Fresh off a loss, the Eagles have quite a bit to work on before next Sunday. Wentz with his four turnovers; a porous, and banged-up offensive line; and an inexperienced wideout group with a disgruntled star tight end.
Not all was bad coming out of the game yesterday. Darius Slay looked like the elite corner the team was looking for. Also, Dallas Goedert proved he can be a reliable option as a pass-catcher. Let’s break down some of the key points coming from the game.
Carson Wentz‘s main knock is the number of times he takes sacks and fumbles the ball. While he possesses an elite TD/Int ratio, Wentz is reckless with the ball in his hands when attempting to extend plays. This is not a double-edged sword, as Wentz can and should be taking extra care of the football when looking to extend plays. Carson was taking extreme heat behind a turnstile offensive line. However, the turnovers allowed Washington to begin 6 of their 9 offensive possessions in Eagles territory.
Beaten Up Offensive Line
At one point, Wentz most likely had to introduce himself in the huddle on Sunday to the new offensive lineman subbing in. We all knew Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard were going to be out. Lane Johnson was a game-time decision before being ruled inactive, leading to rookie Jack Driscoll taking over at RT. Nate Herbig was also a shocking start over Matt Pryor at RG. Against a young, skilled Washington defensive line, the inexperience didn’t make Eagles fans confident heading into the game.
Early on, the line actually held up well. The Eagles marched right downfield on the opening drive and put up six, rather easily. They added 10 more points, and then the wheels started falling off. The Eagles didn’t put up anything in the 2nd half. Driscoll went down with cramps, leading to more issues up front, and Wentz could not get time to step into anything. This is why you saw sailed passes, overthrows, under throws, and sack fumbles.
Inexperience at Wideout
The team made a conscious point to add speed at the wideout position through the draft. Outside of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles active wideouts had a combined one full NFL season under their belt. That one season — JJ Arcega Whiteside.
Early on, Reagor muffed a punt. Luckily the Eagles were able to recover and head down the field for six. Reagor made a nice play downfield and connected for a 50-yard strike from Wentz. However, the finer details for him and Hightower are still showing as unpolished, which is expected for rookie wideouts.
At the top of his route, Reagor rounded the out cut, rather than flattening it — coming back to the QB. This allowed the corner extra space to jump the route and intercept the ball just before the end of the first half, and helped Washington put points on the board. The same thing happened on Wentz’s 2nd interception when targeting Hightower. These things are correctable, and getting veterans back on the outside will help Wentz.
Darius Slay and New Look DBs
I don’t want to jinx it, but the Eagles defensive backs looked.. good? Or is Dwayne Haskins just bad?
Slay followed McLaurin all day, as he will cover #1‘s throughout the season. McLaurin lit the Eagles up last year, and was relatively quiet on Sunday (5-61-0). Washington had a couple of chunk plays, however, they didn’t connect on any big plays that resulted in touchdowns. Mills looked comfortable at his new safety position, and Maddox had a decent showing. While the loss was tough to swallow, a positive piece going forward is this secondary.
Dallas Goedert Shines
Goedert had himself a day, hauling in eight passes for 101 yards and a TD. Unless you haven’t been paying attention to training camp, you know that this is big regarding the Zach Ertz contract situation. Ertz wants to retire an Eagle and get paid (with the latter being most important to him). The Eagles would like to wait until the end of this season to extend Ertz so they have a better idea of where they stand with money dedicated to other players. The two sides have broken off contract talks, and it has been admittedly been getting to Ertz. #86 had a touchdown on Sunday, but recorded just three receptions for 18 yards. If Goedert can prove to be a solid and reliable starter this season, that may make the 8th-year tight end expendable. At the end of the day though Ertz is a staple of this Eagles core, and I have nothing but respect for what he has done for this city and team.