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?)
IT’LL probably strike you as odd that I’m not as angry as most of you. If you remember, in this week’s Four Things article, I start off by saying, “Fact is, even with a win and sole position atop the NFC East, we’ll still be just 4 – 3, with 9 more games to go.” So it’s easy for me to keep our 3 – 4 record in perspective. That said, we need to take an assessment.
Wegot blown out. Let’s table that right now. Don’t duck it. Don’t dodge it. Don’t run from it. We got shit-canned tonight. While the Cowboys offensive line did a great job of opening holes to keep the chains moving, nothing else about their play said “37 – 10”, yet me made that score possible.
The word I would use to describe the Eagles on both sides of the ball, tonight is ‘listless’. They barely seemed interested. No one came out fired up. On Defense, our LB’s looked to be little more than numbered decorations. Offensively, I don’t understand why the Eagles pay any WR besides Jeffery.
As has become our habit, we simply self-destructed on the field. We opened the game with a fumble by TE Dallas Goedert (4 – 69 – 17.2 – 1) and followed it with a strip/sack of QB Carson Wentz(16/26 – 61.5 – 191 – 1 – 1). By the time the dust cleared, it was 0 – 14 in the first quarter, and it was clear that we had no way to stop them on the ground.
The new LB trio of OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (2 – 0 – 0 – 0), MLB Nate Gerry(7 – 0 – 0 – 0) and OLB T.J. Edwards (1 – 0 – 0 – 0) was weak and ineffectual. They were incapable of getting off of blocks to limit runs, and did a piss-poor job of underneath coverage, as most of what ate us up in the passing game, was “Dink-and-Dak” stuff.
It needs to be said that RB Jordan Howard(11 – 50 – 4.5 – 0 – 0) looked very good running the ball. My mind boggles that we don’t use play-action on second down much when he’s out there. HC Doug Pedersonnot elevating RB Coach Duce Staleyto OC, last year, looks like a worse and worse decision by the week. (Even going back to last year.)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking forin this here game, what exactly did we see?
1) Play some Cover Two:HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah, no. The Eagles don’t do that. To be fair, there were a couple of downs where we did. On one occasion FS Rod McLeod(2 – 0 – 0 – 0) was in position to hustle over and limit a big catch to just a catch. Otherwise it was mostly that Single-high stuff. Oh, and some nifty Cover Zero! You might remember Cover Zero, from the Atlanta loss. Good times. (NOT DONE)
2) Early misdirection/Late power: Nope. The Eagles came out using a paint-by-numbers offense that is highly uncharacteristic of them. There was too much that was weird about this game. Same as with the Falcons game. The Eagles just seemed flat. There was no indication by them that this was a division game, and that we needed to roll out new wrinkles that they hadn’t seen. (NOT DONE)
3) Stop the run: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! By the end of the game, it seemed like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could have run for 100 yards on us. Our players stuck to blocks like Velcro. (NOT DONE)
4) Someone step up: This was one of the weeks when we would need a WR in addition to Alshon Jeffery(2 – 38 – 19.0 – 0), to make 4 or more grabs, so we could horizontally stretch the opposing defense. While seven different Eagles caught passes, the only other WR to do so, was Nelson Agholor(2 – 24 – 12. 0 – 0). That is to say, on 9 targets, Wentz’s WR’s caught 4 passes for 52 yards for him. Dear Anonymous, THAT is why he targets his TE so much. So for next week, catch more balls and throw less shade.
This week we had a Four Things score of0 for 4. That makes our season total 12 of 28. That sort of deal won’t cut it next week, when we conclude our road trip in Buffalo vs a 5 – 1 Bills team.
Despite their record, the Bills have trouble putting points on the board, and their highly ranked defense, has so far only played one decent offense. Oh, by the way, they nearly found a way to lose to the Dolphins, on Sunday afternoon. So we could get back to .500 in a blink, if we get OUR shit together.
On The Whole:
While it was hard to stomach that “game” tonight, it might be a blessing in disguise. No, this is not me looking for a silver lining. It’s a statement of an honest to God, fact. We didn’t just lose to “some team”. We took a fourth consecutive loss to a division rival. One who now seems to score at will, against us. I promise you, a public statement by owner Jeffery Lurie, or GM Howie Roseman, will not portend good things for someone.
They say that winning is the best deodorant, and winning it all a couple years ago, behind our high-powered Offense, covered the stench of many defensive deficiencies that were literally on world-wide display, in that very game.
Today, (PFFFT! actually going back to last year), our Offense isn’t nearly as high-powered, and those defensive deficiencies are now a team-wide liability. I said last week, “teams with legit playoff hopes, don’t invite upheaval in the middle of the season.” I stand by that 100%. However, if our playoff dreams become less than legitimate…
DC Jim Schwartz has been getting a free ride for the last 3 years here. If we fall to 3 – 5 next week vs a team that is 20th in scoring, especially if we allow 24 points or more, it will be time to stop deluding ourselves about a deep playoff run in 2019, and fire Schwartz next Monday morning. After which Pederson should elevate LB’s Coach Ken Flajoleto interim DC, and see if he has the chops to keep the gig in 2020.
THIS isn’t a trap game. The Bears are in a rebuilding phase, and (rather deliberately) don’t have enough pieces to threaten most teams with. Wisely, they seem more focused on their 2018 Draft position, than on winning games in 2017. So us getting win number 10 is almost perfunctory. Getting that win would mathematically eliminate the Redskins from being able to win the NFC East this year, and bring us one step closer to locking it down.
With what’s coming up on the schedule, this would normally be an easy game to look past. Normally. Thing is, getting win #10 will put us at double-digits in the win column. Owner Jeffrey Lurie likes double-digit win seasons, and I’m sure Head Coach Doug Pederson is itching to sport one.
While the players may not be able to “get up” for the Bears, being motivated to not disappoint two bosses eager for this win, should be enough to keep the players focused on the task at hand. Hopefully.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus Da Bears :
1) Set hard edges: Behind RB’s Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and rookie QB Mitch Trubisky, the Bears are 5th in the NFL in rushing. Howard is more between the Tackles, Cohen is better in space, and of course a QB is catch-as-catch-can. This means our DE’s have to set a hard edge to try to force every run inside, take away any cutback lane or QB option runs.
2) Rediscover our TE: Last week TE Zach Ertz didn’t figure much into the gameplan, but this week he may be invaluable. The Bears run a 3-4 defense and their OLB’s couldn’t cover their shadows. If we can get the ball out to Ertz, that will force the Bears into their Nickel package and then we can hit them with RB Corey Clement.
3) Don’t get cute:This is just the Bears. Some coaches might be tempted to break out trick plays just to test them out. DON’T. This not only tips our hand for teams to study, but it also says to our opponent that we don’t take them seriously. Disrespect can be a powerful motivator. Like when Skip here disrespected our Defense last Tuesday:
That extra motivation led to our best defensive performance of 2017, so far. Let’s not lend our opponent any motivation, and make this game any harder than it needs to be.
4) Punt the ball:No need to go for it on fourth down against this team. Win the hidden yardage battle. They don’t score or throw the ball well, so don’t offer them any help.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Defensively, this should be a fairly paint-by-numbers type of game. Mitch Trubisky is a rookie QB, playing like a rookie QB, who isn’t getting much in the way of coaching support. He also has zero down-field weapons in the passing game. If we can shut down or control the Bears run game, we’ll be forcing a rookie to beat us with his brain and his arm. This is beyond his ability at this point.
Offensively, due to looking past them, we may hand the Bears a couple of silly turnovers. However, as long as we don’t allow the defense to score, the game should stay pretty well in our control given that we’re at home. If the Eagles come out focused, this game will be an utter blowout, but somehow the idea of them coming out focused doesn’t seem likely.
WHENHowie Rosemanis screwing up, we let him know about it, and rightfully so. As fans that’s part of what we’re required to do to keep up our end. There is however, another part that we aren’t so good at. When Howie gets it right, we tend to be damned quiet about giving the man his due credit. As of today, that has to change, and by the time you finish this article, you’ll want to make sure it does.
This franchise is trying to get back to where it was from 2000 to 2008. Back then, we were amongst the powerhouse teams in the NFL. We were part of every serious conversation about who would win it all during those years. Now, after almost a decade as a fringe team, the Eagles Front Office has decided to bite the bullet and do what I’ve been screaming for since I was still writing on YardBarker, back in 2009. Whatever they choose call it, or however they want to brand it, the Eagles are rebuilding.
The last time the Eagles rebuilt it was done without fan input. Remember when so many people wanted RB Ricky Williams but the Eagles instead drafted QB Donovan McNabb? Remember how fans reacted? Today McNabb is the greatest QB in franchise history, and many local (let me stress the word local) fans still shrug over it. This is why the F.O. ignores us. If all we can or will do is complain, they have every reason to tune us out.
On the other hand, we screamed and screamed for them to get McNabb a WR while they flat out ignored us. When they finally did get McNabb that WR, what happened? We went to the Super Bowl that same year, and McNabb had the best year of his entire career. No other season even comes close. Eagles fans are frequently called by announcers “the most knowledgeable fan base in the league”. Maybe F.O. would be wise to listen to us here and there. Conversely, maybe we should focus on saying something worth hearing.
When Roseman gets it wrong we need to be vocal, but we need to be equally as vocal when he gets it right. It would represent a change in fan type that the F.O. would have to look into. Even if only (at first) to better understand how to adjust their marketing strategies.
So how do we do it? Get on WIP just as you always have, but find something to also praise, when you issue your next complaint about Roseman or Owner Jeffery Lurie. Mention a guy who’s jersey you wouldn’t mind seeing on your kids. Talk about why you don’t want certain types of players on this team. Go to the Eagles Message Boards (that I’m still banned from), and do these same things.
Elevate the discussion so that it literally pays for them to listen to you, and make it cost them to ignore you. Make it clear that ignoring you has a negative impact. If not on the roster, then at the very least on the team’s bottom line.
Fellow fan, you can help this rebuild. You can be a part of steering the Eagles. Yes you can. But to do that, something has to change, and it has to, starting today.