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November 01, 2019

Mailbag: Sunday's Eagles-Bears outcome is kind of a big deal

In our Eagles chat on Wednesday there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Phil Phartsomemore: What is your prediction for the NFC East at the mid-season mark? Should we all prepare to jump off the Walt Whitman Bridge?

I think the importance of this matchup against the Bears on Sunday is being undersold a bit. The Eagles’ outcome looks significantly different depending on the outcome of that game. 

I posted this earlier in the week, but here's a quick snapshot of the Eagles' and Cowboys' remaining schedules:

 WeekEagles (4-4)Cowboys (4-3) 
 9Bears (3-4) At Giants (2-6) 
 10BYE  Vikings (6-2)
 11Patri*ts (8-0)  At Lions (3-3-1)
 12Seahawks (6-2)  At Patri*ts (8-0)
 13At Dolphins (0-7) Bills (5-2)
 14Giants (2-6) At Bears (3-4)
 15At Washington (1-7)  Rams (5-3)
 16Cowboys (4-3)  At Eagles (4-4)
 17At Giants (2-6)  Washington (1-7)
 Combined opponents' record26-35 (.426) 37-31-1 (.543) 

If the Eagles win, they’re probably looking at a 10-win season, given the rest of their schedule. If you assume wins over the Dolphins, Giants (x2), and Washington team (perhaps we shouldn't be predicting a sweep of those four teams, but whatever), that brings them to nine wins. They'd only need to win one of the three remaining games against the Seahawks, Patri*ts, or Cowboys, all of which are at home.

If they lose, they're 4-5 heading into a long two weeks until their next game, with the Patri*ts waiting for them on the other side. Not ideal.

If you'll note, there's more at stake for the Eagles this week in "playoff probability leverage" in Week 9 than there is for any other team in the NFC, with a difference of 23 percent probability to make the playoffs depending on a win or loss.

So I guess I've gone a long way to say that the start of the bye week -- after we know the outcome of Sunday's game -- is probably a better time to answer your question.

Question from Pragmatic: How surprised were you that no real trades were made this deadline, it seems like a few teams should have absolutely unloaded some players?

Very. If you're among the faction of the fan base that is upset that the Eagles didn't make splashy moves at the deadline, at least you're not a Washington team fan. Piecing together various reports, the following is how they handled the Trent Williams situation:

  1. During the offseason, Williams makes it extraordinarily clear that he is never playing another down for that team. Players might say things like that to try to gain leverage, but in this case, Williams comes across as very believable, given that his beef with the organization is that he doesn't trust their medical staff. In other words, it has nothing to do with money.
  2. Washington thumbs their nose at Williams, remaining steadfast that's he's not going anywhere.
  3. Teams try to contact Washington during the offseason and into the regular season, inquiring what his availability is in a trade, and Washington basically doesn't even bother talking with them. Cleveland is reportedly willing to part with a 1st round pick for him during the offseason, an entirely fair price (hell, an overpay in Washington's favor), but, nope.
  4. With a couple days left before the deadline, finally, Washington is listening. They make absurdly lopsided counter offers, like that d-bag in your fantasy football league that nobody likes.
  5. Cleveland says "Screw you, no thanks, turns out we suck so we're out on him," a silver lining cathartic moment for them in the midst of an awful 2-5 season. And oh by the way, their first-round pick, currently, would be 8th overall.
  6. The trade deadline comes and goes, and Washington is now stuck with a player who is never playing for them again. Oh and hey, now he's reporting back to the team so that this season counts toward his contract. He claims his helmet doesn't fit right anymore because of a previous growth on his head, he reveals that he had cancer, and he's essentially blaming the team for missing it.

I guess what I'm driving at is that it could be a lot worse, ha.

Washington aside, I don't get the logic of many of the already-out-of-the-race teams that have appealing players on expiring contracts. Get what you can for them. And if the logic is, "Well, they could get comp picks for them if they just hang onto them," then they're essentially committing to sitting out free agency, when, you know, your team is so bad already that it's not even November yet and your team is already out of the race. Can you really afford to punt on free agency for some late-round comp picks?

Question from Jimboree: Hi Jimmy, if you look at this roster, who can you say for sure will be on this team in 3 years? I've got Wentz, Dillard, Lane, Sanders, Goedert, Barnett, Cox and potentially Maddox. Would love to hear your thoughts on this exercise!

My 10 most likely, in order:

  1. Darren Sproles
  2. Carson Wentz
  3. Andre Dillard
  4. Miles Sanders
  5. Dallas Goedert
  6. Jake Elliott
  7. Lane Johnson
  8. Derek Barnett
  9. Avonte Maddox
  10. Fletcher Cox

OK, kidding on Sproles, obviously. Or am I? If we took him out, my 10th guy would be Zach Ertz.

Question from Bock: How would you describe the offensive identity of this team? I think they would have more success if they made the run game their primary attack. Do they have the personnel and/or desire to become more of a run-oriented offense?

I think their offensive identity right now is that they are a slow, boring offense that's sometimes good in the run game, and lacks speed and creativity in the passing game. I do agree that a steady diet of the run game is probably their best chance at the moment, but once DeSean Jackson returns, it better not be, because they can't count on 200-yard rushing days to consistently win games. It's not sustainable, especially without a great defense.

Question from Bob: What was that thing that Darby did when he smacked the ball down before the receiver caught it? Is that allowed?

I was actually curious to see how many pass breakups Eagles players have, and was stunned to learn that Darby and Rasul Douglas are tied for fifth (!) in the NFL in passes defensed.

Question from Rowie Hoseman: Do you think they are just waiting to cut Sendejo around the time the waiver period begins so that teams lower on the list will probably grab Dejo (similar to what the Pats are doing with Josh Gordon)?

To begin, I do believe you are correct that that is what the Patri*ts did. They’re letting teams that can’t hurt them in the playoffs get the first crack at him. We're already into the waiver period, so there's no need the Eagles to wait any longer on that front. 

The Eagles can cut Sendejo to retain that fourth-pick comp pick as long as it happens before the Saturday of their bye week. If it were me, I wouldn't care where he goes thereafter. Even Dallas. Go get him, Jerry.

Comment from Pragmatic: NCAA finally relents and lets athletes make money on their likeness, US Senator then says we will tax them for their scholarship... such good people!

Haha, yes, this guy got "ratio'd," as the kids say these days:

But seriously, what a piece of human garbage.

Comment from Buck: This is going to be nit-picky, but your boy BLG drives me nuts when I hear him pronounce Alshon. Sounds like he is saying Owl-shon. Want to add, I think you've been a great addition and have been enjoying the podcast!

Haha, I can’t wait to show him this. And thanks! As long as you mention it, here's the BGN Radio podcast stream. The latest show with me and Brandon is "BGN Radio #89...":

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