WEEK IN REVIEW
The Eagles suffered another embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon 22-17. It was a rainy, sloppy game full of missed opportunities and self-inflicted wounds by the offense. Carson Wentz took a ton of hits, including five sacks, and looked lost on the rare occasion when he had time to throw. The Eagles had some early momentum with a run-heavy possession early in the game, but once that drive ended in a Miles Sanders fumble on the five-yard line, and they couldn’t find their rhythm for the rest of the game.
There is little belief that the team will be able to improve going forward because of the lack of accountability from the leadership. Head Coach Doug Pederson is ignorant to his flaws despite consistently leading an unprepared team onto the field, calling repetitive and predictable plays, and refusing to take responsibility for the team’s struggles. Pederson’s press conference answers continue to be a series of deflections saying that the team didn’t execute when Pederson failed to put the team in a position to succeed.
Wentz’s press conferences tell a similar story. Mistakes that are blatantly on him, such as overthrows, bad reads, fumbles, interceptions, and even a safety, are regularly met with lines of “We need to do better” when the onus should fall on him. Wentz and Pederson are both in need of a major reality check and signs of quitting are starting to emerge throughout the roster.
NEWS OF THE WEEK
Changes are looming in Philadelphia. The team is about to enter the mist difficult stretch of their schedule and there isn’t a facet of this team that can be relied on. There is public outcry for a step back for both Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. Let’s examine those scenarios.
Doug Pederson: Winning fixes everything but losing highlights your flaws. When Doug Pederson was the Offensive Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and Head Coach Andy Reid knew that Pederson would be a candidate for head coaching hires in the upcoming offseason, he allowed Pederson to call plays for parts of games. To get experience for Pederson, Reid allowed him to call plays during the second halves of games. During those periods of games, the Chiefs offense averaged significantly lower scoring and yardage totals compared to Reid’s play-calling. Doug has struggled with situational football. He calls ineffective run plays on 2nd-and-10 far too often. He does not scheme receivers open. He does not get Wentz on the move to maximize his strengths outside of structure. Stepping away from play-calling may be a breath of fresh air for the offense.
Carson Wentz: Wentz has been extremely inconsistent and, while not everything is his fault, he has come up short in several key areas. As a result, his position as a trusted leader on this team is in jeopardy. Following Sunday’s loss, Eagles Defensive Captain Brandon Graham, who is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career, did not oppose the idea of Wentz being benched when asked by a reporter. Leading the league in turnovers and failing at pivotal moments in the game may be costing Wentz the confidence of his teammates. He’s going to need a strong showing to finish the year to save any hope of remaining the team’s leader.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Eagles opened this week as 4.5-point home underdogs against the Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a miniature bye week after defeating the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night 28-21. Seattle is tied with the Los Angeles Rams at 7-3 atop the NFC West. These are two teams headed in opposite directions. Russel Wilson is having the best year of his career, while the benching of Carson Wentz is being discussed internally in Philadelphia. Philadelphia will not be favored in any of their next four games, while Seattle has the fourth best odds to win the Super Bowl going into week 12. In the 2019 draft, the Eagles selected WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside at 57th overall and the Seahawks selected DK Metcalf at 64th overall. This season, Metcalf has 48 receptions for 862 yards and 9 touchdowns while Arcega-Whiteside has 2 receptions for 45 yards without a touchdown and has been a healthy scratch for the past two weeks.
The Eagles are 0-5 against Russel Wilson over the course of his career, including two defeats last season which both had a final score of 17-9. The second matchup was in the Wildcard round of the playoffs. Quarterback Carson Wentz left the game early with a concussion from a dirty hit delivered by Jadeveon Clowney, leaving viewers with countless “what if’s” for how the game may have played out. Wentz will have his opportunity for revenge and redemption if he can break out of this season’s slump. Playing in the Eagles’ favor, all three of Philadelphia’s wins have come in primetime. The 49.5 Over/Under is representative of how most Seattle games have played out this year. The Seahawks’ porous defense partnered with their explosive offense has resulted in several high-scoring games. If Philadelphia can score 30+ points, they may have a chance to keep this one close.