The real reason the Eagles aren't very good right now


Maybe they’re just not that good.

Maybe they’re just not that talented.

Maybe they just don’t have enough elite players.

Think about it. 

Nobody on this team is playing at an elite level. Not a soul.

And that's a tough way to win.

The older players the Eagles were counting heavily on are either hurt or their level of play has declined significantly (or both). The younger players they were counting heavily on are underachieving or regressing. 

So when things start going bad, there’s really nobody on either side of the ball to pull the Eagles out of it.

The usual defensive stars, guys like Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham haven’t been awful. But they sure haven’t made the game-changing plays you need from your best players.

The key guys on offense? Zach Ertz has decent numbers, Alshon Jeffery has been OK, Jordan Howard has been all right, Nelly is just kind of floating through. None of them has come close to making a huge impact.

The young guys? Miles Sanders has shown a nice knack for catching the ball and getting down the field, but it’s not like he’s taking over games. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside hasn’t done anything. Derek Barnett shows flashes but has made headlines more for his personal fouls and fines than his sacks. Andre Dillard, too early to say. The young corners? You know that story.

I thought both lines would dominate. Hasn’t happened. The defensive line hasn't gotten pressure, and the offensive line hasn't run blocked or or pass protected consistently.

Then there’s Carson.

He hasn’t been terrible. He certainly hasn’t gotten any help from the people around him, and his numbers are OK. He’s had stretches where he looks unstoppable. Flashes of brilliance.

But he also hasn’t been elite, and he’s the one guy more than anybody the Eagles really need to carry the team through rough stretches.

It’s only six games, and the Eagles are 3-3 in a division where nobody has a winning record, so anything’s possible. The Eagles still have time to get back to the top of the NFC. Heck, seven of the last nine times they’ve been 3-3, they’ve reached the playoffs.

But let’s be honest. The Eagles deserve every bit of that 3-3 record. They’re an average team right now with average talent.

Yeah, the Packers win was remarkable. To go into that building and win that game on a short week? Amazing.

But a loss to a Falcons team that’s now 1-5 cancels that out. And their wins other than the Packers? Over two one-win teams. 

At some point, and that point is growing closer, the focus has to turn from the secondary and wide receivers and pass rush and running game to Howie Roseman.

He built the Super Bowl roster — along with Joe Douglas — and he deserves all the accolades he got for that.

But the biggest challenge for any championship team — in any sport — is figuring out how to stay on top, and the only way to do that is to constantly replenish the roster with young talent and fill in the blanks with free agents.

Hasn’t happened.

Wentz is the only Pro Bowler the Eagles have drafted since 2013, and Chip Kelly obviously plays a small role in that as well because the 2015 draft was his, but in the big picture, the lack of young talent on this roster is alarming.

Not just OK players who may have a terrific game here and there. But young, elite, playmaking, impact, superstar talent.

You watch other NFL teams and you see these young stud cornerbacks and hot-shot wide receivers and eye-opening rookies and budding superstars.

It’s not happening here. The young guys are either not ready or never will be, the older guys are fading or hurt and the guys in between just haven’t been good enough.

If the season ended today, the Eagles wouldn’t have a slam-dunk Pro Bowler. Not one. Maybe Fletcher Cox would go because he always goes. Maybe Brandon Brooks. 

But right now, this is a team without a single guy playing at a superstar level.

Doug Pederson and his staff certainly deserve some of the blame for this uninspired six-game start. But it's not hard to wonder just how much talent they really have to work with.

There’s 10 games left. Plenty of time to go on a run, put together a winning streak, start playing like the Super Bowl contender a lot of people expected this team to be.

Remember, the Eagles lost by 14 in Seattle in 2017 and didn’t lose a meaningful game the rest of the year. They lost by 41 in New Orleans last year and then won six of their next seven.

The loss Sunday to the Vikings was only the Eagles’ third by more than seven points over the last three seasons, and they followed the first two with runs to the playoffs.

To do that again, the Eagles need elite play from their elite players.

And right now it’s fair to wonder how many of them they really have.

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