Finding Answers

Posted: October 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Finding Answers

The Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 2004. Expectations were sky high in 2005, but that proved to be a troubled, flawed team and a very disappointing season.

The 2005 team had injuries all over the place. Check out the difference in the projected starters and the group on the field late in the year.

QB Donovan McNabb
RB Brian Westbrook
WR Terrell Owens
LT Tra Thomas
C Hank Fraley

QB Mike McMahon
RB Ryan Moats (rookie)
WR Darnerien McCants
LT Todd Herremans (rookie)
C Jamaal Jackson

There were contract issues. TO famously demanded a raise. The Eagles didn’t budge and he went nuclear, as well as getting hurt. Corey Simon was a free agent, but the team had put the franchise tag on him. They couldn’t get him to agree to a deal with another team so trades fell through. The Eagles ended up letting him go and got nothing for him.

There were weird things that happened. Jeremiah Trotter got ejected from a game before it started…due to a pre-game fight. David Akers got hurt and the Eagles had to use a LB to do their kicking for part of a game.

Does any of this sound familiar…injuries, contract issues, a weird season?

The 2005 team started 3-1, but you could see there were issues. They beat bad teams (OAK, SF) and needed a huge comeback to beat KC after being down 24-6. The record also didn’t show that the team was hanging on by a thread. As the injuries mounted and TO’s venom spread, the team fell apart. The team finished 6-10.

While 2005 was a mess of a season, there was a good side to it. All the injuries and chaos forced the coaches to play some young players. The Eagles were able to get a good look at their prospects. The Eagles found some good answers.

Trent Cole
Jamaal Jackson
Todd Herremans
Mike Patterson
Reggie Brown

A year later, all of those guys started in multiple playoff games. All except for Brown proved to be long term answers. Brown looked very promising the first couple of years and then he just fell apart. I’ve never really understood that.

I bring all of this up because I see a lot of the 2005 team in the current season. It is fun to talk about the Eagles being in first place, but I don’t know how you look at the current roster and the upcoming schedule and find 7 or 8 wins. The Eagles needed to beat cupcakes like WAS and CIN to get off to a good start.

We’ll have to wait and see how this season plays out, but the real key to me is for the coaches to find answers on some young players. You can’t be a prospect forever. At some point, you have to play…sink or swim.

Jordan Mailata started at LT on Sunday night. That was the first time in his life that he’s started a football game. How crazy is that? Mailata played well. I haven’t been able to study the game, but I rewatched part of it last night and it was amazing to see how much better he played than Jason Peters did a week ago. Fran has some good examples of Mailata in action.

There is a lot to be impressed by. Mailata looked strong and athletic. He looked fairly natural in pass pro. He showed real power in the run game. I get nervous about his pad level. He’s still too upright at times, but he looked legit.

I hope Mailata stays at LT the rest of the year. There isn’t a reason to go back to Peters, barring injury. The Eagles need to see if Mailata can be a long term answer at the spot.

DE Genard Avery played his best game as an Eagle. He was terrific and had some key moments. It was his pressure that forced the Red Zone INT. He got a big pressure on one of the final plays of the game. Avery used power and speed to beat blockers. He looked like someone you want on the field.

Avery and Mailata have both been on the bench for most of their time in Philly. The coaches need to play them to see what they can do. Having a good game is one thing, but good players are able to perform like that consistently. We have no idea if they can do that.

There are plenty of young players on this roster that we need to get answers on.

Jordan Mailata
Genard Avery
Nate Herbig
John Hightower
Quez Watkins
Travis Fulgham
T.J. Edwards
Jack Driscoll
Matt Pryor

You don’t want the coaches to force guys into the lineup if they aren’t ready to play, but you do want them to take chances on young talent. If this does prove to be a waste of a season in terms of results, it is imperative to get answers on the young guys. That will help you to know what you need going forward.

Right now there is optimism on the OL. Mailata, Driscoll and Herbig have all shown real promise. That’s very encouraging. They could be critical pieces moving forward. Pryor is still too up and down.

We’re all excited about Jalen Reagor. It would help to see if fellow rookies Hightower and Watkins can play. Hightower has shown some promise, but were just seeing flashes right now. Fulgham could prove to be a good pickup.

I listed JJAW. I’m not sure what is going on with him, beyond he injuries. I don’t know what the coaches and Carson Wentz truly think of him. If no one believes in the guy, get rid of him. I know that sounds nuts with a 2nd round pick, but he’s not accomplishing anything by playing some random snaps here and there and not making any plays.

The Eagles have a slew of young receivers. Figure out which guys can play and keep them. Get rid of the guys who are stuck in “he’s got potential” mode.

I’m happy I didn’t have to list Josh Sweat. He’s playing well and isn’t coming out of the lineup any time soon. I didn’t list Casey Toohill because the DEs ahead of him are playing well. Toohill will have to learn in practice for now.

I hope the coaches embrace the youth movement. This might prove to be a lost season in the standings, but it can prove to be very helpful to the future if the team gets enough good answers on the young talent.


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