Carson Wentz was let down on several fronts
Normally it's not a bad thing to be compared to Andrew Luck. But in this case, it is.
As CSN Philly points out, Wentz is second all time in pass attempts by a quarterback in his first 18 games (692), just one shy of Luck. It's one thing to empower a young, promising quarterback and another thing entirely to put him in harm's way by constantly dropping him back. As has been the case with Luck in Indianapolis, the Eagles haven't had a steady run game to lean on in Wentz's brief career, so they've gone pass-heavy. Wentz had 46 pass attempts on Sunday and is averaging 38 attempts per game in the pros. The run game is a weak spot, no doubt, but Wentz's development should be this organization's No. 1 priority. Darren Sproles averaged 4.8 yards per carry vs. Kansas City, so it's not like the ground game was totally stagnant. Even if it were, coach Doug Pederson has to do better by Wentz and pound the rock more.
Despite the imbalance against the Chiefs (Pederson dialed up only 13 run plays), Wentz was generally effective. He seemed at his best when he was able to execute quick, intermediate rhythm throws, particularly off play-action, and still needs work when it comes to the deep ball and effectively setting up screens. He and Alshon Jeffery had the chemistry working: The veteran receiver finished with seven catches for 92 yards and a score. The wide receiving corps has been better overall but wasn't as sure-handed as it needed to be at Arrowhead Stadium. Torrey Smith let a pair of long Wentz throws go off his hands, including one in the corner of the end zone that should have been a touchdown.
Offensive line has some leaks to plug
While Pederson deserves scrutiny for some of his playcalling, poor execution had a part in putting Wentz and the offense in some bad spots. Take this sequence in the second quarter: The Chiefs sent three rushers against a five-man offensive front on a first-down pass, yet defensive end Chris Jones came free between second-year guard Isaac Seumalo and center Jason Kelce to register one of his three sacks on Wentz. On the next play, Justin Houston dipped underneath tackle Jason Peters to drop Sproles for a loss. Suddenly it's third-and-18 and Wentz is in a bind. (His third-down offering to a well-covered Smith ended up sailing out of bounds.)
The unit looked solid for extended stretches but had some letdowns. Seumalo appeared to be responsible for a good portion of those. The Eagles awarded Seumalo the job at the start of training camp and traded his main competition, veteran Allen Barbre, to Denver. Barbre is now starting at left guard for the Broncos. Pederson said on Monday he was not considering any changes to the offensive line, but that'll be a spot to monitor as they search for consistency.
D-Line will keep them relevant
The Eagles went into the matchup against receiver Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs without cornerback Ronald Darby (dislocated ankle) and during the game lost cornerback Jaylen Watkins and safety Rodney McLeod to hamstring injuries. The defense still held its own, though, thanks in large part to a defensive line that appears to be the strength of this team. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham are the primary disrupters and got good support from Vinny Curry (four tackles, tackle for loss), Tim Jernigan (four tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack) and Chris Long (sack, TFL) against Kansas City. So long as this unit continues to play at a high level, the Eagles will be in just about every game.
Credit also goes to a patchwork secondary that includes rookie Rasul Douglas, who showed well in his first NFL action and helped keep Hill in check. A couple of the Eagles' four sacks were of the coverage variety.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is not known as a blitzer but has effectively brought the heat in the first two weeks. Linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks both got good licks on Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Kendricks is enjoying a resurgence. He had a sack, two tackles for loss and four solo tackles in limited work.