Each week Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was, or will be. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!
Dave: Yes, it's only been three games. Yes, there have been offensive line issues, and they now get more complicated due to injury. Yes, the playcalling hasn't been great. And yes, there have been some bad drops.
But Sunday will be the quarter mark of the season in a very winnable game in a very winnable division. At some point we as a fanbase have to stop making excuses for Sam Bradford's poor play. If he has another bad game, is the jury out?
Patrick: Short answer: no. Longer answer: it depends.
Washington's secondary is bad. It wasn't good to start the season, and has been ravaged by injury since. They're down two starters in the secondary (DeAngelo Hall and Duke Ihenacho), and even their backups are ailing. If Bradford can't find a way to put up a good game, that's a serious problem.
Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances might make this entire discussion moot. If the Eagles are playing in hurricane conditions, Bradford had better not throw the ball 40 times.It's going to be a shame and a missed opportunity if the elements force a change in Chip Kelly's game plan.
That said, I am more worried about the Eagles' run game against the Washington front seven. The Eagles were able to run on a good Jets front, but I'm less confident about their ability to do it again Sunday. Week to week I still have no idea what to make of anything this team does, but how are you feeling about the run game's chances this weekend?
If it's anything like that, you can pretty much throw evaluations out the window. Luckily the chances of it being that bad that are very small. Which is good, because having to play in Detroit twice in one season would be really annoying.
As for the run game, I'm not feeling great, because of the Andrew Gardner injury. A week ago I wouldn't believe I'd be saying that not having him in the lineup would be worrisome. But if I counted correctly, before he got hurt, which was basically the end of the first half, the Eagles had 12 runs of over just 2 yards. After he got hurt, they had 2. Two. So that's worrying, but the Jets have a terrific defensive line, so maybe it was mostly because of adjustments they made during the game, so if Gardner was healthy it wouldn't have mattered.
What I am feeling great about is this defense. The pass rush needs to be better, but against Kurtus Cousins, it should be a really good matchup for the Eagles.
What a time to be alive. Chip Kelly's offense is being carried by his defense, which he doesn't even care about. Again.
Patrick: Don't you just love when a narrative gets turned on its head? This defense has been a lot of fun to watch in action. As you said, the pass rush is virtually non-existent (did you say that? I said it for you). But the run defense has been outstanding, and while the secondary isn't showing great numbers, they made timely plays last week and are being opportunistic, which is what a lot of us expected at the start of the season.
I really feel like this game is either going to be a ton of fun to watch, or it's going to be beyond frustrating. Assuming both rushing offenses cancel each other out, and assuming Bradford isn't throwing the ball against gale force winds, the passing game will have its opportunities. I could really see this being The Nelson Agholor Breakout Game (TM).
It's going to be up to the line to give Bradford time, and it's going to be up to Bradford to find the open guy and hit him with an accurate pass - that's not asking much, is it?
Dave: Mmm, narrative. It's not just that the defense is good and when it's really on been fun to watch, but it's also that a lot questionable or unpopular additions on defense have worked out while the big name signings for the offense haven't. And not just this year... I think we all (and I'm as guilty as anyone) really undervalued Connor Barwin. A lot of people wanted Jarius Byrd, but Malcolm Jenkins has been really, really good, and Byrd's been a waste of cap space. Walter Thurmond has played well. Nolan Carroll looks like a starting cornerback, Jordan Hicks is looking like a real find.... even the bottom of the depth chart guys like Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart, Beau Allen and Chris Maragos (i.e. the white guys now that I look at it, smh Chip) have held their own. There's been some misses, but like last year this team is going to win games because of its defense and special teams. The special teams we expected, but the defense being a strength is quite the surprise from when Kelly was hired.
Which makes the offense's struggles even more frustrating. If they could just be average, this team would pretty damn good. Or they'd be the Bengals. Which is one reason why I kind of share the feeling that this game will be another one where the Eagles embarrass the Redskins.... or look embarrassing, win or lose.
Eagles football: catch it! No seriously guys, catch the damn ball.