For the third year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles final 3-4 games of the season had playoff implications. Per usual, since the Super Bowl in 2017, they’d need help to get in. In 2018, the Bears assisted them with a win over the Vikings and the Eagles did their part, by defeating the Washington Football Team to punch their ticket to the postseason. In 2019, the Eagles controlled their own destiny, which looked bleak after a disaster of a loss to a Miami Dolphins team that had two wins coming into the matchup. But, the team banded together, won 4 straight games, and found a way into the tournament. However, this year it seems as though the ‘magic’ that catapulted them, not only to the playoffs in 2018 and 2019, but also to the Super Bowl in 2017, has all but run out.
With the Eagles up 14-3 after the 1st quarter, it felt as if that intangible ‘magic’ of sorts was as strong as ever. What followed that quarter was a self-implosion that was pretty on-brand for the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles. The band-aids that covered up all the mistakes on both management and coaching were ripped off and put on full display for all to see. The ‘magic’ was no more.
It’s been injuries galore since that winning Super Bowl year, but each time the Eagles found a way. In spite of all the drama, stagnant offense, and defensive shortcomings, they found a way. Things were masked that shouldn’t have been.
“Injuries are going to happen. But we have to figure out a way to get better here. We can help from a front-office perspective by looking at the players that we bring in. Hope is not a strategy when it comes to injuries,” Howie Roseman said during an end of the year press conference last year.
But, what did Roseman proceed to do?
Re-sign 38-year old Jason Peters (and then pay him more money to play left tackle until he’d get hurt in week 11). Bring back wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, who’s missed 17 games in 3 years, and DeSean Jackson, who’s missed 24 games since returning the the Eagles in 2019. Simply put, the actions don’t match the words, but those same injuries and missteps had been masked the previous 3 seasons.
However, this year they won’t be masked. Missing the playoffs will force not only coaches and players to look into the mirror, but management and ownership, as well. It will force them to take a brutally honest look in the mirror at what this team truly is and the role that each facet has played in the regression of this organization.
Ranking 25th in total offense, 27th in passing offense, 9th in rushing offense (but 23rd in rushing attempts), 22nd in total defense, 21st in passing defense, 23rd in rushing defense, and 3rd in penalties it’s clear that the 2020 Eagles are not a good football team.
But the question now becomes: where do they go from here?
For the 2021 offseason, the Eagles are currently $71.5 million over the salary cap (according to Over The Cap). This means there will have to be some restructures and tough goodbyes in this upcoming offseason in terms of trades and releases.
With just one game remaining on the season and a 4-10-1 record, as things currently stand, it’s virtually guaranteed that they will be picking in the top 10 come April’s NFL draft. The Eagles currently have 7 picks in next years draft:
|1||Eagles’ own pick|
|2||Eagles own pick|
|3||Eagles’ own pick|
|5||Eagles’ own pick|
|6||Eagles’ own pick|
|7||Eagles’ own pick|
But before all of that, the organization (mainly Jeff Lurie) must decide what changes will be made.
It’s been widely speculated that Doug Pederson’s job security is all but evaporated. There will also likely be full scale changes to the entire coaching staff and possibly a structural reset to the front office as well with John Dorsey reportedly now involved with the personnel side of things (Check out my piece on what a possible Dorsey-Howie Roseman pairing means for the Eagles). And let’s not forget, they have to figure out who the franchise quarterback is moving forward.
This team has a lot to figure out in one of the most pivotal offseasons in franchise history. And it all starts with the man at the top, Jeffery Lurie. Sure, Lurie can look at this year and chalk it up to a bevy of things. The global pandemic (even though the Eagles were the only team in the NFC East to returning it’s head coach from the previous season), the injuries, or even the lack of a pre-season. But when taking a true and objective look at this team, it’s evident that it’s simply not good enough. That’s the most essential part in all of this, that being, being able to take an objective look at this team. No faux late season ‘magic’, just the truth. A refreshing fresh dose of the candid truth about what this organization has become in the 3 years since it stood atop of the NFL world.
What are those truths?
- 22-23-1 since the Super Bowl (Downward trend every year since)
- $71 million over the cap
- Misses on free agents that don’t really move the needle
- Extending Veterans when it should be time to move on
- Habitual Draft Missteps and Lasps in Talent Evaluation
- Health Issues no matter the Medical Staff
- Regression at the Most Important Position in Sports
- Lack of on field production in all 3 phases (Offense-Defense-Special Teams)
Now it becomes an pursuit of how to end the regression and fix the problems that have engulfed this franchise. And it starts at the top.