5 observations from Sunday’s win over the Colts:
1. Wentz was somewhat out of sync for most of the game—except when it mattered
I’ll be honest, I envisioned a slightly rosier performance from Wentz in his return, but I know I’m not alone there.
A few of his throws were off target, he wasn’t in rhythm with anybody outside of Ertz, he had a careless fumble, a bad interception, and he made a habit of holding onto the ball too long—as evidenced by the five sacks he took.
Still, at the end of the day, when the team needed to put together a winning drive or risk falling to 1-2, Carson Wentz answered the call with 8 straight completions for 51 yards on a drive that ended in a Smallwood touchdown run. This was Wentz-magic at its finest—despite not being at the top of his game for three and a half quarters, he rose to occasion when it mattered.
Needless to say, it’s good to have him back.
2. Derek Barnett was relentless
At the beginning of the week Brandon Graham foreshadowed the dominance of the defensive front with this quote regarding the Colts offensive line: “From what I see so far, it’s going to be a good day.”
And a good day it was. The Birds defensive line set up camp in the Colts backfield and Andrew Luck was on the run for all four quarters. Perhaps no single defensive player was more impressive than Derek Barnett.
Barnett has been an absolute wrecking crew through the beginning of the season and I had a feeling this would be the week that it would finally reflect on the stat sheet. 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, & 1.5 sacks is certainly a way to show out and this is understandably being considered the best game of his career.
Relentless was the word Pederson used to describe his performance and I don’t really think there’s any other way to put it; his pursuit of the quarterback and the football never tires. In my opinion—outside of Carson (obviously)—Barnett is the most exciting Eagle to watch on a down-to-down basis
3. Noticeable lack of weapons
Once again, the absence of the Eagles top offensive weapons—Ajayi, Jeffrey, & Sproles—was glaring. Even the return of Carson Wentz couldn’t hide that reality. The downfield passing game was basically non-existent, and the offense was clearly limited as a result.
I surmised prior to the game that it was possible that the return of Wentz would render these injuries inconsequential, but in hindsight that was stupid. Until Alshon Jeffrey returns from injury the passing game will be limited, and while the running game led by Smallwood, Clement, and Adams is fine for now, it just doesn’t match the dynamic threat that Ajayi and Sproles provide.
It sure is nice to have Wentz back under center, but regardless, the offense will continue to struggle moving the football as long as the team’s top three playmakers are sidelined.
4. It’s good to see Dallas Goeddert show up
Goeddert was curiously unable to make an impact against Tampa in the wake of injuries to the team’s receiving core—leaving him vulnerable to criticism all week long. Yesterday was a different story; after recording just 1 catch for 4 yards over the first two games of his career, he caught 7 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in the win over Indianapolis.
While he didn’t make any eye-popping catches that he’s been known to, he showed off a knack for finding soft spots in the defense, with the majority of focus being payed to Ertz and Agholor.
It was nice to see the top pick from last April’s draft on the field and contributing considering he was invisible a week ago. I’m still lukewarm on the Goeddert pick overall, but yesterday was a step in the right direction.
5. Foles to the 49ers?
With Wentz finally healthy, trade talk surrounding Nick Foles was destined to pick up eventually, and with Jimmy Garropolo set to miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, that talk is coming sooner than later.
The question that needs to be asked is how much does San Francisco value competing this season? A few years back the Vikings were in the type of win-now situation that breeds desperation—which ultimately led to the swap of Sam Bradford for a 1st round pick. Are the 49ers in a similar situation? I don’t think so. With a young roster on the ascend, there isn’t really a need for the team to mortgage future assets in the name of chasing what figured to already be a long-shot Super Bowl hope.
On top of that, Jimmy G differs from Bridgewater in the sense that San Fran has no reason to doubt his long term viability. Brdgewater wasn’t exactly locked in as the QB of the future in the way that Garropolo is, meaning that when Minnesota added Bradford there was the possibility that he would be the long term answer moving forward, that possibility wouldn’t exist with a Foles-49ers scenario.
What does this mean? Essentially, you can forget about getting a first, or even second round pick in return for Foles, at least from San Francisco. With that said, I don’t know that we’ll ever see that kind of value for Foles again, which means the team should jump at the next opportunity to secure a mid-round pick or two before it’s too late.