New categories include an EXCLUSIVE weekly Offensive Line Report (Rushing TD’s + 3rdand 4thdowns converted of 2 yards or less – Sacks allowed); as well as Drive Killer(Int – FR – 4th down Tackles – FF – TD).
Passing: (S) QB Joe Flacco – (13/16 – 81.2 – 188 – 2 – 0)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these Four Thingsarticles. 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: Jets did the Eagles actually get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Coach for the Win: Instead of trying to guide his starters to a form of victory to get the taste of a win in their mouths, head coach Nick Sirianni decided to continue to evaluate his bench. Maybe that will pay off, if we get hammered with another injury bug. (Not Done)
2) Play the Starters for a Half: Nope! The starters didn’t even wear jerseys without pads. They were on the sidelines in black t-shirts, like Batman henchmen. (Not Done)
3) Death Row Just Watches: Plenty of guys who are going to be cut, stole reps from guys that we may need to contribute if injuries become an issue. This may be viewed as me over-reacting after a third preseason game, but you can’t fake the adrenalin of a real game. Families, friends, and old coaches don’t tune into joint practices. Sirianni had a chance to give that to high level back-ups, and he blew it. (Not Done)
4) Shuffle the Ends: We got the same thing served to us as the last two games. We saw a lot of DE’s Matt Leo and Tarron Jackson. We saw little outside pass rush, and nearly zero run contain. Asking to see OLB’s Genard Avery and Patrick Johnsonget reps at DE remained an ungranted wish. (Not Done)
Again, that’s 0 for 4. Two straight weeks of goose egg, and 2 of 12 this preseason. The result being zero wins. Two weeks from now, I wonder if the Starters will get to play Week One; or if Sirianni will elect to save them for the playoffs. Rock, paper, motherfu-
On The Whole:
Some will see our 31 – 31 tie, and mention this silver lining. We put our bench out against many of the Jets starters, and we didn’t lose. The problem with that is, we got up 24 – 10 and then fell apart 7 – 21, to finish the second half. Not rolling out our best stuff is one thing. Being out-hustled on Special Teams, run over on Defense, and uninspired on Offense, is quite another.
At this stage I have no idea where any spirit of competition is supposed to come from. The Starters know that they’re sacred cows, because the back-ups hardly showed anything, across three straight weeks. In fact, the only player looking over his shoulder at this point, might be QBJalen Hurts. Is he the starter yet? I’m kidding! I’m KIDDING! It’s not like the Eagles are going to go out and trade for QB Gardner Minshew. (sigh)
TRADING for QB Deshaun Watson would be a huge mistake. Possibly one that could set the Eagles franchise back, for years. We’d be far better served by spending the next three years developing QB Jalen Hurts. Even if he never truly pans out, we’d still be better off than trading for Watson.
The rumors of the Texans wanting THREE first round picks in exchange for Watson, starts the proceedings off as ridiculous. Especially now that we won’t be getting that extra first rounder for QB Carson Wentz. Watson desperately wants out of Houston, and he has said that he won’t play another down for them.
This means the Texans have absolutely no leverage. None. Just fucking none. If Watson holds out, he still counts 15M$ against Houston’s salary cap in 2021, 40M$ in 2022, and 42M$ in 2023. Being a bad team (4 – 12 last year) that needs all the help it can get, the Texans can’t afford to let him sit idle. So for us to part with three first rounders, would be stupid on our part. (Maybe we can let Washington fall into that trap?)
With DE Brandon Graham, DT Fletcher Cox, and FS Rodney McLeod all on the back-end of their careers, having all of our first round picks is a necessity, not a luxury. Even if Watson came here and played lights out, he doesn’t cover any of the holes created by those looming losses. And each of those holes will be massive.
Then there’s public perception.
Even if Governor Cuomo (sorry), Watson sidesteps all the sexual misconduct accusations against him, he’s never going to shake the baggage. By association the Eagles, the fans, all of us would get stuck with it.
It’s one thing to stick by a guy that we drafted, or who’d been here a couple years as a model citizen. If something like this had come out about transplants like Connor Barwinor Chris Long, we’d want to be damned sure that it wasn’t BS. But BS or not, to bring Watson in NOW, is to borrow trouble. Why do it?
Then there’s the notion of getting rid of Hurts, who by all accounts has been doing community outreach, talking about how frugal/responsible he’s being with his money, and working very hard to improve (even if some of his workouts do seem counter-intuitive). By any measure, Hurts has been what you want kids looking up to. Why trade that for Watson’s baggage?
In the event that we traded for Watson and he flopped here, we’d be out picks AND still need a QB. Raise your hand if you want tickets to that shit-show….
Now show me a side-eye if you’d rather pass. Right now my eye is so side, that I think I just sprained my neck. Fuckfuckfuckfuck. That’s what I get for being a smart-ass. Worth it.
TRADING TE Zach Ertz is stupid. Let me get that on the record right now. I don’t want anybody saying later this season, that I was ever unclear in my language about the move. Trading him, cutting him, doesn’t matter. Ertz being removed from this roster, this year is unwise. Some will argue that 12M$ is too much to spend on an aging player, with diminishing skills.
Okay. Let’s look at that.
His 12M$ cap hit is a large one. That said, the Front Office has already found a way to fit it under our 2021 salary cap. In fact, according to Over The Cap the Eagles are currently 6.4M$ under the cap. So affording Ertz has already been done. That means we can stop trying to make this about money. How about age?
Ertz turns 31 in November. While that is an advanced age for this position, it’s not ancient or even the most advanced age. Current TE’s Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Kyle Rudolph are all older than Ertz, (and most Eagles fans would be happy to add any of those).
People bring up age, because they want to either infer, or say outright, that older players will be less durable, miss more games, and thus be less reliable. Last season at age 30, Ertz missed 5 games, due to injury. It was the first time he ever played in fewer than 14 games in a season.
Before suggesting that the misses are tied to Ertz’s age, consider the following: Back-up TE Dallas Goedert, whom the Front Office (and fans) expect to replace Ertz, also missed 5 games with injury. Goedert is 26 years old. Injuries, not age, determines injuries. So quit letting yourself be told, that one means the other.
Well what about Ertz’s diminishing skills? What diminishing skills? Based off of what, the 2020 season?? You go and point out even one, just one, Eagles starter who didn’t take a step backwards in 2020.
Don’t say RB Miles Sanders. He ran for more yards, but his receiving production took a nose dive, and his yards from scrimmage were dramatically down in 2020. Yes, WR Travis Fulgham emerged, but A) He wasn’t a 2019 Eagles starter, and B) He faded badly, down 2020’s stretch. A pandemic of bad offense infected the whole roster. Including Goedert. Including Ertz.
Finally, what on Earth would we be replacing him with? Aside from Ertz and Goedert, the Eagles have five TE’s on the roster. Only one has ever caught a ball in an actual NFL game. One is converting from WR. Another one is converting from QB.
TE Caleb Wilson shows a little promise, and Jason Croom would be a decent #3, but the step down at TE would be huge, if Ertz goes in 2021.
Then again, Head Coach Nick Sirianni isn’t Doug Pederson. He may not like using 12 Personnel (1RB, 2TE), as much as the guy who won a Super Bowl with it, while playing 32 year old TE Brent Celekfor a third of the offensive snaps. (Hey! Isn’t 32 older than 31?)
If Sirianni is looking to feature a Slot WR more, then he won’t be using two TE’s very much, and won’t need to have two good ones. That doesn’t help us with talented depth for red zone situations, or insurance vs injury, but you can’t have it all right?
Except right now, we still have Ertz, and his presence is a luxury. Moving him now would be stupid. Just stupid.
WHAT I really want the Eagles to get out of the 2021 NFL Draft is: Clarity.
In the Eagles last game of the 2020 season, they deliberately tanked against Washington. We came into that game slotted in the #9 position for the 2021 Draft, but tanking the game moved us into the #6 position. The 2020 season was a burning heap, and so already the Eagles had turned their attention to arming for the 2021 season.
That indicates that the organization was planning ahead. Which says plainly: We have a plan.
Then Owner Jeffrey Lurie, fired head coach Doug Pederson, and replaced him with Nick Sirianni, who is green enough to have been Reggie White’s jersey. Then General Manager Howie Roseman traded franchise QB Carson Wentz to Indianapolis, and signed QB Joe Flacco to compete with QB Jalen Hurts for the starting job. Man, I wish I were joking about that.
After that, the Eagles traded down in the Draft from #6 to #12, picking up a first rounder in 2022 for their trouble. Shrewd move if the guy they want this year, is likely to be at 12 or lower. However, now the Eagles want to move back up. But that is a move that will likely cost them a first rounder next year. So what was the point of trading the #6 spot, in the first place?!
All indications are that this team is in a tailspin, because the pilot is incompetent.
The team that used to be The Gold Standard, seems to lack the clarity of vision, which has more or less defined them since the turn of the millennium.
Or perhaps this Draft will bring it all home for us. Maybe those 11 picks we have, will be used to complete a puzzle that we just can’t make out right now. That’s extremely doubtful, but I want to put it out there. I WANT to be wrong about my team being rudderless. I WANT the Eagles to show me that they’ve had it under control the whole time.
When this Draft is done, I want us Eagles fans to be able to sit back and say, “Ahhhh. Now I get it. Now it makes sense.” Because right now, it seems like incompetence is in charge. As of right now, it seems like if Howie counted his balls 10 times, he’d never get the same number twice.
CAN you remember when you were less excited for a Draft? Unless you served in Vietnam, the answer is probably ‘No’. If I wasn’t as obsessive about this event as I am about Christmas, I might not even know that it was happening this week. Things are low-key in Philly for a reason. What exactly are you looking forward to? Most fans expect disaster.
Most Eagles fans expect General Manager Howie Roseman to blow the whole thing to shit in the first place. Mostly because there’s no voice of reason to say “Hey Stupid, don’t be stupid”, because the guy we have coaching the team, is off somewhere playing paper/rock/scissors, or Uno, or trying to guess the number of jelly beans in jar, with Draft prospects. Meanwhile the owner is thinking that France is looking pretty good right now.
All this, so we can draft another QB at 12th overall, and immediately name him as the starter. Eagles fans smirked at that, but it wasn’t a fun smirk. It was that smirk you do when you’re on the expressway, during a traffic jam, and your stomach makes a (gurgle) noise that tells you that “Until further notice, NO fart is to be trusted!”
If you could buy stock in anxiety, Eagles fans would make you fortune this week.
We pick 12th overall, after moving down 6 spots to pick up an extra first rounder next year. Some fans gave Howie crap for that. I thought the move was rather shrewd. The sort of move you want from a GM. Especially if who we want, is expected to be there at 12 or a little later. This should be idiot-proof.
Then came news that the Eagles now wanted to move back, up. (Wait what?) This is a move that will likely cost us a first rounder. Yes! From next year. So then why did… Has anyone ever done something so stupid, that it made you tick off the progression of events on your fingers? Almost as if you were counting? Howie does this to me. He perplexes me. He vexes me.
Again, this should ALL be idiot-proof!
The Eagles however, employ an advanced species of idiot. One that is capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Of complicating the process of falling down. Howie Roseman is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill idiot. He is their Alpha. Their Omega! He is why we’re going to draft a Long Snapper in the first round.
Nah. I’m over-reacting. First round picks are simple, right? Two words:
We pick 12th. If we don’t want a QB, and can’t get TE Kyle Pitts, we should still be in pretty good shape to get a year one, impact player. Maybe a CB who locks down half of our Secondary. Or a WR that changes the dynamic of the entire Offense. All we have to do is NOT, suddenly decide to trade out of the first round. Right??
LAST year the Philadelphia Eagles basically drowned in a toilet. We went 4 – 11 – 1 overall, and 2 – 4 in the division. The toilet I speak of, was the NFC East. We won just 4 games and it still took all of 14 games to eliminate us from playoff contention. Which of course was followed by a form of Front Office seppuku, because hey… why not, right?
Head Coach Doug Pederson was fired and Nick Sirianni was hired to replace him. Right now it has all the ear marks of a horrible, just horrible mistake, but… Either he’ll win us over, or we’ll just keep drinking until paper beats scissors.
So here is what the Eagles look like now, exactly a week prior to the start of the 2021 NFL Draft.
QB: Ignore all this nonsense about “guys competing for the starting job”. Jalen Hurtsis the guy. Whether or not he’s “The Man”, remains to be seen. However, unless we draft his replacement in 7 days, Hurts is the guy. He will not come into this season being a year wiser in the system. The new coach is bringing a new system, and no one has even seen it yet. So in a very real sense, Hurts will still be a rookie that everyone already has NFL tape on. While that tape shows a dynamic player, it also shows an arm that is questionable at times. Local productJoe Flacco,was signed to be just bad enough, to legitimize Hurts even to his detractors. REAL TALK: In a very real sense, Hurts has to start and play well,to save General Manager Howie Roseman’s job. If Hurts turns out to be a dud, then having traded away Carson Wentz, pretty much guarantees that Roseman will be escorted out of the building by security, before the New Year. In the meantime, while the Eagles have the most dynamic player at this position in the division, the coaching staff refuses to even name a starter. And I don’t give away free pluses. (-)
Miles Sanders has electrifying ability, but his durability and reliability have both been inconsistent. He went from a player who could be split out wide as rookie, to a player who couldn’t break a Swing pass in 2021. (Regardless of which QB played.) He missed 4 games in 2020, all of which were against division rivals. The Eagles were 2 – 2 without him vs the division, and went 0 – 2 with him vs the division. Boston Scott is at his best when catching passes (the game winner he caught from QB Carson Wentz to beat the giants, was a thing of beauty)
The Eagles however, seem to think he’s rotational back, despite him wearing down noticeably with increased use. The recent re-signing of Jordan Howardwas a stroke of pure genius! Provided the Eagles actually let the man play. He gives the team a legit lead back if Sanders were to get hurt, and also gives the team a tough between the tackles runner, who can make an opponent pay if he gets daylight. This is already very well-rounded group. Whomever they add as their fourth, will be a luxury. (+)
Travis Fulgham has good/not great speed, and good/not great size. He’s most dangerous on intermediate routes, and knows how to use his body to box-out defenders. He can however get downfield, and make huge plays when he sees favorable coverage. He’s a solid #2 that the Eagles tried to pass off as #1, unsuccessfully. Greg Ward in the Slot gets open quickly, so he led the team in catches in 2020. Unfortunately, many of his catches were for meager gains, so in 2021 he will likely take a back seat to a much more athletic Jalen Reagor. Reagor is said to be the team’s new Slot, presumably to take advantage of his ability to elude and break tackles. John Hightowerhas real speed to stretch a defense, and showed the ability to uncover quickly, but his 34.5% catch rate is a problem that may provide an opening forQuez Watkinsor J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. There’s a number two playing as a one, and a couple guys fighting over the Slot, but there’s no one in this group that scares anyone. With a legit #1, these five would be an interesting tool-kit. But without a hammer, you can’t say that you have legit toolbox. (-)
TE: The Eagles as an organization have decided that Dallas Goedert is the future at this position. In a 1-2 combination, Goedert is a great second option. As number one, he lacks elite traits, and may not be as necessary as many fans think. During the four games when he was on Injured Reserve in 2020, the Eagles scored 22 or more points in every game. In the eleven games when Goedert did play, the Eagles hit that mark just three times. It’s funny. Even from week one last year, everyone knew the Eagles Front Office was trying to sandbag Zach Ertz, and they did a great job of it. Now they want to trade him and SURPRISE! they aren’t finding any takers for a 30 year old, 12 million dollar player that they smeared, and essentially demoted. The irony is, he’s probably still better than 80 percent of NFL players at his position. Including Goedert. For the moment, it’s still a great 1-2 combo. (+)
OT: RT Lane Johnson had an awful 2020. He only saw seven games, and in those seven he was never himself, due to an ankle surgery that he didn’t let heal properly before coming back. When he’s healthy he’s one of the best in the game. Word is, he’s plenty healthy right now. LT Jordan Mailata made a bit of a name for himself last year, when he went from long-term project, to possible diamond in the rough.
Andre Dillard was drafted to inherit that LT spot, but he was lost for 2020 with a torn bicep. So expect ACTUAL competition on that left side in camp. Jack Driscollnotched four starts throughout his rookie year, before going on IR with an MCL injury. A perennial Pro Bowler on one side. Competition between experienced young players on the other side. Then a second year man, with a few starts under his belt already. It may not be what it used to be in 2017, but this group is the most solid group in the division. (+)
G: RGBrandon Brooks returns after missing 2020 with a torn Achilles tendon. When healthy, Brooks is a premier player at this position. Isaac Seumalo is the LG. He’s got above average movement skills, but lacks the aggression, power, or size that is generally coveted at this position. He also doesn’t always anchor well, and so he can be driven back into the QB more often than any coach should be comfortable with. Nate “Real Big” Herbig started twelve games and was serviceable. He could stand to turn some of his fluff into muscle, and to fire-out on his run blocks with more of a mean streak, but for a second year man, he’s great depth to have. Matt Pryormay make the 2021 roster due to his experience also playing OT, but he took a huge step backward in 2020. He had ten starts all over the line, but he seemed to struggle everywhere he lined up. Iosua Opeta notched two starts as a rookie. Without Brooks, this group is just slightly subpar. However, with him in the lineup, the Eagles interior has to be taken very seriously again. (+)
C: Not wanting to go out on a 4 – 11 – 1 record, Jason Kelce has decided to put retirement off for at least one more year. His presence will add solidity to a right side that could be dominant in 2021, and give the new coaching staff a platform to build on.Luke Juriga saw 14 snaps during the Cleveland game when Kelce had to go off with an injury. Kelce raised hell on the sideline and Juriga soon had his seat back. Nate Herbig can also play this position, as can G Ross Pierschbacher. While Pierschbacher is listed as a G, the Eagles depth there and his history of playing the pivot as a college senior, likely means he’s here to provide depth and versatility inside. While the Eagles won’t carry four during the season, they currently have an array of solid options to pick from for their back-up. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: Kelce, Brooks and Johnson, will likely give the Eagles a dominant right side on the Offensive Line. It will be unlike anything Hurts had to work with, when he took over for final four games of the 2020 season. Better still, Jeff Stoutland is still the Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator. Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and a running QB. If the Eagles can find a #1 WR, and if the new offensive system is any good, this team is going to turn heads hard enough to break necks. That said, while there is plenty of talent on this roster, the Eagles don’t have that #1 WR, and the new system hasn’t even seen a single practice yet. So again, passing grades aren’t free around here. (-)
DE:Brandon Graham started off hot last year. He notched 7 of his 8 sacks, 11 of his 16 QB hits, and 9 of his 13 tackle for losses, in the first eight games. Then he went cold as a dead man, posting 1 sack, 5 hits, and 4 TFLs, over the remaining eight games. In short, he disappeared when the playoff hunt began in earnest, making his first Pro Bowl nod feel hollow. After four seasons, Derek Barnett seems like a player who has maxed out his ceiling already. He produced 5.5 sacks while playing 49% of the defensive snaps in 2020. Yet he’s still making 10M$ in 2021. Josh Sweat on the other hand, seems to have a ton of upside. He had 6.0 sacks and 3 FF last year, despite playing just 38% of the snaps. Joe Ostman is a high-effort type, with a low athletic ceiling. In last year’s Wide Nine system, fresh players produced more results than individual talent. If this new system asks for a more classic approach, all indications are that the Eagles won’t fare well here. (-)
DT: Fletcher Coxmeans more than stats to this defense, but his numbers have spent the last two years trending in the wrong direction. Especially for a player making 24M$ in 2021. He had 10.5 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2018. He had 6.5 sacks and 9 QB hits in 2020. It’s not a three year slide, so he isn’t a has-been. Yet. However, this year those numbers need to tick up, or he’ll be on par with DeMarcus Lawrence.Javon Hargrave took a while to hit his stride as a new Eagle, but he settled in nicely near the end of the year. Perhaps the Eagles have found Cox the partner in crime that he’s needed for so long. Returning from a bicep injury that ended his 2020, is Hassan Ridgeway. Ridgeway was a solid, and highly disruptive rotational player who will likely see even more snaps with the departure of Malik Jackson. That is, if he can stay healthy. He’s missed nine games in each of his two years as an Eagle. Two good starters and a quality back-up. (+)
OLB:Alex Singleton, started last season as a Special Teamer. However due to Nate Gerry being injured, during Week four Singleton got an opportunity to play Defense. The result was that him being the difference in the Eagles first win of the season. Two weeks later he was a starter, and showing the NFL why he was the CFL Defensive Player of the Year (2017).
Now Singleton enters 2021 as a starter with a fresh new contract. America! Land of motherfuckin’ opportunity! Davion Taylor was drafted as a project, and so didn’t see much time as a rookie. That said, it’s hard to know if he fits in the new coaching staff’s plans, or if they’ll have the patience for a project. That’s especially true with the signing of free agentEric Wilson, formerly of the Vikings. Wilson put up 122 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 picks last year. Which incidentally was his first as a starter. Did I mention that he’ll be just 27 this season? Suddenly the Eagles have two legitimate starters at this position for the first time since 2017. (+)
MLB:T.J. Edwards is said to have athletic limitations, because he’s a Tackle to Tackle player, and not a sideline to sideline player.
He’s a young, so he still has room to improve, but he already slips blocks well enough, wraps up, can get home on a blitz, and even pull down a pass. The biggest hole in his game, seems to be how often he’s subbed out for Nickel and Dime packages. Shaun Bradleyhas to learn how to get off blocks faster, and not let eye candy pull him out of position. He has a lot of energy and could be an emotional spark plug, but in his second year, he’ll have to be a more disciplined player. (+)
S:Rodney McLeodseemed a long-shot to make the 2021 roster, but at least for the moment, he’s still here. He has the eyes and mind of a seasoned veteran, but after suffering another season-ending leg injury (knee), it’s reasonable to question how much speed he’ll still have at age 31. Free Agent Anthony Harris comes over from the 38 – 7’s . Sorry, the Vikings. He has experience playing for new Defensive CoordinatorJonathan Gannon, when both were in Minnesota. With six years of NFL experience, Harris has only been a primary starter for the last three. Statistically, he looks like a ballhawk one year, and then an in-the-box player, the next year. Now with a new team (on a one year deal), he seems like a seventh year player who is still trying to find himself.
With three starts to close-out last season, Marcus Epps made a strong enough case for the Eagles to feel good about letting Jalen Mills leave via free agency. K’Von Wallace is the reason that Harris’s deal is one year. He’s expected to step up this year. Still, there are too many question marks back there, right now. (-)
CB:Currently the Eagles have ten players under contract at this position, but really only four or five of them matter. Darius Slayis coming off of his worst season as a pro. For over a decade now, I’ve been telling Eagles fans (first on Yardbarker, and then here onEaglemaniacal.com), that the Eagles Cover One/Cover Three look, has been making chumps of even the top CB’s. With Slay we saw it happen yet again,just last season. Doesn’t matter. New DC Gannon is said to be bringing a Cover Two look, that lets Corners play Corner. Slay still has his physical capabilities, so it stands to reason that in a scheme that isn’t working against him, he’s still at least better than average. Avonte Maddox was a feisty Nickel in his rookie year, but injuries and opponents taking advantage of his 5’9’’ frame, seems to have destroyed his confidence. He’s just out there going through the motions, and ending up being less than average. But hey, maybe a new system will enable him to recapture his swagger at Nickel. (I say ‘maybe’ because the Eagles will draft a Corner pretty early. Maddox won’t be the starter on the outside.) Grayland Arnold, Craig James, and Michael Jacquetall got a chance to play, and all them allowed completion percentages of 80 or higher. Again, there are ten players here and only one of them is worth starting. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL: Many of the players here, seem to have been picked for a defensive system that the Eagles are no longer going to run. The Wide Nine system is so specialized that it’s hard to see this unit being successful without a couple of high-impact changes at a couple of positions (DE, CB). (-)
K: Jake Elliottlooked like trash last year. He connected on just 14/19 field goal tries (73.6%), yet again proving useless from 50 or more (2/5, 40%). His extra point kicking 24/26 (92.3%) was a career-low, as was his 61.8 yard kickoff average. Worst of all, the moldy fondant on the over-priced wedding cake… was his (1/3) field goal kicking from 20 to 29 yards. (-)
P: Arryn Siposs is a 29 year old, ex-Australian Football League player, who’s never played an NFL game. He had a cup of coffee with the Lions before they cut him last year. His AFL highlights make him intriguing, but he’ll be impossible to me to co-sign until we at least see him a preseason game. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL:
There are no clutch legs on the team. So close games and defensive battles where winning field position matters, looks like it will be a problem this year. (-)
BOTTOM LINE: Right now, there is no aspect of the game(Offense, Defense, Special Teams) that the Eagles can be given a passing grade in. On the one hand, there so much change coming with a new coach who has never called plays in a game. Talent-wise, the roster isn’t awful at anything. It just isn’t great at anything. And you need to be great at something to win a division. If the newness of the Eagles gets traction, they could take the NFL by total surprise. That said, history is not on their side. Which you realize, makes the Eagles an underdog. And NOBODY on Earth loves an underdog, more than Philadelphia.
TRADING QB Carson Wentz officially ends the media drama that has surrounded the team since his benching in Green Bay on December 6th. As of now, all of the focus is on HC Nick Sirianni and QBJalen Hurts. How do they power the Eagles to win the NFC East and championships? Oh, and how long will we suck?
Don’t lie to yourself about “re-arming” or “re-stocking” or “re-loading”. The Eagles are re-building. The team that told us in February of 2018, that deep runs into the playoffs would be the norm, has been officially tossed onto the scrap heap. Gone is the coach who led us in ultra ballsy fashion. Gone is the upstart triggerman, and the wily gunslinger who stepped in for him.
For God’s sake, please stop talking about that Super Bowl, and the almost MVP season. All the important vestiges of that era have been striped away. 2017 is gone. It is dead. General Manager Howie Roseman clubbed that baby seal to death.
This is 2021, and this rebuild means that for Eagles fans, it may as well be 1999 all over again. In 1999 when Andy Reid first got here, he’d never been an NFL head coach, nor an offensive coordinator. During the interview, Reid blew Eagles owner Jeff Lurie away with how meticulous his plans were for rebuilding Eagles entirely. Lurie hired Reid to resuscitate a team that had just lost 13 games, and a legend was born.
Fast forward to 2021 and playing the part of Andrew Walter Reid, is one Nick Sirianni. (Gemini.) Also never been a head coach. Also never called an NFL game. Lurie however, loves that “he cares”. I’m not kidding. It’s the first thing Lurie mentioned when asked about why he hired Sirianni. So Sirianni is on the hook to be the next Andy Reid and revive this team based on uhhh, him caring? So okay, he cares. Did the other candidates not?
Having stepped barefoot into this warm pile of rebuild, the first thing that comes up, is that the Eagles are reportedly not anointing Hurts the starter. Instead, they intend to bring in competition for him. Or at least that’s the rumor that ESPN is reporting. Until there is a source next to a statement, me representing it as more than a rumor, would be irresponsible.
But trust and believe, we will discuss it in THE 12 tomorrow!
The second thing that crosses my mind is: Who are we losing? Rebuilds mean blood on the floor. Usually the blood of formerly sacred cows. I’m thinking names like C Jason Kelce, DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham, TE Zach Ertz, G Brandon Brooks, and FS Rodney McLeod. Those six players represent a cap figure of 82.3M$. Six guys, 82 mill.
For a team that is projected to be 50M$ over the cap, 82.3M in cuts would clear out a lot of space. Quick, fast, and in a hurry! It would devastate the team, of course. Especially given the combined and individual leadership of the guys on that list. However, if it’s a rebuild, then fans already expect the team to suck. The only question is now: How long will the sucking last?
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.
LET’S have a conversation that no one is having right now. Just how bad is QB Carson Wentz’s back? It occurs to me that the Eagles concerns may be more physical than mental. Which would also explain why the team drafted QB Jalen Hurts as high as they did, before there was even a whisper of Wentz struggling.
Let’s run the clock back to December 2018. Wentz was diagnosed with a stress fracture of his vertebrae, and though he could have played and wanted to, the Eagles elected to shelve him and let the fracture heal without surgery.
In 2019 Wentz started all 16 games, posted a 9 – 7 mark, threw for 4,000 yards, 27 TD, just 7 picks, while leading an injury decimated team to a division win. Given what he had to work with, or more accurately, what he didn’t have to work with, it could be argued that 2019 may have been Wentz’s best football so far. No one ever mentioned his back.
Still, despite Wentz’s 2019 season, the Eagles took a QB in the second round of 2020’s Draft. Fans hated the pick when it happened. Entering Training Camp, we saw a beefier Carson Wentz. While there was a little bit of “Dad” in his middle, his shoulders and chest looked like he’d been really putting in time with the weights.
Unlike other positions, quarterbacks and aggressive weightlifting usually don’t mix well. Increasing shoulder and bicep density, has a way of altering throwing mechanics. Often unpredictably. This subject came up at the very beginning of camp, but none of us held onto it, nor even revisited it when Wentz struggled this year.
Adding up everything, the 2018 back injury, the career full of short yardage scrums, the more aggressive running in 2020, the 87 sacks over the last 2 seasons, not to mention the contortions that he goes through whenever he escapes a sack… You have to wonder if there is anything to know about Wentz’s back.
As a subject that no one is discussing, it’s of course going to generate zero questions, and zero articles. (Unless you’re smart enough to read here.) That gives the Eagles a chance to sell possibly damaged goods, (or goods predicted to have a shorter shelf-life), to a team that doesn’t do enough due diligence.
I have no inside information on this, and I’m not looking to start a rumor. I however AM still trying to understand the drafting of Hurts. Wentz didn’t struggle last year. So why the urgency in drafting a QB? Some point to his injury history and say, “Insurance Policy”. Truthfully, I said the same thing. At first.
If you just need a guy to fill in for a few games, a free agent veteran will do. Hell, just keeping QB Nate Sudfeld would’ve done! But to draft a QB in the second round? After your Franchise guy just showed the world why he’s the Franchise guy? Like I said, that trigger was pulled BEFORE Wentz struggled. They didn’t get him a tool, they got him competition.
Quarterback factory. Factory. That means that the Eagles intend to produce something they can sell. Merch they can move. So are the Eagles about to be in the business of selling lemons? Or are we about to start churning out MVP capable QB’s, and then shipping them to opponents? It’ll be interesting to see Howie do this. (See what I did there?)
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 Scotthas 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 Reagorhas 12 catches for 114 yards on 20 targets. I point them out first, because they appear to be the 2021 starters. Greg Wardhas 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 Driscollgot 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 Hargravehas 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 hearRick 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 fromJake 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.