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.
In 2021, the NFL expanded the season to 17 games, which makes for an uneven split. So this year (at least), these Quarterly Reports will come after games (not Weeks) 5, 9, 13, and 17. (Ugh. I hate even looking at that format.)
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.
Note: This Report was supposed to come out BEFORE the Colts game, The records below reflect the records at that time.
STATUS: 8 – 1, 1st in NFC East, 1st in the NFC
OPPONENTS: (After game nine)
(W ) Dallas 6 – 3
(W ) Pittsburgh 3 – 6
(W ) Houston 1 – 7 – 1
(L ) Washington 5 – 5
OVERVIEW: Bad news first. We just suffered our first loss. We are allowing an increasing number of rushing yards as this quarter wears on. Now the good news. We didn’t allows a team to reach 200 yards passing for any of these four games. We also haven’t allowed a team to reach 20 points in 3 number of those four games.
We’ve also started scoring points in both halves of ball games. It sounds like sarcasm, but it isn’t. Looking at the Raiders and Raven blow big leads repeatedly this season, makes a clear point. It’s not how many points, it’s how often points. Big, early leads that get chipped into, give the opponent confidence. However, constantly topping up our score, can make an opponent feel that they’ll always be just out of reach.
This is how to make opponents dread seeing us on their schedule.
NOTE: This Report was supposed to come out BEFORE the Colts game, but the Monday Night game threw everything off. That means no mention or consideration of the Colts game stats will figure into this report. This segment will be the only place that will mention DT Linval Joseph or DT Ndamukong Suh, and even then, only to say that they aren’t discussed in this Report.
QB: B / Jalen Hurts rushing this quarter (26 – 88 – 3.3 – 1 – 1) is way too much risk for way too little reward. Also the number of times he’s been sacked 12 in the last three games is up 11 in the first five games. The boil-down is that our QB is taking too much punishment, for too few yards. Some of it is the line, but some of it is him holding the ball too long.
When he does get the ball off, he’s just gunning defenses down. In the first five games, he threw 4 TD/2 Ints. In these last 4, he’s thrown 10TD/1 Int.
RB: C / Miles Sanders (56 – 296 – 5.2 – 3 – 0) has been effective when used, and even enjoyed a three game scoring streak. Where he’s fallen off, is just 2 targets in the last four weeks, vs 11 in the first five. His snap count was also down. Kenneth Gainwell (11 – 57 – 5.1 – 1 – 0) has been effective as a runner, but his 5 catches for 29 yards (5.8) isn’t what the team was hoping for from him. Boston Scott (15 – 47 – 3.1 – 0 – 0) has seen mostly mop-up duty, and hasn’t been part of recent games while they’re still in contest. Trey Sermon hasn’t played since week five.
This group has been less involved and it has showed itself in the slow start against the Texans and the loss vs Washington. Running is this team’s bread and butter. This has to get fixed.
TE: C / Dallas Goedert (24 – 19 – 209 – 11.0 – 2) has been a consistent catalyst for the Offense. Key third down conversions are becoming his calling card. He should see more targets when the Offense is inside the 10, but the Offensive Coordinator is in love with bunch formations and trying to get our QB killed.
Stepping up his production is blocking TE Jack Stoll (5 – 3 – 45 – 15. 0 – 0). His numbers are meager, but his last quarter as a receiver has already been more impactful, than his entire 2021 season. No other Eagles TE has caught a pass since Week 1. We have no depth here. The pending injury report on Goedert (hurt vs Washington), will tell us if we’re lucky or screwed.
WR: B /A.J Brown (28 – 16 – 289 – 18.0 – 5) has been on a tear. Aside from the Washington game where he pulled up lame early in the contest, he’s scored in each game this quarter. Devonta Smith (23 – 18 – 128 – 7.1 – 2) has become just a possession receiver this quarter. Even his two scores were both in the red zone. This seems to work better for making the QB comfortable, than it does for sustaining scoring drives. Smith needs to be opened up more.
Quez Watkins (8 – 7 -105 – 15.0 – 0) has been far from featured, but at least he’s been less of an afterthought this last quarter. Zach Pascal (5 – 4 – 75 – 18.7 – 1) is still a blocker/enforcer/H-Back, but the Eagles seem to want to weaponize him more. Which is good! He’s too small (214 pounds) to consider in a TE role, but he can gives us versatility if we motion-switch alignments vs a Nickel or Dime front.
OT: B / LT Jordan Mailata (6’8”) had one bad game vs DE Jerry Hughes (6’2”), but you’d swear that the media was going to rename him Winston Justice. It did however expose that in a playoff game, at his height, Mailata might require help vs shorter DE’s who can flatten and bend the corner. Good to know in advance!
RT Lane Johnson did what Lane Johnson does. Legitimately a Hall of Fame candidate, he opens holes and doesn’t allow defenders to touch his QB. He missed about half of the win vs Dallas leaving with a concussion. Swing T Jack Driscoll came in and batted clean-up. He allowed more hits and pressure than Johnson did, but look at who we’re comparing Driscoll to.
OG: B / LG Landon Dickerson is at his best teeing off on players and imposing his will, in the run game. He’s doing a great job and not allowing sacks, but his game still feels muzzled. RG Issac Seumalo does a good job getting to the second level in the run game, but he still seems to have trouble with bull rushers. Given that he plays the right side, it makes the QB have to feint back and not get as much on his passes.
C: A / Jason Kelce has been letting it all hang out this quarter. Even pulling teammates by their helmets for extra yards! He looks like a man who wants to prove that he can still play at high level; so that when he does walk away after this year, he leaves his legend intact.
DE: F / Josh Sweat hasn’t generated much heat in the last quarter. He produced a sack/fumble against Washington, but otherwise has been quiet. Brandon Graham was also practically invisible. Since coming over in a Week 8 trade, Robert Quinn has been active, but hasn’t put his stamp on the defense.
Schematically this position has been where it needs to be, on the field. What it hasn’t done, is make anyone take any notice of it. That’s led to a lot of finger-pointing (not internally), towards the wrong folks, and solutions that aren’t really.
DT: C / Much has been asked of Fletcher Cox. Statistically he isn’t posting numbers, as he’s been asked to play over 70% of the snaps in three of the games this quarter. Last week he played 70 snaps (85%). SEVENTY! For a d-lineman at age 31, that’s a ludicrous ask., But he’s been game to try. Honestly, at his age he should be playing more strong-side DE, if we’re using a lot of outside rush, but I don’t coach the Defense, so…
Nearly (but not quite) as much has been asked of Javon Hargrave, who’s racked up 6 sacks , 5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Note: He was in on 13 tackles with just 1 being for a loss this week vs Washington. This is telling.) Rookie Jordan Davis is on I.R. with a high ankle sprain. He wasn’t racking up stats, but he’s the rock that our run defense is built on. We haven’t been right since he went down.
Milton Williams also moonlights at End and probably needs to play out there more. He’s a not really an inside penetrator, or a pocket collapser, but as a Nickel body, he’s ideal. Marlon Tuipulotu has a sack and a fumble recovery this quarter. The thing is, he plays entirely too much football south of his finger divots. He’s just not very quick off the snap.
OLB: C / Hasaan Reddick has added 2 sacks and 5 QB hits this quarter. What he hasn’t done is force a turnover or be much of force against the run. One or the other needs to be part of his game. Opponents have been careful about throwing the ball around Kyzir White, but more and more runs are being tilted towards his 216 pound frame. (It may be time to start giving rookie Nakobe Dean some of White’s snaps early in games.)
Patrick Johnson moonlights at End, and is producing no impact plays at either spot. If you listen closely, you can almost hear his replacement being drafted.
MLB: B / T.J. Edwards has racked up 45 tackles in the last 4 games. He makes plays despite not being kept very clean up front. He’s at his best when he just drops ball-carriers, instead of holding them up as they fight for (and gain) more yards. (It’s an attempt to slap the ball out, and every team teaches it.)
S: A / If you hear Jaws music while you’re Christmas shopping, it just means that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is in the area. Grabbing 5 interceptions and 1 sack over these last four weeks, to QB’s this guy has been scarier than cancer. Marcus Epps continues to play every single down, of every game this season. He still doesn’t have any wow stats, but the way the Secondary is playing may be all the wow he needs. K’Von Wallace is has seen an uptick in downs this quarter.
CB: B / Darius Slay is not coming off of his best game, allowing (8 – 6 – 104 – 17.3 – 0) vs Washington. Otherwise (9 – 5 – 23 – 4.6 – 0), he’s had an extremely strong quarter (17 – 11 – 127 – 11.5 – 0) and owns his corner. James Bradberry (26 – 11 – 124 – 11.2 – 1) has seen more traffic, but owns his corner as well. Both have an interception each, in this quarter.
Avonte Maddox is currently on I.R., but he forced a fumble and recovered one (on two different plays) vs Pittsburgh this quarter. Josiah Scott filled in at Nickel for Maddox, and on 54 downs this week, only 1 ball was thrown his way. That said, he wasn’t a huge help vs the run, as Washington ran 49 times vs throwing it just 29.
LS: A / Rick Lovato hasn’t blown any snaps and even helped on a tackle this week. Finally! I was beginning to think the Rickshaw wouldn’t run over some poor sucker this season.
P: C / Arryn Siposs has only had to punt 14 times this quarter, and his average of 47.1 yards per boot, which is a two yard improvement over last quarter. Unfortunately this quarter there have been 6 returns for 56 yards (9.3), which isn’t great on two fronts. First, there seems to have been some out-kicking of the coverage. Second 6 of 14 punts is a high return rate. Also smacks of out-kicking.
K: B / Jake Elliott hasn’t made a Field Goal attempt since Week 6. In fairness, he’s only attempted one since Week 6. He’s been 13 of 13 on extra points this quarter.
PR/KR: F / Britain Covey during this quarter has returned 4 punts for 32 yards. He’s been better about attempting kick-off returns with 7 this quarter vs just three in th first five games. He’s only garnered 137 yards for an average of 19.5 yards. Meaning we’d be better off if he’d stayed shy about returning the ball.
SINCE LAST QUARTER:
Last Quarter having the Offense play a full game of football was listed as the mission. On a side note, Jalen Hurts throwing for more than 4 measly touchdowns over five games, didn’t seem like too much to ask. Well both prayers were answered.
So we’re on track, as far as maturing as a team. We aren’t peaking too fast, and we’re being thrown some adversity to overcome and learn from. This is all good for us. Even the Washington loss. Perhaps most especially the Washington loss. We had a couple of weaknesses exposed. It’ll be interesting to see how we respond to that.
MISSION FOR THIS QUARTER:
Secure a playoff berth. Even a Wild Card. Sounds ridiculous as the #1 overall seed in the conference right now, but mathematically, we’ve secured nothing yet. There are seven seats at the table, so we officially need to be better than nine other teams.
This expanded playoff format will keep the playoff picture cloudy, longer than in past years. However, over the next few weeks, by virtue of how many losses they have, the math will eliminate some teams. Possibly as soon as Week 13. By the end of this Third Quarter, we need to lock a berth down