Another week, another watch of a Philadelphia Eagles game in 2017, another time I’m sitting there going “I don’t get this team” (‘get’ as in…are they great?) as they flounder early…and by the end of the game, they are winning.
It’s my Carolina 2015 story. It’s my Atlanta 2016 feeling all last season. So, get ready for the Eagles to lose this upcoming Super Bowl.
I look back on this 6-1 (to date) Eagles’ season, and they outplayed Arizona, which isn’t a major accomplishment because they totally suck. Should’ve lost to the Giants if not for their miracle FG. Escaped the Chargers due to the LAC kicker melting down. Fortuitous turnovers versus Carolina in the right spot at the right time. Struggled against Washington early and then they started carting Redskins off the field (again), and then Philly took control and beat the Redskins again. 6-1 feels a lot like 4-3/3-4 to me with this group. Sometimes it’s just ‘your year’. Philly is definitely rocking that vibe.
I’m not fighting it anymore. I work in ‘trending’ enough to spot a trend/have it hammered over my head and ride it – everything I’ve seen and felt with Carolina and Atlanta the past two years it has manifested itself with Philly this season. They are going to the playoffs. I’m losing my over/under win total bet, the only one of my five main plays I will lose.
They aren’t going to the Super Bowl, however.
Even if you thought they would – losing Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks – crippling. After Philly plays the 49ers this week and wins to go to 7-1 then things get interesting. DEN-BYE-@ DAL-CHI-@ SEA-@ LAR...which could be a 1-4 stretch, which will drop Philly to 8-5 with at NYG, OAK, DAL to finish. It’s not a given Philly makes it to 10 wins this season. But 9 wins is about in the bag *rips up Vegas ticket on 8.5 under*.
What could have been for Washington...
At full strength, I think the Redskins are as good/better than Philly but we’ll never know because the Redskins keep playing nationally televised games that get constantly halted for them to remove their injured players from the field. They could put the Redskins logo controversy to bed by changing it from the Indian to a football player laying on the ground with two trainers kneeling beside him.
Washington has DAL-@SEA-MIN-NO the next four weeks…which could send a 3-3 team to 3-7/4-6 and just about toast for the playoffs. They’ll end up with 7-8 wins max unless they get the defense healthy and find a running game. A nine-win season isn’t out of the questions but the schedule ahead is a headwind against it.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, several people asked me the same question this morning – “Are you still against Carson Wentz?” Asked in that cat-that-ate-the-canary way.
I don’t hold onto scouting positions because I’ve cemented myself in and I’m too stubborn to give up. If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I admit defeat and make changes in my scouting as needed. I’m not perfect. I’m just better than everyone else on the planet at this…but things still go awry. You also know, I won’t change positions when it’s obvious to others…or, I should say when the whole world is against what I am espousing. I’ve been alone on so many scouting calls it’s my sanctuary. When I’m not alone is when I start to worry. Being the only one who sees or interprets something a certain way – I’ve built a business on it. But my core business is being ‘right’, so I pursue ‘right’ not ‘axioms’ that aren’t working.
So, what was my Carson Wentz (17-25 for 268 yards, 4 TD/1 INT, 8-63-0) position coming into this season? Didn’t like the prospects of him. Didn’t hate him but didn’t like/want him for fantasy. Poor mechanics – big wind up, hitch in his throw, takes too long to make decisions. Was a run-first, safe-passer at the FCS level. He’s a throw it deep or dink-dunk guy. Not a great passer in traffic or under pressure – completing 53.1% of his passes thrown over the middle (Goff 72.7%). Completing 29.2% of his passes thrown 20 or longer (Goff 37.5%)…including 2-3 miracle long completions that were pure luck.
That’s what I have against him – I have scouted an untold amount of QBs and I know ‘it’ when I see it and Wentz does not have ‘it’.
That doesn’t mean he’s not any good. Obviously, he’s succeeding at the NFL level right now…he’s not ‘chopped liver’. He is smart. He has great character. His team is bought in/100% behind him. He has an offensive-minded head coach. He’s an excellent escape artist in the pocket. He’s like if Cam Newton had half the arm-strength but wasn’t a jackass as a human. There’s value in being that in the NFL.
We’re in the golden age of quarterbacks. Every week someone else emerges, it seems. Every year now rookies walk in and blow away people with their instant success and non-fear of the big stage. The rules are designed for the passing game and protecting QBs. The fact that Carson Wentz wasn’t a great passer at a non-Division I level of football but a year into the NFL he is enjoying wild passing success…I’m not sure how complicated the NFL is. I think coaches make it more complicated than it has to be. Doug Pederson is a different kind of head coach. He’s more Sean McVay in philosophy than Mike Zimmer…so, Wentz has a good coach. He has the fans and media. He’s talented enough to be a good NFL QB and grow. He has an A+ escapability. I’m not going to fight him anymore. I’ll assume he’s a nice ‘B’ QB for the NFL…not a ‘C’ or ‘D’ anymore.
Now, I think there is trouble on the horizon. I want to see what everyone thinks of Wentz after he plays Denver, Seattle, the Rams, Dallas, Chicago ahead…and does so without Jason Peters. If he bobs and weaves his way out of trouble and flicks more TDs to Nelson Agholor, then he’s a king. But if he crashes and burns, I’m coming back to revisit this. It’s a loose endorsement.
Once I saw Wentz start struggling a bit in this game, and on a big third down when he held onto the ball too long again and was engulfed by defenders but just hid among them and then walked out for a 20+ yard run from what was a certain sack – I’m not fighting that for fantasy 2017 anymore. Every week I complain about some lucky Wentz pocket escape turned huge play…eventually ‘it ain’t luck’, at a certain point. I complained about Cam’s flaw and luck all 2015…and he became the MVP of the league, and then he busted 2016…and people are looking at his whole career and thinking he isn’t all that great overall. Matt Ryan ditto 2016 MVP to 2017 bust, while I squawked about it. I’ll just assume the same with Wentz. It’s ‘his year’. Don’t fight it.
Wentz is a good guy and I hope he thrives ahead. If you watched the pregame story on him and that sick child, it about made your heart melt. I was crying watching it. If you watch this and don’t cry or root for Wentz…you have no soul: http://www.espn.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles/post/_/id/22568/carson-wentz-the-dutch-destroyer-and-a-dream-come-true
-- How in the world Nelson Agholor (4-45-1/5) is a starting NFL WR is beyond me. Did you watch this game? If bobbling/re-catching a ball that you’ve bobbled counted as a catch each time -- then Agholor would have had 113 catches last night. Can I ask if Agholor ever catches a ball without juggling it for 2-3 seconds first?
He’s got more TDs this season than any of my team’s WRs, so what do I know.
I’m not interested and I’ll trade him hot in a heartbeat. That upcoming schedule…good luck with that Nelson ‘two-times’…not like the ‘two-times’ guy in Goodfellas who said everything twice (get the papers, get the papers) but he catches every pass at least twice to secure it.
-- Washington might have won this game if they had any running game whatsoever. I mean, what the hell with Rob Kelley (7-16-0, 2-14-/2)? I think Jay Gruden is a decent coach, but this Rob Kelley affection is warped. Kelley literally would not start for any other NFL team…if every NFL team had their starter get hurt and played the backup, he would not start. I don’t think Kelley would make 5 rosters in the NFL…but is somehow the starter for the Redskins.
I hate to say I told ya’ so, and I wish I would have figured it out sooner…but this Kelley problem is so sick that Samaje Perine, clearly the best runner of the ball on the team, didn’t have a carry or an offensive snap. Jay Gruden could not give two $#&%s about Samaje Perine. He’s not trying to develop him either. He’s just ‘a body’. Even if Kelley goes down, he’ll only go so far with Perine. I am so done with Perine…until Kelley goes down, and then right back up on the delusional horse.
-- Has any NFL defense figured out that Chris Thompson (7-38-0, 5-26-1/5) is the Redskins main weapon? I guess not. Of all the Duke Johnson, James White guys out there…Thompson is the one I’d want going forward for 2017. Next non-TD game, I’ll be in there trying to buy reasonably.
-- Wow, did Terrelle Pryor (2-14-0/4) bust.
This is where Jay Gruden loses me. The weapons Sean McVay created, he likes them and they work (Thompson, Reed) but given Perine and Pryor all to himself…he hasn’t done a thing for them. They look like they’ve never played football before…over thinking every touch for fear of whatever.
I have a feeling the further we move away from Sean McVay’s DNA here, the more we’ll see Jay Gruden wasn’t that great of a coach.
Josh Doctson (3-39-0/5) seems like the new heir apparent but he’s another guy that has more Gruden influence than McVay…and what has happened? Doctson not living up to expectations so far. I am taking out fantasy positions in Doctson because he’s talented but I’m not getting my hopes up.
Who does Gruden like…Ryan Grant…long-time, grinder WR under McVay. Who’s his backfield preference…Rob Kelley…another ‘Gruden grinder’.
-- A lot of us exhaled when Jordan Reed (8-64-2/10) finally got rediscovered by Kirk Cousins in this game. At halftime, I was wondering if I might cut Reed and just pick up Tyler Kroft and run an Engram-Kroft ROS. Reed then popped in the second half and all is well…I hope.
In the first half, when I was trying to replace Reed and was wondering if Vernon Davis (4-67-0/4) might be an option? 3.5 rec., 56.7 yards, and 0.25 TDs per game the past four weeks.
I guess I’ll stick with Reed, but take note of Vernon for those in deeper leagues/TE trouble. He’s thriving alongside Reed for weeks.
-- Washington may have found a sweet addition to the defense with Quinton Dunbar (4 tackles, 2 PDs, 1 INT), a guy I’ve been crowing about but Jon Gruden recognized him pregame as well. Dunbar played well, again. When Josh Norman comes back…this becomes a pretty stout secondary, when healthy.
Snap Counts of Interest…
58 = Crowder
54 = Doctson
30 = Pryor
26 = Grant
35 = Blount
24 = Smallwood
12 = Clement
37 = C. Thompson
27 = Kelley
00 = Perine