Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Eagles Have What They Need to Get Another Ring

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 08: DeSean Jackson #10, Alshon Jeffery #17, and Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles react against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Eagles' plans to break defenses, the Cowboys' plan with Dak Prescott and the Jets' plan to get real with each other: all of that and more in this week's 10-Point Stance.


1. The Eagles' flight path

Lost in DeSean Jackson's stunning Week 1, during which he scored on catches of 51 and 53 yards, were two scores by receiver Alshon Jeffery that could prove to be equally valuable to the Eagles' future.

They weren't spectacular. One was a two-yard rushing touchdown, and the other was a five-yard receiving score, but they offered a glimpse into just how explosive Philly's offense could be.

We don't think of the Eagles' receiving group as a great one. Or consider Jackson and Jeffery to be on the same level as DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown or even Julian Edelman.

But maybe we should. It's possible they will force us to.

It's also possible that by the end of the season, Jackson and Jeffery will become the league's best receiving duo. Outlandish, maybe. But not crazy.

If both Jackson and Jeffery stay healthy, they are the type of receivers who quarterbacks dream about.

Jackson is a rocket. Even though teams know he's a burner, he still gets behind defenses. That will change after what he did last week. Defenses have seen (again) that Jackson can wreck them, and they'll be more prepared. He's still so good, however, that it may not matter.

Jeffery—himself a powerful receiver—does everything else. And when they've been healthy, Jeffery has had solid chemistry with quarterback Carson Wentz.

Add in an effective, improving running game, and Philadelphia is a nightmare to game-plan against. Put it all together, and it's clear the Eagles could become one of the most potent offenses in football—the Patriots of the NFC.


2. Making his case for Canton

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Speaking of Jackson, it isn't outrageous to think he's playing his way into the Hall of Fame.

He's quietly evolved into one of the most devastating receivers in the game's history. He doesn't have a large number of catches or rank highly among the all-time leaders in receiving yardage. What he does have, though, is the unique speed and ability to run past coverages.

Jackson scored his 30th and 31st touchdown of at least 50 yards on Sunday, passing Randy Moss for second place all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. First place on that list is Jerry Rice, who has 36 touchdown catches of at least 50 yards. Jackson not only might break Rice's record, but he could do it by the middle of the season.

That would certainly catch the eyes of Hall voters.


3. As good as advertised

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Image
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One last thing on the Eagles.

I've never fully been a Wentz supporter. I've gotten into beefs with Twitter tough guys who say he's better than Dak Prescott and other young throwers. My argument has been that since he's spent a large part of his young career injured, how do you know how good he is?

Against Washington in Week 1, we all saw why so many people cape for Wentz. He's accurate and athletic and is capable of moments of sheer brilliance. Wentz went 28-of-39 for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener.

If healthy—a big if—he can be a top-five passer. And that's something no one, including me, can ignore.


4. Back in the mix

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

OK, one more note on the Eagles, I promise.

Some team officials around the league believe defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will get another head coaching shot after this season, assuming the Eagles defense continues to be solid. He coached the Detroit Lions from 2009 to 2013.

These types of rumors have circulated about Schwartz occasionally over the past two years, mainly because he's extremely well liked and respected across the sport, and the Eagles have been one of the league's premier franchises in that time.

Last week, that Philly defense didn't look great, as it gave up 27 points while Case Keenum had a career-high 380 passing yards. Schwartz will likely get things back on track, which will keep his name on the NFL's short list of coaching candidates.


5. Time is a subjective construct

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 10:  Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 and team owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys hug each other during pregame warm ups prior to the start of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Aug
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Cowboys and Prescott continue to negotiate a new deal. Both sides expect one to get done, but a source familiar with the talks say negotiations have slowed slightly. Owner Jerry Jones said a deal was imminent but his son, team executive Stephen Jones, said nothing was imminent.

One man's imminent is another man's indefinite.

I think the main point is both sides believe an extension will happen; it just may not happen quickly.


6. No thin skin allowed

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Jets players are going to have to get used to new head coach Adam Gase's bluntness, among other things. In Miami, he had no issue with publicly criticizing his players. And in New York, he has shown no inclination to change.

Following a Week 1 game in which the Jets blew a 16-point second half lead to the Bills, losing 17-16 in a very Jetsian way, Gase called his team out.

"Guys need to do a better job of executing what they're supposed to be doing," he said on a conference call.

Were Jets players OK with what Gase said?

"Absolutely, no issues at all," said Jets safety Jamal Adams, who was made available to B/R by Lunatix. "Everybody is held accountable."

Some players want their coaches to publicly get their back. Some don't care. It appears—for now—that the Jets' players don't care.

"We're going to continue doing what we've been doing." Adams said, "Everyone on this team is selfless."


7. Best of the best

Butch Dill/Associated Press

The debate over the NFL's best wide receiver is always one of the fiercest.

For now, though, the argument might be over.

It's DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins had eight catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns Monday night against the Saints. But it isn't just the numbers that move him atop the debate. It's how he got them.

The game was typical Hopkins. He laid out for catches. He ran by defenders. He outhustled defensive backs. He ran brilliant routes. He did everything well.

He isn't the only one who can do those things. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown can, too. It's just that Hopkins does them better and more consistently than anyone else.


8. A brutal game

Every now and then, I like to remind people that while the NFL is entertaining, it is also extremely nasty. We get so mesmerized by the best athletes in the world, we sometimes fail to remember that these guys' bodies get obliterated week after week.

Example No. 1 trillion is this hit on Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.

He takes a pounding in the front and back almost simultaneously, and his body is upended as if he weighs about 20 pounds. I don't know how he was able to walk after that.

Yes, players get paid tons of money, and yes, no one makes them do it. Those things don't negate what are sometimes scary levels of physicality.


9. Not-So-Famous Jameis

Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Jameis Winston threw three interceptions in the Buccaneers' loss to the 49ers, two of which were actually his fault. He finished the game 20-of-36 for 194 yards, one touchdown and two fumbles (neither of which he lost). His passer rating was 45.4.

Now in his fifth year in Tampa, Winston's performance was even worse than those ugly numbers. He is still making horrible decisions, and he seems completely outmatched by the speeds of opposing defenses at times.

That Winston hasn't significantly improved since his rookie year is a problem—a big problem. He hasn't even moderately improved.

One statistic sums up Winston's struggles. This past week was his 17th career game with multiple interceptions, according to ESPN Stats & Info. If that wasn't alarming enough, the mark pushed Winston past Blake Bortles for the most in football since he entered the league in 2015.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has patience, but it isn't unlimited. If Winston keeps making mistakes like this, Arians may have no choice but to bench him. 


10. The fight continues for Kenny Stills

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 09: Kenny Stills #12 of the Houston Texans catches a touchdown pass over P.J. Williams #26 of the New Orleans Saints during a NFL game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 09, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Phot
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Just before the season, receiver Kenny Stills was traded from hell (otherwise known as the Dolphins) to the Texans (who aren't tanking).

Stills, who caused a bit of an uproar in the preseason when he criticized Jay-Z for being "uninformed" in declaring he and the NFL were moving beyond kneeling, continues to bring awareness to issues of social justice. He kneeled before the Texans' Monday night game against New Orleans.

Some don't like what Stills is doing. To me, and many others, he remains one of the league's heroes.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.  


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