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The Sports Daily > Eagles Eye Blog
Regression can be helpful in developing a winner in Philly…

A wise man named Brizer once stated, in effect, sometimes you have to take a step backwards now in order to move forward tomorrow…and of course, then coach Pederson stole his post and used it at Monday’s presser!

I am not going to pile on any Eagles player in particular here for the current trend of screw-ups on offense or defense which seem to happen at the worst possible times—that is, times when you can either seal a win or climb back into the game.

It’s a young team for the most part with a rookie QB at the helm. You expect mistakes from young players, in fact you’re probably glad to see them happen in non-fatal game circumstances early in a player’s career rather than later.

Problem is, we also want to win as many games as possible while the young players are still learning.

Look at Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot, for example—there’s a case of the young guys getting to make their mistakes (and they’ve made their share) but also being protected from scrutiny by the buffer of a 9-game winning streak.

Our young Eagles don’t have such a protective buffer. Particularly on offense, because we don’t have playmakers like Dez Bryant or Cole Beasley or a consistently strong offensive line like the Cowboys do to take the heat off our young guys, every mistake made exposes a costly weakness. Our mistakes are adding up to create L’s.

We’re 5-5 now— Bill Barnwell of ESPN says our playoff chances for 2016 have fallen to 28% probability after Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks:

“Philly may have fallen too far behind. The 9-1 Cowboys are likely out of reach, but the Eagles are now two games behind the Giants and 1.5 games behind Washington, both of whom hold the tiebreaker over Philadelphia. At just 3-5 in the NFC, the Eagles have to hope for a head-to-head wild-card quandary against the Vikings and Falcons. Philly beat both of those teams, but they’re also huge favorites to each win their respective divisions, leaving them immune to a challenge by Doug Pederson’s team.”

Which begs the question for we fans going into this season: Were you in it for the appreciation of a learning curve year, or did you hold out for the goal of winning big while on-the-job-training was in progress?

I expected 8-8 or 9-7 at best, so I guess I was a learning curve guy with an optimistic bias. But then a funny thing happened—the Baby Iggles won their first 3 games in a row. Carson Wentz was the Prince of New Quarterbacks.

I admit I started to get a little greedy.

Then the mistakes started to multiply like gremlins. Almost unnoticeable in a win, they became glaring reminders in losses that it takes more than a single summer to build a juggernaut offense and a completed quarterback product.

“I think the biggest thing with us,” Carson Wentz said, “is we have so many little mistakes every week, even when we win games. We have so many mistakes that keep hurting us. We’re leaving big plays out there. We’re leaving scores out there. It’s simple things. We’ve got to detail our work. It’s frustrating.”

It’s also frustrating to many fans that Carson Wentz seems to be regressing at QB after a hot start.

But like our homegrown analyst ~BROZ says, that may be more the result of Wentz’ having to learn to adapt to deterioration and breakdowns of the supporting cast around him— a learning process which will serve him and the team well in future seasons. Maybe, as ~BROZ suggests, you don’t want your young franchise QB to become too comfortable in his rookie season.

Yes, the kid is struggling of late. Wentz went 2-of-13 with two interceptions on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield Sunday, with his first completion coming at the 7:15 mark of the fourth quarter, per ESPN Stats & Information. He has not thrown a touchdown on such passes since Week 3. Wentz owns the worst Total QBR in the NFL since Week 5, throwing four touchdowns to six interceptions over the last five games after tossing seven touchdowns to one pick over the first five.

What must be recognized since Week 5, however, is that young guys are breaking down all around Wentz at the worst possible moments in a game. A lot of guys are breaking down on plays, too, not just the current scapegoat of the day.

I’m trusting in ~BROZ’ conviction that a rough patch with a little first-year regression is actually far better for developing a winning quarterback than a smooth highway.

 

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