The Eagles pass offense is going to need to step it up in the near future. On Monday, I went into the Eagles locker room and listened to veteran wide receiver Mike Wallace say he’s not worried about the team’s inability to throw the football down the field. He says the big plays are coming. I hope they hurry up and get here because the Tampa Buccaneers started out the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick going bombs away to speedy DeSean Jackson and big Mike Evans.
The Eagles inability to connect downfield wasn’t a surprise to me because Wallace hasn’t had enough reps with the team’s quarterbacks Nick Foles or Carson Wentz. Foles was able to connect with Nelson Agholor, but 33 yards on eight catches is ridiculous for a wide receiver. The fact that Foles is throwing the ball to Agholor on routes barely over the line of scrimmage tells us he’s not comfortable throwing the ball to Wallace and the other wideouts or they’re not getting open.
The bottom line is the Birds offense must step up their passing game. If Fitzpatrick and the Bucs are able to generate anywhere near the type of explosiveness they demonstrated on Sunday, Foles and the Eagles will need to match that with some output of their own. I think they expect a better game from their Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz. Rookie tight end Dallas Goedert could give them more than his one catch. I also expect to see Agholor working downfield much more than he did against the Falcons.
Still the key is going to be Foles. He’s got to play better this week if the Birds are going to win their first two games. We’ll see if Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh can find a way to get Foles in rhythm early in the contest.
I would also like to see them get running back Jay Ajayi involved early in the contest this time around, so that Eagles can run the ball effectively and enforce their will on the Tampa Bay defense. The Buccaneers defense will be vulnerable to Foles’ passing if the Birds can get that running game going early. This makes me question the health of Ajayi.
Is he knee so problematic that he can’t play both halves of a game? Are the Eagles limited to playing him either the first half or second half of a game? If this is the case, it puts the Eagles in a tough situation.