The 2018 Philadelphia Eagles have no shortage of issues. It can be tempting to try to pinpoint the one biggest problem but the reality is there’s a lot of blame to share.
Speaking of said blame, ESPN’s Josina Anderson recently talked about how an Eagles source told her there are three big problems with the 2018 team. Here’s what she had to say on a Cup of Jo appearance (hat tip to r/Eagles):
Well, the source that I spoke to last night said “Absolutely [not], it’s not a Super Bowl haze, because guys worked their ass off, they came physically ready to compete.” But what I thought was interesting, Wendy, is that he said that “We don’t have the same chemistry as last year.” He said, “I really felt like when we came out of camp, we didn’t have that same identity, that same rhythm, that camaraderie that you build on and off the field. So he said that is off.
The other thing that the source pointed to is that he said “I feel like we’re over-targeting Zach Ertz,” which is the tight end. Right now, Zach Ertz leads them in targets with 111. And even though he’s catching 76% of those, the source says that he feels like it’s disrupting kind of the rhythm with everybody else getting into a groove on offense, even though Zach Ertz right now is on pace to have the most receptions in NFL history in a single season for a tight end.
And lastly, he said that we’re still not running the ball enough. Last year they had a 16th percentage in run percentage, that’s dropped down to 24. And he said look at the difference in the second half of the game against the Eagles, where Josh Adams had 80 rush yards. That made all the difference in the tale of two halves against the Giants. But overall, Josh Adams only has 291 rush yards [this season], so that’s still letting you know that he’s leading the team with 291 and it’s not enough.
It sure sounds like Anderson’s Eagles source is an offensive player. I’ll note that Anderson seemingly has a close relationship with Alshon Jeffery. (Some examples: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
Back to the three points.
First, I think the talk of chemistry can be overblown. I don’t think the Eagles blew games against the Titans and Panthers because of bad chemistry. And if they win those games and the Eagles are 7-4 instead of 5-6, is this even being brought up? The 2017 Eagles had amazing chemistry, sure, but were we really saying that heading into the season? The great chemistry was a product of winning, as is often the case. So I just don’t put a ton of of stock into that being a huge issue.
The second point is interesting. Are the Eagles really using Ertz too much? I would think Ertz’s high usage is the sympton of a bad offense and not the cause. They’re going to him because he’s reliable and can actually get open. I don’t disagree that it’d be nice to see Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Golden Tate (as “challenging” as that is!) more involved. But are we really to believe those players are regularly dominating their matchups and Carson Wentz just isn’t looking their way?
Then there’s everyone favorite criticism: the Eagles aren’t running the ball enough. It’s true. It’d be great to see the Eagles run the ball more. But typically the best teams are able to run the ball a lot in the second half of games in order to protect their lead. The Eagles, who own the league’s worst first quarter offense, haven’t been starting fast enough to be able to have that luxury. And it’s not like they’ve had the talent to run the ball effectively, although Josh Adams’ potential emergence might help in that regard down the stretch.
Again, the Eagles have a lot of issues. It’s interesting to see how at least one player views what’s wrong with the team.