Ladies and Gentlemen:
I hope everyone enjoyed the bye week. Rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles is an exhausting process…
Okay, let’s get right to it.
Is it okay to start talking about the playoffs? Coach Mora?
It’s a tradition.
Yet, with how crazy this extra long season has been, with those embarrassing blowout losses, with all of the hyperbole regarding every move the starting quarterback makes the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles are right in the thick of the playoff race. They don’t technically control their own destiny but if they win out then they will almost certainly make the playoffs.
As my father always used to say:
If the queen had balls she’d be king.
That’s also a tradition.
Speaking of tradition…and balls for that matter…we need a “Balls” Player for this season.
I think it might be slim pickings this year but let it marinate, let it souse, pickle it and get back to me.
Because the Eagles took care of business, got a couple of calls that went their way and soundly defeated the New York Jets we can have this conversation regarding the playoffs. Of course, all of the talk was about Gardner Minshew and the almost perfect game he played. Then, after the win, he was celebrating with the fans and gave us one of the most entertaining press conferences we have seen in a long time. You gotta love this guy.
He really did play a great game. Now there are quite a few people who believe that he should take the reins and lead the Eagles into the 14-team diluted playoff experience that the NFL has graciously given us. And not just the “Average Joe” fan but many a professional pundit have passionately suggested that Minshew should be the Eagles starting quarterback.
I wonder if anyone predicted this. Like in a self-indulgent blog posting?
Although, if Minshew plays he’ll have the benefit of an opposing team that does not have any film on him from this season. That and he has proved himself to be a decent quarterback when he started for Jacksonville. I could totally see Minshew playing well, the Eagles winning and we have ourselves a full blown quarterback controversy, once again, in Philadelphia. Can I lay a bet on that scenario happening? Because if I could, I would bet the ranch.
Yup. You read that last week. Right here.
Minshew played very well and part of that was because the Jets were not expecting him to play. And part of that was also because Coach Sirianni called a great game. Actually, I think that this was Sirianni’s best coached game ever. His play calling and strategy was dead on.
He did not reveal who is quarterback was going to be and said it was a game time decision. Seems like a reasonable course of action. right? Except for the fact that Lane Johnson in his post game press conference said that they, meaning the offensive line, knew on Friday that Minshew was starting.
Then he has Minshew throw high percentage passes, a couple of dimes to Dallas Goedert who was enjoying single coverage and a lot of screens to blunt the focus that the Jets were putting on the run. After the Jets adjusted at halftime he goes to a ground and pound running attack and leans on an injured Miles Sanders who produced his best game as a pro. The Eagles had their offense on the field for over 13 minutes in the third quarter. 13 minutes! They scored points on their first seven drives.
Sirianni also successfully challenged a 4th down sneak by Minshew that the Zebras initially got wrong.
Nick Sirianni’s biggest and maybe only real mistake of the day was when he called a shotgun after Jason Kelce went down and Nate Herbig had to replace him at center. Herbig snapped the ball over Minshew’s head. Minshew ran it down, fell on it and the Eagles had to punt for their first and only time of the game. Next time, put your quarterback under center, Coach.
After the game when reporters were frothing at the mouth at the thought of the quarterback controversy that they could write about all week, Sirianni quickly and definitively said that when Jalen Hurts is healthy he’s our quarterback. Done and done.
He never throws anyone under the bus. He praises his players when they play well and defends them when they play poorly. He has, wait for it, Emotional Intelligence.
Urban Meyer definitely does not have Emotional Intelligence.
Sirianni coached a great game but Jonathan Gannon is still stuck in neutral regarding his play calling. Throughout the first half he stayed in Cover-2 and did not put any of his players in motion. The same passive defense that opposing quarterbacks have faced and then laid waste to the Eagles secondary. Zach Wilson was on track top have a career day and led the Jets on three touchdown drives in the first half. He adjusted in the second half and the Eagles defense pitched a shut out.
I just don’t get this. Why is he so passive? I don’t understand how this keeps happening.
A couple of things I noticed and had to rewind the DVR to be sure:
Miles Sanders fumbled the ball on his very first run and covered it up immediately. It was so quick that the commentators did not even see it.
Throughout his career, and this goes back to his days at Penn State, he has had problems holding onto the ball. He got better after his rookie season, probably because he was coached by Duce Staley, but old habits die hard. They should be on this. The coaching staff should be on this. I don’t want to hold my breath every time he touches the ball.
After Nate Herbig had his one and only botched snap he came to the sideline and was greeted by Jalen Hurts. The camera showed Herbig talking to Hurts with a strained look on his face and it seemed through his body language (his back was to the camera) that he was talking Herbig down. Before the camera cut away Big Nate gave him a hug.
He is one of the leaders of this team in only his second year. I hope he proves that he deserves, at the very least, another season as the Eagles quarterback. I have spoken at length that I want to see their first round draft picks used to pick defensive players but in addition to that with the intangibles that Jalen brings to the table, and his potential for growth, he could be something special.
The Eagles are a 2.5, I mean 5.5, I mean a 9-point favorite over the Football Team this Sunday at the Linc. Why has the spread moved so dramatically in favor of the Eagles? Because at this moment the WFT has no less that 21 players on the Covid-19 list. If the game was played right now then they would have four practice squad guys on the defensive line and their fifth string center snapping the ball.
It does not seem fair since Washington is fighting for the same playoff spot that the Eagles are but the NFL has no plans to postpone this game. Instead they are giving teams a lot of flexibility with practice squad guys and Injury Reserve rules.
It can be argued that every team faces the same challenges regarding the pandemic and not every team is facing this dilemma. Some teams have claimed that they have been very diligently sticking to Covid protocols at team facilities and have stressed to their players to be careful in their personal lives.
It’s a fair argument but it still sucks for the players and the fans of the teams who are experiencing this.
I guess the show must go on.
The Birds are still dealing with injuries as both Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders are questionable for Sunday. Minshew has been taking snaps again and he won’t be sneaking up on anybody this time. Some of the WFT starters may be back in time for kickoff but without practicing the turnaround will be tough.
So the Eagles, at least on paper, should win this one and cover the spread. Even so, I’m not touching this game. Too many variables. Who comes back, the us-verse-them emotional push, the Eagles taking their opponent lightly again, Jonathan Gannon calling a passive game, etc. And also, it just doesn’t feel right.