It hasn’t gone the way anyone drew it up this year. The Eagles’ collaborative coaching staff looks vanilla in their play-calling. Carson Wentz can’t hit the broad side of a barn. And their patchwork offensive line is running out of bodies.
It’s been a collective failure through 10 games for the 3-6-1 Eagles. However, the onus always starts and ends with the quarterback. Wentz knows that and his league-leading 18 giveaways — including two more interceptions on Sunday versus Cleveland — are alarmingly unforgivable. The face of the franchise told reporters he can handle the criticism and his head coach has no plans to bench him.
“I know it’s always a scrutinized position, playing quarterback, and that’s what I signed up for when I came out and played quarterback going back to high school,” Wentz said. “I can take it. I can wear it. Are we playing as good as we can as a team? No. Am I playing my best football? No. There were some circumstances out there today that we left some plays out there on the field. We’ll be critical, we’ll go back and watch the tape.”
Miraculously, the Eagles still cling to first place in the NFC East despite wins by Washington and Dallas. New York was on a bye. Doug Pederson believes the adversity can make the team stronger and test their mettle.
“This will be a great test for our football team,” Pederson said. “There are six football games left. We still have an opportunity in our division, but it’s really going to challenge all of us moving forward.”
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No Chemistry with Alshon Jeffery
The Eagles waited nine long weeks to get possession receiver Alshon Jeffery back on the field. It’s only a two-week sample size but the results don’t look promising. Jeffery saw 18 snaps in his first game back (Week 10) and five snaps against the Browns (Week 11). He has zero catches on three targets in two games.
More importantly, Jeffery and Wentz just aren’t on the same page. The one-time Pro Bowler’s mistimed jump on a red-zone play late in the fourth quarter ended in a Browns interception and essentially ended the game.
“The chemistry wasn’t there on that one,” Wentz said. “It’s a bummer. I’m frustrated. I think everyone in this locker room is frustrated. You don’t go out there and play 60 minutes to lose.”
Jason Kelce ‘Tough Son of a Gun’
All-Pro center Jason Kelce will go down in history as one of football’s all-time great centers. He’s a leader on and off the field, a guy who leaves it all out there. Kelce left Sunday’s game late in the second quarter with a left arm injury, then trotted out after halftime wearing a brace. He missed a whopping four plays and plans to start his 100th straight game next week.
“I just know that’s a tough son of a gun, probably the toughest player on our team, plays through whatever,” running back Miles Sanders said. “He does what it takes to stay on the field and help us win, even in practice.”
Undrafted rookie Luke Juriga did fill-in for Kelce against the Browns. He didn’t produce any errant snaps in his brief time at center.
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