The Eagles are all but out of playoff contention this year. And the body language among many Eagles shows it.
The team appeared to give maximum effort in its 27-22 setback to the Redskins Sunday — in stark contrast to a blowout loss in Cincinnati where several players looked to have given up.
One player, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, is extremely distraught. The highly paid defender was seen practicing long-snapping on the sidelines after the Eagles lost both Jon Dorembos and Brent Celek to injuries. He didn’t end up snapping in the game, but the simple fact that the Eagles decided they barely needed him on defense and that he had time to work on a new skill, tells everything you need to know.
“I just do what I’m told, bro,” Kendricks told members of the media Sunday. “The only time I play is when they’re in 12 personnel, 21 personnel, 22, big personnel. But this is the NFL and this is a passing league. They like to go 11 personnel.”
Kendricks was inked to a four-year extension worth $29 million, and according to football outsiders he has played in just 30 percent of the Eagles’ snaps this season.
One player who has had 100 percent of snaps is rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who has thrown the fifth most passes in the NFL this season. Would the Eagles be wise to slow down his usage?
“You go in with the idea that we’re going to run it 30 to 35 times a game,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “That’s what you want to do. But you have to make the calls at the time that you think are necessary to win the game.
“There’s no doubt that Carson is seeing a lot. He’s seeing a lot. He’s seeing every kind of pressure, every kind of coverage. He’s figuring out what throws he can make, what throws he can’t make, how he can improve here. Those are all good things that I think are going to help him in the long run.”
Both Reich and head coach Doug Pederson are of the midset that the more reps the better for the young signal-caller’s development early in his career. With three games left, the Eagles may try and run it a bit more, bit Wentz should eclipse the 600 attempt threshold. Here’s hoping he doesn’t take too many unnecessary hits along the way.
“He’s done a great job,” Reich said.”I think the line’s done a good job. You’re going to take hits if you throw it 40, 50 times in the game. … It’s one of the hazards of playing the position, playing in a game where you get behind a little bit and have to play to win, because that’s what we’re doing each week.”