Anyone else struggling to comprehend exactly what happened yesterday? Me too. Here are five thoughts living rent free in my mind about yesterday’s Eagles loss.
Jalen Reagor needs a timeout
The player catching the most heat on this cold winter morning is undoubtedly Jalen Reagor. Two horrendous drops which he called uncharacteristic cost the Eagles a victory and unfortunately, there’s no other way to slice it. The team should’ve put the game away long before that point, but Reagor has struggled to do anything of note as of late and the plays he does make an impact on ultimately turn out to end in the most disappointing way possible.
I’ll write more about this later today, but I think it would behoove the Eagles to remove Reagor from the current situation. Sit him for a few weeks and let an unheralded wideout take his reps while he figures himself out, because right now he’s so far removed from the player many hoped he would be that it’s not only worrying from a physical perspective, but also the mental one given the year he’s had and the history of taking these sort of things very personally.
Reagor isn’t helping the Eagles right now. He hasn’t been helping them all year. It’s down to Nick Sirianni to figure out exactly why and do all he can to help him get right. Otherwise, there has no happy ending.
The final play…
I made two mistakes last night. I watched that final play again and then I tweeted about it.
To me, it perfectly surmises everything that’s wrong with Jalen Hurts right now. That’s no indictment on him. I fully believe he’s capable of winning the long-term role and I think he has the intangibles to do so very easily. But being so inconsistent as a passer and struggling to read defenses is what’s going to elongate and maybe even eradicate that process.
Yes, the ball hit Reagor on the hands and he should’ve absolutely caught it. But regardless, there was no base to throw off because Hurts waited too long and ran himself into trouble, panicked, and had a very narrow stance. Fundamentally it wasn’t exactly great.
Then there’s the fact that DeVonta Smith was wide open not only for the first down, but a whole lot more on a crossing route that bled up field. He was waving his arms and calling for the ball.
I’m not putting that play on Hurts. He did all he needed to and gave Reagor a very good chance at scoring a touchdown. But the fact that everything that preceded a subjectively average thrown football was a mess is what matters here. Hurts continues to leave meat on the bone and if he wants to prove himself as an NFL starter, he’s gotta start eating.
What even happened?
I’m still a bit lost for words. The Eagles ran the ball so inconsistently but somehow put up over 200 total yards and shockingly ended the game with 7 points. There’s no way you can explain that. It felt like the team slipped into its first trap game.
Whether it was complacency or some thanksgiving food coma effects, the Eagles looked sluggish. With the exception of every offensive lineman not named Nate Herbig, and wideout DeVonta Smith, the entire offense was a shambles. Drops, fumbles, overthrows, underthrows, poor play-calling, everything.
It’s a game that’s going to knock the Eagles for six. It’s just typical that the one time this happens, the defense plays one of its strongest games of the year. Nick Sirianni has to right the ship and do it fast because that was one of the most underwhelming displays of football I’ve seen in a long time.
And I’m a Sam Bradford fan…
Jalen Hurts is who we thought he was
This isn’t a knock on Hurts. But he is who we thought he was. It’s very easy to declare him the face of the franchise after a win because he talks the talk, is a strapping young lad with a glistening smile, and is a natural leader. But we knew coming into the season that he was a project quarterback. The project isn’t finished yet.
Hurts still has very clear flaws as a passer that are being masked by a thunderous rushing attack. Occasionally, he’ll make wonderful rainbow passes. Other times, he’ ll miss wide open receivers and struggle with touch on deep passes. Has there been progress made? Absolutely. But you can also argue that the style of the offense is making it look like Hurts is better than he is because he’s having to do less. When he has to step up, the real barometer is revealed.
Like I said, I think Hurts can win and deserves to win this job. But performances like this won’t help in the slightest.
The pass-rush stepped up
Shoutout to Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and even Derek Barnett! The front-four were menacing yesterday and Jonathan Gannon got really creative with how he deployed them. A little more of that and they may even begin to look like more than a middling unit!
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire