Well, that was ugly. As has become the running theme, this Eagles‘ offense is terrible. Carson Wentz has still been dreadful as a passer, Miles Sanders continues to be underutilized (although fumbling inside your opponent’s five won’t help your cause), and the play-calling… well, it’s never been worse. At every level, this offense is horrendous. However, let’s take a moment to look at one of the few bright spots on this offense: Richard Rodgers.
It’s been a few weeks since Rodgers was activated to starting tight end role in Philly’s offense, but so far, all he’s done is produce. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s Philadelphia’s top-graded player and has been a pleasant surprise this far. In a year marred by injury and lackluster play, Rodgers has given Eagles fans something to enjoy, even if for only a short time longer.
Rodgers, It’s Been a Few Weeks Coming…
Richard Rodgers has been a part of the Eagles offense for a few weeks now, and so far, he’s looked sharp. Although he usually doesn’t receive a massive number of targets, he makes the most of what he does see. Rodgers has caught 84% of his targets this season and averages 13.9 yards a catch. A first down every reception isn’t too bad for a guy who just started seeing a more prominent role. And then, on a rainy Sunday in Cleveland, Rodgers finally did it: he caught a touchdown. His touchdown tied the game in the third quarter and, for a moment, gave Eagles’ fans hope that a victory may be on the horizon.
Unfortunately, that hope was misguided, and Rodgers would only go on to record one more catch. However, his 2 catch 48 yard performance helped put the Eagles close against a tough opponent. Rodgers’ two catches both helped contribute to scoring drives and gave Eagles’ fans a taste of competent football. He’s been an under-recognized part of the offense and deserves some more credit. Well, here you go, Richard.
So Why Not Others?
Why was Rodgers selected for Offensive Player of the Week over the likes of Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, and Jalen Reagor, all of whom had, statistically, better weeks than Rodgers? Allow me to explain my thought processes for each briefly.
Dallas Goedert is, without Zach Ertz, the best tight end on the roster. Not only that, but I’d also argue he’s the best receiving weapon Wentz has right now. To back that claim, Goedert recorded his second-best statistical game of the season with 5 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. So with all that, why is Goedert not being named Offensive Player of the Week?
The truth is that this kind of performance is expected from Goedert. His number is called fairly often and we know what to expect from Goedert every week. Although this was a good performance, it’s not anything out of the ordinary. Not only that, but Goedert’s touchdown also came in garbage time when the game was already out of the Eagles’ hands, so he loses some points for that as well. However, Goedert should continue to be a significant factor in the Eagles’ immediate future.
Now moving on to Miles Sanders, who, yet again, was under-utilized in the Doug Pederson offense. Sanders started the game strong, breaking off big run after big run and taking the Eagles all the way down to the Browns’ five yard line. However, in typical 2020-Eagles fashion, he turned the ball over, killing the Eagles’ drive and halting all momentum.
That, folks, is how you don’t win Offensive Player of the Week. Pederson gave Sanders fewer touches from then on, and Sanders couldn’t capitalize on the few he was given. The second-year back looked okay, but nothing like the bell cow Eagles fans expect him to be. On what should’ve been an excellent day for Sanders, he only looked average.
Finally, Jalen Reagor had his best day yet as an Eagle, totaling 4 catches for 52 yards. Although not fantastic, Reagor made the most of his five targets and was a productive piece of the Eagles’ offense on Sunday. Let’s also keep in mind that Carson Wentz missed a wide-open Reagor on what ended up turning into a Browns’ pick-six. Oh, what could’ve been for the 2020 first-round pick.
However, what Reagor lacked was that elusive touchdown. Maybe that missed read by Wentz could’ve turned into one, but it didn’t, and thus we’ll never know. Reagor was good on Sunday but couldn’t put up any points. Not only that, but Denzel Ward, the Browns’ top corner, shadowed Travis Fulgham all day, which should’ve made Reagor’s life a lot easier. However, he couldn’t capitalize, and thus he will only be getting moderate recognition for his efforts.
Looking Towards the Future of the 2020 Season
Well, after falling to a Browns in a very winnable game, the Eagles now sit at 3-6-1, just barely leading the horrible NFC East. Despite Rodgers’ recent success, he’s not the answer to the Eagles’ problems. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Play-calling? No blocking? Carson Wentz? In reality, it’s a combination of all of these issues that are holding the Eagles back right now. The Eagles have a lot of changes to make if they want to be successful in the future. What change should come first? Is it finally time to bench Wentz? Or how about time to find a real offensive coordinator?
There are too many question marks surrounding this team, which led to a terrible on-field product. Although the season is far from over, it certainly feels as though it is. Even if the birds go on to win the division, it’s hard to see them making it out of the first round of the playoffs. It feels like it’s time for a rebuild in Philly. Gosh, it feels weird to be saying that just three years after a Super Bowl championship.