EXPECT the Eagles to get off to a fast start. Head Coach Nick Siriannihas been an assistant for years, so he knows the NFL. In fact, right now, he knows the NFL better than it knows him. That will eventually change once teams get film of what he calls, when he calls it, who he leans on, how he uses time outs, how skilled he is in using the environment as a weapon, etc.
But for now…
Like any coach, Sirianni is going to try to develop certain strengths. Some things will develop on schedule. Some things possibly not at all. When things don’t pan out, he’ll have to adjust. However, when something happens that’s better than he was hoping for, or faster than he was hoping for, he needs to adjust to that too.
Use any advantage, like an advantage.
FOR EXAMPLE! Last year, WR Travis Fulgham came from out of nowhere. He had a few hot games, then he disappeared. He got targets, but the former coaching staff didn’t try very hard to scheme him open, or scheme to his strengths.
Nothing special was done during Fulgham’s emergence, so perhaps the feeling was that nothing needed to be specially adapted for him, once he’d made his presence known. This turned out to be a mistake.
That can’t happen again. If we stumble across another hot player, we need to scheme opportunities for them to capitalize on. Think of it as sleight of hand. While the opponent struggles to figure out how to stop our new shiny toy, Sirianni can focus on nailing down the principles that he wants to install as cornerstones.
This is me highlighting a possible path to Sirianni having long-term success, as an Eagles coach. Stay loose. Stay fluid. And capitalize quickly on opportunities, when players become them.
THIRD down is the biggest dividing line between a terrible offense and high powered one. However, before all the yardage, and the score rankings, an offense needs to be able to consistently sustain drives. This is why many will say that 3rd down is the most important down.
That’s wrong. The most important down is 2nd down. For instance, I’m sure we can all agree that 3rd and 10 is a far different situation than 3rd and 1. If the offense can’t convert on 3rd down, the distance to go, will play a huge role in whether the offense “goes for it”on 4th down.
On 3rd and 10 the defense generally knows that a pass is coming, and they plan accordingly. On 3rd and 1? Well on 3rd and 1 it could be anything. The play-book is wide open, and the offense is less predictable. That steals confidence from the defense.
This is why 2nd down is the most important. It’s true, 3rd down is generally the ‘make or break’ down. However, converting before a 3rd down, or setting up shorter 3rd downs, drives up an offense’s confidence, while breaking a defense’s.
The point of 1st down is for running to set up the pass, or taking a gamble on a big play. When that dust settles, however it settles, the 2nd down which follows needs to be a down where our Eagles are thinking “Convert NOW!”
Sound silly? Hey, have you ever seen the Eagles face a 3rd and 8, only to have a receiver “take what the defense gives”, run a 7 yard route, make the catch, and be immediately tackled? Oh you have? How did you react? Oh yeah? Well me too. But if that same thing happens on 2nd and 8, we’re clapping.
What we don’t get on 1st, we need to chase aggressively on 2nd, with the idea of not seeing a 3rd. This way when we do see a 3rd down, most of them should be easily converted, or helpful in setting up a 4th down conversion.
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.
CUTTING WR DeSean Jackson was a foregone conclusion. While it remains true that he’s still faster than gossip, he can’t string together 6 consecutive downs in a game, without having to be shut down. Usually for weeks. This leaves the Eagles once again without a deep threat.
After last year’s draft, rookies WR John Hightower and WR Quez Watkinshad us Eagles fans excited. We had a couple of speedy, young pups to bring along behind Jackson, and free agent addition WR Marquis Goodwin. With Goodwin also being a speedster, we looked to be deep with deep speed.
Funny thing about Goodwin though, he also has tendency to get nicked up and miss weeks with injuries. So naturally, Covid-19 saw Goodwin opt out for the year, and fans worrying that he might miss a few games, suddenly were even less happy. And Jackson? He was of course, hurt just minutes into the 2020 season.
This left us leaning on Hightower by the end of Week 1. His speed was undeniable, but his inability to track balls, led to his 34.5% catch rate on the year. For those of you who don’t follow stats, that catch rate isn’t just bad, it’s horrendous. Watkins saw a little playing time later in the season, but he wasn’t exactly killing it out there.
In 2021, we have Hightower, Watkins, and Goodwin returning. At this point, I think these three may scare Eagles fans more than they scare opponents. Still, we need to turn one of those guys into a weapon that can stretch the field, and create room for the other receivers to work underneath.
WR Greg Ward is a Slot/possession receiver. WR Jalen Reagor looks like a Slot guy right now, but he keeps being sold to us as being able to play outside. WR Travis Fulgham looked like a solid second option for a few weeks. Then opponents realized that we didn’t have a first option, and took Fulgham away. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is still on the roster, and was supposed to give us a physical, 50/50 ball winner.
FUN FACT! No Eagles WR has reached 600 yards since 2018.
Without a deep threat, our other receivers are going to have a much more difficult time finding separation. This means our QB will have to hold onto the ball and well…
My hope is that Hightower spends this off-season working on his hand-eye coordination. Exercises like, catching a jelly bean with both hands (Not just one). Or tracking raw eggs over his shoulder, while inside of his home. (All kinds of incentive to focus on the “ball”.) I’m not saying these are exercises that he will do. Just naming examples of some classics.
In any case, we gotta have a LEGIT deep threat in 2021.
Eagles Head Coach, Nick Sirianni says that he can design an offense around either QB Carson Wentz or QB Jalen Hurts. He says that he will design the system according to the player’s strengths. Sounds like he’s got mad skills, right? Sounds like we’re on our way, right?
Sirianni says that he doesn’t even know who his starting QB is yet. He said that spot will be decided by competition. I think it’s fair to assume that such a competition will begin with OTA’s, and conclude during training camp at the earliest, or following the preseason at the latest.
So Sirianni has to wait to see who wins the competition, to know who the QB is.
Until he knows who the QB is, he can’t design an offense.
So what are the QB’s running while they compete?
If the two QB’s are competing using a system that is designed for neither, how can Sirianni feel that he got the best look at either man?
What system is being taught to the rest of the players during OTA’s, Mini-camp, Training Camp, and the preseason?
Will we have to wait until 2022 to see a demonstration of Sirianni’s reputed offensive genius?
This is like when Sarah Palin was John McCain’s VP candidate. We were all so curious. Then she finally spoke, and it was like the Hindenburg from there on out.
That’s how I feel about our head coach right now. His press conference has left me with that noise in my ears. You know the one from the Emergency Broadcast System? That empty, ringing annoyance? That’s what reading about the Eagles feels like since that presser.
HEY! Did you hear what Jalen Hurts said, when asked about who the starter would be in 2021: “I’ll tell you that I’m putting the work in on my end, trying to build those relationships with my guys.”
Did he say “my guys”? Is that what they are now? His guys? Choice cut of pert, that there!
You know, one of the hallmarks of Carson Wentz’s tenure, has been the Eagles organization constant turning a blind eye to the Eagles locker room being divided over the QB. Many fans see this as a weakness on Wentz’s part, but that’s blaming the teacher for the kids lobbying for the substitute. If the school makes it clear that ‘This is Ms. Such-n-such’s class, end of story’, preference be damned, when Ms. Such-n-such comes back, you give her full effort. That’s not been the course we’ve charted though.
The Pederson staff looked the other way on those issues. Carson’s guy was TE Zach Ertz. QB Nick Foles guy was WR Alshon Jeffery. Jalen Hurts likes WR Greg Ward. Some guys just seem to play better for QB’s they like. Maybe you’ve noticed? Instead of addressing this, the coaching staff allowed it. Allowed shrines. Hemmed and hawed about who was playing. And similar type bullshit.
And here we are today, with more of the same. This is starting out as a divided locker room under Sirianni, even before anyone sets foot in the locker room. That’s what happens when a man has no idea what being a leader is all about.
Look. Listen. Leadership is about three things. 1)Setting a goal that you get others to pursue with you. 2) Getting people to agree to be responsible for reaching some part of that goal.3) Being, and holding others accountable, for how you are all handling your individual responsibilities to the group effort.
So far, Sirianni isn’t even attempting any of these. 1) We have no idea what his vision is.2)That means he can’t get anyone to contribute to the group effort. In fact, right now the spirit of competition is all about each man trying to serve his individual interest. 3) With everyone serving themselves, and no system to speak of, there is no way to measure how each man is contributing to the whole.
Then again why would we expect this from Sirianni, when he clearly isn’t the leader of the team?
This is not me dumping on competition. Back in November, it was me who said that competition was the easiest way to fix the team. So I’m on-board with competing. However, competition only works when the finish line has been established, and everyone knows what the goal is. Otherwise, it’s just chickens running in a yard.
Football is about more than X’s and O’s. It’s about more than a player’s 40 time. Every team has brilliant minds, and great athletes. What sets some teams apart, is their character. Their leadership. That thing that has allowed the Eagles to be a team that never knew what “quit” was. Until the Washington game. Back when they were Jalen’s guys.
HEAD Coach Nick Sirianni had his introductory press conference on Thursday, and the fan base has been talking about it since then. I have been listening. However, before I weighed in, I wanted to step back, and fully digest exactly what it was that we saw.
Here it is, Monday, and my chief takeaway from Sirianni’s press conference, was that the Eagles Front Office wants the coach to be the hired help, and not the true leader of the football team. Sirianni’s job is to manage just what happens in relation to X’s and O’s. Unfortunately, that’s going to become a problem sooner, rather than later.
Stripping him of the ability to even decide his 53 man roster on Sundays, gives him no leverage when a star player gets out of line, or doesn’t buy into what Sirianni sells, this coming Spring. Not even being able to tell a player that he’s suspended, and will not travel with the team, cuts Sirianni’s balls off, putting blood in the water, right at the outset.
Younger players will be brought in to help lower the salary cap, and replenish the talent pool. Coming in knowing that they can test and challenge a head coach who has to ask permission to even sit them… Former Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, said to Rich Eisen “you just hope that the competitiveness and the culture and the egos of what that team stands for at least stays in place.” In the current climate, that can’t happen. You can expect the Eagles locker room culture to slide. And in very short order.
The silver lining is that if it doesn’t work, if the team doesn’t win, and the players don’t pan out, General Manager Howie Roseman will be the one left holding the bag. Sirianni would be collateral damage of course, but the weight will be on Roseman. Owner Jeffery Luriewill actually be more responsible, but he can’t fire himself.
Understand, the Eagles could have given Doug Pederson more rope. They didn’t. They could have brought in an experienced ex-head coach. They didn’t. They could have gone with a hot-shot Offensive Coordinator. Didn’t take that road either.
What they did, was pick a guy who has never even called plays before. Who has also never made in-game adjustments. Who has never had to be the front-man for a billion dollar franchise. And now… now he’s doing it in the nations 4th or 5th largest television market. How is this possible? Why is this happening?
Sirianni was allowed to skip a couple of rungs on his way to being a head coach. The reason he beat out more qualified candidates is (according to Lurie), “because he cares”. Yeah. Right. Before Eagles fans eat that horse shit, you’ll have to win us another Lombardi, first.
Sirianni is here because he’s too naive to realize the predicament he’s in. Remember how Robert Saleh recently opted for the Jets job over this one? The Jets. Owned by Woody Johnson, who’s only a slightly better businessman than Donald Trump. Fact is, due to Roseman’s presence, the Eagles aren’t a gig that many candidates were lining up for. Most credible options said
Former Eagles Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley was the logical replacement for Pederson. But anyone who knows anything about the man, understands that he wouldn’t stand for being a figurehead, and so he wasn’t offered the job.
From an X’s and O’s standpoint, it’s very easy to be excited about this team. From a leadership standpoint, it’s impossible to be anything besides deeply, severely, gravely concerned. At least until Lurie finds someone better at giving him head, than Howie.
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.
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$.
FOR anyone who doesn’t know this already, the LT position is the premier offensive line assignment, in football. That position is the one which protects the QB’s blindside. It’s not one that smart teams gamble with. Let me ask you: Are you okay with gambling on protecting QB Carson Wentz’s blindside?
Jason Peters was brought in after RG Brandon Brooks was lost with an Achilles tear. Peters was asked to play RG and given a 1.8M$ deal. Fans were excited. Partly because we figured that if something happened to LT Andre Dillard, or if Dillard didn’t pan out, we could always move Peters back out to LT.
Well something did happen to Dillard, and now people are acting confused over how we should deal with it. Whom shall we put out at LT? How do we protect our Franchise QB? If only we had a Hall Of Fame, perennial All-Pro caliber player, nicknamed “The Bodyguard”. This is the easiest decision to make since “and now another breath”, but here we are over-thinking it.
Some fans figure that perhaps OL Matt Pryor can take over at LT. Or even OL Jordan Mailata. No disrespect, but Pryor has played almost exclusively at RG, for a career grand total of 79 downs. Both times were in relief of Brooks. Mailata has yet to play a single down in the regular season. Again, are you okay with gambling on protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside?
LT is not a position to trifle with, and big time talent, costs big time money. In fact, if you look across the NFL, you’ll find that the highest paid offensive lineman on most teams, is generally the starting LT. Which brings me to another point.
There are fans and sportswriters irritated that Peters wants more money to move back to LT. Let’s clear this up immediately: Peters SHOULD ask for more money. The market value of a G is significantly lower than a LT. Moreover, based on their understanding of the market, the Eagles Front Office should have had the class to offer a re-worked deal, when they came to ask him to switch positions.
Look at the market for starting LT’s. None of us working stiffs will make NFL money in 2020, but we all understand the value of not allowing our employers to underpay us for good work. Look at this through that lens.
Here in 2020, the average NFL team pays out 10.3M$ on it’s LT position, as shown here. So far in 2020, the Eagles (counting Dillard) are spending 3.77M$. TOTAL. The only teams less invested at the LT position, are Jacksonville (3.72M), then Washington (2.68M), and then the giants (1.56M). Is this the kind of company we should be keeping? Is this who the Eagles are now?
The cap space is available in terms of the 21M$ that we want to roll-over into 2021’s salary cap situation. Upping Peters deal an additional 6 or 7M$ cuts into that, but again: Are you okay with gambling on protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside? That’s the issue here.
LOOKS like the Cowboys have done it again! Yet again, they’ve put on Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” and reached into the fog, and back through the ages. They grabbed onto DE Everson Griffen’s 2017 reputation, and pulled it into the present. They stood over it proudly. Then they gave it some money. Never considering that Griffen’s body comes with his past reputation.
Griffen is coming off of an 8 sack season in Minnesota. He started 15 games, playing 848 defensive snaps. Apparently the Vikings felt that his back-up, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (7 sacks, 0 starts, 368 snaps) made Griffen expendable enough to just let walk. That is telling. It makes me wonder about what went on in the treatment room.
Cowboys mainstay DE Demarcus Lawrence hasn’t been the same guy since his 14.5 sack season three years ago. Funny, that was also a contract year. Since getting his money, Lawrence has provided diminishing returns, despite having reliable help along the line.
Having not played a snap since 2015, it seemed that DE Aldon Smith was more like All Done Smith. Even before his 4 year hiatus, Smith had spent his last three seasons being a shadow of the player he’d been in his first two seasons. Frankly, the addition of Griffen, this late in the game, doesn’t indicate much faith in Smith.
The team also added DT’s Dontari Poe and Gerald Warren. Both are solid pass rushers, but they both saw diminished snaps in 2019, and were allowed to just walk out the door after the season.
So the Cowboys went out and assembled, what would have been a really good defensive line in 2012. Except well…Demarcus Lawrence wasn’t in the NFL back then. He and Aldon Smith have never been good at the same time.
Past rush, or pass rust, Griffen’s signing seems to indicate that the Cowboys are already disappointed with the firepower they added months ago.