By Dylan MacKinnon
3-7-1. There is no sugar coating, no silver linings. Eleven weeks in and they only have 3 wins, and the chances for more on the horizon are not great. After this 23-17 Seahawks loss, they will now play the Packers at Lambeau, The NFC Leading Saints, and then the Cardinals. This could easily be a 3-10-1 team heading into the Week 16 game vs the Cowboys. If the season ended now they would have the 6th overall pick in the draft, the highest pick they have had since they took Lane Johnson 4th overall in 2013.
So how did this season go so wrong? Where does the blame most lie for this mess? Let’s look at 5 numbers from this game, and the season as a whole, to figure those questions out.
The Eagles opened this game with 5 straight 3 and outs. 15 plays, 5 punts, 0 first downs. Most of them were 3rd and long, but they got a 3rd and 2 once, then Doug ran a read option with Jalen Hurts and the play, as per usual, got blown up. It took them until under 5 minutes in the 2nd quarter to get a first down on a Wentz scramble. They have 36 3 and outs on the season over 11 games. The one word to describe this offense would be dysfunction. In the last few games, they are under 15% converting 3rd downs. They do not have a single game with more than 30 points. This offense is as bad a Eagles offense as we have seen in a long while.
This is a team that throws it 63.5% of the time. That is 5th in the league. They are in great company with powerhouse offenses like the Bears, Cowboys, Jags, Bengals, and Lions. For full context, the reason many of those bad teams throw it so much is they are usually tailing, but the Eagles don’t run it in the first half either so that excuse won’t fly here. They average 209 passing yards per game, which is the 6th worst in the league. Take that in. They throw it at a higher rate than 27 other teams, but there are 26 teams with more passing yards per game than them. They average 121.1 rushing yards per game, which is 12th in the league. That is again despite being 28th in run rate. With a struggling QB and o line, and a run game that seems to work, you think they’d run it more, at least early in games before they are trailing.
It took one drive for DK Metcalf to get 75% of the production the guy the Eagles picked over him has in the season. On the Seahawks opening drive, Metcalf had 31 yards on 3 catches. On the season, JJ Arcega-Whiteside has 45 yards and 2 catches. On the night, DK had 177 yards. For his career, Whiteside has only 12 catches for 214 yards. We are all tired of hearing the DK to JJ comparisons, but as long as Metcalf is one of the most productive WRs in the league and Arcega-Whiteside is a complete non factor, it will keep coming up. Another fun number that is DK Metcalf related. He has 9 receiving TDs, all the Eagles WRs have a combined 8 TDs. All that said, this leads us perfectly into out next number.
Since getting his GM job back in 2016, Howie has drafted one pro bowler, Carson Wentz. He has zero All Pro players over that time. There are 3 players left from that 2016 draft, one player from 2017, and 3 from 2019 (but one of those are JJ Arcega-Whiteside). To be fair all 5 from 2018 are still here, but none of them are exactly stars yet. One bad draft is a mistake, two is a pattern, over 3 is unacceptable. When the best thing we can say about your drafting though is there is a single year where all the picks lasted 3 seasons, that is a problem. The Eagles haven’t taken a player who made a All Pro Roster since 2013. Wentz would have been one had he stayed healthy in 2017, but other than that, they have completely failed to get anything even resembling a star player. You can not maintain competitiveness when you can’t draft. What you end up with is a team of high paid free agents, and no depth. If you are looking for the big reason this team has been so bad, it starts at the top with Howie Roseman.
Since returning from the IR, Alshon has a total of 15 yards and 2 catches. That is over 3 games. Even worse, after leading the league in yards over a course of 5 weeks, Travis Fulgham has disappeared since Alshoin returned. 435 yards in the 5 games before Jeffrey returned, and has barley over 30 yards in the 3 games with Alshon. As Jeff Mclane asked Doug Pederson, Why is Alshon on this roster?