It very well could be back to the wide receiver drawing board for the Eagles.
Hard to believe that after spending five draft picks on that position in the last three drafts, including two in the first round and one in the second, this position still is not good enough.
The New York Giants rushed just four throughout most of Sunday’s game and dropped seven into coverage. The strategy worked as the Eagles hit the end zone only once in a 13-7 loss.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts found very few easy throws and his receivers found very little open ground.
“[The] passing game, again, is not where we want it to be,” said head coach Nick Sirianni on Monday. “I take a lot of pride in that. I've been on a lot of teams that have been very successful passing the football, and so no one is taking that harder than me and it's my job to get that fixed.”
Week 13 arrives Sunday against the New York Jets then the Eagles will at long last have their bye week.
There is precious little time to get it fixed.
There are a couple of ways to fix it in the offseason.
The first would be to change quarterbacks.
Having a more conventional, drop-back quarterback capable of consistently getting the ball out quickly could make the receivers better. It would also require only one change, sort of similar to a head coach getting fired in any sport when it’s really a handful of players that need to be canned.
“We're not where we want to be in that part of our game,” Sirianni said about the passing game. “We're working like crazy to get better at it. I think what you've seen is our play-action game has been able to be successful, but when teams know we're dropping back and when we're dropping back to pass, that's where we’ve struggled in the third-and-longer scenarios.”
That’s not all on Hurts, of course. The receivers and tight ends play a part.
Dallas Goedert had one catch for zero yards on Sunday and DeVonta Smith had two catches for 22 yards.
With 686 yards receiving this season, he must average 62.8 yards per game over the final five to become the first WR to top 1,000 in a season since 2014. If the season wasn’t extended an extra game and there were just four games left, he would need to average 78.7.
The second way to upgrade the passing game is to continue the never-ending quest for competent pass catchers.
Smith and probably Quez Watkins are keepers, but who else?
The Eagles won’t draft one in the first round with their expected three picks. They just can't.
Matt Millen, now a broadcaster, tried that with the Detroit Lions when he was their GM in the early 00s, taking Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams from 2003-05 then taking another crack at it with Calvin Johnson in 2007.
It didn’t work.
They have 10 picks throughout the three-day draft, so spending one later is certainly not out of the question. Perhaps they get one on Day Two.
The best route will be to spend some money in free agency.
Maybe they make like it’s 2017 all over again and sign two right out of the gate. It was that year when, on the first day of free agency, they inked Alshon Jeffery to a one-year deal and Torrey Smith to a three-year deal, giving the Eagles two weapons for Carson Wentz, then Nick Foles, that helped win them a Super Bowl.
It's much too early to determine what receivers will reach free agency, but there are some big names that very well could be available should their current teams not re-invest in them.
The biggest is probably Green Bay’s Davante Adams, but Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin, L.A. Charger Mike Williams, and Chicago’s Allen Robinson could also be available. Other possibilities are Dallas Michael Gallup, Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was lost for the season early with a shoulder injury, Indianapolis’ Zach Pascal, and Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark.
First, though, the Eagles have to decide what their plan will be at quarterback.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.