Back-to-back losses to start the season.
Carson Wentz flinging passes straight into the turf or, even worse, into the arms of the opposing team. An offensive line that has lost four starters in two games. A defense with no anchor — more specifically, a secondary with no anchor. No leader. The troops lack communication.
As Doug Pederson alluded to yesterday, this secondary misses a guy like Malcolm Jenkins. A respected, veteran voice evidently lacking this year.
Writing off this season might be in the Eagles’ best interest at this point.
There is no denying that Wentz has looked very bad in his first two games this season.
Even the piped-in crowd noise booing (it IS Philly) can agree with that statement.
At the start of the Eagles’ first game of the season, Wentz looked to be doing alright. He showed flashes of his 2017 self, despite the loss of three starting offensive linemen in that game: Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, and Andre Dillard.
The Birds even pulled out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. By halftime, Wentz would have thrown an interception turning into seven for Washington, but I believed in the second half, Wentz would slide back into his play from earlier in the game.
Surely, I was wrong.
The Eagles did not score a single point the rest of the game, allowing Washington to go for 27 unanswered, all of which came off Eagles turnovers.
We heard from Wentz after the game: “I’ve got to be better.”
What an understatement.
But we didn’t see better this week against the Los Angeles Rams.
We got much of the same.
Wentz was forcing pass after pass. This week the Rams received four scoring opportunities and 16 total points off Eagles turnovers. Johnson was slid into the Eagles offensive line but shortly after that happened, Issac Seumalo, the Eagles’ left guard, had his left leg rolled over and exited the game in the second quarter.
A fumble from RB Miles Sanders during the Eagles’ first drive of the game takes some of the heat off Wentz. But the two interceptions, incomplete passes, and late-game turnover on downs? Wentz is fully responsible for all of that.
These are the same mistakes and forced plays we saw from the QB last week against Washington.
Meanwhile, Philly’s secondary allowed the Rams — tight end Tyler Higbee, receiver Robert Woods, and even running back Darrell Henderson — to run free out there.
The Eagles have a choice to make: Tell Wentz they’ll start him next week, but warn him that if things don’t change by the half, we’re going to Jalen Hurts.
Or with the team’s pass protection full of holes and defense out of sorts, do they keep Wentz under center, toss out expectations for the year, and buy time for Hurts to develop?
Maybe some combination of both?
The Eagles wouldn’t have taken a talent like Hurts early in the second round unless they had some (very justifiable) concerns about Wentz — likely including his inability to stave off injury.
Even though the initial reason for getting Hurts as Wentz’s backup might not be significant right now if they start Hurts and give Wentz time to mentally focus it could be a turning point for their season.
The benching of Wentz will cause a media frenzy in the City of Brotherly Shove, but I think at this point, still early in the season, the Eagles have to do whatever it takes to turn this thing around.
They signed Wentz last year to a four-year extension worth over $100 million. They need to get the most out of this guy.
Hurts was active for the first game of his NFL career on Sunday, at second on the QB depth chart.
Yes, the Eagles offensive line is a mess. But I’m betting that’s not the reason they keep losing. With Wentz’s future in limbo, Hurts might see his first action this week against Cincinnati.
It would be a low-risk debut for Hurts, given the Bengals’ defensive woes.
The NFC East is once again the worst division in football. It will likely take nine games or fewer to win the division. With the Eagles looking ahead to that level of competition (or lack thereof) for at least five more games, it could be an opportunity for Hurts to ease into NFL-level play.
This is not to say Wentz’s career is headed for a dead end, but if he wants to stay the starter in Philly, he needs more needle-like focus and fewer platitudes.