The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the easy picks to win the NFC East this year, but with the loss to the Rams on Sunday, they sit at the bottom of the division with the Giants.
Running back Miles Sanders was back in the lineup, as was tackle Lane Johnson, so things were supposed to be better for Philadelphia coming off the loss at Washington. That wasn’t exactly the case, but there were some things that went right.
Wentz finished 26-43, with 242 yards and 2 picks. He was able to spread the ball around pretty well, despite getting pushed off his spot for much of the game.
The offensive line held up for the most part though, not allowing a single sack to two of the best defensive lineman in the game– Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald. The last interception was upheld on review, but you could see the ball roll under the defender, so the stat line is a bit deceiving.
Miles Sanders, however, had a great first game of the season. The second year back totaled 131 yards from scrimmage on the day. Sanderds finished with 20 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and three catches for 36 yards in the passing game.
Wideout DeSean Jackson led all receivers with 6 catches for 64 yards. That’s where it gets shaky. Wentz didn’t have a bad game, and he didn’t get sacked, but he wasn’t given time to get the ball deep down the field too often. Losing guard Isaac Seomalu didn’t help matters, either.
The Eagles weren’t able to move the ball down the field consistently against this Rams defense. One of their scores actually came off of a great special teams play, where the Eagles forced Copper Kupp to fumble on a punt return. That said, this side of the ball wasn’t why they lost the game.
LA looked like they did during the year they went to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Jared Goff ended the game 20-27, with 267 yards and 3 scores. Rookie Cam Akers left the game with a rib injury, but 2nd-year running back Darrell Henderson rushed for 81 yards on 12 carries and the touchdown.
Cooper Kupp led the rams with 81 receiving yards on 5 catches, as the Eagles secondary kept allowing receivers to get open. This was regardless of if they were in man coverage, or zone, they just kept getting beat. That’s not a total knock on the players. It’s the scheme.
Since Jim Schwartz became the defensive coordinator, regardless of the players the Eagles have in the defensive backfield, the holes in the schemes have gotten exploited.
Single-man on the outside with no safety help, or a wide zone, the defense that Schwartz runs just isn’t working with this team. Philadelphia has had some of the most talented defensive backs in the league, but it’s never mattered in this scheme.
The linebackers are an issue too, and have been since Jordan Hicks walked two seasons ago. We have youth there, and they may get better over time, but right now it’s the weakest spot on their defense.
Up front the Eagles are still solid. Derek Barnett returned this week and was able to get a hit on Goff, and Graham got a sack and a hit as well. Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat also added tackles for losses. they are getting into the backfield, but the back seven of the defense just isn’t holding up their end.
Without a scheme change, at the very least, this will be the norm for this defense. This is simply outrageous considering the talent on that side of the ball. Howie has assembled a good team, but their strengths aren’t being used, and their weaknesses are out in the open with no help.
My suggestion to cure this prognosis: fire Jim Schwartz.
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