Posted: December 7th, 2018 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »
This is the time of year when you want to be playing your best football. You have had several months for the team to get into a rhythm and for that particular group of players to build an identity. You should be more of a finished product than a mystery by the time December rolls around.
This Eagles team is playing their best football of the year. They can still get better to be sure, but there are some really encouraging signs.
The OL – The big guys up front have played their best football the past two weeks. They didn’t allow a sack on Monday night. The run game has come alive, with 257 yards over the past two games. The OL is as healthy has it has been all season and that might be the biggest reason for the improved play. The Eagles OL was great in 2017 and had a lot to do with the team’s success. If this group can continue to play well, the team just might keep winning.
Improved defense – The Saints game was rock bottom. Things have gotten a lot better since then. In the past six quarters, the Eagles have allowed 16 points and 291 yards. That would be impressive for a game. That’s outstanding for a game and a half. This isn’t the ’85 Bears and they haven’t exactly played great offenses, but when you face Eli and Sanchez…you want to shut them down. The Eagles have done that.
RBs Can Actually Run – I’m a firm believer that RBs are the key to any offense. You don’t need great RBs, but you need them to be productive. The Eagles had success last year with a combination of Blount-Ajayi-Clement. They used the RBs in different ways each week and got good production from the trio, even if none of them posted great individual stats. Since Ajayi got hurt this year, the RBs have struggled…until recently. Josh Adams ran for 84 yards against the Giants and 85 on Monday night. He’s showing good speed and some big play ability. Clement was useless for much season, but finally has his burst back. He’s delivered big plays each of the past two games. He’s back to being a weapon on screen passes. As for Darren Sproles, anything he can contribute is a positive.
The DL – Brandon Graham is coming off one of his best games of the year. Michael Bennett has been very disruptive for the past month or so. Chris Long seems to be picking his game up. Fletcher Cox is…well, Fletcher Cox. If Tim Jernigan can stay healthy, this group could be coming together at exactly the right time of the year.
TEs and WRs Starting to Work – If you watched Monday night closely, you saw players going on and off the field every time the Eagles were on offense. The coaches mixed and matched players and formations all game long. Three TEs and four WRs were coming and going, based on the play and situation. There is only one football and the coaches have a lot of different weapons to mix in. That can be tricky, but the players seemed to embrace the situation. Nelson Agholor had some very good blocks on run plays. Dallas Goedert didn’t catch any passes, but blocked well. Jordan Matthews only had two passes thrown his way, but one went for a TD. Using so many talented players is tough on the guys, the coaches and the QB. Right now, it feels like things are starting to fall into place. Golden Tate made some critical plays and gave the offense a big boost.
All We Got – Malcolm Jenkins is missing his starting CBs and FS, but right now he’s managing to overcome the long odds and new faces. Jenkins was outstanding in the past two weeks and is playing his best football of the year. You don’t win in December unless someone in your back seven is playing at a high level. Jenkins isn’t just a good player. He’s an emotional leader for the defense and overall team. When he plays well, it can have a transcendent effect.
Reinforcements Coming – Avonte Maddox might play this week. Jordan Hicks as well. Jalen Mills is getting closer. Mike Wallace is working his way back. The Eagles need to get some of their guys back to help them go on a late run.
No Panic – The Eagles fell apart when things snowballed in New Orleans. It was like trying to put out a fire with buckets of gasoline. Ugh. The team has shown real resiliency the past two weeks. They fell down 19-3 to the Giants. They did panic. The Eagles kept grinding away and took control of the game and won. This week they gave up the long run to AP. It would have been easy for a team to just give up at that point. The Eagles didn’t. They cleaned up their mistakes and dominated the game after the long run. The team just kept on battling.
The Eagles must play better to beat the Boys, Rams and Texans. But they are headed in the right direction. This team has been an inconsistent mess for much of the year, but they are finally showing signs that they might be waking up.
We’ll find out a lot about the team on Sunday afternoon.