Recently, I spent some time reading some of our NBC Sports Philadelphia stories from last year's training camp, and after seeing the Eagles eventually win the Super Bowl, some of it is pretty funny.
When Doug Pederson in the '90s won the Super Bowl, compared the Eagles of 2017 to his Packers team and even said the Eagles were probably more talented, most people thought he was crazy. I thought this comment from a fan summarized it pretty well:
"Even though the team was more talented, their coach is still an idiot."
A few people in the Twitter sphere thought I had disgraced this comment a reader, but that is not the case. I thought it represented the thoughts ̵
Hey, we did not know much at the time.
In this sense, let us look back and laugh at the fears we had and the big stories that consumed us before the 2017 season. Because it turned out that the Eagles were better than a season with nine or ten wins. They were really ready to finally win a Super Bowl and it's fun to look back and wish we could have told ourselves to relax.
• Pederson was obviously not an idiot, but that was a legitimate fear at the time. Many fans and reporters wondered openly if Pederson would hold back the team and if he would be the head coach when the team finally got well. We've all pointed to specific cases from his rookie head coaching season as reasons why he could not be cut out for the job. I do not think we did it wrong; I just think we were wrong. Pederson was one of the main reasons why the Eagles won everything.
• A year ago, Jordan Matthews was still a big part of the Eagles' attack, and Nelson Agholor was still completely unknown. Eventually, Agholor replaced Matthews and never gave the Eagles an element of explosiveness.
In essence, Agholor had to wait until Matthews was traded until he found his role in the offensive. The ironic thing is that Matthews has always been Agholor's biggest supporter, but he was ultimately the guy in the way.
• Remember, until trading on August 11, which sent Matthews to Buffalo and brought Ronald Darby to Philly, Cornerback was still a big problem for the Eagles. And Patrick Robinson, who became a hero in his one season with the Eagles, had a terrible training camp. It was so bad that many openly wondered if Robinson would make it out of the training camp.
But as soon as Darby arrived and was plugged in as a starter against Jalen Mills, Robinson was taken to the nap corner and outbid. He belonged there, and without the trade, it would not have happened.
• Let's talk a little bit more about the cornerback position. It's hard to remember, because the corner is such a strength now, but this point was the biggest perceived weakness in the team. The Eagles had Mills coming out of his rookie season, and then not much. Darby was still in Buffalo, Robinson stank, Ron Brooks was injured, and Sidney Jones was far from healthy. They also had C.J. Smith, Dwayne Gratz and Mitchell White.
For that reason, one of the biggest stories of last spring and summer was whether Rasul Douglas would be able to switch from the third round to being an instant player. At some point, this thinking came because Darby went down in the first week and the Eagles needed him.
• Do you remember when the big question about Nick Foles was whether his elbow would hold or not? A few of us thought he was destined for a trip to IR, and Carson Wentz would have stayed without proper support. Nate Sudfeld was still in Washington at the time, so backup would be … drum roll … Matt McGloin. Yes.
• Alsson Jeffery had a shoulder injury at the camp (it turned out to be serious, but he did not miss the time) and many people – including me – worried about his relationship with Wentz. I was worried that they would not be on the same page. Well, they came to the same page.
• Before the 2017 Camp, Isaac Seumalo was handed over the left guard and many people thought it was alright. They went with the younger player and exchanged Allen Barbre, instead of fighting for the job. Finally, Seumalo lost his job and the Eagles tried to give Chance Warack before Stefen Wisniewski took over and never looked back. Wiz was basically her fourth choice and he helped win a Super Bowl.
• When the last training camp began, Marcus Smith was still an eagle.
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