A Rough First Half of the Season for the Eagles

by Marc Narducci | Nov 4, 2020
A Rough First Half of the Season for the Eagles
There probably hasn’t ever been as much concern about a first-place team than the Eagles in a long time, if ever. Following Sunday’s 23-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles enter their bye week in first place. Of course, as we have mentioned almost every week, they are in one of the worst divisions in NFL history. 
The Eagles lead the NFC East with a 3-4-1 record and even though their second half schedule is seemingly more difficult than their first half, there is no sign that anybody else will overtake them in the division.
Certainly not Dallas (2-6). The Cowboys continue to be run by an overmatched owner Jerry Jones, who is a good owner but an incompetent general manager.
How any team could allow somebody like Ben DiNucci to start at quarterback in what was a game for first place against the Eagles, is hard to fathom.
DiNucci was 21 for 40 for 180 yards, no TDs and no interceptions and a 64.6 passer rating.
He is a rookie seventh round draft choice from James Madison, but he should never have been put in that position. After Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury, the Cowboys had a capable backup in Andy Dalton, but he suffered a concussion the previous week. 
Dallas should have signed a veteran as soon as Prescott got hurt just so DiNucci wouldn’t be put in the situation of having to play.
For Eagles fans, what is disconcerting is that DiNucci had a better passer rating Sunday than Carson Wentz.
The Eagles have a bye this week and return to action Nov. 15 at the NY Giants and between now and then coach Doug Pederson has to figure out what has happened to Wentz.
He committed four turnovers – two interceptions and two fumbles against Dallas - and his passer rating was 61.2.
Pederson said he never considered benching Wentz, but if his mistakes continue, then even winning the division won’t be assured.
This season Wentz has thrown 12 interceptions and lost four fumbles, an alarming turnover figure. 
He continues to make questionable decisions, throwing in tight coverage, trying to extend plays, when throwing the ball away would be the better move.
Yes, the Eagles have had so many injuries on the offensive line, but Wentz seems like he is trying to do too much and that is when turnovers happen.
This is his fifth season and his regression and inconsistency are alarming, especially since he was considered a franchise quarterback when he signed his $128 million extension.
The positive is that the defense is starting to come around, led by Brandon Graham, who has seven sacks this season. 
In addition, the Eagles looks like they have a group of young receivers in Travis Fulgham and first round pick Jalen Reagor, who are playmakers. Rookie receiver John Hightowher has great speed, but he must be more consistent catching the ball.
From the Eagles perspective, it’s good to be able to have these problems and be in first place, but even in the NFC East, they can’t keep living this dangerously. 

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Pederson acknowledged this after the Cowboys game. He and Wentz vowed to fix the problems as both realize this is no way for a team (and especially the quarterback) to keep playing.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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