SHOULD we even give a shit?! Sloshing wet behind the ears, rookie head coach Nick Sirianni is under the impression that joint practices are as good as a game. You know who disagrees with that philosophy? Bill Belichick. The same Bill Belichick with six Super Bowl rings, who walked into Lincoln Financial stadium, and waxed Sirianni’s baby-soft ass, 35 to couldn’t even get on the board. Oh, Belichick played his starters, BTW.
A win. A loss. There really doesn’t seem like there’d be any carry-over from this game if the starters sit again. We’ve seen more than enough from the back-ups. What we don’t know, is whether the 22 men who’ll be doing most of the playing, can be better than last year’s 4 wins. Outside of a good showing from those 22, this game will only serve to highlight how badly squandered last week was. Prove us wrong Nick! I dare you.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Jets:
1) Coach for the Win:We have yet to see what it looks like when Sirianni is trying to coach his team to a win. As a matter of fact, he has yet to see it either. A dry run would give him a base-line of what he wants to work on within himself, over the course of his rookie season.
As a rookie coach, he’s allowed to suck. This year. So he needs to be about the business of figuring out his evolutionary path, as a head coach. Treat this game like a game. Let’s see if we have a coach.
2) Play the Starters for a half: Chemistry isn’t built by wishing. It’s built by reps. While practice time is valuable, ANY additional reps only help. How often do we talk about players who stick around after everyone else has gone home? Meanwhile we have a head coach who downplays the value of game time.
3) Death Row Watches: Guys who we know aren’t going to make the team, shouldn’t steal reps from those who will. RB Jason Huntley, WR’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Marken Michel, DT Marlon Tuipulotu, and S Blake Countess, are examples of guys who have no business getting any snaps. At least not while the game can still be won.
The guys who are going to make this roster, need those snaps. Don’t let them be stolen by dead men walking.
4) Shuffle the Ends: I get it. The Eagles are looking to rely on DE’s Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan. So between the four DE’s of Tarron Jackson, Milton Williams, JaQuan Bailey andMatt Leo, there’s probably only one spot left. The team wanted to get a long look at them. Okay. Got plenty of looks. Now let’s see if we can find another actual pass rusher.
We need to get a look at OLB Patrick Johnsonor SLB Genard Avery, lined up at DE on a few third downs. Aside from Johnson, I was not a fan of the Eagles defensive line additions, during the 2021 Draft. I made that abundantly clear in my Draft Report. It’s about time we got a look at him vs the top half of an opposing roster.
If we do these Four Things, win or lose, the coach will have sent the message that it’s time to focus on competing, and getting better as a team. That said, I don’t know how much faith I have in Sirianni doing what needs to be done. It’s why I’ve predicted an Eagles loss in both of the previous games. What I absolutely have faith in, is owner Jeff Lurie putting an arm around young Nick, and telling him “Nick, you’d better win back my %$@#ing fan base. Because wins move merch!”
PREDICTION: EAGLES 20 – Jets 17
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.
HOWIE is likely going to be fired, if QB Jalen Hurts doesn’t play like a potential star in 2021. Despite what some fans thought about QB Carson Wentz, Owner Jeff Lurie knew he had a bonafide Franchise QB, and that those are difficult to find. Still, General ManagerHowie Roseman, convinced Lurie to trade the bird in his hand, for a QB factory in the bush.
There’s a high-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t miss the real action.
This isn’t about Hurts or Wentz. It never was. It’s about the “QB factory” that Howie later regretted mentioning: “Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”
Notice that he didn’t say that he regrets the idea, or the concept. He said that he regrets the comment. He regrets that he slipped and revealed to us, what was really on his mind. He regrets that we know. This was never about one player over another. It’s about a philosophy.
The Hurts pick is about transforming the QB position into just another position.
By default of how long it takes to develop a QB, they are a huge investment. So the ones with the best raw traits, come at a premium at the top of drafts. Few of those pan out, so it naturally skyrockets the price when a proven, young, veteran QB hits the open market. It’s why teams do everything they can, to keep those proven, young, veteran QB’s from hitting the open market. Often overpaying them.
The NFL was able to control other positions by killing off the idea of star players, who are true specialists:
Star RB’s became RB by committee.
The FB, H-Back, and blocking TE positions are practically extinct.
True #1 WR’s became more expendable with the adoption of Spread concepts.
On defense, players without a hard designation are becoming the norm. Whether it’s all of these CB/S, or those 215 – 220 pound LB/S tweeners, or the Edge players… None of that used to be how football worked, even 10 years ago. None of it.
The QB position is harder to redefine and control, but it must be done. And it must happen SOON.
The NFL needs to find a way to quickly develop QB’s who can be productive, not just to control investment costs (like draft capital), and operating costs (like contract terms), but so that the QB position can be platooned. Yes, platooned. Think about Hurts and Wentz. Or Drew Brees and QB Taysom Hill. Think about Tim Tebow now back in the NFL, at 33.
This is an experiment to figure out how best to phase out the “every game” starter. Instead, coming up with something more akin to a baseball starting pitcher. A guy who’s relied on only to start a percentage of the games, instead of all of them. Sure you’ll have an Ace, but he won’t be your Franchise.
If the NFL doesn’t do this, there is no way that they can expand beyond 18 regular season games in a season. Also, do you see the contract that QB Pat Mahomes signed? Or the one that QB Dak Prescott signed, despite owner Jerry Jones admitted to overpaying? Platooned QB’s would have far less leverage at the bargaining table.
That’s where Hurts comes in. Hurts was drafted “sort of” high. Right on the heels of Wentz winning a division, after having put practice squanders on his back. With a franchise QB like Wentz, drafting Hurts made no sense.
Then packages were added to get Hurts on the field early in his career, despite that fact that it ruins a starting QB’s rhythm. Disrupting our Franchise QB’s rhythm made no sense.
Suddenly Wentz became a turnover machine, when taking care of the ball had been the absolute cornerstone of his career. Yet no serious adjustments were ever made to help him. (I even wrote about it back in November of 2020.) That also made no sense.
Except in hindsight, all of it makes perfect sense. It’s an experiment. The Eagles made sure they started with a good, but not franchise quality QB (lower draft capital). The speed of the game is what young players say takes the most time to adapt to. So Hurts was spoon-fed a little time here and a little time there, until the game slowed down for him.
Understand, this is the Eagles version of the experiment, but the entire league has a stake in it. Trust and believe that many eyes follow this. Roseman’s experiment requires Hurts to not just play, but start. So, Wentz was removed from the equation. He had to be. Now Hurts is front and center, and barring a preseason injury, he will start.
That all being said, if Hurts turns out to be the formula, and the QB factory opens in Philadelphia, Jeff Lurie will be the guy who hired the inventor of “The (NFL) Process”. However, if Hurts fails, Lurie will have been talked into spending years of investment money, on a single spin of Roulette. That likely means Roseman would be fired.
High-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t get caught missing the real action.
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.
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?
HEAD Coach Nick Sirianni had his introductory press conference on Thursday, and the fan base has been talking about it since then. I have been listening. However, before I weighed in, I wanted to step back, and fully digest exactly what it was that we saw.
Here it is, Monday, and my chief takeaway from Sirianni’s press conference, was that the Eagles Front Office wants the coach to be the hired help, and not the true leader of the football team. Sirianni’s job is to manage just what happens in relation to X’s and O’s. Unfortunately, that’s going to become a problem sooner, rather than later.
Stripping him of the ability to even decide his 53 man roster on Sundays, gives him no leverage when a star player gets out of line, or doesn’t buy into what Sirianni sells, this coming Spring. Not even being able to tell a player that he’s suspended, and will not travel with the team, cuts Sirianni’s balls off, putting blood in the water, right at the outset.
Younger players will be brought in to help lower the salary cap, and replenish the talent pool. Coming in knowing that they can test and challenge a head coach who has to ask permission to even sit them… Former Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, said to Rich Eisen “you just hope that the competitiveness and the culture and the egos of what that team stands for at least stays in place.” In the current climate, that can’t happen. You can expect the Eagles locker room culture to slide. And in very short order.
The silver lining is that if it doesn’t work, if the team doesn’t win, and the players don’t pan out, General Manager Howie Roseman will be the one left holding the bag. Sirianni would be collateral damage of course, but the weight will be on Roseman. Owner Jeffery Luriewill actually be more responsible, but he can’t fire himself.
Understand, the Eagles could have given Doug Pederson more rope. They didn’t. They could have brought in an experienced ex-head coach. They didn’t. They could have gone with a hot-shot Offensive Coordinator. Didn’t take that road either.
What they did, was pick a guy who has never even called plays before. Who has also never made in-game adjustments. Who has never had to be the front-man for a billion dollar franchise. And now… now he’s doing it in the nations 4th or 5th largest television market. How is this possible? Why is this happening?
Sirianni was allowed to skip a couple of rungs on his way to being a head coach. The reason he beat out more qualified candidates is (according to Lurie), “because he cares”. Yeah. Right. Before Eagles fans eat that horse shit, you’ll have to win us another Lombardi, first.
Sirianni is here because he’s too naive to realize the predicament he’s in. Remember how Robert Saleh recently opted for the Jets job over this one? The Jets. Owned by Woody Johnson, who’s only a slightly better businessman than Donald Trump. Fact is, due to Roseman’s presence, the Eagles aren’t a gig that many candidates were lining up for. Most credible options said
Former Eagles Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley was the logical replacement for Pederson. But anyone who knows anything about the man, understands that he wouldn’t stand for being a figurehead, and so he wasn’t offered the job.
From an X’s and O’s standpoint, it’s very easy to be excited about this team. From a leadership standpoint, it’s impossible to be anything besides deeply, severely, gravely concerned. At least until Lurie finds someone better at giving him head, than Howie.
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!”
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.
SHOULD the Eagles bench QB Carson Wentz? If you answered “Yes” to that question, you may be suffering from a severe case of Stupidity. Wait, no. That’s never how it actually works. Everyone else around you,may be suffering from your severe case of Stupidity.
Remember hating WR Nelson Agholor for years? Remember calling him a bum? Remember who didn’t? That would be me. Remember hating MLB Jordan “Cowboy Killer” Hicks for being injured all the time? Remember who didn’t? That would also be me. Remember hating CB Sidney Jones and CB Rasul Douglas? And again, guess who didn’t?
How are those players looking these days? Hey, to all of you who wanted us to keep QB Nick Folesover Wentz, how is Foles working out as a starter? What is he now, 2 – 8? 2 – 9? Just to rub salt in a wound, this February, I also said in THE 12 that we should have paid SS Malcolm Jenkins? Here’s the link.
Clearly, I don’t suffer from Stupidity. Instead, I have a condition known as “Guru”. It causes me to look “down the line”, and assess before I speak. Which means, you should listen to me.
Now some of you are saying that Wentz should ride pine, because he’s having a shitty season. And it’s true, on most levels, it truly is a spectacular shit-storm of a season. It is however, only one bad season. Feel free to take a minute and look back at his career to confirm that.
Now for some math. Because I know you LOVES the Maths!
In June of 2019, Wentz signed a 4 year extension worth 128M$, with 107M$ guaranteed, and 66M$ being fully guaranteed through 2021. The Eagles can get out of the deal after 2021, if they’re willing to eat 24M$ in dead money, in 2022. That’s because Wentz has no guaranteed salary after 2021. His remaining guaranteed money is all bonus money. He has another 63M$ in pre-arranged base salaries through 2024, but not a dime of those salaries are guaranteed.
My point is, Eagles team owner Jeff Lurie is on the hook to Wentz for another 60M$ even after this 2020 season ends. Lost revenue from the COVID affected 2020 season, is threatening to shrink the NFL salary cap from 198M in 2020, to (an estimated) 186M in 2021. So for at least the next two years, Wentz will represent 12 – 18% of the Eagles salary cap. Whether he’s on the roster or not.
To relate this to you: If you had a $1,000 budget, what service would you agree to spend $120 – $180 on, if you were no longer getting that service? Oh, and keep in mind, you’d also have to pay for a replacement service at the same time. This is what fans think Lurie should do.
So here’s the 60M$ question: Would Lurie pay Wentz 34M to sit and watch football in 2021, and then 24M while on someone else’s roster in 2022? No. Not on your life. So Wentz is your 2020 AND your 2021 starter. As well as your likely starter in 2022.
Take notice of how nervous Head Coach Doug Pederson appears. Also take notice of how agitated, but otherwise calm, Wentz appears. In this business, franchise QB’s are far harder to find than a decent head coach. Especially with a guy like Assistant Head Coach Duce Staleywaiting in the wings. (Oh, you hadn’t considered that, had you?)
QB Jalen Hurts was brought here to keep asses in the seats, if Wentz gets seriously injured. That’s it. If Wentz gives the Eagles a medical reason to opt out, there’s a very talented insurance policy already on the roster.
Aside from that, Wentz is your starter. Definitely through 2021, but possibly until his deal runs out in 2024, when he’ll only be 32, and still carry a very friendly cap-hit of 32M$.
HEAD Coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles look at everybody. That said, long-time Free Agent QB Colin Kaepernick definitely falls in the “everybody” category. QB Carson Wentz being backed up by a guy who led a team to the Super Bowl, initially sounds like a good idea. However, given any thought, it’s fraught with problems.
First, if Kaepernick were a back-up, which back up would he be? Second, third, or fourth string?
Fourth string means that Kaepernick steals a roster spot from someone. So he hurts our depth, and may not even play a meaningful down all season long. That’s a bad trade-off, in exchange for twenty weeks of Carson having to answer the same questions repeatedly, about a guy he hardly knows.
Third string means that rookie QB Jalen Hurtshas his development pushed back a year. Hurts is clearly here to be the #2 in 2021, so he needs to be able to get his feet wet in 2020. Kaepernick at #3 means Hurts is pushed to #4 on the depth chart. That almost certainly puts the rookie on the Practice Squad. Which is no place for a second round pick to start his career.
Second string means that QB Nate Sudfeld probably wouldn’t make the 53 man roster. He’s already on a one year deal, with Hurts breathing down his neck like a prison shower scene.
Everybody asked Wentz what he felt when Hurts was drafted. Well here is how Sudfeld felt.
However, if Wentz goes down, Sudfeld is our only QB who is well versed in the Offense. If Wentz goes down for the year (knock wood), and we’re already out of the playoff picture, sure, start Hurts. If we’re still in the playoff hunt however, Sudfeld has to be the guy. He has to be.
Kaepernick may be more athletically gifted, but he can’t offer what Sudfeld can, in terms of keeping our playoff hopes afloat. He may be more experienced, but making him the #3, essentially throws away a second round pick. Is he worth not keeping an extra DE, or CB, or WR, if he doesn’t play a down all year?
On one hand, I love the idea of Philadelphia being the place where Kaepernick restarts his career. The idea of him taking a knee in the very city where Free Speech took it’s first breath as a Human right, gives me chills to even write it. The very POWER of the idea is seismic, and it nearly brings tears to my eyes. I want it, I CRAVE it on this city’s resume, because most American cities don’t have the backbone to take the weight of it.
This is the team that took inMicheal Vickwhen all the other NFL teams, bailed. QB Donovan McNabbvouched for him, and head coach Andy Reid took that recommendation to ownerJeff Lurie. These men believed in each other, and as a result, look at Vick today.
So yeah. Colin Kaepernick redefining how Americans view and accept political expression? I lust for that as part of Philly’s history. However, if it won’t work for the team, there’s no realistic way to expect it would happen. So Kaepernick coming to Philly is going to be a pass. (Get it? A pass?)