Eagles

Jeffrey Lurie can't ignore what Eagles have become

Jeffrey Lurie can't ignore what Eagles have become

This is not the team we thought it was.

Not the talent, not the coaching, not the heart.

Something's missing. And whatever combination of personnel, coaching and intangibles has turned a legit Super Bowl contender into the laughing stock of the NFL, the Eagles’ decision makers need to understand that change is necessary.

Not minor adjustments. Real change.

The Eagles tried winning with whatever was left of the Super Bowl roster. They tried to win with momentum. Just keep the thing together as much as possible and fill in the blanks with whoever they could salvage off the scrap heap.  

Last year was a bit of a step backward, but 9-7 with a playoff win in the first year after a Super Bowl championship isn’t bad at all.

And as recently as a month ago, the Eagles were sitting at 5-4 with the supposedly easy part of the schedule coming up, so you could rationalize that good things were on the horizon.

Now 5-4 has turned into 5-7, and there can be no lower point than blowing a 14-point second-half lead to a 2-9 team ranked among the bottom three in the NFL in both offense and defense.

The powers that be can no longer avoid the reality that this team is too old, too slow, too brittle and just not coached well enough to compete on a regular basis with the best teams in the league.

Or in this case, the worst teams in the league.

This isn’t a tweak. This isn’t a quick fix.

This team needs an overhaul. There’s no ignoring it now.

And it doesn’t start with Howie Roseman rolling up his sleeves and figuring out what moves to make. What former Eagles to bring back this time around.

No, it has to start with Jeff Lurie being truly honest with himself and examining whether the personnel department needs a major restructure.

Lurie will never fire Howie. But would he transition him into a role where he focuses on contracts and salary cap while a GM comes in and gains final say over personnel? It’s not unthinkable. It couldn’t hurt at this point.

And Lurie won’t fire Doug Pederson, not yet. Doug still has at least another year of equity built up from that 2017 season that seems so far in the past. But certainly every assistant on the staff needs to be honestly evaluated. Some need to be replaced.

Whether it’s Howie or someone else making the calls, this roster needs reconstructive surgery. The Eagles just don’t have enough impact players on either side of the ball. Their best players are linemen and most of them are older players.

The Eagles need playmakers. Desperately.

They have drafted exactly three Pro Bowl skill players — everything other than o-line and d-line — in the past decade. Foles, Wentz and Ertz. The last time they drafted a linebacker, corner or safety who went to a Pro Bowl? Would you believe 17 years ago?

Are the Eagles spiraling downhill because they don’t have good enough players? Or are the players not good enough because the coaching is inadequate?

Probably a little of both, but that’s something the Eagles’ brain trust — whoever that is — also needs to figure out.

New coaches are needed. New perspectives are needed. New ideas. New teachers. New vision.

Heck, even if the Eagles do beat the Cowboys and win out and make the playoffs (which I can’t imagine), that shouldn’t change anything.

Winning the division because everybody else has even bigger problems is nothing to celebrate.

Right now, there’s really nothing to celebrate other than the simple fact that if the Eagles do what they have to do this offseason and make some difficult but necessary changes, better days are ahead.

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Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson said he hopes to get recently re-acquired running back Jay Ajayi more involved in the offense as the Eagles head into the stretch run.

Ajayi has eight carries for 25 yards and a 3.1 average in two games since returning to the Eagles following a year layoff. 

A Pro Bowler in 2016 with the Dolphins and a stud down the stretch during the Super Bowl season, Ajayi suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 last year and didn’t play from Oct. 7, 2018, until Nov. 24, 2019, when he made his 2019 debut against the Seahawks.

Ajayi didn't have OTAs or a training camp and didn't even practice until the Wednesday before the Seattle game. 

It's a process with him, but we understand who he is and the injury that he's coming off of, so we're careful with that,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, he's a bigger, powerful guy that we can use in spots.

With Jordan Howard missing the last three games with nerve damage in his shoulder, rookie Miles Sanders has essentially been the entire running attack. But the Eagles are so hesitant to increase his workload significantly that it’s created a situation in which the Eagles just haven’t run the ball very much during their three-game losing streak because they haven’t had a viable second option.

During these last three games, Sanders has 40 carries, Ajayi eight and Boston Scott seven.

This is the first time the Eagles have leaned this heavily on one back in a three-game stretch since 2012. 

During a late-season three-game stretch in which LeSean McCoy was hurt, Bryce Brown got 52 carries and Dion Lewis had four.

The Eagles ran 45 percent of the time in the nine games Howard played and 31 percent since he got hurt. They’re 0-3 without him.

Miles has done a great job,” Pederson said Saturday. “I’d love to get Jay a few more touches and get Boston in the mix so we're not obviously wearing Miles down here this last month of the season.

The current stretch is the first in franchise history that the Eagles have thrown at least 40 times and run the ball 23 or fewer times in three straight games.

Howard hasn’t played since before the bye week and is out for the Eagles’ game Monday night against the Giants. 

Pederson said earlier in the week he doesn’t expect this to be a season-ending injury, but will Howard be able to pick up where he left off after such a long layoff even if he does return?

The Eagles began the season with Howard, Sanders, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles in what looked to be a deep running back rotation. 

Sanders is the only one of that group left. Can Ajayi make a difference after such a long layoff? Sounds like Pederson wants to find out.

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Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Updated: 3:39 p.m.

Derek Barnett and Nelson Agholor will likely be game-time decisions for Monday Night Football, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday morning. 

Barnett (ankle) and Agholor (knee) both missed all three days of practice this week and are listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He was just placed in protocol on Thursday and won't play Monday night. 

And Jordan Howard (shoulder) has still not been cleared for contact; he can’t play until he is and that’s not happening before Monday. He's officially questionable. 

Lane Johnson also missed practice on Friday and Saturday for a non-injury reason but is expected to play on Monday. 

If Agholor is unable to play, the Eagles would be left with just three healthy receivers on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

“We’re very comfortable, obviously, with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “So if it’s three, it’s three. We brought up [Josh Perkins] a week ago to help us there, so it’s an addition there. We go and we go play. We’ll discuss those over the next couple of days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision we will. We feel good with the guys we have in that receiver role.” 

If the Eagles do decide to make a roster move, they have three wide receivers on their practice squad: Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Marken Michel. 

While Agholor had his knee injury before last week’s game, Barnett got hurt during the loss in Miami, but was still able to play through the injury and play 50 snaps. Barnett has played the third-most defensive snaps on the team this year, so losing him for this game wouldn’t be insignificant. 

If Barnett can’t play, expect Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry to get more reps. After that, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall and even Shareef Miller could see a few snaps. 

For the Giants: 

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