In Roob’s Observations: No reason to worry about Gardner Minshew originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
An underrated Eagle who’s been grinding here for seven years, why Darius Slay let his teammates down in Dallas and a mind-blowing Brandon Graham stat.
It’s the final Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations of 2022!
1. There isn’t a backup quarterback in the NFL I’d rather have than Gardner Minshew. There’s no doubt in my mind he could start for at least a dozen teams right now, maybe more. He’s smart, tough, a great leader and most importantly he understands and embraces his role as Jalen Hurts’ backup. Minshew has been such a consistent player since he came up with the Jaguars in 2019. He’s started 23 games – three for the Eagles – and you have to look really hard for games where he didn’t play well. He had a terrible game against a 13-win Saints team early in his rookie year. He had a game with two picks against the Texans later in 2019. But for the most part, he’s been really solid, and it’s no surprise he’s got one of the 20-highest passer ratings in NFL history – higher than Joe Montana, Josh Allen or Ben Roethlisberger. He’s going to go out there and play within himself, give everything he has and give his team a chance at winning. Don’t forget Howie Roseman stole Minshew from the Jaguars for a 6th-round pick. And he was just as smart not to trade him this year when he could have gotten more than a 6th-round pick back. Games like the Saints Sunday are why Minshew is still here.
2. The Eagles have 25 sacks in their last four games. The most they had in any four-game stretch last year was eight.
3. Josh Sweat is only the third player the Eagles have drafted since Clyde Simmons in 1986 with 11 sacks in a season in an Eagles uniform. Andy Harmon had 11 ½ in 1993 and 11 in 1995 and Trent Cole had 12 ½ in 2007 and 2009 and 11 in 2011. Sweat was drafted in the fourth round, Cole in the fifth round, Harmon in the sixth and Simmons in the ninth.
4. Brandon Graham never had 8.0 sacks in a season until 2017, his eighth year in the league. Then he had 9 ½ in 2017, 8 ½ in 2019, 8.0 in 2020 and 9.0 so far this year. That makes him the only player in NFL history with at least four eight-sack seasons – all after his seventh year in the league. What a remarkable, unique, inspirational career.
5. Before this year, the Eagles had never had one guy 25 years or younger with 80 catches and 1,100 yards in a season. If DeVonta Smith has 86 yards the rest of the season, they’ll have two in one year.
6. One of the big storylines of the summer was how would Isaac Seumalo manage this year at a new position – switching from left guard to right guard – while coming off a serious foot injury that sidelined him in Week 3 last year. The verdict? Seumalo has been very good this year. It’s easy to forget about him because he’s got a couple all-pros to his right and his left – at least before Lane Johnson’s injury. But Seumalo has the 7th-highest Pro Football Focus rating among all guards at 75.3, higher even than left guard Landon Dickerson, who made the Pro Bowl. Seumalo, one of only five position players left from Doug Pederson’s first season, has been particularly effective the second half of the season as he’s grown more comfortable at right guard. And he’s made himself a lot of money. Like so many Eagles, he’s due to hit free agency after the season. Spotrac projects him getting just north of $12 million per year, and with all the other free agents Roseman has to deal with I’m not sure how he can make those numbers work.
7. Nine Eagles have played at least 600 snaps on defense. Seven of those nine are unsigned beyond 2022: Marcus Epps (964), James Bradberry (948), T.J. Edwards (913), Kyzir White (718), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (666), Fletcher Cox (629) and Javon Hargrave (626). The only guys to play 600 defensive snaps who are signed for next year are Slay (873) and Haason Reddick (702).
8. Darius Slay is a veteran leader, a perennial Pro Bowler, one of Nick Sirianni’s captains. And he didn’t need to be so quick to let everyone know post-game in Dallas that the Cowboys’ 3rd-and-30 conversion wasn’t his fault. The guys in the secondary talk all the time about how they’re a brotherhood, how they win and lose together and how they all support each other. And for the most part that has been the case this year. Slay couldn’t wait to make it clear that one wasn’t on him, and I don’t think that’s how a captain should handle a situation like that.
9. I have so much respect for Lane Johnson and what he’s going to try to do, and if anybody can play at a high level with a core muscle injury it’s Lane. That said, I just don’t know how this is going to go. There’s a reason this injury requires surgery. As an offensive lineman, you generate strength from your core. Your strength to anchor. Your strength to push off. Your strength to stop defenders from shedding your block. He won’t be 100 percent, but can he be 75 or 80 percent? Without doing further damage? And without getting worse as the playoffs go on? Lane Johnson at 80 percent is better than Jack Driscoll at 100 percent, and he’s earned the chance to try. But if there’s a point where the Eagles are better off with Driscoll, as badly as Johnson wants to play, the Eagles ultimately have to do what’s best for the team.
10. The Eagles have three players with double-digit sacks: Haason Reddick has 14, Josh Sweat 11 and Javon Hargrave 10. And if Graham gets one more they’ll be the first team in NFL history with four 10-sack players. But here’s the crazy thing: Over the previous 10 years, they only had two players total with 10 sacks: Connor Barwin had 14 ½ in 2014 and Fletcher Cox 10 ½ in 2018.