Carson Wentz Named One Of the NFL’s Best Under-25 Players

Plus: How close was Troy Aikman to becoming a Philadelphia Eagle?

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

As the Eagles get set to host the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon, let’s take a look at some of the best stories from around the web this week.

Quarterback Carson Wentz is the 25th best player under 25, opines ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Sando.

Age: 23

NFL evaluators did not think Wentz had the consistent production to belong on this list above players such as Jordan Howard, among others, but there are mitigating circumstances. The Eagles’ line has suffered without right tackle Lane Johnson. There is no true No. 1 running back on the team. Injuries have slowed top receiver Jordan Matthews. Nelson Agholor isn’t even part of the regular rotation. And the schedule has been unrelenting.

DeSean Jackson talked to the Inquirer’s Bob Brookover about potentially rejoining the Eagles.

“I feel like our team was just broken up,” he said when asked about being deprived of growing with LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. “We felt like we were going to be a problem for a long time. A lot of teams would have had to game-plan for us and we felt it was a very special team. We still talk to this day, saying things like, ‘Damn, if we were still playing together’ – we wish we were still playing together.”

They are not, but the Eagles might have a chance to bring back one member of the old band after this season and that member is aware of how weak the Eagles’ receiving department has become.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on that, man,” Jackson said. “It’s definitely a position where it’s like, well, if they had kept what they had in place they would have been fine. Those guys will hopefully figure it out. Philly can be a hard place to play for some guys, but hopefully they’ll be all right.”

Andy Benoit from the MMQB has an interesting note on one of Dorial Green-Beckham‘s best routes.

Dorial Green-Beckham’s best route is the “dig.” The Eagles often run this in combination with a slot vertical route. The vertical route lifts the inside safety; the outside receiver (Green-Beckham) runs the dig underneath it. It’s best against Cover 4 but can also work against Cover 3—the coverage Philly should expect to see most often from Washington.

Leodis McKelvin has dealt with crazy and angry fans before arriving in Philadelphia, pens David Murphy of the Daily News.

“I get out of the car, and I look at it, and I read it – they got the scoreboard on there, and it says Leodis this and that,” McKelvin recalled Wednesday as he stood in the Eagles locker room after practice. “And they put a . . . ”

He paused, searching his mind for a decorous word.

“Testicles,” he said. “Right there on the lawn.”

It sounds funny now, particularly when told in McKelvin’s expressive Southern twang, but at the time he was a 24-year-old stranger in a strange land, a small-town kid from Waycross, Ga., coming off the worst night of his professional life, the No. 11 pick in the previous year’s draft who had already been hearing whispers of regret.

Given the implications regarding his personal safety, he finally decided to call the police, and shortly thereafter a couple of local high school kids fessed up to the crime. A neighbor brought his lawn mower over and reduced the graffiti to clippings, and, as the city of Buffalo subjected itself to a week’s worth of soul-searching, McKelvin moved on. He told reporters he didn’t want to see any of the perpetrators’ lives ruined over the thing. They ended up facing charges, but after an apology and some community service, McKelvin graciously chalked it up to a lesson learned.

Even with the recent struggles on defense, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is still a top head coaching candidate, according to Conor Orr of

I think the resurgence of Jack Del Rio in Oakland has opened some minds to a retread NFL head coach again, based on the sentiment that several former general managers who have gone through coaching hires have told me over the years: The NFL is a trend-seeking league, and owners sometimes emulate what is working elsewhere. As’s Charley Casserly told me in a piece about hiring head coaches, previous professional experience is valued. Schwartz had some success in Detroit and is the perfect fit for a team in search of discipline.

The 50-year-old will work well with a team looking to accentuate its defensive playmakers, but he is an acquired taste. Much like Tom Coughlin after his stint in Jacksonville, it will take the right mix of timing and opportunity. (As former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi told me a while back on hiring Coughlin, it takes an open mind to hire someone with a reputation for intensity.) Schwartz is not going to mince words during the interview process.

Matthew Berry of loves Zach Ertz, but hates the Eagles defense in fantasy this week.

Tight ends I love in Week 14

Zach Ertz, Eagles: Ertz has 32 targets and two scores in the past three games. He has a solid matchup too, as Washington has allowed 75 yards and a touchdown to an opposing tight end in three of the past five and surrenders the 13th-most points to the position.

Defenses I hate in Week 14

Philadelphia Eagles: In the past six weeks, they’ve totaled just six points. Against one of the hottest offenses in the league, in a must-win spot? No, thank you.

Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman says he almost considered playing for the Eagles in 2002 after Donovan McNabb was injured in an interview on KTCK-AM (beginning around the 9:10 mark).

“So I retired, got into broadcasting. Then it was two years later when I got a call from Andy Reid in the middle of a game that I was broadcasting after Donovan McNabb had broken his leg. And he wanted me to sign with Philadelphia and come out of retirement right then and go to work for them.

“And I gave it some consideration – actually I told Andy I was going to sleep on it and I’d call him in the morning.

“I called my producer at FOX and asked him what he thought my career was long-term in television. Then I called [former Cowboys offensive coordinator] Norv Turner and I talked to him about it from the football perspective.

“And I woke up the next morning and I just thought, ‘Man, is this something I really want to do?’ And I decided against it. So I called Andy and said, ‘Look. I appreciate the interest, but I’m going to stay put and best of luck.’”

In his latest mock draft,’s Dane Brugler has the Eagles taking Washington cornerback Sidney Jones.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Sidney Jones , CB, Washington: The Eagles are very thin at cornerback on the depth chart, especially with Nolan Carroll on a one-year deal. Jones has the instincts and fluidity to blanket receivers.

Inside the Pylon’s Dan Hatman mentioned Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas when writing about future NFL General Managers.

These candidates have paid their dues and their names continue to come up in regards to the next wave of candidates who will be on the interview circuit. Bob Quinn went from this list to GM of the Detroit Lions last year.

There is always an intrigue around a ‘dark horse’ candidate who was not a household name but earned their shot at the big chair. This group is not reflective of every name who has the ability to change an organization’s fortune, but those whose football acumen matches their stock.