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Last week I wrote a piece on why Eagles fans should hold off on the panic button, but the time has come for the panic button to be pressed repeatedly!
The 2020 season is officially over for the Philadelphia Eagles, as they stand 0-2-1 (what an awful look that is to see a tied game in a season record).
There are a lot of bad things going on with the Eagles right now, but where do we start?
Let's begin with the architect of this roster: Howie Roseman. His trouble drafting players who can contribute have finally caught up to him.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE:
Roseman did absolutely nothing worthy to add depth to the offensive line this past offseason, which is a bit of head-scratcher given the Eagles history and emphasis on adding talent to both sides of the line of scrimmage.
"How about Jason Peters?"
No, no, no! Re-signing a 38-year-old Jason Peters isn't adding depth, that's just a low-quality, used band-aid one finds in the middle of the street that hopefully holds up until the bitter end.
The offensive line was the biggest question going into the offseason.
In the 2020 draft, the Eagles selected tackles Jack Driscoll, who has solid potential for a day three pick, and Prince Tega Wanogho, who is on the practice squad. Both players aren't expected to make any sort of impact this season.
Second year man, Andre Dillard, was drafted to protect Carson Wentz's blindside for the next decade.
Dillard was an overrated prospect at Washington State and one that should've never been drafted in the first round. Seriously, I'm not one to brag, but I was very low on Dillard prior to the draft and was livid, absolutely infuriated, when Howie decided to trade up for the weak-minded Dillard.
As an amateur scout, I thought Dillard was too introverted, too mild-mannered, had too short of arms for an offensive tackle, below average run blocking skills, lacked power on point of attack, and did not finish his blocks well. Even worse, he struck me as a guy who didn't enjoy playing football.
Reminder: the 2019 draft was on April 25, 2019.
To make things even worse, Roseman had never met Dillard face-to-face prior to making the pick, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Why would any general manager draft a player he had never spoken to? During the pre-draft process, why didn't Roseman pull out his phone, make at least one phone call, to a prospect he might be drafting? You'd think that'd be an obvious thing to do when scouting prospects.
The Eagles scouting department foolishly never did their full homework on Dillard because they thought he'd never slip outside the top 10.
Dillard would go on to have a disappointing rookie season.
In training camp, Dillard got in a scuffle with Derek Barnett, and was seen "visibly emotional (he appeared to be in tears)" after practice when chatting with Pederson and Roseman, according to Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.
Dillard later admitted publicly he had never been in a fight before, which is a major red-flag.
How has an offensive lineman who played division-one college football, in a power-five conference, never got into a single fight at practice or in the middle of a game?
That not only speaks volumes about his lack of aggression, but it goes to show the guy doesn't have a "mean-streak" in him.
Dillard has shown some promise on the field, but overall, he's been incredibly disappointing.
In a game against the Chicago Bears, Dillard had a solid performance. He did surprisingly well against standout pass rushers Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack.
However, against the Seattle Seahawks, with lesser known pass rushers, Dillard struggled mightily. It's important to note, Dillard was lined up at right tackle in this game.
KEEP SCROLLING ⬇️
KEEP SCROLLING ⬇️
The second the Eagles drafted Dillard, the future of the offensive line was doomed.
Injuries are obviously hard to predict, but the Eagles have been riddled with injuries for three consecutive years now. Roseman did a terrible job adding depth to an old and shaky offensive line. Multiple veteran offensive lineman was a major need and Roseman turned his head the other way.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS:
Roseman emphasized in the offseason the Eagles needed to get faster. He added rookie speedsters in Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Traded for Marquise Goodwin, who opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Reagor is expected to miss multiple weeks due to a thumb injury, Hightower is still too raw and inexperienced to be relied on, and Watkins has been on IR for undisclosed reasons.
And we all know the story with J.J. Arceca-Whiteside. What a dumpster fire of a pick that has turned into.
DeSean Jackson still has speed, but his body continues to breakdown during games and Alshon Jeffery hasn't seen the field yet in 2020.
Roseman had an opportunity to add two star receivers this past offseason in DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs, who seem to be doing quite well for their new respective teams.
Kyler Murray has been playing good football, given a shaky week 3 performance against the Detroit Lions. Josh Allen has looked like a completely different player with Diggs lined up on the outside, earning some MVP praise.
It might've been a complicated situation regarding the cap, but Roseman missed out on getting Wentz a reliable target on the outside. Not only would Hopkins or Diggs help Wentz, but their presence on the field alone, would shy away double coverage on Zach Ertz in the middle of the field.
Speaking of Zach Ertz, why the heck isn't he getting paid what he deserves? Roseman and Ertz got into a heated argument after practice a couple weeks ago, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Ertz deserves to get a nice pay day and it's clear the lack of progress in contract talks is stuck on Ertz's mind and shifting his focus away from the field.
Here's a solution, Howie: Give Zach Erts a raise for this season and 2021.
DRAFTING JALEN HURTS:
The decision to draft Jalen Hurts was mind boggling. It sent shockwaves throughout the NFL and its fans.
First question on everyone's mind when the Eagles drafted Hurts: "Are they not sold on Carson Wentz?"
It's crazy to think the organization that got rid of Nick Foles to avoid a quarterback controversy, would go ahead and select a Heisman candidate quarterback in the second round of the NFL draft.
Jalen Hurts seems like a terrific prospect, but organizations who are trying to surround their franchise quarterback don't draft backup quarterbacks in the second round when there are bigger needs on the roster -- like an offensive lineman!
It was evident when Foles was on the team that Wentz wasn't comfortable and was unsure if the Eagles were fully committed to him.
Based on his play in 2020 so far, Wentz looks confused, extremely hesitant, and not confident in himself or his teammates.
It's a lame excuse for Wentz because he was given a lucrative contract, but how can he feel secure when his own employer doesn't put him in the best position to succeed?
The Eagles not only hurt themselves with the selection of Jalen Hurts, but the most important player on the roster, again, is looking over his shoulder every day when he goes to work. No person, even in the real world, would work better if they were put in that situation.
A question for Doug Pederson: what's the point of having Jalen Hurts on the field?
It is never a good idea to take the ball out of your signal caller's hand and give it to his backup, unless the starter is officially being benched. When the starter sees someone in his place, no matter what the situation is, it makes the player feel uneasy, and that's malpractice for a coach (especially one who played quarterback in the NFL!) to have his franchise player feel that way.
It's also not a good idea to use Jalen Hurts as a gadget player.
The New Orleans Saints like to utilize Taysom Hill's skillset as gadget player and the world saw on Sunday night why it can cause more damage than anything else. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the game tied at 27, Hill was lined up behind center instead of the Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
Here's what happened... ⬇️
Maybe Doug Pederson should ask his buddy Sean Payton how he feels about that decision.
In fact, Pederson put his team in the same situation. Down by four points, in the fourth quarter, Pederson inserted Hurts behind center, taking the ball out of Wentz's hands in the most crucial time of the game at that point.
Here's what happened... ⬇️
How is Wentz supposed to get in any rhythm when the coach decides to give the ball to his backup, especially at that point of the game? It makes zero sense. It shows the coach is lacking confidence in his franchise quarterback.
The worst part is, the Eagles invite more controversy every time they put Hurts on the field while Wentz is struggling. A good amount of fans are already clamoring for the team to bench Wentz in favor of Hurts, and I bet some players on the team feel the same.
Please, for the love of God, bench Nate Gerry.
Gerry does not belong in the NFL. He is being targeted almost every play by opposing quarterbacks, he continues to get torched and the stats support that claim significantly.
At this point, there is nothing to lose if the Eagles start Davion Taylor or Shaun Bradley in place of Gerry.
Another thing, Coach Schwartz: STOP PLAYING THE STICKS DEFENSE! It's a terrible play design and teams have easily exposed it multiple times. The Bengals certainly did on Sunday... ⬇️
The Bengals converted a third and long by executing a screen play. Teams around the league are going to do the same thing, it's a copy-cat league.
What the heck happened to him? It's been a very long time since a player as good as Wentz, regressed this dramatically. It's honestly very sad to watch.
Wentz has not been himself. He looks like a completely different player. His mechanics are off, his decision-making has been horrendous, and it seems like he can't read defenses anymore.
His accuracy was never great, but right now, his accuracy is totally off and that's costing his team many opportunities to score.
One play that sticks out... ⬇️
With the game hanging in the balance, Wentz completely botches the opportunity for his team to take the lead.
Notice the timing of the play. It was after Hurts lined up behind center and fumbled the ball.
You can definitely attribute hesitation and a lack of confidence in Wentz's throws, especially on that play.
SOME GOOD NEWS:
It's hard to find any bright spots during this tough time if you're an Eagles fan. However, if there had to be a year where the Eagles are this bad, you should be okay with that it's this year and (hopefully) not next season.
It's 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, fans can't attend the games anyway, and the 2021 NFL draft is stacked with talent, especially at the positions the Eagles need the most. Maybe a quarterback too? Who knows?
Hypothetically, what if the Eagles land the number one pick? It's already decided the Eagles are out on Wentz and Hurts doesn't seem to be the answer either. However, Trevor Lawrence, the standout quarterback prospect from Clemson is on the board. The Eagles would be foolish not to take him and Eagles fans can rejoice once again, for finding their next signal caller.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The root of the team's struggles starts and ends with Howie Roseman. He's the head honcho and will be for a while. Fans can hope Roseman and Pederson lose their jobs at the end of the year, but that's very unlikely despite the team likely landing a top 10 pick in the draft.
The fact is, winning the Super Bowl led Roseman and Pederson to becoming "made men" in Jeffrey Lurie's eyes. To Lurie, the coach and GM earned the opportunity to right this ship after one bad year.
Roseman and Pederson won't be going anywhere anytime soon.