Mathematics: Two Wins Are Two Wins, and One Loss Is One Loss

Mathematics: Two Wins Are Two Wins, and One Loss Is One Loss

The Eagles clearly have issues. Over the next seven days, anybody will be happy to tell you exactly what they are. I'm sure plenty of you are about to educate me as to exactly what they are as well.

To reiterate, everybody can see there are legitimate problems here. Michael Vick, Andy Reid... 12 turnovers through three games says it all, so as soon as there is a fresh take on the matter, we will be happy to share it. This is of course in stark contrast with what I expect to read and hear the day after -- a whole lot of finger pointing in conjunction with calls to oust the quarterback and/or head coach.

In other words, the usual.

Why not join the mob? You might be surprised to learn they don't serve Kool-Aid at the office, midnight green or otherwise, although the answer is even simpler than whipping up a batch.

The Eagles' record is 2-1. That's it. That's pretty much all I have to say in response to the 27-6 beatdown in Arizona. It was ugly, and it exposed the team's flaws in a way their previous opponents could not. Yet at the end of the day, Philadelphia still owned more wins than they did losses after three games.

Now there are two very important parts to that last sentence. There's the "more wins than losses," and there's the "after three games."

For starters, let somebody else qualify the wins. Sure, margin of victory and quality of opponent tells us something about how those contests were won. What it does not do is describe the character of the victory as a matter of fact. Granted both outcomes further proved not all is well with the Birds, but they had to earn those marks in the W column -- and once it's December, nobody is going to remember or care how they got them.

Now there are 13 games left, so luck can change. Heck, I guarantee it will if the Eagles keep giving the ball away at a rate of four per game. But more to the point, as bad Sunday's loss to the Cardinals was, it was just one tilt out of 16. Every team stumbles along the way, which is why there are only three unbeatens remaining in the entire NFL this year. There is absolutely no reason for anybody to lose their shit over a single loss, in September no less.

And how's about a little respect for the opponent? One of those three unbeatens are the Cardinals, who have won 10 of their last 12 going back to November.

Some folks were acting like this was that game on the schedule where the Eagles should skate, but instead played down to their competition. Arizona is good. That building was loud. The Birds had injuries. Come back and tell me how lousy the Cardinals are in January, when they are busy making noise in the playoffs.

Never mind this is what the NFL does. The parity in this league makes teams look like world beaters one week, jerks the next. These days almost every game needs to be viewed as a standalone.

If the Eagles come out flat and mistake-prone against the Giants this coming Sunday night, that would be cause for serious concern. Not only is it a division opponent, a battle Reid routinely has his troops ready to fight, but another loss would drop the club to .500 -- not the worst place in the world, but given their struggles, perhaps more indicative of something incurable.

Up until they ran into the Cardinals, the Eagles were finding ways to pull through. It hasn't always been fun to watch, but they were 2-0. Then you consider the circumstances surrounding their first loss: hitting the road on the heels of a huge victory over a Super Bowl contender to clash with an upstart squad that's craving respect, your biggest rival looming in prime time no less.

As we mentioned pregame, it had letdown written all over it.

Then you look at the standings, and this team that seemingly everybody agrees is as talented as almost any other in the league is sitting at 2-1 after three weeks, despite their obvious warts.

The Eagles may not look that great, but let me check something real quick. Yep, try saying it out loud. 2-1 passes the ear test. I think they're still okay for the moment.

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

There hasn't been much Eagles talk recently. The last few weeks have been pretty dead. 

That's about to change soon enough. Next week, the football world will take over Indianapolis for the combine and just after that, free agency will begin on March 9. After that, the draft isn't too far away. 

So let's jump into your mailbag questions: 

Yeah, I think there's a real chance Bennie Logan isn't an Eagle next year. Howie Roseman has been pretty consistent in saying he wants Logan to return, but it's fair to wonder about the price. Logan has now proven that he can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme, so there will be plenty of teams interested. 

If the Eagles lose Logan, their defense will take a big hit. There's not really a way around that. He's a good player and has been an important part of the line. But with a ton of money devoted to the defensive line over the next few years -- even assuming Connor Barwin isn't back -- will the Eagles pay another? I'm not so sure. 

And I agree that Logan was really good against the run last year. But I think his real value is in being great against the run while also being able to generate some pass rush. I think Beau Allen can be a decent run-stuffer, but he's clearly not the same player as Logan. 

I can't give a real answer here. Sorry. While I don't wholeheartedly agree with the best player available notion, the Eagles also can't prioritize one need over the other in this scenario. There will be either 13 or 14 picks before the Eagles are on the board. 

Really, it's going to depend on which players are left. Are Mike Williams and Corey Davis on the board? How about the top corners? There's a lot of them. If the player the Eagles really want at one of those positions is off the board, they could look elsewhere. And it's not automatic they'll take a receiver or a cornerback. What if they opt for an edge rusher? 

But getting back to corner vs. receiver, there are a couple thoughts: 

1. They'll pick a corner because receivers are far from a sure thing. Roseman made it a point to talk about how the 2014 draft changed expectations for rookie receivers. And the Eagles haven't had much luck recently drafting receivers in the first round. And Roseman has also said that while it might make sense to grab a first-round corner in the second round because of depth, there's often a run at positions where a draft is strong. It would be better to just get the best one. 

2. On the flip side of that, maybe they'll pick a receiver with the idea that at least one really good corner will be on the board in the second round. That would maximize value, especially if they get the receiver they want in the first round. 

That's a long way to say: I don't think it'll be about position as much as it will be about the specific player at 14 or 15. 

This is a tough one. I really think the margin separating these two is so close that the combine could flip them for me. But for now, I'm going with Mike Williams. 

Clemson listed him at 6-3, 225 and I think he's going to come close to that at the combine. And he might not have Corey Davis' speed or quick twitch, but he makes up for it. I really want to see how he performs at the combine; I expect it to confirm my belief that he's the top receiver in the draft. Davis will reportedly not run at the combine because of an ankle injury. 

It's possible a team like the Eagles could fall in love with Davis' deep threat ability. That's clearly what they value right now. But ultimately, I think Williams is the top guy. 

I don't think Ryan Mathews will be back next season. He's 29, coming off a serious neck injury and is way too expensive. The Eagles can save $4 million by cutting him. I expect that to happen and for the Eagles to try to find some younger, healthier talent. 

Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy! Let's get the band back together! 

I understand why the Maclin questions are rolling in. An ESPN column recently suggested that the Chiefs could cut the former Eagle. Maclin is familiar with the Eagles' offense and Doug Pederson, which means the move would make some sense. 

But from a football standpoint, Jackson would give the Eagles what they need more than Maclin. Over the last couple years, Maclin has really been utilized in the slot, which happens to be where the Eagles' only decent receiver plays. Sure, Pederson will move around his receivers, but there are probably better fits out there for the Eagles than Maclin. If he does become a free agent, though, it's at least worth inquiring. 

Former Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans joins 49ers coaching staff

Former Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans joins 49ers coaching staff

About a year ago, while in Indianapolis for the combine, the Eagles cut veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans. 

Ryans has finally found his next job ... as a coach. 

The 32-year-old former linebacker has been named a defensive quality control coach on Kyle Shanahan's staff in San Francisco. Shanahan was on the Texans' staff for the first four years of Ryans' pro career. Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was also on that Houston staff. 

After the Eagles cut him last Feb. 24, Ryans was out of the league in 2016 after 10 NFL seasons. He played the first six years of his career in Houston, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler, before joining the Eagles through a trade in 2012. 

While the Eagles cut Ryans after the 2015 season to save $3.5 million in cap space, they made a point to go out of their way to praise him on his way out. He was very well-thought of in the locker room and throughout the building. 

While Ryans played one season under Andy Reid, he quickly became a favorite of Chip Kelly, who frequently called Ryans the "Mufasa" of the Eagles' defense. 

Kelly didn't forget about Ryans when he went to San Francisco to coach the 49ers for the 2016 season. In fact, in Kelly's questionnaire in the NFL's 2016 information guide, Kelly listed Ryans as a player who'd make a great head coach.