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September 10, 2023

Eagles future headlines: Time to panic? Is the defense bad?

Here's what they'll be saying on talk radio tomorrow.

The Eagles won on Sunday in New England, 25-20, to start the 2023 NFL season, but that's never enough in Philadelphia.

The defense fell completely asleep for an entire quarter, the play-calling was kind of dull and the defense was Jekyll and Hyde. No one will be satisfied when it comes to Monday morning quarterback time. So what will they be complaining about on sports talk radio this (short) week, ahead of their Thursday Night Football date with the Vikings?

Is it time to start worrying?

The opening minutes of the 2023 season were absolutely epic. A pick-six from Darius Slay paired with a forced fumble from Jordan Davis set up a 16-0 lead. But then the Birds went three-and-out five times in a row. The ball hawk defense let Mac Jones move the ball up and down the field seemingly at will. And uninspired play up and down the board made for some extremely boring football.

Philly came out of the locker room a little better in the second half, showing that they have so much talent it's nearly impossible to lose to inferior competition. Some big field goals from Jake Elliott clinched the win, but the stats are kind of lacking.

Scrimmage yards252382
Passing yards154306
Total plays6177
First downs1724

Philly had opportunities to slam the door over and over again and for whatever reason they continued to keep Bill Belichick and the Patriots alive in this frustrating game.

Also — catches by Dallas Goedert, who was open, a lot: 0.

Is it just early and the team is figuring it out? Or is this a sign of shaky days ahead? The phone lines are open.

Is Kenny Gainwell a fantasy football starter?

The Eagles sort of made a statement to those who were watching with fantasy interest Sunday, when Kenny Gainwell not only started at running back, but got touches on the first five plays of the game and six of the first seven.

He was even on the field for third downs and for red zone situations. The numbers weren't overwhelming but the snap counts will tell the tale. Boston Scott and D'Andre Swift were simply role players supporting Gainwell, who had 14 carries for 54 yards and four catches for 20 more. Rashaad Penny didn't even suit up.

Fantasy podcasts will be on this, and the local sports radio could be on it too. The answer honestly won't come for some time, as it's entirely possible that head coach Nick Sirianni saw something in this exact Patriots matchup that made him want to lean Gainwell over his other backs.

A win is a win

It took four field goals and bend-don't-break defense. It lacked Goedert and Swift. The defense produced zero sacks through three quarters (a year after nearly having 70), and saw the offense perform extremely modestly. Jalen Hurts did not look like an MVP candidate and Nick Sirianni didn't look like one of the top young coaches in the sport.

But Fletcher Cox made plays down the stretch, so did A.J. Brown. A monstrously costly late fumble from Jalen Hurts wasn't enough to set the Eagles back to 0-1, and even a failed ballsy fourth down attempt inside two minutes didn't undo the season opener.

It's possible in four days that the Eagles are 2-0 and the talk of the NFC. It just doesn't really feel like it now.

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