“Wentz” Did It Go Wrong?

17-0…17-24

*sighs*

For those who are unaware, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost to the Washington Football team. In rather embarrassing fashion might I add, squandering a 17-0 lead. Last year it was the Eagles who came out of the tunnel after halftime and rode hot handed DJAX to a eventual comeback of their own. This year, the Eagles came out hot, and lost all steam once Jack Driscoll was removed from the game.

The negatives of this game are abundant, and positives are few and far between, but, there are a few;

Jack Driscoll- The rookie tackle had a few hiccups, none resulting in anything catastrophic and all fixable mistakes. He’s a bright spot simply because once Mailatta was forced to replace him, the drop off was VERY evident. Overall, at this point Jack Driscoll is no Lane, true. I think more importantly we know he’ll be at worst servicable down the road, pending his injury diagnosis.

Defensive Line- Realistically Washington didn’t light us up offensively, Haskins took advantage of numerous short field situations. A product of our either a interception or failed 4th down conversion. The defense held up and players like Josh Sweat and Malik Jackson made some big plays, this is huge to see as they are key contributors going forward.

Wentz and DJAX are OK- As trivial as it sounds, we have to be happy two of our “projected” key contributors stood healthy. We have to assume they will move on to week 2 eager to erase the memory of the week 1 loss.

Rams are next….Let’s just say if this offensive line isn’t in tact by then, Aaron Donald may have a field day.

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Casey Toohil 7th Round Steal

Casey Toohil Earns Roster Spot

The ink is beginning to dry, leases are being signed, and moving trucks are being rented. The Philadelphia Eagles have announced their 53 man roster, and while there were many surprise cuts made, one man defied the odds and earned his spot.

When you think of 7th round picks, you think practice squad hopful, when Casey thinks 7th round pick, he thinks opportunity! The Eagles for much of their franchises life span has prided themselves on their ability to solidify the trenches. Our defensive line was a strength going into this year, while we knew there would be a couple people fighting for rotational spots, no one could have predicted the outcome.

At pick 233, The Eagles selected a 23 year old LB/DE out of Stanford. North of 240 pounds, Casey ran an impressive 4.6 40! Combine that with a 10.5 inch broad jump and some impressive cone drills, scouts took notice of the athleticism Casey possessed. At the time of the selection, the overlying issue was whether he’d be a stand up lb or DE at the next level.

Eagles signed him to add depth to a pass rush that is getting older by the minute. Anchored by veteran Brandon Graham, and a underwhelming Derek Barnett. Younger players such as, Shareef Miller, Genard Avery, Josh Sweat etc all fought for playing time. Well, that fight continued through training camp and Miller unfortunately was deemed the odd man out.

I’m excited to see what Casey can do, he needs to work on using his hands and becoming a solid run stopper, but let’s be honest if he can consistently get to the QB we can work with the rest.

What do you guys think? Who was a suprise cut for you? Watch this weeks Sunday Sports Talk now on youtube for my analysis on breaking news and the upcoming Thursday night game.

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Injuries…Already?

As the NFL gears up for its inaugural kick off, The Philadelphia Eagles rev the energy up at their training camp.

Due to the cancellation of preseason, this elongated training camp is looked to provide teams the opportunity to evaluate their young talent. The Eagles are doing just that, while young players like, Reagor, Watkins, and more begin to make their imprint on the team vets seem to be lagging behind.

Hargrave, Sanders, Peters, Lane, and more have all had to sit out multiple practices due to either injury or illness. When does this become a cause for concern, or is this the smartest play for the Eagles?

With less than a full month to go, the Eagles need to begin to build chemistry and solidify who will be starting where. While I’m not too concerned with the rest the vets are getting I am definitely keeping a trained eye on the progression of our depth chart. Still many questions left unanswered!

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BATTLE BREWING FOR CB2

CB2 BATTLE

A lot has been made of the arrival of lockdown corner, Darius Slay, rightfully so. Yet with all the stability Slay adds to one side of the secondary, we face just as much doubt on the other.

Candidates for CB2 include familiar faces such as, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and fan favorite Avonte Maddox. With the latter seemingly more fit to run slot does that make it a two man race?

I believe the three will battle for the CB2 spot well into the season, do not be surprised to see a rotation at CB2 even if only for the first few weeks. I feel as though Sidney Jones is the best on paper fit for the role, but will need to become far more consistent. Rasul, while having the prototypical size and arm length, he lacks the speed and overall ability to follow the Terry Mclaurin’s or even the Slaytons on our schedule.

Which brings me to Avonte Maddox, I believe he is our best CB outside of Darius Slay. I do, however feel due to his size being an outside corner may be a bit more than, the 5’9 183 pound 24 year old, can handle. Yet with the Nickel Roby-Coleman looking like all but a lock to start in the slot, the outside may be all that is left for Maddox.

Quez Watkins turns on the afterburners against CB Rasul Douglas in one on ones

My prediction is, Sidney Jones begins as the “#1 CB” but wouldn’t be surprised to see Maddox fight him the whole year for playing time. As far as Rasul goes, unfortunately I don’t see him being an Eagle much longer.

What are your thoughts? Who do you see winning the CB2 battle?

Written by; Joe Castro of Philly Philly The Podcast

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The Eagles Offensive Situation

Ben Carlson

QB: The QB situation for the Eagles is pretty straight forward. Carson Wentz will obviously lead the team as the starter as long as he is eligible to play, and Nate Sudfeld will likely back him up. The addition of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft confused a lot; however, I am confident that Coach Pederson and Howie drafted Jalen Hurts mainly to use as a gadget player like the Saints use Taysom Hill.

RB: With the departure of Jordan Howard this offseason a lot of people are wondering what the Eagles will do to replace him for the 2020-2021 season. Their have been some big names popping up such as Carlos Hyde, Shady McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Me personally, I have a ton of faith in Miles Sanders as an RB 1; however, bringing in a vet that can help with the workload and potentially guide Miles for a year isn’t something I wouldn’t be opposed to.

WR: The front office did a great job at adding new weapons for Wentz this offseason. The additions consisted of Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Pederson and Howie were obviously going for speed and I’m all for it. I have high hopes for Jalen Reagor, I think he will have an impact from the start of the season. Marquise will be a good speed guy to have along side D-Jax. As for John Hightower and Quez Watkins, they were both good picks (especially for when we got them) and from the looks of their college tape if needed they will be ready (I really do think they are better than being just random backups but I don’t know what the front office will do about it, for we have a lot of WR on the roster) . To top that all off we still have Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward, JJAW, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett and Shelton Gibson

TE: The TE situation similar to the QB room is also really straight forward. We have the three headed snake from last year consisting of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart and Josh Perkins. I’m a big fan of our TE corp, year after year they continue to be reliable and consistent.

O-Line: As usual we still have a dominant O-Line; however, Vaitai left and is now on the Lions. A solid player and a pretty big lose, but definitely replaceable. As of right now it looks like the starting lineup will be Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson. This is a lineup I’m extremely confident in despite Isaac Seumalo’s super mediocre past. The front office did make some moves this offseason to pad the line such as draft Jack Driscoll and draft Prince Tega Wanogho. Both excelled in college and were good picks in the 4th and 6th round. The main obstacle is not being able to avoid injuries, we need to stay healthy. That doesn’t go for just the O-Line, the entire roster needs to stay healthy if we want to succeed this season.

Speed is Going to be Key for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had a goal going into the off-season to get Carson Wentz’s speed. I think it’s fair to say that I got some speed. Now the talent of that speed is another question, but let’s evaluate the need for speed the Eagles have.

It’s clear that the Eagles missed Desean Jackson last year. Considering that Jackson totaled the fifth-most receiving TDs’ for the Eagles this season while only playing three games (only one full one), was a problem. We all saw what could happen when Wentz had an option that could get open 25 yards plus, and catch the ball. In particular, the two plays that we all remember from Wentz to Jackson last year were the two touchdowns in week 1. Both of those plays were 50 yards or more (51 and 53 yards to be exact). Even with two 25+ yard touchdowns in one game, Wentz went on to only have three more in the other 15 games of the season. So it’s clear that the Eagles needed speed.

“But we already knew that!”

Yet there is a pattern to Wentz’s performance to the amount of TDs’ of 25 yards or more he has per season. Wentz had five touchdowns that met that criteria in 2019, three in 2018, eight in 2017, and three in 2016. It makes sense, the more big plays you have, the better your team will be.
Wentz’s best year was in 2017 when he was arguably on his way to win the MVP award. It makes sense that his most “big plays” came in that year. For 2019, arguably his second most impressive year, and then 2016 and 2018 follow behind. The Eagles investing a first-round pick in Jalen Reagor, trading for Marquise Goodwin, and drafting John Hightower and Quez Watkins in the later rounds was an attempt to give Wentz more speed.

In the games when Carson Wentz throws 25 yards or more for a TD, the Eagles are 10-4 in those games. For games when he throws 30 yards or more and it results in a touchdown, the Eagles are 9-2 in those games. 40 yards or more 6-1. The outlier in the last one was the Titans game from 2018, so that really doesn’t count.

All those statistics are just evidence to show that Wentz with speed, equals wins. With all of this speed, the Eagles are trying to build a foundation that gives the teams weapons down the field. With Ertz, Godert, Jeffery, and whoever 25 yards and in placing options for Wentz, Jackson, Reagor, and Goodwin will cover everything else.

No Eagles fan will question the method of getting speed for the Eagles, now the players that they acquired to do so, maybe.

“Are Reagor’s hands good enough?”

“Can Jackson or Goodwin play a 16 game season?”

“Why did they draft Jalen Hurts?”

Okay the last one might be for a different matter, but nevertheless before you blast Howie Roseman for having the worst draft ever, evaluate. The Eagles did get faster, Wentz now has speed. We don’t know right now if Reagor over Jefferson was a mistake, or spending two later round draft picks on players with the same skillset was the right decision.

In conclusion, Howie Roseman addressed the speed aspect for Carson Wentz. The players we can debate, but the fundamental ideas were addressed. I’m not saying Roseman has given Wentz everything he has ever wanted, nevertheless, the Eagles have answered on speed end for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Why Logan Ryan is the guy for the Eagles

Cornerback will be a hot topic this offseason for the Eagles and fans. Since Andy Reid left for Kansas City, corner and really the secondary in general has lacked consistent talent. From the Chip Kelly secondary of Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher to the now Doug Pederson era of Jalen Mills and company, the secondary has been shakey at best.

The Eagles are expected to be players in the cornerback market when free agency kicks off in March. The three biggest names that are expected to be available are Broncos Pro Bowler Chris Harris Jr., Cowboys Pro Bowler Byron Jones, and the Titans Logan Ryan. While I think the Eagles could use all three of them, this isnt Madden and they will only be able to spend big money on one. That guy needs to be Logan Ryan.

A third round pick of the Patriots in 2013, Ryan’s career was a journey. He wasn’t a starter in New England until 2015, and had his best year as a Pat in 2016. In 2017 he signed a free agent deal with the Tennessee Titans. In his three years in a Titans uniform Ryan was able to solidify himself as one of the best corners in the league. He will be 29 years old before the start of the 2020 season, and this will most likely be his last shot at a big deal. The Eagles should choose Ryan over the field for many reasons.

Logan Ryan will most likely be the cheapest of the three corners. He doesn’t boast the resume of the other two guys, but is arguably playing better than both. A guy who checks every box for the Eagles. Size, athleticism, scheme fit, personality, and price.

Just like in 2014 when the Eagles had to choose between safeties Jairus Byrd and Malcolm Jenkins. Byrd was the flashy, pricier name but the Eagles went with the right guy in Jenkins. A similar situation can play-out this offseason if the Eagles make the right choice in pursuing Logan Ryan over Chris Harris Jr. and Byron Jones.

Hurley Happenings: Eagles WC Round Preview vs. Seahawks

With the Eagles playoff date against the Seattle Seahawks looming this Sunday, a preview is in order. Let’s take a look at what the Eagles and Seahawks each have going for them in the Wild Card Round. 

Seahawks: 

ESPN Football Power Index: 39.7% chance to win

FiveThirtyEight football playoff chances: 31% chance to win

Even though the Seahawks are coming into this game at 11-5 and 7-1 on the road, a lot of percentages have this as a very hard game for the Hawks. Coming off of a tough emotional lost against San Francisco, traveling cross country against a red hot Carson Wentz led Philadelphia Eagles, it appears to be a tough matchup for Seattle. But they do have a few things coming for them. 

1. Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson has performed like an MVP candidate this season, topping 4,000 passing yards and throwing 31 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions, good for 3rd in the league in each category. Although Wilson has been an MVP candidate all season long, the last 5 games have been rough, staying below 300 yards and 3 touchdowns while losing 3 of the last 5. Given these numbers, the fact that Wilson has still led the Seahawks to a winning record every season he has been at the helm must be recognized. Wilson has lost his top 2 running backs and one of his favorite weapons in Josh Gordon. Through all of the injuries, Wilson’s ability to carry the team, in the regular season and in the playoffs, in past years must be recognized. In a one game scenario, anything can happen with Wilson in the game. 

2. Tyler Lockett

In past years, Russell Wilson has not accumulated the passing numbers due to a rushing heavy offense that relied on the Legion of Boom defense to win games and Marshawn Lynch to punch in touchdowns. Now, with Tyler Lockett eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving, Wilson has a legitimate downfield threat who has shown he can consistently make plays when the game counts. Lockett has consistently seen 6-9 targets a game, leading to a career high catch percentage of 74.5%. With Carson Wentz leading a rag tag group of receivers with Zach Ertz being the only big receiving threat, Lockett provides an edge to Seattle in the big play category. 

3. Turnover ratio

Playoff games, usually, pit two highly competitive and efficient teams against each other. In this case, the Seahawks clearly have won the turnover battle more consistently throughout the season, posting a +12 turnover ratio, compared to the Eagles -3 in that area. Carson Wentz has had a difficult time taking care of the football, fumbling 6 times and throwing 7 interceptions. Overall, fumbling has been an issue for the Eagles, with receivers and backs losing 9 other fumbles in 2019. If the Seahawks can be the team they have been all season and take care of the football, then they have a much better chance at winning and advancing to the divisional round. 

Eagles: 

ESPN Football Power Index: 60.3% chance to win

FiveThirtyEight football playoff chances: 69% chance to win

The Eagles finished the season at 9-7, but won their last 4 games en route to a hot finish and leapfrogging the Cowboys for a divisional title. With a high chance to advance into the divisional round after hosting a game in the city of brotherly love, the Eagles have a few things going for them in the Wild Card Round. 

1. Carson Wentz

The Seahawks may have Russell Wilson, but the Eagles have their own man in charge, Prince Harry looking Carson Wentz. Wentz led the Eagles to key victories over the Giants(X2), the Redskins and the Cowboys in the last 4 weeks of the season. Wentz also passed 4,000 yards in the air this season, but did so with Zach Ertz being the leading receiver on the team at 916 yards, and no wide receivers passing 500 yards. Riddled with injury, Wentz has led the Eagles to the playoffs where anything can happen. In his house, with the crowd behind him in Primetime Football in his first playoff game, Wentz will have to prove that he can replicate his regular season magic in the postseason. 

2. Miles Sanders

There are two ways that Miles Sanders could impact the game on Sunday. If he is healthy enough to play, his record setting combo of rushing and receiving will be dangerous for the Seahawks defense. With over 800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards, Wentz’s favorite option out of the backfield could blow open the game against a defense that has looked vulnerable to screens in the last few weeks. However, if Sanders is out on Sunday, the Eagles chances to win decrease due to his explosive impact on the offensive side of the ball. 

3. Zach Ertz vs Bobby Wagner

The man to man matchup of Bobby Wagner on Zach Ertz could very well define the game on Sunday. Ertz came into the game with 88 receptions, 916 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, becoming a force on offense and becoming Carson Wentz’s safety blanket over the middle. Wagner has 159 tackles this season, anchoring the middle of the Seahawks defense for yet another year. If the Seahawks want to shut down the Eagles offense, Bobby Wagner limiting the Eagles by shutting down Ertz will be key to their success. 

Overall, I believe in the Eagles, traveling cross country into a hostile enivornment will make life difficult for the Seahawks. The red hot Eagles will continue their success, in a game that probably won’t be close from the start. While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles take a loss, the odds are definitely in their favor. 

Superbowl or Bust?

Today Eagles football is set to start. The Philadelphia Eagles are having all players report to training camp today with tomorrow bring the action start of training camp. The Eagles had a very active offseason with the additions of Desean Jackson, Malik Jackson, Andre Dillard, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and Jj Arcega-Whitside. With the more noticeable returns of Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Darren Sproles, and Rodney McLeod. The Eagles decided to spend money to bring back a good amount of veterans to keep the chemistry and system in tack. A team does that when the belief that they are “in the window”, which is the time to try and win a Superbowl.

For a team in that mindset of trying to win a Superbowl such as the Eagles, some things will go wrong. Though as fans we should be expecting a Superbowl, of course, we do every year but this is different. We can trick ourselves in believing a playoff appearance or a playoff win is good enough but it’s not. Of course, Wentz getting experience is key but this team should be better than the competition to give the QB weapons to pick apart every defense. The 2019 Eagles have to be held to the highest standards and of course, this is not going to be smooth sailing but they have enough talent to smooth the bumps over. Bringing back Brandon Graham on a relatively higher salary, the Eagles were willing to put more money in a player because they know that they would be losing a leader on defense. Especially on the defensive line that would be struggling without him.

Howie Roseman took this team out of cap hell and pushed back salaries because he knew that the team needed players to add to this team. The “window” of winning in football various from each year because the playoffs are one game. That’s all. So looking at this offense and defense there are a lot of aging players, declining players, and that being said, have limited time. We can’t accept a playoff win with Carson Wentz as a success, because there is no guarantee that Desean Jackson has the speed next year, or that Jason Peters can still hold on for another year. Which brings it back to the statement, the Eagles are Superbowl or bust.

It’s a very intimidating expectation considering the Philadelphia fanbase that has invested in many teams and watched them blow up. Though we can’t use the Buddy Ryan era, or the Andy Reid era as a guide to what a Doug Pederson team will do. No matter how hard it is, fans of the Eagles have to expect a Superbowl from this team and nothing else. It’s a crazy idea that 4 years into Doug Pederson’s coaching career that we are already expecting champions to be produced. Although when you have an elite QB, with an attacking offense, paired with a nose-hard defense, you get expectations.

It’s not just me believing in this team, a lot of people are giving this 2019 Eagles team expectations. Not all are Superbowl or bust high, but the majority of them are demanding a hell of a lot from this team. We won’t know how the Eagles respond to the expectations that fans and media are putting on them until the season concludes. The Eagles truly have an opportunity to bring two championships to Philadelphia in three years which sounds crazy but with the re-loading that occurred this off-season, it should be expected. Now, we are a month and so away from the season and a lot of things will start to happen (injuries, trades, and roster moves), though as it stands now, the Eagles should be a Super Bowl-winning team.