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Eagles News: “This team hasn’t felt quite right all year”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/27/23.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

The Burden of Expectations - Iggles Blitz
This team hasn’t felt quite right all year. Earlier this season Sirianni had to deal with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith both being visibly frustated during games because of lack of targets. Dallas Goedert was frustrated with his lack of touches earlier in the year. You know Quez Watkins and Rashaad Penny can’t be happy. They obviously aren’t key guys, but frustrated players aren’t going to help chemistry. Josh Sweat spoke out after a recent game to explain frustration with the pass rush. He made it sound like guys were being too selfish. Derek Barnett wasn’t happy with his lack of playing time before he got cut. Things aren’t always going to be perfect, but this team has felt more selfish than last year’s group. We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out for this team. They could have some postseason success. I do not see them making it to the Super Bowl without something crazy happening. Anything short of the SB will be disappointing because of the expectations this team had. When the season is over, Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni need to have some long talks to try and figure out where things did go wrong. There won’t be a simple answer. They will need to find fixable issues. Some of the problems are too random to fix, but others can be addressed. We don’t know what the roster will look like completely, but there will be enough talent that there will be big expectations.

NFL Playoff Picture: How the Eagles can still win the No. 1 seed - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3 in their last four games. Their sole win came against a New York Giants team that, despite ranking 32nd in point differential and DVOA, was able to cover the spread and came 26 yards away from potentially forcing overtime. So, yeah, it’s not difficult to not feel great about the Birds right now. Even some players are admittedly frustrated with how things have been going lately. And yet ... with the San Francisco 49ers getting dominated by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night ... the Eagles are still alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Had the Eagles not blown the Seattle Seahawks game (or New York Jets game, for that matter), they would be two wins away from clinching a first-round bye without needing any outside help. Beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 and the Giants in Week 18 ... and the top spot would be theirs. Annoying that that isn’t the case. Instead, the Eagles WILL need some help.

What is happening with the Philadelphia Eagles? - SB Nation
Other than that, everything else went towards the outside, or deeper down the field. It leads some, like JP, to describe the Eagles’ offense as a James Harden-esque system where everything is either a layup, or a deep three. The Eagles are either relying on deeper throws downfield which have a smaller chance of being completed, or throws to the outside and/or screens towards the boundary, which require effective blocking and/or players making defenders miss in space. Again, it gets back to the margin for error. Right now, that seems to be minimal for the Eagles. As for a potential fix, Eagles fans have been clamoring for more in the running game in recent weeks, and there is evidence to support that proposition. Take a look at this from RBSDM.com, which outlined EPA per dropback, as well as EPA per rushing attempt.

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 17 edition - PhillyVoice
During the Eagles’ postgame locker room session, DeVonta Smith gave a critical assessment of the way the offense has been playing. Minutes before Smith spoke, Nick Sirianni was basically like, “Good job, offense.” That contrast is interesting. It feels to me like the player is seeing bad process, and isn’t happy about it, while the head coach seems happy with the results. It’s usually the other way around.

Roob’s Observations: Eagles hang on to beat Giants, snap 3-game losing streak - NBCSP
3. And this is nothing new. Up 16 on opening day in England, had to hang on for a five-point win. Up 27-7 against the Vikings, hung on to win by six. Up 11 against the Jets and outscored 17-0 the rest of the way. Up 10-0 in Seattle last week and outscored 20-7 the rest of the way. That just can’t happen. The Eagles did enough to win against a terrible Giants team, but the Eagles have still not put together a single 60-minute game with just good, solid football and no awful mistakes. Most of these blown leads have been more about what the Eagles have done poorly than anything the other team did well. They’re handing teams chances, gifting teams opportunities. I’d love to know how good the Eagles could be if they ever played a full game. We’ve never seen it.

NFL playoff picture: Postseason probabilities entering Week 17 of 2023 season - NFL.com
Despite having the same overall record as the Lions and Eagles, the 49ers are the overwhelming favorites for the No. 1 seed, thanks to their dominant conference mark (9-1 vs. 7-3). They also own heads up wins over Philadelphia and Dallas (still hanging on by a thread) to further their tie-breaking strength. San Francisco can clinch home-field advantage throughout with a win at Washington on Sunday, and losses by both Detroit and Philadelphia. Where things get dicey for the 49ers is if the race extends into Week 18, when they’ll face the red-hot Rams in what could end up being a must-win game to secure the top spot. Speaking of the Rams and must-win games, they have the largest playoff leverage of any team (61 points) for the second consecutive week. Because L.A. finishes the season at San Francisco — a game in which the Rams will likely be heavy underdogs — they need to topple the Giants this weekend to maintain control of their playoff future.

Spadaro: Rookies making a difference in Eagles’ defense - PE.com
Kelee Ringo didn’t want to let go and at one point, upon urging, held the football above his head for a departing Lincoln Financial Field crowd to see. His first NFL interception came at the perfect time – the final play of Monday’s 33-25 win over the New York Giants, an end-zone theft that preserved the victory, and Ringo was in the moment. “Every single chance I have to make a play, or help us win, that’s the goal. Take advantage of every opportunity,” Ringo said. “Having it come on Christmas, that made it even more special. I’m always expecting the ball to come my way. Stay ready and be ready. It was a great way to end the game. Beyond words that I can even explain.” Ringo is part of a youth movement the Eagles are introducing on the defensive side of the ball late in this 11-4 season – he was one of three rookies to start Monday’s game, along with cornerback Sydney Brown and linebacker Ben VanSumeren – as signal-caller Matt Patricia continues to evaluate his personnel to find the right combinations when the postseason begins.

Eagles Christmas album raises over $2.5 million for local charities, doubling last year’s profits - 6ABC
The crew behind ‘A Philly Special Christmas Special’ shared the exciting update online, saying the album raised over $2.5 million for charity. Proceeds will go to local organizations, including the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

What can we learn from the Giants’ PFF grades and snap counts against the Eagles? - Big Blue View
Never is the Giants’ blocking situation more obvious than when they play the Eagles. It has now become tradition that the offense’s lowest PFF grades will always be on the offensive line, and this week was no exception: Justin Pugh (35.9), Ben Bredeson (39.5), John Michael Schmitz (44.4), Mark Glowinski (50.3 but only 2 snaps), and Tyree Phillips (53.5). Even Andrew Thomas only graded 59.1 yesterday. They’ve been worse - overall they only yielded 13 pressures yesterday, 6 by Bredeson. The Eagles’ dominant defensive line provides an excuse, but the story is the same even when the Giants do not face a good DL. Compare to the Eagles, whose Jason Kelce (an uncharacteristic 59.4) had the lowest blocking grade of the entire OL yesterday. Seventh-rounder Jordan Mailata graded 75.2 yesterday (90.5 in pass blocking) while undrafted free agent starter at left guard Sua Opeta (who?) graded 81.5.

Analysis of the Cardinals’ 27-16 loss to the Bears - Revenge Of The Birds
Will Greg Dortch ever get the credit and playing time he deserves in Arizona? When Jonathan Gannon threw a big hug on him after the TD, Dortch peered away from him with a look like WTF.

Another loss brings out more evidence that this Cowboys team is not ready to take the next step - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys have the talent. They are good enough to go deep, but far too often they can’t get out of their own way. And this “woe is me” attitude that always leaves us disappointed in January is becoming exhausting. There is no shortage of confidence as McCarthy and his troops tell us all the time that they believe in this team, but again and again, we’re sitting here talking about how certain mistakes altered the game script beyond recovery and then repeatedly complaining about the officiating. Instead of confidence, let’s get a little more determination. Can we see a team that has something to prove? How about a team that makes a more concerted effort to limit those senseless penalties? Or a team that takes each drive seriously and doesn’t have this cavalier attitude of “we’ll get them next time.” The culture of this team is not where it needs to be for them to be successful. Winning is an attitude that this team doesn’t seem to possess. They need to hold themselves accountable, fix recurring mistakes, and play each drive like it’s their last. Because if they don’t, and this is the demeanor of this football team come playoff team, that last drive is closer than we think.

Commanders Reacts Survey - The Commanders’ starting quarterback - Hogs Haven
For fans who are invested in the idea of Sam Howell as the team’s starter, this seems to be a blow. Being benched as the starter at this point in his career might be a setback from which Sam Howell never recovers. For those who see themselves as ‘rational’ fans who value the long-term progress over the short-term ‘sugar rush’ of a meaningless win, the switch from a struggling Sam Howell to a confident Jacoby Brissett might also seem like bad news, since it could lead to a loss of draft position if the team wins one or both of its final two games. But here we are, once again, with a quarterback conundrum in Washington DC. Is it better for Sam Howell and for the team to just stick with the young man for two more games, and then let the chips fall where they may as Washington’s upcoming tumultuous offseason unfolds? Or, should the coaches be protecting Sam from what appears to be a crisis of confidence and try to give the team a chance to win its final two games — and potentially hurt its 2024 draft position — by turning to Jacoby Brissett? That’s the second question in today’s poll — should Jacoby Brissett be named the starting quarterback for the final two games of the 2023 season?

Judging biggest overreactions for NFL Week 16 - ESPN+
For the second week in a row, Howell got benched in the second half with the Commanders way behind. And for the second week in a row, Jacoby Brissett replaced him and looked fantastic. Brissett was so good on Sunday that the Commanders wiped out a 27-7 Jets lead and took the lead themselves late in the fourth quarter. They lost on a 54-yard field goal, but it has been clear the past two weeks that the Washington offense is functioning better with Brissett at quarterback than it has with Howell. Brissett has played six drives the past two weeks, and the Commanders have scored touchdowns on five of them. Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. So many changes are expected in Washington this offseason. We expect a new coach and maybe a new GM and front office structure. Without knowing who the new people in charge will be come March and April, it’s impossible to know what they’ll think of Howell as an NFL starting quarterback. The Commanders have a good chance to be picking in the top four or five of next year’s draft, which could give them an opportunity to draft someone they consider a franchise QB of the future. If they did that, the rookie would likely start over Howell or anyone else who’s still there next season. As for the final two games of this season? Brissett is playing better, so as long as they’re trying to win the games, he might be the better option. And it might even benefit Howell to sit for a couple of games and study the way Brissett operates the offense.

Jaguars Roster Moves: Lawrence sprains shoulder; Matt Barkley signed - Big Cat Country
With the unknown timetable for Trevor’s recovery, the team also announced the signing of veteran quarterback Matt Barkley, off the New York Giants practice squad.

Texas State wins first bowl ever, storms past Rice 45-21 in First Responder Bowl - Underdog Dynasty
History was already made Tuesday night in Dallas when the Texas State Bobcats fielded the opening kickoff. For the first time since Texas State joined the FBS level in 2012, the program participated in a bowl game. But the Bobcats even furthered their history once the 2023 First Responder Bowl unfolded. Texas State dominated the turnover battle to fly past Rice, 45-21, securing its first postseason win ever. A triumphant field storm ensued at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which set a season-record 26,542 spectators, who were all witnesses for the most important win in Texas State history. “Going to a bowl game, that’s great, but winning a bowl game, that’s what matters,” Texas State head coach GJ Kinne said. “Everything’s better. Your ring’s bigger. You’ll remember it forever, and those guys went out there and performed.” [BLG Note: Eagles legend GJ Kinne continues to crush it!]

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