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Yes, 2020 is finally over, and I know we are all looking for some positivity in the New Year. That said, no better time than the present to look back on all that unfolded during the season. We all had our predictions, hot takes, and hunches before the Eagles began their 2020 campaign, and here are a few that some of us got wrong. FYI...I'm not discussing Carson here, that horse has been beaten enough.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside Becoming a Solid Starter
There are always training camp superstars, and man, did JJAW take off during camp. Reports continued to emerge that JJ had impressed this summer, and some of us held our breaths that maybe, just maybe, he could be a contributor on offense. Wow...were the Arcega-Whiteside hopefuls wrong. We have seen draft busts over the years, Marcus Smith, Danny Watkins, etc., but I cannot remember a player who was completely removed from the roster as quickly as JJAW was. I would be surprised if he is on a roster next season, maybe he falls to a practice squad. If this pick isn't enough to send Howie packing, I don't know what is.
DeSean Jackson Would Be Reborn
The resigning of D-Jax was received with mixed reactions. His health and age were an issue, and last year proved to be an extremely disappointing season. Regardless, he started the year healthy, and some thought this could finally be the deep threat Carson desperately needed. Unfortunately, it was the same old song and dance from DeSean, who, once again, spent a majority of his time on the sideline. Roseman has had some questionable signings, but one could argue that this is the worst in his post-Chip era. To think what we could have done with the money wasted on DeSean!
None of the Linebackers Would Make a Difference
I, like many, was very disgruntled with the lack of attention Howie put on our linebacking group. Our secondary was full of question marks before the season began, and our defensive line, although filled with playmakers, could not be counted on to dominate each game. I was absolutely convinced that these guys would fall flat, and, even though I'm still far from impressed, Alex Singleton has been a small bright spot this season. The former Calgary Stampeder has become the clear leader of the LB group, as he has topped 100 tackles this season. The last time an Eagles linebacker had over 100 tackles was Nigel Bradham in 2016, per pro-football reference. It's a shame Alex is already 27 years old, because his career just seems to be taking off.
Miles Sanders Would Be Used Correctly
Miles certainly turned some heads last season, as he made himself a household name with over 800 yards on the ground, and over 500 yards receiving. The pass-catching back has become a must-have in the NFL, as players like Kamara and CMC have shown how valuable a dual-threat running back can be. Per ESPN, the second-year runner is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and is just under 900 yards on the ground. Even with impressive numbers like that, I feel like I'm constantly wanting more out of Miles. This, of course, is no fault of his own. Doug's misuse of Sanders has been one of the more disturbing trends of his 2020 campaign, and the logic behind some of the play calls this year has been mind-numbing. A perfect example is the first drive from the Packers game. Start the opening drive with a 1st and five, and Doug throws it three times in a row.....against a defense that is known to be soft against the run. In what world do you decide that throwing the ball is the better option? Run the ball! Impose your will, keep Rodgers off the field, and allow Miles to control the game. I don't know what 2021 holds, but I pray that it is more Sanders.
These are just a few of my pre-season predictions that fell flat, and I know many had hopes of the Eagles winning the Division, Carson playing like an MVP, etc. Sometimes things just don't go the way you'd hope, but hopefully all of this regression will light a fire under Mr. Lurie. We were promised consistent success, and instead we have been given 3 years of mediocre/bad football. I'm excited for what 2021 will bring, but more excited to start over and get back to winning football.
Happy New Years everyone, and, as always, Go Birds
- Mike Barrera