Where the 2014 Eagles Stand After Week 11

eagles-11Well, that didn’t go well. The lambasting at Lambeau ended up being Chip Kelly’s most horrific defeat as a pro coach. Worse than the Mile High massacre from last September. Both games were eerily similar: Hall of Fame quarterback eviscerating the secondary; special teams giving up touchdowns; inability to sustain drives and score points; a thorough ass-kicking.

I didn’t have a great feeling going into the game, but I didn’t anticipate a total team meltdown, either. It was disappointing to watch, but that Aaron Rodgers guy is pretty damn good. He was rarely off the mark, used his legs effectively, and delivered the ball without hesitation. In other words, he did what stud franchise quarterbacks do when they are firing in all cylinders.

Bill Davis’s defense was clearly overmatched. I mean, the outcome was a forgone conclusion after Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 27-yard score midway through the second quarter. The pass rush that had been so dominate for the previous five weeks was MIA. The cornerbacks were miserable. The tackling was piss-poor. The overall effort for the only time this season was severely lacking.

Bitching and whining about Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams is a waste of breath. They aren’t going anywhere until 2015. And the impending free agent cornerback class leaves much to be desired, unless you believe Tramon Williams, Antonio Cromartie, or Brandon Flowers is the answer. I’m fairly certain the position will be addressed in the draft, but there’s no guarantee whomever is added will make an immediate or future impact.

The bottom line is simple: if the front seven doesn’t apply consistent pressure, the back end is in trouble, especially against elite signal-callers. Davis is doing the best he can with the guys he has. The good news is the Eagles won’t face a quarterback in Rodgers’ class until the playoffs, should they advance. Two meetings with Tony Romo will be their toughest assignments. Flopping in one or both of those games and the postseason is in jeopardy.

Offense:

Mark Sanchez is exactly who I thought he was: an average quarterback who loves giving the ball to the other team. Six turnovers in 2 ½ games is awful. And if you think those stats will suddenly improve you haven’t been watching Sanchez throughout his career. Missing open receivers and coughing up the pigskin in hilarious fashion is what Sanchez does. Get used to it.

The running game is broken. Blame Shady, blame the line, blame defenses stacking the box. Whatever the reasons, the holes aren’t as big and McCoy isn’t hitting them as fast. He’ll have a couple more good efforts, but don’t expect the 2013 version to magically reappear.

How ’bout that Jordan Matthews! The kid ain’t too shabby, eh? Back-to-back 100-yard efforts and four of his scores in the last three games. Sanchez deserves credit for looking his way often and giving the rising rookie opportunities to shine. Matthews and Maclin should be a potent duo for years to come. Yes, Maclin is coming back. No way Howie and Chip let him get away.

Zach Ertz remains a mystery. He made headlines this week for admitting he’s been frustrated with his role in the offense. I have no idea what to make of his strange season. He seems to be open every Sunday, and appears to have improved as a blocker. And yet his playing time is decreasing. Reading between the lines of Chip’s comments regarding Ertz leads me to surmise that the head coach isn’t enamored with his young tight end. It just isn’t clear why.

Defense:

Not to belabor the point, but Bradley Fletcher played one of the worst games I’ve ever seen by a cornerback. It was deplorable. Moving on.

Special Teams:

It was bound to happen. After 10 weeks of doing no wrong, Dave Fipp’s unit blew a punt coverage and gave up a touchdown. I have faith they will return to normal in Week 12.

Turnovers/Penalties:

Two fumbles, two interceptions, two defensive TDs allowed. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Against quality opponents, this shit won’t fly. 6 penalties, 53 yards. The PI by Fletcher was a back-breaker.

Looking Ahead:

Back at the Linc to face the 2-8 Titans coming off a short week. If Davis can’t find ways to batter and confuse rookie Zach Mettenberger, he isn’t doing his job. Tennessee ranks 31st in rush defense and just gave up 204 yards to Le’Veon Bell. If Chip Kelly can’t find ways to gash them to pieces, he isn’t doing his job.

Fun fact: Eagles have lost the last three in the series by a combined score of 95-56. That can’t happen again. Right?

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