The blame game has been tossed around between three main culprits after the Eagles disheartening 21-17 loss at home to the Carolina Panthers, in which the team blew a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead. Those three culprits are Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz, and Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Schwartz, who should be receiving 90-percent of the blame through this whole week, was criticized first right off the bat after his defense surrendered 21 points and 236 yards in the fourth quarter.
But once the dust of Sunday’s loss settled a bit, the blame has been focused on the head coach and quarterback, which is typical in any loss, especially a loss like this.
But let’s revisit one thing.
The Eagles defense – who was totally dominating a frustrated Cam Newton and a Panthers team full of turmoil from the coin toss on – gave up 21 points and 236 yards in the final quarter.
Yes, the Eagles offense has ongoing issues that need fixed.
Yes, Pederson should probably run the ball a little more.
Yes, Wentz came up small when his team was 20-yards away from winning the game anyway and missed Wendell Smallwood for a first down.
But collapsing the way the Eagles defense did in the fourth quarter is what needs to stand out the most.
The defense got away from what was working – getting after Newton, playing aggressive. That fourth quarter saw the same soft coverage and giving up big plays that’s plagued them all season.
Oh, and another 4th and long given up.
The sequence of that fourth quarter should never, ever happen, no matter how bad or good the offense is.
And offensively, Pederson was sticking to what was working. The Eagles offense was moving the football well all game.
Wentz played out of his mind- 30-of-37, 310 yards, two touchdowns.
All the defense needed was to stick to what was working.
Except Schwartz called that fourth quarter trying not to lose.
If anything needs major changes – it starts on defense.
This team needs to upgrade at cornerback and/or safety – yes, its worth to spend a first-round pick on Patrick Peterson if the Cardinals change their mind on trading him. But if not, the Bucs’ Brent Grimes and the Raiders’ Karl Joseph are good options.
It’s not out of the question to look for a pass rusher either, after the news of Derek Barnett being done for the season. The Eagles could make a call to the Denver Broncos for Shane Ray, whose fifth-year option wasn’t picked up.
That’s not to say the offense doesn’t need major changes, however.
This team needs a running back, especially for late game situations.
No, it’s not Le’Veon Bell.
Yes, the guy’s one of the best running backs in the league, but trying to work a trade for him is complicated, it’ll be expensive one way or another, and he’s a headache the Eagles don’t need.
David Johnson’s not getting traded.
So here’s a good option – LeGarrette Blount. You know, the guy who was a big part of the Eagles Super Bowl championship last year who wasn’t brought back? Yes, money wasn’t right during the offseason, but this was a guy I suspected the Eagles might miss. Now’s the time to get him back for cheap.
This team needs an upgrade at receiver, and you can make a call to the Mile High City again for that, as Emmanuel Sanders is on pace to finish with a 1,000-yard season.
But at this point of the season, the Eagles need to look themselves in the mirror from a play-calling and personnel perspective if they are truly going to turn things around in 2018.