Where do we even start?
Carson Wentz will get the majority of the spotlight for this week’s loss — and deservedly so, he’s been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season — but this entire team has looked overmatched through two weeks.
Here are several major takeaways from this 37-19 loss in week 2.
Carson Wentz has clearly regressed
Here are some fun Wentz stats:
- From 2017 through 2019, Wentz had just two games with a passer rating under 73. He’s had two through two weeks in 2020.
- Wentz has thrown four interceptions through two games so far, he didn’t throw his fourth pick until his tenth game last season.
- 64.4 QB rating through two weeks.
- Pro Football Focus passer grade: 42.7 (worst mark in the league)
- 13 poor throws this season per PFF, second worst in the league.
- 32.9% on target throws, tied for sixth worse in the league.
Is there anything else I really need to say?
He looks lost out there, which is especially alarming coming off the final stretch he put forth last season. I truly thought he turned a corner during the last month of the season last year. But he’s clearly regressed, and until he overcomes this mental block that seems to be holding him back, I don’t know if it’ll get better anytime soon.
A win this week against the Bengals will surely help, but it’s impossible to guarantee any win with this Eagles team, regardless of how bad the Bengals are.
Secondary isn’t as improved as we expected
Here’s a quote from Rodney McLeod in regards to the Rams offense following yesterday’s loss:
It was identical to what we practiced. I feel like we started to chase plays rather than be in the moment and trust in one another consistently… You have to wear this one on your sleeve.”
If that’s true and this defense actually knew what was coming every play yesterday, and still allowed Jared Goff to complete 74% of his passes with not a single pass breakup, what does that tell you about this defense? They’re just not as good as we expected, and we should’ve known better to give them a pass last week against Washington.
Truthfully, the back end of this defense only has one Pro Bowl level player, Darius Slay, so maybe we shouldn’t have thought they’d be a good unit this year. McLeod is still a solid safety, but Jalen Mills hasn’t made any plays this year and he’s missed a handful of tackles, and Avonte Maddox gets beat on the outside more often than not.
The problems with this defense goes much deeper than this secondary, though…
Highest paid defensive line in football has not stepped up at all
Jim Schwartz’s defense has always been predicated on getting consistent pressure with the front four. With the trio of Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson and Javon Hargrave on the interior, then Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat on the edge, this defensive line should be producing at a much higher rate.
They’ve only tallied four sacks through two weeks, and they allowed the Rams to run for a total of 191 yards against them. That’s inexcusable, bottom line.
Cox has been the biggest disappointment so far. He’s aging quickly, he’s a shell of his former self right now and clearly not the All-Pro caliber player he used to be. Has he had any kind of impact so far? There’s been a handful of times where Cox is getting pushed back by one lineman — I can’t remember ever seeing that throughout his career.
As a unit, they need to step up ASAP. Otherwise, this defense is going to struggle all season.
There isn’t a single good linebacker on this defense
Remember when we said we were pleasantly surprised with the linebacker play in week 1? Well, looks that was a complete fluke. Sean McVay took advantage of this group the entire game, both in the running game and passing game.
With a group of average running backs, the Rams racked up 191 yards on the ground and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. In the passing game, tight end Tyler Higbee absolutely man handled his matchups with our linebackers, catching three touchdowns.
We all know this organization doesn’t put any kind value into the linebacker position, but when will they realize that they need at least a serviceable guy there? Nate Gerry is the best member of this group — he’d have to fight for a starting spot on nearly every other team. This group is so bad that no one is even capable of competing with Gerry for that starting spot.
It’ll help if this defensive line steps up, but there’s no doubt this linebacker group will struggle throughout the entire season.
The offensive line played much better this week
The one positive from this week was the play of the offensive line. They essentially completely shut down Aaron Donald, holding him to just one tackle and one QB hit. The Rams defense as a whole only recorded three QB hits with zero sacks, so none of the blame for this loss can be put on this offensive line.
Lane Johnson coming back certainly helped, especially in the running game. The Eagles offense totaled 127 yards on the ground with a 4.7 yards per carry average, including two touchdowns. Miles Sanders being back also helped out the running game, he was another one of the few bright spots in this one.
With all the flaws on this team, it was good to see at least one position group step up to the challenge.
This team just isn’t a good football team right now, it’s as simple as that. They’ve allowed 64 points through two games, the most the Eagles have allowed in the first two weeks of a season since 1971. On offense, they haven’t even surpassed 20 points in either game.
A lot needs to happen for this team to get back into contention this season, and right now there’s really no reason to think it’ll happen aside from the fact that Doug Pederson has rallied his troops down the stretch the past two seasons. It’s a long season, and I still believe this team is more talented than their 0-2 record indicates. But like I said, a lot needs to change and it needs to happen quick.
This Bengals game, in theory, couldn’t have come at a better time. They’re clearly not a good team, the Eagles haven’t been either but they’re certainly more talented than this Bengals squad. We just need to get a win and maybe this team can turn it around a bit.