The Eagles are in first place. Carson Wentz is heating up. Travis Fulgham is legit. The defense just came up with three takeaways and sealed the win over the Giants on Thursday night with a huge play.
The Eagles have serious issues. Let’s start with the O-line. The guard situation is a mess. Nate Herbig is an effective starter, but the team keeps moving him between LG and RG. That has limited his ability to develop and improve. He’s a functional starter, but has the potential to be more than that if he can stay at one spot.
The reason he keeps getting moved is that the other guards are significantly better at one spot. Sua Opeta is better at LG. Jamon Brown needs to play RG. Matt Pryor is better on the right side. And so on.
If you can ever get Seumalo back at LG and Herbig stays at RG, you might have something. For now, guard play is a problem and that makes it tough for Carson Wentz to step into his throws confidently.
Jordan Mailata has been solid at LT, but he’s had issues the past couple of weeks. That happens to all OL. You’re going to get beat as you learn. Let’s just hope his confidence doesn’t start to waver.
RT is fine when Lane Johnson is healthy. The other 75 percent of the time, it is up and down.
Coaching has become a problem. Doug Pederson didn’t forget how to coach. He’s just used to having a good OL and his offensive ideas are built on that. When the OL is struggling, you have to adjust. Pederson has been up and down.
The Red Zone is normally a strength for the Eagles, but that was an issue last week. 2-point play decisions and choices have been less than ideal.
Special teams used to be a strength of the Eagles. Dave Fipp was considered one of the best STs coaches in the league. That hasn’t been the case this year. The return game is a mess, both punt and kickoff. Coverage has been solid.
Jake Elliott is officially an issue. He’s missed costly kicks in three straight games. He missed a key FG in the opener. He is hurting the team. The Eagles need to bring in competition. Elliott has a big leg and has been good in the past. Maybe Fipp can fix him. Something needs to happen.
The Eagles continue to have breakdowns by the back seven. Some of these come in coverage, but the run has also caused problems. Opposing QBs have had long runs the last two weeks. Opposing receivers have had successful run plays in several games. The lack of discipline and good tackling on the back end has hurt the team.
This isn’t meant to be all gloom and doom. The Eagles are not a good team, but they have held it together and they are playing hard. Some of you scoff at that by talking about “moral victories”. That’s not the point at all.
Look at Dallas. That team is awful right now. There are questions about effort. There are questions about unity. The players are going to the press to rip the coaches. That’s a mess.
The Eagles are not playing well. No one would try to tell you they are. But the team has remained together. That gives you a chance to turn things around. Dallas could still do that as well, but it becomes increasingly difficult when you have to solve problems on and off the field.
The Eagles need to get healthy and eliminate mistakes. Whether either of those happens this year is anybody’s guess.
It is encouraging to see Travis Fulgham, Alex Singleton and the guys like them who waited forever to get on the field and now they’re taking advantage of it.
Every time I want to give up on this team, I think about them. Is that youth and energy enough to get this group to win more games? It certainly helps.
Hopefully we’ll get good injury news this week. This team needs some guys to start coming back.
For now, enjoy your first place Eagles, even if they are a mess.