Which Franchise Is The Dysfunctional One?
There’s a lot to unpack from Sunday afternoon’s disaster against Washington.
An early 17-0 lead blown. 27 unanswered points. Poor playcalling with even worse execution. Eight quarterback sacks allowed. Three turnovers by the quarterback. Those are all the ingredients necessary for a frustrating upset.
I thought Doug Pederson really did a poor job managing this game.
Up 17-0 with less than two minutes to go in the first half, Pederson and the Eagles were in the driver’s seat. The Redskins had absolutely no momentum to speak of. They hadn’t moved the ball an inch through the better part of the first half.
Given that the Eagles had such a patchwork situation on the offensive line, one would think that this would be the perfect situation for the Eagles to simply run down the clock and go to the half with the game firmly in control.
Instead, Pederson opted to keep his foot on the gas, which has been a trademark of his throughout his coaching tenure. This time, that mentality really came back to haunt him. Wentz would fire an interception that set Washington up with a short field that the opposing offense converted into an easy score.
Doug didn’t back off from this attitude, and really got careless in the second half. Going for it on a fourth and three at about midfield when the Washington pass rush was really starting to dominate was just foolish. Pederson looked as though he was calling plays for a Madden football game in that moment rather than managing the situation in front of him.
The players have their share in the blame here too.
Carson Wentz was terrible after his first interception. The offensive line was garbage, but Wentz was exceptionally poor today. He was missing throws throughout the game, failing to connect on deep passes with Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson towards the end of the first half. Wentz also missed a wide open Jackson in the second half of a third and three. Jackson was left all alone on the sideline and desperately tried to get Wentz’s attention on the play, but instead of looking to move the chains and take the easy gain, Wentz fired up a shot down the field that didn’t connect.
Wentz spent the entire game waiting for big plays to develop down the field, failing to grasp that the offensive line just wasn’t capable of giving those plays enough time to develop. In a situation like today’s, the ball just has to get out of the quarterback’s hands faster.
Wentz generated three turnovers, including one on a strip-sack towards the end of the game, as pocket awareness just continues to be a major issue from him. You can’t have your quarterback giving the ball away so easily.
- Some have criticized Pederson for not making enough of an effort to run the ball today, and I get it, but at the same time I just don’t think the team was generating any push with the offensive line they had deployed today.
- I thought Jason Peters was exceptionally bad today. He was getting beaten and overpowered just as badly as anyone of the line. Clearly worth the raise in pay.
- When Zach Ertz drops the fourth down pass late in the game, you can’t help but wonder how much his focus has been impacted by the contract situation with the team. Ertz and the front office aren’t in a great place right now, and you can’t blame him for being upset. The Eagles set a terrible precedent when the caved to Jason Peters. If I’m Zach Ertz, a guy who has been an all-time great Eagle, that has always done everything right on and off the field, I’m disgusted seeing Peters squeeze dollars out of the franchise while his loyalty has gone unrewarded.
- Want a bit of good news? Jalen Reagor looks like the real deal. Between him and DeSean, this offense won’t have issues with speed anymore.
- JJAW was a no-show once again. Not that anyone was particularly counting on a lot from him.
- Want a little more good news? Dallas Goedert looks ready for a true breakout year.
- You can’t help but continue to question why a 2020 second rounder was used on a quarterback that predictably was on the inactive list.
- Hard to really fault the defense today. Pederson, Wentz, and the offense constantly put them in terrible positions with short fields.
- That said, Avonte Maddox dropped what should have been an interception.
- Darius Slay had a solid debut with the team, really limiting what Terry McLaurin was able to do.
- No Javon Hargrave today, as he’s still recovering from his Training Camp injury. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham left the game with injury as well, leaving Josh Sweat and Genard Avery as the only healthy defensive ends.
- Sweat was a bright spot on defense, coming up with a strip sack.
- Jake Elliot was put in a tougher position by Wentz taking a sack, but he’s got to make that field goal. Another major momentum swing in Washington’s favor.
This was such a brutal loss for this franchise.
Starting the year 0-1, against what’s been one of the worst teams in football, and to lose in this fashion really sets a poor tone for the year.
The Eagles needed to start fast. They’ve got a very difficult schedule, and these first three weeks were all games that were expected to be wins.
If Lane Johnson and Miles Sanders are still out next week, I’m not sure I feel good about the team’s chances of avoiding 0-2 against the Rams. You can bet Aaron Donald will be salivating at the opportunity to tee off on this offensive line.
The season isn’t over. It’s only one game, but I don’t see a lot about this team that makes me think it’s any different from the past couple of seasons.