Pats, Eagles Playing Dangerous Game

Both the Patriots and the Eagles still have some unfinished business to attend to now that both the main body of free agency and the draft have run their course.

Yet neither team is showing any sense of urgency in attending to it.

The Patriots still have that hole in their souls at quarterback, left there when Tom Brady departed for Tampa Bay. On Friday, former Baltimore Raven and, most recently, Denver Bronco quarterback Joe Flacco signed with the AFC East rival Jets, who may have made the move at least in part to keep him away from New England.

So now it's either the oft-injured Cam Newton, or nothing — unless Bob Kraft does the unthinkable and signs Colin Kaepernick, whose girlfriend, Nessa Diab, blasted the NFL in general, and Commissioner Roger Goodell in particular, on twitter Friday for listing Kaepernick as "retired" on the league's web site. Her rant even targeted the players' union, for some mysterious reason.

Also on a busy Friday, former Patriots outside linebacker and current ESPN analyst Rob Ninkovich announced that Brian Hoyer, who has lost his last 10 consecutive starts and has not won as a starter since a 17-14 home victory over Detroit on October 2, 2016, will open the 2020 season as the team's starting quarterback, not 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham.

The Patriots finished 18th in the NFL in rushing offense a year ago — but with everyone sticking eight in the box to stop their running game so as to make Hoyer or Stidham beat them, it won't finish anywhere near that high this time around. So when fantasy draft day rolls around, don't even think of selecting Sony Michel.

It could add up to New England's first losing season in 20 years.

Skipping over New York (or should we say Jersey?) and moving on to Philadelphia, Jordan Howard left for greener (at least money-wise anyway) pastures in Miami, leaving the Eagles without a power running option — a situation all too familiar to them, since it pertained throughout most of Andy Reid's tenure, and virtually all of Dick Vermeil's, costing them a beaucoup of games under both regimes.

And while there was only one running back of this genre available in the entire 2020 draft — A.J. Dillon, who the Packers reached like nobody's business to tab in the second round — the Eagles still could have traded for Leonard Fournette, or signed either Carlos Hyde of Alfred Blue. Hyde signed with the Seahawks on Friday (again, not a slow news day!), and while Blue is still out there, one would think that if the Eagles had any interest in him, they would have made a move in that direction by now.

So this means that every time the Eagles face a 3rd-and-1, or they are down close to the goal line, Carson Wentz is going to have to quarterback-sneak to move the chains or cross the plane — and since Wentz already has a well-documented history of injuries, Howie Roseman's inaction is placing Wentz's fragile health at risk once again.

Unless Roseman rectifies this within the next three months, the NFC East No-Repeat Jinx (no defending champion of this division has repeated since 2004) is sure to remain intact — and if the inevitable injury to Wentz comes early enough and Ron Rivera wins enough of his famed riverboat gambles, the Team That Dares Not Speak Its Name could very well complete the division exacta.

Or maybe Jeffrey Lurie will bring Newton or even Kaepernick in?

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