A Broken Machine

Posted: October 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The 2017 Eagles got off to a 10-1 start. They were 11-2 when Carson Wentz got hurt. That team was a machine.

The offense, defense and STs all fed off each other. Some key defenders missed the Chargers game so the offense played at a high level and found a way to win. They ate up the final six minutes of the game and never gave the Chargers a chance to win. The offense struggled in the 1st half at Dallas, but the defense kept the game close. The offense then woke up in the 2nd half and the Eagles dominated.

The offense and defense were both sloppy in the two games against the Giants. In the first game, the Eagles managed to pull out a win on a last second 61-yard FG. In the later meeting, a blocked punt helped the Eagles make a big comeback.

The 2017 Eagles were outstanding, but they certainly weren’t perfect. When part of the machine was struggling, the other parts took over and helped out. The team won a defensive battle vs the Falcons in the postseason and then a shootout in the Super Bowl. You don’t see many teams that can play two such different games in one postseason.

This year the team is struggling. It might help you to understand if you also think of this team as a machine. A broken machine.

Some people want to talk about heart or effort. Did the Eagles want that game as much as the Vikings? I know it can be fun to talk about which team wanted it more, but that’s overly-simplistic and just not accurate. Do you really think Jason Peters effort is an issue? Do you really think Alshon Jeffery dropped the pass on 3rd and 20 due to a lack of heart?

NFL games are won and lost by performance. Skill. Execution.

Lane Johnson got sloppy with his technique and let a DE get to the inside too quickly. That resulted in a strip-sack and defensive TD for Minnesota.

If you want to talk about a lack of focus, I’ll buy that. Last year’s team lived in the moment. They played each game one play at a time. I know that’s a trite cliche, but it is true. This team hasn’t shown the same ability. They are so eager to get the big plays that they are making mistakes and creating big problems.

The Eagles had two penalties on Sunday for illegal formation. A receiver lined up covering a tight end. That’s dumb, but it will happen from time to time. For it to happen twice in a crucial game tells you just how dumb this team can be at times. The 2016 Eagles made those kinds of mistakes. The 2017 team didn’t.

Doug Pederson is right to take the blame for this. It is his team and he’s responsible, good or bad. At the same time, the coaches are not telling players to line up incorrectly. This is a simple mistake. This is sloppy football. Some receiver is so focused on trying to make a big play that he can’t even line up correctly. How the hell are you supposed to make key plays when you can’t even line up?

Pederson pushed all the right buttons last year. This year things are different. I’m sure he’s tried yelling at the team. I’m sure he’s tried being positive. For some reason, things just aren’t clicking. Pederson will keep coaching the players and trying to find the right buttons to push.

This is the final year for proud veterans like Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Corey Graham and possibly a couple of others. These guys want to win in the worst way.

The key to winning just might be focusing on the play right in front of you and forgetting about winning. If you focus on the process and not the results, you’ll get the results you want.

That’s not happening right now and the Eagles have the same number of losses as they did all of last year. This is the first team to have a 2-3 record the year after winning a Super Bowl in more than a decade. There are all kinds of reasons for that (injuries, coaching changes, possible SB hangover, etc.).

Someone needs to find a way to fix this broken machine and in a hurry. A third of the season is gone and this is not a good team right now.

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