Post originally appeared on Pro Sports Notes
September 17, 2018
Image: Edward James via Flickr
10 things I loved and hated about the Eagles this week
Posted on September 17, 2018
10 things to love and hate about the Eagles game
So this isn’t a victory Monday which already just makes Monday even worse and is setting me up for a really terrible week. I blame the Eagles for that. I don’t blame one specific Eagle, because I don’t think any one player deserves ALL of the blame. Some deserve it more than others, but I’ll get into that. There were some things that were so very bad. But, once I got past the initial disappointment in the team, there were a few positives that we can take away as well. I have compiled a list of 10 things that I loved and hated about week two.
The same thing happened to the Birds in week two last year and they won the Super Bowl. They simply got beaten. There’s no blame game here. But there are still positive and negative takeaways from the game. To start the list of 10 things, I will start by venting about some of the ridiculous performances by our players.
Thing to hate #1 – I can’t be the only one who saw the first play coming
The first of my 10 things to talk about is DeSean Jackson. There’s no way not one person on the Eagles coaching staff said: “if Fitzpatrick drops back on the opening play, they’re going to DeSean Jackson.” If no one said that, then I am clearly smarter than the entire Eagles coaching staff. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that one coming. THE EAGLES LITERALLY USED TO DO IT WITH HIM ALL OF THE TIME. Jackson holds the record for 50+ yard catches for the Eagles and also for 50+ yard catches AGAINST the Eagles. I really don’t know how they weren’t prepared for that one. And unfortunately, it set the tone for the rest of the game. That can’t happen.
Thing to hate #2 – the offensive line was absolute garbage yesterday
Nick Foles took some serious punishment yesterday and for the most part, it was no fault of his own. This is supposed to be the BEST offensive line in the NFL. They didn’t play like it yesterday. Do the Bucs have some good talent up front defensively? Yes absolutely. Vinny Curry is still a solid player, Jason Pierre-Paul still has some good years left, and Gerald McCoy is an animal. However, the Eagles faced far more menacing defensive lines last year like the Vikings and the Rams and even they didn’t get as much pressure on Foles/Wentz as the Bucs did yesterday. And honestly, the poor protection of Foles started last week against the Falcons.
So far this season, Foles has been sacked five times and hit another 16. Some of those hits he took yesterday were just unacceptable by the offensive line. If they want ANYTHING to go offensively, they need better protection. And let’s call a spade a spade here, now that Carson Wentz is back in this lineup, the o-line needs to step it up big time. Their play definitely belongs on this list of 10 things.
Carson Wentz has been medically cleared and will start Sunday, as Head Coach Doug Pederson will announce during his press conference.#FlyEaglesFly32.2K12:03 PM – Sep 17, 201815.1K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
Thing to hate #3 – Apparently, our defense just decided not to make the trip to Tampa
I have no words for what happened yesterday by our defense. They might as well have not even been on the field. Fletcher Cox had a mean sack at the beginning of the game that I hoped would shake Fitzpatrick a little and make him a little more nervous to drop back, but no luck. The tackling was unbelievably poor. I haven’t seen the Eagles look that pathetic trying to make a tackle in a very long time. The only reason OJ Howard went 75 yards for that touchdown was that of sad attempts at tackling. The angles were off and the Bucs offense just made them look silly. But, it wasn’t only the secondary this time.
There was no pressure on Fitzpatrick after Cox’s sack at all. I mean NOTHING. Which, again, there’s just no excuse for. With bodies like Cox, Barnett, Ngata, Bennett, and company, there’s no reason there can’t be more pressure. Just abysmal. After the game, Cox told reporters “we’ll be okay I promise you that” after the game. I hope he’s right because the defense played softly.
Thing to hate #4 – The Eagles are in trouble at wide receiver
Alshon Jeffery is still out and now Mike Wallace’s fractured fibula will cost him the season. Zach Ertz can only do so much as can Nelson Agholor. Shelton Gibson and DeAndre Carter are not the answers to our problems. They would be solid fifth or sixth receivers but not dependable for the current situation we’re in. Neither is Kamar Aiken or Josh Perkins. The scary part about the Eagles offense last year was the number of weapons they had that could hurt a defense in a multitude of ways. The Eagles offense is losing guys so fast they will become one dimensional which would be simple for any defense to stop.
The Eagles need to get someone like Josh Gordon in here. Apparently, 8-10 teams have called the Browns so far to inquire about Gordon. Let’s hope the Eagles were one of them. Come on Howie! Work your magic!
If not, let’s all remember that Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin have both been watching these games from their couches. They’re both at least worth a workout.
Thing to hate #5 – Not sold on the play calling. Do they plan on getting Dallas Goedert involved any time soon or…?
I really don’t know what it’s going to take for Pederson to get Goedert involved in the game. I mean we traded up to get the guy with our first pick in the draft this year for crying out loud. USE HIM. The guy is huge with good hands. USE HIM. Why are we using Perkins over Dallas Goedert? What kind of sense does that make?
I really am not sold on the playcalling decisions on this one, same as last year’s week two game. I don’t agree with running the ball three times at the end of the game taking that time off of the clock. Using Perkins over Goedert is mind-blowingly stupid to me. Maybe there was a reason for it. I don’t know. But what I do know is they moved forward to get this guy. Use him. His size alone is a threat. He needs to be more involved. Period.
Thing to love #1 – Corey Clement stepping up and running hard
Now that I have taken some time to vent about the horrendous performance of the Eagles on my list of 10 things, now let’s take some time to talk about some of the positive things that came out of the game. Clement was one of the positives. The Eagles were already down a running back due to Darren Sproles’s hamstring injury. Then, Jay Ajayi went down early with a back injury. Before he returned, Clement came in and stepped up as the main back. The main threat about Clement is that he is also an asset in the passing game and finishes all of those runs hard as well. Clement finished yesterday with six rushes for 30 yards and a touchdown in addition to five receptions for 55 yards.
Thing to love #2 – Rookie Hicks is alive and well!
Jordan Hicks came into the NFL in 2015 where he recorded 50 tackles, one sack, three passes deflected, and two interceptions. He returned one of those picks for a touchdown. Those stats were also only through eight games as Hicks went down with a torn pectoral muscle during one of the matchups against the Cowboys that year. As a rookie, Hicks showed flashes of superstardom as a linebacker for the Eagles.
His only fault was his health struggles. In 2016, Hicks made it through all 16 games, recording 85 tackles, one sack, 11 passes deflected, and five interceptions. After tearing his Achilles last season, it was hard to say if Hicks would return to full form and be able to continue to play at the high level he showed during his rookie season.
Jordan Hicks, who recovered a fumble yesterday, has recovered six in his career. Since 2015, Lavonte David (10) is the only defensive player in the NFL with more FR. #Eagles118:17 AM – Sep 17, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacySee Dave Zangaro’s other Tweets
The answer is YES. During the game against the Atlanta Falcons, Hicks recorded seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass deflected. In a rough game by the entire Eagles team against the Bucs, Hicks still managed to notch nine tackles. He had a few key stops as well. Obviously, not enough key stops were made but seeing Hicks fly around again is a good sight to see.
Thing to love #3 – Agholor is a STUD
The first two years for this guy were not great. I’ve talked about it and I’ve written about it. He was a stud at USC and that’s the reason we took him in the first round of the 2015 draft. After two really shaky years, he came out hot last season and that has only continued into 2018. His hands are reliable and his field awareness is fantastic. His touchdown catch yesterday only continues to improve that.
Although we still are going to need some help at the WR position, having Agholor as a weapon is an awesome asset. I couldn’t be happier that on this list of 10 things to love and hate, he is in the love section.
Thing to love #4 – Derek Barnett bounced back from a rough week one game
Barnett didn’t quite look like himself last week against the Falcons. And let’s not forget that unfortunate penalty as well. After that, many were questioning Barnett and throwing around the term “sophomore slump”. If I would have started doing this list of 10 things to love and hate last week he definitely would have been one in the “hate”. Against the Bucs, Barnett showed his strength and value on this defense.
Although the stats weren’t much different, the young defensive end made his presence known in the run game. He had one tackle that stuck out in the third quarter when Peyton Barber tried to run up the middle and Barnett basically tackled him by his shoe. Just the strength of Barnett to hold on and complete the tackle for no gain was impressive. He will continue to get better and be a threat on defense.
Thing to love #5 – The rest of the NFC East is so bad, they might all go under .500
The Eagles played a tough opponent in the Bucs yesterday. That is a hot offense. Their defense has some good pieces that are clearly figuring out how to work well together. The Colts blew out the Redskins. The Giants are beyond terrible and barely lost to the also terrible Cowboys. The rest of the NFC East is horrible. On this list of 10 things, this one is probably the most encouraging. So on a rough day to watch the Birds, at least there’s that positive.
Going into week three
The Bucs game was rough and a few of those 10 things show it. There’s no other way to put it. The Eagles did not play well in any way. There were missed tackles, missed catches, missed field goals, and missed blocks. Nothing was going the Eagles way. They need to eliminate some of those dumb penalties and the offensive and defensive lines need to pull it together. On a lighter note, Wentz was cleared for contact and is starting on Sunday against the Colts. The Eagles need to do something about the wide receiver situation, whether it’s trading for Gordon, or giving Maclin or Matthews a call.
Bringing Wentz back doesn’t fix all of the problems, but it certainly gives them a spark! Hopefully, some of this stuff can be corrected by Sunday. We’ll see, but these are the 10 things that I loved and hated about week two. Stay tuned for next week’s list about week three!