Sure, it’s only week two of the NFL season. There is most definitely plenty of football to happen before we can make major assessments of a team’s outlook, but the consistency of the inconsistency that this team is showing is enough to more than ruffle some feathers here for Philly fans. It has come to a point where the Eagles must stare down the all-too-real possibility of being a mediocre football team with a mediocre quarterback. This isn’t coming only from this week; this is a long time coming, as Doug Pederson’s squad has never truly returned to form since February of 2018.
The Eagles came into the second game of the season 0–1 after losing to the Washington Football team and looked to use Sean McVay and company as a momentum swinger. Over Pederson’s tenure, the Eagles have had McVay’s number and wanted to make a statement victory to prove they are still very much in the playoff conversation. Alas, things didn’t go as planned.
The birds stumbled to a terrible start falling behind 14–3 early and quickly found themselves in a 21–3 ballgame with fumbles, drops, awry passes and a very shreddable defense being exploited. Though they rallied back to make the game 21–16 by halftime, the Eagles had already been recognized for what they seem to be becoming over the past few years.
I consider myself a strong Carson Wentz supporter. Through his struggles, I had focused upon the ineptitudes of Pederson, the receivers, the running game, the o-line and whatever else could be thrown in the mix. After two games of a 2020 season, however, I am beginning to wonder who exactly our franchise quarterback truly is. Was 2017 merely a blip on the radar that is the history of mediocrity when it comes to Philadelphia sports teams? Was our number two overall pick worth the gamble when we extended him a year ago? Wentz has increasingly taught us that we never know what we will get in the Eagles. Whether he will be healthy or will be accurate doesn’t matter. What matters is that Wentz is becoming an inconsistent player with loads of potential.
So quick were we to thrust him upon the NFL’s Mount Rushmore and claim him as amongst Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Now, we and the Eagles face a crossroads: do we still believe in who we called the Birds’ savior? To add to this situation is an interception issue that is beginning to creep up on number 11. Through his last two seasons, Wentz has accrued only seven interceptions per season. In two games, he has four. Could this be a sign of things to come for the North Dakota Assassin?
Now, this loss cannot be only attributed to Wentz. This team has shown ineptitudes at many levels in only two games, none more glaring than the lack of playmaking ability at the linebacking position. We knew that this corps of linebackers would be far from sufficient when the season began, and no flashy pickups had been made by Howie Roseman. The loss of Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nigel Bradham has shown to be devastating as seen in Tyler Higbee’s (TE of the Rams) three-touchdown game. The inability to cover Higbee left him wide open on too many occasions, and the inability to tackle left the run defense of Jim Schwartz dumbfounded.
In addition, Schwartz’s defensive line has been nowhere close to the domination that expectations had been coming into this season. With names like Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson and Brandon Graham, among others, this line should’ve been sending both Goff and Haskins to the ground with regularity. However, we have only seen rare instances of that occasion in these two games of 2020. The front seven not playing well leaves the secondary to hold up the defense (yikes). This hasn’t gone terribly as Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and company have definitely shown they are better than last year’s group. However, there are plenty of busted coverages to go around, and the lack of speed (aside from Slay) really seems to be hampering a shaky secondary from becoming shut down.
Pederson does not deserve a ton of blame for Sunday’s performance, besides maybe to be a little harder on Wentz. The offensive playbook was much better suited for the offensive line and it showed, with Wentz sustaining no sacks only one week after taking eight. The running game shined with the return of Miles Sanders, who, after a fumble on his first carry, was able to rack up 95 yards and a touchdown. Boston Scott looked solid again as he averaged 4.8 yards per carry on the day in Sanders’ shadow. So, if the running game was solid and the offensive line allowed no sacks, why was Wentz so inconsistent?
The cries from the Philly faithful have come to dethrone Wentz in favor of second-round pick Jalen Hurts. It’s hard not to see why, given Wentz’s performance through these two weeks and the ability that Hurts seems to contain. The bottom line of this quarterback situation is that Wentz needs to wake up. That means letting Hurts play for a drive or for Pederson and his staff to be more disciplined in their approach of coaching Wentz. One way or another, Wentz needs to understand that this fanbase is turning on him with a rapid pace. Gone are the days (merely weeks ago) when Eagles fans would laugh at people claiming that Dak Prescott is a superior quarterback. It is difficult to argue for Wentz when Prescott just finished his ninth fourth-quarter comeback yesterday, while Wentz couldn’t even handle the supposed worst team in the division.
Words are one thing; we know where he struggled, and he can repeat all he wants that he needs to fix his mistakes. But until it starts playing out on the field, week after week, Jalen Hurts will loom like the grim reaper to Wentz’s career in Philadelphia. Fly Eagles fly.
Joseph Gill is a second-year English writings major. JG923276@wcupa.edu