Well, at least it wasn’t a classic Donk salute as in “pffttttttttt!”…Pro Football Talk is a dinosaur site that was bailed out by NBC Sports… I understand that they have the financial clout to crush me into small reptilian remnants of desert meat to be spread as bait for coyotes in range of lookout Remington rifles on a junkyard hunting holiday in Texas…but I think they just gave the Eagles the shaft. They said we are “meh”…
They did it to the Ravens, too… you know, the “other” team I cover based upon marital fidelity to my wife’s genetic fan base, but of course I don’t blow a gasket when the Ravens falter as much as I do when the Eagles get jobbed… I suffer real emotional pain when the Eagles underachieve.
The Eagles are like a skin tag on my body…Even when they are losing in heartbreaking fashion you don’t want to cut them off completely.
There’s just too much history. No longer ashamed of distorting my true age, I will put it out there—I have been rooting for the Eagles since 1958. That’s when my family moved me from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. I was just a snot-nosed kid from the Iron City, but I said goodbye to Bobby Layne and the Steelers and hello to Norm Van Brocklin and Sonny Jurgensen and Pete Retzlaff and Bobby Walston and Tommy McDonald and Chuck Bednarik. It didn’t matter that the Eagles went 2-9-1 that year— even an 8-year-old kid could feel the trend turning upward for that group of guys. Plus, their uniforms were so much cooler than the Steelers’…!
Pro Football Talk could care less about the distant past or anomalies in current trends. They are now a subset of NBC Sports and just care about what’s happening now in terms of what acquisitions were made in the offseason and the game results from the second half of just last year.
Let me try to say that again—PFT is making its power rankings of NFL teams based more upon what you did last year than upon what you are likely to do this year. They are predicting the future based upon the past.
So PFT ranks the Eagles at 18th overall going into the 2017 regular season. That’s not a reach in any sense—it more or less says that we’re about the same team (7-9) we were in 2016.
I would not be upset by that ranking except for the fact that PFT ranked the Baltimore Ravens two steps above us at #16— something I find troubling in terms of PFT’s judgement because I am intimately aware of the Ravens’ current problems— i.e., uncertain of finding a starting center and a competent right tackle… and a healthy tight end. Last time I checked, the Eagles don’t have those particular problems— so I have to question either the PFT balance beam or the quality of the Eagles’ status quo.
Let’s look at the PFT reasoning within excerpts from the writer covering the Eagles for PFT, Josh Alper:
“As long as everyone is healthy, the offensive line should provide strong support for Wentz and what the Eagles hope will be a better run game. They also have a deep defensive line despite the loss of defensive tackle Bennie Logan as the additions of Chris Long, Timmy Jernigan and first-round pick Derek Barnett ensure the cupboard will be well stocked.”
“Tight end Zach Ertz, linebacker Jordan Hicks and safety Malcolm Jenkins are other players to like in Philly, but Wentz’ development figures to be the lead storyline for the Eagles one way or another.”
Okay, so far, fair enough…
“Biggest positive change: The Eagles were lacking at wide receiver last season and they addressed the issue by signing a pair of veteran free agents. Alshon Jeffery came on a one-year deal as he tries to get past recent injury woes and return to where he was with the Bears a couple of years ago. Torrey Smith’s time with the 49ers was dismal, but he still has the ability to stretch the field and improves Wentz’s options over the corps he was working with last year.”
All right, I’m with PFT so far…
“Biggest negative change: No one in Philadelphia is likely to lose too much sleep lamenting the departures of cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin, so it may not be a negative change so much as the lack of an immediate positive one at cornerback. The Eagles signed Patrick Robinson and drafted Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones, but Jones may be a redshirt after a pre-draft Achilles tear and it would be a lot to ask Douglas for high achievement in his rookie season.”
Gee, that’s what you base your judgement of the Eagles secondary upon? There are so many more pieces involved than the future replacements for what is perceived as deficient cornerbacking of the past. This is classic under-appreciation of roster depth. Plus, the Eagles front office is not done acquiring players off the soon-to-be-revised waiver wire. The point is—you don’t write off a defense because of questionable secondary depth in July.
PFT tries to make something positive about an overall 18th team ranking for the Birds:
“Coaching thermometer: There’s going to be an expectation of improvement in Philly after going 7-9 with a rookie quarterback in Pederson’s first year, but there will be growing pains in Year Two for Wentz as well and that may not lead to a leap in the standings that makes the Eagles a playoff contender. Barring total catastrophe, that shouldn’t be an ominous outcome for Pederson given how much they’ve overhauled the team since Chip Kelly’s departure.”
“How they could prove us wrong: We’re around the midpoint of the power rankings, which means the Eagles could prove us wrong with a move in either direction. A shift in the positive direction would likely mean the new faces on offense aid in a jump for Wentz in his second season, while more injury trouble for Jeffery and a lack of growth in the secondary would be reasons why the Eagles could fare worse than anticipated. In a strong division, there’s also the chance that the Eagles could be better overall without making much headway in the standings.”
That is about as non-committed of a “MEH” review as you could ever imagine… It’s a shallow judgement of the preseason Eagles at best.
PFT/NBC Sports is stretching out these “power rankings” as long as they can to fill content. Right now, as of this writing, there are still the Top 10 Teams to be revealed. But here is where PFT put the Eagles in their current overall power rankings:
16. Baltimore Ravens.
17. Carolina Panthers.
19. New Orleans Saints.
20. Minnesota Vikings.
21. Cincinnati Bengals.
22. Arizona Cardinals.
23. Buffalo Bills.
24. Los Angeles Chargers.
26. Indianapolis Colts.
27. Los Angeles Rams.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars.
29. San Francisco 49ers.
30. Chicago Bears.
31. Cleveland Browns.
32. New York Jets.
I can’t wait to see the power ranking of the Eagles rise on PFT’s list come mid-season like that thing you hit with a sledgehammer at the county fair. It goes ding-ding-ding!