I had a lot of fun at the Birds game on Sunday, but this is a moral victory-free mailbag. I’m hoping for another fun late afternoon game this week in Denver, but obviously with a much different result after the final whistle.
One quick plug: Alonzo Jones and I will be doing a live BGN Radio podcast from the Mitchell & Ness Flagship Store at 1306 Walnut Street in Center City on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Come through if you’re free and pick up some throwback Eagles gear and talk football with us!
As a reminder, if you’d like to ask a question for a future mailbag, you can tweet at me or email bleedinggreeninfo at gmail dot com.
@LockzDr: Why does Jonathan Gannon still have a job? Also how did he ever get this job?
@JarvisDenard: When is enough gonna be enough for GANNON to be fired? Does Nick Sirianni have to do it? Does it have to come from above?
I’m a pretty reactionary guy. I thought there was a slight chance that if the Birds went to Detroit and lost that Jonathan Gannon would get fired midseason. A huge defensive performance like that, even against an inept team, does demonstrate a certain level of competency.
Even factoring in the Falcons and Lions games though, it’s been a poor start to Gannon’s time as an NFL defensive coordinator. The Eagles are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 75.5 percent of their passes. That’s the highest rate EVER for a team in a single season.
Five passers have topped a completion percentage of 80 percent in a game against the Birds: Justin Herbert (84.2 percent), Derek Carr (91.1 percent), Tom Brady (81.0 percent), Patrick Mahomes (80.0 percent), Dak Prescott (80.8 percent).
What’s going to happen when the Eagles go against a checkdown captain like Teddy Bridgewater this week? Bridgewater has completed 70.2 percent of his passes in Denver this season. Even if the Birds pull out a road win, I still foresee Bridgewater approaching, if not exceeding, that 80 percent threshold.
Gannon’s defense has gotten increasingly aggressive as of late. The Birds blitzed 30 percent of the time against the Chargers, their highest rate this season, but it still isn’t enough. This high safety look that allows underneath plays with ease doesn’t work when the Eagles don’t have the requisite talent at the second level of the defense. Darius Slay has played well this year and Steven Nelson has been as solid as could’ve been expected, but the linebacker group is clearly a mess and injuries are crushing them at safety. It’s the disastrous pairing of bad scheme and subpar players.
I would assume Gannon lasts the year despite how much some Eagles fans (and, hell, include me in that) may hate to hear that. I don’t want someone’s livelihood to be ruined, but he doesn’t look to be the guy to run the Birds’ defense. If the Eagles retain Nick Sirianni beyond 2021, there’s going to have to be a scapegoat. That axe might fall on Gannon, as the franchise promises improvements on that end with increased cap space, several high draft picks and a new defensive mind in the building.
Sean Coxe (via email): Okay, how about this moving forward. The Birds already have a couple quarterbacks turned something else in Greg Ward and Tyree Jackson. We already know Hurts is better carrying the ball than throwing it. Is it an outlandish idea to consider turning him into a slot receiver, given his strength and running ability and his shortcomings throwing the football, and going with either Gardner Minshew or a veteran/draftee true pocket-passer? Or maybe I’m just getting desperate.
Sean, I appreciate your question and you being a loyal reader of the mailbag, but you are more desperate than me at Smokey Joe’s Cafe in 2015.
@ThisIsJoeMac: Why. Just why
My guy, I need a win against the Broncos in the worst way.
I’m still rooting for victories. There were few bigger proponents for the Sixers’ Process than me, but the NFL and the Eagles are just different. There’s only one game per week. I enjoy Eagles football! I want to see them play well! I want that release on Sundays! I want to see Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith improve. I want to keep that sliver of hope that the Birds can grab a Wild Card spot alive in my mind regardless of how much I complain about this team. I live to dream on Sunday afternoons.