- Wentz has to get rid of the ball quicker as he did against Green Bay. He struggled with that against the Jets and it placed him in unnecessary danger.
- The second would be to go out and find a young deep threat that they can rely on while DeSean is rehabbing. There’s no clear indication as to when Jackson will return but the Eagles are clearly missing his presence.
The main thing that this team needs right now won’t come from adding any player but instead, it would come from every player internally. It starts from the top of the organization, the team needs to play with urgency while not confusing it with desperation. This roster was built to compete with the best of the NFL but injuries have hampered that thought. Howie Roseman needs to make a statement move but Doug Pederson needs to make a statement play. This team needs to start playing with urgency until helps arrives.
The accountability has to be at an all-time high as the schedule doesn’t get easier for them. Penalties, turnovers, miscommunication, all have to be eliminated.
For the next 6 games, the Eagles will face a group of teams that are all considered Super Bowl contenders. They start the gauntlet by facing the Vikings this Sunday, followed by the Cowboys, Bills, Bears, Patriots and the Seahawks. The first three games will be away while the last three will be at home, they also have their BYE week right after the Bears game in week 10.
So what is it going to take to come out on top of this gauntlet? The team hasn’t been playing winning football, that’s obvious. Fortunately, they’ve been getting by so far but it won’t be sustainable for long. The upcoming games will show us who this team really is versus who we thought they were. It could go really good or it could really bad but they will be the ones to decide that. First and foremost, the offense has to find its rhythm. They can’t survive in this league by being one dimensional and clumsy in every other aspect.
Currently, the team is ranked 21st in the league in passing yards per game, not something you would expect from a team that was considered to be a top tier offense. Carson Wentz has been doing all that he can but the help just hasn’t been there, it’s as if the offense is limited in what they can do. Sure, take away DeSean Jackson and any offense will miss their deep threat but knowing Jackson’s durability issues, why was there never a sure-fire number two deep threat behind him?
If there’s anything that we’ve learned throughout the years is that the NFL is turning into a high octane offensive league where speed matters. The Eagles have found themselves behind the 8-ball in that philosophy as Miles Sanders has been their best downfield receiver. Maybe the idea of compressing Wentz into a pocket passer isn’t much of an idea at all. Wentz has shown he’s a playmaker and unfortunately for the second season in a row that’s what the Eagles are lacking as of right now.
Could we blame it on the playcalling? Is there a disconnect between Pederson and Wentz that no one is seeing? Maybe and Maybe. One thing that I’ve noticed since week 1 is the formation that Eagles start the game in. Dating back to his rookie season, Wentz has always been effective when running the offense from under center. Right now, the Eagles are starting their opening drives in shotgun formation with 5 wideouts, one being Miles Sanders. Usually, Wentz calls Sanders to return to the backfield and they run either an east to west run play or a short pass to get the game started. It hasn’t worked for them. The offense has gone through too many 3 and outs on their first drive then they should be. No defense is fearful of the Eagles weapons as they are of Carson Wentz. In just 5 games this season, Wentz has been blitzed 55 times, hurried 19 times and hit 13 times. He’s also been sacked 8 times. The majority of those sacks came from Wentz holding onto the ball too long, but why is that?
The ‘Need for speed’
The top two receiving targets of the Eagles are Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, both players are not phenomenal in creating separation so Wentz usually has thrown into tighter windows. Outside of them, Agholor is their speedy receiver but he’s struggled to track the deep ball from Wentz, he’s struggled even more in catch the ball as well. The most obvious fix would be to bring in a deep threat to help stretch the field until Jackson returns but the Eagles may not be able to pull that off until midseason. Unfortunately, the Birds have no choice but to start swinging with their backs against the wall. Doug has to get more creative and Wentz has to be comfortable with releasing the ball quickly which will depend on the trust he has in the receiver catching the ball.
The next 6 weeks will show the world, who this Eagles team really is? Going off their track record, the Birds always bring out the dogs when they’re being counted out. Well, it’s time to let the dogs out. No pun intended.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports