Who to blame for the Eagles 0-2 start?

Before Week One began optimism surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles was immense. High priced free agents, contract restructuring, new offensive “idea guys” brought in and so much more to look forward to. With the 2019 season in the rear view mirror, Eagles fans from around the world couldn’t wait to see how their team would perform in 2020.

Fast forward two weeks in, and it might be time for panic. A Week One 27-17 collapse against the Washington Football Team, followed you by an atrocious 37-19 effort vs the Rams, the Eagles sit at 0-2. Below I’ll examine who should be taking the blame for a head scratching start to the 2020 campaign.


QB Play

Let’s start with Carson Wentz. Coming into 2020 having played a full 16 games the previous year, Wentz was poised for a Top 10 season for a Quarterback. Many Eagles fans were hoping for a borderline MVP type player in terms of mindset and execution. Instead, Wentz has shown drastic inconsistencies in his play.

The 5th year Quarterback out of North Dakota State has been on wrong side of the stat sheet through the first two weeks of 2020. Week One showed us that even the best QBs can struggle without good protection. Even with that being said, Wentz did himself no favors with his decision making. Carson finished 24-42 with 270 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs, and a lackluster 72.5 QB rating in Week One. Wentz took too many deep shots, and did not utilize the short passing game that his West Coast style Offense is built around. The Eagles suffered a Week One loss against Washington, and fans were eager to see how they would fair in Week Two.

The Rams came into Philly at 0-1 against a hungry Eagles team. Wentz looked to redeem himself after a poor Week One. Wentz struggled once again, and this time the excuses of a bad offensive line could not be warranted. Wentz finished 26-43 with 252 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs, and an unimpressive 56.5 QB rating. Wentz also snapped his streak of 17 straight games with a touchdown pass. Footwork and timing look to have been key issues in the Week Two loss. Forcing passes and not checking the ball down have ultimately resulted in an 0-2 start for the team. It will be interesting to see how Carson Wentz can bounce back after some bad performances in his first two games of 2020.

(Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Defense

When the 2020 season kicked off, Eagles fans were optimistic that the teams defensive woes were a thing of the past. Bringing in high priced free agents Darius Slay and Javon Hargrave were ways to sure up a Defense that gave up too many big plays in 2019.

Week One proved that the Eagles defense was much improved. Cornerback Darius Slay held Terry Maclaurin to only two catches. The Eagles as a team held the Washington Football Team to only 178 passing yards. At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough as Washington was victorious 27-17.

Week Two looked to be a much more difficult assignment against the LA Rams, and it most certainly was. Defensive struggles on every level made for a long day at the office for the Eagles. Missed assignments and blown coverages were a mainstay in Week Two’s loss. The real weakness of the Defense is its linebacking core. Tyler Higbee and other Rams targets shredded the 2nd level time and time again. Even the D-Line struggled at attaining pressure on Jared Goff.

Week Two looked to be a much more difficult assignment against the LA Rams, and it most certainly was. Defensive struggles on every level made for a long day at the office for the Eagles. Missed assignments and blown coverages were a mainstay in Week Two’s loss. The real weakness of the Defense is its linebacking core. Tyler Higbee and other Rams targets shredded the 2nd level time and time again. Even the D-Line struggled at attaining pressure on Jared Goff.

The Eagles head into week three with a defense that has given up an average of 32 points per game. In many ways, this defense looks exactly the same as last year. A team that is vulnerable of getting beat by mismatches and big plays. This defense will need to hunker down and step up. The Eagles upcoming schedule includes some high power offenses in the 49ers and Ravens within the next month.

(The Philadelphia Eagles defense flexes after a fumble turnover during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 17-9. Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

Play calling / Coaching

While they don’t play in the games, the coaching staff needs to take some of the blame for this abysmal 0-2 start. Doug Pederson has had his fair share of criticism during his tenure as the Eagles head coach. This short season is no exception to that statement, as many Eagles fans have been left in disbelief at some of the decisions made by Pederson.

During Week One’s game against Washington, Peterson did not adjust the game plan after the first half. While the Eagles led 17-7, the deep ball approach clearly was not the answer. Checking the ball down to open backs along with a short passing attack could have been successful options instead. Couple that with a 4th down attempt instead of punting left a sour taste in Eagles fans’ mouths.

Week Two was not a whole heck of a lot different. Poor play design and forcing the ball downfield was once again a factor in the 37-19 blowout loss against the Rams. Not to mention poor second level play, which lead to Rams TE Tyler Higbee shredding the Eagles for 3 touchdowns. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay ran the ball 39 times and completely out coached the Eagles staff.

Whether it’s not adjusting a 2nd half game plan, not punting on 4th down or a two point conversion instead of an extra point, some of these calls have been questionable at the very least.

(Credit: PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 25: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, left, and head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles on the sidelines during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Overall, put the blame on anyone you want. Bottom line, this Eagles Team is not playing anywhere near the level it is capable of. No excuses of no offseason, as every other team in league is was dealt that same hand. With the 0-2 Bengals next on the schedule, we should find out how resilient this Eagles football team is. Do they finally put all phases of the game together and gel? Or, do they drop to 0-3 and have fans in an all out panic?


(Header Credit: Via Philadelphia Eagles Twitter)

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