By Dylan MacKinnon
The Eagles went 4-11-1, Carson Wentz seems to be done in Philly, and Howie Roseman is staying. Hard to see this season going much worse. Eagles close their season losing to Washington 20-14, but this game really doesn’t even matter apart from it locking them into the 6th overall pick. No one will be talking about the Eagles loss tomorrow. Instead they will be talking about Wentz wanting to be traded, and the report Doug and Howie will keep their jobs.
How did this team get here? From winning a Super Bowl, to being the 6th worst team in the league? The answer isn’t so simple. Many will say its the QB, or the poor drafting, or the bad contracts, or bad coaching. The off season is sure to be full of arguments over where to point the finger. The truth is, all of it is to blame.
Here are 5 numbers that tell the story of some of the biggest issues the team had this year, and that could carry into next year.
This season, Wentz only had 1.06 touchdowns for every interception he threw. Add in his six lost fumbles, and he had .76 touchdowns per turnover. There is no getting around it was a terrible year for Carson Wentz. Here’s how he did in touchdowns/ interceptions in previous years.
He also had the 3rd lowest QB Rating among qualified starters, above only Drew Lock and Sam Darnold, and just below Dwayne Haskins. If you prefer QBR, it’s a bit better, with him being 28th. Above Nick Foles, Cam Newton, Nick Mullens, and still Sam Darnold.
The season is not all his fault, and he certainly got little to no help. But even taking into account all the problems around him, these numbers are still awful. He was bad this year. And now According to Chris Mortenson, Wentz wants out of Philly. In his report, Mortenson went as far as to say “his relationship with head coach Doug Pederson is fractured beyond repair.” Wentz may have very well taken his last snaps as a Eagles QB.
Eagles QBs have been sacked 65 Times, that is 4.06 times per game. Wentz alone was sacked 50 times, which has him still in the lead among all QBs despite only playing in 11 and a half games. Hurts was sacked 13 times over his four starts and the half a game he played vs the Packers. Wentz was sacked 4.17 times per game, the only QB sacked more than four times a game. Hurts was being sacked 4 times a game before the Washington game. But they sacked him only once then he was pulled after 3 quarters. Then Nate Sudfeld came in and was sacked twice. Wentz got sacked close to every 10th pass attempt. Between the three of them, they got into the top 5 of most sacked all time in a single season.
Is this all on the o line? No. Wentz certainly could have thrown it away on some of these sacks. And Doug Pederson could have run the ball more, and adapted to a quicker passing game, to help the o line. But whatever you blame the sacks on, 60+ sacks in a single season is a big reason why this team is 4-11-1.
Since Frank Reich left, the Eagles offense is 20th in offensive efficiency, courtesy of ESPN’s Paul Hembekides. I laid out the actual scoring numbers from Doug Pederson’s career in last week’s article, but this is just another number that paints Doug Pederson’s offensive play calling ability in a poor light. If you need a reminder, last week in the Cowboys game article, we pointed out that in Doug Pederson’s tenure, his offense’s average being 18th in scoring. And the best year, 2017, had Frank Reich here as the offensive coordinator. One could say Pederson has not had the talent to run an efficient offense with, but one could also argue that Pederson has made poor use of the talent he has been given.
Eagles fans can and have argued about that in circles. It’s akin to the chicken or the egg argument. What came first, Doug Pederson being a bad play caller, or the Eagles having no talent. In this case, the answer is likely both.
In Howie Roseman’s tenure as GM, or whatever title he has had while running Football Operations, players he drafted made a total of 19 pro bowls. That is not 19 players who made a pro bowl, that’s the total times anyone he drafted has been on a pro bowl roster. That 19 is spread over 7 players, and only 4 of them have made multiple pro bowls. He drafted 74 players between when he was named GM in 2010, and now. That’s not counting the year where Chip Kelly operated as GM, or this last year. So 9 seasons, 74 players, 7 pro bowlers, who together made 19 pro bowls. Also only 3 All Pros together have made 5 All Pro rosters.
To be fair to Howie, this is not a problem that started with him. In the 2000’s under Joe Banner, the Eagles drafted 9 pro bowlers, who made a total of 21 pro bowls, and only 4 All Pros. They drafted 82 players over that time. The Eagles have been fairly bad at drafting for a long time, with only the rare good draft.
Also a bonus stat for you, Justin Jefferson had 45 more yards than the top 3 Eagles WRs combined. So that is fun.
Over the last 3 seasons, the Eagles have averaged 22.3 pts per game with Wentz at QB, and 21.5 with anyone else at QB. A difference of only .8 pts per game. Now that can be interpreted multiple ways. For one, it looks bad for Wentz that he is .8 pts better than his replacements. But it also puts a pretty big hole in the theory many national pundits, and some local fans and reporters, seem to have that Doug offenses work better without Wentz.
This seems to be a Wentz issue, not a Pederson issue. Doug appears to work fine with Foles, McCown and Hurts... https://t.co/jsSzT1LwDM— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 3, 2021
There is a lot of this going around. People defend Doug Pederson by saying the play of Wentz has been poor. And that’s fair, but it is also ignoring the full picture. The truth is the Eagles offense has been bad regardless of who is at QB the last three seasons. People remember when Foles 62 pts over two games vs the Rams and Texans in 2018. What they forget is him scoring only 30 pts in the two playoff games. They point out Wentz scoring only 21.5 pts per game this year, but without Wentz they only scored 20.3 pts per game. Wentz was a problem this year, but he is far from the only problem. Putting the blame solely on Wentz isn’t going to fix this offense, and is setting up the next guy for failure.