Believe it or not, there is talent on this Eagles roster, whether or not all of it is being utilized properly is another issue.
Take Jalen Hurts, for example. The rookie quarterback was on the field for one snap against the Browns on Sunday. It was, predictably a running play. That it gained six yards was something of a mystery since defenses have figured out that is basically why Hurts enters a game – to run.
Head coach Doug Pederson was asked on Monday about Hurts’ role and his answer was 13 words long: “I think I could get him in the game a little bit more.”
And what about Travis Fulgham, who has just two catches for 16 yards on 12 targets the last two games after having 29 catches for 435 yards in five games?
“I'm concerned about Travis' production and getting him better and helping him get better,” said Pederson. “He needs to get better.”
Then there’s rookie Jalen Reagor.
When will Pederson and his staff decide to use the speedster in space?
As for the talent on hand, start with linebacker Alex Singleton, who should stay right where he is even when the player he replaced, Nate Gerry, is ready to return from Injured Reserve.
Singleton has played every snap the last two games and has made 23 tackles, had a sack and recovered a fumble. He is producing and that should not be replaced.
He has also been involved in just about every special team snaps the past two weeks, logging 26 of those against the Browns (90 percent) and 24 against the Giants (96 percent).
“In Canada, I think I had a game with over 100 (snaps) at one point…and that’s only a 20-second play clock up there (in the CFL, where Singleton played from 2016-18 with the Calgary Stampeders), so I have had games (with lots of snaps),” he said last week. “I don’t think it does (wear me out), I like to think I’m still 23 running around out there even though every day I’m every day getting a little bit older, but no I feel good, my body feels good.”
Against the Browns, Singleton not only logged 11 tackles, recovered the strip-sack fumble forced from Fletcher Cox, but had a sack, too.
“Alex has been a big bright spot for us,” said Pederson. “He's played a ton of snaps obviously on defense. He's a core teams player, great leader, great energy giver, just somebody that has really embraced his role.”
Pederson was asked on Monday afternoon about some bright spots this season, and he mentioned cornerback Darius Slay, defensive linemen Cox and Brandon Graham, receivers Fulgham and Reagor, and running backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Certainly, these are pieces that will be back in 2021 and will be relied upon to right a season that at 3-6-1 appears to be going nowhere slowly and painfully.
“There are definitely some bright spots and positives on the football team that have emerged this season,” said Pederson.
He could have added Josh Sweat, a fourth-round pick in 2018 who notched his fourth sack against Cleveland, which ties his career-high set last season. He was the team’s third-leading tackler on Sunday with six to go along with two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.
Offensively, Richard Rodgers has been productive in the passing game, though he did miss a block on blitzing cornerback Denzel Ward that led to a Carson Wentz interception returned 50 yards for a touchdown by Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki.
Rodgers, though, had his first touchdown since Dec. 17, 2017, against the Carolina Panthers, a 19-yard strike from Wentz on which his tight end was able to work open near the back of the end zone. Rodgers caught both his targets for 48 yards against Cleveland and now has 12 catches for 193 yards in his last four games, which are the same four games that Zach Ertz has been on Injured Reserve.
Is the roster flawed in some areas?
Yes, but most teams are. OK, maybe not the Kansas City Chiefs.
Have some parts of it grown old?
Yes, but finding the right balance between veterans and youth is not always easy to achieve.
By no means does GM Howie Roseman get a pass for what has transpired this season.
The 2017 draft class has failed miserably and, three years later, should have more than just first-round pick Derek Barnett playing pivotal roles. That’s on Roseman.
The usage of some parts of the roster is on Pederson and his staff.
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