Penalties on penalties, an under performing offensive line, a secondary giving up big play after big play, a defensive coordinator who is bullish on making adjustments, injuries that seem to be consistent yet different every week. The Eagles 2-2 start has been a roller coaster to say the least with all these factors putting fans on edge about the outlook on the 2018 Birds.
Even the wins have come down to red zone heroics by the defense which will lead to nerves that knock years off a fans life. It has been a rocky start to the season for the Eagles but one factor should outweigh all those fears, in hopes that this season can still include championship aspirations.
That factor is the play of Carson Wentz.
Since returning to the lineup against the Colts two weeks ago, Wentz has made the same jaw dropping, highlight reel plays that nearly won him an MVP award last season before the torn ACL ended his season.
It doesn’t look like the injury is holding back Wentz from extending plays with his legs, or standing tall in a muddy pocket and driving the ball down the field, which were key abilities that made the Eagles fall in love with the North Dakota product back in 2016. Wentz has completed 75% of his passes under pressure.
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) September 23, 2018
Ertz has been a beast, 9 receptions for 107 yards now pic.twitter.com/bEYXLZ0sgd
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) September 30, 2018
Sometimes when a player returns from such a serious injury, it takes some time to knock off the rust, regain confidence in their leg, and a conservative style of play forms.
That hasn’t been the case with Wentz. He is throwing with tremendous confidence and he was more accurate against the Titans than we may have seen in his career.
— Máximo Avance NFL (@NFL_MA) September 30, 2018
Wentz is completing almost 67% of his throws for 603 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 348 passing yards against Tennessee tied his season high last year that came against Seattle in week twelve. It only took him two games to put up those numbers this year.
If it wasn’t for penalties and drops around the offense, the numbers would be even more impressive.
Receivers accounted for six drops against the Titans, four of which came from Nelson Agholor who had opportunities to make big plays through the air off some spectacular throws from Wentz.
Wentz with a dime, Agholor with a drop pic.twitter.com/g5AMqrMbS9
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) September 30, 2018
Agholor also had a chance to take one to the house on the first pass of the game from Wentz who hit him in stride off a play-action pass but he couldn’t bring it down.
Wentz hasn’t only had to overcome missed opportunities but he has been hit the third most of any quarterback throwing this year despite only playing two games.
If the Eagles were going to struggle early this season, how it is happening would be the preferred way. The entire offensive line that outside of Wisniewski (benched for Issac Seaumalo) still features an elite unit from 2017. They haven’t pass protected well at all, struggling to pick up blitzes and stunts. But that line is too talented to play the way they have for the rest of the season. The pass protection already got better from the first half to the second last Sunday.
One game of the drops shouldn’t lead to a regression for Agholor. There still have been a lot of opportunities for the fourth year receiver to make big plays down the field. Moving back to the slot on a more permanent basis should bode well for Agholor.
The secondary has given up a lot of plays down the field but even that unit is too talented to play this poorly all season.
Even with all these issues biting the Eagles this year, all of it is more preferred than an alternative situation where Wentz returned from injury and did not look like the player that set the single season passing touchdowns record just a year ago.
Wentz playing as well as he has will keep the team in every game. If the rest of the team figures it out, this team is right back to being a favorite to win it all this season.
If the offensive line was dominating, and the secondary was locking down the opposing passing games, this team still would only go as far as Wentz can take them.
Be thankful the Eagles don’t have a Raiders situation on their hand. Derek Carr has not been the same since his elite 2016 season. In just four games Carr has thrown seven interceptions this year.
Wentz, in back to back weeks drove down the field late in the game to either take the lead or tie the game. The offense couldn’t get a touchdown in overtime against the Titans but Wentz went off the field with the lead.
The way this team is struggling at 2-2 is a much easier situation to get out of than the scary alternative of a struggling franchise quarterback.
It was Avonte Maddox Mania around Eagles Nation after the 30-23 upset victory in LA. The rookie was a main reason the Eagles season is still alive. Who else is trending upward after LA? Who’s stock took a hit?
Louie dives into how the Eagles can do damage in a surprisingly underwhelming NFC conference, where Maddox will lineup in the secondary next year, and brings you our weekly “Stock Up, Stock Down” segment on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
From dog masks to ski masks
With the season on the line, on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL, Nick Foles and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-23 victory against the Rams.
How was Jim Schwartz able to hold one of the top offenses in the league to 23 points?
How does Nick Foles keep pulling off the impossible?
Will he be the guy the rest of the reason including perhaps playoffs?
Louie and Gino break down the memorable victory over the Rams.
No easy way out
By Lars Lewis
The term ‘No Easy Way Out’ refers to a song by Robert Tepper from a famous movie involving a couple key factors that relate to what was witnessed Sunday night in Los Angeles.
One factor, a fighter from Philadelphia whose back is against the wall and senses the walls closing in as he encounters the other factor, a cyborg-like monster who has wiped out essentially any sort of defense that’s faced him.
Yes, there was a lot of Rocky IV in this game and I’ll explain why.
It seemed the Eagles, who had once again called upon their Rocky Balboa in Nick Foles, longed for one more puncher’s chance against a foe that could certainly put away their faint playoff hopes for good.
We’re not indestructible,
Baby better get that straight
I think it’s unbelievable
How you give into the hands of fate
So you figured out the first piece of the puzzle, but what about that certain monster who loomed so large over Rocky physically but also mentally?
Yeah, that was Ivan Drago, and Sean McVay fits him to a tee.
I mean think about it. Blonde, spiky hair, blue eyes, chiseled face, and a borderline unfair amount of gifts both possess(ed). Drago’s superhuman power and technique coincides with McVay’s absurd memory that teeters between scary and let’s face it, rather annoying.
Doug Pederson, following the highest of highs last season when he beat Lord Palpa…err I mean Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, has never faced the kind of scrutiny the way he’s had this year and especially leading into the game Sunday.
I see all the angry faces
Afraid that could be you and me
Talkin about what might have been
I’m thinkin about what I used to be
When it got to game time in the L.A. Coliseum, just like Rocky when he walked to the ring in Moscow, the Eagles knew they were fueled by a burning desire set ablaze through a heartbreaking defeat in Dallas coinciding with Rocky’s loss of Apollo in the film.
Foles throughout the first three quarters resembled the Foles we all saw on that fateful February night, hitting Alshon Jeffrey for big gains, moving it up and down the field and consistently getting into the red-zone to allow his trio of running backs to do their damage.
“You see he’s not a machine! He’s a man!” Tony “Duke” Evers
The Rams as the Chicago Bears proved last week, are indeed human and Foles, along with a sterling performance from Jim Schwartz’ defense for most of the night, has assured Rocko one more round as they play Houston and then close the season in D.C for maybe, just maybe, a second shot at the title.
There’s no easy way out there’s no shortcut home