Eagles news and notes for 10/3
IF THERE was anybody in the entire wild and woolly NFL who might be willing to preach caution about the 3-0 Eagles and their wheels-on-fire Wentz Wagon, you'd think it would be Mr. Caution himself, the ever-understated Andy Reid.
Through 14 seasons here, the franchise's winningest coach (140-102-1) could be counted upon to opine after pretty much any spectacular performance that the player in question had done "a nice job." Week in and week out, he preached the virtues of not getting too high or too low.
So it was a bit of an eye-opener Sunday morning to get a call back from Reid, as he awaited his Kansas City Chiefs' Sunday Night Football encounter with the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and hear him advocate for fans getting just as excited as they want to be about the Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who are scheduled to come back from their bye week with a Monday practice.
"I think they have a right to be," Reid said, when told that fans here were getting pretty fired up, in their own unique, fervent way. "This is a young kid. He's fundamentally sound. Is there going to be a bad day somewhere? Yeah, but that's with every player, that's how it works. But I can't tell you the future isn't bright when you have a good young quarterback. He'll do nothing but get better.
Eagles bye week comes an inopportune time, but schedule still favorable overall - PhillyVoice
The Eagles have the seventh-easiest schedule in the NFL, based on their opponents' combined winning percentage in 2015. The teams the Eagles will face in 2016 had a combined record of 120-136 in 2015. They had a combined point differential of -63.
The Eagles got two opponents right off the bat who were not expected to be good in 2016. The Browns were 3-13 in 2015, while the Bears were 6-10. So far in 2016, they're a combined 0-6. Credit the Eagles for taking care of business (and then some) against weaker opponents.
There's perhaps some logic that you would prefer to face your tougher opponents later in the season when their roster may be altered due to injuries. For example, in 2013, the Eagles faced a Green Bay team without Aaron Rodgers and a Dallas team without Tony Romo on their way to a division title.
If the Eagles are indeed playoff contention heading into December as we suspect they'll be, they'll have three home games, all against division rivals, in their final four games. If you haven't been to any Eagles games live yet this season, their home field advantage is back, as the stadium is once again loud.
2) Philadelphia Eagles
On paper, the Eagles look like a team that can last. They’ve gotten excellent quarterback play and have one of the best defenses in the league. But if they’re going to sustain this start, they’ll be going against history.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is playing like a Pro Bowler through three weeks. He’s completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 769 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. But it’s worth noting that his success has come against bad defenses. The Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers are all in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards allowed -- with the Browns and Steelers ranking 26th and 28th, respectively. Before Wentz can be counted on to lead the Eagles to January, he must prove he can play well against more competent secondaries.
In addition to inexperience at quarterback, the Eagles also have a rookie head coach, longtime offense coordinator Doug Pederson. This is where the history comes in. As Five Thirty Eight points out, from 1990-2015, 14 first-year head coaches began the season with a 3-0 record. They only made the playoffs 57 percent of the time.
Carson Wentz is a hot button topic right now. Bart Scott called him fool’s gold prior to the Steelers game. Scott then had to change his mind. I don’t find Scott to be a compelling analyst so his opinion, either way, doesn’t mean anything to me. I have no issues with someone who has some doubts in regard to Wentz. He is only a rookie and we’re just 3 games into his career. Wentz could turn out to be the next Bobby Hoying or the next Tom Brady. We don’t know what the future holds.
All I ask of analysts is that they are fair and reasonable.
Wentz has been terrific this year. He has been accurate with his throws. He hasn’t turned the ball over. He has managed the game well, which can be especially tough for a rookie. You don’t see wasted timeouts and confused players on the field. Wentz is running the show and and getting his guys lined up where they need to be. Last week we saw him start to make plays. He ran for 10 yards on one play. He got outside the pocket and made the play to Darren Sproles for the 73-yard TD.
Wentz is playing well, rookie status aside. This is the best QB play the Eagles have had since Nick Foles in 2013, and might be better than even that. Foles got a ton of help from his supporting cast and the Chip Kelly Factor. You might have to go back to Michael Vick in 2010 to find QB play like this. While Wentz is good, let’s keep a bit of perspective. He’s not Top 5 in yards, TDs, rating, completion percentage or yards per attempt. Lions fans should be just as excited by the play of Matt Stafford as Eagles fans are with Wentz.
It feels great to finally have a young, franchise QB in place. That is the foundation of the entire organization. You either have a QB or you don’t. The Eagles do.