RIGHTS were not trampled. No freedoms were infringed. The NFL simply said that if an outbreak costs the league, it will also cost the players. That was me paraphrasing, but that’s essentially the jist of it. Yet over these last two days, the amount of arguing this has generated has been insane. So here’s my two cents.
The players have every right to choose whether or not they’ll be vaccinated against Covid-19. Over the last few months, the NFL as an organization has made it abundantly clear that they understand the players right to choose. That said, the NFL has also made it clear that in the event of a team-wide outbreak of the virus, games may have to be forfeited.
While no player’s right to choose was in any way infringed, each NFL owner is telling his roster:
And that is THEIR right.
If players choosing not get vaccinated leads to a team-wide outbreak, the players may have to eat not only the loss of those game-checks, but also a game loss, which will affect playoff positioning eventually.
It’s entirely possible that your favorite team could go, let’s say 8 – 9 instead of 10 – 7, due to a two week shutdown for Covid. Now imagine that just one of those forfeits was to a division rival. If your team finished second (again 8 – 9) behind a 9 – 8 division rival, and missed a playoff berth, as a fan you’d be angry. Teammates however, would be at each other’s throats. In some cases literally.
It makes me wonder how many “on the bubble” situations will come down to a vaccinated player being prioritized, over a slightly more talented player, who isn’t vaccinated. I’m of course talking back-ups, not starters. But every unvaccinated player is one who could help generate one or more automatic losses. Imagine losing games without even getting to try. That’s what this is!
This edict from the NFL will not automatically get vaccines into players arms. What it will do is call their commitment to winning into question. Not just by teammates, but when contracts have to be negotiated. When sponsors are looking for a face to endorse their offerings. When votes are cast for Canton.
The NFL recognizes that the players have the freedom to choose. However, they are also recognizing a seldom acknowledged truth about freedom. Like the coin flipped before every game, freedom is on one side and consequence is on the other. Whenever you can only see one side of the coin, it is being rested on, it is being propped up by, the side that you don’t.
I for one, am happy about this. In recent years, far too many Americans have been screaming about freedom, without really giving any thought to the responsibility that comes with wielding it. Perhaps this will help spark some well overdue conversations about it.
LOOK at that! The Bengals have converted their field from grass to mattresses. Not only has it already improved the look of their stadium, but their owner thinks it will extend, or at least not keep shortening, the lifespan of QB Joe Burrow. The team is also asking the league to allow Burrow to wear several pillows duct taped to his helmet. It’s either that or spend the money to protect him.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt increased his sack total for the third straight year in a row. Due to notching 16.5 sacks, he continues to be above criticism. This is despite sporting a missed tackle percentage of over 10 percent, in every season of his career. If only there were some sort of clue about how to fix the defense…
The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and the horses turned back into rats, as the Browns returned to reality and went 3 – 14 this year.
Somewhere out there is a desperate Browns fan, carrying a clear, platform shoe, and searching for Princess Odell.
Ravens K Justin Tucker’s rap/opera album “Come Kick It Wit’ Me” shot to the top of the Italian pop music charts this year. Sighting how he didn’t need this “NFL boll sheed no mo’ ”, Tucker announced his retirement. After which he flipped the double-bird, as he rode away barefoot in a kiddie pool, which was situated in the bed of an El Camino. There was no water in the pool.
Raise your hand if you predicted the Lions going 14 – 3, getting a first round bye, and winning it all.
“It’s better than drinkable water!” was how one fan described the Detroit Lions Super Bowl parade. Thousands of fans came out to celebrate and cheer their team, not long before tens of thousands of muggers descended on both the fans and the players. The car-jacking of a parade float would be the low-point of the day, and perhaps the lowest in all of American history.
After a just barely failing to qualify for a wild card berth, a 9 – 8 Minnesota team is still unsure if they’re a bad team that frequently overachieves, or a good team that chokes at the slightest sign of true relevance.
As Chicago continues their search for a passer, Bears QB Justin Fields was traded to Buffalo for QB Mitch Trubisky. One Chicago football fan said “Eh, it’s good we went an’got a veteran quarterback now, ‘cause Fields played like a rookie. I mean, why din’t he just look at what Tommy Bradley does in Tampa, then come right out and copy exactly what he saw?How hard could dat be, right?? Anyways, Trubisky sounds like a good Polish name. It feels familiar. I like it.”
After another implosion in the second round of the playoffs, QB Aaron Rodgers is continuing to act like he’s doing Packers fans a favor, by allowing them to overpay him millions more than he’s ever truly deserved. Perhaps Green Bay should have double checked for a discount.
After not allowing fans in to SoFi Stadium at all in 2020, the LA Chargers opened their arms to their loyal, fickle, frequently disinterested fan base. In a stadium that seats 70,000, the Chargers drew an average of 28,000 to their games. Somewhere the ghost of Al Davis is laughing so hard, that he’s gasping for air.
Despite being heavily favored by odds-makers, the Raiders Super Bowl loss continues to confound people. Suddenly retired Raider QB Derek Carr, could not be reached for comment as he was out on his yacht. The gold one, not the one made entirely out of stacks of money. His agent Pete Rose also declined comment.
The Chiefs were expected to have a more difficult road, but no one thought they’d miss the playoffs. As a disciplinary measure for yet another violation of team player conduct policy, Andy Reid ate WR Tyreek Hill, prior to the final game of the preseason. When asked if he regretted having eaten the WR, coach Reid responded “Listen, you’d expect athlete meat to be tough, but Tyreek, he was something special. Didn’t even need a marinade. Wait. What was the question?”
The Denver Broncos are trying to decide whether to screw over either another old RB, or another young QB, during this offseason. Either way, it will most certainly cripple the team’s offense next year. Their fans of course, will again feel like they’ve been stabbed directly in the face, when the team spends their top pick on a WR.
The 49ers, who paid QB Jimmy Garoppolo 26M$ to sit and watch rookie QB Trey Lance have an up and down year, will still owe Garoppolo 27M$ next year. Worse yet, they likely have to endure at least one more year with him on the roster, as he won’t waive his no-trade clause. That is, unless he gets an offer he likes, from a team that won’t mind him throwing with his eyes closed. Still, the defense was good enough for the team to post a 10 – 7 record.
Seattle RB Rashaad Penny was surprised to learn that the team is declining to pick up his 5th year option. Penny was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but didn’t get his first start until 2021. In that game, he had one carry for 8 broken tackles, and a 63 yard touchdown. It also resulted in a torn hamstring which ended his season. Tore it right off the bone! When asked whether Penny is “a bust”, GM John Schneider, shrieked, burst into tears, and attempted to answer questions. He however, couldn’t be understood through his high-pitched, racking sobs. Seattle predictably bowed out in the second round of the playoffs.
No matter how much talent Arizona adds, sub .500 is the best God will allow. In other news, QB Kyler Murray married the dancing hula girl on the dash board of J.J. Watt’s car.
It was a beautiful ceremony. When Murray stood on a chair to kiss his bride, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen, according to Stevie Wonder, who was told that he was in attendance.
The Rams added a ton of weapons in the offseason, but neglected to help their offensive line. This led to QB Matt Stafford being lost for the year in Week Two, and also left the run game stuck in neutral since the preseason. Give you one guess what they’ll be taking with their first round pick this year. Oh wait! They won’t have a first rounder this year. Or next year. Dopes.
After partially tearing the meniscus in his right knee in training camp, it was quickly thought by both QB Carson Wentz and the Colts front office, that the smartest thing would be for Carson to just rest, relax and let that tear take 3 to 5 months to heal on its own. While the Eagles paid him 34 million dollars.
Though Wentz played only half the season, taking just under 50% of the snaps, the Colts almost rallied to make the playoffs, going 7 – 1 with Wentz starting. Pretty smart trade. Especially since Wentz didn’t count against the Colts 2021 salary cap.
On a roster that features RB’s David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Phillip Lindsay, you probably would never guess who led the team in rushing yards. It was Texans QB Tyrod Taylor, who spent the season running for his goddamned life. In the hopes of not suffering another punctured lung, Taylor racked up a career best 836 yards. Meanwhile, R. Kelly is alleging that QB Deshaun Watson inappropriately… (No. I’m going to draw a line here. Gotta preserve a little class.)
WE WILL SUCK YOUR DICK!!!! That’s the Jaguars latest promotion to get people to come to the stadium. Lord knows no one wants to watch them play football. Look at all the upgrades! Super-fast WiFi, an impressive sound system, they put in a party deck, a pool… They’ve done everything they can to avoid improving the team. Now the team has executives slobbing knobs. And they’re all so bad at it! C’mon folks! More spit, less teeth. This is basic stuff!
The Titans were the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, until QB Ryan Tannehill tore his Achilles in Week One, and QB DeShone Kizer “Soze” stepped in and killed the whole team. Kizer continued the 0 – 15 magic that he had in Cleveland, going 0 – 7 before being benched for QB Logan Woodside… who then promptly tore his ACL, meaning that Kizer would come back out, and finish the season. Kizer went 0 – 15 (again), even though he also lost the two games started by other QB’s.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have increased their reward for information about head coach Bruce Arian’s whereabouts. Police are looking at DT Ndamukong Suh as a person of interest because, well… Because he’s fucking Ndamukong Suh! I mean come on!
With the retirement of QB Drew Brees last year, the Saints 6 – 11 season shows that they have gone back to being the hapless, talent squandering, afterthoughts that have historically always been. Fans are taking it well, saying that their relevance was nice while it lasted.
The Falcons 5 – 12 record was predicted immediately after they traded WR Julio Jones to Tennessee last year. For a team with no defense, keeping Jones to go with their other weapons, would have made outscoring opponents easy. But Atlanta said “Fuck that!” and thew their easy button out of a tenth floor window. Nowwww look at them. Just look. SMDH.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey spent this season being 25 going on 35. Bouncing back from an injury, while being the focal point of an offense, with a QB trying to re-hab himself from having been a Jet, did no favors for McCaffrey. His 663 yards in 10 starts, will likely have the Panthers spending yet another late round draft pick on a RB, who is ill-suited to ever being a starter. Or a contributor. These guys just can’t learn.
The NFL finally made good on its threat to banish the Jets, who can no longer be referred to, as a “professional” football team. As the NCAA has not yet agreed to take them, the Jets have no official league designation yet. The CFL hasn’t offered a verbal or written response as to whether the Jets can seek asylum in Canada. However, the CFL’s pursed lips and side-eye, have offered a very strong hint about where they stand on the issue.
Bill Belichick has coached his last game for the Patriots. He is expected to take the job in Tampa Bay, after coach Bruce Arians suddenly went missing. QB Tom Brady is telling Congress that they cannot search his house.
Buffalo WR and anti-vaxxer Cole Beasley is recovering from the Delta variant of Covid-19. Luckily his access to the best medical treatment that NFL money can buy, put the odds for a full recovery, heavily in his favor. His wife Krystin however, was not an NFL employee. Get vaccinated.
After having changed his name from Jomal Wiltz to Jamal Perry in 2020, the IRS caught up with the Dolphins CB anyway. This goes to show, if you’re going to change your name, do it before you’re on television at least 17 times a year.
For the second year in a row, Washington won 7 games! While their 8 losses are fewer than the 9 from a year ago, their 2 ties offer little in the way of optimism. Because of that, there is currently a split in their fan base. Half of their fans argue that the 7 – 8 – 2 team, is an 8 – 8 team (“Because two half wins, equals one whole one. Dummy!”). Meanwhile, other half of their fan base sees the team as 7 – 8, and thus improved over 7 – 9 (“Because thems two ties cancels theyselves out. Stupid!”). Either way, the rest of us just see a degenerate, losing team that missed the playoffs.
The giants didn’t have to depend on a division rival to get to the playoffs this year, because they used StubHub! They got a great price, on great seats, and watched the Lions model the sort of franchise New York hopes to become. Maybe next year the giants won’t go 5 – 12, and they’ll qualify for a playoff berth on their own. Hey! The giants in the playoffs! Look at me! I got jokes!
The Cowboys went 12 – 5 and easily won their division. With a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,700 yard rusher, and THREE 1,000 yard receivers, right out of the gate, Dallas took the NFL by storm. Which is why their first round dismantling in the playoffs was so surprising. The 41 – 6 walloping at the hands of QB Joe Flacco, will forever be known in NFL circles as “The Dall-Ass Whipping”.
The Carson Wentz trade didn’t yield the Eagles a first round pick, and QB Jalen Hurtswas so bad that he was benched by Week Nine. Also, Head Coach Nick Sirianni retiring mid-season to join a professional Rochambeau league, didn’t surprise as many people as you’d think.
After which the hapless Eagles managed to rally and stumble into the playoffs as a wild card. At which point they utterly shelled the Cowboys 41 – 6, before losing to Detroit in the second round.
DISCLAIMER: If you use this article for gambling or betting purposes, you’re an idiot and your money is safer with other people. Don’t be dunce. Stop gambling on sports.
LAST year the NFC East was the laughingstock of the NFL. Aggressive moves have been made to ensure that history will not be repeating itself anytime soon. While every team in the division ranks #21 or lower in the NFL power rankings, the rosters in this division are telling a different story.
Alright. So yeah, Washington is Washington. Their power moves were to sign a pair of slot receivers (Curtis Samuels and Adam Humphries), and Dr. Jekyll (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to play QB. Adding G Ereck Flowers was a sneaky good move, but hardly a transcendent one. Adding an OT and then subtracting another, was definitely not a step forward. While Washington is the early favorite to win the East, they seem to be back in self-sabotage mode.
As for the other three teams:
Dallas fans made it clear to the owner, that they were done quietly waiting for their team’s defense to improve.
In response, the Cowboys cleaned house in terms of both coaches and players. They then leaned heavy on defense in the Draft. While they may not have added free agents who are household names, they’ve sent a message from the top-down, that they are serious about getting results.
The giants took a risk adding CB Adoree Jackson, but if he can stay healthy, they have probably the best CB duo in the division. Signing Kelvin Benjamin to play TE, was a magnificent piece of outside the box thinking. Benjamin had trouble getting reliable separation from DB’s. However, if he can (very likely) gain separation on LB’s, then a Safety will have to be cheated away from a WR to help cover him. Benjamin may all at once, make the giants more explosive and help them challenge for the best TE duo in the division.
The Eagles made no fewer than FOUR non-Draft related moves. All of which look low-key at a glance. However, upon further inspection… For new DC Jonathan Gannon, signing former Vikings OLB Eric Wilson and S Anthony Harris, gives him two guys who can help quickly install his system, because they’ve played together while under Gannon. Slick move. Signing RB Kerryon Johnson was a stroke of pure genius, which I discussed in my last article (The Eagles RB’s). Then of course, there’s the addition of OLB Ryan Kerrigan.
One of my brothers speculated that Kerrigan could be Chris Long 2.0 for the Eagles. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think his real value, will be in getting young players to realize, they will have to out-produce Kerrigan, to take his spot in the rotation. He either forces them to step up, or it tells the Eagles that next year’s Draft, will be heavily spent re-arming the Defensive Line.
Getting QB Jalen Hurts a WR (Devonta Smith) that he already has chemistry with, was also a boss level move.
Nobody in the NFC East was okay with how 2020 ended. Well… I guess Washington seems to be. Honestly, watching their fans practically give each other handjobs over a 7 – 9 season, just to be bounced in the first round of the playoffs… Their “bragging” has been really hard to watch.
As for the rest of the division, none of us is looking for a repeat of 2020. The NFL had better not get caught sleeping.
THIS one is directed at our Defense. We need to bring the pain on every tackle. Sometimes recklessly. Sometimes drawing flags, fines, and suspensions. Every time an opponent jogs off the field on Sunday, when they look at their schedule and see PHILADELPHIA next, their shoulders should sag a little.
“It’s about sending a message.”
Football has Rugby at the core of it’s DNA. That in itself makes it an inherently violent game. Despite what old, rich men who never played may think, you can’t legislate the violence out of football. Just like you can’t legislate blood from a bullet wound. It’s just part of the package.
The Eagles are in re-build mode. Go ‘head, say it. Don’t be afraid of the word. Re-build. That means veterans like DT Fletcher Cox, and DE Brandon Graham will be phased out, beginning either this year or next year. Soon either way. Especially given that we have a new coaching staff coming in.
As old faces step out, new ones will be stepping in. More importantly, young faces already on the roster will have to start stepping up, and showing the rest of the NFL who they are. Particularly here in the NFC East, where most years we don’t have a division winner, we have a division survivor.
This is a physically tough division, in part because Philadelphia, Washington, and New York are East Coast teams that get cold weather. Wind off of water. Snow and ice. Temperatures that turn a football into a rock, thrown at you by a friend. So rushing is key to winning this division. Which automatically means that tackling is key to stopping opponents.
Whether it’s a RB getting stoned at the line of scrimmage, a receiver being lit up in the middle of the field, or a QB being concussed during a sack. We need to make every opponent understand that PHILADELPHIA week, isn’t the week to skip their insurance payments.
Remember these guys?
Opponents used to HATE playing here! From coaches putting bounties on Kickers, to defenders trying to maul you. From the turf that ate knees and whole careers, to the fans who prepared for games by not taking their meds. EVERYTHING about playing against Philadelphia seemed like a bio-hazard, because when you played against Philadelphia, you played against PHILADELPHIA.
We need to recapture that edge. And we can start by making sure that we bring the pain on every tackle.
EAGLES QB Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on February 18th, 2021. At that point, all talk of the drama could cease. The was nothing left to do for the Eagles organization and fans, but look towards the future.
With that in mind, I stepped back and observed. I watched. I listened. I waited to see what the new coach envisioned for the team. I waited to see what the fans would chatter excitedly over.
Two excruciating weeks have dripped by, and there’s been practically nothing about the team. Most peculiarly, from the organization itself. It’s 3:04a.m., March 4th as I write this, and these are stories on the Eagles website:
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand not tipping your hand, but to say nothing? Are they telling us that no one, has an encouraging word for presumed starting QB Jalen Hurts? Are they telling us that “Where Are They Now?” articles are more important than “This Year’s Break-out Player Will Be” articles?
Aside from my THE 12 series, there doesn’t seem to be much passion for football in this city, anymore. Sad. Maybe we traded it away on February 18th.
NOW that the Carson Wentzsaga has concluded, everyone is staring directly at new Head Coach, Nick Sirianni, and expecting him to have detailed answers on how we’re going to not end up 4th in the division this year. Whatever those answers are, this team is going to need spokesmen to pitch it, not just in the locker room, but outside of it.
Under Doug Pederson, the Eagles voices to the public were most often DE Brandon Graham, S Malcolm Jenkins, S/CB Jalen Mills, and C Jason Kelce. All of which were outspoken and who brought and energy of enthusiasm to interviews.You always felt that these guys were totally “bought in” to what the coaches were preaching. Pederson’s program had great salesmen.
Sirianni needs to find salesmen who bring both energy, and verbal agility to promoting the team. Jenkins left before last year, Kelce keeps hinting at retiring, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Mills will be shown the door. Graham would seem a likely candidate, but he may become a cap casualty. TE Zach Ertz would be a great pick, but he won’t be here so…
When the time comes for Sirianni to have answers, he’s going to need players to sell fans on the notion that things are going as planned. He’ll need players that fans find credible. He’ll need players who the locker room won’t tune out, or dismiss as a coach’s pet. There aren’t a lot of great options on the roster, but THE 12 is making do, with what we have.
Ideally with Sirianni being an offensive guy, you’d want an offensive player. QB Jalen Hurts would be one of the default options. Provided that he ends up being the starter. WRJalen Reagorseems ill at ease, and almost annoyed when talking with the press.
Possible candidates would be RB Miles Sanders, TE Dallas Goedert, and LB Alex Singleton. Sanders is animated and personable. Goedert gives quick answers and remembers to smile, but he doesn’t usually help steer the discussion. Singleton brings energy and enthusiasm, and unlike the other two, promotes the team beyond parroting company lines.
Getting everyone to buy into what the new coach is selling, (once he knows what it is), would help him out immensely. Besides, this new regime is going to need strong voices. Just in case the Eagles luck runs out, and we finally have to face some adversity. You know, injury bugs, locker room divides, lunatic accountants who are allowed to run a whole franchise into the ground, because he either gives spectacular blowjobs, or has video of owner Jeff Lurie hanging out with Jeffery Epstein and Jerry Sandusky.
HE’S a diva! He’s babied! He’s uncoachable! He hates Doug Pederson! He’s insubordinate! He wants out of Philadelphia! Why is it that everyone with something bad to say about QB Carson Wentz, isn’t man enough to own his words?
We’ve been reading rumors for over two years now, but strangely, everyone is afraid go on record. I could understand if Carson had gotten a coach fired in the past. Or if he’d gotten WR Alshon Jeffery (largely suspected of being a rumor source) booted off the team. But none of that has ever happened.
On the field, we see a guy with an injury history, playing as hard as we’ve seen ANY QB play. (And yes I’m including Jim Kelly.) We don’t see Carson arguing with teammates on the sideline. When he congratulates them, they don’t pull away from him, or give him the cold shoulder. We watched him give QB Jalen Hurts pointers, even after being benched. We watched that!
So what’s with this “other” Carson Wentz that we keep reading about, but that no one can give us proof of? I have a theory about that.
Carson Wentz is boring. Especially if you’re a sportswriter in a city known for colorful personalities. Like Andy Reid, Carson goes about his business, and then… You don’t hear from him. It’s football, family, and his Audience Of 1 food truck(s). Unless the local scribes want to write about Carson’s love for God (and they don’t), he’s of no use to them. Put bluntly, Carson doesn’t sell papers or generate clicks.
That is, until the media creates a situation where they can portray him as a bad guy. Ah-ha! Now they can challenge him, even force him, to defend his name. Except he doesn’t. He never responds to these rumors. He knows who he is, and he truly has no interest in the circus. Thus, he doesn’t participate in it. Ever. Which is only more infuriating for the media.
Remember the trade that NFL.com reporter Adam Schefter said Carson wanted? Here’s the link to refresh your memory. Remember when Schefter had to walk that shit back, because it wasn’t true? Here’s that link too. Remember when ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen said that Carson would force a trade? Here’s one more link. Since Pederson was fired, Mortensen has been eerily quiet on the subject of Carson Wentz. How ‘bout that?! Carson doesn’t respond. He just lets the truth find it’s own way to us.
Carson had nothing to say about last year’s rumors, and had even less to say about this year’s speculation. In fact, he’s been radio silent since his December 6th benching at Green Bay. He did skip his year-end exit interview with then Head Coach Doug Pederson, and the local media took off running with that.
Now don’t get me wrong, that move says a ton. But it says so much, that it’s important to clarify EXACTLY what Carson himself, meant by it. His intentions are subject to speculation by us fans. His intentions are not subject to speculation by reporters who are supposed to report facts.
Just as the media is taking liberties by speculating on his intent, I suspect that they may also be exaggerating some of his teammate’s comments. Any statement by an “anonymous source” allows the media to write whatever they like, however they like, while avoiding “lying” specifically.
Let me give you an example from NFL.com itself. This is an excerpt from yesterday’s Michael Silver article. This is his interpretation of an Aaron Rodgers quote, after losing to Tampa Bay. Keep in mind, this section was copy and pasted, with no alteration by me, save for the orange font color:
And when he spoke, I believe he delivered a message to his bosses, one I’d roughly translate thusly: Your way of doing business has to change, or maybe I should be on my way.
“[There are] a lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain,” Rodgers told reporters, “myself included. That’s what’s sad about it most … getting this far. Obviously there’s going to be an end to it at some point, whether we make it past this one or not. Just the uncertainties, (it) is tough, and the finality of it.”
In that quote, Rodgers says dick about the Packers way of doing business. Also, at no point does he suggest that he would leave. Silver entirely ignores both the text, and the subtext of Rodgers words, in order to superimpose his own. Sadly, fans will buy it because a guy at NFL.com wrote it!
There’s an awful lot of character assassination going on, based solely on rumor, from people who are supposed to be experts at verification, and factual reporting. Yet they keep coming up snake-eyes on facts. And as long as we keep letting them substitute rumor for scoop (or letting John Clark get away with reporting what he sees on ESPN) this will keep happening.
Damned shame when a fan/blogger has higher operating standards than professional journalists.
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: 4 – 11 – 1, 4th in the NFC East
W New Orleans Saints 12 – 4
L Arizona Cardinals 8 – 8
L Dallas Cowboys 6 – 10
L Washington Uhhh… 7 – 9
Due to events in, and inside ofour Nation’s Capitol last week, I delayed putting this article out. I imagined that you’d be too preoccupied with the real world, to give much of a damn about a report like this. That is the ONLY reason that I was able to get on here and make some edits, after learning about the firing of Head Coach Doug Pederson today.
Initially I was going to put a positive spin on missing the playoffs, and getting such a high draft pick. I wasn’t going to bullshit you, just make sure that we didn’t overlook the opportunity that being in this position affords us.
Then the firing happened.
Pederson during his tenure here, has a 42 – 37 – 1 record.
He also has a Super Bowl win, chased by three years of injuries being the excuse for diminishing results. Put another way, taking out this last season (his worst), and the SB season (his best), Pederson is 25 – 23 (.520) as a head coach. For perspective, lets look at Andy Reid’ first 5 years here.
Take out Reid’s best and worst year and you still end up with a 34 – 14 (.708) head coach. So it’s not hard to see why instead of giving Pederson the increased control that he sought, Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie, would want to opt out of the partnership.
QB – (D): This quarter Jalen Hurtshas produced 8 TD’s and 5 turnovers. If you can get him outside the pocket and moving to his right, he’s dangerous. In any other instance, he becomes a liability. What’s worse, teams seem to have already figured this out. His season finale against Washington featured him running for 2 scores, but passing 7/20 (35%), 72 yards and a pick. Nate Sudfeld saw the field for a 18 snaps in Week 17, and he looked like a guy who’d seen no snaps until Week 17.
RB – (D): In the last four games of the season, Miles Sanders’ rushing yards have gone from 115, to 64, to 57, to 0. To be fair, he was benched for the last game (Tankgate). Still, it doesn’t look good that his production has declined steadily, since Cars… Never mind. Hey, how about Boston Scott? What can I say? He started Week 17, and now we’re picking 6th overall. Well alriiiiiiight!
WR – (D): During this 4 week stretch, DeSean Jacksongraced Eagles fans with an 81 yard curtain call against Dallas. On 5 targets, 4 catches, 100 yards and TD, Alshon Jeffery showed he can still do, what it is we brought him here to do in the first place. Both will be gone next season. On the other hand, none of the young guys has emerged as a future go-to guy. Jalen Reagor hasn’t seen a 50 yard day since Week 11. Greg Ward is averaging 7.9 yards per catch, and Travis Fulgham has been on a milk carton since the Week 9 Bye.
TE – (D): The Eagles have spent the season trying to sell us Dallas Goedert as a #1, but he lacks the explosiveness or dynamism for the role. He’s Robin, not Batman. He’s like a bigger, stronger Jay Novacek. Zack Ertz had a miserable final quarter, catching 10 of 23 targets (43%) for 126 yards. In fact, his season ends with him posting a 50% catch rate for the year, and seeing his targets drop from 135 in 2019, to 72 in 2020. (But we all know what that was about.) Still, his numbers won’t make it easy for him to find a team looking pay big money to a 30 year old who’s been nicked up lately.
OT – (C): Jordan Mailata has been receiving high praise these last few weeks at LT. Some are saying that he’s the future of the spot. (I guess folks have forgotten about Andre Dillard?) Matt Pryor is trash on the edge. He’s serviceable when moved inside, but outside, pure garbage. Jack Driscollwasn’t great either, but he was a rookie, and we lost him for the year, so why sweat it?
G – (D): Isaac Seumalohas consistently lined up on the left for seven straight weeks. Hasn’t meant much, but during this quarter, he did finally play in his only win of the season. That’s 1 win in 9 starts this year. I’m just gonna leave that right there. Nate Herbighas been serviceable on the right side. (He looked better on the left though.)
C – (B): Jason Kelce kept the line together as best he could.
DE – (B): Brandon Graham despite playing an increased percentage of the snaps in the last two games, still fell short of his goal of 10 sacks this season. He got one vs Dallas, but otherwise, he really seemed to wear down as the season went on. Derek Barnett missed the last two games and didn’t impose himself in the last tow that he played. Josh Sweat had two sacks and FF vs New Orleans, was hurt early the next week, and then was injured for the final two games of the quarter. Vinny Curry started the final two games and had his strongest quarter of the season. This position did a decent job of bringing pressure, but with lax coverage behind them, they couldn’t translate into sacks and three and outs. Genard Avery played in the last three games as a rotation player, but the Eagles still don’t have a plan for him.
DT – (B): Fletcher Cox was Fletcher Cox, until a stinger vs Dallas shut his season down. Javon Hargrave stepped up in Cox’s absence and seemed to be a lot more disruptive than in the prior three quarters. He seemed more comfortable. I hope to see he and Cox return in 2021. Malik Jackson put up 12 tackles and a sack, during this quarter. That’s despite only starting one of the games. Undrafted rookie Raequan Williams made his presence felt, in very limited action. T.Y. McGill got a lot of snaps in the last two weeks, but will probably be best remembered for jumping offsides on 4th and 1, with 2:00 to go, vs Washington in a 20 – 14 loss. (But let’s put all the blame on the QB situation!)
OLB – (C): Alex Singleton recorded double digit tackles in three of four games, plus a sack and a FR. He’s much improved at reading angles and getting off blocks. More than that, he brought energy to the defense. Duke Riley missed the last two games, but had an interception vs New Orleans.
ILB – (C): T.J. Edwards has been serviceable in the middle of this defense. He arrived here with the label “athletic limitations”. Being put into this system didn’t do him any favors, in terms of developing his strong-suit. If he has one. Which was not made evident this last quarter.
S – (D): Jalen Mills is a good soldier, but he’s not special as a player. This was once again put on display this quarter. He plays sound team concept ball, helps corral ball-carriers, swarms the football, yadda yadda. He just doesn’t affect the outcome of games. Marcus Eppsstarted three of these four games, and turned it into a team-leading (how sad) two interceptions. Rookie K’Von Wallace got two starts, but it was too soon, in the wrong situation, with no teachers. Rudy Ford was unimpressive. If not for Epps, this position wouldn’t qualify for a grade.
CB – (F): Darius Slayplayed in three of these four games and finally snagged a pick, vs Dallas of all teams. Nickell Robey-Coleman continued to be a non-factor vs the pass. Michael Jacquetplayed in two of the four games and was utterly victimized vs Dallas. Grayland Arnoldplayed a lot vs Dallas, and he got the Week 17 start.
LS – (A): Rick Lovato added one more tackle to his impressive resume.
P – (D): Cam Johnston saw two games this quarter where he averaged less than 40 yards per boot. His 16 punts for 664 yards put him at 41.5 per swing of the leg, and he even had one blocked for the first time this season. It’s hard to say whether his leg wore out or whether he was affected by the air getting denser as the weather grew cooler. Either way, he was less effective.
K – (B): Jake Elliott was perfect on extra point kicks (when allowed to attempt them), and 2/3 on FG attempts. FOR THIS QUARTER! He had all of three tries, this quarter. I had no idea of that until I just looked it up! (Dear Doug, it’s decisions like this that get people FIRED! What, too soon?) Jake also stepped up and handled a couple of punts for us when injury struck at Arizona. That sort of
SINCE LAST QUARTER:
Entering the quarter with control of our own destiny, it largely felt like neither the Head Coach, General Manager, or Owner wanted to step up and declare a direction. As a result, the whole thing has been a rudderless mess. Did Lurie even want the Eagles to make the playoffs? Where does he stand on the tanking? What are his thoughts on Jalen Hurts? We have no clue about any of this.
MISSION FOR THIS QUARTER:
Without a Head Coach, I have no idea what the vision for the future is. That means I can’t even try to forecast it. What I can do is take a moment to indulge my vanity, and write about what I HOPE the mission is for this offseason. Who do I hope is the next Head Coach?
Duce Staley becomes the Head Coach. Not just because he’s an Eagles lifer. Not just because he’s been patient as promotions to Offensive Coordinator have twice passed him by.
Duce should be the coach because Carson Wentz at his best, had a VERY strong run game behind him. Duce believes in running the ball. Duce’s approach can win us another Super Bowl.
Duce should be the coach because he has gotten productivity from every RB that has been brought in here. He has found a way to reach and develop players. This has been a sore spot for the Eagles for too long. Duce can fix that.
Duce should be the coach because he (like Doug when he got here), understands where he is. He understands the nature of the media that will attack him from Day One. He already gets how the fans demand so much in terms of effort, and that you will earn our hearts forever when you deliver.
And then there’s the Rooney Rule. Wouldn’t it be nice to ignore it? To not have needed it. To see critics go
Especially in this racial/political/social climate. ESPECIALLY for a guy who deserves it, and that it’s damned well overdue for?
I want the arrogance of saying to our rivals: That the Eagles were socially progressive only by happenstance. That we were doing what we wanted to do, and being forward thinking is a side effect of just being fucking better than you. I want that.
So I hope that Duce becomes our next Head Coach. That’s our Mission For This Quarter.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for the Four Things articles. It’s to point out what we need to address BEFORE the game. Then AFTER the game, there’s a no-bullshit assessment of whether or not the Eagles did any of what they needed to do, to ensure the win.
So how much of what I mentioned in Four Things: Saints did the Eagles get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Lose the game: Didn’t happen. Now the Eagles exist in a third place limbo that neither helps their playoff chances, nor Draft position. Needing SERIOUS salary cap relief, this team will need a massive infusion of young contributors, if we’re not trying to make a habit of sitting behind New York and Washington. Both of which are respectively 2 and 1 year ahead of our rebuild effort. The win may have felt good to the fans, but a look at Owner Jeff Lurie’s face, as he sat in the press box with his team ahead in the fourth quarter, will plainly tell you this win was NOT in the plans. (NOT DONE)
2) Don’t bench Hurts: This was only for if he looked shaky out there, and he didn’t. Total freebie. (DONE)
3) Give up 35 points: Nope. The Defense played very well, thanks in part to the Saints starting a QB made of tofu. They insisted on playing into the strength of the Eagles Defense, even after 75% of our starting Secondary was hurt on one play! Our Secondary is trash on a good day, and their RB/TE/KR/FB/H-Back/QB was too dumb all day long, to audible into anything that could have hurt us. Any Eagles fan who sees this team part ways with DT Fletcher Cox, or DE Brandon Graham, will see it as a step back. Especially without the Draft capital to replace such players. (Now are you starting to see how all this fits together?) (NOT DONE)
4) Doug has to look clueless: Don’t look now, but Pederson has just out-coached Sean Payton, with a rookie QB. Calling a plethora of plays that we haven’t seen for 12 games (that 40 yard Slot Drag to WR Jalen Reagor was a poorly executed thing of beauty!), the Saints had no answers, as everything they studied this week had to do with a pocket-based offense. Next week the Cardinals will be trying to keep Hurts from immediately bootlegging right, but this week it took the Saints an entire half to even try to start a containment. (NOT DONE)
Put plainly, the team won the game, but it was a MASSIVE step back for the Front Office. We’ll see what shakes out next week at Arizona. And please don’t get too caught up in the “who starts at QB” thing. We’re 4 – 8 – 1. At this point, that’s window dressing. Look ahead to the BIG picture.
On The Whole:
Allow me to bring up a few points.
Fewer than 200 passing yards, less than a 60% completion rate, one touchdown and one turnover. But the fans are happy?
We didn’t give up a sack, largely because the QB was running from the pocket. Even before pressure. On practically every down. But the fans are happy?
Before you make the Michael Vick comparisons, remember what his hand looks like. Lamar Jackson? Kyler Murray? Cam Newton? Robert Griffin III? Randall Cunningham? All terrifying runners. Not one ring between sixty fingers.
Guys like Russell Wilson, Steve Young (HOF), John Elway (HOF), and Aaron Rodgers all use/used their mobility to buy time to make a throw. Not to outright sprint for sidelines. As a result…they have rings.
Jalen Hurts can run, but we have yet to see him play QB. This game featured him running to a side, and then operating on that side. So before you become enamored with that style of play, scroll back up and take a long look at the two lists I put up. The fans were happy with the win on Sunday. But by the time you read this, it will be Monday.
SHOULD the Eagles bench QB Carson Wentz? If you answered “Yes” to that question, you may be suffering from a severe case of Stupidity. Wait, no. That’s never how it actually works. Everyone else around you,may be suffering from your severe case of Stupidity.
Remember hating WR Nelson Agholor for years? Remember calling him a bum? Remember who didn’t? That would be me. Remember hating MLB Jordan “Cowboy Killer” Hicks for being injured all the time? Remember who didn’t? That would also be me. Remember hating CB Sidney Jones and CB Rasul Douglas? And again, guess who didn’t?
How are those players looking these days? Hey, to all of you who wanted us to keep QB Nick Folesover Wentz, how is Foles working out as a starter? What is he now, 2 – 8? 2 – 9? Just to rub salt in a wound, this February, I also said in THE 12 that we should have paid SS Malcolm Jenkins? Here’s the link.
Clearly, I don’t suffer from Stupidity. Instead, I have a condition known as “Guru”. It causes me to look “down the line”, and assess before I speak. Which means, you should listen to me.
Now some of you are saying that Wentz should ride pine, because he’s having a shitty season. And it’s true, on most levels, it truly is a spectacular shit-storm of a season. It is however, only one bad season. Feel free to take a minute and look back at his career to confirm that.
Now for some math. Because I know you LOVES the Maths!
In June of 2019, Wentz signed a 4 year extension worth 128M$, with 107M$ guaranteed, and 66M$ being fully guaranteed through 2021. The Eagles can get out of the deal after 2021, if they’re willing to eat 24M$ in dead money, in 2022. That’s because Wentz has no guaranteed salary after 2021. His remaining guaranteed money is all bonus money. He has another 63M$ in pre-arranged base salaries through 2024, but not a dime of those salaries are guaranteed.
My point is, Eagles team owner Jeff Lurie is on the hook to Wentz for another 60M$ even after this 2020 season ends. Lost revenue from the COVID affected 2020 season, is threatening to shrink the NFL salary cap from 198M in 2020, to (an estimated) 186M in 2021. So for at least the next two years, Wentz will represent 12 – 18% of the Eagles salary cap. Whether he’s on the roster or not.
To relate this to you: If you had a $1,000 budget, what service would you agree to spend $120 – $180 on, if you were no longer getting that service? Oh, and keep in mind, you’d also have to pay for a replacement service at the same time. This is what fans think Lurie should do.
So here’s the 60M$ question: Would Lurie pay Wentz 34M to sit and watch football in 2021, and then 24M while on someone else’s roster in 2022? No. Not on your life. So Wentz is your 2020 AND your 2021 starter. As well as your likely starter in 2022.
Take notice of how nervous Head Coach Doug Pederson appears. Also take notice of how agitated, but otherwise calm, Wentz appears. In this business, franchise QB’s are far harder to find than a decent head coach. Especially with a guy like Assistant Head Coach Duce Staleywaiting in the wings. (Oh, you hadn’t considered that, had you?)
QB Jalen Hurts was brought here to keep asses in the seats, if Wentz gets seriously injured. That’s it. If Wentz gives the Eagles a medical reason to opt out, there’s a very talented insurance policy already on the roster.
Aside from that, Wentz is your starter. Definitely through 2021, but possibly until his deal runs out in 2024, when he’ll only be 32, and still carry a very friendly cap-hit of 32M$.