The Eagles started the year as many people’s choice to win the NFC. Now at 3-3, is it time for Carson Wentz and the Eagles to panic?
The biggest question mark for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into the 2019 season was the health of quarterback Carson Wentz. Conventional wisdom suggested that Doug Pederson’s team would fly high if their franchise signal-caller could stay healthy.
Wentz has been healthy for all six of the Eagles’ games this season but the team has limped out to an ugly 3-3 record. The team’s 38-20 loss at Minnesota on Sunday laid all of Philadelphia’s weaknesses bare for the entire football world to witness. The team’s inability to run the ball effectively put too much pressure on Wentz and his injured receiving corps to make big plays down the field.
The Vikings also found prolific success against the Eagles’ beleaguered secondary. Giving up 333 passing yards and four touchdowns to Kirk Cousins isn’t a banner day for any defense. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, it didn’t serve as a real surprise. The Eagles have struggled mightily to cover talented receivers all season long.
The question Pederson and his staff need to ask now is whether it’s time to hit the panic button. The good news for Eagles fans is that even at 3-3 they still have a great chance to win the NFC East. Dallas sprinted out to a 3-0 record but have lost three straight after a crushing defeat to the Jets this weekend. Despite all of the team’s struggles, the Eagles still deserve to be considered the favorite to win the division heading into Week 7 action.
On the other hand, it’s clear this team has significant flaws that probably can’t be fixed this season. Jordan Howard was supposed to give this team a physical running game they sorely missed last year. The team’s offensive line hasn’t played well enough to make that dream a reality.
That means the Eagles have to throw the ball effectively every week if they want to be successful. The return of Alshon Jeffery from injury is a solid step in the right direction for the team. Now they need for DeSean Jackson to follow suit. If that duo can produce alongside Nelson Agholor it’s very possible that Philadelphia fan fashion a top 10 offense with Wentz at the helm.
The issues on defense are more severe. There’s no legitimate hope for the secondary to progress to even a league-average unit without an infusion of new personnel. That means the defensive coaching staff will need to cover things up with pressure from the front four to forge a competitive unit. Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham will need to play like Pro Bowlers on the edge if that’s going to happen. That’s a tall ask for that pair of defensive ends.
The most likely reality for the Eagles this season is that they’ll make the playoffs, but suffer an early exit due to their inability to defend the pass. Philadelphia will always have a puncher’s chance as a result of their offensive talent, but they don’t have the roster talent to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender this season. This team is simply too flawed to enjoy postseason glory.