We tend to, as a fan base, boil things down to did Kirk win or lose the game? Are you a Kirk hater or a lover? Some people will blame the coaches, the GM, the QB, endlessly depending on their long-held points of views on each. As usual, Monday’s loss wasn’t on anyone or any group 100%. So, who’s to blame Monday?
The defense came out in a zone heavy scheme. It was clear Ed was worried about Hurts’ running ability. There was a spy on several occasions on Hurts. The scheme wasn’t working. The Eagles were ready for it, and they were getting receivers open all night. Many of the completions from the Eagles came with no defender within 3 yards of the receivers. Eric Kendricks was a sitting duck in the middle of the field covering no one and getting no pressure. The scheme wasn’t working, and Donatell stuck with it. It was a complete disaster from the defensive standpoint in the 1st half.
Justin is usually top notch, player of the game, best in the league type player. Monday he was getting blanketed by Darius Slay and he didn’t handle it well. On Kirk’s first interception JJ just let Slay get in front of him. He then made no effort to tackle Slay at all. He’s faster and could’ve easily caught him from behind. Just a poor effort overall and his body language was poor for most of the game. Showed he wasn’t ready for the big-time matchup against the Pro Bowl vet.
Cam looked lost on the backend of the defense. Several plays he tried to jump routes and didn’t cover his assignments. The 53-yard TD pass to Quez Watkins to make it 14-0 was on him. He jumped up to cover the intermediate route and let Quez go free. He’s new to the starting role and there are going to be some growing pains.
Irv Smith Jr.
There was a game changing play that should’ve been made. Irv dropped it and the lead for the Eagles stayed at 14. It was a big play, and he was open. He had one job to do. It wasn’t just the one play though. There were several 3rd downs early in the game where Kirk looked Irv’s way. He had a one-on-one matchup and all he has to do is use his size to muscle the defender off for the short gain and 1st down. Irv hasn’t learned how to do that in the NFL, and he hasn’t developed. His injuries the first few years of his career might have stunted his growth, but it is time for him to learn to play the position. He’s a pass catching TE that isn’t showing much in the passing game.
Kirk still has some blame in this. Kirk played well in the first half and if Irv catches that pass, he kept the game within reach. A few of those third down plays early on and maybe the Eagles don’t even get the large lead. After half, Kirk marched the team down the field for what could’ve been a TD drive, but JJ ran a poor route. The following drive and the rest of the game it was all downhill from Kirk. Once he starts to go downhill, he doesn’t bounce back well. At the end of the 3rd quarter/beginning of the 4th he was just lobbing the ball up towards Slay. It made no sense and he had clearly given up. 2nd half was Interception (not Kirk’s fault), Interception (Kirk’s fault), punt, (interception (Kirk’s fault), end of game. There were 0 points scored in the 2nd half by either team. That game was still winnable, but when JJ didn’t run a crisp route and it cost the team points, Kirk was unable to lead the team back. He didn’t dig the hole the team was in, but he also didn’t help get them out of it.
Slay gave his first INT ball to James Harden— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 20, 2022
He says he will give his second INT ball to his son because Justin Jefferson is his favorite receiver
Who contributed more to Monday’s loss?
Irv Smith Jr