Welcome to our second edition of the Eagles Roundtable. This week we have five more questions that we think the fan base may be asking themselves. The Eagles suffered another loss and are now sitting at 0-2 to start the young season. Luckily, the Eagles face a very young and inexperienced Cincinnati Bengals team this Sunday. The Eagles should be able to take advantage of this situation and start the turnaround to their season. In the meantime, let’s get to our five burning questions.
Are we worried about Carson Wentz?
Chris Boughman: I’m not worried about the Ginger Cannon. Carson will be just fine. I think there are a few mechanical issues that need to be adjusted, and he’ll attain elite QB status. Listening to Dan Orlovsky break it down, he mentioned that Carson’s front leg is stiff when throwing the ball, thus making it sail on some throws. Carson is pressing hard and attempting to play a perfect game. This is causing him to make a ton of mistakes. He’s trying to make plays that’ll never happen.
Sometimes, you have to know when to throw the ball away. I think he learned that after the interception in the end zone. After that, we saw him throw the ball away a few times in the second half, and not forcing it in tight windows when unnecessary. He needs to be smarter with the football, protect that thing, and live to see another down. I’m confident that with the help of the coaching staff, they can get the mistakes corrected. The Bengals game comes at a perfect time for Wentz, and hopefully, he can rebound and improve his confidence this week in South Philly.
Evan Tonrey: We’re getting there but still no. Carson Wentz had a much better game this week and improved in a few areas compared to Week 1. However, his inaccuracy came back to haunt him on a few easy throws that would have been conversions. Wentz and company managed to string together a beautiful drive before a poor decision led to a turnover in the endzone. I think Wentz showed streaks of promise, but overall he needs to ball out this Sunday against a poor Bengals defense to get things going mentally.
Kyle Starrett: I know I’m going to sound a bit crazy, but no, not yet. I think the coming up game against Cincinnati will be Wentz’s make or break moment—he’s got an opportunity to go in and beat a bad team and regain his confidence. That’s all I believe it is—a confidence issue—but until Wentz rights the ship and proves otherwise, it’s hard to believe in him genuinely. However, unlike a large chunk of the fanbase, I’m not yet ready to hit the panic button. Wentz has proved a lot over his short career, and I see no reason to believe he can’t get back to form.
Trevor Woodworth: The short and sweet answer is yes, I am worried about Carson Wentz. I’m not concerned about his talent. We have all seen how great he can be. I’m concerned about him mentally. Are all of these injuries taking a toll on him? He’s trying to be superman in every game because that’s what he thinks it’s going to take to win.
Who owns the most blame for the Eagles loss to the Rams?
Chris: You might not like my answer, but I’m throwing this loss on the coaching staff. Did Carson have a bad game? Absolutely. However, the coach is responsible for the success and failures of their team. I’m going to steal a line from Big Red (Andy Reid) in that you have to put players in the right position to succeed.
The defense looked lost and completely unprepared. Jim Schwartz admittedly said that he was outcoached on Sunday. Doug needs to open up the playbook. The plays seem very stale for about 3/4 of the game. There was a stretch where Reagor was utilized in motion, and Jalen Hurts entered the game for a few plays. That’s what I want to see. Be Creative with the players you have available to succeed on the field.
Evan: The defense. Hands down one of the worst performances from the defense fans have seen in the past year. The Rams were faster and smarter on every single play. Rodney McLeod stated the Eagles were not surprised by anything they saw Sunday. Anyone with eyes would disagree. The birds defense flat out looked lost last week. Biting heavily on bootleg plays and getting burned by guys like Tyler Higbee. It’s clear that though the secondary has been addressed, this team needs decent linebackers if they want a chance at competing. Schwartz also should be under fire this season, and his job should be on the line.
Kyle: I want to say Wentz, but considering his shortcomings are widely known at this point, I’ll talk more about the defense, more explicitly discussing Jim Schwartz. Schwartz has made some questionable errors in the past when it has come to defensive adjustments, but oh lord, did he have a rough day on Sunday. Sean McVay was practically waiting for Schwartz to adjust to stop the play-action rollout passes, but when Schwartz never did, McVay kept calling them. On top of that, the linebackers looked lost on the field, and the defensive line generated no pressure. It was an awful day for the defense, which I, unfortunately, predicted in our first roundtable.
Trevor: While Miles Sanders fumble to start the game didn’t help. This loss was hands down solely on the defense and coach Jim Schwartz. They were out-coached, out-thought, outplayed, out whatever else you can think of. You are not going to win games in which you fall behind 21-3. We can talk about Carson underperforming all we want. It would not have mattered in this game. The defense was shockingly awful, and we better hope they’ve figured out their issues before the game this Sunday.
Predictions on the Bengals game this weekend?
Chris: The Eagles haven’t won against the Cincinnati Bengals in 20 years. YES, 20 YEARS! The winless streak includes the infamous tied result where Mr. McNabb didn’t know the overtime rules. The last win against the Bengals came all the way back on Christmas eve in 2000. Let’s hope and pray the Eagles can snap this ugly losing streak vs. the Bengals. The Eagles WILL rebound in this one, despite the injuries, and win a close one in South Philly. The Eagles will pull away in the 4th quarter and win by a score of 23-13. It may be an ugly win, but…A Win is a Win! Go Birds!
Evan: This is something I’ve been avoiding thinking about. Sure the Bengals got stomped by the Cleveland Browns last Thursday, another inherently lousy football team. However, something about this matchup doesn’t sit right with me. Rookie Joe Burrow is looking for his first win against a heavily underperforming squad. Joe Mixon is looking to breakout, and a healthy slew of receivers come to town this week. Hopefully, the Eagles can rattle off a much-needed confidence win against a bad football team. But don’t be surprised if the birds fall apart against Burrow’s Bengals this weekend. A hopeful 28-21 Eagles for me.
Kyle: Man, this is tough. I want to predict a resounding Eagles’ victory, but I thought Philly would win last week and, well, you know. Still, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is the game when Wentz and the Eagles turn things around. I predict Wentz eclipses 300 passing yards for the first time this season and throws at least three touchdowns, no interceptions. I expect the defense to play more like its week one self and maybe even make some stops in the red zone. I’m predicting a big game from Philly, mainly because this has to be a big game. If it isn’t, I see no way this season ends well for the Eagles. My final score prediction is 34-13, Eagles.
Trevor: Toting the line between lifelong fan and contributing writer can sometimes be a difficult task. I thought the Eagles were mentally tough enough to bounce back from a disastrous week one loss. They proved otherwise in a somehow equally disappointing loss to the Rams last week. Throughout the years, when the Eagles have had their backs against the wall, they’ve shown up. They have taken care of business, and that’s precisely what I expect them to do this weekend. It’s time for the Eagles defensive line to show what they are made of. It’s time for Carson Wentz to wake up from his slump. Carson, once idolized as one of the best young quarterbacks, has become highly criticized as one of the worst in a matter of weeks. I’m going with Philly here 38-17.
How worried are you about the offensive line now that Seumalo is heading to the IR?
Chris: Honestly, I’m not worried about the offensive line play in Seumalo’s absence. I thought the reserves did a decent job when called upon. Nate Herbig has been exceptional, stepping in where needed. Jack Driscoll has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL and was serviceable when he saw action. Matt Pryor is the utility guy on the line and can fill in when called upon. Jamon Brown, a veteran signed a week ago, provides solid depth in case of an injury. The bottom line, this offensive line will hold it down and should dominate on Sunday. As usual, the bodyguard will get his false start out of the way early, and the line will be rolling after that.
Evan: Slightly worried. The offensive line held it together against Aaron Donald Sunday with and without Seumalu. Lane Johnson returning not only tightened up the line but helped to solidify communication. If this line could hold firm against Donald, arguably the most talented defensive lineman they’ll play this year. I’ll take their odds most games to hold up and keep the pressure off 11.
Kyle: No, not particularly. Seumalo has been our worst starting o-lineman for some time now, and watching Matt Pryor, and Nate Herbig play well last week against Aaron Donald gave me some hope. I’m not saying our o-line will be great, but even without Seumalo, the unit can still be serviceable.
Trevor: I’m going to echo what Chris said here. The offensive line does not worry me. The Matt Pryor situation still baffles me. However, seeing how well Nate Herbig has played clears things up. Coaches saw what we’re seeing out of him, and he’s the right guy to be filling that position. Philadelphia held the Rams to no sacks last week, which was immeasurably better than the prior week. I think they have the talent they need to consistently be a formidable unit.
What do you think the Eagles final record will be?
Chris: This is a loaded question. This can go in a few directions. Obviously, a win this Sunday would be a good start to turn things around, and I think that’ll happen. However, the next five weeks are crucial to the outlook for the rest of the season. They have a matchup next week against a banged-up San Francisco team. All of a sudden, that’s a winnable game. Then, they have Pittsburgh, Baltimore, the Giants, and the cowboys.
Getting to the bye at 5-3 would give them a shot for a potential run at the division title. Alshon Jeffery is practicing, so hopefully, he can get back on the field and help a depleted WR corps. I’m feeling optimistic today, so I’m going with a 9-7 finish for the Eagles. However, if they manage to lose to Cincinnati this Sunday, the Eagles will end up 4-12 and land a top 5 pick in the 2021 draft.
Evan: Any optimism I had for this season has gone out the window. The Eagles have already lost two games that I had them winning this season. Following the Bengals, the Eagles have a rough stretch against San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Not to mention the second half of the season where they square off against New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, and even Arizona. Barring any miracles or Carson Wentz becoming elite again, at this rate, I take the Birds at no better than 8-8, but most likely 6-10.
Kyle: Ah, the big question. Well, the one thing I hope is that we don’t end as a .500 team. Ideally, we either end the year with a playoff birth or a top 10 draft pick—I’d prefer no in between. However, being the overly optimistic Eagles fan I am, I’ll shoot towards the higher end and go with a solid 10-6. I feel like that will be enough for at least a wildcard birth and will give the Eagles a chance to make some noise in the playoffs. However, for this to become a reality, Wentz has to turn his game around. Pederson has to be a more consistent play-caller. Schwartz has to adjust and adequately prepare his defense each week. The team must make significant changes and fast because, after this week, the road ahead gets tough.
Trevor: As I said earlier, when the Eagles backs are against the wall, they come out swinging. Their schedule gets very tough following this game, back-to-back road games at San Francisco and Pittsburgh, followed by a home game against Baltimore. With very little time to turn things around, Philadelphia has no other option. This team has far too much talent to underachieve the entire season. I’m cautiously optimistic that 10-6 is a realistic finish for this team. That will keep them in contention for the division title. The turnaround should commence this weekend with a blowout of the Bengals.