Difference Maker

Posted: September 28th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Difference Maker

The Eagles have more than a few weapons. Carson Wentz is an outstanding QB and playmaker. Alshon Jeffery is the big, physical receiver and DeSean Jackson is the explosive speedster. Zach Ertz is the dynamic TE. Jordan Howard is the power runner and rookie Miles Sanders is the gifted athlete. Then you mix in Darren Sproles.

The defense has Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham up front. Malcolm Jenkins is the stud in the back of the defense.

The Eagles have one more weapon…Doug Pederson.

Anyone who watched the Packers and Eagles on Thursday night could see the difference in coaching. Matt LaFleur is a rookie head coach and made several questionable decisions. He had 4th & 2 from the Eagles 13-yard line, with his team leading 10-7. The Packers had been moving up and down the field. LaFleur took a page straight from the Sean McVay playbook and kicked the FG. That gave the Packers a whopping 13-7 lead.

Where is the aggression? Why wouldn’t you trust Aaron Rodgers to make a play there? If you fail, you’re still up 10-7.

LaFleur made some questionable play-calls. The Packers had no run game. Aaron Jones had 13 carries for 21 yards. Person after person on Twitter was writing that every Jones run was a Christmas gift to the Eagles, who had no answers for WR Davante Adams and the Packers passing game.

The one place you do want to run is near the goal line. And that’s where LaFleur completely abandoned his run game.

Green Bay was 3 for 7 in the Red Zone. The Eagles went 4 for 4. That’s a huge difference in the game. Part of that is due to the players executing well, but part is also due to the plays that were called and the way the coaches handled the situations.

Pederson also did a great job of handling the overall situation. He had a banged up team going back to last week. Pederson ran a light practice prior to the Lions game, knowing he would have a short week after that. His team was on the road, coming off a tough loss, but the Eagles looked fresh and were the more physical team. They won the line of scrimmage.

Doug Pederson got a ton of credit in 2017, but that started to get stripped away last year. The Eagles had an up and down season and suddenly everyone thought Frank Reich was the real key to the team. I never understood that idea. The Eagles have scored 32 or more points in two of four games this year. They have the #6 scoring team in the league. Hopefully people will start to once again appreciate just how good of a coach Pederson is.

There are issues. He isn’t perfect. Slow starts continue to be a problem and that is something that has to be corrected. I do wonder if getting all his offensive weapons back healthy will help to solve that problem, but the situation deserves some questioning.

The biggest concern right now has nothing to do with Pederson or the offense. The Eagles secondary is a mess.

Avonte Maddox suffered a concussion in the Packers game and we don’t know when he’ll be back on the field. Scandrick will step in and take his spot in the slot.

Rasul Douglas is one outside CB. Sidney Jones might be the other, but he was hurt on Thursday night and might not be ready. Craig James could be the other starter.

Ronald Darby is still a few weeks away. Jalen Mills is still on the PUP list. How crazy is it that two years in a row, the secondary can’t stay healthy?

The next opponent is the Jets, owners of the worst passing attack in the NFL. The timing of the injuries does work out from that perspective. If the Eagles can get past them, maybe Maddox and Darby will return and get some semblance of order restored to the back of the defense.

What about Jalen Ramsey?

You can bet he’s getting talked about at the NovaCare facility. He would make a big difference to this team. He would be costly, though, and that’s the consideration. Can the Eagles afford to throw resources at the CB problems, both in terms of money and picks?

We’ll see.


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