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Eagles v. Cowboys: 13 winners, losers, and I dunnos

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flops feebly like a fish on a deck

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Winners

The Dallas Cowboys

I don’t wanna talk about it

Jordan Howard

The Eagles’ running back room took a few weeks to suss out, but over the last few games, it’s become increasingly clear that the player who deserves the most handoffs on the team. While rookie Miles Sanders was highly drafted and has oodles of talent with the ball in his hands, his inability to read and set up blocks means that he leaves yardage on the field as a runner.

Meanwhile, while Howard lacks the homerun ability that the Eagles are trying to nurture in Sanders, the ex-Chicago back remains impressively consistent, physical, and risk-averse. Dude’s a hammer on the move who is more effective outside of the tackles than people - myself included — originally acknowledged.

Jake Elliott

Oh my god it only took me three names to get down to Jake Elliott, this is terrible news.

Derek Barnett

Big-time performance from Derek Barnett on an evening which needed, but didn’t get, big-time trench play from Philadelphia. Barnett’s pressures against a stud like Tyron Smith, even if he was gimpy, generated multiple sacks — literally the only way the Eagles’ defense was able to get off the field.

Barnett’s third season has been a little stop and start, but this was a strong performance, and he needs to build on it to start playing up to his draft caliber.

Losers

The Philadelphia Eagles

I DO wanna talk about it

Mack Hollins

Mack Hollins has 4 targets over the last 3 games. He has no receptions. He has taken 98 snaps.

Doug Pederson

As the head coach, so the team — or I suppose, in this instance, as the team, so the head coach. Pederson’s a great head coach, who has objectively brought multiple great things to the Eagles following the Chip Kelly era: great OL play, a developed and modern offensive system, aggressive situational play-calling, and good leadership in the face of an...interesting locker room over the last couple years.

But his team is making dumb mistakes — turnovers, penalties, drops — and his play-calling has grown more conservative; the Eagles have become run-heavy and are fearful of throwing beyond the sticks in the absence of DeSean Jackson.

Pederson is responsible for identifying root causes of the multiple problems of this team and coming up with solutions. His seat isn’t hot, so they don’t have to come tomorrow — but if you do want to salvage the 2019 season, then yes, you need ‘em pretty quick.

Nelson Agholor

Agholor getting a fifth-year option was really one of the most perplexing personnel moves I’ve ever seen.

Jim Schwartz

Here’s the thing about the Eagles’ defense: it is not very good.

So, why? Well, it’s in large part because of injury — most teams that play Nate Gerry, Akeem Spence, Orlando Scandrick, Rasul Douglas, and T.J. Edwards for significant snaps are not going to be good, regardless of what they do on the chalkboard.

BUT!

Six different starters in Week 7 than there were in Week 1 means that you should make some changes on the chalkboard to better cater to your new players on the field; this has not been the case. Schwartz continues to bang his head against the wall of his own system, his certainty that what he’s done will work even as worse players make it less and less likely to be successful.

The Eagles secondary needs to try something different.

Nate Gerry

Nate Gerry continues to be a massive liability for the Eagles. Offenses love him — he’s super aggressive against play action, an inconsistent tackler, a limited athlete who is not nearly as explosive of an athlete as he’s billed. There is nobody on the field that Dallas exposed as frequently — and Rasul Douglas was on the field!

If confidence in Gerry from the coaching staff led in part to the departure of Jordan Hicks and cutting of Zach Brown, woof. That is a huge personnel misstep.

Brandon Graham

Graham’s athleticism is shot and he’s not an effective pass-rusher in one-on-one situations, which should not be a surprise for a player of his age, but here we are. Graham is a storied Philadelphia pass rusher who was integral to the 2017 Super Bowl win, but his inability to generate sacks is an issue for, you know, the EDGE1 of the team.

Carson Wentz

I’m really not trying to bury a lede with Wentz here in the losers column — it’s just that he wasn’t that much of a loser. Wentz played good ball in the first half, even though he only attempted eight passes and took three sacks — he had to scramble all over the place and create on his own with a lackluster receiving corps.

In the second half, he pushed more and things got dicier. Of course, when your quarterback’s 10th passing attempt comes in a 20-point hole, you’ve put him in a position to fail. So I don’t really fault Carson — I don’t think any sort of quarterback heroics could have won the game for Philly last night.

I dunnos

Howie Roseman

I don’t really know what exactly is expected from Roseman in terms of winning a Week 7 games against the Dallas Cowboys. He drafted a WR that the coaching staff will not give snaps to over Mack Hollins; a running back that was not targeted despite being one of the best receiving backs in the league. He also drafted a QB who didn’t make the roster; two CBs who haven’t won starting jobs since 2017; a second-round TE when he already had Zach Ertz.

Good draft picks; bad draft picks — these all happen to every team! Personnel acquisition and development is imperfect, and Roseman — who is aggressive, data-oriented, and forward-thinking — is a good general manager despite the fact that he hasn’t drafted a bunch of Pro Bowlers in the past few years. This is just how these things go: in fits and starts.