SILVER lining to last week was, despite how shitty we looked, we still only lost by 5. My point is, that we aren’t “in over our heads” talent-wise. What we are is, in our own way. This week features a shuffling of the Offensive Line, and a head coach who said he was looking at 2017 and 2018 film. This week is the wisest the Eagles have looked from top to bottom, since they figured out several ways to mask Halapoulivaati Vaitai at LT in 2017.
A win puts us back in first place in the NFC East. A loss would have us still within striking distance, but with no shot at any sort of Wild Card seeding.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on, this week versus Seattle:
1) Attack, attack, attack: I saw our passing attack on a milk carton yesterday. Seattle is giving up 28 points per game, and can’t defend the pass. Win, lose, or tie, the Eagles need a game where we TOTALLY cut loose, and try to work on some things. With all the people calling for QB Carson Wentz’s benching, using this game as a lab is basically playing with house money. What’s to lose? It’s not like most Eagles fans could pretend to be disappointed. Many have already thrown in the towel! We need to be aggressive and either get the knockout, or go down swinging.
2) Run the damned ball: Usually I say “hand it off 20+ times”. We did that last week with 9 carries on the first drive, and just 12 carries for the REMAINDER OF THE GAME! That was 20+. Get it? That was Doug playing with my emotions.
So I’m going to breadcrumb this, this week: “Doug, hand that motherfucker off 12 to 16 times per half. Commit to running the ball to set up play-action. Make life easier for the O-Line and the QB. Save yourself some frustrating questions after the game.”
3) Go For Two: While it’s true that our Offense (cough cough, Carson) is giving the ball away entirely too often (20 in 10 games, Carson has 18 of them), it’s equally true that our Defense doesn’t generate many takeaways (just 11 in 10 games). All three of our wins are in games where we snagged two or more turnovers. All the games with 1 or less, have been losses or a tie. In every game this year where Seattle committed more than 1 turnover, they lost that game. This is an easy one to figure out.
4) Do better with hidden yardage: That means being penalized less for fewer yards. It also means returning more punts than we let roll dead. After allowing a punt to be downed at the 2, (which led to a safety last week), Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp needs to be on notice. His unit has gotten beyond sloppy, and worse than that, there doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to make a serious, or sustained effort. He needs to find a return man who wants the job, instead of using WR Greg Ward and RB Boston Scott who are merely going through the motions.
If we do these Four Things, the final score should look a lot like:
EAGLES 32 – Seahawks 24
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.