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.
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?
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.
FIRING Head Coach Doug Pederson the way that Owner Jeffery Lurie did, was definitely bad optics on the Eagles part. That said, bad optics and a bad move are not the same thing. I am not billing new Head Coach Nick Sirianni, as a savior. What I am, is low-key excited about the likely directions that the Offense and Defense are going in.
On Offense, (according to ESPN) we ran more vertical routes than any team last year, and had the 3rd slowest time ‘from snap to pass’. While I didn’t know that until I read it this week, that information doesn’t surprise me in the least. Not one iota. It also explains pretty much everything about last year. Check it out.
Long routes take longer to develop. That means the QB has to hold the ball longer. Behind last year’s shaky Offensive Line, that was a recipe to be sacked 50 times. Meanwhile QB Carson Wentz was thrown under the bus on a weekly basis, and ultimately benched, for rookie QB Jalen Hurts. Mostly for doing what the system apparently asked of him. That sort of thing will sour a QB on a coach.
That spark that Pederson said he was looking for? Completion percentage: Wentz 57.4/Hurts 52.0 – TD percentage: Wentz 3.7/Hurts 4.1 – Interception Percentage: Wentz 3.4/Hurts 2.7 – Sacks per Attempt Wentz 10.3/Hurts 8.1.
Before you get caught up saying one is better than the other, consider: ALL of these were bad numbers. Particularly when compared to most winning NFL QB’s. Arguing in favor of either is just picking gnat shit out of pepper. Those kind of numbers, with this much QB talent, will get a head coach fired. And then not offered a job anywhere. Despite his jewelry. (Sips tea.)
Sirianni has never called plays. His career has been spent designing them. Last year he designed plays for practically immobile QB Phillip Rivers. Rivers was sacked just 19 times in 2020.
Sirianni’s play designs have typically favored getting the ball to a receiver within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen worked with Sirianni in San Diego, and they are both of like mind. That means the ball will have to come out quickly and accurately. It also means more of the weight is on the WR’s to uncover quickly. So the passing game isn’t 75% on Carson anymore. So by design, there is no more Superhero Ball!
If everyone does their jobs well, it will mean fewer negative plays. That keeps third downs manageable, and helps the Eagles win the field position game, even when drives don’t result in points. That makes life easier on the Defense.
Speaking of defense! Our Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon, has his primary background with the 4 – 3 system, has developed star DB’s, and is rumored to favor a Cover Two base. If I were a woman, I’d be floating in my chair. I’ve been asking, begging, praying for this sort of coordinator, since Jim Johnson died in 2009.
Keep in mind, all of this is all just reading tea leaves, right now. That said, these are some of the biggest damned tea leaves I’ve ever seen!
Did I mention that on Offense, Sirianni is a big believer in 12 Personnel? I didn’t? Well guess what?!
We still don’t know what this means for the run game, or how this is going to change how the Defensive Line attacks. Today’s press conference should shed more light on that.
What we do know, is that many of the weaknesses that we’ve learned to live with, are getting fundamentally wiped away. They will of course give way to new weaknesses, but we’ll burn those bridges when we get to them.
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.
DON’T let the noise fool you. The media is selling that new Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni, is here to “fix” QB Carson Wentz. That’s not true. It’s not even close to true.
Eagles Owner Jeffery Lurieexpects the new staff to get Wentz “back to that elite progression”. He has never said, nor hinted that Wentz was broken. He never said, nor even hinted at Wentz’s confidence being damaged. He never said, nor even hinted at Wentz losing his love for the game. That kind of speculation has come strictly from the muckrakers, to whom Wentz hasn’t spoken, since his benching.
Lurie (for his part), when speaking about Wentz, sounds like this “This guy is tireless. He has his heart in the right place and he’s really dedicated off-season, on-season – he’s just what you want”. This is the polar opposite of what the speculation says. Lurie isn’t trying to salvage a QB. He isn’t trying to get Wentz back to being a functional starter.
Lurie expects Wentz to be elite. His quote here, tells you exactly what company he expect Wentz to keep “understand that there have been many quarterbacks in their fourth and fifth year … if you trace this, you can come up with many, many quarterbacks that have a single year where it’s just, whoa, the touchdown-to-interception ratio is not what you want. And we’re talking some great ones, like Peyton [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and guys like that.”
Nothing in that quote indicates that Lurie thinks Wentz is “broken”, or “needs fixing”. He called it “a single year”. Which is exactly what I spent the season TELLING EVERYONE. It was just a bad year. That’s how Lurie saw it, and he’s right. It’s not sexy. It’s not interesting. It doesn’t give you something to blame. It just was, what it was. A bad year. They happen.
That being the case, I suspect that Lurie (brace yourselves) may have hired Nick Sirianni to coach his entire football team. I know it seems crazy, right? Who hires a head coach, with more than just one player in mind?! That kooky Lurie. Will he ever learn? (Sigh)
(By the way, just in case an idiot stumbles across this article: The last half, of that last paragraph, was entirely sarcasm. Calm down.)
I told you in the Fourth Quarter review, that if you isolate Andy Reid’s first five years here, then subtract his best and worst seasons, he’d still be 34 – 14 (.708). Do the same with Doug Pederson and his record is 25 – 23 (.520). Lurie clearly felt that the coach was holding back the team. That’s why he moved the coach and not the player.
Don’t let the noise fool you. Nick Sirianni isn’t here to fix Carson Wentz. Nick Sirianni is here to fix the 4 – 11 – 1 Eagles.
WHAT did I tell you back in November? I told you that (then) Head Coach Doug Pederson,couldn’t bench QBCarson Wentz. Well he did. And he was fired. I also told you that Wentz was the 2021 starter. Owner Jeff Lurieseems to be backing my assessment, and fueling rumors that the next HC hired, is largely based on the candidate’s desire to work with Wentz.
Not to say “I told you so” but…
For the last couple weeks I’m out here on a day-to-day, reading interactions between fans who want to argue about the QB. I don’t engage much. I mostly hang back, because I don’t want to get any stupid on me. Some are arguing that Wentz can’t play anymore. Some are perpetuating rumors that he’s “uncoachable”. Like he’s friggin Johnny Manziel, Ryan Leaf, or Jay Cutler. Can you believe this?
The truth? No matter what has come up, Wentz holds his head up, doesn’t embarrass his team, feeds his community, honors his marriage, and never makes you feel like he’s dogging it out there. In fact, he’s been routinely criticized for (Superman ball) trying to do too much. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. Exhibit D. etc.
Meanwhile, all the shit talk about him is spouted by “ grown men” who won’t even apply their name to their words.
Making matters worse, are fans out there who gobble up those rumors, and spread them. This lends the illusion of merit to the rumors, due to the absence of truly substantive discourse. Honestly, the only thing that keeps this all from being sad, is that fact that:
I WAS RIGHT!
Instead of focusing on the soap opera that the local media has been trying to push, I pulled out my calculator, and applied some common sense. Philadelphia fans have long been reputed as some of the country’s most knowledgeable fans. While many have grown soft, lazy, and no longer deserving of that mantle, I work to ensure that it’s still true.
This allows me a sort of joyful, and well-earned smugness, because no matter what argument some fans make about Wentz’s 2020 season, barring injury, in 2021 he’s The Man. It won’t be QBJalen Hurts. Wentz won’t be traded. There won’t be an “open competition”. None of that bullshit.
Carson Wentz is your 2021 starting quarterback. Period. End of story. Like I TOLD you. In November. Anyone who wants to root for him to get hurt or play poorly, that’s their business. That however, would say a ton more about their character, than it would about Wentz’s skill or coachability.
I guess they’re waiting until we’re above .500. Then all those Eagles casuals will stop rooting for the Cowboys, and hop back on the bandwagon, shouting stuff like “AH bleed green no matter wut!” and “Never lost faith in Wentzlvania!”
DOUG Pedersonis Eagles history now. That much we’re sure of. What we don’t know, is who will replace him. I’ll let you in on a secret: It almost doesn’t matter. We’re going to want the same things regardless. HAHAHA!!! Who am I kidding? This is Philadelphia. We’re going to DEMAND the same things regardless.
The first thing we’re going to demand, is a Defense that isn’t “bend but don’t break”. I’d personally like a style that defends every blade of grass, and fights you for every footstep. That said, I’m knowledgeable enough to know that the NFL will have a bitch-fit if we’re that good, that fast.
What I wouldn’t mind is a 4-3 system that uses the DT’s to penetrate and cleave, uses the DE’s to contain, and allows the LB’s to flow to the ball, or be used creatively. Instead of CB’s on 40 yard cushions, employ aggressive man coverage, backed up by split S’s.
If we play a team and an 8-man box is becomes necessary, THEN we go into a Single-high. But first we give our front seven a chance to show that they can handle business. Never assume failure. That’s the first step to winning anything. We won’t become dominant if we start from meekness.
The second thing we’re going to demand, is that our Offensive Line gets fixed. We can’t “fix” QB Carson Wentz if he’s getting beat to shit, all over again. RB Miles Sanderswill never see a 1,000 yard rushing season as an Eagle, behind spotty blocking. QB Jalen Hurts? Hell, he also took a lot of abuse when Wentz went out this year. To fix the Offense, start with fixing the O-Line.
The third thing, would be to (ahem) “fix” the QB. When Carson was at his best in 2017, we had a brutal, power based, run game. At Carson’s worst in 2020, we hardly ran the ball. Super Bowl formula or 4 – 11 – 1? Which formula works best for you? You want to fix Carson? Run the damned ball. You want him to stop playing superhero ball? Run the damned ball. You want to limit sacks, and be better on 2nd and 3rd downs (like in 2017)? Run. The. Motherdamnedfucking BALL!
The fourth thing we’ll demand, is to develop a WR. This inability to develop that position has to come to an end. It has to! The last WR we drafted and turned into a 1,000 receiver, was Jeremy Maclin. We drafted him in 2009, and it wasn’t until his last year here in 2014, that he had his first 1,000 yard season. He is in fact, the last Eagles wide receiver to reach 1,000 yards.
These are things we’re going to want regardless of who is calling the plays, or who is letting his coordinator call the plays. There are other things we’ll want: A big RB, a dangerous KR, a scary LB, a QB to finish 4 or more games without a grass or turf stain on his back… These would all be nice, but they’re not at the forefront of what the fans want.
We want someone to come in, recognize what’s broken, and fix that shit, FIRST. He can be clever about his scheme, or his system, or his philosophy later. Expect a brutally honest assessment of where the Eagles stand in my Pre-Draft Preview, coming this Spring.
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.
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?)