The Cowboys and the Eagles square off in an NFC East game where both teams are trying to keep alive flickering playoff hopes. The Eagles have made a big change at quarterback to try and save their season, and it could determine their franchise’s future. We talked to Bleeding Green Nation to get their take on where things stand for the Eagles and their thoughts on the game.
Blogging The Boys: So is it over for Carson Wentz in Philly? What are the options going forward and how likely is it he is back as the starter in 2021?
Bleeding Green Nation: Yeah, there’s a decent chance it’s over. Wentz’s contract obviously doesn’t make it easy for the Eagles to trade him this offseason; they’d have to take on the biggest dead cap figure in NFL history to move him. But that could still be preferable to keeping him on their roster into the third day of the new league year, which is when $15 million of his 2022 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. The Eagles might just need to rip the bandaid off this offseason.
I think it’d be naïve for the Eagles to think they can bring in a new head coach to easily fix Wentz. Especially when there are concerns about him being headstrong to the point where he’s not really coachable. And it seems like he wants no part of a quarterback competition with Jalen Hurts, though that’s what he’ll just have to live with if the team keeps him.
The feeling here is that the Eagles should move forward with Hurts. I think it’s in the best interest of both the Eagles and Wentz to move on. I don’t think he’s getting salvaged here in Philly. The relationship might be fractured beyond repair.
BTB: What have you seen in Jalen Hurts’ game so far besides the obvious ability to use his legs to put up yards? Has the offense changed much for him?
BGN: The offense sure has changed in that it’s actually functional now. Heading into Week 14, the Eagles were averaging 319.1 yards per game (29th ranked) and 18.8 offensive points per game (30th) ranked. In Hurts’ two starts, the Eagles’ offense is averaging 417.5 yards per game and 25 offensive points per game. Small sample size, obviously, but it’s an encouraging start.
There’s no question that Hurts’ mobility has helped. Beyond that, though, I really like the touch and accuracy that he throws with. Wentz was sorely lacking in those areas. Hurts’ composure has also been critical to his success thus far. He hasn’t gotten rattled.
It hasn’t been all great with Hurts, of course. There are questions about his arm strength and his ability to work the middle of the field. Also need to see him stop fumbling so often; he had three last week to bring him up to six on the season.
Overall, there’s been more good than bad. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep building on what he’s shown.
BTB: Is Doug Pederson safe? Does he need some wins at this point?
BGN: An NFL Network report emerged earlier this month indicating that Pederson is “on the hot seat.” There’s also been talk that Pederson wouldn’t mind getting fired, likely because he’s taking a disproportionate amount of blame for the Eagles’ struggles. I don’t think the Eagles will outright fire their only Super Bowl winning head coach in franchise history but I can’t rule out a “mutual parting of ways.”
With that said, I don’t think the Eagles SHOULD be getting rid of Pederson. Especially if general Manager Howie Roseman gets to stay. If the Eagles want to clean house and start fresh by getting rid of both of those guys? Fine. But making Pederson the scapegoat for this team’s failures would be downright pathetic.
I’m not saying that Pederson has been perfect this year. Clearly he hasn’t. But this idea that he’s been the main issue — and not Wentz — looks pretty silly when we see the success that Hurts is having. Not to mention that Pederson is now 11-3 in games without Wentz. Could feasibly be 12-2 right now if Dallas Goedert doesn’t drop a potential game-winning touchdown near the end of last week’s game against the Cardinals.
I kind of feel like the writing is already on the wall for Pederson, sadly. Perhaps he can still save his job if the Eagles find a way to win the NFC East here. But I don’t know.
BTB: Are you holding out hope for the playoffs or are you in draft mode? What does Philly need in the draft/free agency this offseason?
I think it’s in the Eagles’ best long-term interest to miss the playoffs and get as high of a draft pick as possible.
With that said, I’m also intrigued by the idea of getting to see Hurts play another game this year. There’s value in evaluating him further and getting some playoff experience under his belt.
My hope is for the Eagles to find themselves on one end of two extremes. Either they lose out and get a high pick, potentially as far up as No. 3 overall … or they win the NFC East. The worst outcome is winning a game or two but still not winning the division.
As far as the offseason goes, it’s hard to even focus on needs when there are such critical decisions to be made. Roseman SHOULD be gone, but it sounds like he’s not even in any jeopardy of losing his job. Will Pederson be back? What do the Eagles do with their quarterback situation? They have to figure out the big picture stuff before something like upgrading the wide receiver position (something Roseman has constantly failed to do!) matters.
BTB: How do you think the game will play out? What’s the final score?
BGN: I think the Eagles win a competitive game that comes down to the wire. Perhaps in overtime.
There’s a level of confidence to be had with how Philly’s playing much more inspired football with Hurts under center. The offense is functional now and should be able to score on a Dallas defense that still ranks towards the bottom of the league. The Cowboys might be able to take advantage of Philly’s weakened secondary but the Eagles’ defensive could force Andy Dalton into a turnover or two.
Ultimately, I don’t think the Cowboys beating Brandon Allen and Nick Mullens the past two weeks makes them a good team now. I don’t think Dallas is good enough to win three in a row.
The Eagles win this game (final score: 31 to 27) to clinch their first season series sweep over the Cowboys since 2011.
Thanks for the knowledge, Bleeding Green Nation.