Instant analysis: Too little, too late as Eagles splutter to a halt in Tampa Bay

USATSI_11262741_168382939_lowres

Well, that’s not how many expected week 2 to unfold. The Philadelphia Eagles fell short of the mark in Tampa Bay, losing 27-21 in a game full of misfires, setbacks and splutters that proved to be too much to handle on the day. It’s not the end of the world and there’s reason for plenty of optimism ahead of next week’s clash with the Colts, with the main one being the potential return of Carson Wentz, but even so, this game was messy from start to finish.

 

Where oh where is Dallas Goedert?!
Joshua Perkins, a former UDFA out of Washington, amassed 54 yards worth of receiving this afternoon, with a couple of drops included. When the team needed an extra blocker, they brought in Isaac Seumalo.

WHERE OH WHERE IS DALLAS GOEDERT?!

The team’s second-round pick was never expected to go out and record a 1,000 yard season as a rookie, but considering Mike Wallace hobbled off the field and it forced Zach Ertz to line up outside at times, surely this would’ve been the perfect time for Pederson to experiment with arguably one of the most dangerous playmakers on the team?

After a slow start against the Falcons, Goedert remained under the radar. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye, but Goedert’s complete lack of snaps is both baffling and worrying.

 

Smallwood’s future
There was no Darren Sproles coming into today and when Jay Ajayi had to spend time on the sideline with a back injury, Pederson was forced to turn to his third and fourth running backs. Smallwood responded by carrying the ball 7 times for 8 yards. This is just the latest in a long line of examples in which Smallwood has squandered an opportunity. After practically being gifted a spot on the depth chart, he’s still unable to show any sign of promise or growth, which has to be massively concerning for Pederson and Duce Staley.

 

Jalen Mills struggles
For the second week in a row, Jalen Mills really struggled on the outside. Getting tangled up with Mike Evans on several occasions, Mills was burned on some of the games most memorable and devastating plays that really need no description at this point. DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and even Chris Godwin picked on Mills, as offenses continue to try and exploit the cornerback who remains inconsistent in coverage yet strong as a tackler. The finger-wags are few and far between and Mills is rapidly becoming the weak link in the secondary.
If Wentz doesn’t return…:
It’s all speculative right now, but Wentz does look likely to take to the field against Andrew Luck. If he doesn’t, there’s going to be problems. Foles was targeting a cornerback corps that was missing its two main starters and at various stages in the game, the two or three backups filling those roles. He very, very rarely pushed the ball down he field or challenged one of the most depleted secondaries in the league. The Eagles wideouts were hurting, but there was no excuse to not at least give someone like Gibson a chance to make a play. If Foles does play next week, that has to change.

 

Discipline 
Yes, Foles and the offense settled into a rhythm in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Penalties plagued this team in the opening two quarters and it wasn’t as if the play was any more promising. Sporadic 4th down attempts, poor tackling on defense and some missed opportunities across the board just dug too much of a hole for the Birds to climb out of. We saw something similar last year and it will be down to Pederson to iron out the kinks and ensure that complacency stops.

 

Tightening up the screws 
The Eagles defense has been strong up front, but inconsistent on the back end. Ryan Fitzpatrick had his way with the defense tossing 402 yards worth of passing and 4 touchdowns. I hate to be ‘that guy’, but if Matt Ryan can put up 251 yards in wake of his red zone struggles and Ryan Fitzpatrick can do this, do we dare imagine what a red-hot Andrew Luck could do? The Eagles simply HAVE to tighten up defensively and stop making life so easy for accurate quarterbacks to take those easy intermediate options.

Kicking the tires
If Mike Wallace is out for next week and joins Jeffery and Hollins, this Eagles receiving corps will rival the lack of depth faced in 2016. If your name is Howie Roseman, you at least have to be intrigued at the possibility of a Josh Gordon ‘Rental’, especially after such a dismal display that forced your tight end to lineup as a WR1 at times…

Why it makes perfect sense for the Eagles to take a shot on Josh Gordon

On the plus side…:
Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz enjoyed big games. It was needed. Both players came up with clutch catches, moving the chains in vital scenarios. Whether it was the sheer speed of Agholor on a sweep, or the catch radius of Ertz making it nearly impossible for cornerbacks to get in his way, Foles relied heavily on his two playmakers and it’s easy to see why. The pair continue to grow and improve each and every week and their potential is only rising as time passes by.

 

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites