SEASON Reviews are usually done at the end of the season. A few are also done at the halfway mark. Starting in 2017, Eaglemaniacal.com began treating the season like a game, and breaking it into four quarters. Since football is a hard sport, we’ll take a hard look at where our team currently stands, in relation to where it started. Then we can discuss where it needs to go next.
STATUS: 3 – 8 – 1, 3rd place in the NFC East
(L) New York giants 5 – 7
(L) Cleveland Browns 8 – 3
(L) Seattle Seahawks 8 – 4
(L) Green Bay Packers 9 – 3
When you drop 4 games in a row, without breaking 17 points in any of them, you clearly have systemic problems within your Offense. But we’re not going to address that, because we can ship out a franchise QB, and create some badly needed cap space. Oh you didn’t know? A number of your favs are hitting the chopping block in a couple of months, leaving you with a DECIDEDLY different team in 2021.
A lot of that was General Manager Howie Roseman constantly forwarding contract money to the future, in the form of bonuses. Well now, many of those bonuses have come due, which Howie planned for. What he could NOT have planned for, was the Covid outbreak, leading to decreased revenue for the league.
Next year’s salary cap won’t grow as in prior years. In fact, it’s actually going to shrink as the league spreads the revenue shortfall, across the next few seasons. This is a joke, since the salary cap is imposed on the owners, by the owners. But that’s a TED Talk for another day. The handle on this is, owners now have yet another excuse to look players in the eye and cry poor mouth, while holding a bag of money in each hand.
In any case, the Eagles have to make deeper cuts than they planned on, even a year ago. This is why Head Coach Doug Pederson doesn’t call certain plays. It makes our QB look goofy, and it’ll make many fans okay with him being traded to the Colts, or the Jets. We’ll be well into 5 – 7 next year, when most of the fan base even starts to realizes what happened here. Most likely won’t get it until late 2022.
QB: (F) – Over the last 4 weeks Carson Wentz has thrown three interceptions, against just 4 touchdowns. The Eagles have scored just 17 points in each of the 3 games he has completed. Balanced against the balance of the rest of his 2020, it was enough to get him benched for half a game. (At least.) Jalen Hurts in a relief role provided a spark, but was a long way from being able to ignite a fire. A passer throwing both a touchdown and interception while completing just 41.6% of his passes, is nothing for a franchise to hang its hat on. There are MUCH deeper problems here, but this position is the place where they show up the most, albeit not clearly.
RB: (C ) – The Eagles run game has been highly productive, but used sparingly. Miles Sanders is an electrifying runner, but beyond that, his game is fraught with small problems. Poorly run routes, dropped balls, missed blitz assignments, slips… While Boston Scott has been nice in spots, he’s not starter material, so is incapable of truly pushing Sanders to hone his game. This is the reason for the re-entry of Jordan Howard, who looked good in limited action vs Green Bay. To his credit Corey Clement has 2 carries for 11 yards and score in the last 4 games.
WR: (F) – Over the last 4 weeks Travis Fulgham has 4 catches for 32 yards on 16 targets. Jalen Reagor has 12 catches for 114 yards on 20 targets. I point them out first, because they appear to be the 2021 starters. Greg Ward has caught 12 of 18 this period for a meager 108 yards. Alshon Jeffery has started the last two games, producing 2 catches on 5 targets for 15 yards. A lot of these horrific numbers are due to these guys generally taking several weeks to get open. Whether player technique or the scheme is at fault, the underlying cause is a coaching breakdown. This is a de-fanged offense.
TE: (C ) – Dallas Goedert has been the Eagles leading receiver in each of the last three games, but failing to reach 80 yards in any of them. The question of whether he can replace Zach Ertz has been answered, and the answer is “No”. Ertz has more dynamism and is more sudden in his breaks. Unless the Eagles have plans on spending a high draft pick here, they’d better be willing to spend some serious coin. Richard Rodgers over the last 4 games has 9 grabs on 13 targets, for 161 yards (17.88) and 2 scores. This position has been productive, but not threatening enough to help others get open.
OT: (C ) – Lane Johnson was lost for the year, and Jason Peters was moved inside. Jordan Mailata looked better before being sat down for Peters during weeks 10 and 11. We found out that Matt Pryor is only viable if he’s playing between Pro Bowlers. Thus, rookie Jack Driscoll got his third start vs the Packers. Mailata shows promise, but he looks far more like a RT than a LT, if we’re being honest. (I still want to see him catch a pass!)
OG: (C) – Despite all the wreckage around him, it’s hard to feel like Isaac Seumalo’s return upgraded the O-Line. Jason Peters broken/dislocated toe is the world’s worst kept secret. Opponents are targeting it and beating him inside, as his ability to pivot on it is almost non-existent. Nate Herbig shows potential as a plugger at LG, but still needs to hit the weights if he’s going to play RG.
C: (C ) – Jason Kelce seems like he’s not always mentally checked in. Bad snaps, or delayed snaps, his errors have become too frequent for a guy playing his position. My guess is that these next four games will be the last of his storied career.
DE: (C) – Brandon Graham started the season on fire. Since the second half of the year, his tackles are down, QB hits are down, and sacks are nonexistent. Derek Barnett on the other hand, is coming off of his best quarter of the season so far. Josh Sweat doesn’t get enough snaps. He’s active and brings plenty of heat. Don’t be surprised to see him starting in 2021. Vinny Curry is doing a good job rotating behind Graham, but he’s so much better and more impactful on the other side.
DT: (B) – Fletcher Cox has a sack in 3 of the last 4 games along with 9 solo tackles. Javon Hargrave has stepped up his statistical production, and has become difficult enough to make life easier inside for Cox. Malik Jackson hasn’t been the same since Hassan Ridgeway went down in Week 7. Still, this interior is the heartbeat of this Defense. It’s the primary reason we’ve been able to hang in games, despite losing them.
OLB: (C) – Alex Singleton wants a starting job in 2021. He’s no longer sticking to blocks as much, actually can get penetration, and for the last couple of games really seems to be feeling the action more than reading it. He’s nothing flashy, but if paired with a difference maker on the other side, the second level would make our Defense nearly impossible to game plan for. Duke Riley is a special teams player, and not capable of impacting a game. Davion Taylor was being trusted with more defensive snaps, but he suffered a serious knee injury and may be done for the year.
MLB: (D) – T.J. Edwards has been serviceable. Mostly doing clean-up duty vs the run, he’s not been much of a factor vs the pass, or as a pass rusher. In fact, his sack this quarter is the result of a QB slide while he was in pursuit. In the last 4 games, 6th round rookie Shaun Bradley has logged 8 downs. Clearly he is not progressing as fast as was hoped.
S: (F) – No Eagles Safety has a deflection, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, NOTHING in 4 weeks.
CB: (F) – Darius Slay has been getting prison raped this quarter. Teams know how to make him look bad because he has no support opposite his leverage. Avonte Maddox is straight trash. (We covered that last quarter.) Nickell Robey-Coleman is very good at cashing his paychecks.
LS: (A) – I have yet to hear Rick Lovato’s name or notice a bad snap from him.
P: ( C) – Cam Johnston’s punting average has come down significantly this quarter. These last 4 games have seen him averaging just 44.8 yards per boot. Then again, 21 boots is the most he’s made in a quarter this season, so it could be wear and tear on his kicking thigh, or fatigue on his plant leg. Either way fewer punts mean fresher leg. We need to start scoring points.
K: (D) – Two missed extra point in the last two games, and just 4 field goals from Jake Elliott, in the last 4 games. Also, of his 16 kickoffs, 9 were returned for an average of 21.7 yards. No scores, but that’s not the point. Every return is a chance for the opponent to bring a kick back and change the momentum or break a game open. Part of kickoffs is to stifle hope, dim confidence, and let our Defense start off feeling that the wind is at their backs. Elliott isn’t giving us that.
SINCE LAST QUARTER:
We managed to go 0 – 4, and now our franchise QB is on the bench. He might start against New Orleans. He may have already played his last snap as an Eagle. There is no longer any rhyme or reason to what is happening with this team. Usually that means that something is brewing in the Front Office.
MISSION FOR THIS QUARTER:
Sake of argument, playing Devil’s Advocate. Let’s say the Saints don’t wipe the floor with us (regardless of QB), we squeak past the Cardinals, sweep the Cowboys, and split with the Redskins (don’t start with that shit). That puts us at 7 – 8 – 1. Will that be enough to win the NFC East? Do we even WANT to at this point?
Let me nutshell this for you. At this point, the season should be considered a wash, and we should start playing the guys who will be on this team in 2021.
Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Zach Ertz, Jalen Mills, Vinny Curry. These guys should be benched and the youth movement that is about to start, should begin to see significant action together. If we win, we win. If we lose…
Look, the performances of the young guys will tell us where, and how badly we need to draft a position. There is nothing to be gained by sweating out a bullshit QB controversy. There is nothing to be gained by fiddling around with makeshift O-lines. There are no fans to boo at games. The blow can be delivered now, with minimal impact.
Just get it over with.