Five weeks. That’s how long its taken foe questions to finally be asked around the performances of the Eagles offensive line. The unit endured a sudden change in personnel this week after Stefen Wisniewski was benched without warning or reason, making way for Isaac Seumalo. The hope was that this would be a catalyst for change or at least set a firm tone for the afternoon. Spoiler alert: it did neither.
Carson Wentz was hit 8 times and sacked 3 in last night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, with the offensive line once again really struggling to find any push for the running backs or protect their prized quarterback. The Eagles totaled 81 rushing yards, but pressure leaked throughout and in the opening quarter, the Eagles had a total of whopping -4 yards.
Isaac Seumalo was rocked on the first snap of the day for the Eagles offense before a stunt on the left hand side was predictably missed by the unit, allowing pressure to Wentz. The Eagles ran the ball just six times in the first half, the lowest amount of attempts since Pederson was appointed Head Coach. That was just the tip of the iceberg however.
The red zone offense went 1/4, the third down offense converted a dismal 2 attempts out of 9 and the Eagles were shutout in the first quarter for the 4th time in 5 games. What exactly is going on?! Your guess is as good as Lane’s…
“I wish I had an answer.” The franchise right tackle told reporters after the game. “As far as offensive line, and me personally, I have to pick my game up. I’ll bite the bullet on this one. I know I’m capable of being a great player and as bad as it is, we got a big one against the Giants. As early as it is, we must win against the Giants coming up. Disappointing is what tonight is but we still got a long way to go.”
The Eagles were misfiring at any given opportunity in the first half, with errors across the board dragging any progress back in the opposite direction, but a lot of those issues started up front and the players know it.
“We definitely start to get into a better rhythm and groove as the game goes on.” Jason Kelce explained. “I don’t really have an answer as to why the start of the game isn’t there. I don’t think it’s an intensity thing. I think everybody goes out there ready to compete and everything like that. It’s just not in sync. And really, that’s what’s killing us offensively. We don’t have a glaring weakness. I firmly believe that. I think it’s one guy here, one guy there and it’s culminating into four or five plays that are costing us games. If you look back to two years ago when we had a 7-9 season, we made mistakes at the end of games that end up costing us wins. Last year we played smart football, we played as a unit, we were in sync and we won football games. I really do think it’s as simple as that as a correction.”
Whether they’re fixable errors or not, we’re over a quarter of the way into the season and the Eagles have given up the second-highest amount of quarterback hits in the NFL (42) along with 17 sacks. For a quarterback returning from a torn ACL, this simply cannot happen. Teams are following the ‘stunting’ blueprint and trying to find new ways to beat the athletic front with brute force and it’s oddly working, leaving the Eagles with an identity to rediscover.
“We definitely have to soul-search.” Jason Peters stated. “We’ve got to dig down and we’re going to see what we’re made of. We can lay down and tuck our tails or we can man up and become champions.”
Complacency doesn’t seem to be something the future Hall of Famer is worrying himself with. Seumalo’s insertion into the line may well have provided a boost, but it wasn’t yet enough to overcome the setbacks that the offense is still having to work through and that are so easily forgotten.
“No, this is a different team. Last year was last year. We lost guys in free agency and we have a quarterback coming off of an injury, I’m coming off an injury, and [RB Darren] Sproles is coming off of an injury. It’s a different team and we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot right now.”
What’s the solution for the Eagles offensive front? Well, nobody really knows. The same problems have persisted week after week and now the unit finds itself in a position where pressure is building each and every game. If it’s accountability, the whole line seems to be raising their hand and taking the blame…but is anything going to change? Just how many of those errors could’ve been prevented and what’s causing this sudden drop in form? Only time will tell, but the window for excuses has passed and if this team cannot produce against a Giants defense that struggles to get to the quarterback, tensions will undoubtedly rise.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports