PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We begin with a trivia question, which statement is true? Carson Wentz is playing poorly; Carson Wentz is surrounded by nothing; or both. It may be difficult to believe, but both of these things are actually true.
Despite what you may hear coursing through your radios or on your Twitter feed, it’s possible for Wentz to be playing the worst stretch of his career while also playing with scrubs.
Here are my Koobservations from the Eagles’ 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:
1. Next man up is dead
Teams can only be stretched so far. The Eagles began the season with their top four cornerbacks injured or unable to play, only to get them back when the offensive health self-destructed. They’ve never even had a chance to play complementary football.
Once Brandon Brooks went out (illness) in the first quarter Sunday, the Eagles’ offense was down its No. 1 running back, Nos. 1-3 wide receiver, starting right guard and right tackle.
That’s six starters. Andre Dillard was benched at halftime because he couldn’t handle right tackle so Matt Pryor had to come in for the second half. These parts are not interchangeable. No one knows what would have happened if we weren’t spared our weekly Jason Peters’ injury.
2. But the offense is a mess nonetheless
Wentz is broken right now. He’s frustrated. He’s sailing passes (badly), he’s seeing guys at his feet and in his direct line of vision (habitually) and he’s missing spots on the rare occasions guys do get open. There’s no trust in this offense.
How can you blame him? Greg Ward is the shiftiest receiver on the roster and he’s been collecting cobwebs on the practice squad for two years. How has this happened on a team with zero speed? If Mack Hollins grades out so well, why can’t he play in a three-wide receiver set full of backups?
Teams have successfully schemed Miles Sanders out of the passing game. Where is the adjustment?
Players’ health is one thing. Football is a game of attrition and it’s the job of the coaching staff and front office to make sure the roster is full of depth. It’s another to not coach the guys and play to their strengths.
Two play calls stand out. On a 3rd-and-1 on one of the few possessions the Eagles could have gotten points, they ran a trap requiring 37-year-old Jason Peters to pull. That play was stuffed. Another was a screen pass to Dallas Goedert to a right side of the offensive line that was playing Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Pryor.
Doug Pederson has to answer to that.
3. The defense has nothing to show for it
The Eagles’ defense is actually rounding into perfect form. They held the Seahawks to 17 points — the fourth straight week they haven’t allowed more than 17 points. The Seahawks and Patriots are a combined 19-3 after the Pats beat Dallas. They scored a combined 34 points against the Birds in two games, and the team has nothing to show for it.
I asked Malcolm Jenkins if they need to adjust their identity and win ugly. He said yes.
4. The Big Fat Saving Grace
The NFC East stinks. Like, it’s terrible. The Cowboys’ loss to the Patriots means the Eagles are still only a game back of the division with Dallas coming to Philly later this year. The Birds’ schedule is inviting, to say the least: at Miami (2-9), vs. Giants (2-9), at Washington (2-9), vs. Cowboys (6-5) and at Giants (2-9).
The Eagles are bad right now. Their schedule is worse and 9-7 is definitely possible. They just have to get the pieces back and get their quarterback right.