Eagles Wake-Up Call: Jason Peters On Retirement
After struggling to remain on the field last year, 2016 appeared to possibly be Jason Peters’ final season with the Eagles. The left tackle already turned in a Hall of Fame-worthy career through 12 years as he made eight trips to the Pro Bowl, but with the $9.2 million in cap savings the Eagles could have by cutting Peters before his age 35 season in 2017, his future looked uncertain.
Through nine games, however, Peters has played 600 out of a possible 617 snaps this season, and he’s done so at a high level.
“He’s playing extremely well,” Doug Pederson said. “And for me as a coach and just knowing him as long as I have, the proud thing for me is where he is physically, healthy — and he’s in a great position right now. We’re managing him during the week to get him just enough reps during practice to get him to game day, and he feels great. He’s getting plenty of rest early in the week that helps him and I love to see him play as long as he can, you know?”
According to Pro Football Focus, Peters didn’t allow a single pressure in 41 pass-blocking snaps in the Eagles’ 24-15 win over the Falcons. Because of Peters’ success this season, the conversation has shifted from when the Eagles may get rid of him, to when he may consider hanging up his cleats permanently.
“I don’t know. I’m just chasing the dream that everyone is — to play this game and get to a Super Bowl. I’ve told coach that I’m year-to-year, but I’m not leaving until I try to get that ring,” Peters said. “I feel really good this year. Coach is taking care of me during practice. When I’m in, I practice hard all through the week, but I might miss two or three plays during the week in order to keep me fresh for Sunday. I feel better than I’ve felt in a while.”
According to Pederson, the Eagles are managing Peters’ workload during the week to keep him healthy based off of a precedent: How Andy Reid handled Peters during the beginning of Pederson’s coaching days in the NFL. But coaches note the starting left tackle’s hydration and nutrition routine away from the Eagles’ facility has also played a big role in his success so far this season.
“He and (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) and Coach Pederson have a good understanding,” Frank Reich said. “It’s not that [Jason] doesn’t want to work; I love the way he works. At the end of the week when you go back through the practice film, I get amazed, and I’ve shown this to the offense once or twice. You look at how hard he practices on the reps that he’s taking. From a coaching standpoint, you look at the athleticism that he still has in his body.
“I mean, it’s really astounding to me. He’s got a lot of athleticism left in that body. I don’t know how many plays he has left. But I really don’t see any signs, and I wasn’t here when he was in his prime, but he might be the best offensive lineman I’ve ever coached. The guy is awesome.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Allen Barbre will return to practice this week, while the NFL hasn’t been in touch regarding a possible missed call yet.
Take a look at some of the best photos from Sunday’s game, thanks to Jeff Fusco.
Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Falcons was a real “confidence booster” as the team prepares to take on Seattle on the road this week.
Ryan Mathews rebounded with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the win over Atlanta.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The majority of Carson Wentz’s passes in Sunday’s win were directed towards Jordan Matthews. That’s because the Eagles don’t have any reliable wide receivers elsewhere, opines Jeff McLane of the Inquirer.
They weren’t the primary options in either game – [Nelson] Agholor caught 7 of 11 passes for 66 yards and [Dorial] Green-Beckham caught 5 of 14 for 55 yards – but it was too much. [Bryce] Treggs didn’t play against the Cowboys two weeks ago, but he caught 2 of 4 targeted passes for 69 yards in his debut against the New York Giants last week.
Treggs gets significant slack. But Agholor and Green-Beckham are now more than a year and a half into their careers, more than a half season into playing in the Eagles’ new offense, and they have seemingly hit a plateau that would normally result in less playing time.
Aside from playing Treggs more or signing Paul Turner off the practice squad, the Eagles have few alternatives. And someone has to line up on the outside. Approximately 87 percent of the offensive plays the team has run this season have had at least two receivers on the field at the same time.
Green-Beckham and Treggs didn’t have a single targeted pass on Sunday. Agholor had all five for the group. He bobbled one pass that was initially ruled incomplete before being overturned, and he dropped another on a Wentz throw that was slightly behind him but nevertheless should have been caught.
After Josh Huff was cut from the team, another former Oregon skill player, Kenjon Barner, took over Huff’s role as the kick returner, and he didn’t disappoint, pens Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com.
Huff’s release opened up the door for Barner to return kickoffs for the Eagles, and on Sunday, he had his first three returns of the year — a 31-yarder in the second quarter, a 31-yarder in the third quarter to set up a field goal and a 52-yarder that he nearly broke for a TD in the fourth quarter.
Barner had only returned three kickoffs in his entire NFL career — one of them with the Panthers in 2013.
“He just told me to ball out,” Barner said of Huff. “We’ve got a long relationship. I know what he’s capable of doing, he knows what I’m capable of doing.
“He told me, ‘You know what to do, you know what you’re capable of. Now go out there and make it happen.’”
We’ll have more from Sunday’s game
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.