e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! Posted September 28, 2020 Share Posted September 28, 2020 The Good: 1. Sacked Lunches for the DL—Since Josh Sweat had a strip sack of Haskins against Washington, the pass rush has really had very few bright spots. Last week, the defensive line recorded two QB hits and a sack by Graham. Going up against the Bengals this week might have been the best remedy to get this defensive line going. On the afternoon, the Eagles recorded 8 sacks and had 18 QB hits. The Eagles defensive line was responsible for 6.5 of those 8 sacks and 15 of the 18 QB hits. I will start with Cox, I thought this was his best game of the season. He might have been playing with an injury, but he was manhandling anyone that the Bengals lined up over him. There have been times in the past year where Cox has had some juicy matchups and was still relatively quiet on the stat sheet. In this game he was able to record a sack and 3 QB hits. His sack really helped the Eagles in what should’ve been a game winning field goal attempt. He was able to get to Burrow and bring him down. It pinned the Bengals very deep in their own territory and gave the Eagles offense excellent field position to potentially win the game. I still do not believe you’ll get this type of performance from Cox every single week at this stage of his career, but it was necessary for him to come to life against this type of opponent. If he wasn’t able to dominate against this type of team then we have massive problems going on with Fletcher. Before the season, I was skeptical of Malik Jackson. I didn’t love the contract that we gave him especially he was benched by the Jags, aging and potentially on the decline. To his credit, he has been our best pass rusher this season. On the season, he has half a sack and 6 QB hits. The stats do not do him justice. He is getting the most consistent pressure out of all of our DL. While, he still leaves a lot to be desired in the run defense department, he might be the guy teams are most afraid of on that defensive line with how he has looked. I am not so sure the Eagles next year can afford to just trade or release him (frankly, his contract is kind of prohibitive to do so). Another sight for sore eyes was the pressure and production that the defensive ends were able to generate. Graham and Barnett have always been very stout in the run defense department. Last week against the Rams is more outlier than the norm. It showed today as Graham (3) and Barnett (2) combined for 5 tackles for losses. But it wasn’t just the run defense where they got back on track. Graham and Barnett both tailed up 2 sacks each. Additionally, they were able to combine for 6 QB hits. When you add in Josh Sweat’s sack, tackle for a loss and 2 QB hits it was a really impressive day for the DEs. Overall combined for 5 sacks, 6 tackles for loss and 8 QB hits. If the Eagles are just able to get half of this type of performance by the DL from here on forward then I would take it. That said, this is one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Frankly, I think they are slightly better than the Jets offensive line last year when we had a big game. I think the real test comes the next three weeks for the Eagles when they face the Niners, Steelers and Ravens all of whom have very good offensive lines. 2. Ward our best receiver—Before the season I had a discussion in the blog about talent does not mean better. You can have more talented added to a roster but if you cannot translate that talent onto the field in terms of production than what good is talent? For instance, I would say Hightower and JJAW coming out of college had more talent than Ward as well as more polished at the position then he was. However, with a couple of years of coaching and development at the NFL level makes a difference. Ward might not be as talented as some other guys, but experience and development matter. The Eagles WRs have more talent then they did at the end of last year, but the guy who looked the most ready and able to produce on the field was Ward. Unfortunately, it had to come at the expense of Dallas Goedert getting hurt. Frankly, I think because Ward is a much better slot receiver than outside receiver that it is harder to get him on the field when Goedert and Ertz are healthy. Especially considering the Eagles had been running 12 personnel 70% of the time over the first two games. But I give Ward a ton of credit, when his number was called he steps up. In this game, Ward caught 8 of his 11 targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. On third down, he really killed the Bengals as he picked up 3 first downs and a 29-yard touchdown. Say he is just a guy or whatever, but when he gets on the field I trust him to run good routes, catch the ball and make plays. That is more than I can say for some of the other highly touted WRs we supposedly had on this roster. 3. I need more Sanders—I feel for Miles Sanders in this offense. He is far and away the most talented player on the field for this offense. If Carson Wentz was able to connect on a easy throw down the sideline to Sanders his numbers would have been even more ridiculous. On the afternoon, Sanders had 95 yards on 18 carries for a 5.3 yards per carry average. Furthermore, he had only 8 attempts in the second half while Wentz was struggling once again. In the first half, Sanders had 10 carries for 71 yards. The fact that we refused to get him the ball even more in the first half while Carson is playing this poorly is just plain stupidity. Anyone who tries to justify why he only got 10 carries in the first half and we call double the amount of pass attempts is flat out in denial. Just because the rest of the league is a passing league doesn’t mean you are. Your personnel along the offensive line and receiving weapons are simply not good enough. At the moment Wentz is looking like one of the worst QBs in the league. So instead of making statements of lean on JJAW, maybe juuuuuuust maybe we lean on Sanders. He is good enough to carry this team on his back until we can get Wentz going again (if that happens). Unfortunately, I feel like we are wasting his talent and not giving him the ball nearly enough at critical junctures in games. 4. Slaying it—During the offseason, I was for the Eagles addressing the cornerback position. I thought they really needed to go all in on Byron Jones because it didn’t cost you a draft pick and it was just cap space. However, so far this year, Slay has been the healthier of the two and the better player of the two. The Eagles had him covering AJ Green for a good portion of the day and Green only accounted for 36 yards and 5 receptions. Slay also was fantastic in overtime. He had a beautiful pass deflection and then a great wrap up tackle to prevent the Bengals from picking up a first down to keep a drive alive. Also prior to the season there were some that question his run defense and want too. He has not been a liability in that area and has had some solid tackles when asked too. In addition, it was a scary sight after he made an open field tackle on Green. It looked like he broke his arm or dislocated his elbow. With how injuries have gone so far this season, I was fully expecting him to miss the next couple of games if not the rest of the season. But he came back in there, battled and even made some nice tackles and plays. Unfortunately, while he is playing well for the Eagles, it really hasn’t shown up in the turnover department. Additionally, I will touch on this later in the Ugly are attacking the two other weak corners and consistently having success. 5. Run defense back on track—Last week, McVay and the Rams really took it to the Eagles run defense as they gashed us for 191 yards on 39 carries and two touchdowns. The Bengals behind a much worse oline still have a very nice young back in Mixon. Mixon was really never able to get going. He had 17 carries for 49 yards, which is just 2.9 yards per carry. Additionally, his longest run of the afternoon was just 11 yards which was better than the 40-yard rush by Henderson last week. Furthermore, the Eagles were constantly in the backfield. As a team, they were able to record 9 tackles for loss. After last week’s performance, I thought the Eagles had to get this back on the right track. They are about to face a three teams that love to run the ball. The Niners, Steelers and Ravens will stick it to you in the running game and continue to go back to that well if you are not able to plug it up. I am curious to see how the Eagles run defense holds up against the likes of a Shanahan type offense, Conner and the likes of Ingram, Dobbins and Jackson. 6. Wentz running more—They’re wasn’t a lot to like about the game from Carson Wentz. However, the one thing I will give the coaching staff and Wentz credit for is that he started to use his legs more. Instead of keeping him bottled up in the pocket like a statue, we had him rolling and moving around. Granted he still wasn’t great with his mechanics or accuracy. That said, I cannot remember the last time Carson ran the ball 9 times and by my count 7 of those were not run calls. He was able to keep one play alive late in the 4th quarter and rush in for the touchdown to tie the game and send it to overtime. It was still an ugly game for Carson, but I did like the fact he was taking off when he had too and picked up 65 yards and a touchdown. 7. LeBlanc more playing time —I am ready to let LeBlanc patrol the slot corner role. I am already tired of seeing NRC get abused play after play. I do not think LeBlanc is great by any means, but I do think he offers you more than what you are getting out of NRC. Again LeBlanc is nothing special, but I think he can give you more consistent play at the slot and he isn’t a liability in the run game. I liked what I saw out of him when injuries hit the defensive backfield. He was able to compile 7 tackles and even a tackle for a loss. On the Fence: 1. Third down defense most of the game—If I told you that the Eagles held the Bengals to 3-13 (23.1%) on 3rd down for the game would you believe me? Probably not cause all we are going to remember is Schwartz playing stick defense on 3rd and 15 and then giving up 42 yards to Gio Bernard that set up a field goal for the Bengals. That play basically ruined what was a really good performance on third down by the Eagles. However, this has been an issue dating back to week one of the season. On Washington’s game winning touchdown drive, the Eagles failed to get off the field on a 3rd and 8 and a 3rd and 10. Today, on a 3rd and 15 they had a chance to force a punt to keep the game at 20-16. Instead of Wentz and the offense driving to tie the game, it could have been a game winning drive. This is happening way too much this year and even over the course of the last two years. This dates back to the Titans games in 2018. It has been a problem for whatever reason. Call it a mental mistake or just bad defense; it continues to keep happening to this team. Nevertheless, on the season teams are converting just 34.8 percent (15-43) on third down. It isn’t as good as it has been in past years, but the Eagles are still in the top half of the league in this category. 2. Hightower’s performance—I don’t think he played bad at all. It was definitely an improvement from his performance against Washington where he had 1 catch for -2 yards and a poorly run route on an interception. I thought his route running was much better today. He was able to create some separation and hauled in 2 catches for 19 yards. It wasn’t worthy for me to include in the good, but I like seeing him learn from his mistakes and see some sort of improvement. Additionally, he was also able to draw two big time PI penalties and a nice 11-yard reception on the game tying touchdown drive late in the 4th quarter. I think the kid has a ton of talent. As a 6th round pick, I always thought it would take him some time to learn the nuances of the NFL WR position. I think with the Eagles 0-2-1 and likely looking at 0-5-1 and who knows with DeSean that he needs to get some more reps. They’re going to be growing pains with him being out there with that many snaps, but I think long term benefit would be huge for him. I would like to see him build off his snaps each consecutive week and get some momentum going into 2021. I would also love to see us get him the ball more on some WR end arounds or motion hand offs. I love Greg Ward, but he doesn’t have the same type of speed Hightower does and I think you could use that type of infusion into the offense with Reagor gone. 3. Defense limited up big plays—Last week, the Eagles gave up 6 plays of over 20 yards. They gave up one 40-yard run and 3 plays over 25 yards. This week, the Eagles gave up a backbreaking 42-yard reception to Gio Bernard on 3rddown and 15 and a 35-yard reception to Boyd. While the Eagles did cut down on the big plays, it is still hurting them. Both of those plays were catalysts for keeping drives alive and contributed to 10 points being put on the board for the bengals. Those are the type of plays the Eagles just cannot have. They always wind up ending in points on the board for their opponents. While 2 is much better than 6, if the Eagles prevented Bernard from getting 42 yards on that play, they are 1-2 right now. The Bad: 1. Third down efficiency is perplexing—On the season, the Eagles are 22-47, which is 47%. That isn’t great, but you’d have expected it to be much worse as the Eagles have stalled with a bunch of drives this year. Against the Bengals, the Eagles were right at their season average as they converted 10-21 third downs, which is 47.6%. the issue really comes down to this number could be much much higher if the Eagles weren’t in 3rd and long for the majority of their third downs. Heading into today’s game, the Eagles had 26 3rd down opportunities. They had been in 3rd and 7 or longer in 12 of them. That is just under 50% of the time they were in 3rd and long. Today it was even worse as the Eagles were in 3rd and 7 or longer 12 times out of the 21 third down opportunities. During those 12 plays, they were only able to convert first downs on 4 of them. Hard to sustain offense in the league when you are giving up sacks, penalties or just not getting many positive yards on first and second down. Just to point it out, when the Eagles were in 3rd down and 5 or less, the Eagles converted 6 of those 9 third downs. Through the first 3 weeks of the season, the Eagles have had 47 third down attempts and they have been in 3rd and 7+ for 24 of them. 2. Offensive line—I really didn’t think the offensive line had a particularly great day. I thought they did a stellar job of opening up running lanes in the first half of the game. Sanders was finding some holes and picking up some nice chunks of yards. In the second half he had just 24 yards on 8 carries and it was largely cause our line was just not winning at the point of attack. I felt like as the game wore on, the Bengals DL was taking it to the Eagles OL in the run game. I thought Lane looked better this week then he did last week in terms of what he was able to do, but took a bad false start penalty. Peters (will talk in the UGLY) was awful. Herbig and Pryor were unspectacular and both had penalties that took the Eagles out of field goal range in overtime. The Eagles gave up 3 sacks on the afternoon and really I cant say they were on Carson. Additionally, the Bengals had 6 TFL and 5 QB hits. Unfortunately it is not going to get easier for the Eagles. The niners, Steelers and Ravens are much better teams and defenses. While this game was still massively better than the Washington game, it was definitely a regression from last week against the Rams. 3. WR still a problem—One of the things that just completely irked me this offseason was the Eagles approach to fixing the WR corps. It was a bad plan then and it is starting to look like a dumb plan now. First, it was idiotic to rely on DeSean and Alshon to come back and be reliable contributors week in and week out. DeSean is 34 and perpetually missing games over the last 5 seasons. He might still have his deep speed, but asking him to play significant snaps and be the guy at this stage of his career is asking for trouble. As for Alshon, he is coming off a major foot injury. He wasn’t expected to play to start the year and really his last game now will have been over 10 months ago. So you have rust factor, coming off a serious foot injury and he is also unreliable on the injury front. Second, relying on 3 rookies during a pandemic offseason is just as ridiculous. I love the upside of Reagor, Hightower and Watkins. However, I have said on the EMB and blog if you are relying on rookies and especially two that are late round picks then you are in a world of trouble. As great as rookies can look one week, they can look equally as bad the following week. Most aren’t consistent with a normal offseason let alone the one we had. They are learning the intricacies of the position. Such as precise routes so that balls aren’t picked off or how to sell a route to create space. The fine tunings of becoming a reliable NFL receiver. College you can get away with a lot of things and have some bad habits that need to be broken. I like each of them, I just dislike having to ask them to play significant snaps this season outside of Reagor. Third, this spin all off season by the Eagles about JJAW was a bunch of BS. I am tired of the Eagles spinning these myth about their players in the offseason. This goes down the line from Matt Tobin to Maddox to Jjaw. They just aren’t that good. And with JJAW you botched the pick and everyone in the greater Philadelphia area and Eagles fans around the world know it. Just own it and move on. He is in Mack Hollins territory of unproductive snaps. Lastly, it was a horrible idea to enter the season with DeSean, 3 rookies, JJAW and Ward as your guys. You didn’t properly address the WR position to give the Eagles and Wentz the best chance of winning this year. I am sorry, but this WR corps is bottom five in the league. In the blog we discussed this the other day. I went through every single team. There is 4-5 teams that have worse WRs then the Eagles. Add on those teams aren’t relying on 2 injury prone guys. Lets put this into perspective, the Eagles could have gone out and gotten Robby Anderson this offseason for 8 mil against the cap this year and 12 next year (likely restructured anyway for 2021). On the season, Anderson with Bridgewater as his Qb has 20 catches for 278 yards and a touchdown. The entire Eagles WR group has 361 yards on 35 receptions. Instead of being able to go and get Anderson, the Eagles couldn’t because they got themselves into poor contracts with DeSean and Alshon. Add on they believed rookies were just going to solve the problem if those two missed time. 4. Maddox, NRC are just not good good enough— I just do not see it with Maddox. I think he is super overhyped by the Eagles and some fans on this board. Every time I watch him out there, he will have one good play and then just routinely be out of position and beat like a drum after that. In this game before he left with an injury Higgins and Boyd were just abusing him. I think he is way too small to be playing on the outside. However, when he was the slot corner last year he was routinely getting beat. It is becoming more and more of an issue that the Eagles have nothing opposite of Slay and that is where teams are going to attack the Eagles in the pass game. Maddox is simply not good enough of a corner. Frankly, I will say this again, he reminds me a lot of Boykin who had a great rookie campaign and then each season after just didn’t look nearly good. And it wasn’t just Maddox, NRC has been a massive disappointment. I didn’t expect him to be what he was in 2017 and 2018. The Rams wouldn’t have just released him and given up on him if that were the case. They’d have found away. Instead they moved on from him and it was no sweat off their back. Once again, NRC was continuously beat in this game. He had one nice play and then the rest of the time was just continuously picked on. Put this into perspective, Slay was covering Green for a majority of this game. That left Maddox and NRC to cover Boyd and Higgins for a majority of the time. The two receivers combined for 15 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Granted it wasn’t all on them but a good portion of it was. At this point, the missed picks of Jones and Douglas really hurt. And if we are going to get porous corner play anyway then I rather see LeBlanc out there. I do not think he is anything special, but I think he can play slot corner as well as NRC is right now and a better run defender than NRC. 5. Eagles Red zone D—Sadly this was an area where the Eagles improved but were still not very good. Against a rookie QB in Burrow, the Bengals were able to convert 2 touchdowns. This is actually an improvement for the Eagles the first 2 weeks of the season, they had given up 7 touchdowns in 9 red zone opportunities (really was more like 7 of 8 as the Redskins handed one to them at the end of the game). Still this isn’t good enough. The Eagles have faced two of the worst offenses in football and managed to give up touchdowns on 5 of 8 trips inside the red zone. Also, they have only gotten one stop where no points were scored inside the red zone, which again in part to Washington giving it to them. While this is an improvement, you hoped for better. Higgins just made it look easy inside the red zone against our secondary. The Eagles are going to face the Niners, Steelers, Ravens and Dallas in 4 of the next 5 weeks, this is an area of great concern because all of them have great offenses. On the season, the Eagles have given up 9 touchdowns on 13 opportunities (69%). Sadly that might actually get worse until we face the Giants in 4 weeks. 6. Red zone offense—Against the Bengals, the Eagles were only able to get into the red zone twice. They converted just one of those trips into 7. This is a two part problem. First, the Eagles are not making nearly enough trips inside the red zone or getting nearly enough big play touchdowns to overcome the lack of red zone trips. For the season, the Eagles have registered just 8 trips inside the red zone. They have scored just 4 touchdowns on those trips. That isn’t good enough to beat bad teams in the league. Having just over 2 trips into the red zone per game explains a lot about why we are only averaging 19.7 ppg. I fear that the next three games might be blow outs if this trend continues. Having a lackluster red zone offense with a defense that cant make stops in the red zone is a recipe for failure and a a** kicking. 7. Schwartz’s stick defense and overall defensive scheme— Once again the Eagles got burned by Schwartz’s stick defense. On a 3rd and 15, the Eagles defense managed to give up a 42 yard gain, which set up a field goal. This was reminiscent of the time Graham missed a tackle in Tennessee that allowed a 4th down conversion in overtime in a game the Eagles eventually lost. I am not against using sticks depending on where you are on the field and circumstance. But right at midfield I think you are better off playing regular defense especially when your front four had been winning the battle up front. Taking away and extra rusher to play sticks when you were dominating their OLine seems like a bad idea. Even if the Bengals were trying to concede by throwing a dump off pass. I do give Schwartz some credit today, I thought he did a good job sending some extra pressure at times. Mills looked very good as a blitzing safety. Maddox should have tacked on another sack if he knew how to tackle a QB. Also give him credit as he had to have Epps and Williams play significant snaps in the secondary due to injuries. Unfortunately, I still disliked the fact when the pressure was getting to Burrow that Schwartz once again decided to play soft coverage with his corners. With that type of pressure get them up on the WRs and lets try to get some turnovers, which this unit is dead last in the league. Overall I still feeling Schwartz’s units over the last three years have continuously regressed. We have added Slay and Hargrave this offseason. We added NRC. We lost Bradham and Jenkins, but this unit is such a far cry from that 2017 team. They lack playmakers. Maybe it is just how Schwartz employs his defense for the decrease in turnovers over each of the last 3 seasons. At some point, when turnovers are down, a point per game increase and red zone defense is porous than a change might be needed. 8. Jernigan production for Hargrave money—To Hargrave’s credit, I actually saw him flash on a couple plays in this game, which is an improvement from what we saw last week. However, for the second consecutive week, Hargrave registered no tackles, no QB hits and no sacks. This was the Eagles big ticketed free agent this offseason. They spent a ton of money on this guy and DeSean Jackson and Zach Ertz had more tackles and production then Hargraves. I have to watch the All 22 and closely monitor how he looked at there, but it isn’t great that through 2 weeks he has yet to appear in the box score. Like I said, he did flash a couple of times, but nothing that made me say wow that was indeed a great signing. Hopefully he is just getting himself back into shape and begins to take off. Someone mentioned during the game that he looked like Jernigan. He definitely does and he performing as well as Jernigan is this year, which isn’t great for the money he is making. I have him in the bad section and not the ugly cause I do think part of his issue is the fact he is still working his way back into football shape after missing nearly all of training camp. 9. Lean on Sanders—I seriously do not understand what the hell the gameplan was today. The Bengals are one of the worst Rush defenses in the league. This had Miles Sanders fingerprints all over it and Doug managed call 56 pass plays (6 rushes by Wentz were not by design; they were pass plays). Miles Sanders on the first two drives of the game had 6 carries for 41 yards. That is about 6.9 yards per carry. So you’d think that the Eagles would continue to feed him the ball and let him take over this game as Carson has been struggling. Nope, he doesn’t get a carry for the next two drives. But then magically we finally remember we have Miles Sanders on the field goal drive and touchdown drive right before halftime. It is mind-blowing how Sanders is looking great and we then just refuse to go back to him. But then late in the game when there is no rhythm they try to force feed them to get them going. It makes no freaking sense. It is really hard to stay in a good rhythm when you do not get the rushes for long stretches of time. He is your best weapon. Wentz right now is struggling so give Sanders more workload and take some of the pressure off of Carson’s shoulders. He is capable and good enough to help this team get to where they want to be. It is borderline negligence not to rely on Sanders more until Wentz can figure this out. 10. Dallas Goedert injuries—I love Goedert and I think he can be a great tight end in this league. One year he is deactivated right before the game with a calf injury. Today, he leaves the game early in the contest. It just feels like every season (like the rest of the team) he is coming out of games or missing games. I think he has tremendous upside, but he is always dealing with a calf or some sort of nagging injury that prevents him from being out there. We might be OK with Ertz leaving, but what happens next year if Ertz is gone and this happens? We have nothing behind Goedert at the moment. (expected to miss some more games now) 11. Moving Mills to safety during a pandemic offseason—Do not get me wrong; I liked the Eagles moving Mills to safety. I think he had a better chance of having long-term sustainable success then at corner. That doesn’t mean I think he is going to be successful, just that he likely has a better shot there then at corner. However, I dislike that the Eagles waited until a pandemic offseason for him to make the full transition. In my opinion, this should have been done at the start of last year and have him play strictly safety while rehabbing. They had him do miniscule safety stuff but really he was a corner that they gave some knowledge and a handful of plays at safety. Let him learn from guys like McLeod and Jenkins as the backup. I understand the Eagles had issues at corner last year, but reality was they still had issues even when he was at corner. To me, asking Mills to make that type of transition in an offseason with no OTAs, no minicamps, no preseason and just training camp was asking for trouble. You can see at times he looks ok and at others he is swimming in what he is supposed to do or where he is suppose to be. Training camp is like playing in the minor leagues. Yes it is helpful but it is going to take you time to acclimate to the majors. It is completely unfair to ask him to start at safety when he has not played more than a handful of snaps there in the nfl before this season and really consistently in 5 years since he left LSU. There was always going to be steep learning curve with growing pains by just handing him that job and learning the position at the nfl level. I do not think Parks is a starter either. I think he is a nice quality backup but if he has to start you are also in trouble. I do think Mills looked good today in the run defense and when Schwartz used him as a blitzer. Unfortunately, he still looks confused at times in coverage and it is hurting the Eagles. The Ugly: 1. No Balls Doug— In 2017, Doug was referred to very often as big balls Doug. The philly special in the Super Bowl was legendary big balls. I am not sure anyone is ever going to use that term this year with him. Frankly I disturbed by the lack of testicular fortitude on a bunch of plays today. Lets go back to even before the false start by Pryor on the field goal attempt and overtime. If we all remember correctly, in 2016 with Wentz struggling for most of the middle of the season we had a chance to beat the Ravens late in the season by going for two. It was a brilliant call to go for it there and build some confidence up in your team and young QB. If it fails then your team knows you believe in them still. With the season in the balance, Doug had a chance to show some balls and go for the win against the Bengals. Instead of taking the ball at the 2.5-yard line and potentially giving this team a huge momentum boost going on a west coast trip to SF. Doug decided to not go for two and take it to overtime. I disagreed with that. I think it sends the message after Carson and the offense had some serious mojo going that you didn’t believe in them to get two more yards for the win. I also do not think Doug of the past couple years even thinks about just kicking it. Now lets go to overtime, I thought Doug was gutless in overtime too. You just picked up a first down. Instead of coming up with some creative plays or some simple plays that would get you a couple of yards just to help your kicker not kick a 59-yard, we play it safe. I get not wanting Wentz to turn it over, but just banking on your kicker to make a 50+ yard field goal is bad logic. You saw him miss a 53-yarder a couple of weeks ago against Washington. I thought the Eagles should have been looking to get at least 10 more yards to make it a much more manageable field goal. Additionally, in case something like a false start occurred. And then finally, they no balls call to just punt it away and take the tie. I get Elliott likely isn’t going to make a 64-yard field goal, but I much rather go down swinging then just accept the fact we are going to tie. Heck it was only 4th and 12 call something you like and hope you can pick up the 12 yards for the first down and potentially have a chance at another field goal. It feels like he just accepted that his defense couldn’t make a play if we missed the FG from that range and that a tie was better than going for a potential win. Doug of the past couple years (granted better teams) would have gone for the win and not settled for the tie. That screams no testicular fortitude. 2. Regression Wentz, Foles hindsight—Besides the late fourth quarter drive by Carson Wentz, it was another ugly game for Carson. It was his 3rd consecutive game where he had multiple interceptions. His quarterback rating was just a mere 62.8. on the day he was 29/47 for 225 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions and 9 rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Carson Wentz's stats through 3 games: 59.8 completion pct., 5.6 yards per pass attempt, 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 3 fumbles (1 lost), 11 sacks, 63.9 passer rating. Furthermore, his two interceptions were bad throws yet again and costly. His first interception was deflected, but even if it wasn’t deflected it was a forced throw to DeSean that really had a low percentage of completion. I thought the safety either would have picked the ball or possibly another defensive back might have picked him off. It had to be a picture perfect throw to get it to DeSean and it didn’t look great coming out of his hands. His second interception was just a horrendous throw. Ertz was blanketed and he tried to throw it to him anyway. And the throw was not even in a spot where Ertz could even make a play on it to make a catch or knock it away. Both of those interceptions gave the ball to the Bengals the ball in great field position. He is lucky the interceptions only cost him 3 points in this game it very easily could have been more like in the Washington game. It wasn’t just the interceptions either. The play right before the second interception, he has Hightower WIDE OPEN for an easy conversion. He instead threw a worm burner to Greg Ward. All I can think of is he doesn’t trust Hightower at the oment or really is not seeing the field at all. Also, He had a wheel route to Sanders that was a walk in touchdown if he puts it on the money. Instead the ball sails out of bounds because of a poor throw caused by poor footwork. Those are plays that could easily have won this game for the Eagles and he would make during his 2017 campaign and even down the stretch last year. At the end of last year, I had some hope that he was going to revert back to being 2017 Carson with how he elevated the team around him. I know I said it was fools gold for the Eagles, but I thought for his confidence and the team that his performance would carry over. It clearly has not. He is regressing to the point of you need to start asking the question what happened since he left the field after the big hit by Clowney. I don’t mean to be rude or insensitive when I ask this, but did that shot change the way he thinks and plays out there? While his mechanics and footwork are a mess right now, he also seems to be overthinking it out there and trying to be perfect. I also do not think he trusts the Eagles offensive line with who is all out there. After taking that type of shot during the playoffs and having a concussion, I could see him starting to think more about the pass rush coming his way then just playing the game freely. Maybe this is who Wentz is after that type of incident. This ultimately brings us back to the Wentz/Foles discussion we had just 2 seasons ago. Very few of us at the time were on the Foles should stay and we need to trade Carson. I admire the ones who were and were adamant about it. Foles looked great today against Atlanta in their come from behind victory. Granted I think Atlanta’s pass defense is the worst in the league outside of maybe the Seahawks and they are soft mentally, so that is a nice situation to come into. But I don’t think it is an unfair question anymore to consider if the Eagles might have made the wrong move at QB. It hurts me to say that out loud cause I love Carson and believe he is much better than what he has shown. But at some point I have to look in the mirror and come to grips with the truth that’s presented on the field. Like what QB in the NFL would you not take over him? I can only think of about 4-5 with how he is playing right now. The Eagles need for Wentz to play like he did at the end of last year before this season is over. I am not sure you can go into the offseason if this is how it is all year for 16 games and just expect him to be different in 2021. Additionally, the bad draft picks by Howie and poor cap usage by Howie allow for this team to have a Qb play this up and down. 3. Maybe Peters should’ve retired—It was really ugly out there today for Jason Peters. I thought last year he declined, but this year it looks like it was a massive decline. To the point of asking wouldn’t Driscoll or Mailata just be better off getting some experience then him. I couldn’t imagine them being much worse than how Peters looked today. Against the Bengals, he gave up three sacks. One of them almost led to a turnover as Carson fumbled the ball. Right now he is a major liability for the Eagles. I am not sure he is even an average starter at left tackle in the league with how he got owned today and owned against Washington. I also cannot see the Eagles benching him. They will be stubborn since they just gave him a raise, which was a mistake to do. As well as I think Peters has too much pride to allow them to take him out of the game unless he is hurt. Granted he left the game early today with an injury so maybe that is the opening the Eagles need to move on from Peters. Either way, Peters is more of a problem right now then a help. And sadly I think a lot of Eagles fans are going to remember the end more than when he was at his peak. 4. Stop relying on DeSean—Relying on a 34-year-old WR to be your no. 1 receiver is usually a recipe for disaster. It is usually even a bigger recipe for disaster when he has had injury concerns for much of the last 5 years. I really didn’t love the idea of bringing back DeSean Jackson in 2019. I thought there was better ways to spend the money on a guy who still is a good WR when healthy, but is aging and tends to miss games and snaps over the course of the season. Add on he’s worn out his welcome in multiple places over the course of his career. It wasn’t a good ending in Tampa or Washington. Heck there was a story Reid was fed up with him. DeSean’s season didn’t start off great. He was on the sideline’s for about 45% of the Eagles snaps to try and keep him healthy. Last week, he was nowhere to be found for the first half. And today, he left the field with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. We will find out a lot about DeSean over the next couple weeks. Lets see how fast he returns to the Eagles as they are at 0-2-1. Furthermore, his contract is looking worse and worse. Even if you wanted to cut him this year (really cant do to other WRs not being that good), you cannot cut him this year, as the dead money is more than his cap. Additionally, in 2021, he carries a 10.9 mil cap hit and a 5.8 million of dead money. It gets worse as somehow in 2022 he also carries a 3.87 mil dead money hit. To me, I dislike bringing in players well into their 30s and history of missing games due to injury. I preferred the route of going after someone like Robby Anderson wo was young, entering his prime, had production with the dysfunctional mess that is the Jets and overall a more productive player over the last three years. Eagles didn’t get that opportunity because they made a trade for DeSean that is beginning to look more foolish by the weeks. 5. J-YAWN—I am officially done with JJAW if I wasn’t already. He now has 0 catches for 0 yards on the season. This is starting to become more and more like Mack Holins garbage we saw last year. Hollins kept getting snaps even though he wasn’t doing anything. He gets on the field and is practically useless. The Spadaro and Eagles spin can cover up the obvious. Just move on from him. He isn’t going to turn this around. We don’t need 3 or 4 or 5 more games to realize that JJAW isn’t good enough to be a productive NFL WR. Just admit your mistake and move on. Quit trying to sell everyone false hope when we can see with our own two eyes it is not gonna happen. I for one would like to see Watkins activated from IR and replace JJAW. I still have hope and upside for him. I do not see JJAW as salvage at this point. We jokingly made his over/under for this game at 0.5 in both catches and yards. He somehow managed to get the under for this. 6. Penalties and undisciplined—Heading into this game, the one area that the Eagles have been relatively good at was keeping their penalties down. In the first two games, the Eagles had been called for 8 penalties and just 50 yards in penalties. In today’s contest, they were called for 11 penalties for 93 yards and looked undisciplined at times. The first bonehead penalty of the day can be attributed to Clement. On a punt that had already given the Bengals great field position, Clement manages to give the Bengals an extra 15 yards to the Eagles 38; basically already in FG territory. That extra 15 yards might be the difference in this game as maybe the defense holds and doesn’t give up a field goal. But Clement’s penalty already had them set up for a field goal. It was a bad and stupid personal foul penalty that cost your team 3 points on the scoreboard from the moment you committed it. Lets now fast forward to overtime. The Eagles get the ball back and seem to have found a rhythm in their second possession of overtime getting to the 43-yard line in Bengals territory on Wentz’s best throw of the season. Then we have Lane Johnson getting a false start penalty to back us up 5. Then Herbig has a holding penalty. Both of those penalties killed a promising drive and gave the ball back to the Bengals deep in their own territory. After a huge sack by Cox on Burrow, the Eagles get the ball back in excellent field position at their own 45. Wentz and the offense was able to move the ball just enough to be able to attempt a long 59-yard field goal. That is when we get a freaking false start penalty on Pryor and a freaking FG attempt. Like I cannot no explain how infuriating it is that you somehow managed to get a false start on a field goal attempt. It is pure just undisciplined football. That how I felt watching this team today. This team is not good enough to overcome bad penalties. The fact that they had so many at critical times is fitting for this season. 7. Creating turnovers—We are three games into the 2020 season and the Eagles defense has managed to have a league low 0 defensive turnovers. The Eagles have not had a defensive turnover since week 17 against the Giants last year. With the addition of Slay I thought the Eagles would easily beat their interception totals from 2019 and 2018 of 11 and 10 respectively. Almost a quarter of the way through the season we are on pace to have even less than the previous two seasons that placed us in the bottom half of the league. Even when they’re opportunities to get interceptions guys are just dropping the ball. Not going to win many games in the NFL if your special teams have more created turnovers than your defense. Some of the problem is that our secondary really only has one playmaker. Slay is the only playmaker and teams are going to avoid him since Williams, Maddox and NRC are not playing well or just aren’t that good. Mills move to safety was going to take time, but even so I am not sure he is a great playmaker. McLeod has really never been a great playmaker either at the safety position. He is good, but he isn’t a big interception guy. Add on the linebacker unit is not good and seemingly always steps behind the guy they are supposed to cover. The Eagles are going to have to address playmakers in the back 7 next year because it is a large reason that the turnovers aren’t coming. I would mention the DL but having 8 sacks and nearly 20 QB hits they are doing their job creating pressure, but Schwartz playing his corners off with cushion isn’t helping matters. 8. Turnover ratio—If there is a single stat that sums up the Eagles season it is this one. Somehow the Eagles managed to lose the turnover battle 2-0 today, but still end up with a tie. This really falls on Wentz today as his two turnovers led to a field goal and was really the only miscue in the turnover department. For the season, the Eagles have turnover the ball over 8 times and only created one turnover. That is a -7 on the season, one of the worst ratios in all of the NFL. To their credit, they actually cut back on the turnovers today with only two. The Eagles are averaging 2.7 turnovers per game and on pace to finish the season with 43 turnovers. YIKES! 9. Goosfraba....goosfraba... goosfraba... linebackers and anger sharks swimming—I am not even going to go into great detail about this. Gerry is consistently 5-7 yards behind the guy he is supposed to cover. Edwards doesn’t look ready. I legitimately do not think the Eagles have a single linebacker on this roster that should command anything more than backup snaps or ST snaps. I’d argue they are the worst unit of any position in the NFL. It is up there with the Jets horrific WRs but at least the Jets have Crowder. 10. WR screens—I do not have the stats, but if I had to guess, the Eagles are statistically one of the worst teams when using this. It feels like every time they get a max of 2-3 yards and most of the time the ball is skipped to the WR or sniffed out for a loss. Normally I wouldn’t say this, but I think we are at the point where WR screens just shouldn’t be called anymore. Literally it is a wasted down every time we try it. 11. Lack of shots downfield til late—I get you do not have Reagor and you lost DeSean Jackson, but it felt like this offense was similar to the end of last year for most of the game. Besides Ward’s 29 yard td (which wasn’t really a deep ball—great route by Ward), a missed wheel route to Sanders, it felt like the Eagles just were willing to slowly move the ball down the field until late in the 4th quarter. Once it got to crunch time we saw the Eagles throw two deep passes to Hightower to draw PI and Wentz hit Ertz on a nice 30-yard reception in overtime. I think you got to at least take shots down the field and try to open up the defense. I am guessing Watkins comes off IR so you still have speed with Hightower and Watkins even if Reagor is out and DeSean misses time. 12. Draft from 2016-present—It is reallllllllllly ugly right now when you look at the drafts from 2016 to present along with who man an impact on the field today. Legitimately Josh Sweat, Sanders and Derek Barnett were the only three that had good games for the Eagles today. Everyone else didn’t play well, got hurt/injured or are no longer here. 13. NFC East is trash—I thought the division was awful last year, but this year it could be even worse. The Giants even though they added some talent via draft and free agency in the offseason look like a team that really doesn’t care to play for their new head coach. He might get the axe after one season with how it is going there. There is no excuse for getting destroyed by nearly 30 with a team having a ton of backups. As for the Redskins, Haskins isn’t the answer. He just doesn’t look good and McLaurin being good makes him look a little better than he should. Their defense was great week one cause of their pass rush, but they have been exposed by better offenses with olines playing better than ours. As for Dallas, they easily and probably should be 0-3 as well. Their defense is nonexistent unless their pass rush is getting home. Wilson is clearly the frontrunner for MVP, but he made it look easy today. He took a couple drives off and then with relative easy put the stake into the heart of the Cowboys. The Cowboys offense looked legit the last two weeks, but then again they have faced the two worse pass defenses in the league in Atlanta and Seahawks. This division is bad. And I am not sure any of the teams are close to being SB contenders for the next couple years. 14. Future of the Eagles—I guess in hindsight I was optimistic when I thought this team could win 8 games this season. With how the schedule is shaping up and how the Eagles are playing, they’d be lucky to get to 6 wins. I am not sure besides the Giants games and Washington game that they are a favorite in any of the rest of the games on their schedule. This is a really bad team. I would argue it is in worse shape then after 2012. At least in 2012 Reid left behind some young promising prospects and we had high draft picks coming our way. Let’s not sugarcoat it: They are old. They are expensive. And they aren’t coached very well either. The Eagles have hit the trifecta. This falls on a lot of people, but really this falls on Howie. Outside of Wentz bizarre season, you could see this coming from a mile away. There was a regression each of the last two season. They might have gone 9-7 in both, but there was a drop off in talent and performance. This team went from winning a playoff game and nearly stealing another to needing to play the Giants twice, Washington and Dak with a bum shoulder to just make the playoffs. It wasn’t a chicken little when I and a couple of other on the board talked about the lack of young players as the next core. This team continuously had poor drafts. Kept throwing money at aging veterans to be fixes cause of poor drafting. They got themselves into multiple bad contracts to the point that it might take the Eagles a couple of years to get out of this and that is if they draft well over the next couple years, which isn’t a guarantee. Yes if Wentz was playing at an All Pro level it would cover up a lot of the warts, but him playing the way he is exposes all of them for the world to see. I mentioned this in the blog, I wouldn’t be surprised if 1 of the 3 in Doug, Carson and Howie weren’t back at the end of the 2021 season. I believe all will be back for 2021 as I don’t see Lurie blowing this up yet. Now, I kind of get the sense that 2 of the 3 won’t be back. You can talk about which one you think it is going to be. Personally, I think Carson is going to be traded at that point. I do not believe you draft a second round QB to just be a backup and flip him down the road. I also kind of see the end of the road for Doug as his offense in 4 of 5 seasons has struggled and if they are the same in 2021 it would be 5 of 6 and he gets the axe. I prefer him staying over Howie. To me, I think poor drafts, poor contracts, poor trades and poor offseason plans are what got the Eagles into this mess. Howie is in his third regime not often you survive to see three. 14 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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