PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles are 3-3 after getting humbled by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Even still, everything they need to make a run in the playoffs remains in front of them in a division that has the 2-4 Giants one game out of first place.
Next week’s division game with the Dallas Cowboys takes on additional meaning, but for now, let’s hone in on another critical NFC loss.
Fake field goals and the Pederson theory
We can all count. A field goal at the end of the first half would have made the score 24-13 at halftime.
The Eagles get the ball and immediately score to open the second half.
Now, instead of a 24-20 score if Doug Pederson takes the points, it’s 24-17 — but you know what happened.
Jake Elliott’s pass was picked, leading to some hilarious tweets with people discovering their fantasy kicker had thrown an interception, and the Birds gave back a little momentum into the break.
According to the telecast, Pederson said he got the look he wanted from the Vikings defense and would call the fake again.
I tend to agree with him. Pederson has proven to be one of the most aggressive coaches in the league.
You know what happens when you consistently roll the dice on fourth down the way he does? Sometimes you dial up the Philly Special and get a statue built outside your stadium, and sometimes a decision you make comes up snake eyes, that’s the game.
Eagles receivers aren’t enough
Let’s discuss the drive that proceeded the fake field goal.
Coming up in #Koobservations: the Eagles wide outs are just not enough. 4 out of 5 weeks their most explosive play in the passing game came from a back.
Also: on 2 min drill at the end of the first half the Eagles threw 5 passes at or behind the LOS. They can’t win downfield
— Dan Koob CBS3 (@DanKoob) October 14, 2019
The Eagles’ wide receiver group without DeSean Jackson is just not enough. Absent his ability to stretch the field vertically, the offense continues to have to rely on scheme and play design to get guys open down the field.
This is the sequence from the end of the first half with the Eagles trailing 24-10 after an interception. They began the drive with 56 seconds left:
- Screen pass to Miles Sanders
- Bubble screen to Alshon Jeffery
- Wentz throw away
- Screen to Nelson Agholor
- Swing pass behind the line of scrimmage (LOS) to Agholor
- Two-yard pass to Zach Ertz
- Incomplete pass to Ertz at LOS
- Incomplete pass to Mack Hollins in end zone
That’s five passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage in a tempo situation. I’m not in the huddle or in the offensive meetings, but if I were to bet, I’d say the Eagles’ coaching staff doesn’t believe they have the guys capable of winning 1-on-1 downfield.
I’m just lifting this from last week’s Koobservations and updating it.
Here are the longest plays the Eagles have had per game during Jackson’s absences:
- Vs. Falcons: 46 yards — Agholor Hail Mary in the fourth quarter
- Vs. Lions: 40 yards — Miles Sanders vs. linebacker
- Vs. Packers: 20 yards — Jordan Howard touchdown reception
- Vs. Jets: 36 yards — Miles Sanders vs. defensive end
- Vs. Vikings: 45 yards — Miles Sanders reception
The Eagles secondary is also not good
I get it. The Eagles should trade for Jalen Ramsey — and I agree.
But, it takes two to tango. The Ringer reported discussions between the two teams involved the Eagles offering a first-round pick and an additional pick to the Jaguars for Ramsey. Jacksonville has said publicly on multiple occasions they will not trade the 24-year-old All-Pro. Both can be true.
So while the talk radio waves fill up with angry Eagles fans imploring Howie Roseman to pull the trigger, it may not matter. The Jaguars are now 2-4 and maybe, at some point, they’ll begin to rebuild but it doesn’t look like a fix is on the horizon anytime soon for the Eagles secondary.
They’ve been plagued by injury, but every team in the league is injured. It’s really not an excuse.
Sidney Jones has been a disappointment and the Eagles have three corners on the roster who weren’t on the team three weeks ago.
Maybe Cre’Von LeBlanc will return and be a difference maker, but I’m not betting my apartment on it.
Jalen Mills hasn’t played a snap since Octotber 2018 — excuse me if I’m not brimming with confidence at the cavalry arriving soon.
Who knows, maybe Howie should redirect that offer to Arizona for Patrick Peterson.
For some reason, people seem to think Carson Wentz is not good
Maybe the preseason narrative of the Eagles having the best roster in football has soured people with diminishing returns of a 3-3 start.
There’s been an increasing trend to pile losses on Wentz’s feet when things don’t go well and praise other pieces when they win. I would just like to know what people are watching?
Even with the lack of skill-position production, Wentz has a TD/INT ratio of 4:1, with a career-low interception percentage of 1.4%.
He has corrected the fumbling issues that affected his career early on — 32 fumbles in his first three seasons. Not one this year.
Want your mind blown?
Carson Wentz has the sixth-best pass interception percentage of all-time. He has the fourth best TD/INT ratio of all-time, trailing only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Some numbers for the Pro-Carson camp. Not only does Wentz have a career low INT% this year (1.4) he hasn’t fumbled once. He fumbled 32 times in 40 games through his first three seasons.
— Dan Koob CBS3 (@DanKoob) October 14, 2019
The sample size is much smaller and Wentz has to stay healthy, of course. Maybe he locks into Zach Ertz because he doesn’t trust the other pieces around him.
Carson isn’t QB1 of the league, but he’s much better than people give him credit for.
Next week in Dallas has the potential to change a lot of moods. If the Birds come out with a win over the Cowboys, they will be sitting pretty in first place of the NFC East.