Missing starters on offense no excuse for Eagles' miserable performance

Missing starters on offense no excuse for Eagles' miserable performance

The Eagles were missing a lot of offensive starters on Sunday against the Seahawks. 

Not even including DeSean Jackson, who is on IR, the Eagles came into Sunday’s game without Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard and Lane Johnson. And then early in the game, they lost Brandon Brooks, who exited with an illness. 

Still, there’s still no excuse for the Eagles’ pitiful offensive performance in their 17-9 loss to the Seahawks at the Linc on Sunday. 

There was plenty of blame to go around after the loss that dropped the Eagles to 5-6 on the season, but a good portion of it will end up on the starting quarterback. Head coach Doug Pederson pushed back against that. 

“Our issues on offense today were not about Carson Wentz,” Pederson said. “Obviously, he’s a part of it. This is an offensive issue. I’ve got to look at it. I gotta make my own assessment of my performance, then we’ll coach the players this week and we’ll get better.”

On one hand, Pederson is right. There’s plenty of blame to go around. But Wentz deserves a lot of it. Sunday was arguably the worst performance in Wentz’s four-year career. 

But on top of that, the Eagles suffered from bad and predictable play-calling, lousy line play and awful execution. 

The Eagles turned the ball over five times on Sunday. It was their first five-turnover game since Sept, 19, 2013. Wentz lost one fumble on his own, they flubbed a handoff to Miles Sanders on a questionable play call, Wentz threw two INTs and Dallas Goedert fumbled. 

Three of the Eagles’ five turnovers came in Seattle territory and the other two came past their own 40-yard line. 

Trying to win a game against a good team without five starters is hard enough. The Eagles tried to do it without holding on to the football. 

“The turnovers are inexcusable,” Zach Ertz said. “You’ve got no chance of winning a football game when you have five turnovers. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a college team. If you have five turnovers, you’re not going to win. Just gotta find a way to protect the football. That’s the most important thing.”

The Eagles’ play-calling in this game was certainly questionable too. We can pick out certain plays like that delayed handoff to Sanders that resulted in a fumble, but overall, Pederson wasn’t able to gain an advantage for his short-handed team. 

It certainly seems like nothing the Eagles did on Sunday fooled the Seahawks: 

That seems pretty damning. 

With the missing starters, is Pederson limited as a play-caller? 

“I think I’m more aware of certain things that we can or can’t do,” Pederson said. “But for the most part, as we game plan and put things together, we’re still thinking of the same guys, even in the run game. Once you get into the game too, you have to make adjustments as you see fit.” 

Ertz said the players around Wentz need to find a way to be more productive. He again said the Eagles simply didn’t execute well enough. That has become a recurring theme for these postgame media sessions. 

And now that we’re moving on to Week 13, it’s hard to imagine a switch flipping. 

What if this just is the Eagles’ offense? 

“I feel like we’re better than what we’re putting out,” Ertz said. That’s just the bottom line. I’ve gotta believe that. The leaders on offense have to put it on ourselves and find a way to improve. It starts this week against the Dolphins.”

Maybe the Eagles will get Alshon and Nelly and Brooks and Lane back next week in Miami. Or maybe they won’t. 

Either way, the offense needs to play better. No excuses.

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Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

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Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank is joined by Dave Zangaro from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to go over the biggest storylines of the day. 

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Tuesday about a wide range of topics. 

Will Jason Peters return? Have the Eagles changed their free agent philosophy? And what will the coaching staff really look like in 2020? 

• One more year of Jason Peters? 
• Eagles might change free agency approach
• More details about the coaching structure
• The rise of Press Taylor 
• What will Rich Scangarello do?  
• Breaking down Duce Staley’s role in the organization 

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Eagles leave open possibility that Jason Peters returns in 2020

Eagles leave open possibility that Jason Peters returns in 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Jason Peters is 38 years old, will become a free agent in less than a month and the Eagles already drafted his replacement in the first round a little less than a year ago.

This seems pretty simple, right?

Yet, as Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Tuesday at the NFL’s Scouting Combine, neither man was ready to say the team is moving on.

“I think as it pertains to all of our free agents, it’s important that we keep an open mind with everyone and try to figure out as we get more information,” Roseman said.

“A big part of this week is accumulating information. That’s what we do here. Obviously, when you’re talking about Jason Peters, you’re talking about a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person, someone that’s very special to us and played at a really high level last year. We’ll go through all those decisions this week.”

Pederson gave less of a politician answer.

“Heck yeah,” Pederson said when asked if he wants Peters back next season.

So that leads us to this: Is there really a chance the Eagles would re-sign a 38-year-old left tackle instead of playing a first-round pick they traded up to get less than a year ago?

It seems crazy.

Coming into Tuesday, I thought there was a chance Roseman would get to the podium and use the forum as a chance to make a statement about Peters. I thought, maybe, he would get up there and tell us all that the Eagles were planning to let Peters hit the free agent market, thank him for his time and give a vote of confidence to Andre Dillard as the left tackle of the future.

That didn’t happen.

In fact, Roseman and Pederson actually invited more speculation and I walked away thinking there’s actually a chance they try to bring back Peters for next season, even though it sounds pretty crazy.

Maybe they just haven’t talked to Peters yet. That’s possible. In a case like this, if the Eagles want to move on, they wouldn’t want to do anything to disrespect a guy who has been here a decade and will likely end up in Canton. Even Roseman admitted that it’s important to treat guys of this magnitude a little differently.

“There’s no question,” Roseman said. “When you talk about guys who are historic players in the National Football League, guys who are going into the Hall of Fame, guys who are going into the Eagles Hall of Fame, those guys are special people and special players and you don’t have a lot of those during the course of your career.

“So you try to make decisions first that are best for the football team and at the same time have respect and appreciation for what guys have done and what guys have done going forward and have been a part of your organization for a long time.”

Peters played the 2019 season on a renegotiated one-year deal that he signed in March. And while Peters didn’t play at an All Pro level last year, he was still pretty good.

But throughout last season, it seemed like the Eagles were going to let Peters play and groom Dillard. And, sure, Dillard struggled at right tackle in his one start at the position, but acquitted himself quite well at left tackle when Peters missed a three-game stretch.

On Tuesday, I asked Pederson about the possibility that bringing back Peters could stunt Dillard’s long-term development. I mean, what would it say about a first-round rookie if the Eagles didn’t start him in Year 2 and instead re-signed a 38-year old to play in front of him?

“Andre is the guy we selected,” Pederson said. “He was our top pick a year ago. We feel like he has a bright future. Again, this is where that fine line comes in. We have to have some difficult conversations, not only for us internally but with the players.”

Pederson said his feelings about wanting Peters back are similar to the way he felt about Darren Sproles. Well, the Eagles brought Sproles back in 2018 and 2019 and he got hurt both seasons. It seems like a cautionary tale.

And unlike Sproles, who was a rotational player, if Peters returns, he’ll be the starting left tackle.

“It is that simple when it comes down to it,” Pederson said. “It’s either JP or it’s Andre and those are decisions we have to make.”

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