Well, well, well, what a difference a year makes huh? It was just a year ago we watched the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Washington Football Team, where as fans, players, and analysts — we all wanted to see what the future had in store.
Which NFC East team would find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt, qualifying by default; representing a division that was laughable by league standards and becoming a shell of its former self?
How would Jalen Hurts fair in just his forth career start? And most importantly, what was next for the Philadelphia Eagles?
Well, more than some could possibly fathom and more than many could ever imagine.
The once promised prince named Wentz was shipped out to Indianapolis where he had the opportunity to reunite with former Eagles offensive coordinator, Frank Reich. That was to be expected and according to many it was essentially a selection between Pederson and Wentz — a classic Last Man Standing match, WWE Style.
To be fair, following the selection of Jalen Hurts in the 2020 NFL Draft, the preverbal writing was on the wall. The Eagles say that Hurts was more of an insurance policy but the franchise and the entire city of Philadelphia saw otherwise.
Okay, so with Pederson and Hurts, we move… right? Or as the great Lee Corso says: NOT SO FAST! In a turn of events that not even the Football Gods could have predicted, the Eagles fired Doug Pederson. Not because Pederson was bad, as noted by him being arguably the hottest coaching commodity on the market heading into the off-season. Or not even the fact that he didn’t want Hurts, but because he wanted to retain and promote Press Taylor to offensive coordinator. Another story for another time but the time for change was upon us; a franchise whose trajectory once ranked among the league’s finest was now in complete and utter turmoil.
So no more franchise quarterback, no more Super Bowl winning head coach, yet somehow someway, the general manager who resided in a broom closet hidden deep within the confines of the Novacare Complex is safe? Owner Jeffery Lurie’s declaration of a rebuild was put into question because, well if you’re going to clean house, why not remove everyone responsible for the task at hand?
Well, Philadelphia to be quite frank, no matter how much many don’t want to hear this; Howie Roseman has earned the right to ride this thing out. Has it been pretty? No, but when has it ever?
I mean we are talking about a franchise who needed a back-up quarterback to lead them to the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Now if that isn’t ugly I’m not quite sure what is. Sure, there has been much to say about his draft history but between the 2018 class, him having about a 57% hit rate on the 2020 class, and what’s looking to be a successful 2021 class; history has a funny way of rewriting itself.
Still the Eagles sat with no head coach and a quarterback that had (and in the eyes of some, still does) a multitude of questions surrounding him. Is he even the guy? With a top tier selection in the NFL Draft should the Eagles invest in a guy… Justin Fields maybe? Even if Philadelphia holds on to him, he should be nothing but a place holder right? Man, Birds fans it got pretty ugly…
Also, about that empty head coaching position, right? Well, the Eagles got a guy and it’s safe to say he didn’t impress right out of the gates
The bar was set low man, pretty low… possible first pick in the draft, incoming benching of the quarterback low. There was even some talk about Sirianni being a one and done in Philadelphia. But hey, Trust the Process right?
Enough talk though, clearly analysts and even a few fans were wrong about what was boiling in Philadelphia. Rebuild? Yeah right, more like retool. See, what many seemed to forget is that we were talking about a roster that featured many key cogs of a group that had made three consecutive playoff appearances up until the 2020 debacle.
While there were plenty of young players set to take center stage over the coming months in Philadelphia, for some reason no one talked about the one thing the Eagles had going right heading into the 2021-22 season… offensive line play.
You see, in 2020 the Eagles had 14 different starting offensive line combinations — by far the most in the NFL, and early it looked like much of the same was in store. Down went Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, and even Jordan Mailata for a point in time.
New year, same story… there was the chaotic week 3 Monday Night Football game at Dallas, the helpless week 6 Thursday Night Football game vs Tampa Bay, and the humiliating week 7 defeat at the hands of the Las Vegas Vegas Raiders where just about everyone began taking victory laps over the Philadelphia Eagles. At 2-5 the season was essentially over long before Thanksgiving. But then something happened…
Is that a NFL head coach talking about flowers, fertilizing, and roots? To say the media and fan-base would have a field day with this, that’d be an understatement. But, what if maybe this young head coach was on to something? It may not have been cute or something that would impress those on the outside, but to those in the building ,the point got across and it was clear that the message never changed: Rent is still due and the job is to get one percent better everyday.
So once again Philadelphia, we move.
You see, you may have felt like you’ve read this story before, like you know what the ending is going to be but I’m not quite sure anyone has read this book yet. These young birds literally embody what it means to be from the city of Philadelphia. They may get knocked down again, and again, and again, and again… but these Birds just don’t know how to stay down. It’s almost something out of a Rocky movie.
In fact there are only four teams since 2010 that have won two of their first seven games and still made the playoffs. Well ladies and gentlemen, to the surprise of many; your Philadelphia Eagles have just became the next. It’s well known the amount of people who considered the Eagles bottom feeders heading into the season but there is one person who saw this run coming a long time ago.
“The sun will shine real soon,” said Jalen Hurts. Clearly he knows that it’s always Sunny in Philadelphia.
So here we are young Birds… with everything right in front of you. House Money is what the people are saying you’re playing with, what’s there to lose right? Wrong…
See there’s this notion going around that the Philadelphia Eagles don’t belong here. Is it that? Or is it that they didn’t want you here?
Let’s be clear, we are talking about a football team that are winners of seven of their last ten games. The number one rushing team in all of football — and this is January football where defense and a dominant running game is the ruler of all. Sure this team may have started 2-5, but in this league it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and folks as Marcus Peters once said:
“We ain’t done yet.’”
In fact, if these young Birds have anything to say about it they’re just getting started.
Sure, the opponent? The reigning, defending, world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s fine because as Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles stated this week:
“It’s a tale of two seasons. We’re different and they’re different.”
Cover Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports