By Mike Bringhurst
“Well, that’s not what I expected.”
This was the constant thought that popped into my head as I watched our beloved Eagles week after week. To proclaim that the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles have strongly under-performed would be a massive understatement, to say the least. Many Philadelphia fans went into this season with high hopes of a Super Bowl repeat, but as it turns out the team is instead staring at a 6-6 record with four tough games remaining on their schedule. I won’t say that all hope is lost yet, but the window is slowly closing on this season. Now, let’s get to the point of this column: the report cards.
In 10 games, Quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown 18 TDs and seven INTs with 2,846 passing yards. These numbers are not terrible, but Wentz’s biggest flaw this season has been his inability to get the offense on the same page. There have been too many times that receivers are wide open and passes are overthrown or receivers are not targeted. If this team is going to on a run to try and make the playoffs; Wentz will have to improve on these things to help carry the load.
The Eagles have gone to a running-back-by-committee approach with the injuries to starters Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles. This group has under-performed without their starters from last season. The running backs have definitely missed the presence of running back LeGarrette Blount, who left the team in the off-season to join the Detroit Lions. One bright spot for this group has been rookie Josh Adams, who has emerged as the lead back for the team with 76 carries for 376 yards and two TDS.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
I am grouping the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends together due to the fact that Zach Ertz leads the team in receptions with 93 catches for 978 yards and six TDs. This Eagles team definitely has some weapons, but for some reason they are not performing up to their 2017 standards. Both Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor have regressed in production. New acquisition Golden Tate has 18 receptions for 182 yards and one TD. Finally, rookie Tight End Dallas Goedert has not been utilized nearly enough. There is promise with this group, but without the proper game plan they will go to waste.
The Eagles offensive line was regarded as one of the team’s strengths during last year’s Super Bowl. That can definitely not be said this year. This group has been straight up a liability this season. This group has allowed 34 sacks already this season in 12 games, which is already more than all of last season. Some of this drop in production could be due to injuries, but if the Eagles are going to make a push in these last four games, they need to win in the trenches.
This group is without a doubt the strength of the entire team. Free-agent acquisition Michael Bennett leads the team with 6.5 sacks so far. Fletcher Cox has done all he can by eating up double teams. Tim Jernigan just returned to the lineup against the Giants so look for him to make an impact. Defensive Ends Chris Long and Brandon Graham will have to continue to carry the load with rushing the quarterback.
Underwhelming sums this group up as; both Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham have taken a big step back in their performance from last season. Jordan Hicks leads the team with 58 solo tackles. This group needs to get healthy for this team to make a run.
Oh boy, injuries is the key word here. In the Eagles game against the Giants, four out of five starters in the secondary were guys not even on the roster three months ago. Malcolm Jenkins has done the best he can in coaching these young guys while on the field. This group needs to greatly improve to make any noise.
Overall not bad, Both Jake Elliott and Cameron Johnston have been pretty solid.
I will always love Doug Pederson for bringing the city its first championship a year ago. This season has been disappointing, but I have faith he’ll pull it together. He definitely misses Frank Reich and John Defilippo though.
This team will be fine in the end. They just won a Super Bowl a year ago, and they have a bright future with Carson Wentz in tow. Eagles Fans, in the words of Aaron Rodgers… RELAX.