A Lot of Unknowns

Posted: December 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

2016  has been one strange season. The 3-0 start took everyone by surprise and made us think this team might be much better than expected. The 2-7 slide since then has people asking all kinds of tough questions. Do the Eagles have enough good players? Is Doug Pederson the right coach? Is Howie Roseman the right GM?

You can talk yourself into different conclusions.

This team is playing with a rookie QB and more young players overall. They have played a tough schedule. And they still have the same record as last year’s team that we expected to be a Super Bowl contender.

At the same time, you ask if the team has gotten better over the course of the season. Teams are supposed to improve as they get comfortable with new schemes and the young players get some experience under their belts. Andy Reid started off 0-4 and then went 5-7 in his first season. That team was really bad, but definitely improved. The current Eagles played so well early that there was no way they would improve, but you didn’t expect them to fall apart like this.

Part of the problem with judging this team is that we still have a month to go. It is still possible for this bunch to make the playoffs. I wrote about that for PE.com. You can roll your eyes and groan all you want, but Eagles history has more than a few times when teams have had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel only to come up with a magical finish.

Remember the Miracle of the Meadowlands? How about the Miracle at the New Meadowlands? Fourth-and-26 is a priceless piece of Eagles history. How about the 2006 Eagles, who started 5-6 before winning the final five regular season games. They were division champs, believe it or not. The 2008 Eagles went 4-1 down the stretch and still needed a ton of help to make the playoffs. Things broke perfectly on the final day of the season and the team that barely got into the postseason almost went to the Super Bowl.

Eagles history is filled with magical moments, crazy games and improbable finishes. That’s part of the thrill of being an Eagles fan. No matter how bad things are there is always that little voice in your head that tells you this team can do something wild. Some fans are acting as if the 2016 season is over. History has shown that isn’t the case. The Eagles are one of those teams you don’t count out until the statisticians tell you they are mathematically eliminated. There are four games left in 2016. The Eagles still have a chance. They need to win and have plenty of luck, but the Eagles are still alive. Rather than going through all of what would need to happen, let’s focus on what the Eagles control. They need to beat Washington on Sunday.

Would I bet much money on this team making the playoffs? No, obviously not. But the fact the team is still in the mix makes it hard to judge the team. If this team goes 9-7 or 8-8 that is going to feel world’s different from 6-10.

Jimmy Bama wrote a piece with a focus on playing young players.

The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention just yet, but they are certainly more than on their way. FootballOutsiders.com gives the Eagles a 5.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, while FiveThirtyEight.com gives them a two percent chance. That’s better than Lloyd Christmas’ chances with Mary Swanson in Dumb and Dumber, but obviously not good.

If When the Eagles’ playoff chances go from slim to none, Doug Pederson acknowledged that it would probably make sense to play some of the younger guys to get a closer look at them.

“I think you can definitely go down that route,” said Pederson. “You can go down that path. Isaac [Seumalo], a couple weeks ago against Green Bay, played the entire game. That was great experience. He is playing sort of that tight end position for us, and he’s done an exceptional job there. I think you can make a case or an argument for playing those guys and getting them some play time these last couple of weeks.”

Jimmy then went on to talk about young guys who could play more, like Isaac Seumalo, C.J. Smith and Wendell Smallwood for example. The reason I bring this up is that if the Eagles can find enough good young players, the season will feel like a success no matter the record.

The players and coaches control how this situation plays out.

There have already been some in the media talking about Pederson’s future. He doesn’t have to go 4-0 to quiet that talk. He does need the team to player better, but I also think he can help his situation if he seems to be more in control. Andy Reid came to Philly with his notebook and a plan. Chip Kelly had very definitive ideas in a lot of areas. Both coaches felt very much in control of things.

This has nothing to do with Jim Schwartz running the defense on his own or some kind of power play with Howie Roseman. There are times when Pederson feels more like your lovable uncle than the coach of the Eagles. No one is saying he needs to cut players or make dramatic speeches, but there are just too many times when it seems like Pederson is trying to make everyone like him rather that being an NFL head coach.

Coaches can’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. There are times to call out players publicly. There are times to bench players and let everyone know that it happened and why it happened. Pederson is the coach. The players are under his control. You can support them and protect them, but you need to be tough on them as well. Hold them to a high standard. This is your team. What they do, on and off the field, reflects on you.

Players are definitely fighting for their futures. That’s true of pending free agents, veteran starters and young guys. Do the Eagles give a big deal to Bennie Logan? What happens with a guy like Allen Barbre? Has Wendell Smallwood shown enough to be in the conversation to start in 2017?

Whether or not the Eagles make a playoff push, there will be a lot on the line in the final 4 games. How will everyone respond?


37 Comments on “A Lot of Unknowns”

  1. 1 Aaron said at 7:49 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    first succas

  2. 2 Buge Halls said at 8:21 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    Nobody cares! And nobody does that here. You can go back to Spud’s page for that kind of nonsense – unlike on his blog, we prefer football talk here

  3. 3 Howie Littlefinger said at 8:35 PM on December 10th, 2016:



  4. 4 Tumtum said at 8:45 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    Not sure what was said or who said it, because all I see above your comment is “This user is blocked.” Makes life just a tiny bit better to live.

  5. 5 Aaron said at 9:53 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    you suck balls you alcoholic

  6. 6 Buge Halls said at 4:28 PM on December 12th, 2016:

    See, this is why we don’t like little trolls like you here. Go back to the slums of Philly.com

  7. 7 Aaron said at 9:54 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    you meat stick,

  8. 8 Tumtum said at 8:43 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    Just want improvement.

  9. 9 Donald Kalinowski said at 10:51 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    Didn’t Trump only have a 2% chance of winning the presidency? And here I am more than a month later still dumbfounded over what happaned.

  10. 10 Cafone said at 12:59 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    We were hacked by the Russians.

  11. 11 Dave M. said at 3:29 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    The 80s called, it wants its foreign policy back. Oh, wait.

  12. 12 ChoTime said at 12:06 PM on December 11th, 2016:

    I think there’s a difference between the pollsters’ projections for a popularity contest and physically defeating opponents on an equal playing field four times in a row.

  13. 13 anon said at 11:24 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    Alonso is having a bounce back season in DC Vance Joseph’s scheme, leading the team in tackles (97) and interceptions. sad!

  14. 14 CrackSammich said at 3:37 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    gotta stop that Twitter Trump style of a single adjective sentence at the end of your posts, man.

  15. 15 bdbd20 said at 6:48 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I actually think Schwartz wanted to keep him, but he was a big key in Miami taking Maxwell’s contract.

    If he stayed, he’d probably be the starter at SAM.

  16. 16 bubqr said at 8:37 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I’m not sure stats mean much in his case – Every time I see highlights I see him being slow to the ball/blocked on a running play. Yes he’s had INTs but he still does not look like the pre-injury LB he was in BUF.

  17. 17 Geoff said at 11:43 PM on December 10th, 2016:

    I would certainly be happy with the eagles just making a stronger showing the rest of the year. Playoffs would of course be nice (not like it would significantly hurt our first round draft picks anyway).

    If somehow Roseman had been able to keep Demarco Murray (granted, there was little reason to do so after the travesty of last year), what would the eagles record be right now?

  18. 18 BlindChow said at 12:37 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I have a theory (based on years of disappointment) that players who play for the Eagles will underperform versus how they’d play for other teams.

    So basically, if Kiko Alonso and DeMarco Murray were still here, they’d be playing as garbagely [sic] as they played last year, and we’d still hate them as much as we did a season ago…

  19. 19 Geoff said at 12:49 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I understand that, but I can not completely buy into that because of:

    McNabb in Washington/Minnesota (massive failure)
    Trotter in Washington (moderate failure)
    Desean in Washington (hurt too often)
    Dawkins in Denver (meets the “give up a year (or 2) too early” criteria I think)
    McCoy in Buffalo (hurt too often)
    Derrick Burgess in Oakland (failure)
    Bradley Fletcher in New England (failure)
    Westbrook in San Fran (hurt too often)

    I think Alonso, Murray, and Patrick Chung are exceptions

    Granted this list is just off the top of my head, maybe you have a better list to share?

  20. 20 BlindChow said at 12:53 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    You’d have to include more players we signed after good years in other places (like Murray and Kiko).

    I mean, seriously, I don’t want to say it but (looks both ways and whispers) Dream Team…

  21. 21 CrackSammich said at 3:36 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Deon Lewis, success
    Patrick Chung, success
    Nate Allen, par? I don’t even know.
    Mathis, success, at least for that year.
    Villanueva, massive success
    Amendola, success
    Avant, par

    You can cherry pick both ways.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 8:25 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Lewis doesn’t stay healthy. Chung is subbed off faster than Embiid on a minutes restriction. Allen is a bench(ed) player. Villanueva wouldn’t play here and was terrible when we played Pittsburgh and has his limitations covered up by Ben’s savvy.

  23. 23 Forthebirds said at 10:37 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I think Murray was misused by Chip plus he was overused by the Cowturds the year before. It took him a year to get back. It took Alonzo a year to return from his injury.I understand why they were leg go. Letting go Jackson, McCoy, and letting Maclin walk are the decisions that hurt this team.Think what Wentz would be doing with that kind of veteran talent around him, assuming of course we would have been in a position to get him.Chip put the team through the wood chipper .

  24. 24 anon said at 10:38 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    jackson and mccoy and veteran leadership shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.

  25. 25 Forthebirds said at 12:19 PM on December 11th, 2016:

    I agree, but I said veteran talent, not veteran leadership.

  26. 26 PacificPurl said at 3:57 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Have to agree. Sometimes a player really doesn’t want to be on a particular team so underperforms.

  27. 27 BlindChow said at 4:55 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I suppose Sam Bradford probably really wants to be a Patriot, thus performs accordingly…

  28. 28 ChoTime said at 12:00 PM on December 11th, 2016:

    I don’t know, are you saying DM is better than Ryan Mathews? I think the OL is the problem, not the runners.

  29. 29 PacificPurl said at 4:04 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Remember at the beginning of the season, everybody was all about the Big Daddy and all the boys were all one big happy family scenario? It just doesn’t work well, you’re right Tommy. Good or bad, someone needs to be the boss.

  30. 30 BlindChow said at 4:59 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Man, if only we had a coach like Chip Kelly…oh wait

  31. 31 Media Mike said at 7:33 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    I’d like to win the 3 division games, lose to Balt if we have to just to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs, and see the Vikings lose out.

    A massive injury to Chris Baker today would be a bonus. I know asking the refs to actually call holding on Trent Williams would be asking too much.

  32. 32 ChoTime said at 12:27 PM on December 11th, 2016:

    Wishing for injuries? Come on.

  33. 33 Media Mike said at 5:35 PM on December 11th, 2016:

    Did you miss the play where Baker put that cheap shot on Foles a few years ago and was never properly punished for it?

  34. 34 Flyineagle45 said at 8:21 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    We played nobodies the first 3 games. Although the steelers game was really out of hand the were weaponless. What had me believing in this team was the games we lost early on. The Lions game we could have won, Dallas game we gave away with dumb play calling. The skins game was the only game we legit lost and we were still in it. I am no longer a believer. I don’t really dig any of the players on this team, they lack swag. McCoy had swag, Jackson has swag Maclin had swag in a different way. We don’t have any true superstars I don’t own any jerseys anymore because nobody has me truly on their side besides cox and he blows this season.

  35. 35 meteorologist said at 11:24 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Graham has swag to me. But you make a nice point. We need more elite talent.

  36. 36 ChoTime said at 11:59 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Does swag mean talent?

  37. 37 Dragon_Eagle said at 11:28 AM on December 11th, 2016:

    Weird feeling that this Eagles team is going to finally respond and play well. Defense in particular and we finally manage to NOT get embarrassed by Kirk Cousins. Or maybe that’s the fever talking.