My biggest concern about Carson Wentz, why people were wrong about Jalen Hurts and a crazy Miles Sanders stat.
The Eagles keep losing and the random observations keep coming!
Here's this weekend's Roob's 10 random Eagles observations:
1. The thing that concerns me the most about Carson Wentz is the way his decision making and pocket presence deteriorated this year. I get that the O-line was bad. I get that the receivers were shaky. I get that Doug's play-calling was lackluster. But there were numerous times guys were open and he just didn't see them. There were numerous times protection was fine and he just stood there and got sacked. Now, maybe his consistently poor play was a product of everything going bad around him. So maybe he was just so far off because of all the sacks and dropped passes and big hits that when things did line up in his favor, he was just shell-shocked and unable to function. It's possible. But why was he able to overcome it all at the end of last year under a similar set of circumstances — injuries, lack of talent around him, practice squad receivers? Why did his internal clock just stop working? How did he lose the ability to sense pressure and see the field? I think Wentz deserves every opportunity to bounce back from this, and I believe he'll get that opportunity. But a big part of me wonders if he can.
2. Here's the craziest thing about Wentz's season. The average NFL passer rating this year is 93.3. Wentz didn't have one game this year where he reached 93.3. He didn't have one game that was even average. And he had nine games at 75 or lower. The last NFL QB with more games at 75 or lower through 12 games of a season was Vinny Testaverde in 1988 and the last Eagle with nine such games in a full season was Tommy Thompson in 1950. This is historical stuff.
3. I truly hope somebody close to Jason Peters gets through to him and convinces him to retire and stop trying to recapture past glory that just isn't there anymore. He can't be that guy anymore and the longer he tries, the more he tarnishes his legacy. He's one of the greatest offensive tackles of all-time. I hope people get the chance to remember him that way.
4. With Jalen Hurts starting Sunday, this will be the 25th time in the last 30 years the Eagles' opening-day quarterback has failed to start 16 games. The only exceptions are Donovan McNabb in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008 and Wentz in 2016 and 2019.
5. Jason Kelce's remarks on Wednesday were extraordinary and necessary. It's one thing to call out your teammates, which he did. It's another thing to call out your coaches, which he also did. But to call out the Eagles' front office for its role in this mess of a 2020 season? Hey, we all understand Howie Roseman's role in the lack of talent on the roster, but for one of the greatest players in franchise history to go there, that's the kind of thing that gets the owner's attention. Kelce has always been accountable and self-critical when he needs to be, which adds even more weight to his comments. It's obvious to all of us that things need to change this offseason, but when a three-time all-pro center says it, that packs a wallop.
6. It's strange that some fans were claiming Jalen Hurts didn't add any juice when he replaced Wentz in Green Bay. It generally went something like this: "He was 5-for-12 against a soft zone big deal lol." Way too many fans were in a big rush to not give Hurts any credit when it was clear he gave the Eagles something that's been missing. First of all, this was the first extended NFL playing time of his life. Wentz is a 5th-year veteran starting his 68th game. So there's a slightly different expectation. And Hurts did add something. He got the ball down the field to his WRs more in three series than Wentz has in his last five games. And both were excellent throws against good coverage. And he scrambled for a couple of first downs. Was he perfect? Of course not. But the 34-yard throw to Jalen Reagor and the 32-yard touchdown to Greg Ward were enough to give you some hope. The people dismissing his performance as "no different than Carson," I've really got to wonder about their agenda.
7. Weird that Chip Kelly had more 10-win seasons in three years as head coach of the Eagles than Pederson has in his first five.
8. The bizarre career of Jordan Matthews continues. After sitting out all year, the 49ers signed Matthews to their practice squad on Nov. 27 and then released him on Tuesday, 11 days later. The 49ers have now signed and released Matthews five times over the last two years, and he's played three snaps for them and hasn't caught a pass. He's 28 and should be in his prime, but he hasn't caught a pass since his brief third stint with the Eagles last November and he hasn't caught a TD since the playoff game against the Saints. This is a guy who had the 10th-most catches in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons. He's the only player in NFL history to catch over 200 passes in his first three seasons and less than 50 the rest of his career. Since the Eagles traded him to the Bills for Ronald Darby during 2017 training camp, he's been signed and released nine times by four teams. One of the strangest career arcs ever.
9. Never thought I'd get to the point where I'd rather see J.J. Arcega-Whiteside playing instead of Alshon Jeffery. But here we are.
10. This is one of the craziest stats: Miles Sanders is averaging 6.0 yards per carry the first three quarters and 2.7 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. His rushing average the first three quarters of games is highest among all NFL running backs. His rushing average after the first three quarters is sixth-WORST in the NFL out of 70 qualifying running backs. Probably a combination of fatigue, defenses making adjustments that the Eagles aren't countering and Doug Pederson calling runs in predictable situations. But the disparity is staggering. He's averaging more than twice as many yards the first three quarters as the fourth quarter, and that can't happen.
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