Post originally appeared on Pro Sports Notes
September 24, 2018
Image: sunny kumar via Flickr
8 things to love and hate about the Eagles after week 3
Posted on September 24, 2018
A win gives us more things to love than hate
It’s a victory Monday for the Eagles and it’s the first one with Carson Wentz as the starter in 9 1/2 months. The Eagles did some good things yesterday and improved on some of the mistakes they made last week against the Buccaneers. Obviously, a win gives us more things to love than things to hate. However, there are still some negatives that need to be addressed. Here are eight things to love and hate about the Eagles after week three.
Things to hate #1: The playcalling is still not quite right
I am still a little uneasy and confused by some of Doug Pederson’s playcalling decisions. Through the first three games of the season, I don’t think mastermind Pederson has quite hit his stride. He’s doing that typical Andy Reid thing where he tries to get too cute and tries too hard to outsmart his opponent. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s unnecessary. I’m not in love with how Pederson has called the games so far. But, the team is still 2-1. I’d also trust Doug Pederson for my life so I’m not anywhere near panic mode yet.
However, they did finally get Dallas Goedert involved so that’s a positive.
Things to hate #2: Why was Kamar Aiken on the field so much?
Listen, I know the Eagles are struggling at the wide receiver position right now. The injury to Mike Wallace really hurt the offense because it just added to the absence of Alshon Jeffery. This would be the perfect time for Mack Hollins to step up, but he is also on IR. I realize that we need a receiver body, but good grief why does that body have to be Aiken? I am one to support the whole team and the decisions of the coaching staff and the GM. However, I am also one to look at this objectively.
At this current point in time, I’d much rather have Torrey Smith over Aiken. Between the dropped passes we’ve seen and that absolute abomination of a block attempt yesterday that resulted in a very correct holding call, it’s painful to watch this guy run on to the field. I trust what the coaches see, but I am not confident in Aiken at all right now.
Things to hate #3: The flags. All of the flags. So many flags.
I know this is not just for the Eagles, but I’m sick of seeing those yellow flags. There are so many penalties in all of these games through the first three weeks. And it’s not just “well that happens toward the beginning of the season.” No. It doesn’t. It’s getting ridiculous. Clay Matthews was right, the NFL is going soft.
It’s going soft on most pass interference, unnecessary roughness, and roughing the passer calls. The Eagles need to clean up some of the holding calls. Typically those are right and the majority of the ones I saw from the Birds yesterday were correctly called. But not only do the Eagles need to clean it up, but the refs also need to stop being so flag happy because it just makes these games painful to watch.
Things to LOVE #1: He’s Baaaaaaaaaaack and he looks like his old self
It’s the day we had been waiting for. Wentz finally returned to the lineup and looks just like he did when he left off in December. Was he as clean, crisp, and precise as he probably would have liked? No. But, he completed some nice passes, made some nice scrambles and extended plays in true Wentz fashion.
After he took the first hit and bounced right back up, I completely forgot he was coming off of an injury. He avoided tackles left and right and made enough plays to get the job done. The weather added an extra element for Wentz’s return to work some of the kinks out, but he’s just too good to let the rain slow him down.
Things to love #2: Jalen Mills has a short memory, and he bounced back this week
After a rough game last week, Mills was looking for some redemption. He heard what some people were saying about him and he was fueled by the negative comments. First of all, I don’t think there was anything wrong with what Mills said in return, because he has a point. Any “Eagles fan” that is taking their time to tweet at Mills and mention him in the tweet so he gets a notification, isn’t a true ride or die Eagles fan. Tweeting and saying “Wow Mills is having a terrible game” is one thing. To @ the guy in your tweet and tell him how much he sucks, that makes you a fake Eagles fan. And he has a point by saying if you’re doing that now, don’t jump back on the bandwagon and start supporting fully when they get to playoffs.
Did he have a bad game in Tampa? Yes. But do you really think he was unaware of that fact? No. Did he bounce back a little against the Colts? Absolutely. Mills made some really nice tackles and stops as well as playing much better coverage than he did in week two. Were there still some messy points? Sure. I personally think the pass interference call was soft, but Mills has to clean that one up. Luckily the rest of the defense is too good, but I think Mills is a decent player and deserves his spot on the team. I love his attitude, I love his swagger, and I love his passion and heart for being a Philadelphia Eagle. He will continue to grow and get better.
The thing Jim Schwartz loves about Jalen Mills is that his confidence is always high. He gets flagged for that DPI earlier and since he had a big PBU and now that really big tackle. #Eagles202:13 PM – Sep 23, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacySee Dave Zangaro’s other Tweets
Things to love #3: Wendell Smallwood DESERVES his roster spot
Many, including myself, didn’t think Smallwood was making the final 53-man roster after the preseason. They had Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles, as well as Donnel Pumphrey, Matt Jones, and undrafted rookie Josh Adams. Ajayi, Clement, and Sproles were locks to make the roster but it was very up in the air who the last spot would go to. Then preseason games happened, and it was clear that Jones was not a viable option, and Pumphrey and Adams were both consistently injured and couldn’t show their skills. Smallwood got the final spot by default.
Yesterday, he showed the Eagles fans why he made this roster on his own, without the “by default” piece. Smallwood rushed for 56 yards and one touchdown on 10 attempts and recorded three receptions for 35 yards. What impressed me most about Smallwood was his ability to finish the runs. After contact, he continued pushing and moving his legs for the extra yard or two. He ran extremely hard, made the most of his carries, and proved to everyone why he deserves a spot with this team.
Wendell Smallwood really stood out when I rewatched the game this morning. Made the most of his carries. Nice run here. Dodged a defender, got upfield and got the 1st down #Eagles5910:47 AM – Sep 24, 2018See Eliot Shorr-Parks’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy
Things to love #4: The fans’ reaction to Jordan Matthews returning
This was a cool moment. It was an awesome start to the game with Wentz returning to the field, the defense making an early stand and the Eagles marching right down the field and scoring. Another really awesome moment on Sunday was when Matthews made his first catch as an Eagle since 2016. It was clear how excited he was to be back in the Eagles green, and the ovation and cheers he received showed him that the fans were excited to have him back.
Matthews had two receptions for 21 yards. I think he will become a staple on this offense and the longer he is here, the less the team will have to rely on Aiken and Josh Perkins. The three receivers will be Jeffery, Agholor, and Matthews. Welcome back to Philly JMatt!
Things to love #5: Sidney Jones was a second-round STEAL
The Eagles were very open about their reason behind trading their first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. They felt they had first-round talent in Jones and didn’t need to pick until they took Goedert. Clearly, they were right. Jones is all over the field and is unbelievably athletic. He broke up what should have been an easy touchdown for the Colts. He also had an extremely impressive play where he tackled the lineman blocking him as well as the runner in the red zone. This kid is going to be really good for the Birds.
That is now twice that the Eagles defense has held up after turnovers deep in their territory. They’ve done their job. Sidney Jones made the play of that drive shedding the block on the screen pass.103:24 PM – Sep 23, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacySee Rich Hofmann’s other Tweets
Ultimately a better week than the last one
Obviously, in a win, there are more things to love than there are to hate. Hopefully, the Eagles will continue winning and giving us more things to love. Stay tuned for next week’s list as the Eagles travel down to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans!