1. What a difference a day makes
You would be forgiven if you thought the Eagles started the season 0-5 based off the reactions from the fan base and media. Here we are 24-hours after a blowout road win against the Giants and it almost seems comical to suggest that this team has fallen off in any way shape or form.
Our quarterback is elite, our front seven is elite, and at times our offensive line can be elite. If the team is able to patch up a few soft spots created by injury then there’s simply no good reason to suggest they can’t win another Super Bowl.
2. The secondary was… better
Aside from one big play on Mills—at this point I expect nothing less—the Birds secondary played well last night. Overall, the Giants receivers and tight ends tallied just 157 yards through the air.
Ronald Darby in particular was impressive. He was a strong tackler and made a play on the football every time it was thrown in his direction. While Darby wasn’t the sole player responsible for covering Odell Beckham, he clearly relished the challenge of facing one of the league’s top playmakers.
Avonte Maddox started at safety for the injured Corey Graham and played every single snap, performing well. He also moved to the nickel when Sidney Jones got hurt and played solid there. Maddox has become a pleasant surprise in the absence of McLeod.
I don’t want to put much stock into the secondary after one game because it can be easy to hide flaws when the rest of the team is playing so well, which was the case last night. But their performance was enough to inspire confidence that the unit can improve as the season progresses.
3. Wentz enters the MVP conversation
A few days ago I wrote that Wentz’s stellar performance through three games was flying under the radar because of the team’s uneven play. After last night it’s fair to say that isn’t the case anymore—in fact, I would argue that despite missing two games, Wentz has placed himself firmly at the top of the MVP conversation.
Through four games he has put up 1,192 yards, 8 TDs and just 1 interception for a rating of 104.7—on average, 300 yards and 2 touchdowns per game.
Wentz played outstanding last night and deserves a ton of credit for weathering the poor play that has marred the team in recent weeks. If he continues to perform at this level and the team is able to win because of it, then he’ll find himself back in the MVP conversation where he left off.
4. The Eagles can’t allow players like Barkley to run all over them
Saquon Barkley torched us last night, there’s no way around that. Like most players of his caliber, you can’t bottle him up you can only try to limit his damage. And the Eagles didn’t do that at all, allowing him to amass 229 total yards. Every time he touched the ball it seemed like he broke at least two tackles.
While his performance obviously didn’t lead to a win, it should be concerning. If a player of that caliber from a more formidable opponent (Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Christian Mcaffrey to name a few) is able to do that against our defense then we’ll get our doors blown off—plain and simple.
I realize you have to pick your poison with both OBJ and Barkley—and the Birds clearly decided to stop OBJ first—but what they allowed him to do last night should be unacceptable under any circumstance.
The lack of protection from the offensive line, a poor outing by Eli, and a terrible defense is what made it impossible for Barkley to truly effect the outcome. But make no mistake about it, it’s a superstar performance similar to that moving forward that should concern us.
5. Jason Peters’ injury
Peters sustained a bicep tear last night and missed a portion of the game after initially playing on the injury. The degree of the tear isn’t fully known, but it’s being reported that he may be able to play through it.
That would be huge news for the Eagles. The future Hall of Fame left tackle is a leader on and off the field, and his presence is vital to making this unit top five in the league.
I realize that Vaitai was a capable replacement during the Super Bowl run, and he played fine last night, but it’s obviously a situation the team would prefer not to be in. Especially with Wentz coming off a serious knee injury.