Extra Points: Sometimes The Truth Hurts
The Eagles should be thankful there were no fans at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday.
It spared them the embarrassment of being booed at their own stadium, which no doubt would have happened during their pitiful, 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in their home opener.
Their second straight desultory performance dropped them to 0-2 for the first time since 2015. They wound up 7-9 that year and missed the playoffs, prompting owner Jeffrey Lurie to unplug the sleep monitors and fire coach Chip Kelly.
Regardless of what happens the rest of this season, Doug Pederson should not meet the same fate. He's earned the right to have a down year after delivering a Super Bowl in 2017 and making the playoffs three straight years with an injury-riddled roster.
Despite the lousy start, that postseason streak could continue. No one in the NFC East is going to run away with the division. The division winner could finish 8-8 or perhaps even 7-9.
The Eagles cannot afford to fall too far behind, however. If their troubles continue, a major shakeup would be in order.
That would mean benching Carson Wentz and turning the offense over to rookie Jalen Hurts.
Wentz is off to an awful start. He threw two more interceptions against the Rams, including a momentum-killing pick into the end zone that thwarted a comeback. He now has four interceptions this season after throwing seven in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, respectively.
Whether it's late-night feedings or a lack of chemistry with his receivers, something is clearly wrong. His timing and accuracy were clearly off on Sunday. Passes fluttered behind and sailed over potential receivers. And it wasn't like he was pressured much. The Eagles' offensive line did not allow a sack after giving up eight against Washington in the opener.
Maybe the league knew something when they didn't vote him as one of the top 100 players in the NFL during the offseason.
He was so bad even the cardboard cutouts looked disgruntled. If I didn't know better, I could have sworn I saw a frown on Mike Trout's likeness.
I can only imagine what Gene Allen, Ron Jordan, Tommy O'Hara, Marty Small and other longtime Eagles fans were shouting at their TVs.
I don't have to imagine what Bob Matthews was feeling. A few hours after the game, I headed over to his DryDock Restaurant and Ice Cream parlor in Cape May for my weekly Flurry - a blend of chocolate custard and crushed Reese cups - when I spotted him taking out the trash.
When I saw him a week ago, after the loss to Washington, he cheerfully yelled "Go Eagles" to me. Sunday's defeat produced an angry wave, then he yelled, "It's time to play Hurts."
I'm sure he's not alone.
Hurts, the Eagles' second-round draft pick from Oklahoma University, has passed Nate Sudfeld on the depth chart and is now the No. 2 quarterback. He made his NFL debut against the Rams, albeit as a decoy for three plays in the first half.
Wentz's $128 million contract guarantees he'll get a little leeway to break out of his slump. But unless the Eagles can find away to claw toward .500 by the midway point of the season - and that won't be easy with tough games against San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Baltimore looming after next week's game against Cincinnati - the fans will be clamoring for Hurts.
And it will be loud and clear, even if there's no one in the stadium.