WEEK IN REVIEW
The Eagles out up their worst performance of the year in a 27-17 defeat against the New York Giants. Contrary to the popular default opinion of blaming Carson Wentz, this one is on the coaching staff. The Eagle had their bye week prior to this game and looked less prepared than they have for any game so far this year. Plays were repetitive and lacked innovation. Defensive schemes were easy to beat. There were very few positives top take away from this one.
Philadelphia has put forth some of the ugliest game plans in the league this year and none worse than this one. Emerging WR Travis Fulgham, who led the in receiving yards from week 4 coming into this game, was targeted on just 5 of Wentz’s 37 attempts and only hauled in 1 for 8 yards. The offensive line’s blocking scheme failed to adjust for the Giants’ interior pass rush. The Eagles offense did not convert on a single third-down throughout the entire game. This pathetic showing will leave club owner Jeffrey Lurie with a lack of confidence in his staff.
NEWS OF THE WEEK
The Eagles are going through some typical motions for a struggling team in a large media market, where anonymous sources begin to circulate rumors and criticism to the media. Let’s take a look at what’s being said about Philadelphia:
Doug Pederson doesn’t coach his coaches. These reports surfaced briefly last season before the Eagles went on their December winning streak. Not a single coach under Doug Pederson has succeeded when new responsibility has been added to their role. Mike Groh did a decent job as the Wide Receivers Coach and was a disaster as the Offensive Coordinator. Running Backs Coach Duce Staley added Assistant Head Coach to his title and the Eagles’s running game has been the least effective it has been since Ryan Mathews and Miles Sanders leads the team in dropped passes. Press Taylor is probably the most hated coach in Philadelphia because Carson Wentz has gotten worse year after year since Taylor became the Quarterbacks Coach, and for some strange reason added Passing Game Coordinator to his title..
Carson Wentz has poor practice habits. This rumor puts emphasis on the Press Taylor criticism. Wentz has the worst completion percentage and passer rating of his career, and simply looks lost out on the field at times. There is a belief that Wentz and Taylor are too “buddy-buddy” and he allows Wentz to get by with mistakes without correcting them. With the way Wentz has struggled to read defenses post-snap, there is reason to believe that film sessions have been underproductive as well in the QB room.
There are too many cooks on the offensive coaching staff. Each week, Doug Pederson receives game planning input from the members of his staff. This long list of input includes: Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Duce Staley, Senior Offensive Assistant Rich Scangarello, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland, Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Press Taylor, Senior Offensive Consultant Marty Mornhinweg, and Pass Game Analyst Andrew Breiner. The offense lacks identity and rhythm, and it could be the result of too many voices in the ear of Doug Pederson leading up to gameday.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Eagles will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns who are coming off a hard-fought defensive battle with Houston from last week. The Eagles open this week as 3.5-point road underdogs with a 47.5-point over/under. Cleveland has a 6-3 record on the year and is currently sitting 2nd in the highly competitive AFC North behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers despite having a –28 point differential on the season. Baker Mayfield is no longer considered a threat in the NFL, averaging just 182 passing yards per game. Without Odell Beckham Jr. In the lineup, the Browns rely heavily on their dynamic rushing attack to lead the team to victory.
The Browns boast two of the league’s most talented running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who they will use to try to control the clock in this game. Cleveland’s offense is averaging almost six fewer offensive snaps per game and one fewer possession per game than the league average because Chubb and Hunt can keep the offense moving and the clock running to shorten the game. The Browns have only scored 16 total points over their last two games, including a 10-7 win last week against Houston, in part, because there were simply fewer scoring opportunities for both teams.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles will need to take advantage of every possession they get. If they can get an early lead and force the Browns to play catch-up, they can control this game. An early lead may be a lot to ask for a team who hasn’t surpassed 29 points in any game so far this year. If the game remains a low-scoring, clock control game, the advantage will be with Cleveland.