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Week 13 2020: Studs and Duds

At the rate the Eagles are going, this column will just be called "duds" by the end of the season. It's getting increasingly hard to identify any studs as the Birds produce troubling performance after troubling performance. The trend continued in Week 13 with the Eagles putting forth yet another anemic offensive showing while losing for the fourth straight week. Anyway, here are the studs (?) and duds from Week 13.





STUD: Jalen Reagor


Reagor didn't produce much in the passing game, securing one catch on one target for 34 yards. That 34-yard gain did happen to be the Eagles' second-longest gain of the day and the longest by a wide receiver, but in terms of volume Reagor wasn't spectacular. Reagor also added one carry for 11 yards.


But the real reason Reagor makes the studs list is thanks to his 73-yard punt return touchdown, the most exciting play of the day for the Birds and one that briefly put the Eagles in position to steal the game. At the very least, it was good to see Reagor's explosiveness on display.


DUD: Offensive Line


The offensive line was a disaster on Sunday. It surrendered seven sacks and left both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts running for their lives far too often. We again find ourselves in the unenviable position of trying to figure out which of the Eagles' problems is the most responsible for their struggles and how each issue relates to the other. Are some of the sacks because the quarterback is holding the ball too long? Or because the receivers can't seem to consistently get open? Probably, but things are so bad on the offensive side of the ball it's virtually impossible to tell. Regardless, seven sacks is way too many and at the end of the day it's the line's job to prevent them. However you want to distribute the blame, the offensive line didn't do its part on Sunday.


STUD: Cameron Johnston


Yes, we have reached this point. The punter has made the studs list. For weeks, Johnston has sadly been among the best Eagles, and that continued on Sunday. Combined with the ever-dwindling number of other players making truly positive impacts, Johnston cracks the list this week.


He booted five punts for a total of 211 yards, averaging 42.2 yards per kick. He had a long of 53 and pinned three punts inside the 20. Johnston was one of the few Eagles who did his job well on Sunday. It's incredibly depressing that we're naming the punter as a stud, but here we are.


DUD: Carson Wentz


You know the drill by now. Wentz missed throws, missed reads, and took four of the seven sacks surrendered by the Eagles. Outside of the first drive, before Doug Pederson could abandon the run (again), Wentz once again failed to move the offense with any consistency. For the first time this season, he was benched and replaced by Jalen Hurts. Again, Wentz didn't get much help (from his line, his receivers, or his coach) but he also wasn't near good enough. Now, the team has a QB controversy on top of all the other problems. Any hope of Wentz finding his mojo in 2020 is pretty much gone, and now we wait to see if he can regain his form in 2021 or if he'll even get a chance to.


DUD: Darius Slay


Slay was on the injury report all week and was clearly not 100% on Sunday. He deserves credit for wanting to be out there and giving it a go. But for the second straight week, Slay was completely ineffective against the opponent's top receiver. D.K. Metcalf and Davante Adams are incredibly tough matchups, but they are exactly the kind of matchups the Eagles acquired, and paid, Slay to handle. He hasn't recently.


After meeting with the press after Monday's game against the Seahawks and taking responsibility for his play, Slay took to Twitter Sunday night to again hold himself accountable. That's commendable, and is something the Eagles need culturally, but it doesn't change the fact that Slay hasn't answered the call the last two weeks.


DUD: Doug Pederson


Let's start with the fact that Doug is supposed to be an offensive guy and this offense has been an embarrassment. The Eagles mustered just nine points and the final result looked more respectable thanks to Reagor's special teams play. The offense managed just 161 yards through the air and 117 on the ground, and 47 of those were from quarterback runs.


How about the fact that once again Miles Sanders was MIA. He got five carries on the first drive of the day, a decent drive that netted the Eagles a field goal and the first points of the game. Doug proceeded to give him ZERO carries the rest of the half. Sanders finished with just 10 carries and one target, which was incomplete. Sanders should be getting 20-25 touches a game, and for him to get just half of that is inexcusable. It would be one thing if the pass game was humming or someone else on the offense was lighting things up, but for an offense this bad to not get its most electric playmaker the ball more than 10 times is ridiculous. It's getting to the point where you have to wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes.


Pederson also continues to ignore the way Wentz's play improves when he gets out of the pocket and on the move and the way the entire offense improves when it plays with some pace. Pederson seems unable or unwilling to make any adjustments, stick with what may be working, or to do anything that plays to his player's strengths or hides their weaknesses.





DUD: The Wide Receivers


Another sign of just how bad things have gotten for the Eagles, this is the second time in this column that we've included an entire position group as a dud.


The wide receivers combined for FOUR catches for 91 yards. Four. Five different wide receivers earned a target on Sunday, and the Eagles couldn't even manage to average one reception per wide receiver targeted. Speaking of targets, of the 25 the Eagles produced, less than half (11) went to wide receivers. All of that is pathetic.


Why Alshon Jeffery is getting snaps is a mystery. He's been a complete non-factor since returning from injury, and he failed to secure a single catch Sunday while drawing one whole target. Not only that, be he got called for an offensive pass interference penalty on that target, a fact that he seemed amused by for some reason. Travis Fulgham continued his decline, drawing two targets and failing to haul in a catch.


The NFL has become a pass-heavy league and the league itself has gone out of its way to make rule changes that favor the offense and, in particular, the passing game. And the Eagles managed four catches from the wide receivers and 11 completions overall. That's laughable.


Once again, some of this is on the quarterback, some of it is on the offensive line, and some of it is on the coaching. But it's almost unfathomable for a pass-catching unit to be this inept in the 2020 NFL regardless of what is going on around it. It's not like the Eagles had open receivers running all over the field on Sunday. Just an embarrassing, mind-bogglingly poor showing from this group on Sunday.



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