When the regular season schedule was announced, the thought of a Bye week after just three games seemed like it could come back to sting them later in the season. But now the early Bye has actually arrived, it could be regarded as a blessing in disguise for the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are five reasons why:
Dorial Green-Beckham has seen a weekly increase in both his snap-count and his involvement in the Offense, while undrafted receiver Bryce Treggs is yet to take to the field as an Eagle. When the Eagles play the Lions next Sunday, we could finally see Treggs in action and an even heavier workload for DGB.
Green-Beckham joined the team toward the end of the offseason, but had just enough time to factor into the preseason, catching a touchdown pass on a fade-route against the Colts. DGB is slated to have most of the playbook down by now, so a week off should theoretically give him enough time to get to grips with the remaining 10%-20% and put himself in a position to play in even more Offensive snaps after playing in 49% against the Steelers.
Treggs joined even later than DGB, being claimed off waivers by the Eagles. An injury certainly stunted what was already going to be a long process and as noted, the former Cal receiver is yet to play a snap as an Eagle. A week off gives Treggs an opportunity to get as much of the playbook down as possible, an opportunity that wouldn’t have graced him with a later bye-week. Treggs will now have a chance to slowly rotate his way into the Offense, just as DGB has done this season.
Wentz is now spreading the ball around much more evenly..which is good news for the two latest WR additions and very bad news for Defenses who have two very different styles of receiver to prepare for, on top of the already versatile unit.
The Eagles are 3-0 and as impressive as the Wentz & Burton chemistry has been, the Eagles defeated the Browns and Steelers without star tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz is slated to return against the Lions which gives even more explosiveness to the Offense, but the Burton breakout will ensure he still sees plenty of looks. Three tight end sets become and option once again, as do many of the aces Pederson has up his sleeve. Zach Ertz was always poised to thrive in this Offense..but given the surge in momentum it’s now sustained and possibilities opened in his return, Ertz could soar.
The Eagles cornerbacks have been the weakest position on the team so far without Leodis McKelvin, but they were able to overthrow the Pittsburgh Steelers Offense and keep them out of the endzone. With McKelvin back, the corner who was by and large the most prolific in week one prior to his injury, the Eagles can get back to the hard-hitting style of coverage that Schwartz is renowned for.
With Ertz and McKelvin’s injuries being day-to-day, a week off this early means they miss one less game and get back on the field as soon as next weekend, which is a huge plus for the team.
Wentz was dropped in the deep end after Sam Bradford was traded with less than a week to go before the season opener..but he’s swam so flamboyantly that it’s become breathtaking to watch. A lot of his success has come down to the chemistry he has with guys like Matthews and Burton.
A week off will give Wentz and the rest of the Offense a chance to take their minds off of Football, but also to optionally familiarize themselves with the Offense and the players around them by going over film..something the rookie quarterback has been noted to do..even on dates!
If the Eagles can continue to build up chemistry even on a week off, then it’s going to not only be a huge testament to the work ethic of the team, but bode extremely well for the tougher games that lie ahead.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Doug Pederson so far, it’s that his creativity is one of his greatest assets. The Offense may be built on Andy Reid’s blueprint, but Pederson’s game management balanced with some simply stunning play designs have turned the Offense into a completely different beast.
A week away not only gives him a chance to evaluate what worked and what didn’t after three weeks (including a dismal third down conversion rate), but enables Pederson to get even more creative as his players become more at one with his scheme and feel comfortable in notching up the complexity.
The play-calling has been near-perfect from Pederson so far but it’s the complexity of some plays that have really stood out. A week away is just going to fuel the fire and give Pederson even more ideas to incorporate into his scheme.
The Eagles are coming off one of the most stunning victories in the team’s recent history, they’re 3-0 and their rookie quarterback is setting records by the week. The spotlight intensity is picking up and so is the energy. A week away gives the Eagles time away from the pressure, the media attention and the brilliance seen in the opening weeks and instead hands them a chance to hit the reset button, cool down, take a deep breath and retain a level head.
It would be very easy for the players to get lost in the hype and keeping players on track is one of the many challenges a Head Coach faces..but an early bye will certainly help slow the train down and give players a chance to collect themselves and come back just as prepared and fired up as they were prior to week 3.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports