An Eagles vs Seahawks Haiku
What a disaster
Major changes are needed
Will they ever come?
The entire nation watched the Eagles’ dreadful performance on Monday night as they dropped their 3rd straight game coming out of the bye. Were there any positives in the game? Let’s dive in and talk about some individual performances and some overblown narratives.
2 QB System
It was reported that the Eagles were going to give Jalen Hurts “significant snaps” during the Seattle game. Those significant snaps turned out to be 2 plays. For those 2 plays, the Eagles paid the price of 1 false start and 1 time out because Hurts grabbed the wrong helmet (one with a speaker in it allowing coaches to talk to the quarterback) when Wentz was already on the field wearing one.
So to recap, Hurts passed for 6 yards and all it cost the team to achieve that was 5 yards in penalties and a timeout to avoid another penalty. If that isn’t deserving of a 2nd round pick I’m not sure what is.
I truly feel bad for Jalen Hurts. He didn’t ask for this. Can you imagine how much nicer his life would be if he had been drafted by the Steelers right now? He would be on a Super Bowl contender, happily seated on the sideline and waiting on his chance to be the starter in 2021. What if he had been drafted by the Patriots? Given the opportunity to grow in the Belichick system while he waited for Cam Newton’s contract to expire in 2021? Heck, imagine if the Saints had drafted him. Then he would be on a team full of weapons simply waiting for Drew Brees to ride off into the sunset.
But no. Instead he was drafted by the Eagles, placed on a team with a QB who is threatened by him, and a coach who obviously never wanted him to begin with. It’s a bad break for him and you have to imagine he is very frustrated by this turn of events.
Travis Fulgham is the most promising, young receiver on this team. No, I didn’t forget about Jalen Reagor and yes the statement still stands. And yet, he was given fewer snaps than Greg Ward, Jalen Reagor, and only 2 more snaps than Alshon Jeffrey. Travis Fulgham is actively being taken off of the field so that the corpse of Alshon Jeffrey can attempt to run routes, not get open, and on the rare occasion he does get open, drop passes.
While we are on the subject, the Eagles’ leading receiver was Travis Fulgham who had 16 yards. This was the performance that the Eagles put up against the 2nd worst passing defense in the history of the NFL.
Howie Roseman (The offensive side)
While watching DK Metcalf destroy his defense (more on that later), you can’t help but wonder if Howie was thinking of an alternate reality where he drafted DK Metcalf over JJAW, and then drafted Justin Jefferson over Jalen Reagor. Metcalf and Jefferson have combined for 1,957 yards so far this season and 15 TDs. The Eagles’ entire receiving corps has only amassed 1,384 yards and 8 TDs on the season. Metcalf has more yards against the Eagles in his career (377) than JJAW has in his career for the Eagles (214). Metcalf had 1 less yard last night (177) than Zach Ertz has for the entire season. Howie’s construction of this offensive roster is, well, offensive.
If you thought Jason Peters at left tackle was bad then I can’t wait for you to watch Jason Peters at guard. To the surprise of no one, it was horrible. Peters shouldn’t set foot on the field again. He actively makes the team worse every time he takes a snap.
See comments on Jason Peters
Slay was thoroughly beaten by Metcalf all game. Early in the game, Metcalf beat Slay when pressed, so the Eagles moved him to off-ball coverage to protect him from Metcalf’s speed. That helped, but Metcalf still had Slay’s number all night long. Even when Slay had near-perfect coverage, his weakness at the catch point shone through and Metcalf still made plays. Darius Slay is a very good corner but he isn’t an elite corner. Metcalf is an elite receiver.
Howie Roseman (The defensive side)
The Eagles simply don’t have the defensive roster to account for Slay not being able to erase an opposing WR. Slay couldn’t keep up with him out of press and couldn’t win at the catch point in off-ball coverage. So what should the Eagles do? There are a few options left for a defense in that situation:
- Bracket the receiver with double coverage
- Play more zone coverage
- Put a different corner on the receiver
Unfortunately, none of those options are realistic for the Eagles. They can’t bracket Metcalf because that leaves CB2 on an island, and you don’t want Avonte Maddox on an island outside. They can’t put a different corner on Metcalf because who are you going to put on him? 6′ tall Darius Slay couldn’t win at the catch point, do you really think that 5’9″ Avonte Maddox or 5’7″ Nickell Robey-Coleman was going to? There is no iteration of man coverage that could take Metcalf away and zone simply isn’t an option because the Eagles linebackers haven’t the faintest clue how to cover anyone. That roster construction is on Howie.
If there is one thing this team does great it is having a big letdown after an offensive score. Elliott knew the defense didn’t have time to give up a TD so he took one for the team. #ComplimentaryFootball— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) December 1, 2020
Following the season trend, after a touchdown, somebody has to screw something up.
Enter Jake Elliott, who missed the extra point. Elliot has been abysmal this season, hitting on only 73% of his field goals. At least the Eagles can move on from him after next season and it will only cost them $2.3 million in dead cap. Great job on that one too Howie.
Monday night’s game might have been one of the worst officiated games of all time. From missing that DK Metcalf started the shoving match with Darius Slay on the opening drive, to blatant holding missed too many times to count, to horrible missed pass interference calls, to the laughable no call of intentional grounding on a Carson Wentz pass that CLEARLY didn’t make it back to the line of scrimmage. The NFL should be embarrassed.
Jordan Mailata had his best game as a pro. His 83.2 grade was his best ever and was second best among all tackles in Week 12! pic.twitter.com/p9f6ooDoeu— PFF PHI Eagles (@PFF_Eagles) December 1, 2020
I thought Mailata played well while watching the game. I will have to watch the tape to see if he played as well as PFF thinks he did, but regardless he was a huge upgrade over Jason Peters. Mailata may not be a future starting left tackle, but if he continues to play at a high level this season it should give the Eagles more confidence in the Left Tackle position this offseason and give them the ability to focus on other, bigger issues.
Louis Riddick is a former scout and Director of Pro Personnel who was fired by Howie Roseman. Now an analyst for ESPN, Riddick got the last laugh, spending hours making fun of Roseman on national television. He sounded like he understands football far more than Howie Roseman. Maybe the Eagles should give him a call.
Barnett was disruptive all night long for the Eagles. On the first drive, he blew up the Seahawks 4th down play on the goal line. He recorded a sack of Russell Wilson. Barnett hasn’t lived up to the hype of being a top 15 pick, but he has become a solid DE2 for the Eagles. It was a forgone conclusion that the Eagles would cut Barnett for cap savings after this season, so of course, he is playing the best season of his career. Hopefully, he can continue to play at a high level and the Eagles are at least able to get a day 3 pick for him this offseason.
It took the $39 million man over half the season to show up, but he finally did and played a fantastic game on Monday Night Football. He was disruptive from the opening kickoff to the final whistle and finally showed the talent that led the Eagles to sign him this offseason.
Yes, the Eagles lost. And yes, we all knew they were going to lose. But the instant that Jake Elliott missed the extra point, I fully expected to lose 17-9 for the 3rd straight game against the Seahawks. Who would have ever guessed that the final score would have been 23-17?
If the season ended today, the Eagles would pick 6th in the NFL draft behind the Jets, Jaguars, Bengals, Chargers, and Cowboys. They could see their pick get into the top 5 if the Chargers can pick up another win. The Bengals and Cowboys play each other so someone has to win that game. While there is no catching the Jets or Jaguars, the Eagles could end up with pick #3 if everything breaks right.
Overrated Talking Points
This doesn’t fit into Stock Up/Stock Down, but there are 2 last things I want to talk about:
The Defense Playing Great
There seems to be a notion floating around that the defense played great against the Seahawks and I’m here to tell you that that isn’t the case. Sure, they held the Seahawks to 23 points, but they didn’t look good doing it. The Eagles forced no turnovers (again). They only forced two 3 and outs the entire game. The Seahawks had 6 drives in the first half and 3 of them ended up inside the 2-yard line. The defense didn’t play great. They were much less bad than the offense, but that’s not a high bar to clear.
Doug Pederson’s Coaching Was Terrible
There are several talking points floating around about how bad of a job Doug Pederson did calling plays. I would like to dispel all of them for you.
Doug Abandoned the Running Game
Doug didn’t abandon the running game. The running game was simply never a part of the gameplan. The right side of the offensive line was in shambles. Seattle has the 3rd best run defense in the NFL. Miles Sanders averaged 2.5 yards per carry. And again, the Seahawks have the 2nd worst passing defense in the history of the NFL. Doug Pederson didn’t abandon the run. He game planned to go pass-heavy, as he should have.
Doug Has No Creativity, Why Not Roll Wentz Out?
I thought Doug put about as much creativity as this abysmal roster allowed into the gameplan. We saw a tunnel screen. We saw the Eagles go empty backfield (a look that has worked better for them than anything else thus far this year). The Eagles also showed some up-tempo. The problem is that none of it worked. You can cherry-pick Wentz roll out stats as much as you want, but the reality is that Jamal Adams was destroying the edge of the offensive line and any roll out called would have been playing with fire.
Doug Should Have Kicked the Field Goal
Down by 11 with 8:40 left in the game, the Eagles opted to go for it on a 4th and 4 from the Seahawks 15 yard line. There are a few reasons that Pederson opted to go for it in this situation:
- Based on analytics it was the right call – This was a green light situation according to the analytics. The Eagles had a 2.3% greater chance to win the game going for it than if they kicked a field goal. So, Pederson did what he has done for 4 1/2 years now, he went for it.
- The offense is bad – I know that this seems like a reason you should kick the field goal, but it isn’t. The Eagles needed a TD and a FG to tie the game (and a 2 point conversion). To score a TD you have to get past the goal line. To kick a FG you have to get to the 40. The Eagles were already at the 15-yard line. Kicking a FG would, in essence, waste the 25 yards they had gained past the 40-yard line, forcing them to regain them on a TD drive. If the offense is bad, then you try to score a TD while you are already in plus territory. The play call was good; the execution simply wasn’t.
- Jake Elliott missed an extra point – Elliott had already missed an extra point that was the exact distance as this field goal. It was no sure thing given the way he has played this year. Doug opted to make the call that gave them the better chance to win the game, especially considering that field goals are a coin toss at best for Jake Elliott this season.