SEASON Reviews are usually done at the end of the season. (Duh, right?) A few are done at the halfway mark, and/or at the end. 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 stands at the moment (in relation to where it started), and where it needs to go next.
STATUS: 9 – 7 overall, 4 – 2 division, 6 – 6 conference, 2nd in the NFC East
L: Dallas (10 – 6)
W: Los Angeles Rams (13 – 3)
W: Houston (11 – 5)
W: Washington (7 – 9)
Put it all together and finish strong. We’re 6 – 6 today. We don’t see the playoffs with a record of less than 9 – 7. Running the table would be awesome, but (barring a miracle of mathematics) we have to have three of these four.
Nailed it!! That was the mission for this last quarter and the Eagles responded in excellent fashion, despite losing(?) QB Carson Wentz for the final three games of the regular season and perhaps the entire playoffs.
Not only did the Eagles manage to string consecutive wins together, the team did it against playoff caliber teams, while playing (in essence) weekly win-or-go-home games, since our last loss of the season, against Dallas.
Though injuries ravaged the regular season, a few players are beginning go find their way off the trainers table, and onto the playing field again. Coupling those guys with young players who were forced to grow up fast, will give the Eagles playoff push, the shot in the arm needed to give us a real chance.
QB: (B) Nick Foles has played so well, that I doubt many fans realize that he’s thrown 6 touchdowns and 3 picks over that span. Add in a lost fumble, and you have 4 turnovers in three weeks. That weighs even heavier upon realizing that he didn’t throw a single scoring pass against the Rams. The fact is, he’s played excellent situational football. Though his production may not be consistent, he’s been big in big moments.
RB: (C ) This position has been good in spots. Josh Adams has been pure trash. He’s gotten plenty of carries, but he hasn’t been able to convert them into yards, because he doesn’t run through contact, doesn’t even employ a forward lean. He’s soft. Darren Sproles on the other hand, since coming back from injury, has been playing out of his mind whenever they let him touch the ball. Even Wendell Smallwood has become a more efficient runner.
TE: (B) NFL Record Holder Zach Ertz and rookie Dallas Goedert have combined for 35 catches and 3 scores over the last four games. Goedert has made three catches of 24 yards or longer as he’s become a consistent weekly contributor, averaging 3 catches per game over the span.
WR: (B) Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor have become dangerous again. Combining for 5 scores in these last four games as opposed to 5 in the first twelve, they’ve also been employed more as deep targets. Golden Tate however, still seems to be figuring things out, and the playoffs is no place for that. Last quarter I suggested that Agholor be switched out of the Slot for Jordan Matthews. I still think this is the way to go, but Agholor needs to move outside, while Tate is moved to the bench.
OT: (C ) In the last couple weeks, LT Jason Peters has been showing flashes of why he is still considered one of the best in the game. RT Lane Johnson allowed a shot on QB Nick Foles last week that forced Foles from the game. As a lineman, you just can’t allow shots like that.
OG: (B) We are 5 – 2 When Stefen Wisniewski starts at LG. That includes 3 – 0 since he regained the spot. Under Isaac Seumalo we were 4 – 5. RG Brandon Brooks has been as quiet, consistent and solid as your banister.
C: (C ) Jason Kelce continues to have issues with shotgun snaps, repeatedly hitting QB Nick Foles in the crotch area or lower.
DE: (B) Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett and Chris Long have to be the best three man DE trio in the NFL. They’ve been excellent against the run, and have supplied very consistent pressure vs the pass. My big knock on this position, is that no one player seems to be able to get two games in a row with a sack. It would be nice to have a threat like that.
DT: (B) Over the last four games Fletcher Cox has 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and has generally been a problem for anyone lining up across from him. Haloti Ngata is finally able to give us the boost he was brought her to give us. In the absence of Tim Jernigan, Ngata was asked to play more snaps per game, than anyone had anticipated. It ran him down and he suffered a leg injury. With Jernigan being back now, and Ngata now healthy, he can focus on giving us a few dominating snaps per game. Treyvon Hester seems to be finding a niche in that rotation.
OLB: (C ) We simply don’t get enough impact plays from this position. Kamu Grugier-Hill did notch a forced fumble and his first career sack, and Nigel Bradham broke up two passes, but that’s all the splash plays that we’ve gotten from them in this quarter.
MLB: (C ) Nate Gerry filled in for Jordan Hicks for the first two games of this quarter. Gerry didn’t start, but played quite a bit as the de facto MIKE. Neither player has been a standout, but they’ve been doing their part to make the system work.
S: (B) Malcolm Jenkins and Corey Graham haven’t really produced many impact plays this quarter, but they’ve been better at communicating with the Corners, which has allowed that position to pick up it’s play recently.
CB: (B) From an “F” last quarter to a “B” in this one, despite the fact that so far Sidney Jones is still a disappointment. Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox have been playing out of their minds. Between them in four games they have 3 picks, 5 passes defensed and half a sack. Douglas has not only played well in coverage, he’s been a beast in run support and at blowing up screens. Former Bear Cre’Van LeBlanc has also contributed a couple big stops in the last few weeks.
LS: (B) Reliable
P: (C ) There may be some leg fatigue setting in for Cam Johnston. Of his 14 punts, 7 were returned for a 5.7 yard average, but over the last two games his net yards per punt is down to about 34 yards.
K: (C ) Jake Elliott has stumbled a bit recently. He’s 7 of 8 on field goal attempts, and 10 of 12 on extra point kicks. What’s more, 12 of his 24 kickoffs have been returned this quarter, as opposed to 3 of 17 last quarter.
PR/KR: (C ) RB Darren Sproles has averaged 9.0 yards per punt return over this quarter. The only issue is, he’s only returned one punt in each game. Recent signee RB Boston Scott is a fringe player playing like he knows that he’s a fringe player. On his 4 kick returns, it’s been clear that he’s thinking home-run, every time.
KC: (A) Last quarter we gave up 5.7 yards per punt return, and 19.5 per kickoff return. At no point did we allow a Special Teams score.
SINCE LAST QUARTER:
The playoffs came early for the Eagles. It has been win or pack in the season, since Week 15. Despite losing QB Carson Wentz for a second year in a row, just weeks before the playoffs, the team did what they needed to, in order to claim their spot in the post-season. All the while putting the NFL on notice, that we are BACK, and NO ONE is safe.
MISSION FOR THIS QUARTER:
The regular season is over. We are now in the post-season. There is one more quarter-season to go. Four more games to reach the highest pinnacle in all of sports:
That of NFL Champion.
Though it will not be easy, there is a very simple mission that lies ahead for this team:
Win one game. Then win a second. Then win a third. Then win a fourth.
GO GET ‘EM CHAMPS!