IT’LL probably strike you as odd that I’m not as angry as most of you. If you remember, in this week’s Four Things article, I start off by saying, “Fact is, even with a win and sole position atop the NFC East, we’ll still be just 4 – 3, with 9 more games to go.” So it’s easy for me to keep our 3 – 4 record in perspective. That said, we need to take an assessment.
We got blown out. Let’s table that right now. Don’t duck it. Don’t dodge it. Don’t run from it. We got shit-canned tonight. While the Cowboys offensive line did a great job of opening holes to keep the chains moving, nothing else about their play said “37 – 10”, yet me made that score possible.
The word I would use to describe the Eagles on both sides of the ball, tonight is ‘listless’. They barely seemed interested. No one came out fired up. On Defense, our LB’s looked to be little more than numbered decorations. Offensively, I don’t understand why the Eagles pay any WR besides Jeffery.
As has become our habit, we simply self-destructed on the field. We opened the game with a fumble by TE Dallas Goedert (4 – 69 – 17.2 – 1) and followed it with a strip/sack of QB Carson Wentz (16/26 – 61.5 – 191 – 1 – 1). By the time the dust cleared, it was 0 – 14 in the first quarter, and it was clear that we had no way to stop them on the ground.
The new LB trio of OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (2 – 0 – 0 – 0), MLB Nate Gerry (7 – 0 – 0 – 0) and OLB T.J. Edwards (1 – 0 – 0 – 0) was weak and ineffectual. They were incapable of getting off of blocks to limit runs, and did a piss-poor job of underneath coverage, as most of what ate us up in the passing game, was “Dink-and-Dak” stuff.
It needs to be said that RB Jordan Howard (11 – 50 – 4.5 – 0 – 0) looked very good running the ball. My mind boggles that we don’t use play-action on second down much when he’s out there. HC Doug Pederson not elevating RB Coach Duce Staley to OC, last year, looks like a worse and worse decision by the week. (Even going back to last year.)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this here game, what exactly did we see?
1) Play some Cover Two: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah, no. The Eagles don’t do that. To be fair, there were a couple of downs where we did. On one occasion FS Rod McLeod (2 – 0 – 0 – 0) was in position to hustle over and limit a big catch to just a catch. Otherwise it was mostly that Single-high stuff. Oh, and some nifty Cover Zero! You might remember Cover Zero, from the Atlanta loss. Good times. (NOT DONE)
2) Early misdirection/Late power: Nope. The Eagles came out using a paint-by-numbers offense that is highly uncharacteristic of them. There was too much that was weird about this game. Same as with the Falcons game. The Eagles just seemed flat. There was no indication by them that this was a division game, and that we needed to roll out new wrinkles that they hadn’t seen. (NOT DONE)
3) Stop the run: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! By the end of the game, it seemed like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could have run for 100 yards on us. Our players stuck to blocks like Velcro. (NOT DONE)
4) Someone step up: This was one of the weeks when we would need a WR in addition to Alshon Jeffery (2 – 38 – 19.0 – 0), to make 4 or more grabs, so we could horizontally stretch the opposing defense. While seven different Eagles caught passes, the only other WR to do so, was Nelson Agholor (2 – 24 – 12. 0 – 0). That is to say, on 9 targets, Wentz’s WR’s caught 4 passes for 52 yards for him. Dear Anonymous, THAT is why he targets his TE so much. So for next week, catch more balls and throw less shade.
This week we had a Four Things score of 0 for 4. That makes our season total 12 of 28. That sort of deal won’t cut it next week, when we conclude our road trip in Buffalo vs a 5 – 1 Bills team.
Despite their record, the Bills have trouble putting points on the board, and their highly ranked defense, has so far only played one decent offense. Oh, by the way, they nearly found a way to lose to the Dolphins, on Sunday afternoon. So we could get back to .500 in a blink, if we get OUR shit together.
On The Whole:
While it was hard to stomach that “game” tonight, it might be a blessing in disguise. No, this is not me looking for a silver lining. It’s a statement of an honest to God, fact. We didn’t just lose to “some team”. We took a fourth consecutive loss to a division rival. One who now seems to score at will, against us. I promise you, a public statement by owner Jeffery Lurie, or GM Howie Roseman, will not portend good things for someone.
They say that winning is the best deodorant, and winning it all a couple years ago, behind our high-powered Offense, covered the stench of many defensive deficiencies that were literally on world-wide display, in that very game.
Today, (PFFFT! actually going back to last year), our Offense isn’t nearly as high-powered, and those defensive deficiencies are now a team-wide liability. I said last week, “teams with legit playoff hopes, don’t invite upheaval in the middle of the season.” I stand by that 100%. However, if our playoff dreams become less than legitimate…
DC Jim Schwartz has been getting a free ride for the last 3 years here. If we fall to 3 – 5 next week vs a team that is 20th in scoring, especially if we allow 24 points or more, it will be time to stop deluding ourselves about a deep playoff run in 2019, and fire Schwartz next Monday morning. After which Pederson should elevate LB’s Coach Ken Flajole to interim DC, and see if he has the chops to keep the gig in 2020.