Sunday Night Reflections

Posted: September 18th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 82 Comments »

Prior to the season, I hoped the Eagles would start 1-1. Going 2-0 would have been great, but expecting to win at Washington and at Kansas City seemed greedy, and unlikely.

So now the team sits at 1-1, where I hoped they would be. And things worked out about the best they could. Winning in Washington was more important because it is a division and conference game. The Eagles played KC tight, before things got away from them in the 4th quarter. There is nothing to be embarrassed about in the least.

The Eagles certainly do have some issues they need to address, but there is more right than wrong with this team. Carson Wentz has taken a big step forward this year. He has some talented receivers and is doing a good job of getting them the ball. The D-line has been dominant at times in the first two games. They’ve made all kinds of plays. The secondary, unquestionably the team’s biggest weakness, has overcome injuries and played better than expected.

Isaac Seumalo has been a major disappointment so far. The team was excited to get him on the field after a promising rookie year. Seumalo had a bad game in KC and his performance hurt the whole offense. The coaches have to decide whether they trust him moving forward or if there needs to be a competition for the LG spot.

The run game obviously is an issue. LeGarrette Blount ran for 46 yards in the opener and then disappeared in KC. Darren Sproles ran for 48 yards in KC. Wendell Smallwood hasn’t run anywhere. Every time he’s in the game, the defense seems to live in the backfield. I don’t know if that is bad luck or he’s tipping plays or what’s going on.

Wentz isn’t going to survive a season where he has many games that involve him dropping back to pass 56 times (46 passes, 4 runs, 6 sacks). The coaches must get more balance in the offense, in terms of calling run plays, but also getting more from them. All you need are 3-yard gains for the run to help out. You’d obviously prefer to average 4 yards per carry, but you can live with less.

Everyone has a hand in the struggles of the run game. The coaches aren’t calling enough of them. You can question which runs they do call. The OL isn’t blocking well enough. Nor are the TEs or WRs. The runners aren’t doing their part. They need to hit the hole and make the right read on where to go. They need to be able to make someone miss on some plays.

The Eagles are not hitting on all cylinders right now. This is a team that is figuring things out. That doesn’t bother me because I focus on the talent. This team is more talented than they were a year ago. Part of that is due to new players and part of it is due to the development of returning players. Wentz is better. Nelson Agholor is worlds better. Jalen Mills is much better. Even a guy like Mychal Kendricks is clearly better.

This team has some really good pieces in place.

Talent isn’t enough. You must execute. Torrey Smith dropped a TD. Sproles fumbled on a punt return. Seumalo missed multiple blocks. Jake Elliott missed a FG. Corey Graham missed a tackle on the long TD run. Vinny Curry missed a sack in a key situation. Wentz made some bad decisions and some bad throws. These players were put in good positions. All they needed to do was execute. Not overachieve. Not do anything special. Just do your job. They didn’t and that’s the reason the Eagles lost.

Losing a winnable game will eat at the players and coaches. When you get whipped, you just admit it and move on. Losses like this will have the players and coaches thinking about the handful of plays that gave the game away.

The players and coaches will study the tape and the tape doesn’t lie. They’ll see what went wrong. They’ll come up with solutions for the future.

In order for this team to go where it wants to go, the players must get better each week. During Andy Reid’s tenure in Philly, we saw plenty of his teams start somewhat slow. They might start off 1-2 or 3-3 something like that. Things would then click and the team would play lights out for a big chunk of the season. This Eagles team has that kind of potential.

Make plays.

Limit mistakes.

Win games.

That didn’t happen on Sunday and the Eagles blew a chance to get off to a 2-0 start. There’s nothing wrong with being 1-1 after a couple of tough road games, but this team needs to start playing better if they want to be a playoff team.

_


  • Sean Stott

    First

    • Rob Jarratt

      Sleep much? Or did you set the alarm?

    • Buge Halls

      Nobody cares! Take it back to Spud’s page

  • Sean Stott

    Only two teams in NFC are 2-0, with the possibility of the Lions making it 3.

    DAL and WAS are both 1-1.

    • Greg Tulino

      TB also undefeated in NFC. They are legit. I think they will be the top WC winning 10 or 11 games , but still finishing behind Atl.

      • ThinWhiteDuke

        TB beat a pretty bad bears team. I think they are decent and will likely challenge for their division, but I don’t fear them.

  • Greg Tulino

    The biggest miracle coming out of this Chiefs game was Jason Peters not getting injured or coming out of the game at any point. Vegas put the chances of Peters playing every play in KC as 4500/1.

    • Howie Littlefinger

      tell me u took those odds!!! He was due man,, he sure was due!

    • Buge Halls

      I thought he was on the sidelines for a couple plays

    • CrackSammich

      why would you ever not throw a dollar on those odds?

  • Anders

    The worst for me right now is that the OL and run game is not helping Wentz.

    I dont want great OL, just enough to get 3-4 yards per run and more than 1½ sec to throw

    • Greg Tulino

      The pocket was clean and Wentz had all day to throw on many of his pass attempts today. Some of those plays he got sacked he had plenty of time and should have thrown the ball sooner or thrown it away to avoid the sack. CW said this himself during his post game presser. Regarding the run game we need to run more on first down to set up manageable downs and distance to move the chains. 2nd and 10 or 2nd and 12 forces us to pass and we become much more predictable. Also, running more will open up the deep throws and plays over the middle as LB’s will respect the potential to run more. When we do this the Eagles will be very tough to beat. Question is will DP call the game that way? He should. He better. His job could ultimately depend on it.

      • Anders

        If we run on 1st and 10 and get -2 yards, how is that opening up the offense?

        Agree that not all 6 of the sacks was on the OL and I know that KC and WAS have two of the best pass rush groups in the NFL, but Wentz has been under too much pressure still.

        • Greg Tulino

          It does not help. I am saying that we can’t run and lose yards on first down putting us in a bad spot. We need to get those 3-4 YPC on first down setting us up to be less predicable on 2nd and third downs.

  • Ankerstjernen

    Roob was on twitter blasting Doug for saying that he went away from the run game because it didnt work. At the time in question, in the second half, Sproles was averaging more than 4 YPC. Much has been made out of Pedersons playcalling and I for the most part think its nonsense (people always hate calls that dont work out after the fact and judge by hindsight). But this has me seriously worried. Pederson fundamentally doesnt seem to believe in running the ball. At all. Last night they had more than three times as many passes as runs – in a tight game. It is a recipe for disaster, and at some point you have to wonder if all the different problems surrounding the run game (O-line, RB’s, play designs, execution) has one common denominator – the head coach.

    • Anders

      If your lead back on the ground is Darren Sproles and Wentz, your run game is not working well.

      • therevxxx

        But if nobody else is getting any carries, what do you expect? Of course Sproles is going to be the lead back when the other guys don’t even combine for half his carries.

      • mark2741

        I don’t get the “run the ball!” sentiment when the reality is that DP knows he simply doesn’t have a primary RB on the roster. Blount is too slow. Smallwood can’t block. Sproles was good yesterday but let’s be objective: they *were* successful passing the ball yesterday. Just not successful enough. Why? Because the other team is simply better. KC is a legit SB contender.

    • Ahhhhhhhemmmmmm(my weak attemp at the classic clearing the throat sound)…Andy Reid disciple here….is this surprising? Times yours.

    • Dave

      Roob likes to spout statistics without context. He is very misleading. Here is the context…Eagles backs gained 18 yards on first two attempts, 34 on the other 11. Most of the time, there was no hole at all.

      The offensive line cannot create push.

      • mark2741

        Roob has quickly gotten annoying with his anti-Howie slant. Reality is, if the Eagles had run a “balanced” offense and average 2.8ypc he would just find some other stats to denigrate DP and Howie. He’s just become a tool.

        • Dave

          Roob’s out-of-context use of statistics and disdain for Howie have been happening for years. He’s old-school in his writing style, offering more in personal opinion with minimal to no actual game analysis. You’ll never see Roob breaking down the All-22 game tape.

  • xmbk

    When did Torrey Smith drop a td?

    • eagleyankfan

      beginning of the game….it’s wasn’t a hit him the chest drop…but it’s a catch you see in all the games…

      • xmbk

        The one off his fingertips, jumping backwards? That’s a highlight reel catch if he makes it.

    • Gary Barnes

      It was not a gimme catch. He was looking over his inside shoulder, Wentz threw it wide of his outside shoulder – Smith had to turn all the way around and reach to pull it in. To me, it was not the best throw, but it also looked like they were not on the same page on where the ball was going to be.

      • sonofdman

        Smith did the hard part by turning and locating the ball and getting his hands on it, but then dropped it. He should have caught it. He also should have caught the other long throw even though there was blatant uncalled pass interference on that one.

        • Gary Barnes

          I agree it was a catchable ball, but wanted to explain the full context so folks who did not see it would not think it was necessarily easy. Hopefully, Smith & Wentz will get on the same page with time/reps.

        • xmbk

          He did not get his hands on it. He got his fingertips on it, turning and jumping against his running motion. Would have been a great catch, not just one he “gets paid to make”.

          • sonofdman

            Maybe I need to watch it again, I remember thinking that he got himself in position and should have made the catch.

          • xmbk

            I’ll watch it again, too.

      • xmbk

        No, definitely not a gimme. I’m sure that one didn’t go in the stat book as a drop.

        • Gary Barnes

          I agree with you, but the general consensus from Tommy to most folks on here is he should have caught it i.e. he dropped a TD. That is why I wanted to give the details so folks understand it was not as cut & dry as that IMO.

  • GENETiC-FREAK

    Didnt see the game but did i read no attempts to run for Blount?

    • Dumd

      Nope. And had one reception for no yards. Crazy.

      • therevxxx

        I think he had one rush actually. Called back by a penalty so it doesn’t show on the box score

    • FairOaks

      It’s possible they knew they were going to run out of the shotgun all game and realized that it was suicidal for Blount to do that against their pass rush, or something like that. Clement was getting 1st team reps this week per reports so it seemed like the team was not planning on using Blount this game — and didn’t. But didn’t use Clement either. Mostly just Sproles.

      • Stephen E.

        Clement was in on a few plays, but he didn’t get the ball.

  • eagleyankfan

    Having been outspoken about Pederson since the hiring – this is no surprise. He’s game calling has always been in question – now he’s year 2 – no excuses. He should be learning and getting better.
    …..
    All the talk of the new wr corps during the preseason, you have to wonder if too much time is spent in preparation in the pre-season and for games. The run game has been questionable since 1st preseason game. Wentz has a summer camp with the wr’s – maybe someone should be doing a summer camp for the linemen. Right now, in the run game, this line sucks.
    ….
    It’s amazing – the o-line couldn’t block me from making a play on a run play — but in pass protection they are stopping Mack trucks. Wentz was back there cooking some ham and eggs before the threw the ball.
    ….
    That D-Line is freaking amazing to watch. So much fun to watch. How/why does AR come in with scripted plays of quick hitters to offense the pass rush to going away from for most of the game? Ah, the part of AR we don’t miss. Scripted plays to “find what works” then don’t use them. LOL.
    ….
    HOW IN THE WORLD AFTER 400 YEARS OF AR COACHING IN PHILLY THEN IN KC—-HOW — IS NO ONE EXPECTING THE SHUTTLE PASS??? HE RAN THAT PLAY WEEK 1 TOO!!!!!! AR calls that play 10 times in his sleep. Kidding aside – run game aside – even in a lose – the feel about this team is better than last year. Still tweaks need to be made(cough coach) but arrow is pointing up imho.

    • Stephen E.

      Can someone decide on what to call that play? It’s either the shuffle pass (because most QBs flip the ball) or the shovel pass (because it’s underhand).

      Now, I’m not sure where you got “shuttle pass”. Badminton?

      • eagleyankfan

        do you use a shovel? Are people shuffling or shuttling? Maybe it’s simply a pass. It’s America – you can call it whatever floats your boat…

  • Buge Halls

    The run game is all on the shoulders of the OL and they aren’t doing their job.
    The Eagles could go back in time and put A.P. behind this line and he still wouldn’t average more than 2 yards per carry. It’s cliche but true – you win at the lines!

  • Buge Halls

    Morons who used to post on Philly.com but can’t now becasue of their (joke of a) paywall!

  • Corry

    Probably not a popular opinion after a tough loss, but I’m not super concerned about the team. They didn’t play a lot in the preseason (which I thought was dumb) and we’re only 2 games into the season now. Arrowhead stadium is one of the best home field advantages in the league and we had their home opener. They made too many mistakes, but let’s see how they bounce back on Sunday.

    My chief concern with the team is Seumalo. How long do you let him struggle? He’s only a 2nd year player, first year starter, so there should be some patience. However, if he can’t get it together here soon, wizniewski is a very capable player.

    • mark2741

      Same here. Eagles are impressing so far. *The Chiefs are a top 3 team in the NFL this season.* People seem to forget that. And I expect the Redskins will be considered pretty good come the end of the year. The Eagles are right where we need them to be: ascending. They will get better and by the end of the season may be right in the mix. They filled tons of holes on the roster this offseason but unfortunately there are only so many draft picks and so many cap dollars and RB fell short. They will have to rely on the passing game more than most would like, but that’s better than averaging 2.2ypc simply to force a “balanced” offense.

  • nopain23

    Isn’t chance a pretty good run blocker? Give him a short. Can t be worse than semualo.
    Also may be just me but I sure seems like kelce and lane are struggling to sustain blocks. They seem to be getting driven back A LOT right into Carson’s mug.

  • Gary Barnes

    In better news, it was a lot of fun to watch the juggernaut Dallas team being dismantled by Denver in all phases.

    Elliott, 9 carries for 8 yards! Enjoy your suspension

    Dak throwing it 50 times with 2 INT

    The defense getting absolutely shredded up and down the field

    Unfortunately, the Redskins pulled out a sloppy win against the Rams. The Raiders next week will destroy them.

  • Dave

    Love this…

    “The idea was to make Prescott beat us because we knew he couldn’t.”

    —Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe to Mike Klis of KUSA-TV, after Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott struggled in a 42-17 Broncos’ win Sunday.

  • therevxxx

    I think the criticism is a little too hard on our running backs. We had (13) carries yesterday for 52 yards which is 4 yards per carry. Longest run of the day was 12 yards, so if you take out that carry then we averaged 3.3 yards per carry.

    Those aren’t great #s, but they aren’t bottom 10 in the league either. I think the bigger issue is the lack of run calls by Dougie P, not our actual run game. We shouldn’t be finishing a game with 50 passing attempts and 13 rushes while averaging 4 yards per carry. That just shouldn’t happen, especially in a close game.

    • SundayAfternoons

      Good point. I think it looked a lot worse because in-game on Sproles was producing (Blount looked slow on his 1 carry) and we abandoned the run in like the second quarter.

  • RogerPodacter

    sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere around here…
    but what was up with some of those short dump off throws from Wentz late in the game? i think there were two on the last possession of the game, wentz couldn’t hit the RB in the flat. one i think hit sproles in the feet. i don’t think Wentz was even under much pressure at the time, but i could be wrong.

    • Gary Barnes

      I saw those too, not sure if it was just rushing the throws or bad mechanics or something else, but some of them were downright ugly. The camera zoomed in on Sproles’ face after one of them and he looked really frustrated.

      • bill

        It seems to me that Carson needs more live reps on screens. He doesn’t seem comfortable with the passing angles or the play fake aspect of baiting the unblocked lineman before throwing it. It might take an offseason of work to get that down, but I hope not. Screens are a necessary part of this offense.

  • Masked Man

    Not upset about the loss. Certainly the team needs to improve.

    But the Eagles won on the road in DC and controlled the pace of the game in the second half to win the game. The Cowboys have looked bad. The Giants have looked worse. We’re the class of the division, even with room for improvement.

    The running game is troublesome. From a coaching standpoint, Pederson and Reich, Stoutland and Staley, all have to be on the same page and get that fixed. Something has got to work better than it has worked the last two weeks.

    There’s an opportunity this year to win the division, even without a star RB. We would not want to see the team miss that because the RBs can’t bang out 25 rushes for 100 yards every week. That’s not asking a lot. Basic balance in the offense is all that’s missing.

  • bsuperfi

    Semualo is getting killed in the media, but I’m curious about how others did on the O Line. Particularly Kelce and Peters. It seems that DP wants big mashers and is calling those style runs, but the line isn’t built for it. For all Peters has done over his career, he really excelled in space and made his wow plays there. I don’t have hard info, but I’m wondering if we really don’t need a personnel shuffle. Hell, I’d even try Peters at guard now and put Vatai at LT.

    • Gary Barnes

      I saw Peters get beat inside by Houston who then stuffed Sproles running to that side. Peters did a pretty weak ole attempt and then stood there as Houston wrapped Sproles up for a loss. I did not see anything else glaring, but was not watching Peters closely either.

      Saw Kelce & Johnson combine on really good blocking on one stretch run early. Again, did not see anything glaringly bad – he looked more solid overall, but was not watching him closely either.

      Most of my focus is on Wentz, the TE and Johnson who was facing Houston most of the day. Johnson played pretty well I thought, but the TE were not good. On one glaringly bad play, Ertz was matched up against Houston and got owned.

      • bill

        To be fair to Ertz, if your plan is to have a TE on Houston one on one, the plan better be a quick hitter. And if that TE is Ertz, the plan shouldn’t even consider Ertz a blocker. He’s at best a distraction to an all pro pass rusher. But he should really be better at chips and helping the tackle out than he is at this point in his career.

    • D3FB

      Peters was fine overall, the run play sucked because they had it set up perfectly but Justin Houston is an all pro too, shit happens.

      Kelce was mostly invisible which is a good thing for OL, had this one nice play

      https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/909781751500767232

      • SundayAfternoons

        what’s up with baldinger? He seems to have a thing for breaking down the Eagles. It’s much appreciated too because I miss a lot of the things he points out—especially some of those clips of Barnett. Can you say ankle flexion?

        • D3FB

          Pretty sure Baldy is a south jersey resident which is why he does lots of eagles stuff

  • FairOaks

    The tipping plays comment was interesting. That was supposedly one of the issues with Blount, that if he was in, it was most likely a running play? You do wonder if there is some tell on the Eagles (OL, Wentz, player positioning) which tells the defense a run is coming at least some of the time. Pass blocking was reasonably good — many times Wentz had all day, which perhaps caused him to hold the ball on plays where he didn’t — but the run blocking wasn’t so good again. There were a couple of decent runs. Did they simply not call enough of them?

    • Gary Barnes

      I think that is the crux. Teams may start to realize that Pederson will stop running if it does not work early and consistently. That is very dangerous for Wentz and our ambitions to be a competitive team. Teams may load up to stop the run early in hopes Pederson will stop again and go pass-heavy which would allow them to unleash their pass rush & blitzes.

      One of the critical things Reid did yesterday was stick with running Hunt – it paid off when he ripped off that 53 yd TD run late.

      The tipping plays thing has been going on for a while, really since we traded Shady since we’ve had no multi-faceted RB (Sproles is ok, but again limited due to age/size etc.) to challenge defenses.

      Blount & Smallwood are not good pass blockers so it makes sense teams would know if they are in, it will be a run. Murray struggled with this too if I remember correctly and Matthews was not great either. We definitely miss having a versatile RB like Shady or Westbrook in this offense.

      • ChoTime

        Pederson could be playing the long game. Set defenses up so they expect the pass whenever the going gets rough, then once they’re in the habit of commiting, set Sprolesy on them.

        Nah, I don’t buy it, either.

    • SundayAfternoons

      From a micro standpoint I noticed Wendell offsets his feet and can give away what side the run is going to. I don’t know if it’s a small sample size thing, or something peculiar of his. His front foot is the direction the run is going to.

  • SteveH

    To me the best drive of the day by far was one where we called 5 passes and 1 run… I think we tried to stick with the run early, but it was starting to put us behind the sticks, and obviously late in the game in comeback mode we were going to be only throwing.

    IMO, I have no problem getting away from the run when it isn’t working to that extent.

    Moving forward it’s obviously ideal to get the run game going, but through 2 games we’ve really struggled with the run blocking.

    It is interesting about Smallwood and the penetration seeming to always be there. On his 8 yard run he looked decisive, fast, ran with authority, everything you want, but christ on a cracker it seems like most of his runs are met in the backfield. Bad luck or something else? Good question.

    • sonofdman

      I was cringing whenever they ran the ball because it was like a wasted play. By the third quarter, I was hoping they would pass every play. They need to get the running game fixed somehow.

    • Ark87

      Yeah, I would love to have a thriving run game for when the pass rush is suffocating, but ultimately I just want to keep play action alive. Which is a threshold we fell below yesterday. When those work it’s great, Wentz has time and he stays clean, gets an opportunity to make a big play.

    • D3FB

      He can’t pass pro, so it’s kind of tipping your hand when you put him in.

      If he’s on the field with a heavy package it’s going to be a run because a swing route is kind pointless when you have 3 TE’s running shorter routes as well.

  • sonofdman

    I don’t think they showed this highlight from yesterday’s game on TV:

    http://deadspin.com/look-out-1818491037

  • xmbk

    The stadiums in LA were an embarrassment to the NFL. What the hell were they thinking putting 2 teams there? Is there some sophisticated data that normal mortals can’t comprehend? Does TV and merchandising from that huge market make up for having fans that don’t give a crap about football?

    • SteveH

      I think it’s 2 things, one is that the NFL always has a grass is greener mentality to franchise location, and the second I believe is that teams are looking for locations where the public will pay for a huge portion of stadium costs from tax dollars. These owners didn’t get rich because they don’t know how to finnegal a dollar out of people.

      The fun part is they’ll probably use the low attendance in the future as an excuse to move AGAIN and get another 9 figure tax dollar windfall.

      • xmbk

        Agreed, corporate America in general rapes local governments when it comes to negotiations.

        • Dave

          Yup, Amazon is the latest asking for a financial windfall from local/state governments to build an east coast hub.

      • BobSmith77

        NFL and every professional sports teams doesn’t realize that the days of pillaging local/state gov’ts to fund the majority of their stadiums with public dollars is already over.

        Just look at the outlook for state budgets and most large municipalities in regards to their future fiscal outlooks especially due to pension & retiree health benefit obligations.

    • Gary Barnes

      Yes, $$$$$ speaks the loudest and is really the only sound the commish and owners listen to anyway.

      If they cared about the quality of the game:

      They would have full time refs who are the best in their profession

      They would not have ignored (actively covered up) the danger of concussions

      They would not have allowed owners like Kroenke & Spanos to run their franchises like piggy banks

      They would not continue to manipulate their fanbase with militarism and nationalism appeals at every game to market their shitty product

      They would have a legit commish who holds the owners (instead of just the players) accountable

      • SteveH

        Interesting factoid: The military actually pays the NFL for a lot of the pregame stuff they do. It’s basically advertising for the military, which is clever by them.

        • Will Ft. The Roots

          They have been doing for a few years now. The DoD needed the exposure for advertisement and recruitment. It’s a win win for both

        • ChoTime

          Interesting and goes along with Chomsky’s statement that sports is a training ground for the military.

      • BobSmith77

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/ct-nfl-popular-head-injuries-domestic-violence-20170906-story.html

        It is still very popular and has TV ratings/average fan demographics every other sports is envious of including the NBA.

        The issue is going to be longer-term as younger viewers (<35) consume NFL games in a different manner and don't watch entire games.

        The much longer-term issue though is as the upper middle class and more wealthy parents continue to not allow their kids to play football. Already seeing that play out with Pee-Wee football and numbers that are way down in certain areas.

        It isn't like the NFL can recruit talent for overseas either as its popularity is almost an entirely American phenomenon. It isn't basketball which is a global sport now and even ice hockey which has significant participation in Europe/Russia.

  • Ryan Rambo

    Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski reports Eagles FS Rodney McLeod has a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
    It is the lowest grade strain. Kempski reports McLeod is questionable for this week’s matchup with the Giants, but the injury is not a long-term concern. Corey Graham would likely step into the starting lineup if McLeod is forced to miss a game.

  • TO BLACKS

    IF YOU PUT BLOUNT IN A CAGE AT THE ZOO YOU WOULD SWEAR THAT HE LOOKS JUST LIKE AN APE.

    • BrianM8614

      I’m just going to pray for you.