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September 15, 2017

Mailbag: Where was Derek Barnett Week 1?

In our weekly Eagles chat on Thursday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Dalessandros: Thoughts on Vinny Curry’s Week 1 performance? He seemed to be a step too late on a few plays, but still more disruptive than Derek Barnett at this point.

Jimmy: I’ll frame it like this. I thought both players were much more effective than Connor Barwin was against Trent Williams last year. Williams may be the best LT in the NFL. The Redskins allowed Williams to handle Barwin with no help, and Williams was able to dominate Barwin both in the run game and pass game. While Curry and Barnett did not make any splash plays, Williams did not dominate them.

Curry did a good job pushing the pocket, while Barnett was much better against the run than I was expecting, especially going against Williams. He also flashed:

If a high draft pick isn’t making big plays early on, you at least want to see that he has the ability to, and Barnett more than showed that Week 1.

Question from JMIOFB: Let’s say the birds upset the Chiefs. Given what happened last year (3-0, Super Bowl talk, finished 7-9), at what point can we feel good about this team as a solid team? I know they are not a deep-run playoff team. Just trying to get not to get hurt again (for about the 20th time).

Jimmy: Only 20? Lightweight. To answer your question, your tempering of emotional attachment is understandable, and if I have my finger on the pulse of the fan base like I think I might, I think the excitement over the Week 1 win has been a little more in check than in past years for that reason.

That said, this roster is better than the one the Eagles put on the field in 2016. I’m with you that it’s not yet a team likely to make a deep playoff run, but they’ll contend for the playoffs. I think it’ll be a fun year, with peaks and valleys.

Question from Azanch: Do you think the new practice squad guy who used to play on the Chiefs will give the staff some info on their defense? Does that stuff really help a team?

Jimmy: Azanch is referring to CB De'Vante Bausby, who the Eagles quietly signed this week. I don’t really know how much that helps, but it’s at least mildly interesting they did that two weeks in a row. I wonder if they did that again because Nate Sudfeld actually gave some decent insights for Week 1 against the Redskins.

Question from H2O: They absolutely have to bracket Tyreek Hill, right?

Jimmy: If the Chiefs didn't have other really good weapons, I'd say that giving Hill a whole lot of extra attention would be the way to go. Unfortunately for the Eagles' defense, the Chiefs also have a top 5 tight end in Travis Kelce, and a rookie running back who put up almost 250 yards from scrimmage against a great defense in his debut. The Eagles defense cannot bracket Hill for 60 minutes. Guys are going to have to step up play well. 

Question from Bnato: With Eric Berry being elite at taking away the middle of the field (in particular tight ends), I can see Ertz having a huge game this week? Thoughts?

Jimmy: Sure, anytime you lose a three-time first-team All Pro player, your defense is going to miss him. I think his absence with hurt the Chiefs both in the run game and pass game.

Question from D: (Wentz puts up big stats while making wow plays). Cian Fahey: “Wentz sucks.” (Dak puts up mediocre numbers while looking erratic). Cian Fahey: “Here are 10 reasons why Dak is the next Joe Montana.”

Jimmy: Haha. Cian did not like Wentz as a prospect coming out of NDSU. That’s fine. Very clearly, he’s looking at Wentz, and desperately hoping he fails. That’s so dumb. You’re not going to be right about every college prospect. For example, I can remember saying that I thought Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin was going to stink in the NFL. He hit a little bit of a bump with injuries, but he very clearly showed he can play his rookie season. I took the L and moved on.

It’s so much better to just admit you missed on a player. Ultimately, nobody really cares. But continuing to just point out every throw that’s off by a millimeter and never pointing out the good is useless. Who would ever want to listen to some jackwagon who isn’t being honest in his analysis?

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