The Philadelphia Eagles came into the 2020 season with fairly high expectations especially after trading for Darius Slay. But a vast number of injuries, their big contract quarterback struggling, and internal issues did them in as they finished 4-11-1. Carson Wentz was benched for second-round pick Jalen Hurts in the second half of their Week 13 game versus the Packers. Hurts provided the offense with a bit of a spark and he earned his first win in his first NFL start in Week 14 against the Saints.
The Eagles fired Doug Pederson following the season after he benched Hurts for Nate Sudfeld during Week 17. Owner Jeffrey Lurie was not sold on the plan Pederson had in mind for the future, as he supposedly wanted to move forward with Hurts rather than Wentz. Even with Hurts under center, the Eagles offensive line was way too susceptible to allowing pressure and is something that needs to vastly improve.
What Went Right
It is very tough to find anything that went right with this team. However, one positive to take from this season was the play of Travis Fulgham over a tremendous five-game stretch. After the Eagles elevated him from the practice squad, the Packer legend ( right Mason 😉 ) caught 29 passes for 435 yards and four touchdowns. Following that stretch, however, he weirdly vanished and started to not even get many snaps. Alshon Jeffery came back from injury and Fulgham was forced to cede playing time for whatever reason. Whoever the Eagles add in the draft and free agency to their receiving corp, Fulgham NEEDS to be a big part of their offense.
Tight end Dallas Goedert was another positive as he caught 46 passes for 524 yards (11.4 YDS/REC) and three touchdowns. Greg Ward caught 53 passes for 419 yards and six touchdowns, which was tied with Miles Sanders for the team lead in finding paydirt. Sanders rushed for 867 yards on 164 attempts, including an 82-yard touchdown run in Week 14. This was the fourth-longest touchdown run in Eagles’ history.
What Went Wrong
On the other side of things, there might not be enough words to describe everything that went wrong. For starters, their $128 million quarterback was sacked 50 times and threw 15 interceptions before getting benched. That had a lot to do with their offensive line being completely depleted. Seven of their linemen were either on IR or out at some point during the season. On the defensive side, they allowed an average of 237 passing yards and 126 rushing yards per game. Their worst passing defense showing came against the Cardinals in Week 15, allowing 423 air yards to Kyler Murray and the Arizona receivers. They allowed over 100 rush yards 12 times, including 191 to the Rams in Week 2.
The Eagles were down to practice squad receivers who had to try and keep the team afloat. DeSean Jackson and Jeffrey were out most of the season. First-round pick Jalen Reagor also missed a lot of time.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Brandon Graham
One of the constants to the Birds’ defense was Graham, as he started all 16 games. He finished the year with eight sacks, 46 tackles, 16 QB hits, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. In his eleventh season, he finally made his first Pro Bowl. He was a big leader for the Eagles throughout a rough season.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) October 23, 2020
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Jalen Hurts
There really isn’t much to choose from among the rookies. Reagor had a very underwhelming rookie season which further makes them passing on Justin Jefferson (NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner) a huge miss. While Hurts only played in five games (four starts) he played ok. His best game came against the Cardinals when he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 63 more yards and a touchdown. Hurts played with grit with a bad team around him and was far and above the best rookie on this team.
JALEN HURTS TO DESEAN JACKSON. 81-YARD TOUCHDOWN. #FlyEaglesFly
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Michael Jacquet III
Jacquet had the task of facing All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins in his first NFL start. While the numbers weren’t pretty (seven catches, 146 yards, TD), he still held his own. Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the league, so all in all it wasn’t a bad showing. He played every snap while recording seven tackles, a half-sack, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Jacquet is still very raw but has a lot to build off of.
Michael Jacquet caused the fumble with DeAndre Hopkins in the first quarter
Hopkins said after the game he usually wears gloves size 5 XL 👀but he was trying 4 XLs early in the game. That was the end of that
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 21, 2020
Biggest Surprise – Alex Singleton
Singleton was playing in the CFL last year. Hw was able to work his way onto the 53-man roster this season. He didn’t make the jump to a starter until Week 6 but then started the final 11 games. He led the Eagles in tackles with 120 while also having two sacks, five tackles for loss, and a pick-6. The Eagles always have trouble finding stability at linebacker and may have found something with Singleton.
— Word On The Birds (@WordOnTheBirds) October 5, 2020
Biggest Disappointment – Carson Wentz
While the full blame for the Eagles’ woes should not be placed on Wentz, the Eagles are frankly paying him too much to have him end up on the bench. He just didn’t look like himself all season, as the Eagles pretty much broke him. Wentz didn’t have much to work with, but there was still more expected of him despite that. He completely collapsed after still being solid in the last two years.
One Burning Question
Wentz or Hurts?
The big question that has to be answered is who will be the starting quarterback in 2021. Hurts didn’t put up godly numbers or anything either, so this is still Wentz’s job to lose. With Pederson gone, this question will wait to be answered until a new head coach is hired. But with Lurie seemingly being aboard going to Wentz, that is the likely route.
But a subquestion to this would be whether or not the quarterback who doesn’t get the call is moved. It seems as though Wentz and Hurts won’t be able to co-exist on the same team. Both of them could certainly be starters somewhere, whether that is Philly or not.