The Eagles Should Give Young Players Their Shot Now

Philadelphia Eagles fans held out hope that this team would find it’s way again. After falling to the Cincinnati Bengals last week, the Eagles are now 5-7 and close to the brink of extinction. Now is the time to see what the future holds in Philadelphia.

The Eagles officially stink. The permeation in the air is coming directly from Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play host to divisional rival, the Washington Redskins. Dumpster fires produce more interesting moments than the Eagles…which makes me question whether things could get worse.

There is already talk about Doug Pederson losing his job. There is also talk of Howie Roseman losing his job. I understand your frustration Eagles fans. I’m one as well and I’m not pleased with the product on the field. However, any idea of either of those men losing their job this offseason is certifiably nuts. Unfortunately so is thinking this team is in contention.

A win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coupled with a loss today to the Redskins would officially eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention. Trust me, I have been playing a lot with the playoff generators. While a win would be great for team morale, let’s not think this team has a snowball’s chance in Hades.

What is Ryan Mathews role on this team moving forward? Will he be a cap casualty this offseason? I love Darren Sproles and his contribution towards this team, but this team should see extended looks at Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood. With the exception of one game, Sproles has led the Eagles running backs in snaps.

I don’t know if you have heard, this upcoming draft might have a decent running back or two. The team should probably find out how big of a priority the position is.

The Eagles wide receiver corps might be the top participation trophy recipient at the NFL awards show. Dorial Green-Beckham has been inconsistent at best. Jordan Matthews has been productive, but not elite. Losing Josh Huff has shattered the already-thin depth at receiver.

Enter the unsung hero from the preseason.

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Paul Turner made his regular season debut a week late. At least in the box score. While Turner played 23 snaps (39.0%) his first game, he played 41 (51.3%) last week against the Bengals. Turner also led Eagles wide receivers with six receptions for 80 yards.

Matthews will reportedly have an increased presence on the outside. Slot receivers have found success at times against the Redskins this season. Can Turner emerge as the long lost number two receiver for this team? In the event Turner can hold onto the ball, his chances of sticking on this roster look good.

Someone that is signed to stick with this team until 2020 is Vinny Curry. So I suppose the question I should ask is: Why isn’t he playing more often? Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham are playing nearly 30% more snaps than Curry. While Graham appears to be developing, Barwin appears near the end of his tenure here. Whatever the reason is for Curry’s lack of playing time, Jim Schwartz needs to find ways to get him on the field more often.

Some of the “veteran leadership” on the defense is severely lacking. Malcolm Jenkins has not reacted well to covering slot receivers. He also doesn’t react well to Pederson’s press conferences. Perhaps if the team looked like it was giving 100% the fans and media wouldn’t call them out on it. Sure, Jenkins wasn’t the target of criticism from his coach, but his opinionated remarks to the media do more harm than good for the perception of cohesiveness inside the Novacare Complex.

The rest of the secondary hasn’t exactly been a model of success either. I can understand the development curve for Jalen Mills. I can’t understand how Leodis McKelvin is as bad as he is. McKelvin has given up the most plays of 30 yards or more this season. I’m sure DeSean Jackson is licking his chops. Having another young guy like Eric Rowe would come in handy. What can C.J. Smith or Aaron Grymes accomplish?

Thus far this season, Eagles fans have experienced immense highs and lows. The fog of starting the first three games undefeated clouded all of our judgment. This team was never as good as their record, and might still come up short. I bought into the hype, and hope, until the bitter end. As the tiny sliver of hope nears it’s conclusion, it’s time for Pederson and the Eagles to get a head start on the future. Giving the younger players more opportunities, particularly against divisional opponents, is the logical next step in this rebuild. After all, they can’t disappoint any more than the current starters.

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