Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles were outmatched on Sunday in New Orleans, falling to Drew Brees and the 9-1 Saints by a score of 48-7. The Eagles are now 4-6 with three straight divisional games ahead that will define the season. Head coach Doug Pederson will speak with the media at noon and we will carry it live. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft leading off with where the Eagles go from here.
1. Salvaging The Season
The Eagles' loss to the Saints presents Coach Pederson with a tremendous challenge. So, where does the team go from here?
Despite the Eagles' struggles, they are just two games out of first place in the NFC East with the next three games against the three divisional opponents before a season finale in Washington. And the division-leading Redskins just unfortunately lost their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro writes that there is no more wiggle room for the Eagles. If they want to make the most of what's left in this season, they have to win all of their divisional games starting with this Sunday against the Giants:
It won't be easy, that's for sure. The Eagles are a mess right now. And their next opponent, the New York Giants, have won two consecutive games and beleaguered quarterback Eli Manning completed 17 of 18 passes with two touchdowns in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. New York, no doubt smarting over that early-season loss to the Eagles at MetLife Stadium, has an array of offensive weapons that will put an Eagles defense that right now doesn't know who will start in the secondary in tough spots.
2. Pederson Committed To Turnaround
After what was arguably the worst loss of his coaching career, Pederson took the podium in New Orleans yesterday and tried to make sense of the Eagles' lopsided defeat. He was sure in the fact that the Eagles always continued to battle, especially through difficult circumstances brought upon by injuries. Pederson said what the Eagles can do now is just put the loss behind them and get ready for a must-win game against New York:
"We come to work Tuesday and we roll up our sleeves and go to work," Pederson said. "And I'm excited for these next few games that we have coming up.
"Listen, we can only control what we can control," he continued. "We're going to come to work on Tuesday, we're going to prepare, we have the Giants coming to town on Sunday, and we're excited for that opportunity."
3. Injured Birds
A story of the loss was the mountain of even more injuries the Eagles had to deal with. Center Jason Kelce went out with an elbow injury early, cornerback Sidney Jones left with a hamstring injury, cornerback Rasul Douglas had a knee injury in the fourth quarter, long snapper Rick Lovato was evaluated for a head injury, and linebacker Jordan Hicks suffered a calf injury. Dave Spadaro broke down how each injury affected the game leading off with a crippling blow to an secondary:
Rookie safety Avonte Maddox, one of the bright spots in this struggling season, suffered a knee injury in the first quarter as he leaped for a Drew Brees pass and appeared to come down on teammate Sidney Jones' shoe in the back of the end zone. Maddox immediately grabbed his right knee and rolled around in agony. The Eagles' athletic training staff attended to Maddox, who limped off the field and underwent more attention in the blue medical tent on the sideline. Maddox did not return and was replaced by Corey Graham and Tre Sullivan at safety and by Cre'Von LeBlanc at slot cornerback when the Eagles used nickel personnel against Brees and the potent New Orleans passing game.
4. Wentz Faces Unfamiliar Struggles
In the losses this season, the silver lining has usually been the excellent play of quarterback Carson Wentz. Despite being an MVP candidate last season, Wentz's numbers suggested that this year, coming off an ACL and MCL tear, he's played even better. But Vaughn Johnson writes that that was not the case Sunday. Wentz tied his career high with three interceptions – his first multi-interception game since his rookie year in 2016 – and had a career-low 31.9 passer rating. When speaking to the media after "one of the worst losses I've ever been a part of," Wentz summed up his disappointment, including a moment of visible anger after his first pick:
"I was just mad at myself because I just didn't see the coverage right and I knew the type of ballgame we were in, and the emphasis we put on starting fast, and we didn't do that, and I obviously didn't help the cause either, so I was frustrated," Wentz said.
5. Adams Provides A Spark
On a day with few highlights, rookie running back Josh Adams provided the only bright spot. The undrafted, hometown kid out of Notre Dame rushed for 53 yards on 19 carries and scored his first career touchdown. Alex Smith writes that Adams' 28-yard rush, which brought the Eagles within 10 points at the time, gave the Eagles something to cheer about:
"(I was) just staying focused and staying ready, trying to get back out there and continue to push forward and get the ball into the end zone," Adams said. "I don't think anybody wavered for a second. We just have to be better."