EAGLES

Oh no, Carson Wentz has a big new problem to fix

EAGLES

The Eagles are 0-2.

Sunday's loss to the Rams was a game that started horribly, then suddenly felt winnable - until it wasn't. A lot went wrong.

Let's talk about it some instant overreactions... except they might not be overreactions.

1. Oh no, Carson Wentz has an interception problem now

Overreaction? No

Coming into this season, there were plenty of question marks surrounding Carson Wentz's game: accuracy, fumbles, consistency, etc. One problem that didn't exist through his first four years? Interceptions.

Well, you can officially add it to the list.

Wentz threw just seven interceptions in each of the last three years, but he already has four so far this season, and they've largely been bad throws. The interceptions last week came on first downs, against a defense that was on its heels, and really killed the Eagles as their lead slipped away against Washington.

Against the Rams, Wentz once again killed momentum, this time forcing a throw into the end zone as the Eagles tried to take the lead against the Rams in the third quarter, or at least narrow the gap.   

I mean, this is just a bad decision from 11:

He also threw a late-fourth quarter INT, while down 18 and trying to stage an impossible comeback.

Having a quarterback who avoids regularly turning the ball over is easy to take for granted - as I believe many did through Wentz's first four years - until it's gone. Wentz doesn't want to neuter the offense and become a checkdown artist who never takes chances, all to limit turnover opportunities. But his interceptions this year have been very troubling.

 

2. Jim Schwartz's defense is a huge problem

Overreaction? No

In Week 1, the Eagles' defense smothered Dwayne Haskins and Washington in the first half before succumbing to brutal field position and tons of time on the field in the second half. There were excuses aplenty for allowing 20 second-half points to a bad Washington team.

But on Sunday at the Linc, the Eagles' defense was simply useless - especially against the passing game - for gigantic chunks of time. The pass rush didn't put nearly enough pressure on Jared Goff, who isn't a notable improviser. Goff finished with a 74.1% completion percentage for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

The linebacker corps often looked lost in the middle of the field. Cooper Kupp was repeatedly wide open for easy, uncontested catches. And 40-yard rush right after the Eagles cut it to five in the fourth quarter? Followed by a way-too-easy touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee? Just brutal.

This is bad news:

Oh, and outside of the Kupp punt fumble, Schwartz's defense once again failed to create bonus opportunities for the offense by forcing any turnovers.

Ideally, the Eagles would be able to score enough to always stay in games. But that's not going to be the case this year, so Schwartz's unit needs to get it together and start showing up, because better teams (and quarterbacks) are on the horizon.

3. It's time to give up on JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Overreaction? No

The Summer of JJ Arcega-Whiteside fooled us all.

The second-year wideout, a second-round draft pick in 2019, was hailed as showing real improvement during training camp, but after two weeks this season it's clear that he simply doesn't fit in the NFL. Through 18 career games, he hasn't belonged on the field.

In the Eagles' Week 1 loss, Arcega-Whiteside saw 28 snaps and didn't have a single target. He couldn't get open, despite DeSean Jackson's inconsistent presence on the field.

This week, Arcega-Whiteside saw two targets. One was a straight-up drop on 3rd & 2, with the Eagles down 14-3, leading to a punt and a long Rams scoring drive, and the other was Wentz's third-quarter interception, where Wentz tried to make something happen despite Arcega-Whiteside clearly being double-covered. 

The INT was a bad decision by Wentz, but it also highlighted the only thing that Arcega-Whiteside does while running routes: fail to get open.

If you really want to torture yourself, go look at Arcega-Whiteside's career stat line - 10 catches, 169 yards, 1 touchdown in 18 games - and then go look at DK Metcalf's 2020 stat line after the Seahawks' Sunday Night Football game. You will be very unhappy.