now love. funny how that happens a lot with birds fans. even with a healthy jason peters, I would still to see them draft a o-lineman high, so we dont have to watch king dunlap struggle if there is a long term injury.

          • Graham

            Peters achilles… but yes if there’s anything I pray for it is for him to “pull an Adrian Peterson”, I’ll call it… And yeah even if he comes back healthy it would be good to still get a stud OL, lots of youth on that line… need for depth tho. Hopefully we see OL and S taken in first 3 rounds, see how the talent evaluation does again. Maybe eagles can get another steal like Boykin as a later round safety… who knows… just a hopeful eagles fan here, that’s all. Who thinks nnamdi will be gone?

          • Run Eagles Run

            knee, achilles, at this point Ive forgotten, but I agree. as for nnamdi… it once again comes down to what available and how the new coach grades that position. I dont envy the job, cause even nnamdi and DRC looked better the last few games. I think the most telling quote from DRC was after one game, he said guys were trying not to mistakes, not communitcating rather than playing football. they were playing against their instincts, just so on film they could say, “hey, I was where I was supposed to be”. you cant play any sport uptight. they seem much more comfortable now, without the pressure of the wide 9 BS. but you dont want to get a false sense of security and overvalue these last few games. its tough. I hope lurie finds the guy to makes the decisions, and make some good ones.

          • Graham

            Yup.. we can only hope. Lurie has kept VERY quiet all season…
            There’s talks of Reid actually coming back… and quite frankly I can see it happening given everything that has happened this year. Lurie said he would only come back under extreme circumstance… Well a son dying in training camp, 4/5 offensive linemen out almost all year, and injuries to Jackson, Maclin, McCoy, Vick…. I dono I personally believe he deserves another year at it. We won’t be able to find a better coach as simple as that. I’m an Andy fan tho… most of the fanbase will disagree with me on that one lol

          • JohnGiam

            as bad as Nmandi has been, I got bigger fish to fry! I need real SAFETYs and I need two of them. half of Nmandi bad plays this season came from him playing his RECIEVER a certain way, expecting the safety to do something, and then the safety does the opposite… Most of nmandis bad plays this year came from miscommunication between him and Nate Allen. Either Nmandi or Nate Allen didn’t do his job, and to the naked eye the blame always falls on the corner…but if I had to guess, I trust the cerebral veteran, Nmandi to ATleast know his assignment more then I do that DOPE Nate Allen. CLearly Nmandi speed isn’t quite what it was…but I’m willing to bet that much of what we as fans blamed him for this year was Nate Allen’s fault. So I do expect Nmandi to still be able to play significantly better then what he has shown so far as an eagle, if he is paired with a GREAT, STARTING CALIBER NFL safety! get two ABOVE average starting safeties and I PROMISE DRC and NMANDI would be SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER!. I don’t see how you can give up on a talent like drc at his young age…and I think if we invest in two great safeties which we are starving for, we can get away with one more year of Nmandi, and replace him next offseason since he is getting up there I’m age.

            Find a way to sign JARIUS BYRD from buffalo, that should be the number 1 target of our entire offseason. Then I would try to pair him with a Dashon gholdston or draft Vaccaro (not sure how since he is projected to between our first and second round picks! We learned that fe agent mercaneries aren’t the way to go, but I believe in Byrd, a young kid that is always improving, coming off his rookie contract. We have to get that kid, BREAK THE PIGGY BANK OPEN FOR HIM! We have given away so much money for crap. That’s one young kid I believe in!

          • daytoday

            i agree 100%

          • daytoday

            i agree with what you said about andy…there have been to many injurys this yr but most fans wont want to hear it

            – i look at this yr as a positive, we get to have a top 5 pick most likely, and we could really bulster our defense, we could take jarvis jones, manti te’o, or star lotulelei…..could you imagine our front 7 with any of those players without the wide 9…..as for Nnamdi and DRC, they are fine, im trying to tell ppl that the wide 9 hurt the entire secondary and if we could upgrade at 1 safety spot we would be set, plus our offense is going to get everyone back healthy and with all the weapons we have at WR and running back, the sky is the limit
            -ppl need to stop overreacting and look on the bright side, we are the 3rd youngest team in the nfl and we can only get better, and andy reid has PROVED he can build a great team

          • Johngiam

            I don’t really disagree with any of this…but if you are going to bring Andy back for just one more season, what’s the point? Longer delaying the inevitable? Starting the rebuilding process an extra year too late? We won’t win a Super Bowl next year regardless of who the coach is, so let’s not waste any more time, let’s find an identity and start working towards it…..Also, I do believe Andy’s biggest problem is as a head coach for 14yrs in 1 place, he is out of the loop with who the best young assistant coaches are in the league, thus desperate moves for coordinators like Howard Mudd out or retirement, Juan switching to defense….Every year that goes by his assistants have gotten worse and worse..and I don’t see how Andy can correct that. Time for a new direction, time for a new scheme…no more cute gimmicky quick strike Andy ball. Time to go back to playing Line me up and punch them in the mouth Phlly style football. get me a HEAD coach, that Can get me a defensive coordinator WORTHY of replacing JIM JOHNSON!! I’m starving to watch a tough Philly style defense. It has been too Long. I need a defense who thinks its the end of the world when they give up more then 17pts. That’s what wins championships. Even the greatest offenses will struggle at times, a monster of a r defense keeps you in every game.

  • Absecon

    Eagles have been both too young and too old the past few seasons to be truly competitive. Not enough guys aged in the middle. Blame the front office and AR for that….

  • Wilbert M.

    The new Eagles staff will need to be really shrewd to rebuild the secondary. It’s a down year for CB’s & safeties in the draft and there’s not much out there in free agency. They are going to have to find some sleepers and take some chances on guys. I just hope they clean house and get rid of Nnamdi, DRC, Marsh, Hughes and Coleman. Maybe Allen could be a backup.

    • Sensei

      While many of those guys could go I highly doubt that they will all be gone replacing 5 defensive backs would be incredibly hard

  • Run Eagles Run

    for those who cant grasp just how much the o line being decimated this
    season crippled the team… I dont know what to tell you. that combined
    with the circus that was the coaching situation, from a traumatic start,
    to a dramatic firing of several coaches and essentially babin, what
    could you have expected? you have to take some positives. they clearly
    have some good players on both sides of the football. a different coach,
    who doesnt care about where guys were drafted, and isnt attached to
    foles… I trust lurie will hire a guy who is ready to make some tough
    decisions. you can see how rejuvenated the D looks even with changing
    drivers and techniques midseason. people here were bagging on guys like cullen jenkins, and you can see without washburn, the guy is legit. things arent as bad as they seem, they need a little polish, draft/address o-line depth and secondary, and a QB and they are ok. o line and D are most important, they can get buy with a marginale QB is shady is healthy and b brown can hold onto the ball a privide a good 1 2 punch. lighten up. if vick didnt get hurt, and the coaching didnt blow that lions “win” we’d be in the playoffs.

    • The Guru

      “if vick didnt get hurt, and the coaching didnt blow that lions “win” we’d be in the playoffs.”

      Congrats on the dumbest thing I’ve read all season.

      • Run Eagles Run

        truth hurts, go light some crosses, you’ll feel better

        • The Guru

          Good comeback. Simpleton.

          • Run Eagles Run

            Congrats on the dumbest thing I’ve read all season. is that more intelligent?

      • Run Eagles Run

        whats foles record as a starter? just curious.

  • HowieDon’tKnow

    2012 talent has been good and has outperformed 2011 and 2010. We need a better talent evaluation and intake process. Getting Reid may only exacerbate the problem if Howie does not go too.We need good GM to pick coach and talent. We should hire the top scout from the Steelers, Packers, Giants, or Saints.

  • Graham

    Did anyone watch Earl Thomas return an INT 57 yards for a score? Anyone else watch it imagining he was in an Eagles uniform instead?

    Jeeze imagine if he was on the team now… He’d fill a much needed position much more needed than ANY DE

    • Johngiam

      Did anyone see that Brandon Graham is rated as the number 2 DE in football this year?

      • Run Eagles Run

        so now youre jumping on the graham wagon, and your gonna pretend that youve been a fan all along and always knew he was good? gtf outta here dude. seriously, just shut up instead of saying shit like that.

        • Johngiam

          uh actually, this site has an archive feature where you can easily go back and see what I have been writing about graham all year long. Fool! Band wagoners are fools that jump on board after the bengals game…go back to the September October archives, and then eat a Richard! Have a nice day fool

          • Run Eagles Run

            I think its a little too early to be proclaiming him #2 anything. Let the guy play some games before we start with the expectations. Cant we as fans just be happy with what we see and hope for the best instead of building this team up and then trashing everyone when things dont go the way we want? How does that sound? I would like to officially start that bandwagon. Not all that is directed at you Johngiam. And sorry for being harsh. I’m sort of an asshole and just tired of a lot of the Philly fan bases harshness and assholeness, so I fight fire with fire. sometimes unprovoked. Feel free to ignore me.

          • Graham

            Great post, the philly fanbase is what I hate most about this team I think lol… I’m very happy with what I see at RB, DL, LBs, and even WRs…. lots of youth.. the draft this year was impressive.. Boykin, Cox, Kendricks, Kelly, Foles, Brown, Johnson have ALL made impact somewhere, very good to see. Hate to see Andy go I really do but I guess it’s gotta be done, change of scenery is apparently necessary. Too bad the year couldn’t have gone how we expected. If eagles grab a solid QB and shore up the OL it’s looking good IMO… What do y’all think about the idea of trading for Alex Smith and running a ground game with McCoy and Brown?? I’m interested at the idea… stiffening up secondary will make the D very good, given then LB and DL performance, it will make it a much better unit. Then run Alex Smith (Game management, as they say) offense with McCoy/Brown on ground…. That’d be exciting

          • Johngiam

            Sign safety Jarius Bryd away from the bills!!! He should be are number one target in free agency. We learned that mercenary free agents don’t work…so if you are gonna sign free agents, sign young men coming off their rookie contract… In a perfect world, we draft Manti teo early, assuming he measures as a top ten pick at the combine, and then find a way to sneak back into the end of the first round to draft safety from Texas Vaccarro….then again, with our holes, I doubt we have the ammo to acquire a second first round pick. Wishful thinking

            Then again, star latulelie intruigs me as well. That Ngata type of tackle that will gobble up blockers, free up cox to wreak havoc and free up our lbs to fly around and make plays

          • MAC

            Hey JohnGiam I am a die hard Eagles fan than for a while bc of work lived in Buffalo so I know how good the kid is. He is amazing and if the Eagles could get him I am all in also!!! The thing is the Bills have started trying to sign him long term and if they can’t reach an agreement then I have heard that they will franchise him if necesarry. So just wanted to let you know that cause I know you want him bad. trust me i agree 100% just don’t think it is possible.

          • Johngiam

            Hold up pal…I didn’t proclaim Brandon anything. I’m not the one who rated him the number two defensive end in football…a football stat website proclaimed him the number two end in football. Don’t shoot the messenger. Funny that you went on an antie eagles fan rant under my post…”your rant sounds a lot like what I post about the fans. Can’t stand sharing this team with this fanbase lol…..

          • Run Eagles Run

            I hear you. I know you didnt make the rating. Im pumped for brandon graham. I will not lie and tell you I didnt gripe about JPP. It was frustrating to see him injured, as it was for him Im sure. He never really got a chance to show what he could do, and he has skill no question. Just too early to compare him to guys who get double teamed. One thing is for sure, he is making trent cole look like trent cole again. Keep that going and he will never here the B word again.

    • The Guru

      Earl Thomas should 100% be on the roster. Graham better be Aldon Smith for me to not think “mistake”

      • Graham

        Agreed………………… So what if Graham was 4th rated DE according to Pro Football Focus… He also had less than half the snaps that a regular DE gets all season, so that factors into the calculation OBVIOUSLY..
        Earl Thomas is a beast of a safety that we need much much much more than a DE

        • Johngiam

          B grizzle is currently the number two rated defensive end in football

          • Graham

            I understand that but the results would be a little skewed…. Lets see B grizzle play a full season of snaps and have same results. I’m not saying I disagree, the guy’s a beast and he over-powers most of his matchups, I can see him being a top DE. But, the results are based on his limited number of snaps, as opposed to another DE who has a full season of snaps and more results to make those kinds of judgements with. Let’s see how BG does next year with a full year at end…

          • Johngiam

            I don’t disagree at all. Look I was the leader of the earl Thomas war wagon, but as long as graham turns into a player! I’m happy. Yes EARL probably would have helped us more…but as long as our first rounders develope into first round talents, I’m happy..it’s the Danny Watkins, jaqain jarrett picks that ruffle my feathers lol

          • Graham

            lol Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett… gosh such busts. Sucks we had to go through that… I agree B grizzle looks amazing, should be a huge asset next year.

          • JohnGiam

            Graham n cox playing next to each other is going to be a scary tandem. I wonder what a Ngata type monster like star Latululei would effect freeing up cox and the linebackers to fly around and make plays. Then again, if Manti measures up at the combine, that kid is just a football player who you know CARES about the game and you can just count on TO MAKE PLAYS, which is the biggest thing missing from our defense this year. We lack Big play makers.

          • Run Eagles Run

            well if there is a guy that is a legit beast at their pick, obviously Im not gonna argue. you’re right, they do lack that. but the d could get by as long as they just take care of the secondary. the LBers havent been bad although I wouldnt mind having manti there. its the safeties. gotta upgrade. remember, if you wait too long to draft a o lineman, its slim pickens.

          • Johngiam

            Yeah but this is a very deep draft for guard, and their are always pro bowl lineman to be plucked and molded in the mid rounds…safeties is our number one problem and we have the misfortune of it being a year with no top ten safety prospects. HOwever I am he’ll bent on signing Jarius Byrd this offseason. He is by far my number one target in free agency….I wouldn’t complain if we trade the corner Dee Milner, but I do believe that investing in two top safeties, and non dysfunctional coaching would result in significantly better play from drc and Nmandi..so If you get me two good safeties, I will accept Nmandi for one more season, he is getting old…..we have three potential pro bowlers coming back to the Oline, Mathis, Scott and young players like Dennis Kelly who will improve to be serviceable backups…and a defense that lacks heart and playmakers…If Manti measures out as a top ten pick, the security of drafting a guaranteed pro, who will make plays for you at times entices me more then the JPP FREAK mega athlete who you have to cross your fingers and hope develops into a top player. Draft Manti, and you have a guaranteed starting playmaker…after seeing so many top picks turn into busts, and howie roseman wielding the power, Teo’s security as a prospect appeals to me. He isn’t even a prospect in my mind. He is a sure shot starter I can count on…

          • Graham

            Agreed that’d be so nice to see iggles go out and get Byrd, hopefully not overpay for him. Imagine that, the Eagles FO goes and does something the fans desire!! Then ya keep DRC and Nnamdi around… but in that case Eagles would need cap room to cover DRC (in contract year) and Byrd, which they don’t have. Next year is projected to be well over the cap, But Nnamdi’s 15mil and Vicks 16mil will get restructured and hopefully put us in a better cap position. Lets see maybe we get Manti in draft and get Byrd in FA…. just dreamin….

          • Run Eagles Run

            I dont know much about whos who in the draft, so if what you’re saying is true, Im fine with that. Although from what I’ve read, the top lineman is legit. Luckily, with herremans, they have a utility lineman so whoever they get, guard or lineman, should be able to play their best position.

  • Vic in L.A.

    The problem the OL might face is life after Mudd. Mathis is great in his system, but was struggling in others. Scott is doing fine in this system, but why did teams in other systems not take a chance on him? Was it just his age, or is he a bad fit? We know Kelce was handpicked for this system as well. He couldn’t be more different from Jamal Jackson, which could be the type of center the next coach wants. Herremans and Peters have proven themselves in other systems, so they are less of a projection. Scheme might be a big issue next year. Maybe that will be a good thing for Watkins.

    • Sensei

      Good points there definitely something to think about hopefully Mathis will be fine in a different system I think he was solid in Cincinnati before the Eagles?

      • Johngiam

        a different system? You mean a traditional blocking scheme that these plays played their entire life before Mudd? These players didn’t make it in the nfl because they were blocking good in a Mudd scheme. these plays all made it to the nfl, by blocking in traditional schemes…so I don’t see why it would be a problem for any of them to go back to blocking the way they have blocked their entire life besides two years with Mudd?

    • Johngiam

      i wouldn’t worry about that too much. MUDDS system is so different then any other blocking scheme…it nenes coach changes blocking scheme, which he will for sure, eagles will go back to aagog ulnar and traditional blocking scheme…you know the so of scheme every lineman has spent their entre life upside of the eagles playing in. None of these lineman would have ET made it into the nfl if they couldn’t block in a traditional scheme…to go from a regular scheme to Howard’s scheme is difficult, and I would lose sleep over it…to go from Mudd, badly to way these guys blocked their entire life, to go back to the way of blockingt hat GOT THEM INTO THE NFL, is nothing to lose sleep over