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November 15, 2018

What they're saying: Is it too late to save the Eagles' season?

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111518_Ertz-sad_usat Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz sits on the field after being stopped on fourth down by the Dallas Cowboys.

On Sunday, the struggling Philadelphia Eagles — in desperate need of a win — will head into a hostile environment to face the hottest team in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints. 

The Saints have won eight straight games and are averaging a league-best 36.7 points per game. 

What could possibly go wrong for Doug Pederson's team?

As we do each week, it's time to take a look at what the local and national media have to say about the Eagles, and before getting into all the doom and gloom surrounding the 2018 Birds, we'll start today's edition of what they're saying on a lighter note... 

A colorful bet

Tim McManus | ESPN

For some, this will be filed in the "Who the hell cares?" folder, but if you happen to notice the Eagles wearing their home green uniforms on Sunday, your eyes are not playing tricks on you: 

The Philadelphia Eagles will be wearing their home green uniforms in New Orleans on Sunday for their matchup against the Saints, as Sean Payton’s bet with Doug Pederson is finally coming due.

Back in March at the owner’s meetings in Orlando, the two were paired up for the annual coaches’ golf outing, and decided to make it interesting.

“We wanted to liven up the match, and we decided to bet and we chose jersey colors,” Pederson said Wednesday. “Three holes into it, ended up beating him, and that was it.”  [espn.com]

The Saints, according to McManus, will be wearing their all-white Color Rush uniforms. 

The Eagles suck!

Dan McQuade | Deadspin

Normally, I make up my own headlines for each section. But, try as I might, there's no way to top the one above, which was the actual headline on Dan McQuade's post for Deadspin. 

Before going any further, you should know that Dan is an Eagles fan, so if you think reading those words hurts, just imagine writing them. This week, on the Emergency Football Show, he and co-host Dom Cosentino start off the show by talking about the Birds... 

Dan McQuade: As you can see today, I am dressed in all black to mourn what appears to be the end of my Eagles’ season. Especially after we made fun of the Cowboys last week, they come out and basically control the game against the Eagles for almost all of Sunday night. 

Dom Cosentino: The Eagles have had some injuries in their secondary, but we’re beyond the point where that’s going to be an excuse for them, I think. The division is still up for grabs — Washington only has a two-game lead on both the Eagles and Dallas, so it’s not over, but it’s a bad division. I think a wild card prospect is certainly out of the question for any team in that division at this point. And the Eagles' schedule coming up is kind of brutal. You’ve got the Saints and the Rams still on the slate, so, sorry. 

[laugh]

DM: Yeah, it’s funny. Everyone is Philadelphia was sort of on a high for the months since the Super Bowl, and then ever since that first game, it’s been a rough season. They’ve only really blown out one opponent and that was the Giants.

DC: It’s very hard for teams to repeat that aren’t the Patriots, it seems like.  [deadspin.com]

'It's the whole team!'

Bob Grotz | The Delco Times

Of course you remember Jason Kelce's epic rant from atop the Art Museum steps back in February. But this week, Kelce's latest rant wasn't in defense of his teammates, but rather questioning the accountability of the whole team, himself included.

It began with Kelce holding himself accountable for his part in a 4-5 Eagles season.

“It’s making sure that going into the game that you’ve repped it in your mind if you haven’t had the physical rep,” Kelce said. “This isn’t just players; it’s coaches, it’s everybody. Everybody takes accountability and makes sure everybody’s ready to go. And from a players standpoint, it’s on you to make sure that you’re watching the film, you’re doing everything during the week necessary to improve to make sure you understand the finer coaching points, every little detail so that when you’re in the middle of the game you’re not playing slow or apprehensive. You know exactly what you have to do and go 100 percent and give great effort but it’s also on the coaches that all the guys are ready to go.”

Kelce tried on multiple occasions to explain what he really meant. He didn’t intend to rip the effort of anyone. It was more about consistency. The words were similar to those voiced by Pederson after the 27-20 loss Sunday to the Cowboys.

“When you have success, everybody’s doing everything the right way,” Kelce said. “When you lose, that’s when guys look to the veteran leaders to see how they’re responding. Are they doing everything the right way? Is everybody still in this together? Things like that.”  [delcotimes.com]

It starts at the top

Dave Zangaro | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Speaking of the veterans, Doug Pederson held a meeting with his team leaders recently.

These are trying times at the NovaCare Complex. And the Eagles need their leaders now more than ever. 

Pederson said the group of players was obviously disappointed. After a loss to the Cowboys and a 4-5 start to a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations, that seems like the right emotion. But he also said they were in a good place and excited to get back on the field. 

Here was part of the leadership group’s message to Pederson, as relayed by Carson Wentz: 

“The guys we have and especially the leadership, we’re not going to sink down now because of the performances we’ve had or our record or any of that stuff. We’re going to take it one day at at time, go out to practice, have some fun, be ourselves again. And get ready to play the Saints.”  [nbcsports.com]

Dave also asked the leaders in question — including Wentz, Kelce, and Malcolm Jenkins — what they believe their roles are heading into this crucial stretch of their schedule. It's worth checking out.

Six things wrong with the Birds

Danny Heifetz | The Ringer

The Eagles clearly have some issues to work through, more than you'd expect from a defending Super Bowl champion that made a significant upgrade at quarterback. Six seems a little low... 

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles aren’t doing well as top dogs. At 4-5, the Eagles are seventh in the NFC wild-card race, just ahead of the 3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now face the very real risk of missing the playoffs. There is no one single source of blame. They look like last year’s Eagles and they play like last year’s Eagles, but by record, they have been a bad football team. Philadelphia’s playoff hopes have been dying a death from a thousand papercuts. Last year’s Eagles became famous for team victories as underdogs, but this year’s squads have become known for team losses as favorites—everybody plays a small part in losing a game they were expected to win, and that was on display in their 27-20 loss Sunday night. ...
Doug Pederson’s Coaching Is No Longer Perfect
Pederson opted for a rookie running back who is less than stellar in short yardage to get the first instead of calling for a quarterback sneak with Wentz. The decision is questionable to begin with, and Pederson should be cognizant that the line isn’t performing as well as it did last season.
Perhaps it’s inevitable that the Eagles offense has taken a step back after the post–Super Bowl brain drain saw offensive coordinator Frank Reich hired as head coach in Indianapolis and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo move onto Minnesota to conduct a symphony with Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen this year. Philadelphia’s game-planning was extremely collaborative last season, and Pederson is likely feeling the strain of losing some brilliant assistants. The Eagles have had three consecutive losses at home and dropped the game after their bye week to the Cowboys, who were coming off of a short week of rest. Pederson’s play-calling was a big part of Sunday’s loss, and it hasn’t been as good as it as was last year.  [theringer.com]

The question remains, is it too late to fix the Eagles?


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