Admit it Eagles fans, you’re scared or at least a little nervous.
After 200 days of basking in the afterglow of that parade up Broad Street, you tuned in this preseason expecting to see brilliance reflected off those Super Bowl rings.
Must be something wrong with the TV. The team on the field was dressed in Eagles uniforms, but that’s where the resemblance ended.
In three slop fests, the good guys in green have been outscored 73-34. To make it worse, not one player projected as an offensive starter scored a TD. Nearly every potential regular will sit out Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets, meaning you’ll be left with that foul taste in your mouth until the Sept. 6 opener against Atlanta.
Nick Foles, last winter’s hero, finished exhibition play with no TDs, two interceptions and two lost fumbles while getting sacked six times. The wide receivers that played in the Super Bowl combined for zero preseason catches. The offensive line – well, who are these imposters?
You weren’t alone in scratching your head. The Vegas odds makers apparently stumbled on those practice games as well. They’ve dropped the Eagles’ chances of winning Super Bowl LIII from 8/1 to 10/1 – pushing them behind the Rams and Vikings in the NFC.
I’m here to tell you to ignore all that. The NFL preseason is a sham of a mockery and fraud, designed to make money for the owners, while allowing coaches to figure out the last five guys on their bench. It means zilch for regulars.
None of those desultory results matter, unless you’re fretting over whether Wendell Smallwood or Josh Adams winds up the fourth running back. Personally, I’m pulling for Adams.
Yes, Foles looked awful. And, yes, he may have to start the opener if Carson Wentz isn’t ready (my hunch: Wentz plays).
But notice before you panic that Doug Pederson didn’t dial up any of the run-pass option plays that Foles excels at. There were no game plans, no diversion, and no new stuff. Coach Doug’s playbook could have been written on a cocktail napkin.
Still taking this preseason seriously? If so, just remind yourself: Sam Bradford went 10-for-10 against the Packers in 2015 and we deliriously projected Chip Kelly’s team into the Super Bowl. How did that work out?
Veterans who haven’t played in this summer’s games include Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and, of course, Wentz. Most are projected to be ready for the opener.
If they’re not – specifically if Halapoulivaati Vaitai is protecting the QB’s blind side – you may break into the sweats.
But if most regulars are back, the only concern is whether they can quickly mesh into last year’s 13-3 juggernaut. To be candid, I expect it may take a game or two, and won’t be shocked if the raising of the championship banner at the home opener is marred by a loss to the Falcons.
But after that? The consensus this spring was that the Eagles have more talent headed into 2018 than they did finishing 2017. I’m not abandoning that opinion because I watched Matt Jones and Bryce Treggs stumble around for the last three weeks.
I’m trusting it’s all going to be okay. Super Bowls tend to instill that kind of faith.