SABOTAGE is a strong word to throw around. Especially when it’s early in the year, and no one is pointing fingers. For me to use that word, probably seems inflammatory to you. It demands that I give my fellow fans an explanation.
Here it comes.
On Monday, I watched former Eagles Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks, question why rookie TE Dallas Goedert was used so little, and why a guy like TE Joshua Perkins was used as much as he was. As Joyner said, you don’t move up in the second round of the Draft to take a player and sit him. This preseason there was never any indication that Goedert wasn’t picking up the system. Quite the opposite in fact! Yet this season, Goedert’s formations just aren’t being called much. At least not yet. Not yet.
As thin as we were at WR to start this last game, we only got thinner when WR Mike Wallace went down with an ankle injury. Of course that meant leaning more on WR Nelson Agholor, but shouldn’t it have meant more playing time for WR Shelton Gibson? He’d been questionable, but he suited up for Special Teams. With a second year under his belt, he was a rare bright spot this preseason. So why was he less involved than WR’s Kamar Aiken and DeAndre Carter? Aiken was added to the team just three days before the game, but played enough to snag 5 passes. Gibson had no catches. Apparently his formations aren’t being called much in these two games, either.
Spark plug RB Darren Sproles was held out of this last game. Coach Doug Pederson referred to him as having a “slight hamstring injury”. What? Hold u- Wait. What the hell does that even mean!? Players play through mild hammies all the time, why not Sproles?
It’s not just that QB Nick Foles doesn’t have starters around him. It’s that he’s out there playing with some guys practically off the street. Even when the bench holds better options. (Like I said, certain formations just aren’t being called much.)
Why would you withhold firepower from your QB? Why would you not arm your back-up QB as much as you can?
Let’s back-burner that and talk play selection.
Through two games, the Eagles have thrown the ball 83 times and run the ball 51 times. So 61% of the time, we pass. In those two games we are 5 for 6 in the red zone (83.3%). However, in the red zone, of the 28 plays we’ve run, only 13 have been passes (46%). Why would you take the ball out of your QB’s hands in the most critical area of the field?
The answer to almost every question in this article is: To avoid ANY hint of QB controversy. If Foles doesn’t have much firepower, he’s unlikely to perform at a very high level. If you take the ball out of his hands near the end zone, he can’t get credit for scoring much, and so can’t create the situation that Tampa Bay will have in two short weeks.
A lid has been put on Foles to keep him from inadvertently fueling the (now mostly dead) debate of whether we should bench a Super Bowl MVP. I won’t go so far as saying that the coaching staff threw the Bucs game, but I will certainly say that deep down, they didn’t mind the loss. Especially since the Bucs had their hands full with us, even as banged up as we were. It speaks well of who we’d be with our REAL starters out there.
If QB Carson Wentz returns and has to play with the same cast that Foles has for two weeks, I’ll write a mea culpa. If I’m wrong I’ll eat crow and suck up any criticism that this article nets me. However, if Wentz comes back and any of the “under-used” players suddenly end up getting their number called more, or if suddenly guys come back, playing through “slight” injuries… If that happens… If that happens, then you’ll know that our offensive struggles were an inside job.