Happy thanksgiving everyone! As you all prepare to feast on Turkey and reminisce about the good times, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to remind you about some positives that surround the Eagles this season. As hard as that is to believe, there are some things fans should be thankful for!
The season is almost over
The NFC East is a mess
I don’t know how it got this bad, but the NFC East is an embarrassment. After laying an absolute Egg against the Browns, the Eagles sit at the top of the standings with a record of 3-6-1. Despite dropping their last two games with more likely to follow, playoffs seem disgustingly likely.
In a way, this benefits the Eagles. No matter what happens, they’re guaranteed some kind of light at the end of the Tunnel. They either end up in a playoff berth they don’t deserve to be in with a chance to cause huge upsets and feed off that underdog energy once more, or they end up crashing just before the finish line and netting a top-10 draft selection.
We can all talk about how awful the Eagles making the playoffs would be, but let’s be honest, who isn’t getting up for a home playoff game? Who isn’t rooting for the Birds in the dead of the winter in a matchup they have no business winning? Isn’t that ‘us vs the world’ mentality what makes Philly so special?
Playoff Sh*thousery? Count me in. Season is a disaster but the team snag a high draft pick? Count me in.
Darius Slay & the boys up front
Jim Schwartz has always directly tied the efforts from the pass rush to success on the back end and we’re seeing why that’s the case.
There is no doubting that the acquisition of a true shutdown corner has been one of the biggest positives of this season. Slay has been instrumental in eliminating opposing #1 wideouts from a QB’s progressions, forcing him to either throw elsewhere or stay in the pocket longer and fall victim to some intense pressure from a surging Brandon Graham and Malik Jackson.
Graham’s Pro-Bowl caliber season should not go un-applauded under any circumstance. He has been absolutely incredible this season and without his consistent pressure off the edge, this would somehow be a very different season.
While we’d like to see more from Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, they have both made splash plays and Cox has heated up in recent weeks.
There are absolutely holes to be filled at CB2/3 and arguably Safety, but Slay’s presence alone has significantly elevated the defense, even if those ‘big plays’ the former Lions CB has become renowned for have evaded him thus far.
The rise of Alex Singleton
To go from a former UDFA and CFL standout who missed out on making the roster last year to a special teams standout was one thing. Singleton has smashed through that glass ceiling in year two and forced Schwartz to give him more playing time. He hasn’t missed a snap in either of the last two weeks and has led the teams in tackles on both occasions while making a significant impact in the backfield with 2 TFL’s, a QB hit, a sack, and a forced fumble.
If Singleton can continue to grow then he could absolutely become the three-down linebacker that the team have been craving for two seasons now.
Some kind of change has to be on the horizon
Whether it’s at QB, Head Coach, or even higher, change is coming. It has to be. This season has been dire and with reports of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie voicing his displeasure after the win over Dallas and no signs of anything significantly moving the needle anytime soon, a big offseason blowout has to be coming.
It’d be shocking if the Eagles didn’t make some kind of change in one of those three areas between now and week one next year. The Eagles are financially tied to Carson Wentz, but Doug Pederson is well and truly on the hot seat. It just depends on how Lurie sees Howie Roseman in comparison his Head Coach.
Either way, bad times won’t last forever. Lurie has proven time and time again that he won’t settle for mediocrity, and this year has made mediocrity feel like a Super Bowl.
Is he being used properly? Not really. Is he an elite running back? Not yet. He still has ball-security issues and his vision can still be a little bit of a letdown at times. However, there’s no doubting that Miles Sanders is the most dynamic playmaker on the team and has the potential to truly turn into something special.
He’s had 7 drops which is concerning, but when you can breakaway for a 74-yard run against Baltimore one week, and the Steelers another, it sort of takes away from those concerns. His 5.7 yards per carry rank 3rd in the NFL.
After an explosive rookie year, Sanders is only adding to his home-run potential, it’s just in a lesser dose because of his usage. He also ranks 13th in rushing yards despite only being active in 7 games this season.
It’s puzzling why the Eagles aren’t feeding him the rock, but that’s a debate for another day. All we know is that we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and that in itself is a reason to be excited.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire