Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Believe it or not, we are already a quarter of the way through the 2019 NFL season. The Eagles find themselves at a somewhat disappointing 2-2, a game behind the hated Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.
There have been some good moments (a second-half offensive outburst against the Redskins to secure a win, the play of Carson Wentz, and an impressive road win at Lambeau Field) as well as some concerns (a plethora of injuries, slow starts). Neither the offensive or defensive lines have played as well as we expected them to play, and self-inflicted wounds have derailed what could have been a 4-0 start.
It's all added up to an eerily similar vibe to 2018. As we mentioned, the team continues to be hampered by slow starts, and the self-inflicted wounds have Eagles suffering flashbacks to last season's games against the Titans, Vikings, and Panthers. Those three losses cost the Eagles a division title and a home playoff game. Although it's early, it's fair to wonder if the Eagles are on a similar path and whether we will be bemoaning the losses to Atlanta and Detroit come December.
The Atlanta games serves as a microcosm of the season and its issues so far. The team again started slow, and an inability to get a key fourth-down stop and two crucial drops cost the Eagles an opportunity to pull out the win. This is also the game where the Eagles were most hurt by injuries, with both Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson going down early and completely disrupting the game plan. Despite the hardships faced in that game, the Eagles had a chance to get the win but couldn't get out of their own way. The Falcons have looked abysmal in their other three games, leaving Eagles fans wondering "how did we lose to that team."
So, what does it all mean?
For starters, it's clear the team will need to once again overcome injuries. In addition to the missed time by Jeffery and Jackson, Dallas Goedert has been limited and there have been significant blows to the under-performing defensive line and undermanned secondary. Injuries are a part of the game, but it appears that for the second-straight year the Eagles will be decimated by the injury bug and will need to find a way to overcome it.
However, there's a lot to be excited about. Jeffery scored a touchdown in his return to action last week. Carson Wentz looks capable of being the player he was in 2017. And the road win against an undefeated Packers team has changed the outlook after disappointing results in Week's 2 and 3.
The bad news is the injuries and the recurring slow starts and mistakes. The good news is that it's early and the Eagles remain right in the mix with the best teams in the NFC, where no team has managed to assert dominance through the first quarter of the season. They will have an opportunity to start of the next segment of the season with a win against the struggling Jets, and still have a date with the hapless Dolphins. In addition, they'll have an opportunity to personally deliver two losses to the rival Cowboys. Their future remains squarely in their control.
Hopefully, the offense will get back to full strength and the offensive line will live up to expectations. Hopefully, the defensive line will find a way to generate pressure and help the secondary (especially as a trade for Jalen Ramsey looks increasingly unlikely). And hopefully, the team will start showing up from the opening kickoff, making the plays they are supposed to make, and cleaning up the sloppy play. If that happens, the sky is the limit. If not, we could be in for some deja vu and be facing a season that ends much sooner than we all had hoped.