October 25, 2021
Where do we even begin?
The final score, an 11-point road loss to the now 5-2 Raiders, doesn't do Sunday's Eagles loss justice, as the Birds allowed the Raiders to score 30 unanswered points after Philly took an early lead on an opening-drive touchdown.
The defense looked broken — and Fletcher Cox even called out coordinator Jonathan Gannon after the loss. The offense, after a promising start, lost Miles Sanders and returned to the inept, vanilla scheme we've come to know under Nick Sirianni. And the coaching staff as a whole looked inept, not just in their game management and play-calling but also in their ability to get the players to buy in, something that hadn't been as much of a concern through the first month and half of the season.
But any time you see a veteran like Jason Kelce pick up at 15-yard penalty after losing his cool, you know something's not right.
As expected, the scribes have not been kind to the Birds on this overreaction Monday — and for good reason. There's not a lot of positives that can be taken from this game, aside from perhaps a solid performance from Dallas Goedert in the first game of the post-Zach Ertz Era. But as you move out from there, it gets uglier and uglier. Let's take a look at what they're saying following a disheartening loss in the desert...
In a game in which the opposition was playing without its top offensive weapon in Darren Waller, the Eagles allowed Derek Carr to complete over 90 percent of his passes. Derek Carr. Not Tom Brady (although they did allow him to complete 81 percent just a week and a half ago), but Derek BLEEPING Carr. He's been better this year, sure, but come on. You're not going to win
many any games when the opposing QB only throws three incompletions the entire game.
Worse yet, the Eagles allowed one of the NFL's worst rushing teams to look like the Ravens, continuing a theme of poor run defense that's allowing the fourth most rushing yards per game this season after continually being one of the game's top units in that area under Jim Schwartz.
The offense, despite rallying late once again in garbage time, was just as bad following their opening-drive touchdown. Their stats might not reflect it given that late surge, but there was a stretch in the middle of the game where the offense just couldn't keep the ball, and that played a key role in allowing the Raiders to score those 30 straight points.
As Tim McManus wrote over at ESPN.com, this is "the type of loss that can torpedo a season and get players to second-guess their coaching staff." And based on Fletcher Cox's postgame comments, we already know that the latter is true. We'll have to wait and see how the team responds to know whether or not this is the loss that torpedoes their season.
What to know: This is the type of loss that can torpedo a season and get players to second-guess their coaching staff. The Eagles had several days of extra rest after playing on Thursday night in Week 6 and supposedly used that time to self-scout and make improvements on both sides of the ball. Yet the product on Sunday was the worst it's been. The defense continues to play passively -- it was pitch-and-catch underneath all day for Carr -- while the Eagles' offense stuck to a run-heavy game plan until late in the game despite trailing by a significant margin for much of the day. Coach Nick Sirianni & Co. appear overmatched, and the Eagles look broken. -- Tim McManus
Will the Eagles shift into full-out sellers mode before the Nov. 2 trade deadline? Tight end Zach Ertz has already been dealt, and at this point, all illusions about the Eagles (2-5) making a run at the postseason have vanished. There's reason to expect the Eagles will be burning up the phone lines over the next week. -- McManus
McManus' confidence rating (0-10): 3.1, down from 3.9. There are winnable games coming up, starting Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but the Eagles look awfully shaky at the moment. [espn.com]
Over at NBC Sports Philadelphia, Reuben Frank didn't mince words when describing Sunday's loss to the Raiders as part of his weekly 10 observations, calling it an "organization-wide embarrassment." And he's 100 percent correct. From top to bottom, from Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman all the way to the scouts, everyone involved should be embarrassed. Not because they lost to the Raiders. Not because they're 2-5. But because of the way in which they've gotten there.
1. This is when you figured maybe things will start getting better. Coming off a mini-bye against a Raiders team playing with an interim head coach that lost two of its last three games in a stadium packed with Eagles fans. Yeah, about that…. This wasn’t just a loss, it was an organization-wide embarrassment. Every scout, player and coach in the NovaCare Complex ought to be flat-out embarrassed to be a part of a franchise that could play such a pitiful brand of football. If you want to blame Howie or the coaching staff or the players, you’re missing the point. It’s all of them. It’s everybody. When you reach this level of ineptitude, nobody involved should be able to look at themselves in the mirror and not feel like they played a role in this disaster. They can’t score. They can’t call plays. They can’t stop anybody. When they finally do something right, somebody ruins it with a turnover, mistake or penalty. Top to bottom, a catastrophe. [nbcsports.com]
A catastrophe indeed. But the scary part is they may not have hit rock bottom yet. They'll travel to Detroit this week to face a winless Lions team, and for the first time all season, the Eagles will be favored (by 3.5 points). Losing that game? That would be rock bottom.
Over at The Inquirer, columnist Mike Sielski takes aim at ... you guessed it, everyone. As he correctly points out, Sunday's loss wasn't the exception — it's what we've come to understand (if not yet accept) as the rule for these Eagles. And it's hard to watch.
Sunday’s game was many things, but what it wasn’t was an outlier. The Eagles are a bad team, and the more pressing and distressing fact is that they have been a bad team for a pretty long time — for nearly a season-and-a-half. They have failed to win 17 of their 23 games over that period. They have lost with Jalen Hurts as their quarterback and with Carson Wentz as their quarterback. They have lost — and looked lost — with Nick Sirianni as their coach and with Doug Pederson as their coach. They have played Charmin-soft defense with Jonathan Gannon overseeing the unit and with Jim Schwartz overseeing the unit.
Given the mediocrity, or something less than it, throughout the NFC East, they had an elementary standard to meet this season to remain competitive: They just had to be competent. They’re 2-5. They commit the most penalties in the NFL, by a Secretariat-at-the-Belmont margin. They allowed the Raiders, who entered Sunday’s game last in the league in yards per rushing attempt, to average nearly 5 yards per carry, and they allowed Derek Carr to complete passes at roughly the same rate that Steph Curry makes foul shots. They could trade for Ben Simmons tomorrow, and it would improve their image.
So what’s the primary problem?
Is it the coaching?
Is it the talent?
Is it the front office?
Every week, BLG breaks down the winners and losers from Sunday's game. And this week, there were far more losers than winners. For starters, as we've outlined above, the entire organization is the biggest loser of all.
"There are no good excuses for the Eagles to get dominated liked they did. They were coming out of a mini-bye. They had a lot of Eagles fans in the stands," he writes. "The inconvenient truth is that they’re just a bad football team with an overly involved owner, an uninspiring front office, an overmatched coaching staff, a limited starting quarterback, and an unremarkable roster."
From there, Brandon gets into handing out some individual blame. Nick Sirianni, Jonathan Gannon and Jalen Hurts are all rightfully included, but at the macro level if you're looking for somewhere to point the finger (no, not that finger), there's no better place to start than right at the top, with the man who ultimately had the final call on firing Doug Pederson and hiring Sirianni — all while keeping the same general manager in place.
Oh, and don't worry, Brandon went after Howie as well...
The Eagles are victims of their own hubris. They think they’re so much better off as an organization than they actually are. The reality is they’re among the worst teams in the NFL since the start of last season.
The Eagles have 6 wins since the start of the 2020 season (a span of 23 games).— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) October 25, 2021
Only four teams with fewer wins during that period:
[...] Thus far, there are no signs of the Eagles being on the right path to create a dominant football team. 2016 was nowhere near as discouraging.
If nothing else, Lurie hiring a new general manager and new coaching staff would be interesting. Which the Eagles haven’t been in some time now.
But we all suspect that’s just not going to happen. The expectation is that the Eagles will continue to believe they know more than everyone else.
Maybe they’ll be right. But they’ve given little reason to believe that’s the case. It sucks to be in a position where you’re feeling supremely skeptical and you have to hope you’re wrong.
The Eagles are 97-93-1 since Howie Roseman first became general manager in 2010. They are 48-44-1 since he was reinstated in 2016. They are 25-32-1 since winning Super Bowl LII. Why does the owner treat him like he’s above reproach? What has Roseman done recently to inspire confidence the Eagles are on the right track? The trade with the Miami Dolphins was really good work by him. But, again, what’s the confidence level in him actually properly executing those picks? Roseman is in large part responsible for the mess the Eagles find themselves in. It would be certifiably insane to allow him to pick a fourth head coach. [bleedinggreennation.com]
Over at The Athletic, Zach Berman touched on Rodney McLeod's comments about how time is running out for the Eagles to turn this around. They still have 10 games left to play, but based on what he's seen so far, Berman isn't sure if they're capable of turning it around, even if they want to. After all, there's a reason they're 2-5 — and we can't just expect they have a switch they can flip to take them to some magical new gear. Sure, the competition should be softening, but all the evidence suggests this is just a bad football team.
As the Eagles got ready for the long flight home, there was no seeking solace in the maintained effort. Teams don’t reach the postseason simply through trying hard. The Eagles need results.
“Time’s running out,” McLeod said. “We’re at a point in the season where we’re 2-5. Of course, we didn’t want to be in this position. Honestly, time’s running out. We have to make a stand. We have to make a push. And I felt it was that time.”
Here’s the problem: They’ve offered little evidence that they’re capable of turning it around. The Eagles are not a good football team at the moment, and there’s nothing they can point to that suggests the rest of the season will be much better. Their offense is inconsistent. Their defense is toothless. They enter few games with a decided personnel or schematic advantage. Their strengths are supposed to be along the lines of scrimmage, but those groups have been hindered by injuries. If one’s looking for a reason for optimism, it’s that the remaining schedule includes Detroit (0-7), the Jets (1-5), the Giants (2-5) twice and Washington (2-5) twice. But with the way those teams are playing, they might be thinking that at least they have the Eagles on their schedules.
This isn’t an overreaction to one week as much as it is an accumulation of evidence through two months. The Eagles looked outstanding in the season opener against Atlanta, but they’ve done little in the six games since to sustain or build upon the first impression. It’s not as if they have a high-powered offense equipped to win shootouts. Their defense, which held Carolina, San Francisco and Atlanta to three combined touchdowns, is proving susceptible to any team patient enough to prey on their lack of aggressiveness. Against Tampa Bay, Kansas City or Dallas, it could be rationalized that those are three of the NFL’s heavyweights. The Raiders are 5-2 and Carr might be an eight-year veteran, but the Eagles were only modest underdogs Sunday. If the Eagles expect to play meaningful football late into December, they must be competitive against opponents like the Raiders. Sunday, they were clearly the inferior team. [theathletic.com]