Eagles Come Up Short Against Ravens: The Morning After
Good morning campers,
Right out of the chute, I want to wish everyone the happiest and safest of holidays. I hope you all get everything you wanted on your wish list.
We Eagles' fans, of course, have our own wish list and as we all know by now, our #1 wish list item will not be under our tree or in our stocking again this year.
Course, I think we all knew that that wish list item was not going to arrive before the season started, but following a 3-0 start, we all had visions of playoffs—or dare I say or more dancing in our head.
Put away those dancing shoes for another year, kids.
Let's get to getting.
*Let's cut right to the chase. Below are a series of three pictures of what I believe is a microcosm of this entire Eagles season. When the Eagles have had chances to make a big play in a given game (sans the first three games), they have come up short.
Take a look at these images, which are in chronological order. As you can see in the first image, Eagles Safety Rodney McLeod (circled) is in a great position to come up to make a play on the Ravens RB (circled) at the 10-yard line.
The second image shows the RB advancing yet McLeod has not moved up to try and make a play.
The third and final image we see... what's this? Rodney has not engaged the RB until 4-yard line?
Of course, the question is why? Why would he A) not come up to meet the ball carrier and B) backpedal away from him?
Here's the full play as it happened:
McLeod on the Dixon TD: "I felt like I had more space ... If I could change, I would attack a little more and take my shot a little sooner." pic.twitter.com/FUcePulHzz
— Josh Paunil (@JoshPaunil) December 18, 2016
As you can see Rodney's excuse (operative and correct word) is that he thought he had more space adding "If I could change, I would attack a little more and take my shot a little sooner."
Then there is this play from the Bengals game. See a pattern here?
Jim Schwartz defended Rodney McLeod on Hill's first quarter TD, saying it was a matter of being flat-footed and reacting slowly, not effort. pic.twitter.com/7OlWxY48Xy
— Josh Paunil (@JoshPaunil) December 6, 2016
In this case, Rodney's boss, AKA Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz defended his player, saying that McLeod was merely caught flat-footed and reacting slowly.
Naturally, Schwartz would not (nor should not) call out his players for lack of effort. That's my job.
Are you kidding me, Rodney? Where is THIS Rodney McLeod?
*Should I keep going? Does anyone even care? Ok, I'll keep going...
*Have to give credit where it's due, and I was impressed by the Eagles’ ability to run the ball against the #1 rush defense in the NFL. I, for one, never saw that coming. Of course, as much I was impressed by the Eagles’ running game, I was equally perplexed by...
*Doug Pederson's play calling. Yes, I love the fact that he went for two vs. kicking the PAT and playing for overtime. But that was in essence a no-brainer. Of course, you go for the win. Your season, as we already have established, is over. So while I laud him for the decision to go for two, someone explain the Nelson Agholor end around on a 4th and 1. Moreover, how do you explain the aforementioned Agholor called in punt return duty? Yes, when Kenjon Barner went down with a hamstring injury, the Birds needed someone to assume that role. But anyone who watched yesterday's game saw the plain ugly truth which was Nelson Agholor would have rather been having root canal - without novocain - than try and field a punt. By my count, he did not field one single punt, electing instead to let them all hit the ground.
You're telling me NO ONE ELSE could return a punt? Jordan Matthews? One of the CBs? Oh wait, that would require them to focus on the ball, which clearly is not the strong suit, right Jalen Mills?
How bout you stop waving that freakin finger of yours - as if you're the second coming of Eric Allen - every time (and it ain't often) you actually make a play, because the last time I saw you, Methuselah, AKA Steve Smith, was burning your ass for a backbreaking TD right before the end of the first half.
And for those who don't know (or care) Mills' Twitter handle is @Mills_Island - which I assume is his way of comparing himself to Darrelle Revis (AKA Revis Island) a name coined to reflect Revis' ability to shut down the opposing number one receiver.
Of course, the difference is Revis actually could play whereas Mills..well he is going finger-waggerer.
*Gotta also give props to someone I rarely give props to: Zach Ertz. The Eagles TE had himself an all-around solid game—including a very heads up play where he pushed a Ryan Matthews fumble out of bounds, thus keeping possession for the Eagles.
*Back to Mr. Agholor and ALL Eagle receivers...I don't recall the exact time or situation this occurred, but this was the epitome of the Eagles receiver. Nellie had single coverage. Carson Wentz put the ball in a position that had Agholor used his body to shield the defender and went and got the ball. You know, like a REAL NFL receiver is apt to do, he would have made the reception. Instead, Agholor laid back, let the ball come to him, and watched helplessly as the defender batted the ball away.
Much like the aforementioned Rodney McLeod this play too was very much a microcosm—only this one was of the entire Eagles receiving corps. 'Tis a shame too because...
*Carson Wentz is the real deal, kids. Yes, I am simplifying this incredibly—but the fact is, he is a franchise NFL QB. Does he have holes and things to correct? Of course he does. But the fact that the Eagles have arguably the most important position in ALL sports locked up is huge. Its importance cannot be overstated. Look at some other moribund NFL teams to see what I mean. The Browns, Niners and Jets come to mind out of quite a few in the same boat. All of these teams and those like them, despite what they can offer right now via other positions, all lack a foundation. They all lack a franchise quarterback.
Now, if we can only get someone in who can put together an NFL team. Someone who can recognize talent and draft and acquire free agency accordingly.
And no, that person is not Howie Roseman.
'Til next time.
As always, time's yours. Food's mine.
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