Bad Day at the Office

Posted: November 19th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

I haven’t had a chance to study the game tape from Sunday, but Brian Baldinger did and posted some ugly clips. This is very frustrating to watch.

Yikes.

That is not good.

How could Eagles players look so flat in the middle of a big game? Where is the sense of urgency? That is a very poor performance.

At the same time, I actually found that encouraging. Why? Those are fixable issues. Dallas Goedert is a good blocker. Not on those plays, though. I have no idea why he looked so bad in those clips. Big V has been an effective backup over the years. He struggled on Sunday. Some of those blocks were simple. No idea why he struggled to execute them. Jeff Stoutland normally does an excellent job with the Eagles run game. You know he will not be happy with game tape like this.

The coaches talked about how the offense left plays on the field. You can see that in those clips. There were some opportunities. The execution failed, for a variety of reasons. The breakdowns involved every level. Poor blocking. Sloppy route running. Missed targets. The one thing Baldy didn’t show…dropped passes. We’ve seen enough of those. Maybe he was just sparing us.

It is important to keep something in mind when listening to Baldy. He’s prone to hyperbole, both good and bad.

Baldy didn’t show Boston Scott ripping off a 12-yard run. He didn’t show JJ Arcega-Whiteside catching a 29-yard pass. He didn’t show Wentz making this unbelievable throw.

The Eagles offense was bad on Sunday, but let’s not act like there weren’t some good moments.

*****

One thing is concerning. The coaches are not getting guys to step up when needed.

Doug Pederson and his staff got players to really help out when called upon in the last two years.

2017: Big V, Stefen Wisniewski, Corey Clement, Nick Foles, Jake Elliott, Mack Hollins

2018: Cre’Von LeBlanc, Josh Adams, DeAndre Carter, Cameron Johnston, Treyvon Hester, Avonte Maddox

It sure doesn’t feel like that is happening this year.

With Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills out, the Eagles needed Sidney Jones to step up. Didn’t happen. When the DTs got hurt, the Eagles needed Akeem Spence to step up. Didn’t happen. When the WRs got hurt, the team needed Mack Hollins and JJAW to step up. Hasn’t happened yet.

Maybe this is bad scouting.

Maybe this is bad scheming.

Maybe this is poor motivation.

Whatever the reason, the Eagles have not gotten the kind of contributions from backups and role players this year that they did in the past.

_


In Need of a Fix

Posted: November 19th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles played in a big game on Sunday, losing 17-10. One drive accounted for 90 yards of offense and seven points. The rest of the game? The offense could only muster 165 yards and three points. To put that in football terms…not good.

It is easy to come away from Sunday wanting to fire the coaches, bench half the skill players and cut the other half. Heads must roll, right?

Maybe.

But we also have to remember the Eagles were up 10-0 and had 103 yards of offense when the starting O-line was on the field. Losing Lane Johnson just crippled the offense. If you can’t win down the field, you must win at the line of scrimmage. We knew going in that Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and the young receivers were going to struggle against the best secondary in the league. Losing Johnson was a crushing blow.

Suddenly the run game was erratic. The right side of the Eagles line wasn’t able to get regular movement. Pass protection was sloppy. An offense without Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery couldn’t afford to lose Johnson when taking on the best defense in the league.

This isn’t to say the Eagles can write off that performance to just the injuries. Doug Pederson did not have his best game as a play-caller. He talked on Monday about how he kept trying to come up with an explosive play. With a banged up OL and weak set of receivers going up against the best defense, I don’t understand the thinking behind going for big plays. I get that it is brutally hard to sustain drives against a defense that good, but why not focus on short plays to get a drive going and then think about chunk plays.

Five of the 10 drives after the TD were three plays or less. Again, not good.

Carson Wentz did not help matters. He was trying to be too good, looking for the best option too often. There are times when you are better off getting the ball out quickly and seeing if your skill players can make something happen. Holding the ball and expecting someone to make a contested catch 10 to 15 yards downfield isn’t a good idea with this group. Holding the ball led to multiple sacks and those were drive killers.

The question now becomes what will happen in the future. There are six games left in the season. The Eagles won’t face the Pats and their top-ranked defense in those games. Seattle is ranked 25th in yards allowed. If you put Howard, Jeffery and Johnson back on the field against that team, you better score more than 10 points. If you don’t, then we have a different situation, one that escalates things in a major way.

Pederson and the offensive coaches must be better.

Wentz must be better.

Guys like Jason Kelce, Jason Peters and Dallas Goedert must be better.

I don’t know what to say about Nelson Agholor. He had two chances for TDs on Sunday and couldn’t convert either time. He doesn’t seem aware of where he is and where the ball is. He hasn’t had more than 42 yards in a game since September.

Do you bench him?

The coaches still seem to trust him. Wentz still seems to trust him. Still, at a certain point you have to wonder if it is time to make a change. What would you lose? You could play Jeffery and Arcega-Whiteside on the outside, with Matthews in the slot. You would lose your fastest receiver, but if he can’t catch the ball downfield, is that a huge deal?

Pederson has done a good job managing his players over the years, knowing when to support them and when to be tough. This is a huge challenge. There is a saying “Don’t confuse activity with achievement.” That sure feels like a good description of Agholor. He plays a lot of snaps, but there just isn’t anything to show for it.

Sitting Agholor back in 2016 did him a lot of good. You wonder if that would make a difference now or if that ship has already sailed.

Pederson and his staff must be smart and creative with whatever they decide to do down the stretch run. The Eagles defense played really well on Sunday, making that three straight strong performances from them. The defense is healthy and playing well. If Pederson can fix the offense, the Eagles could get hot over the past six weeks.

The offense will improve as it gets healthy, but that’s not enough. The passing game has struggled since the opening game.  Pederson must figure this out.

The Eagles are 5-5, but the season, unlike Eagles receivers,  is still wide open.

Fix the offense and this team can finish strong.

_


Mixed Bag

Posted: November 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles offense was bad. The Eagles defense was good, just not good enough to win a game when the offense could only score 10 points.

We knew the offense would have some issues with Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery out. When Lane Johnson got hurt in the second quarter, things just fell apart. The Eagles didn’t do anything until the final, desperate drives of the game.

Everyone deserves some blame for the struggles. We’ll start with Carson Wentz. He did not play well. There were some really good moments, but there were other times when he made curious decisions and some poor throws. There were some times when he held the ball too long and took bad sacks. Those were drive killers and one resulted in a fumble that gave the Patriots three points.

Wentz was outstanding on the Eagles long TD drive and I took that as a good sign. For a variety of reasons, he didn’t stay at that level.

One of the big reasons was the play of the OL. They committed several penalties, all of which proved to be costly. There were missed blocks, in the run and pass game. Losing Johnson really hurt. Big V struggled as his replacement.

The receivers certainly didn’t help matters. They struggled to get open and there were also some costly drops. Instead of coming up big in a tough situation, it was more of the same. You saw Patriots receivers make some tough grabs. Only Zach Ertz stood out for the Eagles.

Doug Pederson and the offensive coaches came up with a very creative gameplan against the Bears. We didn’t see much of that against the Patriots. They showed some creativity on the long TD drive, but aside from that there were more questions than answers.

This game would have been a blowout if the defense didn’t play as well as they did. Tom Brady was just 26 for 47 passing. Wind was a factor, but the Eagles defenses deserves a ton of credit.

The DL got regular pressure in the game. Brady did a great job of throwing the ball away to avoid sacks.

The real surprise was the play of the back seven. The Eagles LBs and DBs covered well. They were credited with five pass break-ups. There were multiple plays where Brady had to throw the ball away because no one was open. You haven’t been able to say that about the opposing QB very often this season. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby were the guys who really stood out.

There was one big breakdown that gave the Pats their TD. They used a trick play and had Julian Edelman throwing a pass. His WR was wide open in the end zone. It sure looked like Darby just gave up on the play and let the receiver run free. One huge mistake. A missed tackle by Nate Gerry on a screen pass put NE down in scoring position. A couple of very costly mistakes.

Tony Romo said several times in the game that he thinks the Eagles are going to be tough down the stretch because the defense is finally healthy (although still missing Nigel Bradham). Romo thinks the defense will play like they did in 2017. We’ll have to wait and see, but today was very encouraging in regard to the defense.

The loss drops the Eagles to 5-5, a full game behind Dallas.

I do think there is a big positive takeaway from this game. The Eagles were bad in losses to the Vikings and Cowboys. Today was very different. The Eagles were right in that game until the final seconds. They played hard and never let things get out of hand.

If you put Jordan Howard, Alshon Jeffery and Lane Johnson back on the field, the offense will instantly get better. We’ll have to wait and see the timetable for those guys, but they shouldn’t have extended absences.

A frustrating loss no doubt, but if the defense can sustain that level of play, it bodes well for the stretch run.

_


Halftime – PHI 10, NE 9

Posted: November 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Not the game I was expecting. Both offenses are struggling, with a combination of good defense and gusty winds. Tom Brady set a career high for first half incompletions and Carson Wentz is holding the ball and holding the ball and holding the ball. Ugh.

Lane Johnson suffered a head injury and he’s done for the game. Ugh.

The Eagles have made enough key plays to have the lead, but they have been too sloppy to be happy with how they are playing.

The second half will be interesting.

_


Gameday – NE at PHI

Posted: November 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

There weren’t any surprises when we saw the inactives for today’s game.

We knew Howard, Jeffery and Bradham would be out.

Sitting those guys does give Sidney Jones a chance to play. It will be interesting to see if he has a role on defense or is strictly a backup. The Eagles do like to use a lot of CBs in certain sets so maybe they’ll have something for him.

I’m curious to see if the Eagles will have a homefield advantage. They are 8-4 at home over the past two years, but some of those wins were against bad teams. The defense used to be great when playing at home, but that’s not always been true the last couple of years.

The Eagles do not want to fall behind this week. That makes NE even tougher to deal with.

I’m really curious to see how the Eagles play today. We’ll find out where this team is at. Doesn’t mean they have to win, but they need to compete, play smart and be aggressive. The MIN and DAL losses were bad results and also poor performances.

Need to see something good today.

_