The Eagles’ loss to the Dolphins was probably enough to make some fans swear off football for the rest of the year. I get that.
But there are still plenty of reasons to watch the final quarter of the Eagles’ season.
Let’s be honest, too. You’re going to watch.
Playoffs are still in play
As minimal as their chances feel, the Eagles are still in the playoff hunt. They’re just a game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East and will be in if they win out. That’s obviously a tough sell right now after watching them lose to the Dolphins, but the Eagles have a 35 percent chance to make the playoffs. If they make it, then they’d host a game in the wild card round.
If this isn’t enough of a reason for you — and I get that — there are still some others that have more long-term implications.
The Eagles already made their decision on Wentz this past offseason when they signed him to a $108 million deal. So he’s not going anywhere. But the franchise quarterback can play well in these last four games and let us know that guy, the special player, is still in there. And just finishing a season would be something he hasn’t done since his rookie year in 2016.
Right now, he’s on pace for 3,786 yards, 26.7 touchdowns and 9.3 interceptions. He could end up with a new career-high in yards. Wentz would need to average 290 passing yards in the last four games to become the Eagles’ first-ever 4,000-yard passer. But it’s really not about the numbers. It’s about leaving the fanbase with a feeling of confidence after his fourth NFL season.
Will Doug find it again?
Along the same lines as Wentz, let’s see if Doug Pederson can re-find some of the magic he had a couple years ago. Let’s just see some better game-planning and in-game decisions. We all understand that Pederson has built up enough equity to outlast this disappointing season, but he could leave fans with some confidence that he can still be the same coach he was in 2017. This will also let us know if his messaging is still working with this team; does the locker room stick together?
Decisions on upcoming free agents
There are several key players who are set to become free agents at the end of this year and the Eagles will have to make decisions about: Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby, Nelson Agholor, Tim Jernigan, Jordan Howard, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Jalen Mills. And then the Eagles will also have to decide whether or not they want to pick up their option on Nigel Bradham, and if they want to try to move on from a guy like Alshon Jeffery.
The Eagles have always worked hard to keep their core players but it could be time for a new infusion of players. This could be an interesting offseason.
Rookie/young player development
In these last four games, the Eagles are going to try to win, but I’d prefer to see as much of their young talent as possible. That means finding snaps for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. That means seeing how Miles Sanders handles being the lead back. That means actually letting Shareef Miller play and making Josh Sweat the top rotational defensive end; I know what Vinny Curry is at this point. Let’s see if there’s a future with some of these guys. The problem is that the Eagles are still trying to win, so it’s not like they’re just going to start playing all the developmental guys, but we’ll get our glimpses.
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