Relax, Philadelphia. Turn Off The Panic Button
The Eagles put themselves in a hole at 0-2, and fans are making it seem like the season is already over. But it's not over-- not even close.
Watching the Eagles these past two weeks, a lot of questions have been going through my head.
"Is Carson Wentz hurt?"
"Does the team miss Malcolm Jenkins?"
"Have the players tuned out Doug Pederson?"
"Why is Wentz no longer a threat with his legs?"
None of these questions can be answered right now, but one thing is for sure, the players are pissed off (and that's a good thing).
It may seem obvious, but the players are supposed to be angry. Year after year when teams start the season 0-2, most of the players have already checked out, not the 2020 Eagles.
The players are still locked in, and if they weren't, reports from Josina Anderson would've come out already about how the team has quit.
In all seriousness, based on the interview Pederson had on 94 WIP Monday morning, he still believes in his team. When asked if he was worried about this season, Pederson emphatically said, "No, not at all."
Yes, he's the coach, he's supposed to say the right things, but he had the perfect opportunity to rip his players, but he did not. Players will notice and appreciate that right away. That's one of the reasons why players love playing for Pederson, he won't throw them under the bus, he learned that from Andy Reid.
The entire interview, Pederson gave bogus excuses on why the Eagles are struggling right now, mentioning the offseason restrictions. Every NFL team faced the same obstacles and some teams with new coaches and personnel faced even greater obstacles. Deep down, Pederson knows he shouldn't have said that, but what else is he going to say? He's not the type of coach to spew out hate through the media, that's not his style, and rightfully so.
If Pederson ever throws his players under the bus, that is when Eagles fans should go into panic mode.
Looking forward, the Eagles play the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also 0-2, in Week 3. They have a rookie playing under center in Joe Burrow, an offensive line that can't block high school players, and a defense that has been historically bad for a few years now.
So far in 2020, the Bengals defense has allowed 185 yards per game on the ground, ranked 30th in the league. Despite fumbling early in the game, Miles Sanders' return, without any training camp reps, was one of the bright spots in the loss to the Rams.
The Eagles offensive line, facing perhaps the best player in the entire NFL in Aaron Donald, earned 11 first downs running the ball, gave up zero sacks, and zeros tackles for a loss. Donald finished the day with one assisted tackle.
The Bengals offensive line has been horrendous so far. If you watched Thursday night's game between the Bengals and the Browns, one would notice right away Burrow was left on an island by himself with zero protection.
Burrow has been sacked six times in two games. He's been pressured on 42 of 112 drop backs according to Pro Football Focus. They've also struggled with opening up running lanes for standout running back Joe Mixon.
Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart, whose name should ring a bell for Eagles fans, has allowed nine pressures in two games according to PFF. He'll be lining up against Brandon Graham, who had a sack on Sunday against the Rams.
Philadelphia is desperate for a win and as long as the Eagles run the ball, get pressure on Burrow (two things that are very likely to happen), the Eagles will beat the Bengals.
In Week 4, the Eagles will travel to San Fransisco to take on the reigning NFC champion 49ers on Sunday Night Football. A primetime matchup.
However, the 49ers, much like the Eagles, have dealt with a ton of injuries to their best players. Reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa is out for the season with a torn ACL, as is Solomon Thomas.
Pass rusher Dee Ford is dealing with a back injury, running back Raheem Mostert has an MCL sprain, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was deemed week-to-week with a high ankle sprain. The 49ers could be without all of these players when they face the Eagles.
The point is, Eagles fans need to take a deep breath and realize this isn't the time to panic. The Eagles are still in the race and should never be counted out. By the end of the first quarter of the season, the Eagles could be 2-2, riding on a two-game winning streak, and with a ton of confidence, which the team desperately needs right now.