It begins with finding a way to start fast offensively. They saw what it means to start fast last Sunday in Minneapolis, when they found themselves trailing 10-0 and then 24-3. The Vikings jumped on them before they had the chance to put on their helmets. Minnesota put together a long, effective drive that culminated with a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen on a double move versus Sidney Jones. The series started with Cousins throwing a quick four or five yard route to Stefon Diggs on the first play from scrimmage.
We’ve got to see this type of start from our offense. They need to come out like they did many times in the 2017 season with an offense that’s on the attack. I think Carson Wentz needs to work on calming himself at the beginning of games. It seems like he gets so hyped up at the beginning of games that his passes seem to sail high in the first half. He needs to get calmer and more relaxed. I think as he gets into the game his passes become more accurate, but that’s got to occur sooner going forward.
Head coach Doug Peterson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh need to do a better job of designing and calling the first 15 plays at the beginning of games. I think they need to go to their “Go To” plays at the beginning games. They’ve got to be more effective with the design of the plays and the strategy in calling them. Next up the offense must go out there and execute the plays.
It would help to get DeSean Jackson back out there to open up the field, but we’ve got to see a better and more effective plan going forward, whether Jackson is out there or not. Defenses are emphasizing taking away Zach Ertz as a target for Wentz. The presence of Jackson will make that impossible for safeties because the speed of number 10 will force the safeties to stay deep. Going forward the Eagles must have more than one or two receivers with deep speed. Are they shocked that the 32-year old Jackson has already missed five games?
The offensive line needs to get more effective in the run blocking for Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders in the first drive. The left side of the line Jason Peters and Isaac Seumalo must step up their game. It might be time for the Eagles coaching staff to sit down Peters and make Andre Dillard the starter, because it looks like we’re headed back into the 2018 season with Peters taking himself out of every game. Are they shocked that the 37-year old Peters is taking himself out of games again this year?
In the Minnesota game, the Birds ran it three times a row, but were unable to get the first down, so they had to punt. They were one-yard short. They can’t let that happen again on their first drive while on the road, if they’re going to be a dominating offense. Everybody who plays a part in the running game, must do a better job early in the first quarter.
The Eagles defense must also get going earlier. In nearly all the team’s games this season, the Birds defense has let the other team drive for a score in the first quarter. They do a good job versus the run, but their pass defense is atrocious. Our cornerbacks, Avonte Maddox, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones must play with more confidence and stop playing ten yards off the receiver.
They must learn to move around before the snap, so the quarterback doesn’t know where you’re going to be at the snap of the ball. They must mix things up. Right now, they’re giving the opponents too much credit. Right now they’re playing scared. Come out there with some swagger and confidence.
We also can’t have defensive backs blowing assignments or getting beaten deep for touchdowns. Even our veteran safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod played poorly against the Vikings.
If you are playing in an NFL secondary you are going to get beaten and it’s going to happen numerous times, even if you’re the best that ever played the game. You’re going to be “The Hunter” or “The Hunted”. You’ve got to refuse to be “The Hunted” by assuming that every time the ball goes in the air, it’s yours. You’re going to get beaten but you must show up every week prepared to compete. You’ve got to play with confidence and a swagger. You’ve got to be ready to play hard and aggressive all the time.
You must have a short memory if you’re going to play in the secondary in the NFL because you will be beaten. That’s the way the game is designed. That’s okay as long as you’re prepared, you’re confident and you’re on the attack. If you’re on the attack you’re going to get interceptions and turnovers that are going to equal everything out.
It’s not just the secondary that is the problem. Our pass rush has been pathetic for most the season thus far other than the New York Jets game. Brandon Graham registered a sack, but that was it when it came to pressure on Cousins. We are just not getting the consistent pass rush pressure from Graham, Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox and the rest of the crew. This must improve or the secondary is going to get roasted.
I want them to give back up defensive end Daeshon Hall a chance to play on third downs. I would move Graham inside to tackle on third downs and give Hall a chance to show us what he’s got outside at defensive end. They need more speed going around the corner. Hall has the speed. Let’s turn him loose. What do we have to lose?
The Eagles must make these changes immediately, so they’ll be ready to beat the Cowboys and take the lead in the division.
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