The Eagles have some issues. On both offense and defense, their shortcomings have been exposed in the first two weeks of the season. Here’s the play from their utter trashing courtesy of the Rams that best encapsulates what we’re talking about.
The Carson Wentz 3rd quarter interception was a backbreaker. A driving Eagles team was only down 5 points and from their field position was guaranteed a very makeable field goal try. Darious Williams jumped the ball that was on it’s way to JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the Eagles chances were dashed. Right now the Eagles issues are based on the Holy Trinity that is Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson, and Howie Roseman.
Carson Wentz isn’t a bad quarterback. He’s a good quarterback with the potential to be great, but he has what I call “Brett Favre Disease”. Favre could squeeze a throw into a window the size of a pinhead and the velocity he put on a throw meant the pass would be near impossible to pick off. Carson’s ball was a little bit late, with a little too much touch and ripe to be grabbed. Wentz is a gamer who will always look to make the impact play but has to learn to take what the defense gives him, and if he’s going to make those risky throws, how to make sure if it isn’t a catch it’s just an incomplete.
Excuse me if you’ve heard this one before but JJ Arcega Whiteside was drafted 7 picks before DK Metcalf. Arcega Whiteside has 10 career catches in 18 games. Metcalf has 9 touchdown catches in as many games. Howie has been picking for “value” rather than talent. It’s hard to explain some of the moves he’s made. Loading up a defensive line and ignoring the linebackers. Signing one corner and assuming that’d fix the secondary. Taking a backup quarterback/gadget player despite having one already instead of addressing a position of need. He managed to undermine the franchise quarterback and created a media frenzy just one season after a quarterback controversy had been put to bed. The top speed receiver is aging and has limited availability on game days. Alshon Jeffery has a foot injury, which won’t help his lack of speed.
Only 2 of the last 16 draft picks will likely start on Sunday (JJAW and Miles Sanders) and the Eagles depth is concerning. He got bullied by Jason Peters for more money after the team suffered injuries and players on the team and around the league will have taken note of that. He was seen having a heated argument with Zach Ertz, the best tight end in franchise history, and one of the top performers at his position in the entire league. It’s hard to have faith in Howie’s decision making when he’s alienating franchise players and the Eagles are 0-2.
Pederson’s offense when it’s working is energetic and unpredictable. When it isn’t it looks like the Eagles are running plays Andy Reid threw out of his playbook. In this case, Pederson dialed up a route that had big play written all over it. It’s when he’s calling aggressive plays that Pederson is at his best.
The issue is why would JJAW be the player in that spot running that route. Why not Jalen Reagor, the player drafted in the 1st round and billed to the public as “a guy who fights for every catch.” He’s also a much faster player and likely would’ve burned the corner on a route in which JJAW got almost no separation. The same with Desean Jackson who is on a snap count. If you’re going to take a shot, why not use your speed receiver?
Thanks to injuries and the roster he’s been given Pederson certainly has his challenges cut out for him, but at that moment in time, he chooses the worst option. He did not give his players the best chance to succeed on the field. Instead, he allowed one flaw to lead to another, with a less than perfect throw, a good play from the corner, and a receiver who shied away from the ball rather than adjust his route.
In Week 3 the Eagles will play the Bengals, an 0-2 team with a rookie QB. They are also a team that has 10 days rest and with no expectations this season. They’ll come into the Linc with a wounded opponent backed into a corner. It’s up to the Eagles to fix their mistakes. We’ll see if they fail and cower, or if they fight their way out of the corner.