I think it’s safe to say that almost no one in the Philadelphia Eagles fan base expected it to happen before the season started. All of us were so confident that the winning ways of 2017 were “The New Norm” for this team. But that wasn’t the case at all. At this point, it almost seems to have been unavoidable.
The Eagles are experiencing a Super Bowl Hangover.
After losing to the Dallas Cowboys for the second time this season, the Eagles are now sitting at 6-7 with the NFL East division title seemingly out of reach. And while the 6th wild card spot is still a possibility, it will be a tough task to accomplish. The team still has a rather difficult schedule ahead with matchups against the Rams and Texans, and they need both the Vikings and Panthers to lose a couple of games. To top it off, it’s been reported that Carson Wentz might not be playing this Sunday against the Rams due to a back injury, and it’s possible he could be shut down for the rest of the season. And I’m choosing not to discuss the topic of Nick Foles over Carson Wentz and whether Foles can lead the Eagles on a 3-game winning streak. Anyone who honestly believes Foles is a better quarterback than Wentz lacks legitimate football knowledge.
Zero quit in @cj_wentz.
— NFL (@NFL) December 11, 2018
There’s no need to mention all of the things that have gone wrong with this team this season. From the injuries to the horrible coaching from our coordinators, we all know what the issues have been already, and they’re going to continue to be discussed for months.
Furthermore, there will be a lot of talk after this season is over about what the Eagles need to do in the offseason in order to have a bounce-back season in 2019. There are plenty of veterans that could potentially not be on the team beyond this year, creating numerous holes on the roster that will need to be filled through free agency and the draft. And I’m sure there will be plenty of staffing changes that will be made.
But before we get to that point, the Eagles still have 3 games left to play in 2018. And regardless of what their chances of making the playoffs are, there are still a few things that the team should do in these final 3 games. Whether they actually do them is another question, but the following are things I’d still like to see for 2018:
Use Josh Adams and Darren Sproles
If Nick Foles is indeed going to be the starter for the rest of the season then the Eagles need to establish an effective ground game if they want to have any type of success(that should have been a focal point even with Wentz starting, but it becomes even more imperative now with Foles). When the Eagles went on their Super Bowl run and Foles had those 2 incredible games, a big reason why he was able to play so well is because the offense had a great running game.
Josh Adams has been the most talented runner on the roster since Jay Ajayi went down with a season-ending injury. He should be carrying the ball close to 20 times a game, if not more, and they need to stop running him East-West and have him run strictly downhill North-South. The team needs to get him as many reps as they can right now so they can fully evaluate what they have in him entering 2019.
As far as Sproles goes, these look to be the final 3 games of his illustrious career. He’s been out most of the season due to a hamstring injury, so it’s not like the long grind of the regular season is an issue for him. And with the playoffs most likely not happening, there’s no need to save him for later. Sproles has shown that he’s still the same Darren Sproles we’ve all grown to love as he just continues to make plays when he gets the ball. Use him as much as you can, because he deserves it.
More Dallas Goedert
Anyone who has paid close attention to Dallas Goedert this season can easily see that the kid has some serious talent. Yes, Zach Ertz is the best offensive weapon on the team and is one of the very few elite tight ends in the NFL, but that shouldn’t stop the Eagles from using Goedert more and more as the season winds down. The Eagles remain the best team in the league at using 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs) in large part because Goedert is such a versatile threat as both a run blocker and receiver. He’s another mismatch when lining up against linebackers and is a great compliment to what Ertz does. He even got some looks as the single tight end when the offense went with 11 personnel against the Cowboys. Goedert has been very impressive when he’s been given the opportunities. Coach Pederson should continue to increase his reps going forward to help Goedert’s development and so we can get a preview of what to (hopefully) expect more of in 2019.
Fire Mike Groh, appoint Duce Staley as interim OC
This is by far the least likely of the 3, but I believe it’s one many Eagles fans might agree on. Mike Groh’s lack of offensive creativity has been a huge reason for the offensive woes this year, and many anticipate him to be gone once the season is finished. However, I’m of the mindset that the team should just fire Groh now and appoint Duce Staley as the interim offensive coordinator. If Duce is going to be one of the candidates for the offensive coordinator then it would only benefit the team to see what he can do in these last 3 games. No one really knows if Duce would be a good coordinator or not, and 3 games at the end of a lost season won’t be a complete indicator either, but it’s better than nothing. Some of us (including myself) believed that Duce should have been the offensive coordinator in the first place anyways.