A Dumpster Fire (Nearly) All Around: Eagles Week 2 Recap
Photo Source: David Maialetti, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Following a 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Philadelphia Eagles now possess something they haven't had since the start of the 2015 season; a record of 0-2. When the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Washington Football Team 27 to 17 last weekend, I was pretty frustrated. I can't say that about today's loss to the Los Angeles Rams. See, losing games when you think your team is good is frustrating because you believe that they can play better. Losing when you begin to realize that maybe your team is just bad, isn't as heartbreaking. There were high hopes for this Eagles team coming into the 2020 season, with many believing that they could contend in the postseason. However, if they don't stop the bleeding fast, this could be one very long and very ugly season.
Now that I've gotten my mini rant out of the way, lets get into who improved, who was bad, and who was particularly bad against the Rams:
Improved: The Offensive Line
Maybe it was the return of starting right tackle Lane Johnson, or maybe it's because the replacement level guys found their groove. In either case, the Eagles Offensive Line played much better today than they did last week when they gave up eight sacks against Washington. Despite having to play against the best D-lineman in the league in Aaron Donald, the O-line let up Zero sacks today. Unfortunately, all good things come at a cost for the Eagles. At the start of the fourth quarter, starting left guard Isaac Seumalo had to be helped off the field with an apparent knee injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Given the Eagles recent history with injuries, especially along the O-line, it wouldn't be inconceivable to see Seumalo out for at least a few games. But, let's focus on the positives right now because the O-line did play well and they deserve credit from bouncing back after last weeks terrible showing.
Bad: The Defensive Line (Specifically The Tackles)
I know no one likes to talk about Lineman this much, but it's inevitable when talking about the Eagles. So, let's get into the D-Line. On paper, a defensive front made up of Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Javon Hargrave should be a dominant one. The price of that position group reflects that sentiment as well. The three aforementioned players combined make up nearly 15% of the Eagles 2020 total salary. With how much time and resources the Eagles have put into this position group, they need to be elite. Well, this past Sunday, they just weren't. They recorded zero sacks and zero QB hits on a day when the Rams lost a starter on their O-Line. Also, this position group is typically staunch against the run. But like their pass rash, the run stopping up front wasn't working either. The Eagles defense needs to be better, and it starts with the Defensive tackles and Defensive Ends (they played rather poorly too).
Particularly Bad: Carson Wentz
Man, I just don't know what going on with this guy. In each of the past three seasons, Wentz threw 7 interceptions. In fact, Philly media have often rightly claimed that Wentz is good at surveying the field pre pass. This allows him to minimize turnovers in the air. Well, we're two games into the season right now and Wentz has had 4 interceptions. There were many head scratching plays for the fifth year pro but none more so when he threw his first pick in double coverage. Wentz was targeting second year Wide Receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, when Ram's Corner Darious Williams undercut him and picked off the pass in the end zone. Prior to the pass,, the Eagles had all the momentum in the world and were rallying from falling behind 21-3 early in the game. That one interception was all that was needed to kill the momentum of the charging Eagles and they never mounted any serious comeback for the rest of the game. That was a bad throw by Wentz, one of many made from today. The Eagles fly as Carson Wentz fly's and as long as he's playing as poorly as he is, the Eagles will never win a game. Wentz has to be better.
Where Do They Go From Here?:
Up next on the schedule the Eagles play the Cincinnati Bengals before having to start a truly grueling stretch where they have to play the 49'ers, Steelers, and Ravens. If they can manage to win two out of the four next games, then there will still be a glimmer of hope in my mind. However, here's a stat to keep in mind; since 2007, only 12% of teams to start 0-2 have made the playoffs. At the moment, I'm not feeling too great about the season. But, this team has funny way of surprising me sometimes. So, we'll see.
Bang Bang Bird Gang.