Eagles Still Learning How to Win

by Marc Narducci | Nov 12, 2016
Eagles Still Learning How to Win When the Eagles beat the previously unbeaten Minnesota Vikings, 21-10 on Oct. 23, there was true optimism among the often tortured fan base.

The Vikings were 5-0, had the NFL's best defense and weren't really competitive against the Eagles. The score wasn't indicative of how dominant the Eagles were.

A few things have happened since. (1) Minnesota is showing that it is not as dominant as previously expected. The Vikings have lost three in a row after dropping division games to the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

And the Eagles have since lost two winnable games. The first squandered a 10-point fourth quarter lead in a 29-23 OT loss at Dallas. And last week, the Eagles couldn't finish the deal, in a 28-23 loss at the New York Giants.

After a completion to Nelson Agholor gave the Birds a first and 10 at the Giants 17-yard line with 1 minute and 41 seconds left, Carson Wentz threw four straight incompletions, putting an end to the comeback effort.

The positive school of thought says that Wentz and the Eagles are learning and that these games in the future will have a different outcome.

The negative side is that the Eagles confidence will continue to be dented by not being able to pull out these nail-biters.

As we he have stated before, anybody would have taken a 4-4 record at the midway point, especially with a rookie quarterback being thrown into the NFL fire.

However, Wentz's development would be further along if he and the Eagles found a way to win these close games.

After winning their first three games and providing optimism before their bye week, the Eagles have dropped four of their last five.

In the last five games, Wentz has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,121 yards. He has thrown five touchdown passes but four interceptions. In these five games, his passer rating is just 78.2. Conversely, in the first three games, Went had thrown five touchdown passes, no interceptions and his passer rating was a stunning 103.8.

Of course this isn't all on rookie. Despite his recent mistakes, he has shown a lot of ability and intelligence. In the NFL there are no secrets and defensive coordinators have studied the best way to play against Wentz.

Teams were employing all-out blitzes in the early going and Wentz was handling it. So opponents changed up and dropped more defenders in coverage and that has seemed to throw a wrinkle that the Eagles are looking to solve.

It hasn't helped Wentz that his receivers drop too many balls and have a hard time getting separation.

That said, with all the struggles, the Eagles remain in the hunt for a playoff berth due to the extreme parity in the NFC.

Only two NFC second place teams own as many as five wins--the Giants and Detroit, two teams the Eagles lost to by a combined six points.

As outlined earlier, the Eagles schedule is difficult, including this week's home game with the high flying Atlanta Falcons.

Still, the four losses have been by a combined 19 points. The Eagles has shown that they are competitive with any team on the schedule.

The next step is winning these winnable games, something that could only happen if the offense gets more consistent and head coach Doug Pederson makes better in-game decisions.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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