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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: week 6 vs Ravens


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The Good:

1. Carson Wentz second half — This was not even close to Carson’s best game of his career, but I give him a ton of credit. He was getting destroyed and light up like a Christmas tree all day today. Jamon Brown was being used as a turnstile in this game. Not only was the offensive line porous, Hightower dropped a bomb that would have picked up major yardage and Sanders missed catching a touchdown due to getting himself twisted up. Some was also his own fault as he fumbled the ball away, which set up a Ravens touchdown. Nevertheless, Carson kept coming. He was down Ertz. He was down Sanders. He was down 4/5th of his offensive line. He had basically just Kelce out there from the start of the season. Think about that for a moment, how many QBs are going to get 28 points vs. the Ravens with this offense as currently constructed? He is taking a beating, down his top two tight ends, his two starting receivers and 4 starting olinemen as well as 2 of their top backup OLineman Yet, he was able to make some things happen in the second half and the Eagles were able to score 28 second half points. In the second half, Wentz was 13-23 for 147 yards and 2 tds. Additionally, he used his legs on a 40-yard run to keep a drive alive to help cut the lead down to just 8 for the Ravens. Again he was not good in the first half and had plenty of help, but it was encouraging that when things got tough that he got going. Ultimately, he finished the day 21-40 for 213 yards, 49 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Sadly, his numbers don’t look great, but reality is a Sanders td reception and Hightower catch they might win this game and his statline looks much better than what it does. Still, I give him a ton of credit for staying in there and continuing to deliver the ball when he needed too and nearly stealing another game for the Eagles when we really had no business being in this game with whom was out there. 

2. Miles Sanders running the ball before he exits— Besides the ball in the end zone that I believe he should have caught (can blame Wentz on where the ball was placed but I think Sanders turned the wrong way and then got himself twisted up like a pretzel—still a catch I believe he has to make), Sanders looked good in his limited carries. He had 9 rushes for 118 yards before exiting the game with a knee injury. It was the second time in two weeks he was able to bust off a 74-yard run. It is unfortunate for Sanders that he wasn’t able to get into the end zone on the run, but very fortunate JJAW was on the spot to pick up the fumble for the Eagles first touchdown. More amazing for Sanders is that he missed the first game of the season and about 1.5 quarters of this game, yet sits 3rd in the league in rushing. More amazing is he is 16th in the entire NFL in total carries. Hopefully for the Eagles he isn’t out for too long or at all. He really is the Eagles best playmaker. He can take a run to the house and a simple dumpoff or swing pass he has the chance to break one for a touchdown. Conversely, we have seen this story before with Sanders. He is a dynamic playmaker for this offense, but he has had issues staying on the field and completing games. Last year, he left 3-4 games early and didn’t return. This really hurts because of what the Eagles have behind him and how ineffective they have been so far this season. This is an injury that you saw in week one hurts the Eagles. Scott is a 3rd down back and Clement is lucky he is still on the roster with how ineffective he has looked for the better part of the last two seasons. I would be surprised if Sanders is out there on Thursday night. 

3. Fulgham gets going in the comeback—It took awhile for Carson to look in his direction, but once he began too, good things began to happen for the Eagles. In the first half, Fulgham didn’t have a single catch. However, in the second half he was able to haul in 6 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t just his ability to go up on the 18-yard touchdown reception. He nearly hauled in a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. Additionally, he had a huge PI on the Eagles final offensive possession against Marcus Peters. That 49-yard pick up was absolutely huge in the Eagles marching down the field and scoring a touchdown to make it 30-28 and a chance on the 2-point conversion. The kid is a player. Does that mean he is going to be a star every week? I don’t think so, but the kid has shown he can be a really productive player in the NFL and can thrive in this offense. I am super excited to see what can happen once we get some speed opposite him on the other side. If Reagor is able to come back and be the player the Eagles envisioned, then this offense might actually have its best pair of wide receivers we have seen since Maclin and DeSean. With everything that has gone wrong for the Eagles this year, there might actually be a light at the end of tunnel at the WR position if Fulgham continues to keep playing this well and Reagor is the real deal. 

4. Brandon Graham shows up— This was one of the best games on the season for Brandon Graham. I didn’t think he was great last week and for much of the season, he left me wanting more. But today, he was one of the best defensive players on the field for the Eagles. He was able to record 2 sacks, 2 tfl and 1 QB hit. Additionally, he compiled 6 total tackles. More importantly, I thought he did a pretty good job at containing Lamar. While the Eagles linebackers were atrocious in this department, there were multiple plays where Graham had Lamar bottled up so he couldn’t break off one of his massive runs to the outside. This sounds a little weird cause Lamar went off running the ball, but really Graham wasn’t the issue in this department. Sure he had 1 or 2 times that he would like back, butthat is going to happen in a game against the Lamar. For the most part, Graham was in good position and made his presence known all afternoon. Sadly, I wanted more from Barnett as Graham is aging and older next year. 

5. Malik Jackson, Cox play well— I got to give credit where credit is due, Malik Jackson has been an absolute beast for the Eagles at DT this year. I would argue that he might be the most consistent defensive player we have had all season and he just continues to make plays. Against the Ravens that he recorded a sack, 2 TFL, and 2 QB hits to lead the team. Over the first 6 weeks of the season, Jackson has a team high 11 QB hits. He has been everything the Eagles could have hoped for when they signed him last offseason. What makes it more impressive is how he is doing it coming off the type of injury he had last season. As for Cox, the stat line isn’t pretty. It just 3 tackles, 1 TFL and 1 PD. However, he was stout against the run all game and for the most part did an excellent job getting his hands up on Jackson’s pass. He had a deflection and nearly another couple in this game. I think his presence alone is also helping Jackson and this defense. It shouldn’t go under the radar. 

6. Sweat continues to emerge--  I thought Sweat once again showed huge steps in his development. Coming into the year it was a telling sign that the Eagles brought back Curry. It felt like the Eagles didn’t trust what they had behind their two starters. It kind of felt like they might not also trust Barnett, but that’s another story. While Sweat didn’t record a sack or QB hit, he was very active today for the Eagles. He was able to register 5 tackles, 3 TFL and 1 pass deflection. He is really starting to emerge as a viable rotational DE. Heck I want to see more of him if we are continuing to see Barnett play up and down and not be very consistent. Furthermore, his ability to hold up against the run has been very impressive. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do that, but I do not think that was a strength of his when he came out of Florida State. But for most of the season he has been terrific in that aspect. I want to see more of him on the field, but I also understand his past with his knee injury. I am not sure if you play him more and more if his knee will hold up. I am hoping and praying for his sake it does, because I think he has a chance to be a starter or at least in competition to be the starter at DE next year. 

7. Hurts gadget plays— I am still not a huge fan of the Hurts pick. I still think they’re some players we could have went with that would have been huge for this team now and down the road in the future. Nevertheless, the Hurts gadget plays really helped get the offense going. After the Eagles got down 17-0, Doug used his backup QB to help jump start the offense and get it some juice. In his first action of the game, he was able to pick up the Eagles second first down of the game. Then he was able to haul in a reception. While both plays only went for 6 yards total, it felt like some juice was introduced into the offense. Furthermore, I think the kid has terrific speed and is a really dangerous runner if the Eagles can get him into the open field. Really those two plays sparked a 70 yard drive that ultimately ended in a turnover on downs. Nevertheless, he is giving the Eagles something on offense and some juice when we really do not have a bunch of playmakers that are able to do so. 

8. Red zone offense en fuego— The Eagles were able to continue their hot trend from last week into this week. Last week against the Steelers, the Eagles were 3-for-3 inside the red zone. This week, the Eagles were once again 3-for-3 inside the red zone.  That means over the last two weeks of the season against arguably the two best defenses we will face on the schedule, the Eagles were a perfect –for-6. That is really impressive for any team let alone one that is down to just 2 starters from the beginning of the season on offense. The Eagles are dialing up some plays and Wentz is keeping them alive with his feet and finding people like Croom who the average fan probably didn’t even know was on the Eagles before that catch. The Eagles should be able to continue this trend over the next 3 game as they face the Giants, Dallas and Giants again. On the season, the Eagles have had 15 trips into the red zone and managed to score touchdowns on 11 of those trips for 73.3% conversion. 

9. Penalties—Something that hurt the Eagles in both the Bengals and Steelers games were penalties. Some of the penalties left points on the board. Some of the penalties halted promising drives. The Eagles were not perfect today in terms of penalties, but they weren’t the reason that the Eagles lost this game. On the afternoon, the Eagles had 3 penalties for 20 yards. Furthermore, the Ravens had 12 for 132 yards. One could argue the Ravens penalties really helped the Eagles out at times in terms of halting drives and saving the defense. On the season, the Eagles in 4 of the 6 games have been called for 5 penalties or less in 3 games and 30 penalty yards or less in 3 games as well. 

10. Jjaw makes two plays— While JJAW still didn’t make the type of impact the Eagles were looking for when they drafted him, he still came up big on two separate occasions. He was Johnny on the spot on the Sanders fumble on the long touchdown run. Due to that fumble recovery he temporarily passed the great Travis Fulgham on the touchdown list. Don’t worry Fulgham caught back up later in the game. Additionally, he  brought the Eagles to within 8 points on his 2 point conversion. It wasn’t a spectacular day for JJAW, but maybe this gives him some confidence and he starts to play better…. I have my doubts. 

11. Big plays on offense—The Eagles could have finished the day with 4 plays of over 20 yards or more if Hightower didn’t drop a bomb and Sanders could’ve hauled in the 21-yard touchdown pass. Still, the Eagles managed to have plays of 74-yards and 50-yards. These are the type of big plays that can jump start and offense and give it some confidence. In the last 2 weeks, the Eagles have had 3 plays of over 50 yards. Furthermore, they added a 49 yard pass interference penalties. This is a good sign as the Eagles are not just a slow plodding offense which is what we saw most of last year. While we still aren’t as dynamic as we want to be, we are going to get some weapons back like Reagor, Goedert and maybe even DeSean. If the Wentz can navigate through and not get completely destroyed then you can see the offense might be better than we think going forward.   

12. Run blocking looked better—While the offensive line was ugly in the pass protection department, I thought the run blocking was much better than it was last week. Last week, the Eagles had the big run by Sanders and then just had nine yards the rest of the game form their backs. While a Sanders 74-yard run makes up for most of the yards by Eagles running backs, they were still able to compile 48 yards on 10 carries not including that run. On the afternoon, the Eagles running backs posted 122 yards on 11 carries.  Hurts and Wentz combined for 7 rushing attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the Eagles running game produced 194 yards  on 18 carries for 10.8 yards per carry. 

 

On the fence:

1. Slay and the secondary—I thought the Eagles secondary outside of a play or two held up pretty well. Considering we lost Mills at one point in the game and playing with slot corners on the outside at times. While Jackson isn’t a great passer, the Eagles secondary was able to hold him to just 186 yards passing and 59% completion percentage. The Ravens were able to connect on one big passing play to Snead for 32 yards, but the Eagles did an excellent job of limiting the homerun hitter that is Hollywood Brown to 4 catches for 57 yards. On the afternoon, Ravens WRs were targeted 13 times and pulled in 9 receptions for 131 yards. The numbers sound worse, but considering what the Eagles secondary had out there to work with I was expecting Brown to have a much bigger impact or Duvernay to do better than 3 catches for 31 yards. Furthermore, it felt like the first half is where the Eagles had the majority of their issues with the WRs and as the game went along were better. Granted, I do think the Giants pose a bigger challenge over at WR then the Ravens. I think Slayton is one of the better young receivers in the game. Tate is a very solid slot receiver and the Giants are working Sheppard back into the lineup. That said, it is definitely a downgrade in QB from Lamar to Danny Dimes even if Lamar isn’t playing like an MVP right now. 

2. Hightower up and down day— I love the kid’s persistence and not getting too down on himself. If he didn’t have confidence in himself then I think the 50-yard reception he pulled in later in the game would have been just another drop. Does it drive me crazy? Of course it does. He needs to catch those deep balls especially when Wentz drops it into his hands. It was a play that really could have changed the dynamic of the game early and instead it falls to the ground and the offense continues to be in a funk.  Additionally, it isn’t just that, he took himself out of one route by allowing the defender to outmuscle him and lead him out of bounds. I still really like the kid especially cause you see he can create separation and get open in this league. It was a terrific route on the drop, but he has to do the little things. Last week it was his failure to get out of bounds and missing a catch in the end zone. I do believe we will seem more and more from Hightower. I wouldn’t be surprised by next year if he were far more along than I initially thought. I think these snaps this early in his career are a learning curve. 

3. Run defense—This depends on how you look at the running game with the Ravens. If we are talking strictly defending the running backs and limiting them, then the Eagles did a terrific job as Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Ingram combined for 28 carries for 74 yards (2.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Meanwhile, if you add in Lamar Jackson who is a staple in the running game for the Ravens, he rushed for 108 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown. Overall, the Ravens rushed 37 times for 182 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns. While I think the Eagles did an excellent job shutting down the trio of running backs, they were equally as bad at containing Jackson and forcing him to beat them with his arm. 

 

The Bad:

1. Wentz’s ball security/turnovers—While I thought Wentz did a great job leading this team back into a game where they frankly had no business being in, he needs to be better with the ball. His fumble set up an easy touchdown for the Ravens to really put the Eagles behind the 8-ball. If he is going to take off and run, he has to know ball security at the end of the play is at it’s upmost importance. I think Wentz has looked much better over the last couple weeks, but the fact he has more turnovers then any team in the NFL besides the Eagles is alarming. Clearly it isn’t all his fault on some of these turnovers, but that one was. If he protects the ball better in that situation the Eagles might have won the game. And thus is why protecting the ball and not turning it over is so important. On the season, the Eagles are a -7 in the turnover category. Furthermore, Wentz has 9 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles. For his career, that fumble marked the 53rd fumble in his 62nd game. 

2. Sanders can’t haul in touchdown—If you believe that Wentz could have made a better pass to the pylon and with his placement with the pass to Sanders then more power to you. I believe Sanders should have come down with that ball. There was no Ravens player closely contesting it. That is a catch that I see routinely made around the league and should be made. It cost the Eagles 7 points as they turned the ball over on downs two plays later. These are the inch here and an inch there that is costing the Eagles. They were competitive and in the last two games until the end, but it is a drop here, a missed opportunity here or a missed FG that is just killing the Eagles ability to win games. 

3. Doug’s decisions— I thought there were only 3 critical points in this game where Doug could have been better. First let me start in the first half on 4th and 1 at the 21.  First with 1:09 left in the half and I am that close to the end zone, I am not rushing up to the line to try and catch the Ravens off guard. I think they are took good of a team to catch them napping. Secondly, I would have loved to do a hard count and try to draw them offsides and then use a timeout if they don’t. If the plan was hurry up to the line and try to do that then I am all for it. Third, I get trying to sneak it with Wentz due to his size and how often it works, but I am definitely not having Wentz try to do it over Brown’s side of the line. I am going behind Herbig who is massive. Would we have gotten it? I am not sure. Looked like not, but I am not risking it on the Brown side when he looked god awful all day. Besides the 4th down, I thought Doug went for 2 points way too early in this game. It ultimately came back to bite in him in the butt later in the game. The difference being down 9 or 10 isnt that big; either way it is still a two-possession game. It is far too early to start thinking that way and chasing points regardless of what the analytics say. I disagree with going for it there. I get he wanted to stay aggressive like he was on 4th down, but I didn’t think he should’ve gone for it. It wasn’t like the offense was in a good rhythm. Sanders busted a long run otherwise the offense was pretty meh for most of the game prior. Lastly, I hated the play call for the potential game-tying 2-point conversion. I thought the Eagles should’ve let Wentz be Wentz. With Boston Scott and Clement as the backs with Sanders out, I do not trust either of them on that type of play. I am guaranteeing the defense didn’t respect either one on that type of read option. I rather have used Fulgham’s size and catch radius to our advantage on a fade. Or get him on a mismatch with a smaller corner and let him just go up and outmuscle the defender. 

4. Elliott from distance this year—I pointed out last week that it just feels different for me when Jake Elliott goes out there to kick 50-yard field goals this year. He has had 4 attempts from that range this year and has only made 1 of them. For perspective, the average of makes for 50+ field goals is 61%. I get last week in Pittsburgh it is massively difficult place to kick and it being 57 yards is nowhere close to a gimme kick. While it is a 52-yard miss this week, which isn’t a gimme FG either, he has to make that. It is such a momentum boost if he does at the end of the half if he does.. I felt in Washington his kick kind of felt like the snowball that eventually turned into an avalanche. I still think he is a very good kicker, but I can’t imagine having great confidence in him kicking from over 50 yards right now.  Maybe that is a good thing because I think Doug just automatically assumes it is automatic with him from that range so maybe we wont just play it conservative at times. I am hoping he is able to turn it around. I just feel like Jake we are asking Jake for big kicks in critical moments of games and we have failed more this year than in previous years. 

5. 3rd down defense/Defense on third and long—On third down, the Eagles weren’t horrible but they also weren’t good. The Ravens were able to convert 6-for-16 on 3rd down, which is 37.5%. This looks worse when you realize that the Eagles on the first two possessions for the Ravens gave up 3 first downs on 5 opportunities. That means the rest of the game, the Eagles were very good only giving up 3 first downs on 11 opportunities. Nevertheless, 3rd and long continues to be a bugaboo for the Eagles. This was an issue at times in the Super Bowl year, but really it started becoming a major issue for the Eagles in 2018 when we lost to the Titans when we gave up a 4th and 15. In this game and on the very first drive, the Ravens managed to pick up a 3rd and 11 and a 3rd and 10 to set up the first touchdown of the game. The Ravens had 3rd and 10+ 8 times in this game, the Eagles gave up 3 first downs on those 8 third downs. Like I could understand if it happens once, but 3 times is way too many. This has become a running joke in the game day thread and blog. It is like teams salivate when they see the Eagles in third and forever. Fortunately, we were able to stop them on the 3rd and 30 otherwise I might have just lost it and stopped watching the game. This is something that is inexcusable. On the season, we have been in 3rd and 8+, the Eagles have had 40 opportunities to get off the field, they have given up a first down or even a touchdown 11 times. That’s 27.5% of the time they are giving up a first down or touchdown on those type of situations. I do not have every team in the NFL’s statistics, but I would bet that is amongst some of the worst in the NFL. We are basically giving up 2 3rd and 8+ per game up. 

6. Red zone defense— While the Eagles red zone defense wasn’t awful, they are once again nowhere close to where they need to be. The Eagles offense didn’t help matters with the turnover setting up the Steelers on a short field, but the Eagles defense for pretty much all season have been porous in holding their opponents to a field goal or turning them away with no points. The Eagles have only held their opponents twice to no points in the red zone. Once was a gimme by Washington to try and run out the game. The other was on McLeod’s interception in San Francisco. The Ravens were not perfect today as they traveled into the red zone 3 times, but managed to score two touchdowns and a field goal. On the season, the Eagles have allowed their opponents into the red zone 22 times and given up touchdowns on 16 of those trips. Meaning teams are scoring 72.7%. The only teams worse this year than the Eagles are Lions, Falcons, Miami, Titans and Saints. 

7. Special teams return unit aka Ward as a returner—I love the story of Greg Ward and the things he does offer. I do believe he is a 4/5th WR in this league that will wind up sticking around for a while because he is a solid back end of the WR corps type of guy. That said, I am really over him returning punts. The Eagles have not had a good punt returner since the height of Sproles. We are using him back there and really he doesn’t give you anything great. Heck he fumbled twice today on the punt returners, which were fortunate enough to go out of bounds. I get this isn’t an area of where you do massive scouting and dire need, but it is ridiculous that we basically get nothing or very little out of our punt return game. Not sure what the Eagles can do to change it because really with Reagor and DeSean out, you do not really have a great returner or guy I’d use back there. I guess this is likely more of an offseason thing that I would like to see the Eagles attack. 

 

The ugly:

1. Oline—I want to talk about Brown specifically by himself so I am not going to go in-depth on his awful performance here. But man this was an ugly game for the offensive line.  Not surprising we also lost another lineman as Toth was playing at right tackle for Driscoll by the end of it. I like Toth’s potential as a long term swing tackle, but no way do I want him out there right now. I understood going into the game it was likely to be rough day when you have 4 starters out against one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL, but it was really not good. Carson was sacked 6 times and he was hit 16 times. Furthermore, Wentz was under duress for 47% of his dropbacks according to Tim McManus. It was the third consecutive game where he was under duress on at least 40% of his dropbacks. Even more crazy, he is the first Eagles quarterback to be under that much pressure since ESPN began tracking it as a stat. Lets continue this trend, over the last three weeks the Eagles have given up 16 sacks. Now some of them are on Wentz for holding it too long, but a lot of them are on the OLine. That means they are giving up just over 5 sacks a game. In the QB hits department, he has been hit 37 times; That on average over the last 3 weeks of 12.33 hits per week. Add on he has averaged over the last 3 weeks, he has averaged just 34.3 pass attempts meaning he has been hit on 36% of his passes. I am not sure Wentz is going to be able to make it through the year if he is going to continuously be beat up like he is. I am not sure any QB could. As much as I like Mailata’s ability and not looking like a total train wreck out there, the Eagles offensive line as a whole is not looking good, which really isn’t unexpected as we are playing with just one starter in Kelce. To their credit, I did think they were much better in the run blocking department then they were last week. Granted they did get beat at the point of attack on the 4th and 1 failure. 

2. Jamon Brown was worse than Pryor— For the past couple weeks I had been harsh on Matt Pryor.  In fairness, he really has been the worse of the offensive lineman we have put out there until today. I really didn’t think Opeta or Brown could do worse than him out there. Boy was I wrong. Brown was awful. And saying he was awful was putting it lightly. Maybe I had to high of expectations to assume he could just be serviceable. There was definitely a reason why the he wasn’t on anyone’s 53-man roster and on the practice squad. At this point, I rather see what Opeta could do out there than Brown. He isn’t going to just get better either. He has been in the league for a while now (60 games), he is who he is. There is no point in playing him just cause he is a veteran, because you saw Calais Campbell just absolutely abuse him. If him being underwhelming wasn’t bad enough, his inability to block and getting pushed back in pass protection got Driscoll hurt. Literally insult to injury. 

3. First half offense and falling behind— Part of the reason the Eagles couldn’t generate any offense at the start of the game falls on Brown’s horrendous performance along with the rest of his linemates. However, the Eagles had opportunities to cash in like Hightower dropping a ball that hit him in the hands and Sanders late in the first half dropping a open touchdown. But lets really dive into the Eagles offense in that first half. The first 6 possessions for the Eagles in the first half accumulated -12 total yards on 16 plays and also included a fumble. That is ridiculously bad and the Eagles saw themselves down 17-0 because of it. A hole just too big to overcome in the end. The Eagles were fortunate enough to begin moving the ball at the end of the half where they were able to put two drives together to move the ball 111 yards, but still weren’t able to capitalize deep in the Ravens territory or on a 52 yard kick. Another issue is that it feels like a growing problem for the Eagles find themselves down by double digits in games. Against the Rams, the Eagles found themselves down 21-3 early. Against the Steelers, the Eagles were down 31-14 before they mounted a comeback. Finally versus the Ravens, the Eagles found themselves down 17-0 early, then found themselves down 30-14 before mounting another comeback. While it is nice to see the Eagles never give up and make it a game, some of this feels like teams might be letting their foot off the gas and the Eagles are taking advantage of it. It would be nice over the next three weeks if we saw the Eagles come out and take the lead and keep their foot on the pedal. 

4. Creating turnovers— While the Eagles offense was able to limit the amount of turnovers to just one, the Eagles defense wasn’t able to create a single turnover against the Ravens.  On the season, the Eagles have created just 4 turnovers on defense and one on special teams. In 4 of the 6 games, the Eagles defense has failed to create a turnover. So in 66% of the games this year, the Eagles defense has come up with a donut. This has been an ever-growing problem since 2017. Every year it seems to get worse and worse. Some of this is the lack of playmakers on defense in the defensive back seven. Frankly Slay is about the only playmaker back there and teams aren’t testing him as much so he isn’t getting as many chances to get a pick. Everyone else is either not a playmaker, not very good or young in the case of someone like Wallace. They’re only 4 teams with less than 4 defensive takeaways in the NFL:  Arizona, Dallas, Gb and Vegas. The Eagles turnover margin sits at a -7.

5. Gerry… and the linebackers—I feel like every week I could just talk about the ineptitude of Gerry and the linebackers. It is pretty amazing to see how far the Eagles have tailed off at the linebacker position since 2017. I am almost tired of putting it on here every time, but today, it was bad once again. The linebackers were routinely out of place when Lamar took off and run. On the 37-yard touchdown run by Jackson, Singleton bites on the RO and Gerry instead of staying in the middle of the field where he is supposed to, leaves to fill in a gap with no one there. If Lamar took that hole he is stopped for a minimal gain. Instead lamar shoots through a hole in the middle of the field and right where Gerry would be. Lamar is rushing into the end zone for a touchdown as Gerry is playing catch-up from behind. At this point I say to myself, WTF is Gerry doing? I can’t imagine Schwartz watching film review and thinking, "yes this kid is good and gets it. I can trust him out there.” Like how many times must we see this over and over again proving that he isn’t good. Don’t get me wrong, the DL wasn’t great on that play either, but that shouldn’t have been a touchdown if both Singleton and Gerry were competent linebackers with instincts. A couple weeks ago I stated that the Eagles had big issues on their back 7, I would like to amend that to they have big issues at linebacker and if they can just get another solid outside corner would be OK in the secondary if Wallace pans out. The fact the Eagles took a project linebacker in the third and thought Gerry, Riley and Edwards would be the solution to this problem is gross negligence. 

6. 3rd down offense—Following their best performance on 3rd down on the season, the Eagles had one of their worst performances on third down on the season. The Eagles offense on the afternoon was able to only convert on 3-of-12 3rd down attempts. At the start of this game, the Eagles had 74 third down attempts. They were in 3rd and 7+ in 32 of those attempts. In this game, it was much of the same. On 7 of their 12 3rd down attempts, they were in 3rd down 7+. They were only able to convert on 2 of those 7 attempts. This brings the season total of 3rd down attempts to 86 with 39 of them showing the Eagles in 3rd and 7+, which is 45% of the time. You are not going to have sustainable success in the NFL if you cannot win the battle on third down. You are going to have a really hard time winning the battle on third down if you are losing the battle on first and second down. I do not have the numbers, but I would be curious to see what teams have faced more 3rd and 7+ situations. Off the top of my head, the only team I could think of is the Jets and possibly the Giants.  Until the Eagles begin winning the battle on first and second down, they are likely to be very inconsistent on offense. 

7. Containing Lamar— I get containing Lamar Jackson is likely one of the most challenging things to do in the NFL. The only thing I could think is tougher is trying to keep the Chiefs offense under 30 points when you face them. However, I thought the Eagles did a really poor job knowing he was the one guy you couldn’t let beat you.  TO me, the only player on the Ravens offense that did anything special was Jackson and not so much as a QB but as a runner. The linebackers way too often found themselves out of position or took themselves out of the play (previously mentioned Gerry on the td run). There were times that the defensive line just got too far up field and Jackson was able to scramble to make a play with his legs or arm. If Dobbins is going to beat me then I tip my cap to the Ravens and take that loss. If Brown beats me over the top then so be it. But Jackson rushing 9 times for 108 yards cannot happen if you expect to win. When he runs like that they are going to be tough to beat. On the day, Jackson threw for just 186 yards and rushed for 108. He was about the only thing the Ravens really had on offense.

8. RBs behind Sanders—I am not going to go into great depth on this as I have discussed it multiple times over the course of this young season. But with Sanders having a knee issue and the Eagles having the oline issues they do, it could get really ugly in the running game. I am not sure how they fix it either if Sanders is out. Freeman signed with the Giants. Le’Veon went to the Chiefs. Lamar Miller is in Chicago. There is not much left out there in terms of veterans on the market. Possibly the trade market but I think it is foolish to give up draft assets for a short term fix in a season that’s likely not going to amount to much. I am curious to see if they bring up Holyfield, Killins and in Warren. 

9. 2 offensive starters left—All that is left of the starters from the beginning of the season for the Eagles offense are Kelce and Wentz. I feel like writing this that I am jinxing them and grim reaper is just around the corner. But really it is ridiculous the amount of injuries the Eagles have right now. I do not know how to explain it. Maybe it is the strength and conditioning coach. Maybe it is the trainers. Maybe it is the doctors. Maybe it is just horrible luck. Maybe we sold our soul for a SB 3 years ago. But anyway lets just write down all the injuries going on right now:

Sanders

Goedert

Ertz

DeSean

Alshon

Reagor

Peters

Brooks

Dillard

Seumalo

Lane

Driscoll

Pryor (Covid)

K’von Wallace

Maddox

TJ Edwards

Mills

Malik Jackson (ankle injury in 4th and didn’t return)

 

10. Ertz still looks disinterested— Before Ertz exited the game, it didn’t look actually great for him. He was targeted 10 times and hauled in just 4 of those targets for 33 yards. Granted some of those throws were off target, but there was one throw where he just alligator armed the ball knowing that a hit was coming. It just feels like he was trying to not get hurt so he could make it through the season. I think he knows as well as we do that his tenure here is coming to an end. The writing is on the wall and he doesn’t want to miss out on his potential last big payday due to a major injury. Yet he found himself hurt out there today. I think it is becoming apparent that for Ertz and the Eagles they should part ways and Eagles could use the draft capital for the upcoming 2021 draft. Even if Goedert isn’t back by the deadline, they should consider moving Ertz if he is healthy. His body language and his demeanor on the field isn’t doing the Eagles nor him any good. I thought about this quite a bit over the last couple days. I think they’re some teams out there who’d be willing to trade for him and give up something valuable. Those teams include: Arizona, Bears (I think Foles/Bears would love to have him and Graham), Packers (Tonyan is still young and learning), Seahawks and Bills. 

11. Howie’s bright idea to be a buyer— I saw the report from Jason La Canfora this morning about how the Eagles were making calls around the league and going to be aggressive. A couple thoughts came to my mind. First, I feel like La Canfora always says that with the Eagles cause he knows Howie is aggressive and can get away with it. I think he tends to be wrong a lot of the time cause he is throwing things against the wall to see if it sticks. Secondly, if it is true then Howie  is in denial and believes winning a crap NFC East is a feather in his hat and something he can present to the fans and Lurie when talking about his job status. I really do not care about winning this god awful division. In the end, it is winning the war of 2020 to lose the battle over the next couple years. That’s not good enough. Frankly we cannot afford to trade away more draft capital. I get we haven’t been great on those picks, but you cannot just not draft anymore cause Howie and the Eagles are below standard at it. We do not have the cap flexibility to trade and take on salary. If it is a young starter that’s on his rookie contract then I am for it, but I do not see many teams trading those type of players. You are likely taking on a veteran making decent money. This imo would be foolish use of draft capital/trade deadline and believing winning the NFC East actually means something other than a first round butt kicking at the expense of someone like the Bears, Rams or Bucs. We should be sellers at the deadline and trade away some older veterans for draft capital. Not the other way around.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

 

2. Jamon Brown was worse than Pryor— For the past couple weeks I had been harsh on Matt Pryor.  In fairness, he really has been the worse of the offensive lineman we have put out there until today. I really didn’t think Opeta or Brown could do worse than him out there. Boy was I wrong. Brown was awful. And saying he was awful was putting it lightly. Maybe I had to high of expectations to assume he could just be serviceable. There was definitely a reason why the he wasn’t on anyone’s 53-man roster and on the practice squad. At this point, I rather see what Opeta could do out there than Brown. He isn’t going to just get better either. He has been in the league for a while now (60 games), he is who he is. There is no point in playing him just cause he is a veteran, because you saw Calais Campbell just absolutely abuse him. If him being underwhelming wasn’t bad enough, his inability to block and getting pushed back in pass protection got Driscoll hurt. Literally insult to injury. 

 

11. Howie’s bright idea to be a buyer— I saw the report from Jason La Canfora this morning about how the Eagles were making calls around the league and going to be aggressive. A couple thoughts came to my mind. First, I feel like La Canfora always says that with the Eagles cause he knows Howie is aggressive and can get away with it. I think he tends to be wrong a lot of the time cause he is throwing things against the wall to see if it sticks. Secondly, if it is true then Howie  is in denial and believes winning a crap NFC East is a feather in his hat and something he can present to the fans and Lurie when talking about his job status. I really do not care about winning this god awful division. In the end, it is winning the war of 2020 to lose the battle over the next couple years. That’s not good enough. Frankly we cannot afford to trade away more draft capital. I get we haven’t been great on those picks, but you cannot just not draft anymore cause Howie and the Eagles are below standard at it. We do not have the cap flexibility to trade and take on salary. If it is a young starter that’s on his rookie contract then I am for it, but I do not see many teams trading those type of players. You are likely taking on a veteran making decent money. This imo would be foolish use of draft capital/trade deadline and believing winning the NFC East actually means something other than a first round butt kicking at the expense of someone like the Bears, Rams or Bucs. We should be sellers at the deadline and trade away some older veterans for draft capital. Not the other way around.

 

 

Brown also tackled Wentz during what could have been 1 of his escapes. That really was an ugly game for him.

 

Being aggressive doesn't necessarily mean we are "buyers." To me, it means looking at more than 1 move. Maybe he's looking to dump some contract to acquire someone else. When players start coming back, we have a logjam at WR. There's the whole Ertz situation with the future of Goedert to consider. We could use help at CB and LB and there are a couple rumors out there about potential trade targets at those positions. Not all of Howie's trades have been bad. I'm glad he's "active." 

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6 minutes ago, brkmsn said:

Brown also tackled Wentz during what could have been 1 of his escapes. That really was an ugly game for him.

 

Being aggressive doesn't necessarily mean we are "buyers." To me, it means looking at more than 1 move. Maybe he's looking to dump some contract to acquire someone else. When players start coming back, we have a logjam at WR. There's the whole Ertz situation with the future of Goedert to consider. We could use help at CB and LB and there are a couple rumors out there about potential trade targets at those positions. Not all of Howie's trades have been bad. I'm glad he's "active." 

I am fine if he’s active. But I am not for trading away a draft picks on a roster that’s clearly not good enough to win a Super Bowl or be a Super Bowl contender. Trading for one linebackers not gonna make this team a Super Bowl contender. Trading for another outside corner is not gonna make this team a Super Bowl contender. I’m for trading if they are going to benefit the Eagles long-term not just for this year. I’m not willing to make a trade like a golden Tate trade when this team is nowhere close to being a Super Bowl contender. You need more draft picks and trading away high ones cause you believe this team can win a bad division is shortsighted 

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4 minutes ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

I am fine if he’s active. But I am not for trading away a draft picks on a roster that’s clearly not good enough to win a Super Bowl or be a Super Bowl contender. Trading for one linebackers not gonna make this team a Super Bowl contender. Trading for another outside corner is not gonna make this team a Super Bowl contender. I’m for trading if they are going to benefit the Eagles long-term not just for this year. I’m not willing to make a trade like a golden Tate trade when this team is nowhere close to being a Super Bowl contender. You need more draft picks and trading away high ones cause you believe this team can win a bad division is shortsighted 

When you trade for a guy like Tate, there's no upside in his future. It's a "go all in now" rental. That trade really didn't make sense at the time (we already had 2 slot WRs and no deep threat to replace Wallace). But if you trade for a player still on his rookie contract, there's potential to help the future team as well as the current. Just as we have drafted players that didn't fit our scheme (like R. Douglas) other teams learn similar things about their young players and GMs need to keep their eyes open for players they think would benefit by coming into their system. 

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1 hour ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

2. Hightower up and down day— I love the kid’s persistence and not getting too down on himself. If he didn’t have confidence in himself then I think the 50-yard reception he pulled in later in the game would have been just another drop. Does it drive me crazy? Of course it does. He needs to catch those deep balls especially when Wentz drops it into his hands. It was a play that really could have changed the dynamic of the game early and instead it falls to the ground and the offense continues to be in a funk.  Additionally, it isn’t just that, he took himself out of one route by allowing the defender to outmuscle him and lead him out of bounds. I still really like the kid especially cause you see he can create separation and get open in this league. It was a terrific route on the drop, but he has to do the little things. Last week it was his failure to get out of bounds and missing a catch in the end zone. I do believe we will seem more and more from Hightower. I wouldn’t be surprised by next year if he were far more along than I initially thought. I think these snaps this early in his career are a learning curve. 

 

 

 

I think it frustrates us all, but we have to remember if a guy with his speed didn't have some flaws he wouldn't have lasted that long in the draft. He gets open a lot, so hopefully they can clear up technical issues and coach him up. I'm with you in hoping he will be further along than we think this time next year.

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1 hour ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

8. RBs behind Sanders—I am not going to go into great depth on this as I have discussed it multiple times over the course of this young season. But with Sanders having a knee issue and the Eagles having the oline issues they do, it could get really ugly in the running game. I am not sure how they fix it either if Sanders is out. Freeman signed with the Giants. Le’Veon went to the Chiefs. Lamar Miller is in Chicago. There is not much left out there in terms of veterans on the market. Possibly the trade market but I think it is foolish to give up draft assets for a short term fix in a season that’s likely not going to amount to much. I am curious to see if they bring up Holyfield, Killins and in Warren. 

Miami has deactivated Howard (healthy scratch) the last 2 games. They are probably trying to trade him, but it's doubtful anybody will want his contract. The Dolphins will probably end up releasing him in the next 2 weeks. He already pretty much knows the offense here (even if he doesn't recognize anyone). 

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The thing that bother me the most in this game was how unprepared Doug was on that 2 point conversion to tie the game. A coach should have those situations/plays ready to go during the week in case it comes down to that.   You can't send your QB on a delay option run with an OL that is decimated.  And, with all of those "offensive minds" (Rich, Marty, Doug and Press), how can they not have those situations planned for?

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19 minutes ago, brkmsn said:

Miami has deactivated Howard (healthy scratch) the last 2 games. They are probably trying to trade him, but it's doubtful anybody will want his contract. The Dolphins will probably end up releasing him in the next 2 weeks. He already pretty much knows the offense here (even if he doesn't recognize anyone). 

I actually talked about this in the blog earlier this week. The Dolphins to release him take on a $4.75 million dead money hit. To have him on the roster is $4.75 million. Maybe they release him and just take the dead money hit but I tend to believe they’re not gonna do that. Next year they can get out of the contract just release him no dead money

 

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16 minutes ago, CaliEagle said:

The thing that bother me the most in this game was how unprepared Doug was on that 2 point conversion to tie the game. A coach should have those situations/plays ready to go during the week in case it comes down to that.   You can't send your QB on a delay option run with an OL that is decimated.  And, with all of those "offensive minds" (Rich, Marty, Doug and Press), how can they not have those situations planned for?

It was a dumb call.  First, you're on the goal line so it's a smaller area of field behind the D so they can all creep up to the LoS.  Second, we were down to our backup JV squad of OL.  Those guys were going to get blown up by an attacking Ravens' DL/LBs.  Third, it makes for a slow developing play (why does it seem Doug loves to call slow developing run plays on the goal line or on 3rd/4th and short?) and gives the D time to crash down on you.  

Someone in the Blog mentioned they didn't have a problem putting the ball in Wentz's hands and letting him use his legs there.  Well, that's not how I would have liked to seen him use his legs.  I'd prefer to see him roll out and extend the play, buy him and his WRs some time to find an opening.  Doing an option run was just Fing stupid.

 

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3 minutes ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

I actually talked about this in the blog earlier this week. The Dolphins to release him take on a $4.75 million dead money hit. To have him on the roster is $4.75 million. Maybe they release him and just take the dead money hit but I tend to believe they’re not gonna do that. Next year they can get out of the contract just release him no dead money

 

Either way, they pay him. If they're just going to deactivate him each week, he's wasting a roster spot. So if they have a use for the spot, it makes sense to release him now.

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1 minute ago, Green_Guinness said:

It was a dumb call.  First, you're on the goal line so it's a smaller area of field behind the D so they can all creep up to the LoS.  Second, we were down to our backup JV squad of OL.  Those guys were going to get blown up by an attacking Ravens' DL/LBs.  Third, it makes for a slow developing play (why does it seem Doug loves to call slow developing run plays on the goal line or on 3rd/4th and short?) and gives the D time to crash down on you.  

Someone in the Blog mentioned they didn't have a problem putting the ball in Wentz's hands and letting him use his legs there.  Well, that's not how I would have liked to seen him use his legs.  I'd prefer to see him roll out and extend the play, buy him and his WRs some time to find an opening.  Doing an option run was just Fing stupid.

 

And, it says that Doug wasn't prepared beforehand for a 2 point call late in the game. Coaches are supposed to have plays ready to go during the week for these kinds of situations. I honestly don't think he was ready for that possibility.  There's no way you can call that with the OL being in bad shape with all the bodies near the line of scrimmage.

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10 minutes ago, brkmsn said:

Either way, they pay him. If they're just going to deactivate him each week, he's wasting a roster spot. So if they have a use for the spot, it makes sense to release him now.

You’re under the assumption that Matt Breida is going to stay healthy all year. He’s had a history of getting injured. I still think at some point in time the Dolphins are going to need to use Jordan Howard.

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5 hours ago, brkmsn said:

Miami has deactivated Howard (healthy scratch) the last 2 games. They are probably trying to trade him, but it's doubtful anybody will want his contract. The Dolphins will probably end up releasing him in the next 2 weeks. He already pretty much knows the offense here (even if he doesn't recognize anyone). 

Completely on board with this.....good call.  I was against them letting Howard walk, just a stupid decision on the FO's part.  He's not only capable of complimenting Sanders, he can carry the load if needed to.......and he's good in short yardage situations.  They need to go get him.

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Didn't see the game but I did notice that Taylor at LB got some snaps. Did he show anything positive? Was he in the right position for a play or two. I know he has speed but was he atleast not tackling his own players ala Sims.

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8 hours ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

11. Howie’s bright idea to be a buyer— I saw the report from Jason La Canfora this morning about how the Eagles were making calls around the league and going to be aggressive. A couple thoughts came to my mind. First, I feel like La Canfora always says that with the Eagles cause he knows Howie is aggressive and can get away with it. I think he tends to be wrong a lot of the time cause he is throwing things against the wall to see if it sticks. Secondly, if it is true then Howie  is in denial and believes winning a crap NFC East is a feather in his hat and something he can present to the fans and Lurie when talking about his job status. I really do not care about winning this god awful division. In the end, it is winning the war of 2020 to lose the battle over the next couple years. That’s not good enough. Frankly we cannot afford to trade away more draft capital. I get we haven’t been great on those picks, but you cannot just not draft anymore cause Howie and the Eagles are below standard at it. We do not have the cap flexibility to trade and take on salary. If it is a young starter that’s on his rookie contract then I am for it, but I do not see many teams trading those type of players. You are likely taking on a veteran making decent money. This imo would be foolish use of draft capital/trade deadline and believing winning the NFC East actually means something other than a first round butt kicking at the expense of someone like the Bears, Rams or Bucs. We should be sellers at the deadline and trade away some older veterans for draft capital. Not the other way around

I didn’t see the report but being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean trying to be a buyer. He could be aggressively trying to dump Ertz somewhere. He could also just be looking for any offensive lineman. I don’t want to give up draft picks either but if we are keeping wentz (we are) he might die this year if we don’t have nfl talent protecting him. Brown, Toth, whoever else we have when they get hurt aren’t going to help and I’m not looking to win the division either. I just don’t want the line allowing defenses to tee off on the qb. 

34 minutes ago, manz2821 said:

Didn't see the game but I did notice that Taylor at LB got some snaps. Did he show anything positive? Was he in the right position for a play or two. I know he has speed but was he atleast not tackling his own players ala Sims.

He gave up a big pass over his head. Also had a running into the kicker (punter) penalty. 

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6 hours ago, Jeep_man said:

Hightower with all these crucial drops at crucial times is starting to remind me of Nelson Agholor :***(

Except one is a 5th round rookie playing in his 6th career game, while one was a first round pick who was still dropping the ball all over the field after 5 years. 

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8 hours ago, e-a-g-l-e-s eagles! said:

11. Howie’s bright idea to be a buyer— I saw the report from Jason La Canfora this morning about how the Eagles were making calls around the league and going to be aggressive. 

Hopefully being aggressive means Howie is looking to move Ertz for draft picks (before his stock drops any further) rather than being a buyer.  

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1 minute ago, time2rock said:

Hopefully being aggressive means Howie is looking to move Ertz for draft picks (before his stock drops any further) rather than being a buyer.  

Yes please. Wanted to trade him in the offseason when his value was highest. Now just need to get what they can for him honestly. His lack of effort this season has been glaring. Clearly letting his contract situation affect his play. Time to move on. 

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37 minutes ago, 20dawk4life said:

I didn’t see the report but being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean trying to be a buyer. He could be aggressively trying to dump Ertz somewhere. He could also just be looking for any offensive lineman. I don’t want to give up draft picks either but if we are keeping wentz (we are) he might die this year if we don’t have nfl talent protecting him. Brown, Toth, whoever else we have when they get hurt aren’t going to help and I’m not looking to win the division either. I just don’t want the line allowing defenses to tee off on the qb. 

He gave up a big pass over his head. Also had a running into the kicker (punter) penalty. 

Meh. Seems he would fit right in. I say just go with him. Let him learn on the job.

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