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6 final thoughts from the Eagles’ pathetic loss to the Giants

On Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz, and more.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-5-1 following their loss to a team that they typically own, the New York Giants. Let’s run through some final thoughts.

1 - The Eagles deserve your indifference more than your anger.

Look, I’m not incentivized to say this since I only stand to suffer from you tuning out of our coverage ... but I honestly feel like this team isn’t worth your emotional investment right now. I can’t possibly blame anyone for checking out.

The Eagles are predictably bad each week. They’re not fun or enjoyable in any capacity. And, worst of all, it doesn’t feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. This season feels like a big waste of time in that regard.

There will obviously be some changes in the offseason if things continue to go poorly but I just don’t have confidence they’ll be serious enough. Howie Roseman doesn’t appear to be in any danger. Doug Pederson probably gets at least one more year after giving up play-calling duties. Carson Wentz’s contract has him locked in through at least 2021.

The health of this franchise just isn’t good. This isn’t just “one down year.” We’ve been talking about how things have been trending poorly downwards for some time now.

This team can’t simply make changes along the margins to fix everything. There are serious foundational problems here. And until there’s evidence they’re actually willing to make those moves, it’s hard to really care.

2 - The coaching staff deserves a lot of blame for that loss.

OVERALL

  • It starts at the top with Doug Pederson. Under him, the Eagles are now 1-4 in games right after their bye. Even in their one win, they only scored seven first half points, so slow starts have been a trend. They averaged 6.6 first half points in those five matchups. Really curious how they’ve struggled with more time to prepare as opposed to how they usually do well on short rest.
  • The Eagles lacked disciplined against the Giants with 11 total penalties. A number of them were of the avoidable pre-snap variety. Some were simply players being dumb.

OFFENSE

  • The Eagles went 0/9 on third down. 0/9! When offense has never been easier in the NFL! Against the NFL’s 26th ranked third down defense! Pathetic.
  • Travis Fulgham didn’t see a target between seven minutes remaining in the second quarter and five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter (32 minutes of game time). Why?!
  • Miles Sanders only had 15 carries despite consistently looking like a threat on the ground and averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. Just not enough.
  • The Jalen Hurts package has become so predictable and ineffective. On that note, there was just a general lack of creativity.

DEFENSE

  • Jim Schwartz’s unit surrendered 27 points to the NFL’s second worst offense in terms of offensive points per game (17.2).
  • The Eagles started out in an 11-point hole with the Giants marching down the field without much resistance on their first two drives.
  • Daniel Jones had never played a game without at least one fumble or interception ... until Sunday. Zero takeaways for the Birds.
  • Schwartz’s scheme continues to lack answers for stopping non-running back runs. Jones broke off a 34-yard touchdown run.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • When was the last time this unit was a legitimate strength for the Eagles? Feels like forever now.
  • Giants punt returner Jabrill Peppers had four punts returns for 47 yards (11.8 average) and a long of 20.
  • Poor decisions from Greg Ward and Jalen Reagor to let the ball go their heads contributed to bad starting field position, which was an issue all game long. Look at where the Eagles started their drives (all on the own side of their field):

25
9
6
11
16
25
17
5
25
25

Way to really help out a struggling offense.

3 - Poor front office moves continue to plague this team.

Howie Roseman built the NFL’s second most expensive team and that group has a 3-5-1 record to show for it.

  • The Eagles decided to pay out three top 20 interior defensive line contracts to Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Javon Hargrave. That money didn’t look well spent with Jones comfortable enough to achieve a 100.9 passer rating and the Giants offensive line paving the way for 151 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
  • The Eagles wasted a spot on Alshon Jeffery for nine weeks to have him come back and see one target and zero receptions in Week 10. Cool. Pederson said he’s going to have a bigger role moving forward, which is dumb. He’s not part of this team’s future and it’s not like he’s this super useful win-now player. It’s a waste.
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was a healthy scratch. Bust status confirmed for the 2019 second-round pick. He could conceivably be cut before the season’s over if/when the Eagles need to clear some spots. Disaster.
  • Using No. 53 on Jalen Hurts isn’t helping this team at all right now. Meanwhile, Jeremy Chinn (other consideration at that pick) might be the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
  • Fun to see DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs make big plays for their new teams. Good thing the Eagles were focused on only trying to draft receivers instead of adding a legitimate veteran option, which many called for back in March.
  • There are no answers at cornerback outside of Darius Slay, who ultimately gave up the game-sealing 40-yard reception to Darius Slayton. And it’s not like Slay, who turns 30 soon, is necessarily this great long-term piece.

And so on.

You’re well within your rights to get frustrated at the coaching staff. But you can’t forget about Roseman’s role in these struggles. He shouldn’t be allowed to pick a third head coach in eight years.

4 - Carson Wentz is not the only problem but he’s not looking like the solution.

This loss wasn’t on Wentz alone. The offensive line and coaching staff failed him too often. And he didn’t turn the ball over (gasp!), which was good to see.

But inaccuracy was still an issue early as the Eagles fell into a hole. He sailed some throws, as he’s wont to do. Indecision also proved costly:

We can’t just always keep making excuses for Wentz. The bottom line is the Eagles need their $128 million quarterback to play much better than this.

Wentz shares ample responsibility for the offense only scoring 17 points and failing to convert a third down. Especially when you consider his influence on the offense. I’ll have you recall my conversation with Joe Santoliquito from earlier this year:

There’s also something else here. And we’ll just say a little bird very recently whispered into my ear. Who has a lot of intimate knowledge on what goes on in that building and what goes on in that quarterbacks room. Doug Pederson took a lot of blame for that [Week 1] loss and play-calling on Sunday. And he has to accept a certain level, a certain percentage of that. But most of the percentage of that play-calling has to fall on 11. He’s the one that’s calling the plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s the one calling the offense. I don’t know exactly the percentage of what he’s calling, of what Doug’s calling, but [Wentz] is calling a lot of that offense. And Carson’s view of this offense — remember, Doug started to mold the offense what towards Carson likes. And, again, we’re talking five years here. This pretty much Wentz’s offense. This is speculation but strong, strong, strong support that Wentz kind of wants to run this in the sense that, for example, when Peyton Manning was with the Colts and then was with the Broncos, that was Peyton Manning’s offense. And I strongly believe that this is — it’s Doug Pederson’s play design, Doug Pederson is one of the best play designers in the NFL. And Doug, 4th-and-1, that’s Doug’s call. Doug Pederson makes those calls. But in terms of walking up at the line of scrimmage, calling the plays at the line of scrimmages, running some fake cadence … Again, I don’t know the exact percentage. But there’s a hell of a lot of plays being called by Carson Wentz. And that play selection’s being done — well, for example, Doug may call a play. Carson doesn’t like it. And Carson will call his own play. Again, I don’t know the percentage of that, but if you watch that [Washington] game closely on TV, you’ll notice 11 making a lot of calls at the line of scrimmage and they are his calls. So when you turn around and you want to point a finger at Pederson, and play-calling, and things like that, it might be a good idea to take that step back and take a broader look at who may actually be at fault here.

With this in mind, I’m really curious to see how the offense might look with Jalen Hurts running the show. I’d also be curious to see how Wentz responds to an in-game benching. To be clear, though, I don’t expect that to happen. I mean, does Pederson even have the power to make that call?

5 - The Eagles could conceivably drop to 3-10-1.

The Eagles’ next five games:

I think the Eagles might actually be able to steal one of those. Two at the very most. But there’s a very real chance they don’t win a single one as they’ll be underdogs in every matchup. Five straight losses could be on the way.

6 - The Eagles might still win the NFC East anyway.

Sigh.

The Eagles might be able to win this division with only two more wins. It’s possible that even one could do it. Imagine the Eagles being in the playoffs at 4-11-1 or 5-10-1. Just incredibly undeserved.

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