Eagles news and notes for 12/14
If accountability counts for anything, then Howie Roseman’s got to go.
Accountability: It's the new watchword for the Philadelphia Eagles. It is the “Gold Standard,” if you will, for the 2016 season.
Jeffrey Lurie ruthlessly and abruptly ended the Chip Kelly Experience a little more than a year ago. He said he fired Kelly did because he was holding Kelly accountable after Kelly's front-office coup 11 months earlier - a coup that denuded the franchise of talent, wasted money and, more significantly, wasted time.
Lurie turned 65 in September. He celebrated his last 22 birthdays as the owner of the Eagles, but he has been to just one Super Bowl. It's enough to make a billionaire ruthless and abrupt.
Lurie should end the Howie Roseman Experience just as ruthlessly and just as abruptly as he ended Kelly's run. It would only be fair.
In January of 2015, Lurie demoted Roseman from the general manager post, gave him a bean-counter title and anointed Kelly king. Lurie then, incredibly, gave Kelly less than a calendar year to refashion the franchise. Kelly ruined it. He made awful deals, ignored advice from his peers and his players, and was fired.
Roseman re-ascended, although on a very short leash, Lurie promised:
“He’ll be accountable for how well the player personnel department does in the future. He’ll be responsible for the quality of that department.”
“My number one priority going into this off-season is accountability.”
With a 27-22 loss to the Washington Redskins, you may have assumed that the Philadelphia Eagles were mathematically eliminated from the NFC playoffs. I know I did. The Birds’ season was cooked last week in Cincy, but dropping to 5-8 with a loss to Washington would surely be the final nail in the coffin, right?
Not so fast.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, these things need to happen and the Birds are IN:
• The Eagles need to win their final three games (at Baltimore, home against the Giants and Dallas).
• The Falcons need to lose out (vs. San Francisco, at Carolina, vs. New Orleans)
• Washington needs to lose out (vs. Carolina, at Chicago, vs. the Giants)
• Green Bay needs to lose out (at Chicago, vs. Minnesota, at Detroit)
• Minnesota needs to beat Green Bay, but lose their other two games (vs. Indy and Chicago)
• Carolina needs to lose to Tampa in the season’s final week
• New Orleans needs to lose to either at Arizona or Tampa in Weeks 15 and 16
• Arizona needs to pick up one loss (vs. New Orleans, at Seattle and Los Angeles)
So you’re saying there’s a chance.
Brandon Brooks arrived at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday morning before a 1 p.m. kickoff, according Doug Pederson.
"He was playing," the Eagles coach said on Monday. "He was there at the stadium ready to go when all this happened."
All this still doesn't have a specific name. The Eagles announced approximately 90 minutes before they were to face the Redskins that Brooks "began suffering an illness earlier today" and would be inactive.
Taken individually, a player missing a game on short notice during flu-cold season wouldn't be a big deal. But Brooks had been sidelined two games earlier with what was also described as a game-day illness, and the offensive lineman sat out two games - one in 2015 and another in 2014 - under similar circumstances with the Texans.
While Pederson declined to go into detail, he did acknowledge that the four game-day absences - three of which have resulted in hospital stays - could be related.
"There is a little bit of history there," Pederson said, "but it's something our medical team will do more to investigate this thing as we go."
There have been obvious short-term consequences to Brooks' short-notice scratches, and there are potential long-term ones should the Eagles discover that there is more to his illnesses. But of more importance is the 27-year old's general well being.
As we think about the big picture of the Philadelphia Eagles' offense – not that we are ignoring the final three games of this regular season, but just thinking out loud – the line has to be a priority as the team builds around franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
There are needs across the roster here, and we’ll have plenty of time to discuss those once this season ends. No doubt, the Eagles are going to be on the hunt for playmakers. Nobody denies the need. This football team has had to work so hard for points all season. The Eagles have moved the ball consistently and with some success, but they haven’t had enough “chunk” plays and they have struggled in the red zone.
It all starts along the offensive line, of course, and the Eagles have been piecing things together since Lane Johnson began serving his suspension following the loss in Detroit. Since then, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski and Isaac Seumalo have taken turns in the starting lineup – Vaitai at right tackle and Wisniewski and Seumalo at left guard and right guard, respectively. Left guard Allen Barbre has started the last three games at right tackle.
Give offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland credit for working his players up and down the line of scrimmage since the spring to keep things relatively intact. The offense has not shut down with all of the changes up front, as happens many times with other teams. But Wentz has taken a lot of hits in the second half of the season, and only his ability to escape and keep plays alive has kept him from absorbing big-time punishment.
Kendricks, who had 12 career sacks in his first four years and three last season, has rushed the passer just seven times in 2016, according to ProFootballFocus.
“Yeah, he does rush well,” Schwartz said. “He is a good blitzer. A lot of it has to do with the times he’s in there. When he was in there, when they were in their two-tight end package, a lot of that is max protection. You blitz another guy in max protection, you’re going to isolate your corners a little bit more. Every game’s a little bit different with him. But he is a good blitzer and when we’ve been able to get that and complete the coverage behind him, it’s been affective there. But he doesn’t stand alone. He can have a great pass rush, but if our matchup’s bad outside or we don’t cover the guy long enough, it doesn’t make a difference.”
The Eagles took Kendricks in the second round of the 2012 draft. Since then, he’s seen the playoffs just once — in 2013.
Barring an incredible series of football miracles, 2016 will be his fourth season in five missing the playoffs.
“I’m tired of this s---,” Kendricks said. “Any team’s goal should be to make it to the playoffs, so when you don’t in four years, it’s frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when I contribute as much as I can, but it’s just frustrating.”