Even though the Eagles tied with the Bengals this past weekend and “technically” gained ground in the division, you might as well call it a loss. This was supposed to be their gimme win in an extremely difficult schedule.
Now they’re set to play the 49ers, Steelers, and Ravens over the next three weeks. There’s a very real possibility they end that stretch with a 0-5-1 record.
While some players stepped up this week, there were certainly many duds that left a sour taste in Eagles’ fans’ mouths.
Down: Jason Peters
Jason Peters has become a monumental disgrace.
Okay, that may be a bit of an overreaction, but he certainly hasn’t helped this season.
Against the Bengals, Peters allowed two sacks. On the season, Peters has given up three sacks (tied for first among all tackles) and has a grade of 64.6 per Pro Football Focus.
His struggles wouldn’t look nearly as bad if not for the diva-like behavior Peters displayed prior. Originally signed to take over at guard after Brandon Brooks’ injury, the loss of Andre Dillard forced Peters back to tackle.
Peters then complained about wanting a pay raise because of the move, which he promptly received. This is how he responds to that gracious gesture.
This begs the question, how does Peters still have so much power in this organization? Yes, he’s a future Hall-of-Famer and is a legend for the franchise. But he’s clearly past his prime and not the leader he used to be.
The bold thing to do would be to bench Peters and show that players will be held accountable for their play, but with all the injuries to the O-Line, that’s impossible to do.
Up: Greg Ward
With all the problems at wide receiver, Greg Ward has become a bright spot. Ward led the team with eight receptions for 72 receiving yards on Sunday, and caught his first touchdown of the young season.
While Ward doesn’t excel in any specific area, he’s shown he can be a reliable passing option and can step up when called on, and that’s what the Eagles need the most right now.
With JJ-Arcega Whiteside and DeSean Jackson being nonexistent, Ward’s earned the right to be the top wide receiver option going forward.
They’re never going to stop, are they? Dallas Goedert suffered a left ankle fracture, which should keep him on the sideline for a few weeks.
#Eagles TE Dallas Goedert’s left ankle is fractured, not sprained, an NFL source said. Doug Pederson said Monday that he will be out for an extended period, but source said timeline shouldn’t be too lengthy. Will depend on recovery, though.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) September 29, 2020
Jackson’s hamstring forced him out of the game, and it likely won’t stop nagging the 33-year-old any time soon. Avonte Maddox also had to leave the game due to an ankle injury and will miss time.
The Eagles certainly aren’t the only team with injuries. The whole league has had to fight them, and it may have to do with the lack of preseason games. But the Eagles’ depth can’t seem to pick up the pieces and leaves them at a major disadvantage.
Up: The Reliable Starters
Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz both had solid performances. Sanders rushed for 95 yards and Ertz put up 70 receiving yards. Sanders looks to be the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy did it back in 2014.
Meanwhile, Darius Slay has finally given the Eagles that number one corner they’ve been so desperately searching for all these years. Slay was able to shadow A.J. Green and prevent any big yardage plays:
Darius Slay had another strong outing for the #Eagles, and his play on the opening drive of Overtime, in particular, really caught my eye on film #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/iVJNUntD2L
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) September 28, 2020
It’s nice to see that despite all the troubles, the Eagles can still rely on some of their top players to keep the team in games.
Ertz continuing to perform also helps to boost his trade stock. With the team possibly facing a dreadful win-loss record and Ertz in the middle of an extension dispute, now might be the best time to cut losses and get draft capital back.
Down: Doug Pederson
Where did “Big Balls” Doug Pederson go? With 19 seconds left, the Eagles drew a penalty on a field goal attempt that put them at fourth-and-12 on Cincinnati’s 46-yard-line. Pederson punted the football away, essentially ending the game.
The Eagles could have went for a hail mary, or tried to throw a quick pass for the first down, get out of bounds, and try another field goal attempt.
The odds of success for either aren’t great, but there still would’ve been a chance they work.
A win would have given momentum and energy to a team that is about to face difficult opponents. A punt is waving the white flag. Even worse is that Pederson has expressed regret for his playing in an interview on SportsRadio 94 WIP.
Where this cautiousness and doubting has come from is a mystery, but it’s fair to question Pederson’s ability to coach the offensive, which has never been able to reach the level it was once at in 2017.
Pederson isn’t on the hot seat yet, but this will likely be his third underachieving season in a row. If he wants to keep his position for a few more years, he may need to put his desires and install an offensive coordinator that calls the plays.