The Eagles just suffered a 40-17 bashing from the Arizona Cardinals. The game measured how well the Eagles can perform against playoff-level talent – just in case they can sneak into the playoffs – and they got rolled by the Cardinals. Eagles fans just wanted was a good game against a top-ranked Cardinals team but did not receive anything close.
After watching the game, the hope of a deep playoff run has pretty much disappeared as the team has serious deficiencies in talent from the personnel moves made over the past two years. The question now is not who is the best player on the team, but, rather, who among the 2015 additions has become the most invisible person on the field.
DeMarco Murray On The Sidelines
DeMarco Murray was on the sidelines for the majority of the game. He finished the game with two carries, and, even though he is a perfect 12-for-12 on conversions this season, he was not given a carry on a crucial 4th and inches with 50 seconds left in the second quarter on a drive that would have tied the game at 17.
Since the Eagles barely used Murray in the game, the Cardinals would have seen Murray entering the game and knew he was getting the ball. However, the pre-snap routine signaled exactly what the call was going to be anyway, like directions for assembling the defense to stop the play. Riley Cooper’s motioning to the right before the snap clearly telegraphed that the Eagles were going to run it off the right tackle.
Any defensive player could clearly see how the play would develop pre-snap, yet, on the other hand, why were they using Cooper and not an offensive lineman as the lead blocker anyway? In addition, the Eagles strength on the offensive line is the left side, where Pro Bowl lineman Jason Peters plays, but they decided to go off the right tackle.
When 94.1 WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi asked Kelly why he did not use Murray considering Murray’s record of short conversions, Chip said he wanted to “go with the bigger back.”
DeMarco Murray is 6-foot, 217 pounds while Ryan Mathews is 6-foot, 220 pounds. Neither one is technically the “bigger back.” Murray or Mathews would have both struggled to make the play considering the poor play calling, but, by not using Murray, it is fair to wonder if he fits anywhere in this team’s offense.
With Kelly’s questionable GM decisions added to the equation, the Eagles are likely stuck with Murray for the future. What team will take on his salary if the Eagles want to move on from him? The team could cut him, but they would suffer a considerable salary-cap hit. Still, is it worth paying Murray the way designated by his $40 million salary to sit on the bench and run the ball twice a game?
It is fair to question if Kelly is just signing people at whim and throwing them into the mix of the team without any rhyme or reason for how they fit into the overall scheme and the salary-cap situation if they don’t work out.
The Eagles Traded LeSean McCoy for What?
At inside linebacker, Kiko Alonso has done little to nothing this season, and, what is worse is that Kelly exchanged the Eagles franchise-leading running back for him in the offseason.
Alonso had a good game against the Falcons in week 1 with a one-handed interception, but he has done little since then. He has 26 tackles this season. When compared to the 159 tackles he had in his rookie season, he would have to play five to six seasons at his current rate to come close to what he did in his rookie season in Buffalo.
Alonso played 57 percent of snaps against Buffalo and 53 percent of snaps against Arizona after playing a season-high 79 percent against the Patriots, but he played 100 percent of snaps in every game he played with Buffalo in 2013. His production has disappeared.
When you trade away a running back who rushed for 2,926 yards combined in 2013-14, is it not fair to ask for something close to equal compensation?
This Eagles team was defined by hard hits years ago, but the team has now become a group of players who seem more interested in stripping the ball than making a tackle.
The Eagles First-Round Pick Doesn’t Work Out As Planned, Again
The outside receivers are the weakest part of the Eagles offense. The team spent its first pick in this year’s draft on Nelson Agholor but are getting little to nothing in return. Agholor played 89 percent of offensive snaps against the Cardinals, and, even with all those snaps, he finished the game with one target and zero catches. Is that not the definition of disappearing from a game?
The only player who had more offensive snaps in the game – excluding offensive linemen – was Sam Bradford (98 percent).
When the Eagles lost to the Cardinals last season, 24-20, Jeremy Maclin had 12 receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles could have really used production like that again Sunday night. The Eagles outside receivers – Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, and Nelson Agholor – combined for six receptions for 74 yards. Philadelphia had 334 yards and two touchdowns from wide receivers against the Cardinals last year and 233 yards and one touchdown this year. That is what you would call subtraction by subtraction.
This lack of production is not a one-game occurrence, though. The outside receivers have been severely underperforming all season. If you combine the overall yards of the current outside receivers for the season, they have 856 yards – just 17 more yards than slot receiver Jordan Matthew’s 839 yards for the season.
Will any Eagles receiver go over 1,000 yards this season?
The wide receivers are the weakest link of the Eagles offense, and Agholor has the fewest yards among all starting wide receivers. He was billed to be a key part filling in for Jeremy Maclin, but he would be lucky to end the season with anywhere between 400-500 yards. He would also be lucky to finish the season with more than two touchdowns since he scored his first touchdown in week 14.
Agholor has been held to zero yards in two of the past three weeks – against the Patriots and Arizona – and he has not produced more than 64 yards in a game all season. The moves Kelly made at the wide receiver position are clearly not panning out.
How are Kelly and the Eagles wide receivers going to look if DeSean Jackson and the Redskins knock the Eagles out of the playoffs for the second year in a row?
Who Is My Pick?
For all that, who among Agholor, Alonso, and Murray is the most invisible new addition on the team? My pick is Alonso. Agholor had a touchdown last week before vanishing on the field against the Cardinals, Murray has had good games in the middle of the season before becoming non-existant in recent weeks. Alonso hasn’t done anything recently. Who is your pick?