Game Preview – PHI at CLE

Posted: November 22nd, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 7 Comments »

The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form of energy to another.

What does that have to do with the Eagles playing the Browns? Funny you should ask…

Garrett goes down. Ostman rises. There is balance in the universe.

But wait, surely I’m not saying Ostman will play like Garrett. That would be nuts, right? Garrett had a legit shot at NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Of course I’m not saying that. That would be as dumb as predicting Penn State would start the season 0-5.

Is Ostman a secret weapon who will transform the NFL and lead the Eagles to multiple Super Bowls? Probably not. We won’t know for sure, though, until we see him in action.

Joking aside, it will be fun to see Ostman in action. By all accounts, he’s been a terrific practice player. Steven Means was the last guy who got the kind of practice accolades that Ostman does. When Means played, you saw that he was a marginal talent. We’ll likely see the same thing with Ostman, but when you’re 3-5-1, you look for little things to get excited about.

The Browns are 6-3, but a very weird team. They have two losses by 30 or more points. Not even the Eagles can say that. Cleveland lost their other game by 10 points. Three of their wins are by five points or less. Like I said, a weird team.

Cleveland is the #3 rushing team in the league. If the Eagles can control that, they can make like tough for Baker Mayfield and the passing game. I was shocked to see Mayfield has only run for 66 yards this season. I’m sure the coaches will have him on the move on Sunday since the Eagles have struggled with running QBs.

The Eagles have shut down RBs, but Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will be quite the challenge. The Eagles must get penetration up front to disrupt them and the entire defense must swarm to the ball to limit broken tackles.

I have no idea what to expect from the Browns defense or Eagles offense. Garrett’s absence will hurt a unit that is middle of the pack. The Eagles have been a mess this year, but they will get LG Isaac Seumalo back. That should give the OL a boost. It doesn’t sound like RG Nate Herbig will play, but it would be great if he did.

I’m really curious to see how the Eagles play. Last week’s performance was disappointing because of the loss, but also the way the team looked. They didn’t play with any urgency. If that happens again, the Eagles will lose and the outside pressure on them will increase.

It is possible that the team will play with more urgency. Doug Pederson’s teams have struggled coming out of the bye. Will they wake up and get going this week?

I wouldn’t be shocked for the Eagles to win this game. That’s not based on X’s and O’s so much as the fact they are going to have a good game at some point. We’ve seen all the things that can go wrong. One week things will go right and the team will win a game they shouldn’t.

I can live with a loss as long as Carson Wentz gets the ball to Travis Fulgham and Ostman gets his 5 or 6 sacks.

_


Still in First Place

Posted: November 20th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 3 Comments »

A lot has gone wrong for the Eagles in 2020. Some of it is beyond control. Dealing with Covid and an incredible amount of injuries made this a tougher than normal season.

Plenty that the Eagles do control has gone wrong as well. Poor coaching. Bad offseason personnel decisions. Questionable roster management.

The team sits at 3-5-1. They are coming off a disappointing loss and now head into the most challenging five weeks of the season. The Eagles face five teams with winning records. Things could go from bad to worse in a hurry.

What does Doug Pederson have to say?

He talks about being in first place with a big grin on his face. Pederson adds “We want to be able to control our destiny.”

This just isn’t ideal to me.

It would be unrealistic for him to be all gloom and doom. That’s not Doug’s personality and it wouldn’t accomplish much. But I do think the coach has an obligation to read the room, so to speak. He’s the face of the team right now. His words matter. He is the most important representative of the Eagles at this point.

Fans do not want to hear “We’re in first place.” This team just lost to the Giants by 10 points. They’ve trailed by 10 or more points in 6 of their 9 games. First place or not, the Eagles are a bad team. Doug is supposed to put some positive spin on things, but he needs to be grounded in reality.

First place? The Eagles are in first place in the worst division in the history of the NFL. That just isn’t something you celebrate.

You accept it. Someone has to win the division. You don’t apologize for being in first place, but you sure don’t sit there with a smile on your face. That’s just not a good message, to fans or players.

We don’t know what Doug says behind closed doors, but players see these media bits. These clips are on web sites, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Players stumble across that. Doug should have a cohesive message to send to everyone. “We’re 3-5-1 and that is unacceptable. We’re in first place now, but that doesn’t mean a thing if we don’t start playing good football.”

What’s the point in being excited about making the playoffs if you’re going to be one and done. I know the 2010 Seahawks went 7-9 and won their division. They hosted a playoff game and beat the Saints. Seattle was 5-4 at one point and fell apart down the stretch. They were 5-3 at home. The overall record was bad, but you could see some good things about the team.

The Eagles have been bad from the beginning. They started 0-2. The Eagles only interesting nugget is that they’re 3-0 at night. Of course, it helps that they played backup QBs in two of those games.

I want Doug to be an optimist. I want him to sell his players on the idea that the season isn’t lost. I also want him to be realistic. This season has been disappointing and embarrassing. That can change to a certain extent, but you can’t undo what we’ve seen so far.

This would actually be an ideal time for Jeffrey Lurie to talk to the media and share his thoughts. His words matter the most. It would be good to hear him talk about his disappointment. Everyone wants to know that the man in charge feels incredibly frustrated by this mess of a season that Doug and Howie Roseman have delivered.

We don’t need Lurie to make threats about jobs or anything like that, but it would mean a lot to hear the frustration in his voice and to see it on his face. You know watching this dumpster fire has to be eating at him.

Dallas made poor coaching hires in the offseason. The Giants have made questionable decisions for a few years. Washington is one of the worst run franchises in all of sports. And yet, the Eagles are barely any better than them. That’s just nuts.

If the Eagles do lose three or four of the upcoming games, they’ll be in the running for a Top 10 pick. That seemed like an impossible idea back on Labor Day. But here we are. Ugh.

Doug had better do some amazing coaching or work on his interviews. He’s going to really drive fans crazy if he keeps up the “We control our destiny” angle while the team plays worse and worse.

Maybe Doug knows something I don’t and the Eagles are about to win three of five games. I’d be beyond shocked. I’ll gladly write about how I was totally wrong and he had the right message. That just isn’t going to happen based on what we’ve seen.

A worse danger than fans turning on Doug is fans not caring. It does feel like a bit more apathy creeps in each week. That should scare Lurie more than anything.

*****

Howard was terrific for the first half of 2019. He got hurt and didn’t do anything else. He was terrible this year for the Dolphins, rushing for 33 yards on 28 carries. Yikes. Just over one yard a carry.

I would like the Eagles to have more of a power runner in the lineup, but it would have been preferable for this to be an ascending player instead of a retread. This kind of thinking by Howie and the coaches has gotten the team into the 3-5-1 mess.

Ugh.

*****

With Curry out, will that mean a chance for Joe Ostman to see the field? I’d love to see what he could do. Genard Avery is still on IR.

The Eagles are never boring off the field.

Just on it.

_


Troubling Times

Posted: November 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles lost a bad game on Sunday to fall to 3-5-1. Amazingly, they are still atop the NFC East, but that means very little when you look at the big picture. These are troubling times.

INJURIES

Doug Pederson has talked all year about how injuries have hurt the team. That is both an excuse and also reality. Injuries have been devastating for the Eagles. Coming off the bye, the team was rested and as healthy as they’ve been all year. The Eagles were playing the 2-7 Giants. Despite getting back a handful of key players, the Eagles played poorly and looked just as lost as when they have fielded lineups cobbled together with practice squad players and guys off the street.

Not a good sign for Pederson and his staff.

DEFICITS

The Eagles have trailed by 10 or more points in 6 of 9 games this year. That’s a sign of a bad team. The Eagles fall way behind, come fighting back and then come up short. You aren’t going to win many games when falling behind that much over and over.

Those deficits tell you the problems involve offense, defense and special teams. They aren’t trading scores in a shootout. They aren’t playing in tough defensive battles. There are team-wide failures. They are losing on the scoreboard and in the battle of field position.

The 2017 Eagles showed you how good a team can be when all three phases work together. We’re seeing the opposite this season.

UGLY WINS

The Eagles have beaten Nick Mullens (backup QB), Ben DiNucci (backup QB) and Daniel Jones. The team needed a miracle comeback to beat Jones.

People love to talk about a win is a win is a win. That’s just not reality. Yes, they count the same in the standings, but when we’re trying to evaluate the quality of the team, who you beat, when you beat them and how you beat them matters.

The Eagles don’t have an impressive win this year. They haven’t played a good game all year.

The 2015 Eagles were highly inconsistent, but they beat Tom Brady and the Pats. The 2012 Eagles were a disaster, but they beat the Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl. The 2007 Eagles, the very definition of mediocrity, beat Drew Brees and also scored 56 points against the Lions.

This team can’t put it together for an entire game. This is such a flawed team.

DUMB

The Eagles were 31st in the league in turnovers coming into Sunday’s game. Miraculously, they didn’t have a turnover and still lost by 10 points.

The Eagles committed 11 penalties for 74 yards, with some of them being very costly. Penalties have been an issue all year long.

When you are missing key players, you need to play clean football. The Eagles haven’t done that. This is a poor reflection on the coaching staff. Either they aren’t emphasizing this enough or they aren’t doing a good enough job of teaching. Neither is a good option.

US AND THEM

Jabril Peppers, a 215-pound SS, was the punt returner for the Giants. He had punt returns of 16 and 20 yards. The Eagles used receivers Greg Ward and Jalen Reagor as the PRs. Reagor failed to catch a punt and it ended up going for a total of 71 yards, flipping the field. Ward failed to catch a punt that went an extra 6 to 8 yards and pinned the Eagles inside the 10. That is a lot of hidden yardage that strongly favored the Giants.

It’s frustrating to see a DB outperforming WRs at punt returns.

EYE TEST

Watching the Eagles every week is painful. This isn’t a fun team. They lack talent, discipline and there’s nothing compelling about them.

The Giants are just 3-7, but you come away impressed with how hard they play and the way they compete. They have major roster holes, but that group feels well-coached and they seem to be a team on the rise. You can argue that some of that is due to having the new coaching staff. That brings a different energy to the team.

Look at the Patriots. They have plenty of holes and they are 4-5. But they still battle each week and have some impressive games this year. They just upset the Ravens on Sunday night. Their problem is purely talent. They lost too many good players in the offseason and then had the most guys in the league opt out due to Covid.

JIMMYS AND JOES

I’ve talked a lot about coaching issues and the staff deserves plenty of blame. Howie Roseman and his staff are also very much to blame.

The drafts from 2016-2019 have not produced the foundation for this team moving forward. The best players from that era:

QB Carson Wentz
RB Miles Sanders
OG Isaac Seumalo
DE Derek Barnett
DE Josh Sweat
TE Dallas Goedert

I think the 2020 class has promise, but no one is playing like a star to this point.

There wasn’t much help in free agency. Javon Hargrave might be fine long term, but he’s off to a painfully slow start. Will Parks hasn’t done much. Nickell Robey-Coleman has ranged from average to awful.

Go back to last year. DeSean Jackson has been a disaster. Cutting L.J. Fort doesn’t make a lot of sense as you look back at that.

There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive plan. Is this Roseman’s vision of the Eagles? Pederson’s?

Coaching and scouting must work together. It sure feels like there is a real disconnect with those groups right now. Something isn’t working.

MOVING FORWARD

Jeffrey Lurie has to start asking some tough questions and figuring out how to fix this mess.

“Fire everyone!” is a popular refrain, but that’s not reality. Lurie needs to figure out who can get the team pointed back in the right direction. That could mean a new GM. Or a new coach. Or just staff changes. The key is to study this carefully and figure out the solution.

Change for the sake of change is dumb.

_


Same Old Song and Dance

Posted: November 15th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 7 Comments »

The Eagles had the bye week. Players got rest. Coaches got to do some self-scouting. Injured players returned to the lineup.

Didn’t matter.

The sloppiest Eagles team in recent memory played another very sloppy game and lost 27-17 to a bad Giants team. Ugh.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. To be fair, there were different problems. The Eagles didn’t turn the ball over. Can’t complain about that for once. So what happened?

The offense did not have a third down conversion in the game. Not one. The last time that happened was November of 2004 against the Steelers. That would be a big problem in any game, but it was magnified due to the Eagles poor field position. They didn’t have any drive start beyond their own 25-yard line. They had six drives start inside the 20. Ugh.

The defense was awful in the first quarter, giving up 148 yards. They did settle down, but didn’t make any big plays and the Giants moved the ball on them at key moments in the game.

Special teams was a problem area, once again.

This was a team loss.

On a day when the Eagles had a chance to get to .500 and build some momentum, they fell apart and lost. They are now 3-5-1 and things don’t look good.

This is a bad team and the season is just about to get difficult.

When do the Sixers or Flyers get going again?

_


Gameday – PHI at NYG

Posted: November 15th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Alshon Jeffery is officially back. He will be active today and that means the Eagles are back to being a legit Super Bowl contender.

What?

I’m joking of course. Wanted to make sure you’re paying attention. Jeffery is active. We don’t really know what that means. If he can catch 3 passes for 35 yards, that might be a good game. Deliver a key first down or even a TD.

I don’t anticipate him being a volume receiver. He can’t be in great game shape so I can’t see him playing 50 snaps. We know who Jeffery is replacing.

JJAW sits.

The Eagles will have a lot of OL active today.

Starters: Peters – Herbig – Kelce – Pryor – Johnson

Backups: Mailata – Driscoll – Opeta – Juriga

If someone goes down, it won’t be the end of the world.

The Eagles should be the better team today. They should not be down 10 points in the fourth quarter. But this is the Giants. Weird things happen when these two teams get together. It would be great if that were just a memorable play in a big Eagles win instead of an insane game with an unbelievable ending.

The Eagles need a win, but it would also mean a lot to see them play well. They don’t have one good game so far this year. That has to change.

Right?

More than anything, it would be great to see Carson Wentz have a good game. No bonehead turnovers. Don’t miss wide open receivers 30 yards down the field. Make plays when they are there to be had. But don’t force it!!!

Go win. Get to .500. Give the NFC East at least one week oustide of September to have the division leader with a non-losing record.

How’s that for dreaming big?

_