An Eagles vs. Giants Haiku
The Eagles are bad
They are really, really bad
The Eagles just stink
I decided to put as much time and effort into my clever intro as the Eagles put into coming up with a good game plan on their bye week (none). So let’s just skip the intro and dive in and talk about some individual performances.
Stock Down Offense
Yeah, that’s right. I had to separate the offense and defense for this one…
Jalen Hurts Package
News flash, 31 teams in the NFL know how to stop the read option. Just because the Eagles can’t seem to figure it out doesn’t mean that other teams have that same issue. NFL defenses now know that every time Hurts is on the field it will be a read option call. Anytime the opposing defense knows exactly what you are going to do you aren’t in a good place. Hurts shouldn’t step on the field again until the Eagles are ready to use some creativity in the play calling for him.
Carson Wentz Playing in Structure
We asked Carson Wentz to play a clean football game and not turn the football over. We begged him to stop playing hero ball and simply play within the structure of the offense. Wentz obliged us and it led to a loss to the Giants. Wentz was far from perfect on Sunday but he played within the structure of the offense. What we missed was the obvious reality all along: the structure of the offense stinks.
Jeffrey was targeted 1 time and had no catches.
JJAW was a healthy scratch on Sunday and, barring injury, may never take another snap in an Eagles uniform. If that is true, he will end his career in Philly with 12 catches. That is a historically bad pick if I have ever seen one.
It was once said that the Eagles had the best TE duo in the NFL with Zach Ertz and Goedert. Richard Rodgers has outplayed both of them this season. What do you do with Dallas Goedert after this season? Do you sign him to a long term deal? At the start of the year, I would have said yes without a second thought. But now that he has been the #1 TE for half the season with no production? Now I’m not so sure anymore.
Jason Kelce has been a phenomenal center during his career in Philly, but boy did he pick a bad time to forget how to snap the football. You can almost feel Kelce counting down the weeks until this season is over and he can retire just to get off this team.
While not technically offense, the Special Teams contributed to the offense’s poor starting field position for much of the game and so I’m lumping it in here. In case you are new to the game of football, I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that despite what we saw on Sunday, the NFL does in fact allow for punt returners to catch a punt. I’m not really sure why Greg Ward was confused about this, but I wanted to make sure you weren’t.
Remember when we thought Matt Pryor was a serviceable RG? It turns out that we were wrong all along. Pryor is only borderline rosterable at this point in time after yet another horrific performance. Jason Peters must move back to RG to stop the bleeding on the interior offensive line. Good thing Peters is a team-first player that will move positions when he is asked and not make a big deal out of it, right?
Miles Sanders Doing Anything Except Running
Sanders had a great game on the ground (more on that later), but he was dreadful in every other phase of the game. He was poor in pass protection and dropped 2 passes.
The game management by the coaching staff was just flat out bad. I have run out of good synonyms for bad which doesn’t bode well for the rest of this article.
How do you not save time outs in the 2nd half of a close game? I have no idea, but the Eagles somehow had 0 timeouts when they needed to get the ball back late in the game. How do you take a shot on 3rd and forever, deep in your own territory before halftime and save the Giants a time out but then call a run on 3rd and 18 with 12 minutes left in the game? How do you not kick a field goal with 5 minutes left on 4th and 10? At least then when the defense inevitably collapsed again and gave up a FG of their own the offense would have had a chance to score a TD for the tie. If you are going to go for it, why is your play call a route to a rookie WR covered by one of the highest-rated coverage corners in the NFL right now who also has safety help over the top? Why do you go for 2 when you are down 4? Is being down 3 really different than being down 2? All of these are great questions that I’m sure nobody on the coaching staff has an answer to.
But wait, there’s more!
Let’s add on top of that with the fact that Miles Sanders had 15 carries on Sunday while Carson Wentz dropped back to pass 39 times. Sanders averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Wentz averaged 5.3 yards per drop back. And yet Doug, in his infinite wisdom, chose to go away from the run yet again. In today’s press conference he said, “I think we were 50%-50% run-pass yesterday, pretty much. We had a good game running the football.” I’m sorry Doug, but that is factually incorrect. You were actually 37%-63% run-pass. Doug has no feel for the game when it comes to playcalling and can’t even recognize how imbalanced his calling is.
The Bye Week Blues
Teams should be on the top of their game following a bye week. They have an extra week to get healthy and gameplan for their upcoming opponent. Doug Pederson is 1-4 following a bye week in his tenure in Philadelphia. There was a comedy of mental errors from not catching punts to bad snaps to committing 11 penalties to going 0-9 on 3rd downs. The Eagles had no new wrinkles to their offense, no trick plays, and no sign of life. I don’t know what the coaching staff did with their week off, but I hope they enjoyed it.
Stock Down Defense
There is an old football drill that has since been banned by the NFL called the Oklahoma drill. The Oklahoma drill pits a LB against a RB in a narrow alley and calls for the LB to keep the RB out of the endzone. The drill was banned because it led to too many injuries in practice, but every linebacker who remembers those days misses the opportunity to lay a big hit on a running back. Rodney McLeod found himself in this exact scenario during a game except he was lined up for a big shot on QB Daniel Jones rather than a shifty running back. McLeod whiffed anyways. Embarrassing.
It isn’t Maddox’s fault that his coaching staff continues to use him incorrectly. No 5’9″ CB should ever be asked to play outside corner in the NFL, but that is what Jim Schwartz has asked him to do. Maddox gives valiant effort, but he simply has no chance when he is isolated against big-bodied WRs on the outside.
The Entire Defensive Line (Minus Brandon Graham)
The defensive line stinks. The Giants have a terrible offensive line and yet they bullied the highest-paid defensive tackle trio in the league for the entirety of the game. Javon Hargrave has been a bad free agent signing. Fletcher Cox simply doesn’t dominate games anymore. If Brandon Graham wasn’t on the team this defensive line would be truly pitiful.
I don’t know what to tell you. It turns out Nate Gerry might be the best linebacker on this team.
Facing a Giants offense that is the 2nd worst in the NFL in terms of both yards and points, Jim Schwartz’s defense laid an egg. The Giants average 19 points per game and the Eagles nearly gave that up on the first 2 drives. Schwartz stinks, his scheme is garbage, and he should have been fired years ago. He has no idea how to deploy the personnel that he has been instrumental in selecting and bringing into Philly. It is one thing to struggle with another person’s players, but Schwartz has built this defense exactly the way he wanted it and it still stinks. It’s time for him to go.
Reasons for Optimism
Yeah, that aged well. Unlike the Eagles coaching staff, my editors actually hold me accountable for what I do, so I have been told I’m not allowed to pretend I can see the football future for the rest of this season. R.I.P.
You have got to hand it to Miles Sanders (because Doug Pederson sure as heck won’t), he put on a heck of a display as a runner. He is the biggest weapon that this team has. He was dynamic with the ball in his hands and should be featured even more heavily.
That’s just criminal play calling. The Eagles are the 4th team in NFL history to average 5.1 yards per carry and yet run the ball 24 times or less per game. It can’t be mentioned enough that the Eagles gained more yards per running play than they did per passing play and yet called almost double the number of passing plays. Doug, I know you read my columns. Please, I’m begging you, give the ball to Miles.
For only the 4th time this season, Jake Elliott (the kicker with the 3rd biggest guaranteed salary in the NFL) didn’t miss a field goal. He only attempted 1 kick because the Eagles don’t kick field goals or extra points anymore but hey, take what you can get.
4th and 1 Screen Call
I know it is scraping the bottom of the barrel when you put a specific play in the Stock Up portion, but it’s literally one of the only things I can think of. The motion screen to Jalen Reagor on 4th and 1 was a fantastic play call that was basically guaranteed to succeed based on the alignment of the defense. Great call in a high leverage spot for the offense.
The Winds of Change
The Eagles aren’t going to make the playoffs. It’s simply not going to happen. The Eagles 3 wins have come against Nick Mullens, Ben DiNucci, and Daniel Jones, who have combined for 10 total career wins. Yes, they are still a half-game up in the division, but it is entirely possible (and I would argue likely) that they will lose their next 5 straight games.
When If that happens (sorry, forgot I’m not allowed to act like I can see the football future anymore), Jeffrey Lurie will no longer be able to ignore that wholesale changes must happen. Finally, somebody will be held accountable for the train wreck that is this team.
What should Lurie do? I believe he should fire Jim Schwartz and relieve Doug Pederson of playcalling duties this offseason. I’m willing to give Doug another go at head coach since I know how good he was when Frank Reich had an influence on the playcalling. I’m willing to give Howie a shot at building a defensive roster without Jim Schwartz’s input. I don’t know if that would fix the problems with this team, but it would at least be a step in the right direction.
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