DeSean Jackson torched his old team and raised some concerns about what is supposed to be the defending champion’s greatest strength. Should Eagle fans be worried? (Photo By KIM KLEMENT/USA TODAY SPORTS)
I know, I know… it’s only Week 2 and panicking about one loss in September is pointless.
Who cares. It’s fun to panic. If you weren’t yelling at your TV or your dog or whatever child lost the clicker, well, you’re soft. A Super Bowl changed you. For those of us who haven’t let success dwindle our passion, let’s get on with the panic.
Obviously, I’m not in the Philadelphia locker room. However, it looked a lot like the Eagles rolled into Tampa expecting the Buccaneers to lay down for the defending champs. The Eagles were sloppy, lazy, and played with a lack of urgency until late in the 2nd half when they realized, “oh sh**, we may actually lose.” Well you lost, and you looked pathetic at the same time. Let us count the ways:
1. Tackling. Ronald Darby makes Bobby Taylor and Asante Samuel look like Seth Joyner and Byron Evans. Tackling is pretty simple. See the ball. Bring the guy with the ball to the ground. I never thought I’d missed Sheldon Brown this much.
2. Malcolm Jenkins probably played his worst game as an Eagle. The forced fumble in the 4th salvaged his day, but only a little. It was Jenkins who was burnt on the opening DeSean Jackson touchdown. Poor Jalen Mills actually stayed home on a pump fake and still looked like a dope because his safety abandoned the middle of the field. Not only did he bite, but Jenkins lazily followed the play and likely would have caught Jackson when he cut back across the field. On the Buccaneers other 75 yard touchdown, it was Jenkins who got to OJ Howard 45 yards away from the end zone. Only Chris Godwin stood between Jenkins and the ballcarrier (Howard). All Pro safety should get through a 3rd receiver and make the tackle, right? NOPE. Jenkins was blocked for 45 yards. FORTY FIVE YARDS. Jenkins was the moon and Godwin was an eclipse. Not great.
3. The Eagles pass rush was not effective, especially in the clutch. Did Chris Long even play? Has Michael Bennett done anything noteworthy in two weeks? Must the Eagles ALWAYS have a standout defensive end that just loves to jump offsides in crucial situations? (Looking at you, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham.) Ryan Fitzpatrick had 6 incompletions the entire afternoon. He averaged nearly 15 yards per completion, so it’s not like he spent the day dumping the ball off to backs and tight ends. Fitzpatrick had time and he made the most of it. Though the Eagles have a fine secondary, it won’t withstand extended time for a quarterback. They’re not that good.
4. Penalties. This one was not exclusive to the defense. The entire team was carelessly lazy. The Eagles 2nd drive of the game was a comedy of errors. Corey Clement returned a punt 43 yards. Called back by penalty. After Foles completed passes for 17 and 14 yards on the next two plays it appeared the Eagles were getting into a groove. Clement then rushed for 11. Called back by penalty. Mike Wallace reception for 8 yards. Called back by penalty. Nelson Agholor reception for 12 yards. Called back penalty. On the drive, the Eagles traded 74 yards of offense for 45 yards of penalties. 3rd and 41 is never ideal.
Now don’t we all feel better? With that off our chest we can rationalize. It’s only one week. Coming off an emotional opener in front of a national audience in prime time? I mean, they’re allowed a Super Bowl hangover game. It happens. The Eagle defense under Jim Schwartz is also notorious for being less terrifying away from the Linc. Besides, the 2017 NFL MVP is returning this week and I don’t think I’ve been this excited for anyone’s return since my girlfriend went to Antarctica for 6 months. Thus, as Bill Belichick would say, “on to Indianapolis.”
[As for Thursday Night Football; I hate that I’m doing this, but I’m taking the team that hasn’t won a football game since my 643 days old son was 8 days old. BROWNS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns -3]