Congratulations to the Eagles for escaping London with a win – angst-inducing as it was to watch. Now, they head into the bye week at 4-4, with three of their next four games at home against division opponents.
With their playoff hopes alive, it’s the perfect time for the Birds to rest up and regroup through the annual off week. No doubt, Coach Doug Pederson will reward his banged-up troops with some vacation days to see their families or travel.
They certainly deserve that. But rather than book flights to Disney, some Eagles might be better served to do the following:
– Jason Peters should invest in a hyperbaric oxygen tent, that nifty device Terrell Owens once used to speed up healing. Sunday’s game marked at least the fourth this season Peters left with an injury, and the 36-year-old tackle’s body now resembles that poor patient from the kids’ game “Operation.”
If there’s room to spare in the tent, Peters should invite Halapoulivaati Vaitai over for two weeks of intense tutoring. Big V will start at right tackle following Lane Johnson’s knee injury Sunday. He must play well for the Eagles (specifically Carson Wentz) to survive, and no one can offer better lessons than an old master like Peters.
– Carson Wentz should spend his time off counting – just counting. Look, Kid Carson was terrific against Jacksonville, with a QB rating of 119.6. But he fumbled for the 30th time in 35 career games.
Too many of Wentz’s fumbles come from ignoring what coaches call the “internal clock” – innately knowing when the pressure is about to arrive. I love his guts for trying to extend every play, but the risk-vs.-reward odds too often are stacked against him. A great player with few flaws just needs to get that aspect of his timing down.
– I’d love defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to lock himself in the film room – actually, he almost certainly will – to look at the benefit he derived blitzing more frequently on Sunday. While you’re at it, Jim, take a closer look at your secondary.
CB Rasul Douglas, who’d been rotting on the bench all season, finally got his chance to step in when Jalen Mills got hurt. I won’t argue Douglas is the second coming of Lito Sheppard, but he’s a far better option than Dexter McDougle, who played 91 percent of the snaps Sunday.
– Of course, GM Howie Roseman’s work comes early, as the trade deadline hits at 4 p.m. Tuesday. There are many areas where this .500 team needs help – secondary, defensive tackle, running back. But the best target might be a speedy wide receiver.
Without a burner, the Eagles offense must grind its way downfield to score. There’s nothing wrong with those 14-play, 75-yard drives – they’re just not easy to pull off.
Meanwhile, former Eagle Desean Jackson has requested a trade out of Tampa Bay. While he left here on bad terms back in 2014, that can all be blamed on Chip Kelly. Even at age 31, Jackson remains a burner, evidenced by his 22.8 yards per catch this season.
Jackson makes $11 million this year and has an unguaranteed $10 million deal next year. He’s easily tradable.
And he’d sure help the offense. Even during a bye week, the Eagles could score a win by bringing him back.