Eagles overreactions: Could the O-line doom this season? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
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Well, that was ugly. The Eagles roared to a 17-0 lead and then watched the Washington Football Team rally, sinking the Birds, 27-17, on Sunday afternoon. Here are three overreactions - or are they?
1. The Eagles' offensive line will sink their season
Brandon Brooks is out for the year. So is Andre Dillard. Lane Johnson missed Week 1. Jason Peters was shaky against Washington. Jack Driscoll left the game early. Jordan Mailta and Nate Herbig both left something to be desired.
The Eagles' offensive line is a shambles right now, just one big pile of injuries and inadequacies. Carson Wentz was sacked eight times on Sunday, including a strip sack in the first quarter and another in the fourth. Not ideal:
The run game couldn't get anything going, piling up 54 yards on 16 carries for a brutal 3.4 yards per carry. The lack of Miles Sanders doesn't help, but the lack of any run blocking was a bigger problem.
Carson Wentz is an elusive quarterback, and actually excels on the move, but to keep him healthy this year is to keep him upright. And every quarterback is better when they have time, especially since Wentz has usable deep threats in DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor who need him to be clean in the pocket for a little longer than those quick throws to tight ends.
The Eagles have weapons and talent, but without a usable offensive line, the games will get ugly, the losses will pile up, and the eyes will turn towards Howie Roseman.
Because this is what happens when a first-round pick like Dillard feels like a waste after two years, you rely on a way-past-his-prime player for left tackle, and you let a solid contributor in Halapoulivaati Vaitai walk. If you're investing in your quarterback, you also need to invest in the guys who protect him - and to get your draft picks right.
2. Dallas Goedert should already be TE1
Zach Ertz's contract talks dominated Eagles discourse over the past week, as the team figures out if/when to extend the best tight end in franchise history, and Dallas Goedert's Week 1 performance is going to make Howie Roseman's job even harder.
Goedert looked every bit the starting tight end that many fans think he can be on Sunday, catching 8 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. He was a matchup nightmare all day for Washington's defense, and Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson knew it from the start. Goedert was Wentz's top target all afternoon, a role normally filled by Ertz. Here are their respective stat lines:
Goedert: 8 catches, 101 yards, 1 touchdown, 9 targets
Ertz: 3 catches, 18 yards, 1 touchdown, 7 targets
It's just one game, but Goedert showed obvious growth from Year 1 to Year 2, and there's no reason to think he won't keep growing and flourishing this season. Is it because opposing teams are focused on stopping Ertz? Maybe. It also might be because Goedert is a stud.
Not to be forgotten: Ertz dropped an easy catch for a first down on a crucial fourth-down attempt late in the fourth quarter, with the Eagles down a score.
If Goedert continues to excel, I can't imagine we'll see an Ertz extension anytime soon.
3. Jalen Reagor was the right pick over Justin Jefferson
The rookie played Sunday after some questions about his health, and he lived up to everything we heard when the Eagles took him at No. 21 in April. College, pros, it doesn't matter: the dude is fast, and he gets separation down the field with both his speed and his route-running talent.
Reagor's first career catch was awesome, a real blow-by moment against Ronald Darby (!):
Reagor got open again later in the first half for what should've been a touchdown at the end of the first half, but Wentz missed him. Certainly not the rookie's fault, and he showed on Sunday that the big-play ability should be extremely useful for years to come.
Jefferson didn't have a single first-half target, and ended the Vikings' Week 1 loss with 2 catches for 26 yards on three targets.
But, of course, it's just one game each from a pair of guys who will likely be in the league for years to come, so their stories will change plenty in the future.
Eagles fans second-guessed Howie Roseman's decision to select Reagor instead of Jefferson. Sunday was a good start towards proving him right. We'll see if it keeps up.