Eagles exhibit classic hallmark of a bad team in loss to Dolphins

Eagles exhibit classic hallmark of a bad team in loss to Dolphins

MIAMI — Carson Wentz did enough for the Eagles to win on Sunday against the Dolphins. 

The fact that the Eagles didn’t win is obviously a problem. And it’s a hallmark of bad teams. They’re finding different ways to lose. 

In the previous two losses, the Eagles scored just 19 total points, while the defense held two Hall of Fame quarterbacks to 17 points each. 

And then on Sunday, the Eagles’ offense was able to explode (it’s all relative) for 31 points! But on the same day, their defense gave up 37 to an offense that was ranked 30th in the NFL, scoring fewer than 15 points per game, and led by a 37-year-old journeyman quarterback. 

It was a total role reversal in the Eagles’ 37-31 loss at Hard Rock Stadium. But the result was the same. Another loss. 

Wentz noticed it too — that the Eagles’ offense and defense can’t seem to play well at the same time. 

“Obviously we had a couple really bad showing offensively and we came out here and put up points,” Wentz said. “But I believe in this defense. I believe in the offense. I think we’re going to get this thing going in the right direction. 

“Obviously, it’s tough to lose the way we did, the circumstances, like I said earlier. But a lot of faith we’re going to get this thing going.”

I understand that Wentz has to have faith things are going to turn around, but it’s hard to imagine that in Week 14, all of a sudden, things are just going to click. We have to face the facts here: This is a bad football team. Sunday was their third straight loss, the first time they’ve done that since Doug Pederson’s first season as head coach. 

I thought Wentz actually played pretty well on Sunday. Sure, he made a few big mistakes. The 10-yard sack in the third quarter just can’t happen; it probably cost the Eagles three points. And he missed a deep ball to Alshon Jeffery. 

But, overall, Wentz wasn’t the problem on Sunday. He threw for 310 yards with three touchdowns. And his passer rating before that intercepted Hail Mary — which was a good throw, by the way — was 104.9. 

And let’s not forget that Wentz hit Zach Ertz inside the red zone in the third quarter up 28-20 and the tight end just dropped an easy ball. 

Some of this probably sounds like more excuses for Wentz, but it was hard to watch that game and not walk away thinking the rest of the team let him down. Wentz didn’t give up 37 points, he didn’t commit 10 penalties for 91 yards, he didn’t drop passes. 

At the same time, he knows he can still be better. 

“Every game is different, but at the end of the day, we’re not making enough plays in critical situations to win ballgames,” Wentz said. “We’ve been close in a lot of these, and just collectively as a team, we’re just coming up short in those critical situations and it starts with me. I’ve got to be better in a lot of those big-time situations too.”

The Eagles have four games left in the 2019 season. Technically, they can still win out and win the NFC East. 

But after losing to the Dolphins, it’s hard to imagine that happening … no matter how the team tries to spin it. 

“That’s good football team,” Pederson said of the Dolphins, who entered Sunday with two wins and an NFL-low point differential of minus-183. 

The Dolphins, of course, are not a good football team. They’re one of the worst teams in the league. 

So what does that make the Eagles? 

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NFL Free Agency: Eagles could face Jadeveon Clowney next year on NFC East rival

NFL Free Agency: Eagles could face Jadeveon Clowney next year on NFC East rival

Jadeveon Clowney is Public Enemy No. 1 for Eagles fans right now, after his dirty hit in the Wild Card round injured Carson Wentz and ended the Birds' playoff hopes.

Can you imagine facing Clowney twice in 2020? That might end up a reality, according to a report from none other than ESPN's Josina Anderson, another villain from the Wentz hit fallout.

Anderson reports that Clowney is opening to returning to the Seahawks in 2020, but is also open to other opportunities, and could be courted by an Eagles rival:

Ignoring the football implications for now - Clowney, antics aside, is good at football - let's think instead about the absolute mayhem that would meet Clowney when the Giants visited The Linc.

It would probably be... a lot. For a fanbase willing to boo its own guys, that's nothing compared to the wrath Philly fans unleash when they feel they've been wronged by a player, justified or not. Just ask Sidney Crosby how his last decade-plus of visits to this side of the state have been, without anything nearly as malicious on his rap sheet.

The entire organization was angry about the play, from guys like Jason Peters in the hours after the hit to Howie Roseman talking about its lingering effects just this week (see story), which means we'd likely see a fired-up team take the field in that first Giants game, especially if it happened to be at home, emotions swirling in the South Philly winds.

Roseman encapsulated most fans' feelings when he spoke at the NFL Combine on Wednesday:

We thought that was a foul. We’re sick to our stomach about the way our season ended for our team and Carson in particular. (...) Doug’s sick. Jeffery’s sick about it. Our whole organization is sick about it. We’re there, we have a home playoff game, eight plays in? Come on.

Luckily for Eagles fans seeking to voice their frustration, even if Clowney goes back to Seattle, he'll still visit the Linc next year. But it would be doubly satisfying to beat him while he plays for a division rival.

Can you imagine the roar of the crowd as Wentz spins out of a Clowney sack attempt, rolls to his right, and rifles a pass to Dallas Goedert to go up by two scores? The Linc might not survive.

We'll see what happens.

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Eagles doing homework on top WRs in draft, but can they find the right one?

Eagles doing homework on top WRs in draft, but can they find the right one?

INDIANAPOLIS — The Eagles’ biggest need this offseason happens to line up with the biggest area of strength in the NFL Draft. 

It seems too easy, right? 

There’s a reason why just about every mock draft has the Eagles taking a receiver with the 21st pick and while there’s no guarantee they go that way, the thought process checks out. 

And as the Eagles are in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine, they are doing their homework on the top receivers in this class. As of Tuesday, players like Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson had already met with the Eagles and guys like Tee Higgins and KJ Hamler were expecting their meetings with the Birds the following day. 

The Eagles will have plenty of options at receiver in April when it comes to the draft. NFL Network analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah raved about this class of receivers last week, saying he thinks there are 27 receivers worthy of grades in the top three rounds.

While it seems like everyone throughout the league is raving about how great this receiver class is, Howie Roseman on Tuesday played coy. 

“We don’t have all the information,” Roseman said. “I think we look at all these positions as we go here, the medical’s a big part of it, the interviews are a big part of it. How they learn. The testing is a part of it, so you throw that all together. 

“We’ve been in a position where there’s a bunch of guys we like and maybe they’re a medical reject or something happens off the field as we dig as we go through the process. And then all of a sudden, we think we have 12 guys that we like and we’re at 8. Let’s see where all the information comes in and we’ll see where we’re at.”

Maybe Roseman is downplaying how good this class is because he’s been burned before by statements about the greatness of a position class. Remember in 2017, when he called the running back class “historic” and then the Eagles ended up with Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round? 

That’s not the only time the Eagles have gone into a draft heavy at a certain position and not come out with a top guy. And Roseman even cautioned against going into a draft preoccupied with the idea of needing to get a player at a position just because of how good the class is supposed to be. 

“I don’t think it’s a mistake not taking guys early in the strength of that draft, because what happens is, guys at other positions fall to you, because of that, and that gives you an opportunity to still get value,” he said. 

Fair enough, but the Eagles need a receiver and this class is full of them … maybe don’t overthink it. 

The Eagles’ recent history picking receivers won’t exactly instill a lot of confidence. After all, the reason they need to find receivers this offseason is in part because they’ve struggled to draft them. 

But the Eagles shouldn’t be thinking about their past failures drafting receivers. Learn from those mistakes? Sure. But they have a real opportunity to find a playmaker in April. 

Before testing, it seems like the top three receivers in the class are Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III. Then there might be a bit of a drop-off to guys like Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk. And Laviska Shenault is talented but has significant injury concerns, which might scare the Eagles off. And then there’s another drop-off to players in the second round. 

Here’s how NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks ranks the top five at the position: 

1. Jerry Jeudy 

2. CeeDee Lamb

3. Henry Ruggs III

4. Laviska Shenault 

5. Tee Higgins

The player most Eagles fans seem to be enthralled with is Ruggs and for good reason. Despite his smaller stature (5-11, 188), Ruggs is an absolute burner. The Eagles need speed and Ruggs has it. 

His goal for the 40-yard dash is a lofty one. 

“I’m trying to hit the lowest ever,” Ruggs said. “So 4.22 or lower.”

If Ruggs runs a 4.22, you can kiss any hope of him being available at 21 good-bye. Heck, that’s probably a pipe dream already. 

But after having just five draft picks in 2018 and 2019, the Eagles expect to have 10 picks in April. Plenty of ammunition to trade up for a player they deem worthy. 

“So if there is a guy that we thought was an incredibly highly valued, and we could go up and go get him,” Roseman said, “we couldn’t take that off the table.”

In April, the Eagles will have their opportunity to draft a big-time receiver to give Carson Wentz a much-needed weapon for the next several years. Now, they just have to figure out which one. 

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