An Eagles vs Cowboys Haiku
Wentz was terrible
Dinucci’s game was better
The Eagles still won
The Eagles hosted the Dallas Cowboys and sent them home with a loss. So why does everything feel so terrible today? Let’s get down to business and dive in and talk about some individual performances.
It is time that we all admit that Greg Ward is just a guy. He will always hold a special place in my heart for what he did in 2019, but he isn’t anything special. As bad as the Eagles offensive weapons have had the injury bug this season, Ward has only managed a 50-yard receiving game once in 8 attempts. Sunday night Ward was targeted 5 times and ended with 10 total yards, including 1 key drop. Ward deserves a spot on this team, but ideally he shouldn’t be more than the 4th or 5th option at wide receiver.
The Future of Dallas Goedert
If you thought drafting Jalen Hurts was a bad use of a 2nd round pick, wait until you see what the Eagles have planned for Dallas Goedert as a feature tight end. He made his way back into the starting lineup to the excitement of many fans. By the time the dust cleared at the end of the game, Goedert was targeted 1 time for 15 yards.
At least when the Eagles drafted Hurts they had already selected a player in the 1st round to be a contributor. When the selected Goedert with a top 50 pick he was their 1st of only 5 selections in that draft. If this is how they plan to utilize him moving forward then they shouldn’t even bother extending his contract beyond 2021.
Hightower had a couple of explosive catches, but more often than not a target to Hightower results in a bad play. Such was the case on Sunday night when Wentz targeted Hightower deep and instead found Trevon Diggs. To be clear, that interception was 100% on Wentz, but Hightower needs to find a way to be physical at the catch point and try to break it up. The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor to be a deep threat, it is time to actually target him on some deep passes.
The Entire Offensive Coaching Staff
What is this coaching staff good at? Their opening scripts are bad. Their RedZone production is terrible. They are aggressive bordering on reckless if you count that as a positive? Even if you do, they have the worst 4th down conversion rate of all NFL teams and last time I checked that is a bad thing. Their $100 million QB is playing like a true freshman division 2 prospect. So again I ask, what is this coaching staff good at?
Facing a historically bad defense, the offense put up 15 points. 15! That’s pathetic.
Worst of all, I don’t even know what the problem is. Is Carson Wentz a fraud who is holding back Doug Pederson? Is Doug Pederson a bad coach who is holding back Carson Wentz? Can Carson and Doug work together if there was a different person calling the offensive plays?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but it is clear that the present situation isn’t working. It’s time to try something. I would use the bye week to put together an expanded offensive package for Jalen Hurts and put him on the field to run an actual offense, but I would also heavily consider forcing Doug to hand over play-calling responsibilities to someone else.
Statistically speaking, Carson Wentz was outdueled by a 7th round rookie that no one had ever heard of a week ago who was also missing both of his offensive tackles. Wentz was atrocious in every way on Sunday. The only good throws that Wentz made were contested catches to Travis Fulgham, which aren’t reads or indications of a good play by Wentz, but rather a good play by Fulgham.
I don’t know what has come unhinged in Wentz’s brain in the last 2 months, but it can’t be overstated how heavily he has regressed in 2020. The last 3 years have seen Carson Wentz throw for 7 interceptions each season. This season Wentz is on track to throw 24 interceptions. He has 16 turnovers in 8 games when you factor in lost fumbles and has failed to play a single game without a turnover this season. Wentz’s never say die attitude is costing this team possession and it should be costing them games.
Doug Pederson won’t say it, but he has lost all confidence in Carson Wentz.
This offense couldn’t get simpler if Doug tried. On the first touchdown drive there wasn’t a single pass play that wasn’t a designed throw to a single receiver before the snap ever happened. Doug doesn’t trust Wentz to read the field, and at this point can you even blame him?
If Carson Wentz was a day 2 pick who didn’t have a $100 million contract he would have been benched already. Despite the fact he was picked #2 overall and does have said $100 million contract he still should have been benched on Sunday night.
Enough of that negative nancy crap, the Eagles did win and do hold sole possession of 1st place in the division! Let’s end with some stock up!
Travis Fulgham is the real deal and I have no explanation for it. Coming out of college, Fulgham was considered a poor route runner who struggled to create separation. His redeeming quality was his ability to make catches in traffic, a required skill when you can’t separate from coverage. We have seen the ability to make catches in traffic but Fulgham has also excelled as a route runner for the Eagles.
Since he started playing in week 4, Fulgham leads the league in receiving yards and is on a pace that would have given him 1,392 yards receiving and 13 TDs. Had Fulgham put those numbers up in 2019, he would have ranked 3rd in receiving yards (2 yards behind Julio Jones for 2nd) and 1st in touchdowns. He has had an incredible year and is everything that many thought JJAW would be and more.
Brandon Graham has had an up and down career in Philly. After getting off to a slow start and constantly being compared to Earl Thomas (a player the Eagles could have selected at that draft slot), Graham developed into a solid player and then a very good player. In 2017 he made the biggest play in Eagles history, strip sacking Tom Brady to put the Super Bowl on ice. Now? At 32 years old Graham is playing at an elite level. He is on pace for a 14 sack season, with 22 QB hits and 18 TFL.
Graham has never had a double digit sack season or a pro bowl appearance and he appears destined for both this year and I couldn’t be happier for him. Many were critical of Howie for bringing Graham back after the Super Bowl, something that even Graham didn’t expect. Those people were wrong; Howie got this one right.
Oh, and Graham saved a game that was about to go sideways fast on Sunday.
After Carson Wentz’s ridiculous fumble gave the Cowboys the ball deep in Eagle territory, Graham stepped up with a strip sack of Ben DiNucci and prevented the Eagles from falling in an early 10-0 hole.
Edwards was a beneficiary of the Nate Gerry injury (along with every Eagles fan watching the game). Edwards didn’t play as great as many would have you believe, but he did lead the team in tackles with 13, including 1 sack and 2 TFL. It isn’t a big stretch to say that Edwards played the best game of any Eagles linebacker in the last 2 and a half years. It also is a pitifully low bar to clear. Edwards probably isn’t your starting linebacker of the future, but he isn’t worse than Nate Gerry and should continue to eat into his snaps once Gerry is healthy.
It is a shame that neither Shaun Bradly nor Davion Taylor saw any defensive snaps with Gerry out. I was hoping to see them both in limited roles.
Sunday, November 8th
When the game ended I thought the Eagles played the Giants before the bye week. Then I realized that the bye week is in fact next week, meaning that nobody has to watch this horrendous Eagles team play for the next 13 days. It is sad how excited that revelation made me.
There are basically 2 approaches to a bye week during a season like this:
- Avoid football completely in an attempt to regain your sanity
- Enjoy watching actual football teams play the game at a level that the Eagles could never hope to achieve this season
I can’t tell you which approach is better for your mental health. They both have their own merits. I can only encourage you to do whatever it takes to prepare yourself for the grind that will be the rest of this season.