- Alex Hand
Inaccurate, Unmotivated, and Overrated
As of week 4 of the 2015 NFL season, “dichotomy” is probably the best word that could define the performance of this Philadelphia Eagles football team. On paper, this team screams ‘Super Bowl run’, but in reality, it is labeled as ‘Top-10 draft pick with new head coach’.
Philly lost to Washington 23-20 as the Redskins scored their final touchdown with 26 seconds left on the clock. Throughout the game, fans watched their Eagles face the same problems that have plagued the team since their road trip down to Atlanta; quarterback inaccuracy, poor offensive line, inability to consistently run the football, and getting beat on medium crossing routes that continue drives.
Starting with quarterback miscues, it is fair to say at this point in the season that Nick Foles would have been a better option over Sam Bradford. There were numerous offensive plays during the game in which Bradford had overthrown a receiver whether there was defensive pressure there or not. Foles had his fair share of head scratchers, but none to the level that Bradford has been in these first four weeks, plus, Foles was much more capable at dropping the deep ball. And while neither quarterback was a speedster, Foles had the size – 6’6”, 243 lbs. – to inspire confidence in short yardage situations.
The offensive line quite badly needs help. The loss of Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans has become absurdly apparent given that the Eagles can neither run the football inside the trenches, nor can they consistently protect the quarterback.
DeMarco Murray hasn’t been able to effectively run the football, and Ryan Mathews can only run if he is given the opportunity to bounce outside the tackles. As far as keeping the quarterback upright, fans are going to have to hold their breath for “execution over personnel” because starting-caliber NFL guards are scarce. To give reference as to how poor this O-line had played, Bradford was sacked twice as the Redskins played drop-back defense during the Eagles’ two-minute drill.
The Eagles have rebuilt their secondary to a degree that they no longer rank 32nd in X-plays allowed, however, they have been rendered helpless in medium routes for gains ranging between 5-to-15 yards. Despite the hype from rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks and veteran DeMeco Ryans, they have shown that they cannot prevent the short pass plays that extend drives.
This team is also beginning to become unmotivated and playing without a chip on their shoulder. In 2013, all the players bought in to the sport-science program and Chip Kelly’s offense, and it worked. That team went 10-6 and appeared in the wild-card round of the playoffs. In the offseason, Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson was released and the franchise drafted current-bust Marcus Smith II. That 2014 team possessed the worst secondary in the league and finished 10-6 without a trip to the playoffs, despite starting 9-3. Now, this 2015 team is without LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Foles, players are succumbing to injuries that were supposed to be prevented through sport-science, and are currently at the bottom of the NFC East with a record of 1-3.
This Eagles team is truly in trouble. The so-called “high-octane” offense is non-existent, and it is not appearing as if it ever plans on returning this season. The defense has flashed moments of greatness, but like the offense, cannot sustain itself for a full 60-minutes. Special teams is deteriorating more and more as the season carries on, and the coaching staff has become a broken record in repeating that execution, not personnel, is the problem. This franchise has not shown any sign of any silver lining, and come December, it may be searching for a new head coach.