Sunday was a day of painful realizations for Eagle fans. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
First, Mark Sanchez is nothing more than a glorified backup. This was not news to me. Many believed Sanchez was the answer at QB, at least for the remainder of the season. I made my case for Foles over the last two weeks. Sanchez can’t throw deep and was too scared to even try hitting receivers in tight spaces against Seattle’s secondary. That Seahawks defense is awesome, no doubt, but receivers were open at times and Sanchez couldn’t deliver the football.
Second, the Eagles will need a lot of help to even sniff the NFC title game. A few weeks back I argued the Eagles had a shot of at least playing for the NFC Championship if they could avoid Green Bay until the title game. Unfortunately, Seattle turned the corner and is now the team we expected the defending champs to be since the start of the season. They smother opponents. Russell Wilson is a wizard at escaping pressure. I can’t remember a ten point game being so lopsided. At no point after the 2nd quarter were the Eagles in control of that game.
Third, the desperate whines about poor officiating from Eagle beat writers were laughable. That game was called exactly how the playoffs are called. I know Chip Kelly prefers smaller, quicker receivers, but the truth is they get swallowed up against bigger, more physical corners, especially in the postseason when the officials “let them play.” If you need proof, take a look at all of Indianapolis’ playoff failures with Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Or, look at the Patriots’ playoff losses to the Jets and Ravens or their painful defeats to the Giants in the Super Bowl. Speedy, less physical receivers like Wes Welker, Randy Moss and Brandon Lloyd don’t get off the line as quickly as they do during the regular season. Just the tiniest bit of separation requires the equivalent of a UFC round. It’s no coincidence Anquan Boldin was the best receiver of the 2012 playoffs just like Hakeem Nicks was the year prior. Of course, there are exceptions, but almost all of those exceptions were instances when the Super Bowl winner avoided elite defenses in the postseason.
Fourth, Chip Kelly will need a quarterback to win a title. Though Foles is better than Sanchez, he still isn’t good enough. Local fans want to trade up in the upcoming draft. While possible, it sounds unrealistic to me. Fans forget that trading All-Pro running backs like LeSean McCoy don’t fetch much in return. The last elite back traded was Clinton Portis and he got Denver Champ Bailey in return. Teams are more protective of top picks than All-Pro cornerbacks. Furthermore, why are we so eager to trade the 26 year old franchise back? Because he had a lazy fumble? Let’s not forget the offensive line has underperformed in 2014 AND been tortured by injuries.
Some have even thrown around the idea of trading multiple 1st rounders to move up. Bad idea. The Eagles defensive backfield is so bad that even a great quarterback short of Aaron Rodgers couldn’t overcome that secondary. The Eagles need those picks to sure up its defense. Drafting impact corners is perhaps the biggest crapshoot in the draft. The Browns have an undrafted corner starting over the 8th overall pick in the 2014 draft. The Jets had a similar situation last season. My point isn’t against using those top picks for secondary help; it’s to prove it may take a few of them to finally find a solution. Trading picks away would forfeit any hope of getting help. (And please, let’s not pretend free agency is a viable option. Big time corners who hit the free market flame out more often than not; the immortal Nnamdi Asomugha, Brandon Carr, Darrelle Revis in Tampa Bay, just to name a few.)
Obviously, the season isn’t over. The Eagles, like the Seahawks, could turn a corner and find themselves in a position to win the NFC. Or, they could miss the postseason altogether. Regardless of what happens next, where the Eagles currently stand isn’t enough. More work has to be done.