If the performance in week 2 was poor, then the Philadelphia Eagles stamped the bar so low into the ground that you can barely see it last night. The score line might suggest an exciting matchup to watch, but the 41-21 defeat was anything but and it has left the team with some serious questions to answer.
Does Nick Sirianni need help play-calling?
The Eagles offense looked a little too perfect in week one. The past two weeks have revealed a much more worrying picture. Miles Sanders carried the ball two times last night in what was the most perplexing gameplan imaginable. The tight ends are still doing next to nothing over the middle of the field, and the rushing attempts that are called all seem to be option-based.
If Jalen Hurts is struggling to move the ball down the field, would it not make sense to take the strain off of his shoulders aa opposed to encouraging a myriad of inaccurate deep shots? The Eagles have all the weapons needed to make a lethal offense and we’ve seen glimpses of what it could one day become. But if Nick Sirianni continues to marginalize the group in a way that puts the weaknesses of his QB at the forefront, then it may never meet that ceiling.
Perhaps it’s time to lean on Shane Steichen, the offensive coordinator, when it comes to calling plays. Would it be so bad for Howie Roseman to bring in an experienced mentor for Sirianni to take some of the weight off of his shoulders? If things don’t change soon, and they likely won’t with such a tough upcoming slate of games, then this has to be a possibility.
How much of the performance is on Jalen Hurts?
Jalen Hurts played poorly last night, but it wasn’t all on him. Sure, his weaknesses were once again thrown to the forefront. There were times where his passes were underthrown and others where he simply dashed from the pocket before anything could develop and without any reason to do so. Broken play after broken play headlined a nightmarish day at the office for Hurts, but it wasn’t without promise.
The Eagles QB did manufacture a really strong second half run, with a third-quarter touchdown drive showing the speed in which he can move the ball down the field. He ended with over 300 yards worth of passing and although it wasn’t pretty, he proved that there is still something absolutely worth clinging onto. The only problem is that if he continues to play as sporadically as this, he may not be given the chance to fully develop it.
Hurts was at his best when taking what the defense gave him. This kind of skittish play is only going to harm his chances of remaining on the team in 2022 and beyond given where the Eagles are sat in terms of first-round picks.
Why is the defense looking completely different than what was pitched?
The Eagles defense was pitched to us as being hard-hitting with plenty of unpredictablity. With versatility being the name of the game, we expected Jonathan Gannon to be using a variety of different looks, pushing up linebackers at the line of scrimmage only to drop back into coverage.
So far, we’re seeing the exact same flaws that we did under Jim Schwartz. Miscommunications in the secondary are abundant (although there are injuries at safety so maybe it’s to be expected) and the soft zone approach is making life all too easy for opposing quarterbacks. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if my next point wasn’t an issue also plaguing the unit.
When will the awful personnel decisions stop?
The Eagles just paid Josh Sweat handsomely, essentially making him the future EDGE1. As of right now, he’s only played in 53% of defensive snaps. Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan’s snap exposure is bizarre considering that he is yet to register even as much as a tackle this season, and Derek Barnett does nothing but draw penalties.
The Eagles have versatile defensive linemen and have shown an intent to use a SAM linebacker off the edge. Genard Avery might struggle in this role, but there has to be some way of maximizing the talent on the roster, especially when a premium has been paid for it.
On offense it’s just as confusing. The tight ends, as aforementioned, are rarely involved when it comes to middle-of-the-field traffic. The running backs are alienated. There are very few creative looks with pre-snap motion, or anything to give the playmakers a chance in open space. If the Eagles are going to continue to trot out the same looks, they have to at least give their personnel a chance.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire